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360 Zen Quotes To Will Keep You Zen And Relaxed

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Zen is a form of Buddhism, which emphasizes meditation to attain peace of mind. The Zen masters say that it is more of a way of living than a religion, and everyone can practice it, irrespective of their religion. Practising Zen is believed to have a calming effect on the mind and body, which helps one lead a healthy life and deal with various problems efficiently.

Zen has unintentionally become synonymous with words like “calm”, “peace”, and “balance”. However, more than just learning to chill out, Zen wisdom has much to say on human efficiency, creativity, and realizing our potential as well. Zen allowed me to adopt a healthier lifestyle with less stress and anxiety and helped me realize what it meant to live fully in each moment.

Sometimes, something as simple as reading and really listening to the right inspirational zen quotes can make all of the difference in your quality of life. These quotes can help you open your mind, think differently about the difficulties you face, and even find the inner strength and focus on keeping your anxious mind at ease. Explore our quotes and find the essentials about Zen teachings and their potential to empower you spiritually and mentally.

360 Famous Zen Quotes to Guide You on the Path to Peace

Top 10 Zen Quotes

“hildren are natural Zen masters; their world is brand new in each and every moment.” – John Bradshaw

“I try to find 15 minutes a day to just be alone without any distractions just for headspace to meditate and get my Zen on. I think that helps me get through the hecticness of the day on tour with the interviews, the sound check, the meet and greets, the show and the post-show meet and greets.” – G-Eazy

“Surfing soothes me, it’s always been a kind of Zen experience for me. The ocean is so magnificent, peaceful, and awesome. The rest of the world disappears for me when I’m on a wave.” – Paul Walker

“Well, thing is, after they cancelled ‘Zen’, I didn’t work for eight months. And in that case, it was not my choice. After I’ve done something that I’m really proud of and I think changes the way I’m perceived, the immediate reaction is: nothing.” – Rufus Sewell

“Cooking is one of the most zen things – you have to be there.” – Roy Choi

“The only Zen you find on the tops of mountains is the Zen you bring up there.” – Robert M. Pirsig

“When we discover that the truth is already in us, we are all at once our original selves.” – Dogen

“Life is a balance of holding on and letting go.” – Rumi

“The place to improve the world is first in one’s own heart and head and hands.” – Robert M. Pirsig (Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Amazon book)

“If you are depressed, you are living in the past. If you are anxious, you are living in the future. If you are at peace, you are living in the present.” – Lao Tzu

What Is Zen?

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“Zen has no business with ideas.” – D.T. Suzuki

“Zen is nothing to get excited about.” – Shunryu Suzuki

“Zen is not some kind of excitement, but concentration on our usual everyday routine.” – Shunryu Suzuki

“Zen is not effort. Effort is tension, effort is work, effort is to achieve something. Zen is not something to achieve. You are already that. Just relax, relax so deeply that you become a revelation to yourself.”

“Zen is not an art, it’s not a religion. It’s a realisation.” – Gene Clark

“Zen is not a religion. There is no room for a cult. There is no dependence on a teacher. There is only learning how to use your own mind and making it strong.” – Frederick Lenz

“Zen is an effort to become alert and awake.” – Osho

“Zen is a path of liberation. It liberates you. It is freedom from the first step to the last. You are not required to follow any rules; you are required to find out your own rules and your own life in the light of awareness.” – Osho

“Zen is a liberation from time. For if we open our eyes and see clearly, it becomes obvious that there is no other time than this instant, and that the past and the future are abstractions without any concrete reality.” – Alan Watts

“Zazen is an activity that is an extension of the universe. Zazen is not the life of an individual, it’s the universe that’s breathing.” – Dogen

“The practice of Zen is forgetting the self in the act of uniting with something.” – Koun Yamada

“Learning Zen is a phenomenon of gold & dung. Before you learn it, it’s like gold; after you learn it, it’s like dung.” – Zen Proverb

“Zen teaches that if we can open up to the inevitability of our demise, we can begin to transform and lighten up about it.” – Allen Klein

“Zen teaches nothing; it merely enables us to wake up and become aware. It does not teach, it points.” – D.T. Suzuki

“Not thinking about anything is Zen. Once you know this, walking, sitting, or lying down, everything you do is Zen.” – Bodhidharma

“The true purpose of Zen is to see things as they are, to observe things as they are, and to let everything go as it goes.” – Shunryu Suzuki

“To understand everything is to forgive everything” – Gautama Siddhartha

Short Zen Quotes

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“When you seek it, you cannot find it.” – Zen Proverb

“Those who seek the easy way do not seek the true way.” – Dogen

“This will never come again.” – Steve Hagen

“Think with your whole body.” – Taisen Deshimaru

“The world is its own magic.”

