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Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance book cover

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance Quotes

When one person suffers from a delusion, it is called insanity. When many people suffer from a delusion it is called a Religion.
The place to improve the world is first in one's own heart and head and hands, and then work outward from there.
You are never dedicated to something you have complete confidence in. No one is fanatically shouting that the sun is going to rise tomorrow. They know it's going to rise tomorrow. When people are fanatically dedicated to political or religious faiths or any other kinds of dogmas or goals, it's always because these dogmas or goals are in doubt.
You look at where you're going and where you are and it never makes sense, but then you look back at where you've been and a pattern seems to emerge.
We’re in such a hurry most of the time we never get much chance to talk. The result is a kind of endless day-to-day shallowness, a monotony that leaves a person wondering years later where all the time went and sorry that it’s all gone.
Sometimes it's a little better to travel than to arrive.
Is it hard?' Not if you have the right attitudes. Its having the right attitudes thats hard.
In a car you're always in a compartment, and because you're used to it you don't realize that through that car window everything you see is just more TV. You're a passive observer and it is all moving by you boringly in a frame. On a cycle the frame is gone. You're completely in contact with it all. You're in the scene, not just watching it anymore, and the sense of presence is overwhelming.
For every fact there is an infinity of hypotheses.
If someone's ungrateful and you tell him he's ungrateful, okay, you've called him a name. You haven't solved anything.
Peace of mind produces right values, right values produce right thoughts. Right thoughts produce right actions and right actions produce work which will be a material reflection for others to see of the serenity at the center of it all.
We take a handful of sand from the endless landscape of awareness around us and call that handful of sand the world.
The test of the machine is the satisfaction it gives you. There isn't any other test. If the machine produces tranquility it's right. If it disturbs you it's wrong until either the machine or your mind is changed.
Anxiety, the next gumption trap, is sort of the opposite of ego. You're so sure you'll do everything wrong you're afraid to do anything at all. Often this, rather than "laziness" is the real reason you find it hard to get started.
The Buddha, the Godhead, resides quite as comfortably in the circuits of a digital computer or the gears of a cycle transmission as he does at the top of the mountain, or in the petals of a flower. To think otherwise is to demean the Buddha - which is to demean oneself.
It's the sides of the mountain which sustain life, not the top.
The real cycle you're working on is a cycle called yourself.
The real purpose of the scientific method is to make sure nature hasn’t misled you into thinking you know something you actually don’t know.
You want to know how to paint a perfect painting? It's easy. Make yourself perfect and then just paint naturally.
When analytic thought, the knife, is applied to experience, something is always killed in the process.
And what is good, Phaedrus, And what is not good— Need we ask anyone to tell us these things?.
I argued that physical discomfort is important only when the mood is wrong. Then you fasten on to whatever thing is uncomfortable and call that the cause. But if the mood is right, then physical discomfort doesn't mean much.
The doctrinal differences between Hinduism and Buddhism and Taoism are not anywhere near as important as doctrinal differences among Christianity and Islam and Judaism. Holy wars are not fought over them because verbalized statements about reality are never presumed to be reality itself.
The pencil is mightier than the pen.
We have artists with no scientific knowledge and scientists with no artistic knowledge and both with no spiritual sense of gravity at all, and the result is not just bad, it is ghastly.
Care and Quality are internal and external aspects of the same thing. A person who sees Quality and feels it as he works is a person who cares. A person who cares about what he sees and does is a person who’s bound to have some characteristic of quality.
Who really can face the future? All you can do is project from the past, even when the past shows that such projections are often wrong. And who really can forget the past? What else is there to know?.
The more you read, the more you calm down.
The past exists only in our memories, the future only in our plans. The present is our only reality. The tree that you are aware of intellectually, because of that small time lag, is always in the past and therefore is always unreal. Any intellectually conceived object is always in the past and therefore unreal. Reality is always the moment of vision before the intellectualization takes place. There is no other reality.
To live only for some future goal is shallow. It’s the sides of the mountain which sustain life, not the top. Here’s where things grow.
Absence of Quality is the essence of squareness.
You look at where you're going and where you are and it never makes much sense, but then you look back at where you've been and a pattern seems to emerge. And if you project forward from that pattern, then sometimes you can come up with something.
The TV scientist who mutters sadly, "The experiment is a failure; we have failed to achieve what we had hoped for," is suffering mainly from a bad script writer. An experiment is never a failure solely because it fails to achieve predicted results. An experiment is a failure only when it also fails adequately to test the hypothesis in question, when the data it produces don't prove anything one way or another.
When you want to hurry something, that means you no longer care about it and want to get on to other things.
When a shepherd goes to kill a wolf, and takes his dog to see the sport, he should take care to avoid mistakes. The dog has certain relationships to the wolf the shepherd may have forgotten.
Other people can talk about how to expand the destiny of mankind. I just want to talk about how to fix a motorcycle. I think that what I have to say has more lasting value.
