Tao Te Ching

The Power of Goodness, the Wisdom Beyond Words
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No Trace

Quotes (74)

“This Self is never born, nor does It die. It did not spring from anything, nor did anything spring from It. This Ancient One is unborn, eternal, everlasting. It is not slain even though the body is slain.”

Vyasa व्यास 1 via Upanishads
Hindu immortals, Vishnu avatar, 5th incarnation of Brahma
from Mahābhārata महाभारतम्

“Let me keep surrendering my self until I am utterly transparent... Unnamable God, my essence, my origin, my life-blood, my home.”

King David 1000 – 920 BCE
"The baffled king composing Hallelujah!"
from Book of Psalms

“For all things are from the earth and to the earth all things come in the end”

Xenophanes Ξενοφάνης ὁ Κολοφώνιος 570 – 475 BCE
(Xenophanes of Colophon)
from Fragments

Themes: No Trace

“All things that appear in this world are transient. If you view all things that appear as never having appeared, then you will realize your true self.”

Buddha गौतम बुद्ध 563 – 483 BCE
(Siddhartha Shakyamuni Gautama)
Awakened Truth
from Diamond Sutra

“the greatest deception leaves no trace”

Sun Tzu 孙武 544 – 496 BCE via Denma Translation Group
(Sun Zi)
HIstory's supreme strategist

“No matter how many ways you try, you cannot find a boundary to consciousness, so deep in every direction does it extend.”

Heraclitus Ἡράκλειτος 535 – 475 BCE
(of Ephesus, the "Weeping Philosopher")
A Greek Buddha

“when the mind is open and free of its own thoughts, life unfolds effortlessly and the whole world is filled with light”

Chuang Tzu 莊周 369 – 286 BCE

Themes: Openness No Trace

21. Following Empty Heart

“Give up wanting to be important; let your footsteps leave no trace.”

Chuang Tzu 莊周 369 – 286 BCE

Themes: No Trace

27. No Trace

“Sages are not controlled by names, not governed by plans, not burdened by affairs, and not ruled by intellect. They are concealed in formlessness; their acts are traceless, and their roamings are trackless.”

Liú Ān 劉安 1 via Thomas Cleary
from Huainanzi

27. No Trace

“The firewood is not itself the fire.”

Nagarjuna नागर्जुन 1 via Ari Goldfield
from Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way

Themes: No Trace

“If we don’t obstruct their source, things come into existence on their own.”

Wang Bi 王弼 226 – 534 CE

Themes: No Trace

10. The Power of Goodness

“The mind is always present. You just don't see it... When the mind creates the idea of the mind, people are deluded but if you don't use the mind to create the idea of the mind, you will always live in the country of the Buddhas”

Bodhidharma 菩提達磨 1 via Shan Dao

Themes: Mind No Trace

73. Heaven’s Net

“When everything is seen as One, we return to the Source and stay where we have always been.”

Jianzhi Sengcan 鑑智僧璨 529 – 606 CE
(Jiànzhì Sēngcàn)

Themes: Oneness No Trace

“The birds have vanished into the sky, and now the last cloud drains away.
We sit together, the mountain and me, until only the mountain remains.”

Li Bai 李白 701 – 762 CE
(Li Bo)

“Gone and a million things leave no trace.”

Han Shan 1
(Cold Mountain)

Themes: No Trace

2. The Wordless Teachings

“If you want to reach the true beyond doubt, place yourself in the same freedom as sky. You name it neither good nor not good.”

Nansen, Nanquan Puyuan 南泉普願 749 – 835 CE

Themes: Freedom No Trace

“When a monk asked Joshu, ‘Does a dog have Buddha-nature?’ he replied, ‘Bu.’ (不 ‘no thing’ in Chinese)”

Joshu, Zhàozhōu Cōngshěn 趙州從諗 778 – 897 CE via Shan Dao

27. No Trace

“in our Taoism, the expression 'to produce emptiness' contains the whole work of completing life and essence... It is the washing of the heart and the purification of the thoughts...the work of making the heart empty... forever tarrying in purposelessness.”

Lü Dongbin 呂洞賓 1
(Lü Tung-Pin)

from Secret of the Golden Flower 太乙金華宗旨; Tàiyǐ Jīnhuá Zōngzhǐ

Themes: Taoism No Trace

“Those who treasure the Way fit in without making a show and stay forever hidden. Hence, they don’t leave any tracks.”

