Meditation Quotes

“A quiet mind is all you need. All else will happen rightly, once your mind is quiet. As the sun on rising makes the world active, so does self-awareness affect changes in the mind. In the light of calm and steady self-awareness, inner energies wake up and work miracles without any effort on your part.”

— Nisargadatta Maharaj

“We could say that meditation doesn’t have a reason or doesn’t have a purpose. In this respect it’s unlike almost all other things we do except perhaps making music and dancing. When we make music we don’t do it in order to reach a certain point, such as the end of the composition. If that were the purpose of music then obviously the fastest players would be the best. Also, when we are dancing we are not aiming to arrive at a particular place on the floor as in a journey. When we dance, the journey itself is the point, as when we play music the playing itself is the point. And exactly the same thing is true in meditation. Meditation is the discovery that the point of life is always arrived at in the immediate moment.”

— Alan Watts

“Whatever forms of meditation you practice, the most important point is to apply mindfulness continuously, and make a sustained effort. It is unrealistic to expect results from meditation within a short period of time. What is required is continuous sustained effort.”

— His Holiness XIVth Dalai Lama

“The affairs of the world will go on forever. Do not delay the practice of meditation.”

— Milarepa

“Meditation is not to escape from society, but to come back to ourselves and see what is going on. Once there is seeing, there must be acting. With mindfulness, we know what to do and what not to do to help.”

— Thich Nhat Hanh

“Non-doing has nothing to do with being indolent or passive. Quite the contrary. It takes great courage and energy to cultivate non-doing, both in stillness and in activity. Nor is it easy to make a special time for non-doing and to keep at it in the face of everything in our lives which needs to be done.”

— Jon Kabat-Zinn

“Feelings like disappointment, embarrassment, irritation, resentment, anger, jealousy, and fear, instead of being bad news, are actually very clear moments that teach us where it is that we’re holding back. They teach us to perk up and lean in when we feel we’d rather collapse and back away. They’re like messengers that show us, with terrifying clarity, exactly where we’re stuck. This very moment is the perfect teacher, and, lucky for us, it’s with us wherever we are.”

— Pema Chödrön

“When you open yourself to the continually changing, impermanent, dynamic nature of your own being and of reality, you increase your capacity to love and care about other people and your capacity to not be afraid. You’re able to keep your eyes open, your heart open, and your mind open. And you notice when you get caught up in prejudice, bias, and aggression. You develop an enthusiasm for no longer watering those negative seeds, from now until the day you die. And, you begin to think of your life as offering endless opportunities to start to do things differently.”

— Pema Chödrön

“The more we witness our emotional reactions and understand how they work, the easier it is to refrain.”

— Pema Chödrön

“Do everything with a mind that lets go. Do not expect any praise or reward. If you let go a little, you will have a little peace. If you let go a lot, you will have a lot of peace. If you let go completely, you will know complete peace and freedom. Your struggles with the world will have come to an end.”

— Ajahn Chah

“When we let our mind relax, a moment will come when we rest without thoughts. This stable state is like an ocean without waves. Within this stability a thought arises. This thought is like a wave which forms on the surface of the ocean. When we leave this thought alone, do nothing with it, not “seizing” it, it subsides by itself into the mind where it came from.”

— Bokar Rinpoche

“As long as we are on earth, the love that unites us will bring us suffering by our very contact with one another, because this love is the resetting of a body of broken bones. Even saints cannot live with saints on this earth without some anguish. There are two things which men can do about the pain of disunion with other men. They can love or they can hate.”

— Thomas Merton ‘New Seeds of Centemplation’

“When we separate experience into two fields which actually constitute experience by virtue of their inseparability, we lose our ‘Knowing’ and end up ‘knowing about’.  Ultimately there can be no division between perception and the phenomena perceived.  As soon as we divide experience into perception and field of perception we separate ourselves from experience.  This is what is known as ‘ego’.”

— Ngakpa Chögyam ‘Rainbow of Liberated Energy’

“The kind of sense our world makes is immediate and spontaneously apparent.  We can embrace it, we can be embraced by it, we can dance, but only if we let go of our obsessional pre-ordained system of understanding.  Our world is not static.  There are no rules that can always be applied.  Each situation is fresh and new.”

— Ngakpa Chögyam ‘Rainbow of Liberated Energy’

“The mind wants to land, to fixate, to hold a concept, but the only way you can be really free is by not fixating.  That’s part of true maturity, and it’s one of the hardest things for spiritual people who have had true and powerful revelations to go through – to accept the degree of surrender needed to literally let go of all experience and all self-reference.  Even in great revelations, there is almost always something that wants to claim, “I am this.”  Every time you claim, “I am this”, you just claimed another sense perception, thought, emotion, or feeling.”

— Adyashanti

“The true test of Awakening is not whether you can be a great meditator in the forest, but whether you can bring the energy and wisdom mind of enlightenment into the ordinary world.”

— Catherine Jetsun Yeshe

“When you are practicing zazen [meditation], do not try to stop your thinking.  Let it stop by itself.  If something comes into your mind, let it come in, and let it go out.  It will not stay long.  When you try to stop your thinking, it means you are bothered by it.  Do not be bothered by anything.  It appears as if something comes from outside your mind, but actually it is only the waves of your mind, and if you are not bothered by the waves, gradually they will become calmer and calmer.  In five or at most ten minutes, your mind will be completely serene and calm.  At that time your breathing will become quite slow, while your breathing will become a little faster.”

