Looking, we do not see. Listening, we do not hear. Loving, we do not feel.

John Daido Loori - 1

“The thing that blinds us and deafens us is the ceaselessly moving mind, the preoccupation we have with our thoughts. It is the incessant internal dialogue that shuts out everything else. That is the problem with trying to take a preconceived photograph. Before you even walk out of the building, you blind yourself. All day long we talk to ourselves. We preoccupy ourselves with the past, or we preoccupy ourselves with the future, and while we preoccupy ourselves, we miss the moment and miss our lives. Looking, we do not see. It is as if we were blind. Listening, we do not hear. It is as if we were deaf. Loving, we do not feel. It is as if we were dead. Preoccupied, we do not notice the reality around us. How can we be present? How can we taste and touch our lives? The answer to these questions is not outside yourself. To see this truth requires the backward step, going very deep into yourself to find the foundation of reality and of your life. To see it is not the same as understanding it or believing it. To see it means to realize it with the whole body and mind. To realize it transforms one’s life, one’s way of perceiving the universe and the self, and of expressing what has been realized…When you practice the Zen arts, practice your life – trust yourself completely. Trust the process of sitting. Know that deep within each and every one of us, under layers of conditioning, there is an enlightened being, alive and well. In order to function, it needs to be discovered. To discover this buddha is wisdom. To make it function in the world is compassion. That wisdom and compassion is the life of each one of us. It is up to you what you do with it.”

~ John Daido Loori


John Daido Loori (June 14, 1931 – October 9, 2009) was a Zen Buddhist roshi. He was born Catholic in Jersey City, New Jersey.  As a child Loori loved photographing things, once using his family’s bathroom as a makeshift dark room.  He served in the U.S. Navy. Later after studying at Rutgers, he worked as a chemist in the food industry.  As an adult he distanced himself from Catholicism and explored a variety of other religions.  In 1972, he began his formal Zen practice later becoming a Zen priest.  Loori was a professional nature photographer and his works have been published by Time-Life and other publications. 

Here’s one of his photographs and related quotes:

green, grass, nature, plant, grow

Wet with the morning dew,
the tips of ten thousand grasses
all contain the light of day.
– John Daido Loori (1931-2009)


Quote Source: Whiskey River.  Image Credits: Michigan Buddhist and Shokai

Comments

  1. Thank you again dear David, this is so beautiful and so meaningful. It was also something I needed to hear… Inspirational touches too. How beautiful soul you are, Blessing and Happiness, love, nia

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  2. Reblogged this on Passages.

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  3. I’m on my third reading – undoubtedly not the last. An awesome explanation of the act of truly being still and the consequences of our constant, mind-numbing self-talk. For me, the exercise of quieting all those internal conversations is a challenge. Though on the rare occasions when I succeed, I also begin to ‘get it’. Operative word being ‘begin’.

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  4. Made me cry (in a good way.)

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  5. Lots of food for thought this morning. Deep.

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  6. NeededNeededNeeded. Will take this in today.

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  7. namaste David …

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  8. anake said it all. Namaste to each of you. Thank you for sharing this beautiful post.

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  9. Being still can be so difficult for some. But being still at times helps you to see more, hear more, and listen to a greater degree. I love the value of meditation.

    BE ENCOURAGED! BE BLESSED!

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  10. Wonderful man. He is talking of that state of being I’ve always longed for as a constant in my life, rather than experiencing it in short flashes.

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  11. Truth…

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  12. Trust yourself completely. That continues to be a battle. Self-doubt, negative thoughts, the what-if’s have a nasty way of creeping in. Thanks for this. A reminder that I need to add more moments of silence and mediation into my life.

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  13. A wonderful post, David. It reminds me (as so many things do) of Henri David Thoreau who wrote in Walden “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”

    I love the reference to my passion, photography. Using the camera as the third eye — opening yourself up to what the day offers — I think that is the attitude that creates the best, freest images. I don’t like assignments anywhere near as much as I like serendipity.

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  14. Very inspiring. In recent years, I have learned to turn deeply inward and to slow down. Life changes when you look inside to see what’s out there. Thanks for sharing this post.

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  15. Really loved this David, thank you!

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  16. As those above have so rightly noted, this is wonderfully provocative, David. It bears reading again and again. Thank you….

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  17. Reblogged this on anakegoodall.

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  18. Wise thoughts. Beautiful pic. and quote. Awareness and consciousness are most important to achieve love and compassion .

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  19. Thanks for sharing – I needed to read this. i tucked it away for a daily read. Very wise.
    All the best – Michael

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