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Martial Arts Quotes and sayings
Zen Sayings

“The farmer channels water to his land. The Fletcher whittles his arrows. And the carpenter turns his wood. And the wise man directs his mind.
Resolve to be thyself; and know that he who finds himself loses his misery.
It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.—Ursula K. Le Guin
As a man is, so he sees.—William Blake
The water a cow laps turns into milk; The water a snake licks changes into poison.
When it’s cold, water freezes into ice; when it’s warm, ice melts into water. Similarly, when you are confused, essence freezes into mind; when you are enlightened, mind melts into essence.—Muso Kokushi
Man can learn nothing except by going from the known to the unknown.—Claude Bernard
How do you step from the top of a 100-foot pole?—Zen Koan
Madame, there are always two paths to take; one back towards the comforts and security of death, the other forward to nowhere.—Henry Miller
This matter (i.e.,Zen) is like a great mass of fire; when you approach it your face is sure to be scorched. It is again like a sword about to be drawn; when it is once out of the scabbard, someone is sure to lose his life. But if you neither fling away the scabbard nor approach the fire, you are no better than a piece of rock or of wood. Coming to this pass. One has to be quite a resolute character full of spirit.—Tai-Hui
Meditation is not a means to an end. It is both the means and the end.—Krishnamurti
How shall I grasp it? Do not grasp it. That which remains when there is no more grasping is the Self.—Panchadasi
As soon as you try to chase and grab Zen, you’ve already stumbled past it.—Yuan-Wu
The rose is without why it blossoms because it blossoms.—Angelus Silesuis
It is as hard to see one’s self as to look backwards without turning around.—Henry David Thoreau
A primary aim of Zen is the uncovering of what is known as inherent knowledge. This is not the kind of knowledge that is produced by thinking based on conditioned consciousness. It is said that the ignorant are obstructed by ignorance, while the intellectuals are obstructed by intellectual knowledge. One way of getting past these obstacles and approaching inherent knowledge is to let go of whatever comes to mind.—Muso Kokushi
Do your work, then step back. The only path to serenity.—Tao Te Ching
One real world is enough.—Santayana
If a man wishes to be sure of the road he treads on, he must close is eyes and walk in the dark.—St. John of the Cross.
When I hear I see, when I see I hear.—Zen Koan
If all the waves of the Zen stream were alike, innumerable ordinary people would get bogged down.
A general may establish peace, but it si not for the general to see peace.—Zen saying
However innumerable sentient beings, I vow to save them all. However inexhaustible the passions, I vow to extinguish them all. However immeasurable the dharmas, I vow to master them all. However incomparable the Buddha’s truth, I vow to attain it.—The four vows
Your treasure house is within; it contains all you’ll ever need.—Hui-Hai
The perfect man employs his mind as a mirror.—Chuang-Tzu
We do not understand that life is paradise, for it suffices only to wish to understand it, and at once paradise will appear in front of us in its beauty.—Fyodor Dortoyevsky
The Zen master said, “Who binds you?” The seeker of liberty said, “No one binds me.” The Zen Master said, “Then why seek liberation?”—Zen Mondo
What the poet is looking for is not the fundamental I but the deep you.—Antonio Machado
There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so.—William Shakespeare
In the end one only experiences oneself.—Nietzsche
Ears Hear and eyes See, Then what does Mind do?—Zen saying
Nobody sees a flower—really—it is so small it takes time—we haven’t time—and to see takes time, like to have a friend takes time.—Georgia O’Keeffe
O to be delivered from the rational into the realm of pure song…—Theodore Roethke
One sees great things from the valley, only small things from the peak.—G.K. Chesterton
You never enhoy the world aright, till the sea itself floweth in your veins, till you are clothed with the heavens, and crowned with the stars.—Thomas Traherne
There are myriads of forms and hundreds of grasses throughout the entire earth, yet each grass and each form itself is the entire earth.—Dogen
There is not enough nothing in it.—John Cage
A sheltered life can be a daring life as well. For all serious daring starts from within.—Eudora Welty
Fundamentally the marksman aims at himself.—Zen in the Art of Archery
If you try to aim for it, you are turning away from it.—Zen master
Try and be a sheet of paper with nothing on it. Be a spot of ground where nothing is growing, where something might be planted, a seed possibly, from the Absolute.—Rumi
No one except a fish knows a fish’s heart, no one except a bird follows a bird’s trace.—Ancient saying
He who knows himself knows his Lord.—Sufi Saying
We shape clay into a pot, but it is the emptiness inside that holds whatever we want.—Tao Te Ching
Do not follow the ideas of others, but learn to listen to the voice within yourself. Your body and mind will become clear and you will realize the unity of all things.—Dogen
Where people of today dwell, I do not dwell. What people of today do, I do not do. If you clearly understand what this really means, you must be able to enter a pit of fire with your whole body.—Huang-Long
There is no reality except the one contained within us. That is why so many people live such an unreal life. They take the images outside of them for reality and never allow the world within to assert itself.—Herman Hesse
“Did you have a happy childhood?” is a false question. As a child I did not know what happiness was, and whether I was happy or not. I was too busy being.—Alistair Reid
When hungry, eat your rice; when tired, close your eyes. Fools may laugh at me, but wise men will know what I mean.—Lin Chi
Mysticism occurs whenever a human being sees the separation between the natural and the supernatural, the temporal and the eternal, as overcome.—Albert Schweitzer
When we have seen Reality, there is not a grain of dust which has not a sublime meaning.
