My heart burns like fire


Soyen Shaku, the first Zen teacher to come to america said; ‘My heart burns like fire, but my eyes are as cold as dead ashes.’ He made the following rules, which he practiced every day of his life:

– In the morning before dressing, light incense and meditate.
– Retire at a regular hour.
– Partake of food at regular intervals.
– Eat with moderation, and never to the point of satisfaction.
– Receive a guest with the same attitude you have when alone.
– When alone maintain the same attitude you have when receiving guests.
– Watch what you say, and whatever you say, practice it.
– When an opportunity arises, do not let it pass by.
– Always think twice before acting.
– Do not regret the past, look to the future.
– Have the fearless attitude of a hero, and the loving heart of a child.
– Upon retiring, sleep like you had entered your last sleep.
– Upon awakening, leave your bed behind you instantly, like you had cast away a pair of old shoes.

To incorporate any of these into ones daily life would improve it. But don’t take my word for it!



Filed under philosophy, positivity, Zen

8 responses to “My heart burns like fire

  1. An interesting list, Lewis. It takes great attention to live each day like this, but the average person could do worse, as you point out. Do you think that there are similarities between Zen and Gurdjieff?


    • Yes. I think there are many similarities in the two teachings. I won’t go into detail, but, they both say their is a higher state of awareness and attention to be acheived. And both state that it can be done IN life, and no one has to know about your internal efforts.


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  3. Sage advice! In particular, the bit about maintaining the same attitude whether alone or in company… when you put contemplate that and try and put it into practice, that is deeply revealing! It goes right to the heart of our false concept of seperateness and individuality…


    • Thanx Ben.
      I think it’s a great thing to try and keep one of the points in mind. One would have to have a strong will to be able to incorporate them all. I like the one about practicing what you preach, but my favourite is ‘upon awakening, leave your bed like it was a pair of old shoes’. Easier said than done.


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