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Spiritual and philosophical quotes of
Zen (Chan)

60  quote(s)  | Page 1 / 3




P eople under delusion accumulate tainted merits but do not tread the Path.
They are under the impression that to accumulate merits and to tread the
Path are one and the same thing.
Though their merits for alms-giving and offerings are infinite
They do not realize that the ultimate source of sin lies in the three
poisons within their own mind.
They expect to expiate their sins by accumulating merit
Without knowing that felicities obtained in future lives have nothing to
do with the expiation of sins.
Why not get rid of the sin within our own mind,
For this is true repentance?





Buddhism / Mahayana / Zen (Chan) Quote n°4392 | 
Sutra of Hui Neng 6 





S ince all Dharmas are immanent in our mind there is no reason why we
should not realize intuitively the real nature of Suchness. The
Bodhisattva Sila Sutra says, "Our Essence of Mind is intrinsically pure,
and if we knew our mind and realized what our nature is, all of us would
attain Buddhahood."





Buddhism / Mahayana / Zen (Chan) Quote n°4296 | 
Sutra of Hui Neng 2 





W ithin the Essence of Mind all things are intrinsically pure, like the azure of the sky and the radiance of the sun and the moon which, when obscured by passing clouds, may appear as if their brightness had been dimmed; but as soon as the clouds are blown away, brightness reappears and all objects are fully illuminated. Learned Audience, our evil habits may be likened unto the clouds; while Sagacity and Wisdom are like the sun and the moon respectively. When we attach ourselves to outer objects, our Essence of Mind is clouded by wanton thoughts which prevent our Sagacity and Wisdom from sending forth their light.




Buddhism / Mahayana / Zen (Chan) Quote n°4271 | 
Sutra of Hui Neng 6 





O ne day the Fifth Patriarch assembled all his disciples and said to them, "Go and seek for Wisdom in your own mind and then write me a stanza about it. He who understands what the Essence of Mind is will be given the Robe and the Dharma, and I shall make him the Sixth Patriarch. Go away quickly. Delay not in writing the stanza, as deliberation is quite unnecessary and of no use. The man who has realized the Essence of Mind can speak of it at once."

Having received this instruction, the disciples withdrew, but none dared to write a stanza, as they all deferred to the head instructor Shen Hsiu... At 12 o'clock that night Shen Hsiu went secretly with a lamp to write his stanza on the wall of the south corridor, so that the Patriarch might know what spiritual insight he had attained. The stanza read,

Our body is the Bodhi tree,
And our mind a mirror bright,
Carefully we wipe them hour by hour,
And let no dust alight.

...When the Patriarch saw the stanza the next morning, he instructed that it be read and recited by all the disciples, so that they might realize the Essence of Mind. At midnight he sent for Shen Hsiu to come to the hall, and asked him if the stanza was written by him or not. "It was, Sir," replied Shen Hsiu. "I dare not be so vain as to expect to get the Patriarchate, but I wish Your Holiness would kindly tell me whether my stanza shows the least grain of wisdom." "Your stanza," replied the Patriarch, "shows that you have not yet realized the Essence of Mind. So far you have reached the 'door of enlightenment,' but you have not yet entered it. To seek for supreme enlightenment with such an understanding as yours can hardly be successful... You had better go back to think it over again for a couple of days, and submit to me another stanza."

I [Hui Neng] was pounding rice when I heard a young boy reciting the stanza written by Shen Hsiu... I asked him to lead me to the hall and show me the stanza. A petty officer who happened to be there read it out to me. When he had finished reading, I told him that I had also composed a stanza, and asked him to write it on the wall. "Don't despise a beginner," I said. "You should know that the lowest class may have the sharpest wit, while the highest may be in want of intelligence. If you slight others, you commit a very great sin." I dictated my stanza, which read,

There is no Bodhi tree,
Nor stand of a mirror bright.
Since all is void,
Where can the dust alight?