In a dark time, the eye begins to see.—Theodore Roethke
The more you know the less you understand.—Tao Te Ching
When you sit, there is the logic of hwen you sit. When you stand, there is the logic of when you stand.—Zen saying
You must neither strive for truth nor seek to lose your illusions.—The Shodoka
Once the governor of a province in ancient China spent several days in the mountains with his Zen teacher. As he was getting ready to leave, the master asked him, “When you return to the capital, how will you govern your people?” “With compassion and wisdom,” said the governor. “In that case,” said the master, “every last one of them will suffer.”—Zen story
If you want the truth to stand clear before you, never be for or against.—Seng-Ts’an
Being is what it is.—Jean Paul Sartre
One impulse from a vernal wood May teach you more of man, Of moral evil and of good, Than all the sages can.—William Wordsworth
Only plain things have real taste.—Zen saying
The whole world is a door of liberation, but people are unwilling to enter it.—Hui-Wu
Abandoning things is superior, pursuing them is inferior.—Yen T’ou
Unformed people delight in the gaudy and in novelty. Cooked people delight in the ordinary.—Zen saying
A great man is he who does to lose his childlike heart.—Mencius
A monk: “What is the fundamental teaching?” Yun-men: “No question, no answer.”
The shortest answer is doing.—George Herbert
Time itself is being. All being is time.—Dogen
Zen is a way of liberation, concerned not with discovering what is good or bad or advantageous, but what is.—Alan Watts
I know all one can know when one knows nothing.—Marguerite Duras
If you wish to drown, do not torture yourself with shallow water.—Bulgarian proverb
Enlightenment is like the moon reflected on the water. The moon does not get wet, nor is the water broken. Although its light is wide and great, the moon is reflected even in a puddle an inch wide. The whole moon and the entire sky are reflected in one dewdrop.—Dogen
You say that my poems are poetry. Well they are not, and until you understand why they are not, you won’t see their poetry.—Ryokan
Even a good thing isn’t as good as nothing. —Zen saying.
Each something is a celebration of the nothing that supports it.—John Cage
Let the nothingness into yer shots. —Golf in the Kingdom.
Picture a massless particle.—A Koan of Modern Physics
I’d like to offer something to help you But in the Zen School We don’t have a single thing!—Ikkyu
No yesterday, no tomorrow, and no today.—Seng-Ts’an
Examine the living words and not the dead ones.—Zen Saying.
Both speech and silence transgress.—Zen Saying
May the universe in some strange sense be “brought into being” by the participation of those who participate…The vital act is the act of participation. “Participator” is the incontrovertible new concept given by quantum mechanics. It strikes down the term “observer” of classical theory, the man who stands safely behind the thick glass wall and watches what goes on without taking part. It can’t be done.—John Wheeler
Abjure the why and seek the how.—Sir Richard Burton
I have no doctrine to give people—I just cure ailments and unlock fetters.—Lin-Chi
To approach the teachings as a field of study is what is called turning medicine into disease.—Muso Kokushi
The “silly question” is the first intimation of some totally new development.—Alfred North Whitehead
What is soundless, touchless, formless, imperishable, Likewise tasteless, constant, odorless, Without beginning, without end, higher than the great, stable—By discerning That, one is liberated from the mouth of death.—The Upanishads
Someone asked, “How is the sword of wisdom before it is whetted?” Shuiyan said, “Can’t be used.” The questioner continued, ” How is it after it is whetted?” Shuiyan said, ” Can’t be touched.”—Zen Mondo
A zendo is not a peaceful haven, but a furnace room for the combustion of our delusions—Eido Roshi
The reason angels can fly is that they take themselves so lightly.—G.K. Chesterton
Do not think that Buddhas are other than you.—Dogen
A day without work is a day without eating.—Pai-chang.
