We create needs and then struggle to fulfill them, which is like voluntarily placing our ball in the sand trap.

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Time has always seemed to me to be expansion and contraction. This would account for the cyclical nature of events.

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Memory cannot be real since it fades and dies. That which perishes is not Real. Memory is perishable; Reality is not.

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The Japanese have their tea ceremonies (chanoyu) as a way to stop the outward flow of everyday life and to introspect for a while. Our way is the ice cream cone break. Have you ever seen anybody look unhappy while eating an ice cream cone? Everybody declares a moratorium on worries while he goes through the ritual of picking the correct flavor and then licking it with a conspiratorial air.

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What is the sinner who drinks, blasphemes, and has no redeeming feature? He is the teacher of Buddhas.

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Only the life based on Truth can bring Ultimate Joy. The life grounded in deception and delusion – no matter how attractive and successful – ultimately results in great and continuous suffering. And yet, there is not one in a thousand who wants Truth. Mostly, we want to reaffirm our status, like the overweight man who visits ten doctors before finding one who will recommend a diet containing all the foods he likes.

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How wise and beautiful this saying by the great 13th century Japanese Zen Master Dogen Zenji:

Spring draws in flowers and flowers draw in Spring.

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I have meditated in the Himalayas, in Zen temples, in the desert, and on distant islands. But best of all have been periods spent in absorption under the giant redwoods in northern California. These are the oldest creatures on earth, and their vibration is powerful for those who open themselves.

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Question: “Why must there be Chinese and Indian, French and English? Why must there be different peoples and wars?”
Answer: (by Zen Roshi Joshu Sasaki, holding aloft his fist and slowly unfolding his fingers): “I have five fingers. Why do I have five fingers?”

This article is published in Climb the Joyous Mountain.