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Instead of creatively realizing their freedom, many choose the unreflective conformism dictated by television, indulgence in mass-consumerism, or numbing their feelings of alienation and anguish with drugs. In theory, freedom may be held in high regard; in practice it is experienced as a dizzying loss of meaning and direction.

— Stephen Batchelor, “Buddhism Without Beliefs


From the intrinsic standpoint—one of body, of Buddha-nature—non-killing means that there is nothing being born and nothing dying. The very notions of ‘birth’ and ‘death’ are extra. Life does not divide up into things to be killed or not killed; it is just this one body, constantly changing.

— Bernie Glassman, “The First Precept


It is a great turning point in our spiritual lives when we go from an intellectual appreciation of a path to the heartfelt confidence that says, ‘Yes, it is possible to awaken. I can, too.’ A tremendous joy accompanies this confidence. When we place our hearts upon the practice, the teachings come alive. That turning point, which transforms an abstract concept of a spiritual path into our own personal path, is faith.

Sharon Salzberg, “How Important is Faith?


Liberation does not come when you conquer your ego, silence it, or through repression and denial get it to behave ‘properly.’ Liberation comes when we release our attachment to the habitual conditioned nature and structure of our temporary egos.

— Jun Po Denis Kelly Roshi, “Liberation


If we are willing to look long enough in the mirror of zazen [seated meditation], past seeing ourselves as objects, we have the potential to see that we are nature itself—we are born and will die, just as the trees, flowers, and animals in the wild do.

Zenju Earthlyn Manuel, “The Hidden Lamp


Buddhism does not espouse any ascetic practice, nor does it hold a doctrine tending to a dualistic conception of existence which makes the flesh the source of evil and the spirit the foundation of everything good. The body as a material phenomenon has its limitations, as a living organism has its impulses, desires, passions, and moods; and there is nothing evil or wicked in it.

— Soyen Shaku, “The Middle Way


In Buddhist practice, we discover that mindful attention can reveal a deeper truth in whatever object we are paying attention to. The same is true in romantic love. When we use our attention to touch and open the deeper truth in a person, we not only catalyze the experience of love, we become love. The source of love is revealed to be within us; we no longer have to go looking for it somewhere outside.

— Nicole Daedone, “Love Becomes Her