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9 Brutal Truths About Life That We All Need to Accept (According to Ancient Sanskrit)

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Ever heard of Sanskrit? It’s an ancient philosophy that transforms Hindu and Buddhist thought. It’s had a huge impact on many lives through Central and Southeast Asia, even to do this day.

It what’s been widely circulated online, the ancient philosophy had 9 rules of life to live by.

We’ve gone over them below. While they might be difficult to accept at first, they’ll benefit you a lot if you do.

1) You will receive a body

Every human has a body. It’s up to you how you use it.

2) You will learn lessons

Life is a constant learning experience. This cannot be denied. No matter how old you are, every day brings with it new opportunities to learn something and become wiser.

3) There are no mistakes, only lessons.

Wisdom comes from tying new things, even if you don’t succeed. There’s no need to judge ourselves harshly, as that doesn’t nothing but swirl us into a circle of negativity.

Instead, we should show compassion to ourselves and learn from any experience that doesn’t turn out the way we wanted.

4) A lesson is repeated until it is learned.

A problems that continues is a lesson that we haven’t learned yet. That’s the journey of life.

Life has a funny way of presenting problems to you so that you can grow. Your own awareness and ability to change are what’s crucial in these moments. To blame someone else for your misfortunes is not taking responsibility for yourself.

5) Learning lessons will never end.

While we are alive there will always be lessons to be learned. The key is to flow along with this rhythm of life, rather than rejecting it or fighting against it.

Be humble enough to accept your weaknesses and flexible enough to adapt when things don’t go your way.

6) Others are merely mirrors of you.

Whenever you judge someone negatively, you’re actually judging yourself. The only way to accept yourself is to accept others. Strive to truly understand yourself and your emotions, even when they’re negative. It’s the only way you’ll be able to understand others, as well.

7) What you make of your life is up to you.

You have to take responsibility for you life. You can’t blame others or outside circumstances. You, yourself, must walk the path.

8) The answers lie inside.

No matter what society tells you, happiness can only come from inside you. Outside objects are merely superficial. In order to find true inner peace, you need to trust yourself and accept yourself.

9) There’s always something we can succeed at.

We all have potential and every single person is unique. There’s no need to compare and there’s always something you can succeed at. The trick is not to give up.

This article was originally published on The Power of Ideas. 

25 Alan Watts Quotes That Will Blow Your Mind Wide Open

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Alan Watts was a British philosopher who spoke about Asian philosophies for a Western audience. He wrote over 25 books and was an excellent orator on topics such as the meaning of life, higher consciousness, the true nature of reality and the pursuit of happiness.

Below we look at some of his most potent quotes on various topics. At the bottom, I’ve also included one of my favorite YouTube videos of Alan Watts discussing “the real you”. Enjoy!

On Suffering

Man suffers only because he takes seriously what the gods made for fun.

Your body does not eliminate poisons by knowing their names. To try to control fear or depression or boredom by calling them names is to resort to superstition of trust in curses and invocations. It is so easy to see why this does not work. Obviously, we try to know, name, and define fear in order to make it “objective,” that is, separate from “I.”

On the Mind

Muddy water is best cleared by leaving it alone. 

On the Present Moment

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.

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.

We are living in a culture entirely hypnotized by the illusion of time, in which the so-called present moment is felt as nothing but an infintesimal hairline between an all-powerfully causative past and an absorbingly important future. We have no present. Our consciousness is almost completely preoccupied with memory and expectation. We do not realize that there never was, is, nor will be any other experience than present experience. We are therefore out of touch with reality. We confuse the world as talked about, described, and measured with the world which actually is. We are sick with a fascination for the useful tools of names and numbers, of symbols, signs, conceptions and ideas.

No valid plans for the future can be made by those who have no capacity for living now.

I have realized that the past and future are real illusions, that they exist in the present, which is what there is and all there is.

