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 in receiving guests.
  • Watch what you say, and whatever you say, practice it.
  • When an opportunity comes do not let it pass by, yet 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 as if you had entered your last sleep. Upon awakening, leave your bed behind you instantly as if you had cast away a pair of old shoes.

-- From 101 Zen Stories, transcribed by Nyogen Senzaki and Paul Reps.

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