Wang Zhen 809 – 859 CE via Ralph D. Sawyer
from Daodejing Lunbing Yaoyishu, The Tao of War

27. No Trace

“Like a clear light, skillful means and wisdom unite in a spontaneous, all-embracing perfection.”

Campaka ཙ་མྤ་ཀ 820 CE – via Keith Dowman, Shan Dao
(“The Flower King”)
Mahasiddha #60

“In the future, your hiding place should have no traces and where there are no traces, you should not hide.”

Huating Decheng 華亭德誠 820 – 858 CE via Charles Luk

Themes: No Trace

“People are afraid to empty their minds fearing that they will be engulfed by the void. What they don't realize is that their own mind is the void.”

Huangbo Xiyun 黄檗希运 1
(Huangbo Xiyun, Huángbò Xīyùn, Obaku)

Themes: No Trace

“If you do not see a man for three days, do not think he is the same man.”

Yunmen Wenyan 雲門文偃 862 – 949 CE
(Ummon Daishi, Yúnmén Wényǎn)
The most eloquent Chan master

Themes: Change No Trace

“In absolute truth, there is no path to be practiced, no difference between what is to be abandoned and the antidote, and nothing abandoned or realized in fruition... everything is produced not by one cause and not by one condition, but rather through the collective force of coincidence.”

Tilopa 988 – 1069 CE via Nalanda Translation Committee
from Rain of Wisdom

“The essential way is to focus on one thing and in action find absolute peace with no desire; impartial, straightforward, tranquil, and all-embracing.”

Zhou Dunyi 周敦頤 1017 – 1073 CE via Shan Dao
(Chou Tun-i)
from Penetrating the Book of Changes

“No tracks of the bird in the sky;
No path of wind for the bird”

Gesar of Ling གེ་སར་རྒྱལ་པོ། 1 via Robin Kornman
from Gesar of Ling Epic

Themes: No Trace

“This affair is like a phoenix soaring into the heavens, not leaving a trace behind.”

Touzi Yiqing 投子義青 1032 – 1083 CE
(Tōsu Gisei, “Zen Master of Complete Compassion”)

“Life is like a spring dream which vanishes without a trace.”

Su Shi 苏轼 1037 – 1101 CE
(Dongpo, Su Tungpo)
"pre-eminent personality of 11th century China"

Themes: Dream No Trace

“Sages don't reveal the Way because they keep it secret, but because it can't be revealed. Thus their words are like footsteps that leave to tracks.”

Cheng Zhu 程俱 1078 – 1144 CE via Red Pine
(Ch‘eng, Chü, Zheng, Ru, Ju Cheng)
Neo-Confucian founding uncle

“Every detail clearly appears before you. Sound and form, echo and shadow, happen instantly without leaving traces.”

Hóngzhì Zhēngjué 宏智正覺 1091 – 1157 CE

Themes: Music No Trace

27. No Trace

“Do not leave any traces and inside and outside will merge into one totality.”

Hóngzhì Zhēngjué 宏智正覺 1091 – 1157 CE

Themes: No Trace

43. No Effort, No Trace

“enlightenment after enlightenment with no trace of enlightenment”

Dōgen Zenji 道元禅師 1200 – 1253 CE via David Chadwick

27. No Trace

“Even the traces of enlightenment are wiped out, and life with traceless enlightenment goes on forever and ever.”

Dōgen Zenji 道元禅師 1200 – 1253 CE

27. No Trace

“overleap the worship of your mental powers, overleap your understanding and spring into the heart of God”

Meister Eckhart 1260 – 1328 CE
(Eckhart von Hochheim)

“Whatever thoughts arise are equal as mental events—simply conscious states that leave no trace.”

Longchenpa ཀློང་ཆེན་རབ་འབྱམས་པ། 1308 – 1364 CE via Richard Barron
(Longchen Rabjampa, Drimé Özer)
from The Basic Space of Phenomena

Themes: No Trace

“There is no ice which does not return to water. So you will understand there is no difference between ordinary beings and Buddhas except for one thing - delusion. When it is dissolved they are identical.”

Bassui Tokushō 抜隊 得勝 1327 – 1387 CE
Meditation master without distraction

Themes: No Trace Delusion

“Sages move through the world with an empty self and accept the way thing are. Hence they leave to tracks. They do not insist that their own ideas are right and accept the words of others… They do not care about life and dealth, much less profit and loss.”

