Grace is the key to happiness. When bad things happen, if we have confidence in grace, then we can remain grounded in that and not be overwhelmed by the soap opera of life. And grace is a circular blessing. The more grace enters your life, the more grateful you are. The more grateful you are, the more easily grace seems to enter.
- Dharmavidya David Brazier, “Let Grace In”
Every moment of experience is contingent on a vast complex of myriad conditions. Nothing exists in and of itself as ‘this’ or ‘that,’ ‘self’ or ‘other.’ Everything is what it is only in relation to what it is not. To recognize this emptiness is not to negate things but to glimpse what enables anything to happen at all.
- Stephen Batchelor, “Nagarjuna’s Verses from the Center”
The problem with listening, of course, is that we don’t. There’s too much noise going on in our heads, so we never hear anything. The inner conversation simply never stops. It can be our voice or whatever voices we want to supply, but it’s a constant racket. In the same way we don’t see, and in the same way we don’t feel, we don’t touch, we don’t taste.
- Philip Glass, “Listening to Philip Glass”
Fortunately, getting a sense of humor doesn’t come with a price tag. It simply requires understanding that everything we experience is universal; all the humiliations and hijinks are a part of life; each and every one of us gets to slip on the banana peel. So pick yourself up, brush yourself off, and laugh about it, for crying out loud.
- Josh Korda, “Now What?”
The trick to not thinking is not adding energy to the equation in an effort to forcibly stop thinking from happening. It’s more a matter of subtracting energy from the equation in order not to barf the thoughts up and start chewing them over again.
- Brad Warner, “Think Not Thinking”
Of all the words we use to disguise the hollowness of the human condition, none is more influential than ‘myself.’ It consists of a collage of still images—name, gender, nationality, profession, enthusiasms, relationships—that are renovated from time to time, but otherwise are each a relic from one particular experience or another. The defining teaching of the Buddhist tradition, that of non-self, is merely pointing out the limitations of this reflexive view we hold of ourselves. It’s not that the self does not exist, but that it is as cobbled-together and transient as everything else.
- Andrew Olendzki, “Self as Verb”
Unfortunately, we can easily confuse nonattachment with avoidance of attachment. Avoidance of attachment, however, is not freedom from attachment. It’s another form of clinging—clinging to the denial of your human attachment needs, out of distrust that love is reliable.
- John Welwood, “Human Nature, Buddha Nature”
Gratitude, the simple and profound feeling of being thankful, is the foundation of all generosity. I am generous when I believe that right now, right here, in this form and this place, I am myself being given what I need. Generosity requires that we relinquish something, and this is impossible if we are not glad for what we have. Otherwise the giving hand closes into a fist and won’t let go.
- Sallie Jiko Tisdale, “As If There is Nothing to Lose”
The body breaks, things change, life ends. Only when impermanence is fully apprehended do we really have the chance to serve, to give without bargaining.
- Bonnie Myotai Treace, Sensei, “The Sword Disappears in the Water”
When you give in to aversion and anger, it’s as though, having decided to kill someone by throwing him into a river, you wrap your arms around his neck, jump into the water with him, and you both drown. In destroying your enemy, you destroy yourself as well.
- Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche, “Putting Down the Arrow”