Joy, giving, family, and peace — people of all faiths can celebrate these values of the holiday season. May you have a very Buddhist Christmas.
Recently, “Zen” has become a synonym for relaxing, pleasurable, or mysterious experiences, or more generally, “being in the moment.” Of course, ” being in the moment” is a Zen principle. Real Zen is the Japanese school of Buddhism that grew out of the Chan (meditation) tradition of China. Zen monastics typically meditate several hours daily.
My Twelve Days of Meditation
(By Spring Liao)
On my first day of meditation, the Buddha enlightened me about cultivating a calm and peaceful mind.
On my second day of meditation, the Buddha enlightened me about developing awareness and awakening to my true nature.
On my third day of meditation, the Buddha enlightened me about reducing stress and managing pain.
On my fourth day of meditation, the Buddha enlightened me about practicing patience and understanding the nature of my anger.
On my fifth day of meditation, the Buddha enlightened me about opening my heart and clearing away the clouds of confusion.
On my sixth day of meditation, the Buddha enlightened me about cultivating loving-kindness and compassion without attachments.
On my seventh day of meditation, the Buddha enlightened me about connecting with others who share my sense of wonders.
On my eighth day of meditation, the Buddha enlightened me about freeing my heart from hatred and freeing my mind from worry.
On my ninth day of meditation, the Buddha enlightened me about working with my heart and mind to experience true happiness.
On my tenth day of meditation, the Buddha enlightened me about the preciousness of human life and feeling of gratitude.
On my eleventh day of meditation, the Buddha enlightened me about the law of karma and what comes around goes around.
On my twelfth day of meditation, the Buddha enlightened me about the reality that human life is very brief and the nature of impermanence.
The following selection of “enlightened sayings” are taken from “ZEN: Page-A-Day Calendar 2017” by Workman Publishing, New York, USA.
– If you find no one to support you on the spiritual path, walk alone. There is no companionship with the immature. (The Buddha)
– When ego is lost, limit is lost. You become infinite, kind, and beautiful. (Yogi Bhajan)
-The moment you accept what troubles you’ve been given, the door will open. (Rumi)
– Not thinking about anything is zen. Once you know this, walking, standing, sitting, or lying down, everything you do is zen. (Bodhidharma)
– Be happy in the moment, that’s enough. Each moment is all we need, not more. (Mother Theresa)
– We all have two lives. The second one begins when you realize you only have one. (Confucius)
– Bringing joy to one heart with love is better than one thousand repetitive prayer recitings. (Rumi)
– Leap and the net will appear. (Zen saying)
– Your heart is the light of this world. Don’t cover it with your mind. (Mooji)
– I want to sing like the birds sing. Not worrying about who hears or what they think. (Rumi)
– Zen pretty much comes down to three things — everything changes; everything is connected; pay attention. (Jane Hirshfield)
– When you touch one thing with deep awareness, you touch everything. (Thich Nhat Hanh)
– Doubt everything. Find your own light. (The Buddha)
– The aim of spiritual life is to awaken a joyful freedom, a benevolent and compassionate heart in spite of everything. (Jack Kornfield)
– The farmer channels water to his land. The fletcher whittles his arrows. And the carpenter turns his wood. So the wise man directs his mind. (The Buddha)
– Where do you seek the spiritual? You seek the spiritual in every ordinary thing that you do. With mindfulness and concentration, everything becomes spiritual. (Thich Nhat Hanh)
– If you have time to be mindful, you have time to meditate. (Ajahn Chah)
– Adopt the pace of Nature. Her secret is patience. (Ralph Waldo Emerson)
– Let your eyes remain empty of interpretation and seeing will occur in silence. (Mooji)
– The notion of Buddha altogether is that we all have this thing called “Buddha Nature” — there is some kind of enlightened quality that we have and can cultivate and bring out further. (David Nichtern)
– He who controls his mind and has cut off desire and anger realizes the Self. (The Bhagavad Gita)
– Remember you don’t meditate to “get” anything, but to get “rid” of things. We do it not with desire but with letting go. If you “want” anything, you won’t find it. (Ajahn Chah)