“…tomorrow and plans for tomorrow can have no significance at all unless you are in full contact with the reality of the present, since it is in the present and only in the present that you live.”

On the Meaning of Life

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.

On Faith

To have faith is to trust yourself to the water. When you swim you don’t grab hold of the water, because if you do you will sink and drown. Instead you relax, and float. 

Words of Wisdom for Aspiring Artists

Advice? I don’t have advice. Stop aspiring and start writing. If you’re writing, you’re a writer. Write like you’re a goddamn death row inmate and the governor is out of the country and there’s no chance for a pardon. Write like you’re clinging to the edge of a cliff, white knuckles, on your last breath, and you’ve got just one last thing to say, like you’re a bird flying over us and you can see everything, and please, for God’s sake, tell us something that will save us from ourselves. Take a deep breath and tell us your deepest, darkest secret, so we can wipe our brow and know that we’re not alone. Write like you have a message from the king. Or don’t. Who knows, maybe you’re one of the lucky ones who doesn’t have to.

On Change

The more a thing tends to be permanent, the more it tends to be lifeless.

The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.

You and I are all as much continuous with the physical universe as a wave is continuous with the ocean.

“No one is more dangerously insane than one who is sane all the time: he is like a steel bridge without flexibility, and the order of his life is rigid and brittle.”

“Without birth and death, and without the perpetual transmutation of all the forms of life, the world would be static, rhythm-less, undancing, mummified.”

On Love

Never pretend to a love which you do not actually feel, for love is not ours to command.

On You

What I am really saying is that you don’t need to do anything, because if you see yourself in the correct way, you are all as much extraordinary phenomenon of nature as trees, clouds, the patterns in running water, the flickering of fire, the arrangement of the stars, and the form of a galaxy. You are all just like that, and there is nothing wrong with you at all.

Trying to define yourself is like trying to bite your own teeth.

But I’ll tell you what hermits realize. If you go off into a far, far forest and get very quiet, you’ll come to understand that you’re connected with everything.

On Technology

Technology is destructive only in the hands of people who do not realize that they are one and the same process as the universe.

On the Universe

“We do not “come into” this world; we come out of it, as leaves from a tree.”

“Only words and conventions can isolate us from the entirely undefinable something which is everything.”

On Problems

“Problems that remain persistently insoluble should always be suspected as questions asked in the wrong way.

 

 

50 Profound Quotes by Buddha That Will Change the Way You Spend Your Life

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If you want to see the best Buddha quotes in one place, then you’ll LOVE this post.

I’ve personally gone through hundreds of Buddha quotes to pick out his top 50.

And you can filter through the list below to find the topics that most interest you.

But first, a brief introduction about the great man named Gautama Buddha.

Who Was Gautama Buddha?

Buddha was a spiritual teacher who lived in India sometime between the sixth and fourth centuries BC.

His philosophy ended up creating the religion Buddhism, and tends to counter much of what we’re taught in the west.

After many years spent in deep meditation, he realized that attachment and desiring lead to unhappiness.

He believed that enlightenment, or “Nirvana”, was achieved when one’s mind is compassionate, free of attachment and focused on the present moment.

He spent his entire life teaching others how to free themselves from suffering and live a life of compassion, fearlessness and joy.

So without further ado, here are the most inspiring 50 quotes from Gautama Buddha:

On Living In The Present Moment

“Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.”

“The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, nor to worry about the future, but to live the present moment wisely and earnestly.”

“Every morning we are born again. What we do today is what matters most.”

On Achieving Enlightenment 

“No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path.”

“A man is not called wise because he talks and talks again; but if he is peaceful, loving and fearless then he is in truth called wise.”

“Purity or impurity depends on oneself, no one can purify another.”

“Just as a snake sheds its skin, we must shed our past over and over again.”

“Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without.”

“Happiness will never come to those who fail to appreciate what they already have.”

