Miscellaneous Gems
from all over . . . 
(ie, not just gurus)

Authors, in order of appearance: 
Landrum Bolling, Longchenpa, Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan, Pete Sierra, Bertrand Russell, John von Neumann, Kenneth Kraft, Horace Walpole, Heinz Pagels, Nisargadatta Maharaj, Hyakujo Ekai, Bruce Morgen, Shunryu Suzuki , Peter Fenner, Bertand Russell again, Stan Trout, Osho, Matthew Files, Nisargadatta again, Richard Dawkins, Chagdud Tulku

Forgiveness means giving up all hope of a better past.
– Landrum Bolling


Since everything is but an illusion,
Perfect in being what it is,
Having nothing to do with good or bad,
Acceptance or rejection,
One might as well burst out laughing!

– Longchenpa


The Sufis say there are two journeys.
The first, the journey to God, has an end.
But the second, the journey in God, is endless.
That is when one realizes one's own path
is not about overcoming one's personal limitations
and attaining perfection, but rather about participation
in the desire of the whole being to experience itself.

– Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan


To believe there is such a thing as sin, is a sin. It's to believe
God could make something possible, give you free will, and
then punish you for doing it. Would you call a man that leaves
loaded guns where his children can reach them, a good father?

– Pete Sierra


The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always
so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts.
– Bertrand Russell


There's no sense in being precise
when you don't even know
what you're talking about.
– John von Neumann


It is noteworthy... that the story of the Buddha's spiritual journey climaxes with his enlightenment but does not end there. Even as he was savoring the blissful state that followed his awakening, he was approached (in the traditional account) by a delegation of gods, who begged him to give up his private ecstasy so he could share his awakening with those who still suffered. This encounter and its outcome, however legendary, make the point that spiritual maturity includes the ability to actualize transcendent insight in daily life. The Buddha is said to have wandered across northern India for forty years, tirelessly teaching the dharma. His decision to arise from his seat under the Bo tree and go out into the world can be considered the first step of a socially engaged Buddhism. The Buddha's discourses, which had revolutionary force in the society of his time, include countless passages dealing with "this-worldly" topics such as politics, good government, poverty, crime, war, peace, and ecology.
– Kenneth Kraft, from Inner Peace, World Peace 


The world is a tragedy to those who feel but a comedy to those who think.
– Horace Walpole


The characteristics of all fundamentalism
is that it has found absolute certainty -
the certainty of class warfare, the certainty
of science, or the literal certainty of the
Bible - a certainty of the person who has finally
found a solid rock to stand upon, which, unlike
other rocks, is "solid all the way down."
Fundamentalism, however, is a terminal
form of human consciousness in which
development has stopped, eliminating the
uncertainty and risk that real growth
entails.
– physicist Heinz Pagels


A true Guru will never humiliate you, nor will he estrange you from yourself. He will constantly bring you back to the fact of your inherent perfection and encourage you to seek within. He knows you need nothing, not even him, and is never tired of reminding you. But the self-appointed guru is more concerned with himself than with his disciples.
– Nisargadatta Maharaj


All verbal teachings are just to cure diseases. Because diseases are not the same, the remedies are also different. That is why it is sometimes said that there is Buddha, and sometimes it is said that there is no Buddha. True words are those that actually cure sickness; if the cure manages to heal, then all are true words. If they can't effectively cure sickness, all are false words.

True words are false words when they give rise to views. False words are true words when they cut off the delusions of sentient beings. Because disease is unreal, there is only unreal medicine to cure it.
– Hyakujo Ekai


Thank you.  If I may expand
a bit on what XYZ sees as
a essentially evangelical
obligation to "spread the
word" -- a very narrow view
of the famous (and quite
choiceless, but that's
another issue) Bodhisattva
Vow. I would venture a
guess that many if not most
realizers simply find seva
that suits the incarnation's
propensities -- this may be
overt teaching (in any
number of modes) or it may
be by simply being who they
are in the context of a more
or less ordinary course of
life.

Among teaching realizers,
there is a vast spectrum of
approaches, from downright
austere (J. Krishnamurti) to
simply joyful (Neem Karoli
Baba), from sublimely poetic
(Rumi) to encyclopedically
learned (Shankara). There
is more than enough room and
need for all these voices --
and it behooves us to not to
mistake the course of one or
two realizers' lives for
universal exemplars or a
matter of style and/or skill
for one of authenticity.
– Bruce Morgen


The most important thing is to find out
what is the most important thing.
– Shunryu Suzuki 


