Although motorcycle riding is romantic, motorcycle maintenance is purely classic.
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.
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.
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.
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.
To reach him you have to back up and back up, and the further back you go, the further back you see you have to go, until what looked like a small problem of communication turns into a major philosophic inquiry.
If your mind is truly, profoundly stuck, then it might be much better off than when it was loaded with ideas
We take a handful of sand from the endless landscape of awareness around us and call that handful of sand the world.
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.
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.
It's normal at this point for the fear-anger syndrome to take over and make you want to hammer on that side plate with a chisel, to pound it off with a sledge if necessary. You think about it, and the more you think about it the more you're inclined to take the whole machine to a high bridge and drop it off. It's just outrageous that a tiny little slot of a screw can defeat you so totally.
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.
When analytic thought, the knife, is applied to experience, something is always killed in the process.
Logic presumes a separation of subject from object; therefore logic is not final wisdom.This is Zen. This is my motorcycle maintenance.
When one person suffers from a delusion, it is called insanity. When many people suffer from a delusion it is called a Religion.
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.
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?
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 bones and flesh and legal statistics are the garments worn by the personality, not the other way around.
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.
That's the classical mind at work, runs fine inside but looks dingy on the surface.
The place to improve the world is first in one's own heart and head and hands.
One thing about pioneers that you don't hear mentioned is that they are invariably, by their nature, messmakers.
What the Metaphysics of Quality would do is take this separate category, Quality, and show how it contains within itself both subjects and objects. The Metaphysics of Quality would show how things become enormously more coherent fabulously more coherent when you start with an assumption that Quality is the primary empirical reality of the world.... ... but showing that, of course, was a very big job.
The only Zen you can find on the tops of mountains is the Zen you bring up there.
We keep passing unseen through little moments of other people's lives.
What follows is based on actual occurences. However,it should in no way be associated with that great body of factual information relating to orthodox Zen Buddhist practice. It's not very factual about motorcycles,either.
Quality is a direct experience independent of and prior to intellectual abstractions.
Any effort that has self-glorification as its final endpoint is bound to end in disaster.
I go on living, more from force of habit than anything else.
One geometry cannot be more true than another; it can only be more convenient. Geometry is not true, it is advantageous.
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.
Even in the presence of others he was completely alone.
It is a puzzling thing. The truth knocks on the door and you say, "Go away, I'm looking for the truth," and so it goes away. Puzzling.
Metaphysics is a restaurant where they give you a thirty thousand page menu, and no food.
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..
Traditional scientific method has always been at the very best, 20 - 20 hindsight. It's good for seeing where you've been. It's good for testing the truth of what you think you know, but it can't tell you where you ought to go.
The solutions all are simple - after you have arrived at them. But they're simple only when you know already what they are.
Even though quality cannot be defined, you know what quality is.
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 a mountain or in the petals of a flower.
To live only for some future goal is shallow. It's the sides of the mountain that sustain life, not the top.
More Robert M. Pirsig Quotations (Based on Topics)
Life - Mind - Buddhism - People - World - Motorcycles - Future - Quality - Truth - Goals - Science - Purposes - Nature - Metaphysics - Religions & Spirituality - Food - Experience - Value - Discomfort - View All Robert M. Pirsig Quotations
More Robert M. Pirsig Quotations (By Book Titles)
- Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values
Karl Marx - Jean-Paul Sartre - George Santayana - David Hume - Xenophanes - Protagoras - Plotinus - Marcus Fabius Quintilian - Ludwig Wittgenstein - Diogenes