“A man asked Gautama Buddha, ‘I want happiness.’ Buddha said, ‘First remove I, that’s Ego, then remove want, that’s Desire. See now you are left with only Happiness.’ ”

“What is evil? Killing is evil, lying is evil, slandering is evil, abuse is evil, gossip is evil, envy is evil, hatred is evil, to cling to false doctrine is evil; all these things are evil. And what is the root of evil? Desire is the root of evil, illusion is the root of evil.”

“To insist on a spiritual practice that served you in the past is to carry the raft on your back after you have crossed the river.”

On Love

“True love is born from understanding.”

“You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.”

“You only lose what you cling to.”

On Your Mind

“There is nothing so disobedient as an undisciplined mind, and there is nothing so obedient as a disciplined mind.”

“We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves.”

“All that we are is the result of what we have thought: it is founded on our thoughts and made up of our thoughts. If a man speak or act with an evil thought, suffering follows him as the wheel follows the hoof of the beast that draws the wagon…. If a man speak or act with a good thought, happiness follows him like a shadow that never leaves him.”

“Whatever a monk keeps pursuing with his thinking and pondering, that becomes the inclination of his awareness.”

“Nothing can harm you as much as your own thoughts unguarded.”

“In the sky, there is no distinction of east and west; people create distinctions out of their own minds and then believe them to be true.”

“Our life is shaped by our mind; we become what we think. Suffering follows an evil thought as the wheels of a cart follow the oxen that draws it.”

“Remembering a wrong is like carrying a burden on the mind.”

On Anger

“You will not be punished for your anger, you will be punished by your anger.”

“Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.”

“Anger will never disappear so long as thoughts of resentment are cherished in the mind.”

On Compassion

“If your compassion does not include yourself, it is incomplete.”

“Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.”

“Hatred does not cease through hatred at any time. Hatred ceases through love. This is an unalterable law.”

“As rain falls equally on the just and the unjust, do not burden your heart with judgement but rain your kindness equally on all.”

“A generous heart, kind speech, and a life of service and compassion are the things which renew humanity.”

“If we fail to look after others when they need help, who will look after us?”

“Happiness comes when your work and words are of benefit to others.”

On Your Words

“Better than a thousand hollow words, is one word that brings peace.”

“Whatever words we utter should be chosen with care for people will hear them and be influenced by them for good or ill.”

“The tongue like a sharp knife… Kills without drawing blood.”

“Better than a thousand hollow words is one word that brings peace.”

On Doubt

“There is nothing more dreadful than the habit of doubt. Doubt separates people. It is a poison that disintegrates friendships and breaks up pleasant relations. It is a thorn that irritates and hurts; it is a sword that kills.”

On Your Ideas

“An idea that is developed and put into action is more important than an idea that exists only as an idea.”

“Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense.”

“If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading.”

On Suffering

“Pain is certain, suffering is optional.”

“Have compassion for all beings, rich and poor alike; each has their suffering. Some suffer too much, others too little.”

“The root of suffering is attachment.”

On Your Self

“No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path.”

“Doubt everything. Find your own light.”

“Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense.”

“If you truly loved yourself, you could never hurt another.”

“Do not look for a sanctuary in anyone except your self.”

“There is no fire like passion, there is no shark like hatred, there is no snare like folly, there is no torrent like greed.”

“Set your heart on doing good. Do it over and over again, and you will be filled with joy.”

“Most problems, if you give them enough time and space, will eventually wear themselves out”

On Gratitude

“Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn’t learn a lot at least we learned a little, and if we didn’t learn a little, at least we didn’t get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn’t die; so, let us all be thankful.”

This article was originally published on The Power of Ideas. 

7 Essential Morning Rituals of Happy People

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Life is busy. It can feel impossible to move forward sometimes. From having a full-time job, to working on your relationships with your loved ones, how are you actually meant to progress and improve in other areas your life?

The truth is, if you don’t purposefully carve out time every day to improve yourself, your time will get lost in the vacuum of our increasingly busy lives. Before you know it, you’ll lying on your deathbed wondering where all the days went.