Do not permit the events of your daily life to bind you, but never withdraw yourself from them.—Zen Saying.
Do not permit the events of your daily life to bind you, but never withdraw yourself from them.—Zen Saying.
Zen is not some kind of excitement, but concentration on our usual everyday routine.—Shunryu Suzuki
Do not think, do not imagine, do not analyze. Do not meditate, do not reflect. Abide in the natural state.—The Six Rules Of Tilopa
I learn by going where I have to go.—Theodore Roethke
We learn something by doing it. There is no other way.—John Holt
Should you desire the great tranquillity, prepare to sweat white beads.—Hakuin
Great Faith. Great Doubt. Great Effort.—The Three Qualities Necessary For Training
An ancient said, “The Way is always with people, but people themselves chase after things.”—Fa-Yen
There is no beginning to practice or end to enlightenment, and there is no beginning to enlightenment or end to practice.—Dogen
When the student is ready, the Master appears.—Buddhist Proverb
May you live all the days of your life.—Jonathan Swift
Sometimes I go about in pity for myself, and all the while A great wind is bearing me across the sky.—Ojibwa Saying
Value judgments are destructive to our proper business, which is curiosity and awareness.—John Cage
How terrible to watch a man who has the Incomprehensible within his grasp, doesn’t know what to do, and sits down playing with a toy called God.—Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Extinguish pride as quickly as you would a fire.—Herakleitos
To be a man of knowledge one needs to be light and fluid.—Yanqui Mystic
Where there is great doubt, there will be great awakening; small doubt, small awakening; no doubt, no awakening.—Zen saying
You are lost the instant you know what the result will be.—John Gris
An autumn night—Don’t think your life didn’t matter.–Basho
There is no end. There is no beginning. There is only infinite passion of life.—Federico Fellini
When making your choice in life, do not neglect to live.—Samuel Johnson
We feel and know that we are eternal.—Spinoza
The believer is happy, the doubter wise.—Greek Proverb
If you do not get it from yourself, where will you go for it?—Zen Saying
Sell your cleverness and buy bewilderment.—Rumi
It takes a long time to understand nothing.—Edward Dahlberg
Some there are that torment themselves afresh with the memory of what is past; others, again, afflict themselves with the apprehension of evils to come; and very ridiculously both—for the one does not now concern us, and the other not yet….One should count each day as a separate life.–Seneca
To see a World in a Grain of Sand And a Heaven in a Wildflower Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand And Eternity in an hour.—William Blake
In the Orient, there is a story of a samurai who is being chased by a bear. He literally runs off a cliff. As he’s falling, he grabs a branch.
He looks up and sees the bear leaning over the cliff, clawing at his head, missing only by inches. As he looks down to the ground below, only about fifteen feet, he sees a lion leaping up, missing his feet only by inches. As he looks at the branch he is clutching, he sees two groundhogs gnawing away at it. He watches as his lifeline disappears, bite by bite.
As he takes a deep, long breath, he notices, next to his branch, a clump of wild strawberries. In the midst of the clump is a great, red, juicy strawberry. With his one free hand, he reaches over, picks the strawberry, puts it in his mouth, chews it slowly and says, “Ah—delicious.”
It is said that what the caterpillar calls the end of the world the master calls the butterfly. There is a Zen story about a peasant farmer who owned a beautiful horse desired by others. One day it disappeared. When all the villagers remarked on his bad luck, he calmly replied, “Maybe so, maybe not.” A few days later the horse returned, leading a heard of fine wild horses. A week later, his only son was thrown and crippled while training the horses. When the villagers again remarked on his bad luck, he calmly replied, “Maybe so, maybe not.” Within a week, a frivolous war was declared by the emperor and all young men, save the farmer’s son, were forced into battle and none returned.
We sit around in a ring and suppose But the Secret sits in the middle and knows.—Robert Frost
There was a man hanging from a cliff two thousand feet above the valley floor. The terrified man looked to the top of the cliff and screamed, “Is there anyone up there who can help me?”