“The purpose of our lives is to be happy.” – Dalai Lama

“The menu is not the meal.” – Alan Watts

“The essence of the Way is detachment.” – Bodhidharma

“Not engaging in ignorance is wisdom.” – Bodhidharma

“Not creating delusions is enlightenment.” – Bodhidharma

“Movement is evil. Being still is good.” – Ben Caesar

“Move and the way will open.” – Zen Proverb

“Let go, or be dragged.” – Zen Proverb

“In Zen we have no gurus.” – Frederick Lenz

“I live by letting things happen.” – Dogen

“Happiness is here, and now.” – Thích Nhất Hạnh

“A hut full of laughter is richer than a palace full of sadness.”

“A true Zen saying: ‘Nothing is what I want’.” – Frank Zappa

“Act without expectation.” – Lao Tzu

“All things are difficult before they are easy.” – Thomas Fuller

“Any experience of reality is indescribable!” – R. D. Laing

“Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.” – Dalai Lama

“Become comfortable with not knowing.” – Eckhart Tolle

“Be present above all else.” – Naval Ravikant

“Calmness in activity is true calmness.” – Shunryu Suzuki

“Do not be too interested in Zen.” – Shunryu Suzuki

“Don’t try to steer the river.” – Deepak Chopra

“Don’t speak if it doesn’t improve on silence.”

“Don’t seek, don’t search, don’t ask, don’t knock, don’t demand – relax.” – Osho

“Don’t curse the darkness, light a candle.” – Confucius

“Don’t be satisfied with your accomplishment, nor be dissatisfied with it.”

“Don’t be afraid to just sit and watch.” – Anthony Bourdain

“Doing nothing is better than being busy doing nothing.” – Lao Tzu

“Do not think you will necessarily be aware of your own enlightenment.” – Dogen

“Do not seek the truth, only cease to cherish your opinions.” – Seng-ts’an

“Do not let the behavior of others destroy your inner peace.” – Dalai Lama

“Enlightenment is intimacy with all things.” – Dogen

“Every experience is a lesson. Every loss is a gain.” – Sathya Sai Baba

“I have lived with several Zen masters – all of them cats.” – Eckhart Tolle

“If you chase two rabbits, you catch none.” – Confucius

“If you realize you have enough, you are truly rich.” – Lao Tzu

“If you’ve made a mistake, it’s better just to laugh at it.”

“In the highest level a man has the look of knowing nothing.” – Yamamoto Tsunetomo

“It’s better be a person for a day than to be a shadow for a 1,000 days.”

“Live calmly. The time will come when the flowers bloom by themselves.”

“Man stands in his own shadow and wonders why it is dark.” – Zen Proverb

“No snowflake ever falls in the wrong place.” – Zen Proverb

“No one returns from a long journey the same person they were before.”

“Only the hand that erases can write the true thing.” – Meister Eckhart

“One must be deeply aware of the impermanence of the world.” – Dogen

“One loses joy and happiness in the attempt to possess them.” – Masanobu Fukuoka

“One has not understood until one has forgotten it.” – D.T. Suzuki

“Obstacles don’t block the path, they are the path.” – Zen proverb

“Now I know what success is: living your truth, sharing it.” – Kamal Ravikant

“Roads were made for journeys not destinations.” – Confucius

“Rest and be kind, you don’t have to prove anything.” – Jack Kerouac

“Relax. Nothing is under control.” – Adi Da

“Smile, breathe and go slowly.” – Thích Nhất Hạnh

“Sleep is the best meditation.” – 14th Dalai Lama

“Sincerity itself is the railroad track.” – Shunryu Suzuki

“Tao in the world is like a river flowing home to the sea.” – Lao Tzu

“The first and the best victory is to conquer self.” – Plato

“The greatest effort is not concerned with results.” – Atisha

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” – Lao Tzu

“The more you know, the less you need.” – Yvon Chouinard

“The obstacle is the path.” – Zen proverb

“The temptation to give up is strongest just before victory.”