As professor Harold Hill has said, “You pile up enough tomorrows, and you’ll find you are left with nothing but a lot of empty yesterdays.”

How to rethink your life

In order to avoid getting stuck in a rut, we need to rethink our approach to life. We need to get back to the fundamentals and only focus on what’s important in our life. Sadly, many people are too focused on the trivial and nonessential. This leaves no time to build something meaningful.

In this current age, we actually have the choice and power to live on our own terms. One generation ago, it was social and cultural to live on other people’s terms. However, with the interconnectedness of the world and infinite knowledge at our fingertips, we can decide to live with intention and take responsibility for ourselves.

You get to decide. With this short morning routine, your life will quickly change. It’s only 7 points long, but if you follow it, it can transform your days so you can be more productive.

1) Get a healthy seven-plus hours sleep

Let’s face it – sleep is important. Without it, our brains don’t function as well as they could and it can be harmful to your health. While this article is about doing 7 things before 8 am, the truth is, there’s no much point in waking up at 5 am if you went to bed 3 hours earlier. Try to get an adequate of sleep to get your day off to a good start.

2) Meditation to facilitate clarity

What you focus on matters and when your brain is scattered, it doesn’t really know what to do. Meditation is an excellent practice to clear the mind and focus. That’s literally what the practice is about. Focusing on a particular point of object, like your breath, so you can quieten the mind.

After this, you’ll have a more clear idea of what you want to achieve that day, without feeling like your mind is muddled.

3) Hard physical activity

There is countless evidence that exercise is beneficial for not only your body, but your mind too. Yet, according to recent research, only one third of American men and women engage in regular physical activity. If you want to be healthy and happy, you need to get in a habit of exercising.

Whether it’s the gym or a brisk walk, get your body moving. Exercise has been found to decrease anxiety, stress and depression. Treat your body like a temple.

4) Consume 30 grams of protein

Tim Ferriss and professor emeritus of nutrition at the University of Illinois recommend consuming at 30 grams of protein for breakfast. Protein rich foods keep you full for longer than to other foods and eating protein first decreases your white carbohydrate cravings. These are the type of carbs that get you fat.

Tim makes four recommendations for getting adequate protein in the morning: 1. Eat at least 40 percent of your breakfast calories as protein. 2. Do it with two or three whole eggs (each egg has about 6 grams of protein). 3. If you don’t like eggs, use something like turkey bacon, organic pork bacon or sausage, or cottage cheese. 4. Or, you could always do a protein shake with water.

5) Take a cold shower

Tony Robbins jumps into a 57 degree Fahrenheit swimming pool. Why? Because cold water has been found to radically facilitate physical and mental wellness. When practiced regularly, it provides long-lasting changes to your body’s immune, lymphatic, circulatory, and digestive systems that improve the quality of your life.

6) Listen to or read uplifting content

If you want to be productive and successful in life, you need to be constantly learning. It is common for the world’s most successful people to read and read and read. If you take 15 to 30 minutes every morning to read uplifting and instructive information, over a long period of time, you would have read hundreds of books. You’ll see the world more wisely and differently.

7) Review your life vision

Write your goals – short and long term. Taking just a few minutes to read these goals every day puts your life into perspective and whether or not you’re on the right path. Each day will feel purpose driven. If you follow a simple pattern, you can accomplish all of your goals, no matter how big they are.

This article was originally published on Hack Spirit. 

 

Zen Philosophy Reveals Why Attachments Lead to Suffering (and What You Can Do About It)

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Attachment, clinging, desiring…I’m sure you’ve heard these words spoken about negatively by Zen masters before.

If you grew up in the west, most of us were brought up to believe that these desires and attachments would actually make us happy. We believed that if we earned enough money, or got that new iPhone, that we would eventually solve all our problems.