When he had written this, the crowd of disciples was overwhelmed with amazement, but the Patriarch rubbed off the stanza with his shoe, lest jealous ones should do me injury. The next night he invited me secretly to his room, and expounded the Diamond Sutra to me. When he came to the sentence, "One should use one's mind in such a way that it will be free from any attachment," I at once became thoroughly enlightened, and realized that all things in the universe are the Essence of Mind itself. "Who would have thought," I said to the Patriarch, "that the Essence of Mind is intrinsically pure!..." Thus, to the knowledge of no one, the Dharma was transmitted to me at midnight, and I became the Sixth Patriarch.





Buddhism / Mahayana / Zen (Chan) Quote n°4196 | 
Sutra of Hui Neng 1 





F or him who... knows his own mind and sees intuitively his own nature, he is a Hero, a Teacher of gods and men, a Buddha.




Buddhism / Mahayana / Zen (Chan) Quote n°4190 | 
Sutra of Hui Neng 1 





W hat sort of illness awaits us tonight, what sort of death tomorrow? While we have life, not to practice Buddha's Law, but to spend the time in sleep is the height of foolishness. Because of such foolishness Buddhism today Is in a state of decline. When it was at its zenith monks devoted themselves to the practice of sitting in meditation (zazen), but nowadays sitting is not generally insisted upon and consequently Buddhism is losing ground.' . . .

Upon another occasion his attendants said to him, 'The monks are getting overtired or falling ill, and some are thinking of leaving the monastery, all because they are required to sit too long in meditation. Shouldn't the length of the sitting period be shortened?' The master became highly indignant. 'That would be quite wrong. A monk who is not really devoted to the religious life may very well fall asleep in a half hour or an hour. But one truly devoted to it who has resolved to persevere in his religious discipline will eventually come to enjoy the practice of sitting, no matter how long it lasts.





Buddhism / Mahayana / Zen (Chan) Quote n°3970 | 
From the Shobo genzo zuimonki pp. 50-2, translated by Wm. Theodore de Bary, in De Bary (ed.), Sources of Japanese Tradition, op. Cit., Pp. 253-4 





I n the pursuit of the Way [Buddhism] the prime essential is sitting (zazen). . . . By reflecting upon various 'public-cases' (koan) and dialogues of the patriarchs, one may perhaps get the sense of them but it will only result in one's being led astray from the way of the Buddha, our founder. just to pass the time in sitting straight, without any thought of acquisition, without any sense of achieving enlightenment -this is the way of the Founder. It is true that our predecessors recommended both the koan and sitting, but it was the sitting that they particularly insisted upon. There have been some who attained enlightenment through the test of the koan, but the true cause of their enlightenment was the merit and effectiveness of sitting. Truly the merit lies in the sitting.




Buddhism / Mahayana / Zen (Chan) Quote n°3969 | 
From the Shobo genzo zuimonki, pp. 98-9, translated in De Bary (ed.), Sources of Japanese Tradition, op. cit., P. 253 





W hen you go out on a boat and look around, you feel as if the shore were moving. But if you fix your eyes on the rim of the boat, you become aware that the boat is moving. It is exactly the same when you try to know the objective world while still in a state of confusion in regard to your own body and mind; you are under the misapprehension that your own mind, your own nature, is something real and enduring [while the external world is transitory]. Only when you sit straight and look into yourself, does it become clear that [you yourself are changing ] the objective world has a reality apart from you.




Buddhism / Mahayana / Zen (Chan) Quote n°3968 | 
From Hashida, Shobo genzo shakui, 1, 142-64, selections translated in De Bary (ed.), Sources of Japanese Tradition, Op. Cit., Pp. 251-2 





T o study the way of the Buddha is to study your own self. To study your own self is to forget yourself. To forget yourself is to have the objective world prevail in you. To have the objective world prevail in you, is to let go of your 'own' body and mind as well as the body and mind of 'others.' The enlightenment thus attained may seem to come to an end, but though it appears to have stopped this momentary enlightenment should be prolonged and prolonged.