“There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.” – Leonard Cohen

“To be wronged is nothing unless you continue to remember it.” – Confucius

“To be truly ignorant, be content with your own knowledge.” – Zhuangzi

“To seek is to suffer. To seek nothing is bliss.” – Bodhidharma

“To receive everything, one must open one’s hands and give.” – Taisen Deshimaru

“To live is enough.” – Shunryu Suzuki

“To live – is that not enough? D.T.” – Suzuki

“To go beyond is as wrong as to fall short.” – Confucius

“Unhappiness enters through a door that has been left open.”

“What was never lost can never be found.” – Zen Proverb

“Whatever happens always happens on time.”

“When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.” – Lao Tzu

“When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.” – Zen Proverb

“When one first seeks the truth, one separates oneself from it.” – Dogen

“When walking, walk. When eating, eat.” – Zen Proverb

“Wherever you are, be there totally.” – Eckhart Tolle

“Who you are is always right.” – Ming-Dao Deng

“Words diminish meanings; these words included.”

“Wise men don’t judge – they seek to understand.” – Wei Wu Wei

“Your home is where your thoughts find peace.”

Funny Zen Quotes

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“Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you’re a mile away and you have their shoes.”

“Good judgment comes from bad experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment.”

“Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach him how to fish, and he will sit in a boat and drink beer all day.”

“It’s always darkest before dawn. So if you’re going to steal your neighbor’s newspaper, that’s the time to do it.”

“To accept some idea of truth without experiencing it is like a painting of a cake on paper which you cannot eat.” – Suzuki Roshi

“If you ever feel you are worthless remember that you are full of expensive organs.”

“The quickest way to double your money is to fold it in half and put it back in your pocket.”

“Never test the depth of the water with both feet.”

“Some days you’re the bug; some days you’re the windshield.”

“If you think nobody cares if you’re alive, try missing a couple of car payments.”

“Generally speaking, you aren’t learning much when your lips are moving.”

“Even the happiness of a fool is a stupid kind of happiness.”

“No matter what happens, somebody will find a way to take it too seriously.”

“A closed mouth gathers no foot.”

“Duct tape is like ‘The Force’. It has a light side and a dark side, and it holds the universe together.”

“Trying to define yourself is like trying to bite your own teeth.” – Alan Watts

“Don’t be irreplaceable. If you can’t be replaced, you can’t be promoted.”

“If at first you don’t succeed, skydiving is not for you.”

“Do not walk behind me, for I may not lead. Do not walk ahead of me, for I may not follow. Do not walk beside me either. Just pretty much leave me the hell alone.”

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a broken fan belt and leaky tire.”

“Experience is something you don’t get until just after you need it.”

“Always remember that you’re unique, just like everyone else…”

“The thief left it behind: the moon at my window.” – Ryōkan

“Everyone seems normal until you get to know them.”

“If you lend someone $20 and never see that person again, it was probably worth it.”

Best Zen Quotes

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“From Nike, we buy victory. From Under Armour, we buy protection. From Lululemon, we buy zen. From Patagonia, we buy conservation. From BMW, we buy performance.” – Andy Dunn

“When an ordinary man attains knowledge, he is a sage; when a sage attains understanding, he is an ordinary man.” – Zen Proverb

“Well, I believe life is a Zen koan, that is, an unsolvable riddle. But the contemplation of that riddle – even though it cannot be solved – is, in itself, transformative. And if the contemplation is of high enough quality, you can merge with the divine.” – Tom Robbins

“To follow the path, look to the master, follow the master, walk with the master, see through the master, become the master.” – Zen Proverb

“A wise man speaks because he has something to say; a fool because he has to say something.” – Plato

“And when they played they really played. And when they worked they really worked.” – Dr. Seuss

