The Five-Minute Buddhist Books

Recommended Host

My Heart Burns Like Fire

My Heart Burns Like Fire

Soyen 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 and meditate.

Retire at a regular hour. Partake of food at regular intervals. Eat with moderation and never to the point of satisfaction.

Receive a guest with the same attitude you have when alone. When alone, maintain the same attitude you have in receiving guests.

Watch what you say, and whatever you say, practice it.

When an opportunity comes do not let it pass 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.

6 comments to My Heart Burns Like Fire

  • Kim

    This is wonderful. Thank you for sharing. Makes me think of the 37 Practices of the Bodhisattva.


  • Jerry

    Doesn’t sound like the middle way to me.

  • Jerry;

    Why not?

    I’m not saying this is the best way, or even any kind of official rule. In all honesty, I don’t do most of the things on that list on a regular basis either. Just because this one master did it this way, that doesn’t make it right or even the best way for anyone else. But I’d like to know what exactly you disagree with on his list.

    I’d like to hear more from you about this!

  • It’s the way I live my life. I reject any feelings of desire, or fear.

  • Josh Lawler

    First off,

    Brian as a new listener I would like to say I greatly appreciate the resources you have provided for all of us here, you’re doing a very generous thing.

    As far as Soyen Shakus rules, I think they’re great and have been putting them into practice for some time. As far as my personal life, the meditation before dressing has had a great influence – entering a meditative relaxed state before the brain is flooded with sensory information is a great way to start the day.

    Thanks again.

  • Jami

    I enjoy this sort of stuff. I used to read the Order of Benedict, realising that nothing is ‘done’ without a little plan, maybe order, and certainly discipline.

    Out of this dynamic list, the key to dimplomacy and maybe good thought is the precise, “Watch what you say, and whatever you say, practice it”.