Zen proverbs

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One word frees us of all the weight and pain of life; that word is love.
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  • A samurai once asked Zen Master Hakuin where he would go after he died. Hakuin answered 'How am I supposed to know?'
    'How do you not know? You're a Zen master!' exclaimed the samurai.
    'Yes, but not a dead one,' Hakuin answered.
  • Do not seek the truth, only cease to cherish your opinions.
  • If you understand, things are just as they are; if you do not understand, things are just as they are.
  • In the landscape of spring, there is neither better nor worse. The flowering branches grow naturally, some long, some short.
  • Knock on the sky and listen to the sound.
  • The ten thousand questions are one question. If you cut through the one question, then the ten thousand questions disappear.
  • The ways to the One are as many as the lives of men.
  • Though the bamboo forest is dense, water flows through it freely.
  • To do a certain kind of thing, you have to be a certain kind of person.
  • To follow the path, look to the master, follow the master, walk with the master, see through the master, become the master.
  • When the pupil is ready to learn, a teacher will appear.
  • When you reach the top, keep climbing.
  • Why do you ask questions? If you already knew the flame was fire then the meal was cooked a long time ago. (Oma Desala, Stargate SG-1; various)
  • A river too pure, yields no fish.
  • At first, I saw mountains as mountains and rivers as rivers. Then, I saw mountains were not mountains and rivers were not rivers. Finally, I see mountains again as mountains, and rivers again as rivers.
    • An example of an existential self-dialectic
  • No yesterday, no tomorrow, and no today - Sheng-ts'an
  • If the problem has a solution, worrying is pointless, in the end the problem will be solved. If the problem has no solution, there is no reason to worry, because it can't be solved.

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