A few gems more…

You can read Part 1 here.

Read the following lines in isolation from the rest – take your time and reflect on each excerpt:)

Pax perniciosa – peace that’s pernicious (has a harmful effect in a subtle way, like air pollution) because it involves turning your back to the world…

John Cassian

No rebirth is possible without a painful extinction…

What we do with heaven is even more important than what heaven does to us…

The more I learn, the more I can see how little I know…

“…to remind fellow Buddhists that paradise can be found only in the middle of what’s around us. Shangri-La exists exclusively in the imagination, he would say—and the word itself, it’s often asserted, is a corruption of “Shambhala,” referring to a mythical Tibetan kingdom that stands for a state of mind. Real life can offer us pleasures that fantasy leaves out.”

“A man is rich in proportion to the number of things which he can afford to let alone.”


“I have always been regretting, that I was not as wise as the day I was born.”


Pursuing an unrealistic dream is an insult to reality, as well as to dreamer and to dream.

Reality has more dimensions than paradise can ever accommodate…

To have all the answers might be proof that you weren’t asking the right questions…

“I could imagine them whispering—which is to say, with impermanence and suffering and death; the unrest you feel will always have more to do with you than with what’s around you. In one celebrated story, the Buddha had come upon a group of picnickers who were enraged because they’d just been robbed.
“Which,” he’d famously asked, “is more important? To find the robbers or to find yourself?”

“Paradise inheres in no place, but only in the mind one brings to it.”

Thomas Merton

“In hope we are saved, but hope is not hope if it’s object is seen.”

St. Paul

“Can you see me, stranger, at your doorway

Of a ruined house or standing where

Your home once was, a mound of earth

And later, nothing.”

Jean Arasanayagam

“Few of them had probably seen what was coming: our lives can only be half known insofar as their final act, which seems to put all that has come before in place, is always hidden, and we seldom wish to think of it. We step out of the play with no chance to think back on it—and even as we’re trying to make sense of life, things are shifting, falling away from us on every side. The older I got, the more I began to feel that almost everything that had happened to me, good or bad, seemed to have come out of nowhere. As Leonard Cohen, faithful for life to the Old Testament, put it in one of his final songs, we’re “none of us deserving the cruelty or the grace.”

“There are two celebrated gateways to paradise, I remembered reading in a compendious anthology of descriptions of such worlds, The Book of Heaven. One hinges on vision, the other on death.”

“Wonder is not precisely knowing and not precisely knowing not”

Emily Dickinson

“Joy, for a monk, is never the same as pleasure because it has nothing to do with changing circumstance.”

“In this vision of an afterlife, the fact of things passing was not a cause for grief so much as a summons to attention. All the light or beauty we could find, we had to find right now. The fact that nothing lasts is the reason why everything matters.”

“The thought that we must die, is the reason we must live well…”

“Yesterday is today; the past returns, the future has already happened.”

Octavio Paz

“…the places we avoid are so often closer to us than the ones we eagerly seek out.”

“The struggle of your life, is your paradise.”


“ It reminded me of what Thomas Merton had found in the smiling Buddhas of Sri Lanka, “filled with every possibility, questioning nothing, knowing everything, rejecting nothing.” ”

“The more you try to avoid suffering, the more you suffer.”

“A crossing-ground, I began to think, is not just a place where the dead move on to something else, but where the living can step across a boundary, too, into a different way of apprehending everything. “For Hindus,” I had read in the work of the Varanasi scholar Diana Eck, “death is not the opposite of life; it is, rather, the opposite of birth,” akin, perhaps, to leaving a cinema by a different exit from the one you came in by. A journey beginning in bright summer sunlight could usefully end in clouds.”

to be continued…