However, when we get them, we’re usually afraid to let go of them as well. And as you might have realized, the joy of these material objects generally don’t last very long and you’re back in the process of desiring again.

So the question is, what does it truly mean to let go of attachment and desiring?

It’s a big topic but living with non-attachment basically means that you don’t grasp onto things around you in an attempt to find comfort or happiness from them, and realize that true peace and happiness comes from letting go of those things.

This does NOT lead to people become detached robots

True non-attachment and true letting go involves living amidst everything in life such as your emotions, your relationships and your material possessions where you realize the fundamental truths of those things, such as impermanence and interbeing. Therefore you’re able to exist in this world without grasping onto things with a sense of dependency.

So, what are some examples of unhealthy attachment?

1. A relationship where two people’s image of one another is more important the person themselves.

2. The idea that you need a material item to be happy.

3. Desiring a result, such as the idea that getting a promotion at work will solve all your problems.

Why do these attachments lead to suffering?

The reason desiring causes suffering is because attachments are transient and loss is inevitable.

Buddhism says that the only constant in the universe is change, and by desiring you are trying to control and make something fixed. Suffering will follow because you are going against the forces of the universe, which is what causes anxiety, depression and negative emotions.

And the truth is, instead of being an emotionless robot, you can actually embrace life fully and openly.

Why?

Because you understand that change is the only constant in the universe and that any joyful or happy moments are fleeting and need to cherished. You can also realize that any difficult times won’t last forever.

When you’re in a relationship, you can let that person be free and at peace because you don’t need them to be in a fixed state that you depend on. You simply love them for all that they are and all that they become.

You can enjoy riding your car without your happiness being dependent on it. If it breaks down tomorrow, you won’t be affected by it (besides the fact that you’ll need to find another way to get to work!).

You can work towards goals without your happiness dependent on the outcome.

The true source of happiness

The true source of peace and happiness exists outside all this, beyond any attachments and desires. The only person that can realize this is yourself.

Making this your mindset takes work and effort, and yet most of us will put countless hours of effort into earning more money and to holding onto a relationship in the hope that we’ll be “happy one day”. It will never happen.

Take action and priortize your peace and happiness now. It’s the only way.

I highly recommend you also check out the video below by Alan Watts in which he describes what living without attachment really means. It opened my eyes and I hope it does the same for you.

This article was originally published on Hack Spirit. 

101 Powerful Zen Sayings and Proverbs to Live By

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You can’t really put Zen into words, but you can share some of its timeless wisdom in ways that lead you on the path to discovering the truth for yourself.

The below list of Zen quotes and Zen proverbs has been put together over a period of time from teachers and authors we have profound respect for, such as:

Thich Nhat Hanh; Shunryu Suzuki; Alan Watts; Dogen Zenji; Eckhart Tolle; Byron Katie; Osho; D. T. Suzuki; Rumi; Buddha

Zen isn’t really a belief system or a set of ideas. It’s a way of thinking to guide your actions in helping you discover enlightenment on your own. For this reason, we’ve also included quotes from non Zen Masters who have also arrived at wisdom similar to what Zen offers.

The quotes have been broken into sections. We hope you enjoy.

Mindfulness and the Present Moment

“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

“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

“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

“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

“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

“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.

“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

Impermanence

“One must be deeply aware of the impermanence of the world.”
– Dogen

True Self and No-Self

“The practice of Zen is forgetting the self in the act of uniting with something.”
– Koun Yamada

“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

“The self divides into ten billion distinct illuminating spirits. Distinguish these without falling into names and classifications.”
– Hongzhi

“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

“Have good trust in yourself … not in the One that you think you should be, but in the One that you are.”

– Maezumi Roshi

Direct Experience

“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

“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

“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

“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

“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

“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

“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

“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

“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

“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

“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

“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

“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

“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

Finding the Way Effortlessly

“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

“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

“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

“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

This article was originally published on The Power of Ideas. 

