1. “In the end, just three things matter:
How well we have lived
How well we have loved
How well we have learned to let go”
2. “Peace requires us to surrender our illusions of control. We can love and care for others but we cannot possess our children, lovers, family, or friends. We can assist them, pray for them, and wish them well, yet in the end their happiness and suffering depend on their thoughts and actions, not on our wishes.”
3. “You hold in your hand an invitation: to remember the transforming power of forgiveness and loving kindness. To remember that no matter where you are and what you face, within your heart peace is possible.”
4. “There are many ways that I have hurt and harmed others, have betrayed or abandoned them, caused them suffering, knowingly or unknowingly, out of my pain, fear, anger, and confusion. “
5. “As surely as there is a voyage away, there is a journey home.”
6. “To bow to the fact of our life’s sorrows and betrayals is to accept them; and from this deep gesture we discover that all life is workable. As we learn to bow, we discover that the heart holds more freedom and compassion than we could imagine.”
7. “Even Socrates, who lived a very frugal and simple life, loved to go to the market. When his students asked about this, he replied, “I love to go and see all the things I am happy without.”
8. “This life is a test-it is only a test.
It it had been an actual llife, you would have received further
instructions on where to go and what to do.
Remember, this life is only a test.”
9. “As we encounter new experiences with a mindful and wise attention, we discover that one of three things will happen to our new experience: it will go away, it will stay the same, or it will get more intense. whever happens does not really matter.”
10.“True emptiness is not empty, but contains all things. The mysterious and pregnant void creates and reflects all possibilities. From it arises our individuality, which can be discovered and developoed, although never possessed or fixed.”
11. “When we get too caught up in the busyness of the world, we lose connection with one another – and ourselves.”
12. “The knowledge of the past stays with us. To let go is to
release the images and emotions, the grudges and fears, the
clingings and disappointments of the past that bind our
13. “Every individual has a unique contribution.”
14. “When the stories of our life no longer bind us, we discover within them something greater. We discover that within the very limitations of form, of our maleness and femaleness, of our parenthood and our childhood, of gravity on the earth and the changing of the seasons, is the freedom and harmony we have sought for so long. Our individual life is an expression of the whole mystery, and in it we can resat in the center of the movement, the center of all worlds. ”
15. “In our charade with ourselves we pretend that our war is not really war. We have changed the name of the War Department to the Defense Department and call a whole class of nuclear missiles Peace Keepers!”
16. “Within the mystery of life there is the infinite darkness of the night sky lit by distant orbs of fire, the cobbled skin of an orange that releases its fragrance to our touch, the unfathomable depths of the eyes of our lover. No creation story, no religious system can fully describe or explain this richness and depth. Mystery is so every-present that no one can know for certain what will happen one hour from now. “
17. “We must look at ourselves over and over again in order to learn to love, to discover what has kept our hearts closed, and what it means to allow our hearts to open.”
18. “When we let go of our battles and open our heart to things as they are, then we come to rest in the present moment. This is the beginning and the end of spiritual practice. Only in this moment can we discover that which is timeless. Only here can we find the love that we seek. Love in the past is simply memory, and love in the future is fantasy. Only in the reality of the present can we love, can we awaken, can we find peace and understanding and connection with ourselves and the world.”
19. “The unawakened mind tends to make war against the way things are. To follow a path with heart, we must understand the whole process of making war within ourselves and without, how it begins and how it ends. War’s roots are in ignorance. Without understanding we can easily become frightened by life’s fleeting changes, the inevitable losses, disappointments, the insecurity of our aging and death. Misunderstanding leads us to fight against life, running from pain or grasping at security and pleasures that by their nature can never be satisfying.”
20. “The Third Precept, to refrain from sexual misconduct, reminds us not to act out of sexual desire in such a way as to cause harm to another… The spirit of this precept asks us to look at the motivation behind our actions. To pay attention in this way allows us, as laypeople, to discover how sexuality can be connected to the heart and how it can be an expression of love, caring, and genuine intimacy. We have almost all been fools at some time in our sexual lives, and we have also used sex to try to touch what is beautiful, to touch another person deeply. Conscious sexuality is an essential part of living a mindful life (86).”
21. “I would like to ofer some exercises that can help us use the Five Precepts to cultivate and strengthen mindfulness. It is best to choose one of these exercises and work with it meticulously for a week. Then examine the results and choose another for a subsequent week. These practices can help us understand and find ways to work with each precept.
- Refrain from killing: reverence for life. Undertake for one week to purposefully bring no harm in thought, word, or deed to any living creature. Particularly, become aware of any living beings in your world (people, animals, even plants) whom you ignore, and cultivate a sense of care and reverence for them too.
- Refraining from stealing: care with material goods. Undertake for one week to act on every single thought of generosity that arises spontaneously in your heart.
- Refraining from sexual misconduct: conscious sexuality. Undertake for one week to observe meticulously how often sexual feelings arise in your consciousness. Each time, note what particular mind states you find associated with them such as love, tension, compulsion, caring, loneliness, desire for communication, greed, pleasure, agression, and so forth.
- Refraining from false speech: speech from the heart. Undertake for one week not to gossip (positively or negatively) or speak about anyone you know who is not present with you (any third party).
- Refraining from intoxicants to the point of heedlessness. Undertake for one week or one month to refrain from all intoxicants and addictive substances (such as wine, marijuana, even cigarettes and/or caffeine if you wish). Observe the impulses to use these, and become aware of what is going on in the heart and mind at the time of those impulses (88-89).”
22. “In deep self-acceptance grows a compassionate understanding. As one Zen master said when I asked if he ever gets angry, ‘Of course I get angry, but then a few minutes later I say to myself, ‘What’s the use of this,’ and I let it go.'”
23. “To undertake a genuine spiritual path is not to avoid difficulties but to learn the art of making mistakes wakefully, to bring to them the transformative power of our heart.”
24. “Even the most exalted states and most exceptional spiritual accomplishments are unimportant if we cannot be happy in the most basic and ordinary ways, if we cannot touch one another and the life we have been given with our hearts.”
25. “Morality as taught by way of rules is extremely powerful and valuable in the development of practice. It must be remembered that it, like all the techniques in meditation, is merely a tool to enable one to eventually get to that place of unselfishness where morality and wisdom flow naturally. In the West, there’s a myth that freedom means free expression–that to follow all desires wherever they take one is true freedom. In fact, as one serves the mind, one sees that following desires, attractions, repulsions is not at all freedom, but is a kind of bondage. A mind filled with desires and grasping inevitably entails great suffering. Freedom is not to be gained through the ability to perform certain external actions. True freedom is an inward state of being. Once it is attained, no situation in the world can bind one or limit one’s freedom. It is in this context that we must understand moral precepts and moral rules.”