I am the architect of my own self, my own character and destiny. It is no use whingeing about what I might have been, I am the things I have done and nothing more.
Together let us eat
Ears of wheat,
Sharing at night
A grass pillow.
Vincent van Gogh
What am I in most people’s eyes? A nonentity, or an eccentric and disagreeable man — somebody who has no position in society and never will have, in short, the lowest of the low. Very well, even if this were true, then I should want my work to show what is in the heart of such an eccentric, of such a nobody.
Jean Paul Sartre
C’est rare, un chat qui vous regarde dans le yeux.
Beauty and art pervade all the business of life like a kindly genius, brightly adorning our surroundings whether interior or exterior, mitigating the seriousness of existence and the complexities of the real life, extinguishing idleness in an entertaining fashion, and, where there is nothing good to be achieved, filling the place of vice better than vice itself.
The Master said, ‘I set my heart on the Way, base myself on virtue, lean upon benevolence for support and take my recreation in the arts.’
There was never any more inception than there is now,
Nor any more youth or age than there is now;
And will never be any more perfection than there is now,
Nor any more heaven or hell than there is now.
David Foster Wallace
Do not underestimate objects.
Veil’d from sight today
In misty showers:
Still, Mt. Fuji!
Only meditation seems to generate input worth tapping. Hypnosis, drugs, camera, all appear to be skeleton keys to the locked rooms of my house I have never entered. Skeleton keys that open dead rooms. When I make a key for these doors by being still with my Self, the room, opened, is full of flowers, furniture, friends.
Nothing ever is. Everything is becoming.
By all means break the rules, and break them beautifully, deliberately, and well.
Inspiration is for amateurs. I just get to work.
The wise boldly pick up a truth as soon as they hear it. Don’t wait for a moment, or you’ll lose your head.
When you are deluded and full of doubt, even a thousand books of scripture are still not enough. When you have realized understanding, even one word is too much.
If there is any talk of beginning and end, it is all self-deception.
Nothing happens to any man which he is not formed by nature to bear.
What I point out to you is only that you shouldn’t allow yourselves to be confused by others. Act when you need to, without further hesitation or doubt. People today can’t do this—what is their affliction? Their affliction is in their lack of self-confidence. If you do not spontaneously trust yourself sufficiently, you will be in a frantic state, pursuing all sorts of objects and being changed by those objects, unable to be independent.
Have the wisdom to know what cannot be changed, and the strength to change what can.
Methinks we have hugely mistaken this matter of Life and Death. Methinks that what they call my shadow here on earth is my true substance. Methinks that in looking at things spiritual, we are too much like oysters observing the sun through the water, and thinking that thick water the thinnest of air. Methinks my body is but the lees of my better being. In fact take my body who will, take it I say, it is not me.
All goes onward and outward . . . . and nothing collapses,
And to die is different from what any one supposed, and luckier.
One to one, one from One, one in One and the One in one, eternally.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
I remember an answer which when quite young I was prompted to make a valued adviser who was wont to importune me with the dear old doctrines of the church. On my saying, What have I to do with the sacredness of traditions, if I live wholly from within? my friend suggested, — “But these impulses may be from below, not from above.” I replied, ‘They do not seem to me to be such; but if I am the devil’s child, I will live then from the devil.’
And now it seems to me the beautiful uncut hair of graves.
Henry David Thoreau
Look at [the farmers’] fields, and imagine what they might write, if ever they should put pen to paper. Or what they have not written on the face of the earth already, clearing, and burning, and subsoiling, in and in, and out and out, and over and over, again and again, erasing what they had already written for want of parchment.
R. H. Blyth
The whole is the whole, but the half is infinite. For this reason Lessing said that if there were held out to him in one hand truth, and in the other the love of truth, and he might choose freely between the two, he would prefer the latter to the former.
I think one has to understand, not as a theory, not as a speculative, entertaining concept, but rather as an actual fact — that we are the world and the world is us. The world is each one of us; to feel that, to be really committed to it and to nothing else, brings about a feeling of great responsibility and an action that must not be fragmentary, but whole.
Draw bamboos for ten years, become a bamboo, then forget all about bamboos when you are drawing.
Life is best thought of as service
No worthy problem is ever solved within the plane of its original conception.
Instead of shooting arrows at someone else's target, which I've never been very good at, I make my own target around wherever my arrow happens to have landed. you shoot your arrow and then you paint your bulls eye around it, and therefore you have hit the target dead centre.
No thought, no reflection, no analysis, no cultivation, no intention; let it settle itself.
Real religion is the transformation of anxiety into laughter.
And we should forget, day by day, what we have done; this is true non-attachment. And we should do something new. To do something new, of course we must know our past, and this is alright. But we should not keep holding onto anything we have done; we should only reflect on it. And we must have some idea of what we should do in the future. But the future is the future, the past is the past; now we should work on something new.
One should be an enigma not just to others but to oneself too. I study myself. When I’m tired of that I light a cigar to pass the time, and think: God only knows what the good Lord really meant with me, or what He meant to make of me.
My formula for greatness in a human being is amor fati: that one wants nothing to be other than it is, not in the future, not in the past, not in all eternity. Not merely to endure that which happens of necessity, still less to dissemble it — all idealism is untruthfulness in the face of necessity — but to love it . . .
If [the truth] is already manifest, what’s the use of meditation? And if it is hidden, one is just measuring darkness.
We are always in the position of beginning again.
A living man who sits and does not lie down; A dead man who lies down and does not sit! After all these are just dirty skeletons.
And the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.
Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.
Henry David Thoreau
It is something to be able to paint a particular picture, or to carve a statue, and so to make a few objects beautiful; but it is far more glorious to carve and paint the very atmosphere and medium through which we look, which morally we can do. To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts. Every man is tasked to make his life, even in its details, worthy of contemplation of his most elevated and critical hour.
Birds fly away on seeing men of foreboding countenance, and gather after flying beyond the range of arrows. So it is with Master Yuan.
Are you distracted by outward cares? Then allow yourself a space of quiet, wherein you can add to your knowledge of the Good and learn to curb your restlessness. Guard also against another kind of error: the folly of those who weary their days in much business, but lack any aim on which their whole effort, nay, their whole thought, is focused.
When hungry, eat; when tired, sleep.
Language, be it remember’d, is not an abstract construction of the learn’d, or of dictionary-makers, but is something arising out of the work, needs, ties, joys, affections, tastes, of long generations of humanity, and has its bases broad and low, close to the ground.
You never enjoy the world aright, till the Sea itself floweth in your veins, till you are clothed with the heavens, and crowned with the stars: and perceive yourself to be the sole heir of the whole world, and more than so, because men are in it who are every one sole heirs as well as you.
The notion of the ‘one’ breeds foreigness and that of the ‘many’ intimacy.
The great body of the leader has the community for its house: distinctions are made appropriately, disbursal is suited to the vessel, action is concerned with the principles of peace and well-being, gain and loss are related to the source of the teaching. How could it be easy to be a model for the people?