The twin objectives of wisdom and universal compassion must be 
cultivated simultaneously, because only by cultivating the wisdom 
that sees the unreality of all existence can bodhisattvas engage the 
world without being overwhelmed and paralyzed by the infinite 
suffering they encounter. Getting the balance right in the 
synchronized practice of wisdom and compassion is a delicate matter 
for bodhisattvas -- the topic is discussed at length in the playful 
and often intricately paradoxical dialogues of the Perfect Wisdom 
teachings (Prajnaparamita). If they give premature or excessive 
emphasis to the perfection of wisdom there is the chance that the 
bodhisattvas will become insensitive to people's suffering, because 
deep down they know that it is just a fabricated construction. The 
Vimalakirtinirdesha-sutra, for example, warns that without 
compassion, bodhisattvas will gravitate toward an experience of 
quietism that will alienate them from other creatures. On the other 
hand, if they focus too much on developing an automatic impulse to 
become involved in the confused and painful constructions of deluded 
creatures, and so ignore the development of wisdom, they will find 
themselves consumed by the overpowering intensity of samsaric 
suffering. The pre-eminent skill of bodhisattvas lies in their 
capacity to see the utter unreality of pain and pleasure, without 
allowing this insight to disempower their capacity to actively 
alleviate the illusory suffering of the world.
– Peter Fenner 


There is something feeble and a little contemptible about a man who 
cannot face the perils of life without the help of comfortable myths. 
Almost inevitably some part of him is aware that they are myths and 
that he believes them only because they are comforting. But he dare 
not face this thought! Moreover, since he is aware, however dimly, 
that his opinions are not rational, he becomes furious when they 
are disputed.”
– Bertrand Russell


In every time, those who have experienced the Self are faced with the legacy of past expressions of this knowledge which have become calcified, as it were, into stone walls of tradition, standing in the way of real self-inquiry. The teachings of the Vedas, of the Buddha, and of Shankara, which burst those walls of complacent doctrine in their own time, themselves became in time bulwarks of meaningless doctrine which also had to be burst asunder by subsequent seers. In speaking of the Self, words, after all, are inadequate, and are therefore always open to contradiction. It is thus the perennial task of the enlightened to negate old terminologies, made meaningless by long familiarity, in order to jar awake the minds of men from their complacent slumber.
– Stan Trout


Jains and Buddhists are always in conflict -- because Mahavir is a male-oriented mind, a warrior, a conqueror. That is the meaning of the word 'mahavir'. That is not his real name; his real name was Vardhman. But he conquered truth. And he was so brave and the adventure was so great that he is remembered as Mahavir: the great courageous one. There is a very subtle conflict between Jains and Buddhists. Down through the centuries they have been arguing against each other. That can be understood. The reason is male-mind, female-mind, yin and yang, active and passive, day and night. The day is the symbol of the man; the night is the symbol of the woman. The day is full of activity, the night is simply rest. The day is bright, light -- the sun is there. You can see things clear-cut. You can define things: you can know what is what and who is who. In the night darkness surrounds. The whole existence is enveloped in darkness. You cannot distinguish what is what; you cannot see where you are, who you are. It is a tremendous relaxation of all definitions, of all limitations, Woman is always known as the dark one, the night, the earth.

Buddha became a woman that night; he became enlightened.
– Osho


.....In trying to communicate in words what
is incommunicable in words, it really makes 
no difference what the words are.

Sort of.

Some teachers try to be very clear, very articulate
and that can make it very easy for the logical mind
to wrap itself around the words, to comprehend the 
words and be fooled into believing there is some 
deeper understanding.

On the other hand if the words used are too muddy,
obtuse, then there is just useless (as opposed to useful)
confusion. Yet to find that middle ground, that 'twilight' 
language where it's just light enough to see, and just 
dark enough to not be sure of what is seen, that is an art.
– Matthew Files


Q: How does one reach the Supreme state?

A: By renouncing all lesser desires. As long as you are pleased with 
the lesser, you cannot have the highest. Whatever pleases you keeps 
you back. Until you realize the unsatisfactoriness of everything, its 
transiency and limitation and collect your energies in one great 
longing, even the first step is not made. 

On the other hand, the integrity of the desire for the Supreme is by 
itself a call from the Supreme.

To find the Guru and also the trust in him is rare luck. It does not 
happen often. To find the living Guru is a rare opportunity and a 
great responsibility. One should not treat these matters lightly.

– Nisargadatta Maharaj


The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.
– Richard Dawkins


People often ask me,  "Do lamas have attachment?"
I don't know how other lamas might answer this, but I must say, yes.
I recognize that my students, my family, my country have
no inherent reality.... Yet I remain
deeply attached to them. I recognize that my attachment has
no inherent reality. Yet I cannot deny the experience of it.
Still, knowing the empty nature of attachment,
I know my motivation to benefit
sentient beings must supersede it.

– Chagdud Tulku


Your bon mot / cogent observation could be next :-)

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