Wizard Quotes

An excerpt from Gyoji (Practice Every Day), found in Taisen Deshimaru’s The Ring of the Way:

One day the Buddha Shakyamuni was preaching and at the end he said, “Do not run after a man or a woman; it is better to look into yourself.” The internal revolution is important but hard:

A man always remains a man. A man congeals like a man. A woman congeals like a woman. An intellectual congeals like an intellectual. A madman congeals like a madman.

This congealing, inflexibility, is the cause of many troubles. But once it is finished, once the personality becomes straight and honest and a person joins the cosmic order, then the mind grows soft and supple and there is no longer any reason to hide or run away from anything. The mind, the spirit, is always shining, sparkling, day after day. That is sainthood. The quality is straight, the consciousness unresisting. That is the essential point of Dogen’s Zen. Sky and earth have the same body, all existences have the same root. No need to create a separation between myself and others. When you let go of the “isms,” the solidified, congealed thoughts, then you can find true satori, true do, the Tao (the way).

Who For Whom, a Thomas Cleary translation found in Vitality, Energy, Spirit — A Taoist Sourcebook:

Once a man held a huge banquet with a thousand guests. When someone presented a gift of fish and fowl, the host said appreciatively, “Heaven is generous to the people indeed, planting cereals and creating fish and fowl for our use.” The huge crowd of guests echoed this sentiment.

Then a youth about twelve years old, who had been sitting in the most remote corner of the banquet hall, now came forward and said to the host, “It is not as you say, sir. All beings in the universe are living creatures on a par with us. No species is higher or lower in rank than another, it’s just that they control each other by differences in their intelligence and power; they eat each other, but that does not mean they were produced for each other. People take what they can eat and eat it, but does that mean that heaven produced that for people? If so, then since mosquitoes bite skin and tigers and wolves eat flesh, does that not mean that heaven made humans for the mosquitoes and created flesh for tigers and wolves?”

The Golden Age, found in William Butler Yeats’ Mythologies:

A while ago I was in the train, and getting near Sligo. The last time I had been there something was troubling me, and I had longed for a message from those beings or bodiless moods, or whatever they be, who inhabit the world of spirits. The message came, for one night I saw with blinding distinctness, as I lay between sleeping and waking, a black animal, half weasel, half dog, moving along the top of a stone wall, and presently the black animal vanished, and from the other side came a white weasel-like dog, his pink flesh shining through his white hair and all in a blaze of light; and I remembered a peasant belief about two faery dogs who go about representing day and night, good and evil, and was comforted by the excellent omen.

But now I longed for a message of another kind, and chance, if chance there is, brought it, for a man got into the carriage and began to play on a fiddle made apparently of an old blacking-box, and though I am quite unmusical the sounds filled me with the strangest emotions. I seemed to hear a voice of lamentation out of the Golden Age. It told me that we are impure, incomplete, and no more like a beautiful woven web, but like a bundle of cords knotted together and flung into a corner. It said that the world was once all perfect and kindly, and that still the kindly and perfect world existed, but buried like a mass of roses under many spadefuls of earth. The faeries and the more innocent of the spirits dwelt within it, and lamented over our fallen world in the lamentation of the wind-tossed reeds, in the song of the birds, in the moan of the waves, and in the sweet cry of the fiddle. It said that with us the beautiful are not clever and the clever are not beautiful, and that the best of our moments are marred by a little vulgarity, or by a needle-prick out of sad recollection, and that the fiddle must ever lament about it all. It said that if only they who live in the Golden Age could die we might be happy, for the sad voices would be still; but they must sing and we must weep until the eternal gates swing open.


2 Responses to “Wizard Quotes”

  1. parallelsidewalk Says:

    Seeing Taoism and Buddhism up close in China kind of disappointed me. The popular forms of both seem to address very few of the fundamental points that (as far as I can tell) Siddharta Gautama and Lao Zi were trying to put out there. It just seemed like rituals and charms a lot of the time.

  2. wizardsmoke Says:

    Hi PS — Well, from what I’ve read and heard from Chinese/Thai/Japanese teachers and friends, meditation isn’t emphasized there as a daily practice among the casual practitioners the way it is in the West. I’ve never actually been to China, but I wonder if some practices are stunted by the Party? You’d probably know more about it than me. And why are they so afraid of Falun Gong? They don’t like any gurus other than Mao?

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