Himalayan Monks Have Super Human Abilities That Stun Even Harvard Scientists

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It is popularly believed that Buddhist monks have brains that function beyond usual human capabilities. But has this been verified by scientists?

It turns out that scientists have actually studied Buddhist monks in a variety of experiments and found that they are actually able to rewire their own brains.

Although born as normal human beings, their meditation practices have given them powers to achieve incredible feats that continue to stun scientists and reveal insights about the functioning of the human brain.

In the 1980s, a group of scientists and researchers led by Professor Herbert Benson from the Harvard School of Medicine headed out to the remote monasteries nestled in the Himalayan mountains. Their purpose was to discover, document and decode the ways in which monks managed to use the power of their mind to manipulate their bodies.

The monks were known to raise their body temperatures through a stress reduction technique of yoga known as ‘gTum-mo’ where they lower their body’s metabolic rate by 64%.

The researchers also recorded the monks actually managing to dry wet clothes and sheets using only their body heat.

The monks would also spend nights on a rocky ledge when the temperatures dropped to zero degrees Fahrenheit, with only woollen shawls to keep them warm. The scientists observed that these feats could be achieved through rigorous meditation techniques, spiritual conditioning and guided exercises.

According to the scientists, the monks entered a deep state of meditation, and while in this state other monks soaked sheets of 3 by 6 feet into the cold water and placed them on the meditating monks.

For people who aren’t trained, this would lead to shivering, illness or even death. But the scientists observed that steam rose from the sheets within an hour.

This is truly incredible and a testament to the power of the human mind.

After seeing the Buddhist monks experience this, Benson emphasized the importance of meditation as a potential treatment for stress-related illnesses.

As Benson said:

“This is important because more than 60 percent of the visit to physicians in the USA are for stress related problems and these are wrongly treated by drugs and even surgery. But if we all begin to practice advanced meditation, it can miraculously rewire our brains and cure us.”

Benson also said that he hopes this kind of self-care will be as effective as medical drugs, surgery and other invasive techniques used by Western science to help alleviate mental and physical suffering.

Meditation along with proper nutrition, diet and exercise of the mind and body will lead to self-care practice. It would help save millions of dollars annually in medical costs.

3 Profound Lessons From a Japanese Zen Master That Will Blow Your Mind

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It can be hard to find meaning and purpose sometimes. We spend so much time working and being busy that we forget to stop and look inside ourselves to see what we really desire in life.

Fortunately, sages and mystics over the years have encountered the same problem, resulting in valuable wisdom that we all can benefit from.

Japanese Zen master D.T. Suzuki is one of those people. Suzuki was one of the most prominent Zen Buddhist teachers that brought Zen philosophy to people in the west who were struggling to find meaning in life.

Below we go over some of his most potent lessons on living a fulfilling, happy and successful life.

1) Exposure to nature is crucial for the soul

“Modern life seems to recede further and further away from nature, and closely connected with this fact we seem to be losing the feeling of reverence towards nature. It is probably inevitable when science and machinery, capitalism and materialism go hand in hand so far in a most remarkably successful manner. Mysticism, which is the life of religion in whatever sense we understand it, has come to be relegated altogether in the background. Without a certain amount of mysticism there is no appreciation for the feeling of reverence, and, along with it, for the spiritual significance of humility. Science and scientific technique have done a great deal for humanity; but as far as our spiritual welfare is concerned we have not made any advances over that attained by our forefathers. In fact we are suffering at present the worst kind of unrest all over the world.” – D.T. Suzuki

Suzuki makes a great point here. As our society has become technologically advanced, we’ve at the same time lost touch with nature,  which only serves to negatively impact our spiritual health.

Science backs this up.

Several studies have found that being in nature reduces stress and makes us happier. What’s more, one study found that nature can help us find “meaning in life” and make us “feel more alive”.

These results lead to one conclusion: If you are constantly on a device or in front of a screen, you’re missing out on something that’s pretty spectacular: the real world.

