Posts in the “zen” category

Over 100 of my favorite “mindfulness” quotes

This page contains a list of my favorite “mindfulness reminder” quotes. In particular these are short, concise quotes that I think work well with my “Just Be” mobile app.

Just Be is currently an app for Android users. If you haven’t seen it before, this is what the reminders/notifications look like when you receive them on an Android phone or tablet:

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Ram Dass on remembering things like Maya, Dukkha, illusion, and consciousness

Maybe because of my Back To Now app, I really like this quote about remembering from Ram Dass:

“I think that remembering is the strategy that most religions are designed to do. It’s remembering there are other planes of consciousness, it’s remembering the illusory nature. It’s remembering Maya, it’s remembering Dukkha. It’s remembering the karma, the sangha, the Buddha, it’s remembering that you’re not caught on one plane of consciousness. It’s reminding you to wake up. The device is to wake you up.”

That quote comes from this page.

Eckhart Tolle on temporary forms and life and death

From this video with Eckhart Tolle and Ram Dass:

Eckhart Tolle:

These are just temporary forms. (Pointing to Ram Dass) This form will be gone soon. (Pointing to himself) This form will be gone soon. (Pointing to the audience) And sooner or later, all these forms will have dissolved. Poof. Like soap bubbles. Poof. And all that remains is The One that expressed itself through The Many.

And if you know yourself as The One, which happens when the stream of thinking stops, and there’s just an aware presence, the spacious, aware, formless presence, that’s who you are beyond the form. (Ram Dass nodding “yes.”) And from there you can enjoy the play of forms.

Gampopa: Liberation is merely the end of error

In a Buddha there has never been
Anything that could be said to be there.
Just as a magician
Does not get caught up in his illusions
And therefore by his knowledge
Is not attached to magic forms,
So also the wise in Perfect Enlightenment
Know the three worlds to be like a magic show.
Liberation is merely the end of error.

~ Gampopa

(I saw this quote in the book Be Love Now by Ram Dass.)

Quotes about work and Zen (practicing Zen at work)

For many years I struggled with how to combine two of my main interests, Zen and work. I have read that the Zen mind is the mind before thinking, so it seems like Zen and work must be totally unrelated; you need your mind to work. And then over time I came to understand phrases like, when working, just work.

This article contains a collection of quotes that have been helpful to me in understanding the relationship between Zen and work. Please note that I don’t wrap each quote in double quotes, and I also try to attribute each quote to the correct author/speaker. If you’re interested in how to combine Zen and work, I hope you’ll find them helpful.

Stake out your inner experience, like a wildlife photographer in an exotic location

I like this description of the proper mindfulness technique:

“Not judging what you see, not considering it good or bad, just seeing what you see, with interest and curiosity. Staking out your inner experience, like a wildlife photographer in an exotic location, waiting for the moment to snap.”

It comes from the “Base” recording under the “Waiting Around” category of the Buddhify app. (Sorry, I don’t know the name of the speaker.)

This Life, Which is Wonderful and Evanescent, by Blanche Hartman

If you think about it, it’s awesomely, amazingly wonderful just to be alive! It’s a wonderful gift, and especially on a beautiful spring day like today.

But it took me several years of meditation practice and a heart attack before I really got it that just to be alive is awesome. As I was walking out of the hospital I thought, “Wow! I could be dead. The rest of my life is just a gift.” And then I thought, “Well, it always has been a gift from the very beginning, and I never noticed it until it was almost gone.”

The Zen teacher Kobun Chino once said in a sesshin talk that when you realize how precious your life is, and that it is completely your responsibility how you manifest it and how you live it, that is such a big responsibility that “such a person sits down for a while.”

~ a few paragraphs from this story by Zen teacher Blanche Hartman, who was impermanently here on Earth from 1926 to 2016.

Seeing everything as moving subatomic particles

“Having a direct experience of seeing everything one looks at (including one’s own body) as moving subatomic particles alters the perception of ‘me’ and of the substantiality of what we regard as ‘normal’ reality.”

(I can’t remember where I saw this quote, but I think it had to do with some sort of computer system with monitors that allowed you to walk into this device, and see your body as moving subatomic particles.)

Linji ~ If you want to be free, get to know your real self

If you want to be free,
Get to know your real self.

It has no form, no appearance,
No root, no basis, no abode,
But is lively and buoyant.

It responds with versatile facility,
But its function cannot be located.

Therefore when you look for it,
You become further from it;
When you seek it,
You turn away from it all the more.

~ Linji

Zen and Work: Mindfulness and compassion don’t mean “be a wimp”

When I first started studying Zen and the Tao, I interpreted many of the quotes I read as “let things be just as they are.” For a while that led to me act as a doormat, letting other people do as they wished, in some cases even treating me poorly. I did that consciously, so even though I was acting like a wimp I didn’t feel like a wimp; I was just trying to practice what I was learning.

After a while I realized that was a wrong approach. Because I wasn’t demanding excellence at work, some employees weren’t performing up to their capabilities. Other people in my personal life were “using” me because they knew they could get away with it.

Albert Einstein, Zen Master?

Knowing of my interest in Zen, a friend of mine sent me this photo of a letter from Albert Einstein to a parent grieving after the loss of a child:

Albert Einstein, Zen Master

If you know something about Zen, you know that Einstein is writing about the “oneness” of the universe. Zen tries to teach us about this through techniques like Zen Meditation (zazen), and the concept of all things being interdependent.

Alanis Morissette: “How about them transparent dangling carrots?”

In the third line of Alanis Morissette’s song, Thank You, she sings, “How about them transparent dangling carrots?” In this article I’ll take a little look at what that line means.

A song about enlightenment

Ms. Morissette’s entire song is about gaining enlightenment, and from that perspective, a transparent dangling carrot is anything that leads you to take a path of pursuing or gaining enlightenment. In the song she mentions things like terror, disillusionment, frailty, consequence (karma), and silence; each of these can be considered motivational “carrots” that are capable of pulling a person down a path where they want to seek enlightenment.