– All night long I searched and searched for the Buddha’s Way, only to arrive at last at the workings of my heart. (Genshin)
– Let go, or be dragged. (Zen proverb)
– Awake. Be the witness of your thoughts. You are what observes, not what you observe. (The Buddha)
– Silence is a source of great strength. (Lao-Tzu)
– True words always seem paradoxical, but no other form of teaching can take their place. (Lao-Tzu)
– Singing and dancing are the voice of the Dharma. (Hakuin)
– Nothing can bring you peace but yourself. (Ralph Waldo Emerson)
– It is better to wake up after all, even to suffer, rather than to remain a dupe to illusions all one’s life. (Kate Chopin)
– Do everything with a mind that lets go. Do not expect any praise or reward. (Ajahn Chah)
– The wave does not need to die to become water. She is already water. (Thich Nhat Hanh)
– Travel light, live light, spread the light, be the light. (Yogi Bhajan)
– All things in this world are impermanent. They have the nature to rise and pass away. To be in harmony with this truth brings true happiness. (Buddhist Chant)
– When I attained Absolute Perfect Enlightenment, I attained absolutely nothing. That is why it is called Absolute Perfect Enlightenment. (The Diamond Sutra)
– Kindness and compassion give rise to self-confidence, which in turn empowers us to be honest, truthful and transparent. (The Dalai Lama)
– Better it is to live one day wise and meditative than to live a hundred years foolish and uncontrolled. (The Dhammapada)
– If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading. (Lao-Tzu)
– Fundamentally, not one thing exists. (Hui-Neng)
-Those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything. (George Bernard Shaw)
– The essence of all spiritual life is your attitude to others. (The Dalai Lama)
– Shine like the whole universe is yours. (Rumi)
– Only plain things have real taste. (Zen saying)
– I felt in need of a great pilgrimage, so I sat still for three days. (Kabir)
– Perhaps our first glimpse of emptiness in meditation is the recognition that our thoughts are not actually “real.” (David Nichtern)
– I would like my life to be a statement of love and compassion — and where it isn’t, that’s where my work lies. (Ram Dass)
– Where the present moment contains, accept it as you had chosen it. Always work with it, not against it. (Eckhart Tolle)
– I meditate because life is too short and sitting slows it down. I meditate because life is too long and I need an occasional break. I meditate because it’s such a relief to spend time ignoring myself. I meditate because I’m building myself a bigger and better perspective. And, occasionally I need to add a new window. (Wes Nisker)
– The Perfect Man uses his mind like a mirror — going after nothing, welcoming nothing, responding but not storing. (Chuang-Tzu)
– The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of non-essentials. (Lin Yutang)
– If you forget yourself, you become the universe. (Hakuin)
– “I have arrived, I am home” is the shortest Dharma Talk I have ever given. You need that insight in order to be truly established in the here and now, and to embrace life with all its wonders. (Thich Nhat Hanh)
– True enlightenment is not enlightenment. Real emptiness is not empty. (Niu-Tou)
– Listen. Make a way for yourself inside yourself. Stop looking in the other way of looking. (Rumi)
– It is only the empty mind that can see clearly. (Jiddu Krishnamurti)
– Everything falls under the law of change, like a dream, a bubble, a shadow, like dew or a flash or lightening; you should contemplate like this. (The Diamond Sutra)
– The teaching of the mind ground is the basis of Zen study. The mind ground is the great awareness of being as is. (Fayan)
– The whole path of mindfulness is this: Whatever you are doing, be aware of it. (Dipa Ma)
– True happiness comes from a sense of inner peace and contentment, which in turn must be achieved through the cultivation of love and compassion and elimination of ignorance, selfishness, and greed . (The Dalai Lama)
– Quieten your mind. Reflect. Watch. Nothing binds you. You are free. (The Buddha)
– If you are curious, you will learn. If you are desperate, you will discover. (Mooji)
– If you have never failed, you have never tried. (Buddhist Master Sheng-Yan)
– Everything that has a beginning has an ending. Make your peace with that and all will be well. (The Buddha)
(Spring Liao, update 04/05/2017)