2) The here and now is what’s important

“The idea of Zen is to catch life as it flows. There is nothing extraordinary or mysterious about Zen. I raise my hand ; I take a book from the other side of the desk ; I hear the boys playing ball outside my window; I see the clouds blown away beyond the neighbouring wood: — in all these I am practising Zen, I am living Zen. No wordy discussions is necessary, nor any explanation. I do not know why — and there is no need of explaining, but when the sun rises the whole world dances with joy and everybody’s heart is filled with bliss. If Zen is at all conceivable, it must be taken hold of here.” – D.T. Suzuki

Zen philosophy isn’t complicated. Don’t worry about the past as it’s already gone, and the future hasn’t yet arrived. The only thing that really matters is the present moment. We don’t need to have a lengthy discussion on what the meaning of life is.

This is where practising mindfulness can be so beneficial. By consciously focusing on the present moment, whether it’s your bodily sensations or what’s in front of you, you can rewire your brain to use your direct experience network more often compared to your default brain network.

3) Get to know yourself

“Zen purposes to discipline the mind itself, to make it its own master, through an insight into its proper nature. This getting into the real nature of one’s own mind or soul is the fundamental object of Zen Buddhism. Zen, therefore, is more than meditation and Dhyana in its ordinary sense. The discipline of Zen consists in opening the mental eye in order to look into the very reason of existence.” – D.T. Suzuki

Understanding who you are and what you desire in life is crucially important if you want to find fulfilment. Suzuki says that we need to understand our own mind’s nature in order to do this.

How do we do that?

One of the best ways to uncover who you truly are is through meditation. With meditation, you learn to become an observer of your mind.

By watching how the mind works without judging it or attempting to change it, it offers you enormous liberation. You can learn to catch any conditioned habits and emotions, which will enable you to accept them and eventually change them.

Spiritual guru Osho describes this as the moment of enlightenment:

“It takes a little time to create a gap between the witness and the mind. Once the gap is there, you are in for a great surprise, that you are not the mind, that you are the witness, a watcher…That’s the moment of enlightenment. That is the moment that you become for the first time an unconditioned, sane, really free human being.”

This article was originally published on Hack Spirit.

15 Inconvenient Truths About Life No One Wants to Admit

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I think we can all agree that it’s much easier to talk about the weather or sports than your fear of mortality.

However, the more time you ignore the brutal truths about life, the more time you’ll waste not being your authentic self and getting the most out of every day.

Money isn’t your most valuable asset, time is.

Let the list below serve as a spark of inspiration to make better use of your limited time on Earth. Sometimes we need to hear the harsh truths to appreciate what we have and renew our passion for life.

Here are 20 confronting truths that we all need to hear:

1) You’re going to die and you have no idea when.

Nope, you’re not invincible. Acknowledge your time will come and start planning your life so that you can get the most out of it.

2) Everyone you love is going to die, and you don’t know when.

This truth is saddening, but it also gives you motivation to make the most of the time you have with your loved ones while they’re here. Your relationships are precious, so get the most meaning you can out of them.

3) Money won’t make you a happier or better person.

While you need enough money to live, research has shown that anything beyond that won’t make you happier. Real peace comes from inside yourself.

4) Your obsession with finding happiness prevents you from finding it.

Attaching yourself to an idea of happiness and what it should be is the exact anti-thesis of what happiness is. To be happy, you need to let go and accept life as it is.

5) You can’t make everyone happy

Being a people pleaser won’t give you happiness. It’s much better for everyone involved to respect your own values, principles and autonomy.

6) You’ll never be perfect.

Many of us have unrelenting inner critics that constantly self-hate. Stop holding yourself to unrealistic standards. Fight back against that negative voice.

7) Your thoughts are less important than your feelings.

Your emotions need acknowledgement. Intellectually thinking through problems isn’t as helpful as expressing your true feelings.

8) Your actions speak louder than your words.

