When you were born, you cried and the world rejoiced. Live your life so that when you die, the world cries and you rejoice. --Native American Proverb, Cherokee
The longest road out is the shortest road home. Irish Proverb
Forgiveness means giving up all hope for a better past. -- English Proverb
Never test the depth of a river with both feet. --African Proverb
Until the lion learns how to write, every story will glorify the hunter. ---African Proverb
Do not only point out the way, Lead the way. --Sioux Proverb
Gardens are not made by sitting in the shade. --English Proverb
The best place for criticism is in front of a mirror --English Proverb
"He who endures with patience is a conqueror." ~ Latin Proverb
"Choose to be optimistic, it feels better." ~ H.H. the Dalai Lama
There are only two lasting bequests we can hope to give our children. One of these is roots, the other, wings. - Goethe
"Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it." - Mahatma Gandhi
When we feel love and kindness toward others, it not only makes others feel loved and cared for, but it helps us also to develop inner happiness and peace. --Dalai Lama
“This is the real secret of life — to be completely engaged with what you are doing in the here and now. And instead of calling it work, realize it is play.”- Alan Watts
“The only thing that is ultimately real about your journey is the step that you are taking at this moment. That’s all there ever is.”- Eckhart Tolle
“If you miss the present moment, you miss your appointment with life. That is very serious!”- Thich Nhat Hanh
“Practice is this life, and realization is this life, and this life is revealed right here and now.”- Maezumi Roshi
“If you want to change the world, start with the next person who comes to you in need.”- B. D. Schiers
“My experience is that the teachers we need most are the people we’re living with right now.”- Byron Katie
“Wherever you are, be there totally.”- Eckhart Tolle
“I’m here to tell you that the path to peace is right there, when you want to get away.”- Pema Chödrön
“When you are present, you can allow the mind to be as it is without getting entangled in it.”- Eckhart Tolle
“Guilt, regret, resentment, sadness & all forms of nonforgiveness are caused by too much past & not enough presence.”- Eckhart Tolle
“Throughout this life, you can never be certain of living long enough to take another breath.”- Huang Po
“Awareness is the greatest agent for change.”- Eckhart Tolle
“When you do something, you should burn yourself up completely, like a good bonfire, leaving no trace of yourself.”- Shunryu Suzuki
“The art of living… is neither careless drifting on the one hand nor fearful clinging to the past on the other. It consists in being sensitive to each moment, in regarding it as utterly new and unique, in having the mind open and wholly receptive.”- Alan Watts
“The intuitive recognition of the instant, thus reality… is the highest act of wisdom.”- D.T. Suzuki
“Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves – slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future.”- Thich Nhat Hanh
“And when they played they really played. And when they worked they really worked.”- Dr. Seuss
“Heaven and earth and I are of the same root,
The ten-thousand things and I are of one substance.”- Seng-chao
“It really boils down to this: that all life is interrelated. We are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”- Martin Luther King, Jr.
“Preparing food is not just about yourself and others. It is about everything!”- Shunryu Suzuki
“Things derive their being and nature by mutual dependence and are nothing in themselves”- Nagarjuna
“Nothing ever exists entirely alone. Everything is in relation to everything else.”- Buddha
“We are here to awaken from our illusion of separateness.”- Thích Nhat Hanh
“Heaven & earth & I are of the same root. Ten thousand things & I are of one substance.”- Sêng-chao
If we don’t occupy ourself with everything, then peaceful mind will have nowhere to abide.”- Shen-hui
“Flow with whatever may happen and let your mind be free: Stay centered by accepting whatever you are doing. This is the ultimate.”- Chuang
“The Buddha talked about saving all beings from delusion, not converting them to a new religion.”- Buddhism Now
“Let your mind wander in the pure and simple. Be one with the infinite. Let all things take their course.”- Chuang Tzu
“Let go over a cliff, die completely, and then come back to life — after that you cannot be deceived.”- Zen Proverb
“People sleep, and when they die they wake.”- Muhammad
“Today, you can decide to walk in freedom. You can choose to walk differently. You can walk as a free person, enjoying every step.”- Thich Nhat Hanh
“When an ordinary man attains knowledge, he is a sage; when a sage attains understanding, he is an ordinary man.”- Zen Proverb
“The personal life deeply lived always expands into truths beyond itself.”- Anais Nin