Deqing 1546 – 1623 CE

Themes: No Trace

27. No Trace

“Words mean traces. Traces mean knowledge. Knowledge means presumption. Presumption means involvement. And involvement means failure.”

Deqing 1546 – 1623 CE

Themes: No Trace Failure

43. No Effort, No Trace

“The world withers and the Tao fades… therefore the wise join the dust of others and soften their own light. And they leave no trace.”

Deqing 1546 – 1623 CE

Themes: No Trace

27. No Trace

“Die while you're alive and be absolutely dead Then do whatever you want: it's all good.”

Bunan 至道無難 1603 – 1676 CE via Stephen Mitchell
(Shido Bunan Zenji Munan)

Themes: No Trace

“Don’t hate the arising of thoughts or stop the thoughts that do arise; simply realize that our original mind, right from the start, is beyond thought, so that, no matter what, you never [actually] get involved with thoughts.”

Bankei Yōtaku 盤珪永琢 1622 – 1693 CE
Zen Master of the unborn

“Keep your mind as it was when you came into the world”

Bankei Yōtaku 盤珪永琢 1622 – 1693 CE via Peter Haskel
Zen Master of the unborn

from Song of Original Mind

Themes: No Trace

“When the dirt is gone the mirror is clear, when the clouds disperse the moon appears; revealing the indestructible body of reality, they transcend yin and yang and Creation, and merge with the eternity of space.”

Liu Yiming 刘一明 1734 – 1821 CE
(Liu I-ming)

Themes: No Trace Moon

“Unfettered like a wafting mist, I give myself up to where the wind wants be to be.”

Ryokan 良寛大愚 1758 – 1758 CE
(Ryōkan Taigu,“The Great Fool”)

Themes: No Trace

“An arrow may fly through the air and leave no trace; but an ill thought leaves a trail like a serpent.”

Charles Mackay 1814 – 1889 CE
from Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds

Themes: No Trace Reason

43. No Effort, No Trace
63. Easy as Hard

“It was not confusion that kept them silent... consciousness was over-flowed by something that suppressed utterance.”

George Eliot 1819 – 1880 CE
(Mary Anne Evans)
Pioneering literary outsider

from Middlemarch

Themes: No Trace

“the only thing about liberty that I love is the fight for it; I care nothing about the possession of it.”

Henrik Ibsen 1828 – 1906 CE
"The world's 2nd most-performed playwright"
from Peer Gynt (1867)

When we dead awaken. … We see that we have never lived.

Henrik Ibsen 1828 – 1906 CE
"The world's 2nd most-performed playwright"
from When We Dead Awaken (1899)​

Themes: No Trace

“I, the last disciple of the philosopher Dionysus — I, the teacher of the eternal recurrence... I think of myself as the scrawl which an unknown power scribbles across a sheet of paper, to try out a new pen.”

Friedrich Nietzsche 1844 – 1900 CE
from Twilight of the Idols

Themes: No Trace

“Peace will come to the hearts of men when they realize their oneness with the universe. It is every where.”

Black Elk 1863 – 1950 CE
(Heȟáka Sápa)

39. Oneness

“I’m looking for the face I had before the world was made.”

W.B. (William Butler) Yeats 1865 – 1939 CE

7. Lose Yourself, Gain Your Soul

“"When someone seeks," said Siddhartha, "then it easily happens that his eyes see only the thing that he seeks, and he is able to find nothing, to take in nothing because he always thinks only about the thing he is seeking, because he has one goal, because he is obsessed with his goal. Seeking means: having a goal. But finding means: being free, being open, having no goal."”

Hermann Hesse 1877 – 1962 CE
from Siddhartha

26. The Still Rule the Restless

“Does a man who is acting on the stage in a female part forget that he is a man? Similarly, we too must play our parts on the stage of life, but we must not identify ourselves with those parts.”

Ramana Maharshi 1879 – 1950 CE
from Be As You Are

“There can be no rebirth without a dark night of the soul, a total annihilation of all that you believed in and thought that you were.”

Inayat Khan 1882 – 1927 CE

38. Fruit Over Flowers

“The creative instinct is, in its final analysis and in its simplest terms, an enormous extra vitality, a super-energy, born inexplicably in an individual, a vitality great beyond all the needs of his own living — an energy which no single life can consume.”

Pearl Buck 1892 – 1973 CE
from The Chinese Novel (1938)​

“If you begin to understand what you are without trying to change it, then what you are undergoes a transformation.”