Words are meaningless without action. Make sure your hold yourself to account.

9) Your achievements and successes won’t matter in your death bed.

When your time has come, you won’t be thinking up that time you got that raise. You’ll be thinking about your relationships you’ve made, so prioritize accordingly.

1o) Talent means nothing without practice and effort.

If you’re not prepared to put the effort in, it doesn’t matter how talented you are. Grit and dedication is far more important.

11) Now in the only time that matters.

The future and past are illusions, now is the only thing that exists. The quickest way to happiness to fully accept and embrace the present moment.

12) Your words are more important than your thoughts so start inspiring people.

Words have the power to oppress, hurt and shame, but they also have the power to liberate and inspire – use them wisely.

13) Investing in yourself is the most worthwhile you can do.

It isn’t selfish to invest yourself. Before you can help others, you have to help yourself.

14) It’s not what happens, it’s how you react that matters.

Train yourself to respond in a way that benefits you.

15) You need healthy relationships to be happy.

Relationships are the greatest factor in happiness, so make sure you give them the attention they deserve.

This article was originally published on Hack Spirit. 

 

7 Habits of Highly Awesome People (That Have Nothing to do With Appearance or Money)

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We can all agree that the most awesome people are authentic people. They who know who they are, they don’t judge other people to make them feel better and they live their life according to what they actually believe.

But living like this isn’t exactly easy. Society puts enormous pressure on us to fit inside a small box called “normal” while anything outside the box is considered “weird”.

Yet living according to society’s expectations can take a huge toll on our self-esteem and our ability to find true inner peace. It’s clear that our brains know we’re living a lie, and like all lies, being inauthentic causes nothing but harm.

So the question is, how do you start living authentically?

It can be tough, especially if you’ve been playing that role for most of your life. The fact is, to be authentic means to be deeply in tune with who you are and what you want. So below, I’m going to go over the hallmark habits of highly authentic people so we can all learn to bring out our true selves.

1) They speak their mind

Genuine people take their time to work out what they believe, and once they do, they’re not shy to express their well-thought out positions. The manner in which they do so also matters. They are comfortable presenting their needs without needing approval or trying to convince others that they’re right.

Read the next habit to find out what helps them get in touch with their true opinions

2) Genuine people respond to internal expectations, not external ones

They spend time thinking about their own beliefs, standards, ideals and expectations because those answers give them direction and purpose in life.

In the world of information, we’re fed ideas about what we should think every day, yet instead of believing these ideas, genuine people will assess themselves and only follow what stands up against critical thinking.

It takes time to work out what they really feel, but once they do, they know which path meant they’re meant to take.

3) Genuine people forge their own paths

Being authentic is not just about what you think but what you do. When you’re passionate about something, you tend not to follow others and copy what they do, but forge your own path with the way that you think it can be done. That’s what authentic people are doing every day.

4) Genuine people are not threatened by failure

The reason most people copy other “successful people’s” paths is that they are proven and less risky. Authentic people say to hell with that and the take the road less travelled because it makes sense to them. They are not threatened by failure because they don’t hold their self-esteem to it and simply see it as a learning experience.

5) Authentic people can admit their faults

To be true with your feelings means that you’re confronting the bad as well as the good. They accept their shortcomings and take responsibility for their actions. They also realize that none of us are perfect, so it’s stupid to even try.

6) Authentic people are not judgemental of others

Being honest with themselves means they’re not judging other people. They don’t feel a need to compare, because they understand that we all are unique and different. They also know that none of us are perfect and that we all have our own flaws.

7) They have solid self-esteem

This means having self-esteem that’s neither too high or too low . As a result, genuine people tolerate and absorb failure and criticism, admit their faults and are accepting of others because they are not threatened by imperfection. Having solid self-esteem means you can accept negative and positive feedback. You can acknowledge aspects of your life that you need to improve without diminishing your overall sense of self-worth.

This article was originally published on The Power of Ideas.