“Each step along the Buddha’s path to happiness requires practising mindfulness until it becomes part of your daily life.”- Henepola Gunaratana
“Power over others is weakness disguised as strength. True power is within & available to you now.”- Eckhart Tolle
“Body and mind dropped off.”- Dogen describing enlightenment
“Self-realization is effortless. What you are trying to find is what you already are.”- Ramesh Balsekar
“When the mind is perfectly clear, what is is what we want.”- Byron Katie
“The way out of life & death is not some special technique; essential thing is to penetrate to the root of life & death.”- Bukko
“The aim of spiritual life is to awaken a joyful freedom, a benevolent and compassionate heart in spite of everything.”- Jack Kornfield
“People usually consider walking on water or in thin air a miracle. But I think the real miracle is not to walk either on water or in thin air, but to walk on earth. Every day we are engaged in a miracle which we don’t even recognize: a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black, curious eyes of a child — our own two eyes. All is a miracle.”- Thích Nhat Hanh
“Not thinking about anything is Zen. Once you know this, walking, sitting, or lying down, everything you do is Zen.”- Bodhidharma
“It’s not about approving or liking, but just being able to allow the world to be the way it is without resenting, hating, or judging it.”- Buddhism Now
“Only when you can be extremely pliable and soft can you be extremely hard and strong.”- Zen Proverb
“It all depends on you. You can go on sleeping forever, you can wake up right this moment.”- Osho
“To understand everything is to forgive everything”- Gautama Siddhartha
“Any enlightenment which requires to be authenticated, certified, recognized, congratulated, is false, or at least incomplete.”- R.H. Blyth
“To follow the path, look to the master, follow the master, walk with the master, see through the master, become the master.”- Zen Proverb
“Learning Zen is a phenomenon of gold & dung. Before you learn it, it’s like gold; after you learn it, it’s like dung.”- Zen Proverb
“You are a function of what the whole universe is doing in the same way that a wave is a function of what the whole ocean is doing.”- Alan Watts
“At the still-point in the center of the circle one can see the infinite in all things.”- Chuang Tzu
“No snowflake ever falls in the wrong place.”- Zen Proverb
“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing there is a field. I’ll meet you there.”- Rumi
“Why is the tao so valuable? Because it is everywhere, and everyone can use it. This is why those who seek will find.”- Lao Tzu
“Do not seek the truth, only cease to cherish your opinions.”- Seng-ts’an
“Any experience of reality is indescribable!”- R. D. Laing
“No thought, no reflection, no analysis, no cultivation, no intention; let it settle itself.”- Tilopa
“You’re never given more pain than you can handle. You never, ever get more than you can take.”- Byron Katie
“In the scenery of spring, nothing is better, nothing worse; the flowering branches are; some long, some short.”- Eicho
“There is no mistake in nature.”- Byron Katie
“Still water has no mind to receive the image of the migrating geese.”- Zen Proverb
“All the things that truly matter, beauty, love, creativity, joy and inner peace arise from beyond the mind.”- Eckhart Tolle
“As a bee gathering nectar does not harm or disturb the color & fragrance of the flower; so do the wise move through the world.”- Buddha
“Zazen is an activity that is an extension of the universe. Zazen is not the life of an individual, it’s the universe that’s breathing.”- Dogen
“The whole moon and the entire sky are reflected in one dewdrop on the grass.”- Dogen
“Tao in the world is like a river flowing home to the sea.”- Lao Tzu
“Try to imagine what it will be like to go to sleep and never wake up… now try to imagine what it was like to wake up having never gone to sleep.”- Alan Watts
“You are an aperture through which the universe is looking at and exploring itself.”- Alan Watts
“Things are as they are. Looking out into the universe at night, we make no comparisons between right and wrong stars, nor between well and badly arranged constellations.”- Alan Watts
“Through our eyes, the universe is perceiving itself. Through our ears, the universe is listening to its harmonies. We are the witnesses through which the universe becomes conscious of its glory, of its magnificence.”- Alan Watts
“Who would then deny that when I am sipping tea in my tearoom I am swallowing the whole universe with it and that this very moment of my lifting the bowl to my lips is eternity itself transcending time and space?”- D.T. Suzuki
“One must be deeply aware of the impermanence of the world.”- Dogen
“The practice of Zen is forgetting the self in the act of uniting with something.”- Koun Yamada
“The self divides into ten billion distinct illuminating spirits. Distinguish these without falling into names and classifications.”– Hongzhi1
