What is clinging to a self rooted in? Actually, it is not rooted in anything. If we see that, then naturally ego-clinging will not happen. The reason it has no root is that when we look for the object that we are clinging to as “me,” as a self, we cannot find it.
Thich Nhat Hanh
The future is made up of only one substance and that is the present moment. By taking care of the present, you are doing everything you can to assure a good future.
He who does not take the mind-and-body aggregate (nama-rupa) as “I and mine”, and who does not grieve over the dissolution (of mind and body) is, indeed, called a bhikkhu.
Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche
But it can happen that a phrase intended to indicate a state beyond concepts just becomes another concept in itself, in the same way that if you ask a person their name and they reply that they have no name, you will then perhaps mistakenly call them ‘No name’.
Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche
As long as you accept and practice these four truths (all compounded things are impermanent, all emotions are pain, all things have no inherent existence, nirvana is beyond concepts) you are a “practicing Buddhist.” You might read about these four truths for the sake of entertainment or mental exercise, but if you don’t practice them, you are like a sick person reading the label on a medicine bottle but never taking the medicine. On the other hand, if you are practicing, there is no need to exhibit that you are Buddhist. As a matter of fact, if it helps you to get invited to some social functions, it is totally fine to hide that you are a Buddhist. But keep in mind that as a Buddhist, you have a mission to refrain as much as possible from harming others, and to help others as much as possible. This is not a huge responsibility, because if you genuinely accept and contemplate the truths, all these deeds flow naturally.
On the clear mirror,
just a single speck of dust.
And yet, looking
closely, we see it before
all else — people thinking thus.
Empathy enables us to reach across differences and connect as equals. It does so by cutting straight through the walls that we build up around us and allowing us to touch the core of our equality: the ability to experience pain and joy