Buddhism / Mahayana / Zen (Chan) Quote n°3967 | 
From Hashida, Shobo genzo shakui, 1, 142-64, selections translated in De Bary (ed.), Sources of Japanese Tradition, Op. Cit., Pp. 251-2 





I f we hold exclusively to Emptiness, we deny the entire causal world;
All is then attributed to chance, with no ruling principle, inviting evil to prevail.
The same error occurs when one holds exclusively to the manifested, denying the Emptiness;
That would be like throwing oneself into the flames in order to avoid being drowned in the water.





Buddhism / Mahayana / Zen (Chan) Quote n°3765 | 
Cheng-tao Ke “Sonf of Enlightment”, in Suzuki, 1960; pp. 89-103 





L et us be thoroughgoing, not only in inner experience, but in its interpretation,
And our lives will be perfect in meditation and in wisdom as well-not adhering one-sidedly to Emptiness (Sunyata) alone.
It is not we alone who have come to this conclusion;
All the enlightened, numerous as the sands of India, are of the same mind.





Buddhism / Mahayana / Zen (Chan) Quote n°3764 | 
Cheng-tao Ke “Sonf of Enlightment”, in Suzuki, 1960; pp. 89-103 





W hen the absolute Reality is known, it is seen to be without any individual selves, and devoid of any objective forms;
All past [mental and physical] actions which lead to hell are instantly wiped away.

After the Awakening, there is only vast Emptiness; this vast universe of forms ceases to exist [outside of one's Self].

Here, one sees neither sin nor bliss, neither loss nor gain.
In the midst of the eternal Serenity, no questions arise;
The dust of ignorance which has accumulated on the unpolished mirror for ages,
Is now, and forever, cleared away in the vision of Truth.





Buddhism / Mahayana / Zen (Chan) Quote n°3763 | 
Cheng-tao Ke “Sonf of Enlightment”, in Suzuki, 1960; pp. 89-103 





D o you know that leisurely sage who has gone beyond learning, and who does not exert himself in anything?
He neither endeavors to avoid idle thoughts nor seeks after the Truth;
[For he knows that] ignorance is also the Reality,
[And that] this empty, illusory, body is nothing but the absolute Reality (Dharmakaya).





Buddhism / Mahayana / Zen (Chan) Quote n°3761 | 
Cheng-tao Ke “Sonf of Enlightment”, in Suzuki, 1960; pp. 89-103 





I n the higher realm of true Being,
There is neither "other" nor "self";
When a direct identification is required,
We can only say, "not two."

In being not two, all is the same;
All that is is comprehended in it.
The wise in all the ten quarters
Enter into this same absolute Awareness.

This absolute Awareness is beyond movement and rest;
One instant is ten thousand years.
No matter how things are regarded-as being or non-being,
It is manifest everywhere before you.

... One in all,
All in One
If only this is realized,
No more worry about your not being perfect!





Buddhism / Mahayana / Zen (Chan) Quote n°3760 | 
Hsin-hsin ming “Inscription on the Self of the Self”, Suzuki, 1960, pp. 76-82 





W hen no offence is offered by them, they are as if non-existent;
When the mind is not disturbed, it is as if there is no mind.
The subject is quieted as the object ceases;
The object ceases as the subject is quieted.

The object is an object for the subject;
The subject is a subject for an object.
Know that the relativity of the two
Rests ultimately on the oneness of the Void.

In the oneness of the Void, the two are one,
And each of the two contains in itself all the ten thousand things.
When no discrimination is made between this and that,
How can a one-sided and prejudiced view arise?





Buddhism / Mahayana / Zen (Chan) Quote n°3759 | 
Hsin-hsin ming “Inscription on the Self of the Self”, Suzuki, 1960, pp. 76-82 





T he two exist because of the One,
But hold not even to this One;
When the one Consciousness -is not disturbed,
The ten thousand things offer no offence.





Buddhism / Mahayana / Zen (Chan) Quote n°3758 | 
Hsin-hsin ming “Inscription on the Self of the Self”, Suzuki, 1960, pp. 76-82 





W hen we return to the root, we gain the meaning;
When we pursue the external objects, we lose the purpose.
The moment we are enlightened within,
We go beyond the voidness of a world confronting us.