“To study Buddhism is to study the self. To study the self is to forget the self. To forget the self is to be awakened by all things.”- Dogen
“Melting our attachment to self is the most powerful medication for bringing mental and emotional imbalances in check.”- Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche
“I don’t let go of concepts – I meet them with understanding. Then they let go of me.”- Byron Katie
“The Zen expression “Kill the Buddha!” means to kill any concept of the Buddha as something apart from oneself. – Peter Matthiessen
“When you hear that all beings are Buddha, don’t fall into the error of thinking there’s more than one Buddha.”- Zen Graffiti
“Have good trust in yourself … not in the One that you think you should be, but in the One that you are.”- Maezumi Roshi
“Zen has no business with ideas.”- D.T. Suzuki
“What is important is not the right doctrine but the attainment of the true experience. It is giving up believing in belief.”- Alan Keightley
“The menu is not the meal.”- Alan Watts
“Trying to define yourself is like trying to bite your own teeth.”- Alan Watts
“My finger can point to the moon, but my finger is not the moon. You don’t have to become my finger, nor do you have to worship my finger. You have to forget my finger, and look at where it is pointing.”- Osho
“To accept some idea of truth without experiencing it is like a painting of a cake on paper which you cannot eat.”- Suzuki Roshi
“If you are unable to find the truth right where you are, where else do you expect to find it?”- Dogen
“The meaning of life is just to be alive. It is so plain and so obvious and so simple. And yet, everybody rushes around in a great panic as if it were necessary to achieve something beyond themselves.”- Alan Watts
“Life isn’t as serious as the mind makes it out to be.”- Eckhart Tolle
“Man suffers only because he takes seriously what the gods made for fun.”- Alan Watts
“Muddy water is best cleared by leaving it alone.”- Alan Watts
“The greatest effort is not concerned with results.”- Atisha
“When I feel like dancing, I dance. I don’t care if anyone else is dancing or if everyone else is laughing at me. I dance.”- Rachel Danson
“Every being is in search of truth, but small fears go on preventing you.”- Osho
“All true artists, whether they know it or not, create from a place of no-mind, from inner stillness.”- Eckhart Tolle
“I have lived with several Zen masters — all of them cats.”- Eckhart Tolle
“The search for happiness is one of the chief sources of unhappiness.”- Eric Hoffer
“The resistance to the unpleasant situation is the root of suffering.”- Ram Dass
“For things to reveal themselves to us, we need to be ready to abandon our views about them.”- Thích Nhat Hanh
“A follower of the way has neither form nor shape, neither root nor trunk; nor dwelling place; like a fish leaping in the water.”- Rinzai Zen proverb
“I cannot tell you any spiritual truth that you don’t know already. All I can do is remind you of what you have forgotten.”- Eckhart Tolle
The next time you need a reminder, pull out this powerful list of quotes about choice. They won’t disappoint.
- “Be miserable. Or motivate yourself. Whatever has to be done, it’s always your choice.” ~ Dr. Wayne W. Dyer
- “There are two primary choices in life: to accept conditions as they exist, or accept the responsibility for changing them.” ~ Denis Waitley
- “Destiny is not a matter of chance; it is a matter of choice. It is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved.” ~ William Jennings Bryan
- “When you make a choice, you change the future.” ~ Deepak Chopra
- “What people have the capacity to choose, they have the ability to change.” ~ Madeleine Albright
- “Nothing in life, including our circumstances or potential, is fixed. Reality is bendable to our will.” ~ Brendon Burchard, The Motivation Manifesto
- “Choices may be unbelievably hard but they’re never impossible. To say you have no choice is to release yourself from responsibility and that’s not how a person with integrity acts.” ~ Patrick Ness, Monsters of Men
- “The spirit of a man is constructed out of his choices.” ~ Irvin D. Yalom, When Nietzsche Wept
- “If you limit your choice only to what seems possible or reasonable, you disconnect yourself from what you truly want, and all that is left is a compromise.” ~ Robert Fritz, The Path of Least Resistance
- “There are two paths of which one may choose in the walk of life; one we are born with, and the one we consciously blaze. One is naturally true, while the other is a perceptive illusion. Choose wisely at each fork in the road.” ~ T.F. Hodge, From Within I Rise: Spiritual Triumph Over Death and Conscious Encounters with “The Divine Presence”
Here are 9 lessons I learned while studying with a monk:
The most important life lesson I learned was trying something three times (maybe even four times) before you stop trying and move on. Also, this monk taught me that, even after multiple tries, you should work on different angles to approach things that are difficult.