“Any enlightenment which requires to be authenticated, certified, recognized, congratulated, is false, or at least incomplete.” – R.H. Blyth

“At the still-point in the center of the circle one can see the infinite in all things.” – Chuang Tzu

“Cease from practice based on intellectual understanding, pursuing words, and following after speech.” – Dogen

“Do not follow the idea of others, but learn to listen to the voice within yourself.” – Dōgen Zenji

“Education breeds confidence. Confidence breeds hope. Hope breeds peace.” – Confucius

“Every being is in search of truth, but small fears go on preventing you.” – Osho

“Everything that has a beginning has an ending. Make your peace with that and all will be well.” – Jack Kornfield

“For things to reveal themselves to us, we need to be ready to abandon our views about them.” – Thích Nhat Hanh

“Forget the years, forget distinctions. Leap into the boundless and make it your home.” – Zhuangzi

“Guilt, regret, resentment, sadness & all forms of nonforgiveness are caused by too much past & not enough presence.” – Eckhart Tolle

“I follow four dictates: face it, accept it, deal with it, then let it go.” – Sheng-yen

“If you know the enemy and know yourself you need not fear the results of a hundred battles.” – Sun Tzu

“If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito.” – 14th Dalai Lama

“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.” – 14th Dalai Lama

“If you want something then you lose everything. If you don’t want anything then you already have everything.” – Seungsahn

“It all depends on you. You can go on sleeping forever, you can wake up right this moment.” – Osho

“Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength; mastering yourself is true power.” – Lao Tzu

“Man suffers only because he takes seriously what the gods made for fun.” – Alan Watts

“Matters of great concern should be treated lightly. Matters of small concern should be treated seriously.” – Yamamoto Tsunetomo

“My experience is that the teachers we need most are the people we’re living with right now.” – Byron Katie

“My finger can point to the moon, but my finger is not the moon. You don’t have to become my finger, nor do you have to worship my finger. You have to forget my finger, and look at where it is pointing.” – Osho

“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing there is a field. I’ll meet you there.” – Rumi

“Preparing food is not just about yourself and others. It is about everything!” – Shunryu Suzuki

“Pursue not the outer entanglements; dwell not in the inner void; be serene in the oneness of things; and dualism vanishes by itself.” – Sengcan

“The foolish reject what they see, not what they think; the wise reject what they think, not what they see.” – Huang Po

“The intuitive recognition of the instant, thus reality… is the highest act of wisdom.” – D.T. Suzuki

“The resistance to the unpleasant situation is the root of suffering.” – Ram Dass

“Truth makes you rise to new heights, no matter where you are.” – Kamal Ravikant

“We shape clay into a pot, but it is the emptiness inside that holds whatever we want.” – Lao Tzu

“What the superior man seeks is in himself; what the small man seeks is in others.” – Confucius

“When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don’t adjust the goals, adjust the action steps.” – Confucius

“When you think everything is someone else fault, you will suffer a lot. When you realize that everything springs only from yourself, you will learn both peace and joy.” – Dalai Lama

“When you understand one thing through and through, you understand everything. When you try to understand everything, you will not understand anything.” – Shunryu Suzuki

“Where can I find a man who has forgotten words so I can talk with him?” – Zhuangzi

“You should sit and meditate for 20 minutes, unless you’re too busy, then you should sit and meditate or an hour.” – Zen proverb

“You’re never given more pain than you can handle. You never, ever get more than you can take.” – Byron Katie

Inspirational Zen Quotes

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“The successful warrior is the average man, with laser-like focus.” – Bruce Lee

“A great man is hard on himself; a small man is hard on others.” – Confucius

“A man is great not because he hasn’t failed; a man is great because failure hasn’t stopped him.” – Confucius

“A mountain never yields to the wind no matter how strong it is.”

“A strong man overcomes an obstacle, a wise man goes the whole way.”

“Always look on the bright side of things. If you can’t comprehend this, polish that which has become dull until it begins to shine.”

“Confuse them with your silence and amaze them with your actions.”

“Emptiness which is conceptually liable to be mistaken for sheer nothingness is in fact the reservoir of infinite possibilities.” – D.T. Suzuki

“Even if you stumble and fall down, it doesn’t mean you’ve chosen the wrong path.”