Buddhism / Mahayana / Zen (Chan) Quote n°3757 | 
Hsin-hsin ming “Inscription on the Self of the Self”, Suzuki, 1960, pp. 76-82 





W hen oneness is not thoroughly understood,
In two ways loss may be sustained:
The denial of the world may lead to its absolute negation,
While the denying of the
Void may result in the denying of your [true] Self.





Buddhism / Mahayana / Zen (Chan) Quote n°3756 | 
Hsin-hsin ming “Inscription on the Self of the Self”, Suzuki, 1960, pp. 76-82 





W ordiness and intellection.
The more with them the further astray we go;
Away, therefore, with wordiness and intellection,
And there is no place where we cannot pass freely.





Buddhism / Mahayana / Zen (Chan) Quote n°3755 | 
Hsin-hsin ming “Inscription on the Self of the Self”, Suzuki, 1960, pp. 76-82 





T he Truth is perfect like the vastness of space,
With nothing wanting, nothing superfluous;
It is indeed due to making choices
That the One Reality is lost sight of.

Pursue not the outer entanglements,
Dwell not in the inner Void;
When the mind rests serene in the oneness of 'things,
Dualism vanishes by itself.





Buddhism / Mahayana / Zen (Chan) Quote n°3754 | 
Hsin-hsin ming “Inscription on the Self of the Self”, Suzuki, 1960, pp. 76-82 





N ot knowing how near the Truth is, People seek It far away, -- what a pity! They are like one who, in the midst of water, Cries imploringly for a drink of water, Or like the son of a rich man Who wanders away among the poor. ... Those who testify to the truth of the nature of the Self, Have found it by reflecting within themselves, And have gone beyond the realm of mere ideas. For them opens the gate of the oneness of cause and effect; And straight runs the path of non-duality ... Abiding with the Undivided amidst the divided, Whether going or returning, they remain forever unmoved. Holding fast to, and remembering, That which is beyond thought, In their every act, they hear the voice of the Truth. How limitless the sky of unbounded freedom! How pure the perfect moonlight of Wisdom! At that moment, what do they lack? As the eternally quiescent Truth reveals Itself to them, This very earth is the lotus-land of Purity, And this body -is the body of the Buddha.




Buddhism / Mahayana / Zen (Chan) Quote n°3753 | 
in Suzuki, 1961, p. 336 





T hose who testify to the truth of the nature of the Self, Have found it by reflecting within themselves.




Buddhism / Mahayana / Zen (Chan) Quote n°3752 | 
in Suzuki, 1961, p. 336 





M ONK: "Where is the Reality in appearance?"
MASTER: "Wherever there is appearance, there is Reality."
MONK: "How does It manifest Itself?"
MASTER: (The master silently lifted his saucer.)
MONK: "But where is the Reality in illusion?"
MASTER: "The origin of illusion is the Real."
MONK: "But how can Reality manifest Itself in illusion?"
MASTER: "Wherever there is illusion, there is the manifestation of Reality."
MONK: "Do you say, then, Reality can never be separated from illusion?"
MASTER: "Where can you possibly find the appearance of illusion?"





Buddhism / Mahayana / Zen (Chan) Quote n°3751 | 
in Chung-yuan, 1975; pp. 72-73 





W hile still alive, be therefore assiduous in practicing meditation. ... As your self-reflection grows deeper and deeper, the moment will surely come upon you when the spiritual flower will suddenly burst into bloom, illuminating the entire universe.

This is the moment when you can transform this vast earth into solid gold, and the great rivers into an ocean of milk. What a satisfaction this is then to your daily life! Since this is so, do not waste your time with words or phrases, or by searching for Truth in books; for the Truth is not to be found there. ... They consist of mere words, which will be of no use to you at the moment of your death.





Buddhism / Mahayana / Zen (Chan) Quote n°3750 | 
in Suzuki, 1970; pp. 23-24 





T o find a buddha all you have to do is see your nature. Your nature is the buddha.




Buddhism / Mahayana / Zen (Chan) Quote n°3543 | 
The Zen Teaching of Bodhidharma. Trans. Red Pine. New York: North Point Press, 1987, pp. 13-15 



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