Quotes related and unrelated to Zen

Flowers are silent,
Silence is silent,
The Mind is a silent flower,
The silent flower of the World
-Ikkyu Zenji

A finger pointing to the moon is not the moon.
       -- This is Zen related. You are not supposed to understand this. :-)

Why don't you die right now and enjoy the rest of your life?
       -- some Zen person

In the dragons mouth
                there are many exquisite jewels.

Everyday Life is the Path
 Joshu asked Nansen: "What is the path?"
 Nansen said: "Everyday life is the path."
 Joshu asked: "Can it be studied?"
 Nansen said: "If you try to study, you will be far away from it."
 Joshu asked: "If I do not study, how can I know it is the path?"
 Nansen said: "The path does not belong to the perception world, neither does it
 belong to the nonperception world. Cognition is a delusion and noncognition is
 senseless. if you want to reach the true path beyond doubt, place yourself
 in the same freedom as sky. You name it neither good nor not-good."
 At these words Joshu was enlightened.
    -- a Zen Koan

"If you understand, things are such as they are;
If you don't understand, things are such as they are."
    -- another Zen Koan

Some Zen quotes:
* The more you know, the less you understand.
* No matter where you go, there you are.
* It doesn't matter how you get there if you don't know where you're going.
* If I don't know I don't know, I think I know.
  If I don't know I know, I think I don't know.

Things are not what they seem to be, nor are they otherwise...
                -- Lankavatarasutra

"There's no way to happiness--happiness is the way. There's no way to
peace--peace is the way. There's no way to enlightenment--enlightenment
is the way."
                -- THich Nhat Hanh

Monk        : 'What is great nirvana ?'
Daishu Ekai : 'Not to commit oneself to the karma of birth and death is great
Monk        : 'What then is the karma of birth and death.'
Daishu Ekai : 'To desire great nirvana is the karma of birth and death.'

'... the Oriental philosopher tries to help statistically normal individuals
 to become normal in the other, more fundamental sense of the word. He begins
 by pointing out to those who think themselves sane that, in fact, they are
 mad, but that they do not have to remain so if they don't want to.'
 - Aldous Huxley

'If somebody ask you a question expecting "Yes" for an answer, answer "No",
 and vice versa. If he asks you about an ordinary man, answer as if he asked
 about a saint, and vice versa. By this use of relatives teach him the
 doctrine of the Mean. Answer all his questions in this fashion and you will
 not fall into error.' - Sixth Patriach Hui Neng

'.... the relativity of the relative is not its ultimate nature; to cling
 to sunyata or relativity as itself absolute is the most serious of errors'
 - Venkata Ramanan

'Bodhisattavas never engage in conversations whose resolutions depend
 on words and logic.' - Shakyamuni Buddha

'The ultimate truth of all conventional truths is their being void of
 existence. Conventional truths, ie empirical phenomena, exist dependently
 upon casual conditions, parts and imputation; they have absolutely no
 existence apart from these conditioning factors.'
 - Geshe Rabten

'A man of Tao has no self, so how can he be guilty of wrongdoing ?
 To act without any sense of self is to be free of wrongdoing.'
 - Zen Commentor.

'It is not the wind moving, nor is the flag moving,
 it is the mind that is moving' - Sixth Patriach Hui Neng

'The body is the tree of enlightenment, The mind is the stand of a bright
 mirror. Wipe it constantly and with ever-watchful diligence, To keep it
 uncontaminated by the worldly dust.' - Zen Master Shen Xiu

'Originally there is no tree of enlightenment, Nor there is a
 stand with a bright mirror. Since everything is primordially
 empty, what is there for dust to cling to ?'
 - Sixth Patriach Hui Neng

'The nature of goodness is of two types, One type is not subject to change,
 while the other changes with circumstances. Buddha nature is beyond change
 and non-change, beyond good and evil'
 - Sixth Patriach Hui Neng

'Fundamentally, I have not moved at all. How can there be hurry ?'
 - Zen Master Yongjia Xuanjue

'I see no Buddha.' - Zen Master Yangshan Huiji

'Whenever you bring me tea, I take it from your hands, Whenever you serve
 the meal, I accept it and eat it. Whenever you greet me, I nod in
 response. On what points have I failed to show you the essense of the mind'
 - Zen Master Daowu

An older student came to Otis and said, "I have been to see
 a great number of teachers and I have given up a great number of
 pleasures. I have fasted, been celibate and stayed awake nights seeking
 enlightenment. I have given up everything I was asked to give up and I
 have suffered, but I have not been enlightened. What should I do?"
 Otis replied, "Give up suffering."
                 -- Camden Benares, "Zen Without Zen Masters"

Before he became a hermit, Zarathud was a young Priest, and took great
 delight in making fools of his opponents in front of his followers. One day
 Zarathud took his students to a pleasant pasture and there he confronted
 The Sacred Chao while She was contentedly grazing. "Tell me, you dumb
 beast," demanded the Priest in his commanding voice, "why don't you do
 something worthwhile? What is your Purpose in Life, anyway?" Munching the
 tasty grass, The Sacred Chao replied "MU". (The Chinese ideogram for
 No-Thing.) Upon hearing this, absolutely nobody was enlightened. Primarily
 because nobody understood Chinese.
                 -- Camden Benares, "Zen Without Zen Masters"

The truth knocks on the door and you say,
Go away, I'm looking for the truth, and so
it goes away.     Puzzling.
-- Robert Pirsig (quoted in Zen_To_Go, Jon Winokur)

What happens to your fist when you open your hand?

Joshu is my favorite Zen Master. It is said that a monk once asked him,
To be holy - what is it like?
      Joshu replied, To dump a mountain of shit on a clean plain.
                                                         -- Disk Sutphen
The meaning of here and now is beautifully illustrated by a Zen story of a
monk who was being chased by two tigers. He came to the edge of a cliff. He
looked back - the tigers were almost upon him. Noticing a vine leading over
the cliff, he quickly crawled over the edge and began to let himself down the
vine. Then as he checked below, he saw two tigers waiting for him at the
bottom of the cliff. He looked up and observed that two mice were knawing away
at the vine. Just then, he saw a beautiful strawberry within arm's reach. He
picked it and enjoyed the best tasting strawberry in his whole life!
                                                            -- Ken Keyes

"Well," Brahma said, "even after ten thousand explanations, a fool is
no wiser, but an intelligent man requires only two thousand five

-The Mahabharata.