“Fear is a natural reaction to moving closer to the truth.” – Prema Chödrön

“Heaven & earth & I are of the same root. Ten thousand things & I are of one substance.” – Sêng-chao

“Only when you can be extremely pliable and soft can you be extremely hard and strong.” – Zen Proverb

“Power over others is weakness disguised as strength. True power is within & available to you now.” – Eckhart Tolle

“Prefer to be defeated in the presence of the wise than to excel among fools.” – Dōgen Zenji

“Purity is something that cannot be attained except by piling effort upon effort.” – Yamamoto Tsunetomo

“Surrender to what is. Let go of what was. Have faith in what will be.” – Sonia Ricotti

“The ability to observe without evaluating is the highest form of intelligence.” – Jiddu Krishnamurti

“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”

“The man who moved the mountain was the one who began carrying away the smallest stones.”

“The most important point is to accept yourself and stand on your two feet.” – Shunryu Suzuki

“The only thing that is ultimately real about your journey is the step that you are taking at this moment. That’s all there ever is.” – Eckhart Tolle

“The whole moon and the entire sky are reflected in one dewdrop on the grass.” – Dogen

“These mountains that you are carrying, you were only supposed to climb.” – Najwa Zebian

“Things are as they are. Looking out into the universe at night, we make no comparisons between right and wrong stars, nor between well and badly arranged constellations.” – Alan Watts

“Through our eyes, the universe is perceiving itself. Through our ears, the universe is listening to its harmonies. We are the witnesses through which the universe becomes conscious of its glory, of its magnificence.” – Alan Watts

“Today, you can decide to walk in freedom. You can choose to walk differently. You can walk as a free person, enjoying every step.” – Thich Nhat Hanh

“When you catch yourself slipping into a pool of negativity, notice how it derives from nothing other than resistance to the current situation.” – Donna Quesada

“When you do something, you should burn yourself up completely, like a good bonfire, leaving no trace of yourself.” – Shunryu Suzuki

“When you realize nothing is lacking, the whole world belongs to you.” – Lao Tzu

“When you reach the top of the mountain, keep climbing.” – Zen proverb

“When you’ve understood this scripture, throw it away. If you can’t understand this scripture, throw it away. I insist on your freedom.” – Jack Kerouac

“Who would then deny that when I am sipping tea in my tearoom I am swallowing the whole universe with it and that this very moment of my lifting the bowl to my lips is eternity itself transcending time and space?” – D.T. Suzuki

“Why do you so earnestly seek the truth in distant places? Look for delusion and truth in the bottom of your own heart.” – Ryōkan

“Yesterday is not ours to recover, but tomorrow is ours to win or lose.” – Lyndon B. Johnson

“You are a function of what the whole universe is doing in the same way that a wave is a function of what the whole ocean is doing.” – Alan Watts

“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.” – Robert M. Pirsig

Zen Buddhism Quotes

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“Zen Buddhism is a discipline where belief isn’t necessary.” – David Sylvian

“Too lazy to be ambitious, I let the world take care of itself. Ten days’ worth of rice in my bag; a bundle of twigs by the fireplace. Why chatter about delusion and enlightenment? Listening to the night rain on my roof, I sit comfortably, with both legs stretched out.” – Ryōkan

“When you hear that all beings are Buddha, don’t fall into the error of thinking there’s more than one Buddha.” – Zen Graffiti

“When we meet real tragedy in life, we can react in two ways – either by losing hope and falling into self-destructive habits, or by using the challenge to find our inner strength. Thanks to the teachings of Buddha, I have been able to take this second way.” – Dalai Lama

“When I’m riding my bicycle I feel like a Buddhist who is happy just to enjoy his mundane existence.” – Robin Williams

“To understand everything is to forgive everything.” – Buddha

“To study Buddhism is to study the self. To study the self is to forget the self. To forget the self is to be awakened by all things.” – Dogen

“To study Buddhism is to study ourselves. To study ourselves is to forget ourselves.” – Dogen

“To say one is revolutionary is a little like saying one is a Zen Buddhist – if you say you are, you probably aren’t.” – Lawrence Ferlinghetti