There's this primary America of freeways and jet flights and TV and movie spectaculars, and people caught up in this primary America seem to go through huge portions of their lives without much consciousness of what immediately surrounds them. The media have convinced them that what's right around them is unimportant. And that's why they're lonely.
If your mind is truly, profoundly stuck, then it might be much better off than when it was loaded with ideas.
We want to make good time, but for us now this is measured with the emphasis on "good" rather than on "time"....
It was the ghost of rationality itself ... This is the ghost of normal everyday assumptions which declares that the ultimate purpose of life, which is to keep alive, is impossible, but that this is the ultimate purpose of life anyway, so that great minds struggle to cure diseases so that people may live longer, but only madmen ask why. One lives longer in order that he may live longer. There is no other purpose. That is what the ghost says.
Your common sense is nothing more than the voices of thousands and thousands of these ghosts from the past.
Grades really cover up failure to teach. A bad instructor can go through an entire quarter leaving absolutely nothing memorable in the minds of his class, curve out the scores on an irrelevant test, and leave the impression that some have learned and some have not. But if the grades are removed the class is forced to wonder each day what it’s really learning. The questions, What’s being taught? What’s the goal? How do the lectures and assignments accomplish the goal? become ominous. The removal of grades exposes a huge and frightening vacuum.
Logic presumes a separation of subject from object; therefore logic is not final wisdom.This is Zen. This is my motorcycle maintenance.
Mountains should be climbed with as little effort as possible and without desire. The reality of your own nature should determine the speed. If you become restless, speed up. If you become winded, slow down. You climb the mountain in an equilibrium between restlessness and exhaustion.
Programs of a political nature are important end products of social quality that can be effective only if the underlying structure of social values is right. The social values are right only if the individual values are right. The place to improve the world is first in one's heart and head and hands, and then work outward from there.
Mental reflection is so much more interesting than TV it's a shame more people don't switch over to it.
The way to see what looks good and understand the reasons it looks good, and to be at one with this goodness as the work proceeds, is to cultivate an inner quietness, a peace of mind so that goodness can shine through.
When you live in the shadow of insanity, the appearance of another mind that thinks and talks as yours does is something close to a blessed event.
The bones and flesh and legal statistics are the garments worn by the personality, not the other way around.
Of the value traps, the most widespread and pernicious is value rigidity. This is an inability to revalue what one sees because of commitment to previous values. In motorcycle maintenance, you MUST rediscover what you do as you go. Rigid values makes this impossible.
Mountains should be climbed with as little effort as possible and without desire. The reality of your own nature should determine the speed. If you become restless, speed up. If you become winded, slow down. You climb the mountain in an equilibrium between restlessness and exhaustion. Then, when you're no longer thinking ahead, each footstep isn't just a means to an end but a unique event in itself....To live only for some future goal is shallow. It's the sides of the mountains which sustain life, not the top.
There is a perennial classical question that asks which part of the motorcycle, which grain of sand in which pile, is the Buddha. Obviously to ask that question is to look in the wrong direction, for the Buddha is everywhere. But just as obviously to ask the question is to look in the right direction, for the Buddha is everwhere.
Dad?" "What?" A small bird rises from a tree in front of us. "What should I be when I grow up?" The bird disappears over a far ridge. I don't know what to say. "Honest," I finally say.
Of course, the laws of science contain no matter and have no energy either and therefore do not exist except in people's minds. It's best to be completely scientific about the whole thing and refuse to believe in either ghosts or the laws of science. That way you're safe. That doesn't leave you very much to believe in, but that's scientific too.
We keep passing unseen through little moments of other people’s lives.
First you get the feeling, then you figure out why.
This condemnation of technology is ingratitude, that's what it is. Blind alley, though. If someone's ungrateful and you tell him he's ungrateful, okay, you've called him a name. You haven't solved anything.
My favorite cure for boredom is sleep. It's very easy to get to sleep when bored and very hard to get bored after a long rest.
To arrive in the Rocky Mountains by plane would be to see them in one kind of context,as pretty scenery. But to arrive after days of hard travel across the prairies would be to see them in another way, as a goal, a promised land.
You are never dedicated to something you have complete confidence in. No one is fanatically shouting that the sun is going to rise tomorrow.
If you get careless or go romanticizing scientific information, giving it a flourish here and there, Nature will soon make a complete fool out of you.
This forest silence improves anyone.
To all appearances he was just drifting. In actuality he was just drifting.
The place to improve the world is first in one's own heart and head and hands, and then work outwards from there. Other people can talk about how to expand the destiny of mankind. I just want to talk about how to fix a motorcycle. I think that what I have to say has more lasting value.
The material object of observation, the bicycle or rotisserie, can’t be right or wrong. Molecules are molecules. They don’t have any ethical codes to follow except those people give them. The test of the machine is the satisfaction it gives you. There isn’t any other test. If the machine produces tranquillity it’s right. If it disturbs you it’s wrong until either the machine or your mind is changed. The test of the machine’s always your own mind. There isn’t any other test.