My Heart Burns Like Fire
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
- Retire at a regular hour. Partake of food at
regular intervals. Eat with moderation and never to the point of
- Receive a guest with the same attitude you
have when alone. When alone, maintain the same attitude you have in
- Watch what you say, and whatever you say,
- When an opportunity comes do not let it pass
you 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.
This story can be found in a book entitled Zen Flesh, Zen Bones, a translation of a 13th century work entitled Collection of Stone and Sand.
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