Chan Master Sheng Yen

‘We practice to lessen vexation and gradually illuminate the mind. But the road to that end, where the environment no longer gives rise to vexation, is marked with obstacles. When you scale a mountain, there is rarely a straight path to the top. More likely, you will encounter twists and turns, rises and dips, objects […]


‘A monk asked Caoshan, “How can one be in charge all the time?” Caoshan said, “Like passing through a village with poisoned well – don’t touch even a drop of water.”‘ (quoted in The Book of Serenity) This is an intriguing little exchange, which I don’t remember hearing before. My first thought was, ‘why would you […]

Sharon Salzberg

‘In reality,  love is fluid; it’s a verb, not a noun. Love is a living capacity within us that is always present, even when we don’t sense it. And there are many kinds of love. Sanskrit has different words to describe love for a brother or sister, love for a teacher, love for a partner, […]


If a clear mind comes, I let it be clear. If a deluded mind comes, I let it be deluded. If the wind comes from all directions, four or eight directions, I let it be as a whirlwind. And if space comes I will strike it again and again.

Kosho Uchiyama

‘In my late twenties, when I read [Dogen’s] Jishozanmai, I decided to leave home and become a monk. I understood that if I lived based only on my thinking, my life would continue to be childish and unenlightened. Since ancient times there have been people who sought the self in its true sense. Unless I […]


‘It is kind speech to speak to sentient beings as you would to a baby…. If kind speech is offered, little by little, kind speech expands… Know that kind speech arises from kind heart, and kind heart from the seeds of compassionate heart. Ponder the fact that kind speech is not just praising the merit […]

Nyogen Senzaki

‘This mind is Buddha and no other, but one who clings to words and postulates an idea of it is far away from the Path. If you meditate on emptiness, you can never empty your mind. If you aim to enter samadhi, you will never reach it.’ (Eloquent Silence) I always find reading Senzaki is like […]