If I am not for myself, who will be for me? And when I am for myself, what am ‘I’? And if not now, when?
Hillel of Babylon
Hillel was a Jewish scholar and rough contemporary of Christ (died around 10 CE) who produced lots of good quotes. The progression from seeming solidity to emptiness reminds me of Nāgārjuna’s short verses.
Ballymena, Northern Ireland
“Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent” and “…he who understands me finally recognizes them [his propositions] as nonsensical. He must so to speak throw away the ladder, after he has climbed up on it.”
Wittgenstein, whose philosophy I teach, always brings me back to Zen & practice. Compare the quote with Shunryu Suzuki ‘s words, “The most important point is to establish yourself in a true sense, without establishing yourself on delusion… Delusion is necessary, but delusion is not something on which you can establish yourself. It is like a stepladder. Without it you can’t climb up, but you don’t stay on the stepladder.”
Not Always So
Opening the Hand of Thought
Buddhist books, impossible to choose just one! They speak to me in different ways at different times. But Kosho Uchiyama’s ‘Opening the Hand of Thought’ is one I find myself drawn to again, and again. Opening the Hand of Thought. A short instruction – just sit with it.
“I’m as ignorant as the day I was born”
Realising my father may not have long for this world, I recently plucked up the courage to ask him “What has life taught you?”. This was his response. May we all realise the simple wisdom of this.
“April is the cruelest month, breeding
Lilacs from the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.”
from ‘The Waste Land’ by T. S. Elliott
For me these lines are an Invitation, it’s about new beginnings, being alive, it’s about Hope.
“One of my favourite sayings is ‘Grass is greener where you water it‘.
This reminds me to cultivate the here and now and not wander off into undisciplined ‘if only….’ “
“In the cherry blossom’s shade
there’s no such thing
as a stranger.”
Kobayashi Issa, Zen priest and poet, (1763 – 1827)
“When I am intimate with life, the whole world is my lover. Love is our practice.” Ingen.
“Even if the sun were to rise from the west, the Bodhisattva has only one way.” Suzuki Roshi.
“Suzuki Roshi goes on to say the Bodhisattva’s way is to express in each moment our true nature and our sincerity. And the idea is we do this no matter what happens, we never separate ourselves from our true nature nor from our sincerity, even if the sun were to rise in the west, or even if it’s New Year’s Day.” Ingen.
“To have some deep feeling about Buddhism is not the point, we just do what we should do, like eating supper and going to bed. This is Buddhism.”
“The quote is of Shunryu Suzuki Roshi. It is a reminder that ‘Buddhism’ is not really an ‘ism’, not an ideology or belief system, but a taking care of our everyday life.”