If you keep trying, you’ll eventually get where you’re going.
As part of the original monastery training, a monk didn’t answer direct questions from a student unless it was a well thought-out question. A Chinese proverb says, “Teachers open the door, but you must enter by yourself.”
Some forms of Zen Buddhism use a very similar style of training. An old saying (by Taoist monks) goes like this: “In making a four corner table, the teacher shows the student how to make one corner. It’s the student’s job to figure out how to make the other three.”
They did this because they were preparing a student to deal effectively with problems in the real world.
I traveled to South Korea one time, and I found it fascinating how much you have to rely on your intuition when you don’t speak the native language of a country. I remember one instance, I had trouble explaining to the cab driver where my hotel was, and he didn’t speak English. So I had to get out of the cab and ask several people until I could find someone to tell the cab driver in Korean how to get to my hotel.
In life, whenever we try new things, we have to go into new places with only a small amount of information. The real world doesn’t give us all the answers. The greatest teacher is inside of us.
Prior to starting meditation, I used to get upset when I’d try something and fail.
I’ve been in sales since I was sixteen. I remember going to work and getting so angry with myself because I didn’t get a sale. If I ever got rejected, I’d get upset with myself, and I’d want to quit my job. But I just keep failing over and over—until I became good at it.
I remember, when I first started doing meditation, I ran into several problems. For example, at first it was difficult to calm down; but if you stick with it, its gets easier and easier. I tried for only a few minutes, and then every day, I added more time onto my meditation.
When we struggle, we learn about ourselves and what we need to do to become stronger.
Everything in the ego’s world is the result of comparing. I compared myself to other salesmen and would blame myself because I wasn’t making as much money as them.
When I started doing meditation, I began to build separation from this egoistical mind, which is consistently making these comparisons. A lot of us try something and get rejected, so we give up. Even worse, we blame ourselves for a long time and get depressed. When I started to do meditation, I began to identify my ego and was able to build separation from it.
That’s what happens when we meditate: We separate from the part of ourselves that dwells on comparisons, and start learning to live a life that isn’t driven by our egos.
The monk wouldn’t meet with me to train unless I called him a minimum of three times. I hated this part. I used to call and call and he would never answer. But this is how life is. How many times do you have to call or email someone to get something done in the real world? It’s usually several times.
Most of us blame ourselves when we try once to do something and fail. At the time, I hated this part of the training, but now I think it was the most important life lesson.
There’s a Taoist proverb that says, “Cotton on the outside, steel on the inside.”
It reminds us to be compassionate, but not weak.
The monk always made me wait—and I dreaded this.
For example, when I got to his house to train, he’d make me wait for a minimum of a half-hour, sometimes longer. We’d go out to dinner on Friday nights and he’d show up at the restaurant an hour late.
He’d tell me to meet him at a particular restaurant at 7:00. I’d get there and find out that he wasn’t there. So I’d usually be sitting in the restaurant by myself fumbling with my phone, acting like I was texting someone, while worrying about what everyone at the restaurant was thinking about me.
Keep in mind, it’s not like I could call him; I don’t think the guy ever turned his cell phone on. Then he’d show up at about 8:15 and act like nothing happened.
His first question was always, “How’s your mother and father?” (Of course in my head I’m thinking, “What do you mean, ‘How’s my mother and father?’ I just waited here for an hour and fifteen minutes.”)
But after a few years of this, it never bothered me; and not only that, it spread to every area of my life. Because of this training, I can honestly say that I very rarely get upset about anything. I never get agitated anymore when I have to wait in a long line or when someone cuts me off on the highway.
Patience is the gift of inner calm.
At first, it’s hard to sit at a restaurant by yourself. You’re constantly worrying, thinking that people probably think you’re a loser because you’re sitting by yourself. But the reality is, you will never be happy if you care about what people think you!
Prior to starting meditation, I’d get upset over just about anything. Now, nothing really bothers me. Recently, I was in the airport and there was a several hour delay on my flight. I just used that time to do meditation. Ten years ago, I would have become extremely upset. An airplane delay would have ruined my day.
When you let go of your ego needs, it’s easier to accept and even benefit from whatever comes at you.
It’s the enemy within that causes all of our fears, worries, and insecurities. If you come to terms with this enemy within, it will impact every area of your life. It’s the identification with the “self/ego” that causes all of life’s problems.