— Shunryu Suzuki Roshi ‘Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind’

“True love has nothing to do with liking someone, agreeing with him or her or being compatible.  It is a love of unity, a love of seeing God wearing all the masks, and recognising itself in them all.  With this love you can feel the walls of opposition come down naturally in the acknowledgement of deep connection.  Not only do the walls of opposition fall, but love is felt for every human being and for life itself.”

— Adyashanti

“We meditate alone but live our lives with other people; a gap is inevitable.  If our path is to lead to less suffering, nd much of our suffering is with other people, then perhaps we need to reexamine our sole commitment to these individual practices…  As our individual pracitce deepens, it may yiled true ease.  But whether we practice meditation in seclusion or independently alongside other meditators at a meditation group or retreat, individual meditation approaches the confusion and pain of our relational lives only indirectly.”

— Gregory Kramer ‘Insight Dialogue’

“Knowing is a veneer out minds create and lay over the landscape like a painter’s drop cloth set upon a forest floor.  Its uniformity protects us from the pine needles and beetles, but it also obscures them, as well as the soft moss, fragrant soil, and the teeming complexity of nature’s bed.  In moments, however, we catch glints and feel the breezes of something more direct, something outside that self system.”

— Gregory Kramer ‘Insight Dialogue’

“To meditate is to be aware of what is going on – in our bodies, our feelings our minds, and in the world. When we settle into the present moment, we can see the beauties and wonders before our eyes.”

— Thich Nhat Hanh

“Let no one hope to find in contemplation an escape from conflict, from anguish or from doubt. On the contrary, the deep inexpressible certitude of the contemplative experience awakens a tragic anguish and opens many questions in the depths of the heart like wounds that cannot stop bleeding.”

— Thomas Merton ‘New Seeds of Centemplation’

“The purpose of practice is meeting what we experience, not controlling it. And we can say that the aim of Buddhist practice is to develop the capacity to experience whatever arises, internally or externally. One may think, “Oh that doesn’t sound like much.” But actually it’s huge. Because if you can actually experience whatever arises, you never have to react to a situation. That’s huge.”

–Ken McLeod, Buddhist teacher and writer

“Most people confuse the “now” with what is happening to them in the now. Actually what is happening to you now has nothing to do with the present moment itself. If you were to suddenly die the present moment would remain. The problem occurs when we attach in our minds with what is happening to “us” presently. This is simply a mental construct that we have created ourselves. It is much like a grievance, either real or imagined. If we attach to grievances we are constantly inflicting suffering on ourselves, not the other party.”

— Steve Weiss, calligrapher and haiku poet

“Opening and letting go is not difficult.  It is much more difficult to forever hold on and struggle.  In fact, letting go is the easiest thing in the world.  There is nothing at all to do in letting go.”

— Gendun Rinpoche

“There is no fundamental difference between thoughts and emotions; both are nothing other than movements of the mind.  Emotional entanglement is the result of ignorance: our mind does not recognise itself, and it becomes the victim of its attachment and allows itself to get swept away by emotions.”

— Gendun Rinpoche

“Watching impartially opens the mind to realize that there is no way that we can stop this flux even for a fraction of a second. We experience the freshness of life. Every moment is a new moment. Every breath is a fresh breath. Every tiny little thing is living and dying every fraction of a second. There is no way that we can see these momentary existences with our eyes. Only when the mind is sharp and clear, without the clouds of craving, hatred, and confusion can our mind be fully aware of this phenomenon. When we don’t try to cling to these experiences, we experience great joy, happiness, and peace. The moment we try to cling to any part of our experience—however pleasant or peaceful—joy, peace, and happiness disappear.”

— Henepola Gunaratana

Just sitting means just that. That ‘just’ endlessly goes against the grain of our need to fix, transform, and improve ourselves. The paradox of our practice is that the most effective way of transformation is to leave ourselves alone. The more we let everything be just what it is, the more we relax into an open, attentive awareness of one moment after another.

— Barry Magid

“What would happen if you were to allow everything to be exactly as it is? If you gave up the need for control, and instead embraced the whole of your experience in each moment that arose?”

— Adyashanti

“Silence and stillness are not states and therefore cannot be produced or created. Silence is the non-state in which all states arise and subside. Silence, stillness and awareness are not states and can never be perceived in their totality as objects. Silence is itself the eternal witness without form or attributes.  As you rest more profoundly as the witness, all objects take on their natural functionality, and awareness becomes free of the mind’s compulsive contractions and identifications. It returns to its natural non-state of Presence.”

— Adyashanti

“When we quit thinking primarily about ourselves and our own self-preservation, we undergo a truly heroic transformation of consciousness.”

— Joseph Campbell

“The process of practice is to see through, not eliminate, anything to which we are attached.  We could have great financial wealth and be unattached to it, or we might have nothing, or we might have nothing and be very attached to having nothing.  Usually, if we have seen through the nature of attachment, we will tend to have fewer possessions, but not necessarily.  Most practice gets caught in the area of fiddling with our environment or our minds.  ‘My mind should be quiet.’  Our mind doesn’t matter; what matters is non-attachment to the activities of the mind.”

— Charlotte Joko Beck ‘Everyday Zen’

“Sitting is the practice of the Reality of life; sitting is nonactivity. This is the true form of the Self; outside of this, there is nowhere to search for the buddhadharma.”

— Dogen, Shobogenzo Zuimonki

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