All the texts say that in order to gain liberation one should render the mind quiescent; therefore their conclusive teaching is that the mind should be rendered quiescent; once this has been understood there is no need for endless reading. In order to quieten the mind one has only to inquire within oneself what one’s Self is; how could this search be done in books? One should know one’s Self with one’s own eye of wisdom. The Self is within the five sheaths*; but books are outside them. Since the Self has to be inquired into by discarding the five sheaths*, it is futile to search for it in books. There will come a time when one will have to forget all that one has learned.
— Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi – Who Am I? – 13. Is it any use reading books for those who long for liberation?
(* definition of the sheaths)
The Buddhist notion of diligence is to delight in positive deeds. Its opposite, called le lo in Tibetan, has three aspects. Le lo is usually translated as “laziness,” though only its first aspect refers to laziness as we usually understand it.
The first aspect is not doing something because of indolence, even though we know that it is good and ought to be done.
The second aspect is faintheartedness. This comes about when we underestimate our qualities and abilities, thinking, “I’m so incompetent and weak. It would be good to do that, but I could never accomplish it.” Not having the confidence of thinking, “I can do it,” we end up doing nothing.
The third aspect refers to being very busy and seeming diligent, but wasting time and energy on meaningless activities that will not accomplish anything in the long run. When we do many things for no real purpose, we fail to focus on what is truly worthwhile and our path has no clear direction.
When we refrain from these three aspects of laziness, we are diligent.
— Ringu Tulku Rinpoche – Daring Steps Toward Fearlessness: The Three Vehicles of Buddhism
Before the end of my journey
may I reach within myself
the one which is the all,
leaving the outer shell
to float away with the drifting multitude
upon the current of chance and change.
— Rabindranath Tagore – Fireflies
And what is it to work with love?
It is to weave the cloth with threads drawn from your heart,
even as if your beloved were to wear that cloth.
It is to build a house with affection,
even as if your beloved were to dwell in that house.
It is to sow seeds with tenderness and reap the harvest with joy,
even as if your beloved were to eat the fruit.
It is to charge all things you fashion with a breath of your own spirit,
And to know that all the blessed dead
are standing about you and watching.
Work is love made visible.
And if you cannot work with love but only with distaste,
it is better that you should leave your work and sit at the gate of the temple
and take alms of those who work with joy.
For if you bake bread with indifference,
you bake a bitter bread that feeds but half man’s hunger.
And if you grudge the crushing of the grapes,
your grudge distils a poison in the wine.
And if you sing though as angels,
and love not the singing,
you muffle man’s ears to the voices of the day and the voices of the night.
— Khalil Gibran – The Prophet – Work
“We can afford to open ourselves and join the rest of the world with a sense of tremendous generosity, tremendous goodness, and tremendous richness. The more we give, the more we gain — although what we gain should not particularly be our reason for giving. Rather, the more we give, the more we are inspired to give constantly. And the gaining process happens naturally, automatically, always.”
— Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche – Training the Mind and Cultivating Loving Kindness
“The essence of generosity is letting go. Pain is always a sign that we are holding on to something – usually ourselves. When we feel unhappy, when we feel inadequate, we get stingy; we hold on tight. Generosity is an activity that loosens us up. By offering whatever we can – a dollar, a flower, a word of encouragement – we are training in letting go.”
— Pema Chodron – Comfortable with Uncertainty