1. “You have to practice until you die.”
— Taïsen Deshimaru
2. “If you are not happy here and now, you never will be.”
3. “Descartes said, “I think, therefore I am.” I say, “I do not think, that is why I exist.””
4. “During zazen, brain and consciousness become pure. It’s exactly like muddy water left to stand in a glass. Little by little, the sediment sinks to the bottom and the water becomes pure.”
5. “Think with your whole body.”
6. “To practice Zen or the Martial Arts, you must live intensely, wholeheartedly, without reserve – as if you might die in the next instant.”
7. “Harmonizing opposites by going back to their source is the distinctive quality of the Zen attitude, the Middle Way: embracing contradictions, making a synthesis of them, achieving balance.”
8. “Keep your hands open, and all the sands of the desert can pass through them. Close them, and all you can feel is a bit of grit.”
9. “Time is not a line, but a series of now-points.”
10. “Zen is not a particular state but the normal state: silent, peaceful, unagitated. In Zazen neither intention, analysis, specific effort nor imagination take place. It’s enough just to be without hypocrisy, dogmatism, arrogance – embracing all opposites.”
11. “Human beings are afraid of dying. They are always running after something: money, honor, and pleasure. But if you had to die now, what would you want?”
12. “The body moves naturally, automatically, without any personal intervention or awareness. If we think too much, our actions become slow and hesitant.”
13. “From your first day at school you are cut off from life to make theories.”
14. “We feel our shell keeps us safe, but it crushes us and others, and keeps out light and sun.”
15. “You must concentrate upon and consecrate yourself wholly to each day, as though a fire were raging in your hair.”
16. “In a fight between a strong technique and a strong body, technique will prevail. In a fight between a strong mind and a strong technique, mind will prevail, because it will find the weak point.”
17. “To receive everything, one must open one’s hands and give.”
18. “If you have a glass full of liquid you can discourse forever on its qualities, discuss whether it is cold, warm, whether it is really and truly composed of H-2-O, or even mineral water, or sake. Meditation is Drinking it!”
19. “You cannot separate any part from the whole: interdependence rules the cosmic order.”
20. “The silence of the mountain is even more beautiful once the birds are quiet.”
21. “Train the body and develop stamina and endurance. But the spirit of competition and power that presides over them is not good, it reflects a distorted vision of life. The root of the martial arts is not there.”
22. “If we achieve satori and the satori shows, like a bit of dogshit stuck to the top of our nose, that is not so good.”
23. “We should learn to think with our fingers.”
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