“To live a pure unselfish life, one must count nothing as one’s own in the midst of abundance.” – Buddha

“Those who are awake, live in a state of constant amazement.” – Buddha

“The Zen expression “Kill the Buddha!” means to kill any concept of the Buddha as something apart from oneself.” – Peter Matthiessen

“The trouble is, you think you have time.” – Buddha

“The three elements of creativity are thus: loving, knowing, and doing – or heart, mind, and hands – or, as Zen Buddhist teaching has it; great faith, great question, and great courage.” – Eric Maisel

“The Buddha talked about saving all beings from delusion, not converting them to a new religion.” – Buddhism Now

“Our sorrows and wounds are healed only when we touch them with compassion.” – Buddha

“Nothing ever exists entirely alone. Everything is in relation to everything else.” – Buddha

“It’s not about approving or liking, but just being able to allow the world to be the way it is without resenting, hating, or judging it.” – Buddhism Now

“Each step along the Buddha’s path to happiness requires practising mindfulness until it becomes part of your daily life.” – Henepola Gunaratana

“Each morning, we are born again. What we do today is what matters most.” – Buddha

“Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.” – Buddha

“As a bee gathering nectar does not harm or disturb the color and fragrance of the flower; so do the wise move through the world.” – Buddha

“All that we are, is the result of what we have thought. The mind is everything. What we think, we become.” – Buddha

Zen Quotes On Mind

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“Zen practice is to open up our small mind.” – Shunryu Suzuki

“You can have the mind or you can have the moment.” – Naval Ravikant

“When you do something, you should do it with your whole body and mind; you should be concentrated on what you do. You should do it completely, like a good bonfire.” – Shunryu Suzuki

“When you are present, you can allow the mind to be as it is without getting entangled in it.” – Eckhart Tolle

“When the mind is perfectly clear, what is is what we want.” – Byron Katie

“Un-think. Un-learn. Un-know. Un-believe. Un-speculate. Un-seek. Un-strive. Un-fear. Lose your mind and effortlessly be.” – Brian Thompson

“To set up what you like against what you dislike, this is the disease of the mind.” – Sengcan

“To a mind that is still, the whole universe surrenders.” – Chuang Tzu

“They call it ‘peace of mind’ but maybe it should be called ‘peace from mind’.” – Naval Ravikant

“The noble-minded are calm and steady. Little people are forever fussing and fretting.” – Confucius

“The mind of the beginner is empty, free of the habits of the expert, ready to accept, to doubt, and open to all the possibilities.” – Shunryu Suzuki

“The goal of practice is always to keep our beginner’s mind.” – Shunryu Suzuki

“The feeling that any task is a nuisance will soon disappear if it is done in mindfulness.” – Thich Nhat Hahn

“The art of living… is neither careless drifting on the one hand nor fearful clinging to the past on the other. It consists in being sensitive to each moment, in regarding it as utterly new and unique, in having the mind open and wholly receptive.” – Alan Watts

“Singlemindedness is all-powerful.” – Yamamoto Tsunetomo

“Peace of mind is that mental condition in which you have accepted the worst.” – Lin Yutang

“One thing, all things: move among and intermingle, without distinction. To live in this realization is to be without anxiety about non-perfection. To live in this faith is the road to non-duality, because the non-dual is one with the trusting mind.” – Sengcan

“Mindfulness isn’t difficult, we just need to remember to do it.” – Sharon Salzberg

“Mind is like a mad monkey.” – Sathya Sai Baba

“Life isn’t as serious as the mind makes it out to be.” – Eckhart Tolle

“Let your mind wander in the pure and simple. Be one with the infinite. Let all things take their course.” – Chuang Tzu

“Just as parents care for their children, you should bear in mind the whole universe.” – Dogen

“It’s beautiful to be alone. To be alone does not mean to be lonely. It means the mind is not influenced and contaminated by society.” – Jiddu Krishnamurti

“In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s mind there are few.” – Shunryu Suzuki

“I don’t mind what happens. That is the essence of inner freedom.” – Jiddu Krishnamurti

“I cannot tell you any spiritual truth that you don’t know already. All I can do is remind you of what you have forgotten.” – Eckhart Tolle

