Quotes from The Three Pillars of Zen

Philip Kapleau ·  480 pages

Rating: (4.8K votes)

“If you fall into poverty, live that way without grumbling - then your poverty will not burden you. Likewise, if you are rich, live with your riches. All this is the functioning of Buddha-nature. In short, Buddha-nature has the quality of infinite adaptability.”
― Philip Kapleau, quote from The Three Pillars of Zen

“You must realize that no matter how intently you count your breaths you will still perceive what is in your line of vision, since your eyes are open, and you will hear the normal sounds about you, as your ears are not plugged. And since your brain likewise is not asleep, various thought forms will dart about your mind. Now, they will not hamper or diminish the effectiveness of zazen unless, evaluating them as "good", you cling to them or, deciding they are "bad", you try to check or eliminate them.”
― Philip Kapleau, quote from The Three Pillars of Zen

“One day a man of the people said to Zen Master Ikkyu: “Master, will you please write for me some maxims of the highest wisdom?” Ikkyu immediately took his brush and wrote the word “Attention.” “Is that all?” asked the man. “Will you not add something more?” Ikkyu then wrote twice running: “Attention. Attention.” “Well,” remarked the man rather irritably, “I really don’t see much depth or subtlety in what you have just written.” Then Ikkyu wrote the same word three times running: “Attention. Attention. Attention.” Half angered, the man demanded: “What does that word ‘Attention’ mean anyway?” And Ikkyu answered gently: “Attention means attention.”11”
― Philip Kapleau, quote from The Three Pillars of Zen

“our mastery of worldly phenomena will simply change the particular ways we suffer and not our understanding of the nature of suffering.”
― Philip Kapleau, quote from The Three Pillars of Zen

“skipped my meditation because of a headache and Fuji looked somber and lifeless … Today after a couple of hours of good meditation in a chair it’s grand and soaring again. A remarkable discovery: I have the power of life and death over Fuji!…”
― Philip Kapleau, quote from The Three Pillars of Zen

“You must cease concerning yourself with the dialects of Buddhism and instead learn how to look into your own mind in seclusion.”
― Philip Kapleau, quote from The Three Pillars of Zen

“The patriarchal line is, then, a reminder of how deep cultural biases can run, in this case undercutting the core Buddhist teaching that all beings without exception are equally endowed with the true nature of enlightenment.”
― Philip Kapleau, quote from The Three Pillars of Zen

About the author

Philip Kapleau
Born place: in New Haven, The United States
Born date August 12, 1912
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