Krishnamurti 1895 – 1986 CE
(Jiddu Krishnamurti)

“All good writing is swimming under water and holding your breath.”

F. Scott Fitzgerald 1896 – 1940 CE
Prototype of "Jazz Age" exuberance
from Letters

“I am all the writers that I have read, all the people that I have met, all the women that I have loved; all the cities I have visited... I am philosopher, I am demon and I am world, which is a tedious way of saying that I do not exist.”

Jorge Luis Borges 1899 – 1986 CE
Literary Explorer of Labyrinthian Dreams, Mirrors, and Mythologies

Themes: No Trace

“To come to man's estate... The man who can see the miraculous in a poem, who can take pure joy from music, who can break his bread with comrades, opens his window to the same refreshing wind off the sea.”

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry 1900 – 1944 CE
from Wind, Sand, and Stars (1939)

“In Neo-Taoism, [having no trace] developed to mean true reality lies in noumena… the whole history of Taoism shows a tendency to undermine traces”

Wing-tsit Chan 陳榮捷 1901 – 1994 CE
from Way of Lao Tzu

Themes: No Trace

27. No Trace

“When you do something, you should burn yourself up completely, like a good bonfire, leaving no trace of yourself.”

Shunryu Suzuki Roshi 1904 – 1971 CE

Themes: No Trace

43. No Effort, No Trace

“In order not to leave any traces, when you do something, you should do it with your whole body and mind; you should be concentrated on what you do. You should do it completely, like a good bonfire… burn yourself completely… Zen activity is activity which is completely burned out, with nothing remaining but ashes.”

Shunryu Suzuki Roshi 1904 – 1971 CE

Themes: No Trace

27. No Trace

“When we quit thinking primarily about ourselves and our own self-preservation, we undergo a truly heroic transformation of consciousness.”

Joseph Campbell 1904 – 1987 CE
Great translator of ancient myth into modern symbols

“All great work artistic, poetic, intellectual or spiritual is produced at those moments when creators forget themselves altogether and are free from self-consciousness.”

Walpola Rahula Thero 1907 – 1997 CE
“Supreme Master of Buddhist Scriptures”

“If we allow our thoughts to arise and dissolve by themselves, they will pass through our mind as a bird flies through the sky, without leaving a trace.”

Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche དིལ་མགོ་མཁྱེན་བརྩེ། 1910 – 1991 CE
"Mind" incarnation of Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo

Themes: No Trace

27. No Trace

“One must live fully in the present, not being swept off by the current, but directing all one's energy to this instant in time, like the cormorant fishing for ayu. That is a life of true wealth.”

Masanobu Fukuoka 福岡 正信 1913 – 2008 CE
from Road Back to Nature

Themes: No Trace

“The true poet has no choice of material. The material plainly chooses him, not he it.”

J. D. Salinger 1919 – 2010 CE

“To hell with the future. It's a man-eating idol.”

Ivan Illich 1926 – 2002 CE
"an archaeologist of ideas"

Themes: No Trace

“and then there was the vast openness of open space and that vast openness was I , myself”

Gesshin Myoko Roshi 1931 – 1999 CE
Moon heart miraculous light

12. This Over That

“real intimacy means… everything is included in what we do, and yet we leave no trace... always expressing our true self, the wholeness of our original nature, which has neither beginning nor end.”

Jakusho Kwong 1935 CE –
from No Beginning, No End: The Intimate Heart of Zen

Themes: No Trace

27. No Trace

“Wisdom is connected with looking, and knowledge is connected with seeing.”

Chögyam Trungpa 1939 – 1987 CE
from Illusion's Game

Themes: Wisdom No Trace

47. Effortless Success

“As a model, this discipline of minimum needs, maximum contentment speaks directly to the type of individual conservationism this is a theme of environmentally conscious culture.”

Dzigar Kongtrül Rinpoche ཛི་གར་ཀོང་སྤྲུལ། 1964 CE –
from Minimum Needs and Maximum Contentment

“Realization – the stable awareness of the true nature of your mind – is like the sky itself, an unchanging background against which shifting experience occur.”

Mingyur Rinpoche 1975 CE –
Modern-day Mahasiddha

Themes: No Trace

“Because pain and discomfort are such direct sensations, they're actually very effective objects of meditative focus... we can use such sensations to increase our capacity for clarity, simply through washing the mind deal with various solutions.”

Mingyur Rinpoche 1975 CE –
Modern-day Mahasiddha

from Joy of Living (2007)

Themes: No Trace

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