How many times do we not go for something because of fear? Think about all the fears that we have conjured up in our minds that stop us from being truly happy. If you can conquer the enemy within yourself, you won’t have an enemy outside yourself.
I learned this from observing the Buddhist Physician I met. He used to do meditation in his office before he would interact with his patients. He was one of the happiest and most compassionate people I’ve ever met.
By creating happiness inside, he was able to increase that emotional state by spreading it to others.
We must cultivate happiness from within, and work to spread it around to everyone we interact with. The monk used say, “Everyone has a purpose or a mission in life.”
We have to find happiness within, and also find our purpose on the outside.
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Source: “9 Powerful Life Lessons Learned from Studying With a Monk,” from tinybuddha.com, by Robert Piper
Photo credit: h.koppdelaney
Below you will find 20 important life lessons from that Dalai Lama:
- Take into account that great love and great achievements involve great risk.
- When you lose, don’t lose the lesson.
- Follow the three R’s:
– Respect for self,
– Respect for others and
– Responsibility for all your actions.
- Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck.
- Learn the rules so you know how to break them properly.
- Don’t let a little dispute injure a great relationship.
- When you realize you’ve made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it.
- Spend some time alone every day.
- Open your arms to change, but don’t let go of your values.
- Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.
- Live a good, honorable life. Then when you get older and
think back, you’ll be able to enjoy it a second time.
- A loving atmosphere in your home is the foundation for your life.
- In disagreements with loved ones, deal only with the current situation. Don’t bring up the past.
- Share your knowledge. It is a way to achieve immortality.
- Be gentle with the earth.
- Once a year, go someplace you’ve never been before.
- Remember that the best relationship is one in which your love for each other exceeds your need for each other.
- Judge your success by what you had to give up in order to get it.
- If you want others to be happy, practice compassion.
- If you want to be happy, practice compassion.
These 28 carefully selected words of wisdom truly are some of the most powerful and wisest quotes ever written.
Here they are…
1. “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” – Albert Einstein
2. “Before you diagnose yourself with depression or low self-esteem, first make sure that you are not, in fact, just surrounded by assholes.” – Sigmund Freud
3. “In seeking happiness for others, you will find it in yourself.” – Unknown
4. “Love is a verb. Love – the feeling – is a fruit of love, the verb.” – Stephen Covey
5. “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” – Viktor Frankl
6. “He who fears he will suffer, already suffers because he fears.” – Michel De Montaigne
7. “Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.” – Winston Churchill
8. “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” – Gandhi
9. “When one door of happiness closes, another opens, but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one that has been opened for us.” – Helen Keller
10. “Challenges is what makes life interesting and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.” – Joshua J. Marine
11. “If you want happiness for an hour – take a nap. If you want happiness for a day – go fishing. If you want happiness for a year – inherit a fortune. If you want happiness for a life time – help someone else.” – Chinese proverb
12. “Life is never made unbearable by circumstances, but only by lack of meaning and purpose.” – Viktor Frankl
13. “A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes
14. “Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.” – Confucius
15. “Many people are passionate, but because of their limiting beliefs about who they are and what they can do, they never take actions that could make their dream a reality” – Anthony Robins
16. “True success is overcoming the fear of being unsuccessful.” – Paul Sweeney
17. “The only way that we can live is if we grow. The only way we can grow is if we change. The only way we can change is if we learn. The only way we can learn is if we are exposed. And the only way that we are exposed is if we throw ourselves into the open.” – C. Joybell
18. “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change the way you think about it.” – Mary Engelbreit
19. “A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.” – George Bernhard Shaw
20. “Time is too slow for those who wait, too swift for those who fear, too long for those who grieve, too short for those who rejoice, but for those who love, time is eternity.” – Henry van Dyke
21. “I would rather die a meaningful death than to live a meaningless life.” – Corazon Aquino
22. “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” – Reinhold Niebuhr
23. “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” – Stephen Covey
24. “We think sometimes that poverty is only being hungry, naked and homeless. The poverty of being unwanted, unloved and uncared for is the greatest poverty. We must start in our own homes to remedy this kind of poverty.” – Mother Theresa
25. “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift of God, which is why we call it the present.” – Bil Keane
26. “Falling in love is not a choice. To stay in love is.” – Unknown
27. “The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.” – Elisabeth Kübler-Ross
28. “The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.” – Albert Einstein