When you’ve parked the second car in the garage, and installed the hot tub, and skied in Colorado, and windsurfed in the Caribbean, when you’ve had your first love affair and your second and your third, the question will remain, where does the dream end?
You possess only whatever will not be lost in a shipwreck.
One morning, Thomas Jefferson woke up in a modest Washington rooming house, dressed, and then left the house in order to attend his inauguration as third president. When he got back, duly sworn in, he found no space left for him at the dinner table. Quietly accepting the democratic principle of first come, first served, the president of the United States went up to his room without dinner.
There is no such thing as security. There never has been.
Buddha’s doctrine: man suffers because of his craving to possess and keep forever things which are essentially impermanent. Chief among these things is his own person, for this is his means of isolating himself from the rest of life, his castle into which he can retreat and from which he can assert himself against eternal forces. He believes that his fortified and isolated position is the best means of obtaining happiness; it enables him to fight against change, to strive to keep pleasing things for himself, to shut out suffering and shape circumstance as he wills. In short, it is his means of resisting life. The Buddha taught that all things, including his castle, are essentially impermanent, and as soon as man tries to possess them they slip away; the frustration of the desire to possess is the immediate cause of suffering.
It is as if I were attempting to trace with the point of a pencil the shadow of the tracing pencil.
Money is only money, beans tonight and steak tomorrow. So long as you can look yourself in the eye.
Man is condemned to be free.
The only person who is really free is the one who can turn down an invitation to dinner without any excuse.
The Dutch writer and philosopher Abel Herzberg tells a story of a rabbi who, upon entering a room in his home, saw his son deep in prayer. In the corner, he writes, stood a cradle with a crying baby. The rabbi asked his son, “Can’t you hear? There’s a baby crying in this room.” The son said, “Father, I was lost in God.” And the rabbi said, “One who is lost in God can see the very fly crawling up the wall.”
We wake, if we ever wake at all, to mystery, rumors of death, beauty, violence.
The only people on earth who do not see Christ and his teachings as nonviolent are Christians.
Nobody wants to kiss when they are hungry.
“For six years now, I have gone around by myself and built up my science. And now I am a master. Son, I can love anything. No longer do I have to think about it even. I see a street full of people and a beautiful light comes on in me. I watch a bird in the sky. Or I meet a traveler on the road. Everything, son. And anybody. All strangers and all loved! Do you realize what a science like mine can mean?”
If I had been asked in the first years of my spiritual life endeavor what I wanted people to say in appreciation of me, I would have answered, “Let them say he is a holy man.” Years later I would have answered, “Let them say he is a loving man.” And now I would like people to say of me, “He is a free man.”
We all have to rise in the end, not just one or two who were smart enough, had will enough for their own salvation, but all the halt, the maimed, and the blind of us, which is most of us.