A deep, booming reply came from above, “Yes, I’ll help you. I’m the Lord. Just relax and let go.”
A long pause.
“Is there anyone else up there who can help me?”
Why not go out on a limb? That’s where the fruit is.—Will Rogers
The little I know, I owe to my ignorance. Sacha Guitry
Nothing is more dangerous than an idea when it is the only one you have.—Emile Chartier
Normally, we do not so much look at things as overlook them.—Alan Watts
Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.—Helen Keller
The only person who likes change is a wet baby.—Roy Z-M Blitzer
What a strange machine man is! You fill him with bread, wine, fish and radishes, and out of him come sighs, laughter and dreams.—Nikos Kazantzakis
Zorba the Greek
My name used to be Me. But now it’s You.—Theophane the Monk
In Aikido, there are no enemies. The mistake is to begin to think that budo (the way of the warrior) means to have an opponent or enemy; somebody you want to be stronger than, someone you want to throw down. In true budo there is no enemy or opponent. True budo is to become one with the universe.—Morihei Ueshiba
Anyone can count the seeds in an apple.
No one can count the apples in a seed.—Anonymous
Ryoken, a Zen master, lived the simplest kind of life in a little hut at the foot of a mountain. One evening a thief visited the hut, only to discover there was nothing in it to steal.
Ryoken returned and caught him. “You may have come a long way to visit me,” he told the prowler, “and you should not return empty handed. Please take my clothes as a gift.”
The thief was bewildered. He took the clothes and slunk away.
Ryoken sat naked, watching the moon. “Poor fellow,” he mused. “I wish I could give him this beautiful moon.”
…everytime you think you are not happy, say “I am happy.” Say it strongly to yourself, even if your feelings are contradictory. Remember, it is your self-image and not you. Just as fast as a fish can move in water, you can instantly change to a happy balanced attitude.—Tarthang Tulku Rinpoche
“The Self-Image”
Years ago there was a Christian monastery in Egypt. It was very poor materially. The only precious possessions were the Scriptures, written on three beautiful scrolls, that were always left open on a table in a small study near the chapel.
One day a monk came out of the study, screaming, “Father! Father! Someone is stealing the scrolls!”
The abbot of the monastery came running to the study and saw that two scrolls were indeed missing. But on the windowsill was the third scroll. It had been dropped by the thief.
The abbot grabbed the third scroll and dashed off in the direction of the fleeing thief. After a long chase, the abbot finally caught him.
The exhausted thief collapsed on the ground and surrendered himself to his captor and awaited the subsequent severe punishment rendered to thieves in those days.
Instead, the abbot stood in front of the man and handed him the third scroll, exclaiming, “I have been chasing you for quite awhile. I wanted to give you this third scroll. You forgot to take it and it is the most important one. The teachings would be incomplete without it.”
With this, the abbot bowed and walked back to the monastery.
Shortly thereafter, the thief returned to the monastery with the scrolls, totally committed to becoming one of its monks.
What we see, and like to see, is cure and change. But what we do see and do not want to see is care, the participation I the pain, solidarity in suffering, the sharing in the experience of brokenness. And still, cure without care is as dehumanizing as a gift given with a cold heart.—Henri Nouwen
Man is most nearly himself when he achieves the seriousness of a child at play.—Heraclitus
We train in hopes of being of some use, however small our role may be, in the task of bringing peace to mankind around the world.—Morihei Ueshiba
Jews wandered in the desert for 40 years because even in biblical times, men wouldn’t stop and ask for directions.
Winston Churchill
The price of greatness is responsibility.
The greatest lesson in life is to know that even fools are right sometimes. Personally, I’m always ready to learn, although I do not always like being taught.
Some men change their party for the sake of their principles; others their principles for the sake of their party.
It was the nation and the race dwelling all round the globe that had the lion’s heart.
I had the luck to be called upon to give the roar.
He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire.
An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.
Eating words has never given me indigestion.
Nothing is more costly, nothing is more sterile, than vengeance.
Without courage, all other virtues lose their meaning.
To gain one’s way is no escape from the responsibility for an inferior solution.
Politics are almost as exciting as war, and quite as dangerous.
In war you can only be killed once, but in politics many times.
We do not covet anything from any nation except their respect.
A fanatic is one who can’t change his mind and won’t change the subject.
There is no finer investment for any community than putting milk into babies.
It is a mistake to look too far ahead. Only one link in the chain of destiny can be handled at a time.
Moral of the Work. In war: resolution. In defeat: defiance. In victory: magnanimity. In peace: goodwill.
Theodore Roosevelt
The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement; and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.
No man is above the law and no man below it.
Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far.
Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.
Obedience of the law is demanded; not asked as a favor.
The best executive is the one who has sense enough to pick good men to do what he wants done, and self-restraint enough to keep from meddling with them while they do it.
In any moment of decision the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.
Don’t spread patriotism too thin.
Aggressive fighting for the right is the greatest sport in the world.
Don’t foul, don’t flinch – hit the line hard.
Nine-tenths of wisdom consists in being wise in time.
Get action. Seize the moment. Man was never intended to become an oyster.
I think there is only one quality worse than hardness of heart and that is softness of head.
No man is justified in doing evil on the ground of expediency.
No man is worth his salt who is not ready at all times to risk his body, to risk his well-being, to risk his life, in a great cause.
Martin Luther King, Jr.
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of this creed—We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.
Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.
Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.
If a man is called to be a streetsweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, “here lived a great streetsweeper who did his job well.”
Nothing pains some people more than having to think.
I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality.
We must use time creatively — and forever realize that the time is always hope to do great things.
We must combine the toughness of the serpent and the softness of the dove,
a tough mind and a tender heart.
Man is man because he is free to operate within the framework of his destiny.
He is free to deliberate, to make decisions, and to choose between alternatives.
Man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation.
The foundation of such a method is love.
If a man hasn’t discovered something that he will die for, he isn’t fit to live.
We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive.
He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love.
When evil men plot, good men must plan.
u When evil men plot, good men must plan.
When evil men shout ugly words of hatred, good men must commit themselves to the glories of love.
When we let freedom ring, when we let it ring form every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of that old Negro spiritual, “Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”
Vince Lombardi
The quality of a person’s life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless fo their chosen field of endeavor.
It’s not whether you get knocked down, it’s whether you get up.
The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather in a lack of will.
The harder you work, the harder it is to surrender.
Winning is a habit. Unfortunately, so is losing.
The spirit, the will to win, and the will to excel are the things that endure. These qualities are so much more important than the events that occur.
In great attempts it is glorious even to fail.
Football is like life — it requires perseverance, self-denial, hard work, sacrifice, dedication and respect for authority.
Build for your team a feeling of oneness, of dependence upon one another and of strength to be derived by unity.
I firmly believe that any man’s finest hour — his greatest fulfillment to all he holds dear — is that moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle — victorious.
Winning is not a sometime thing; it’s an all-the-time thing.
It is and always has been an American seal to be first in anything we do and to win and to win and to win.
If you can accept losing, you can’t win.
Winning is not everything — but making the effort to win is.
We know how rough the road will be, how heavy here the load will be, we know about the barricades that wait along the track, but we have set our soul ahead upon a certain goal ahead and nothing left from hell to sky shall ever turn us back.
Golda Meir
Those who do not know how to weep with their whole heart don’t know how to laugh either.
You cannot shake hands with a clenched fist.
I can honestly say that I was never affected by the question of the success of an undertaking. If I felt it was the right thing to do, I was for it regardless of the possible outcome.
Old age is like a plane flying through a storm. Once you’re aboard, there’s nothing you can do.
A leader who doesn’t hesitate before he sends his nation into battle is not fit to be a leader.
Abraham Lincoln
Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.
A drop of honey catches more flies that a gallon of gall. So with men. If you would win a man to your cause, first convince him that you are his sincere friend. Therein is a drop of honey which catches his heart, which, say what he will, is the highroad to his reason.
“Untilled ground, however rich, will bring forth thistles and thorns; so also the mind of man.” St. Teresa Avila (Spanish Carmelite nun)
“Minds are like parachutes. They work best when they are open.”
“What you resist, persists.”
“You can always spot a well-informed man-his views are the same as yours.”
Ilka Chase
“The whole secret of life is to be interested in one thing profoundly and in a thousand things well.”
Horace Walpoe
“Never let yesterday use up today.”
“Failure is not defeat…until you stop trying.”
“A friend walks in when others are walking out.”
“You can control any situation if you first control yourself.”
“A miracle is a message from our hearts, sent to dissolve all limitations.”
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