“Have a mind that is open to everything and attached to nothing.” – Tilopa

“Flow with whatever may happen, and let your mind be free: Stay centered by accepting whatever you are doing. This is the ultimate.” – Chuang-Tzu

“Body and mind dropped off.” – Dogen

“Be master of mind rather than mastered by mind.” – Zen Proverb

“All true artists, whether they know it or not, create from a place of no-mind, from inner stillness.” – Eckhart Tolle

“Emotionally we have many problems, but these problems are not actual problems; they are something created; they are problems pointed out by our self-centered ideas or views.” – Shunryu Suzuki

“Knowledge is learning something everyday. Wisdom is letting go of something everyday.”

“Melting our attachment to self is the most powerful medication for bringing mental and emotional imbalances in check.” – Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche

“No thought, no reflection, no analysis, no cultivation, no intention; let it settle itself.” – Tilopa

“Self-realization is effortless. What you are trying to find is what you already are.” – Ramesh Balsekar

“There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness.” – 14th Dalai Lama

“To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself.” – Thích Nhất Hạnh

“To think in terms of either pessimism or optimism oversimplifies the truth. The problem is to see reality as it is.” – Thich Nhat Hạnh

“Try to imagine what it will be like to go to sleep and never wake up… now try to imagine what it was like to wake up having never gone to sleep.” – Alan Watts

“When I feel like dancing, I dance. I don’t care if anyone else is dancing or if everyone else is laughing at me. I dance.” – Rachel Danson

Zen Quotes On Patience

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“Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves – slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future.” – Thich Nhat Hanh

“I’m here to tell you that the path to peace is right there, when you want to get away.” – Pema Chödrön

“Patience is the river that finds its way to the sea, by flowing through many confluences.” – Mladen Đorđević

Zen Quotes On Water

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“The wise adapt themselves to circumstances, as water molds itself to the pitcher.” – Zen proverb

“The true miracle is not walking on water or walking in air, but simply walking on this earth.” – Thích Nhất Hạnh

“Still your waters.” – Josh Waitzkin

“Still water has no mind to receive the image of the migrating geese.” – Zen Proverb

“People usually consider walking on water or in thin air a miracle. But I think the real miracle is not to walk either on water or in thin air, but to walk on earth. Every day we are engaged in a miracle which we don’t even recognize: a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black, curious eyes of a child — our own two eyes. All is a miracle.” – Thích Nhat Hanh

“Muddy water is best cleared by leaving it alone.” – Alan Watts

“In a mind clear as still water, even the waves, breaking, are reflecting its light.” – Dōgen Zenji

“Do you have the patience to wait until your mud settles and the water is clear?” – Lao Tzu

“Before enlightenment; chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment; chop wood, carry water.” – Buddha

“A follower of the way has neither form nor shape, neither root nor trunk; nor dwelling place; like a fish leaping in the water.” – Rinzai Zen proverb

Zen Quotes On Friendship

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“There’s no such thing as a friend who doesn’t have any flaws. But if you try to look for all their flaws, you will remain with no friends.”

“Someone who points out your flaws to you is not necessarily your enemy. Someone who speaks of your virtues is not necessarily your friend.”

“Old friends pass away, new friends appear. It is just like the days. An old day passes, a new day arrives. The important thing is to make it meaningful: a meaningful friend – or a meaningful day.” – Dalai Lama

“Empty your mind, be formless. Shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.” – Bruce Lee

Zen Quotes On Change

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“If you want to change the world, start with the next person who comes to you in need.” – B. D. Schiers

“Awareness is the greatest agent for change.” – Eckhart Tolle

“Don’t be afraid that you do not know something. Be afraid of not learning about it.”

“Don’t be afraid to go slowly. Be afraid of stopping.”

Zen Quotes On Life

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“Throughout this life, you can never be certain of living long enough to take another breath.” – Huang Po

“This is the real secret of life — to be completely engaged with what you are doing in the here and now. And instead of calling it work, realize it is play.” – Alan Watts

“This dew like life fades away; time speeds swiftly. In this short life of ours, avoid involvement in superfluous things and just study the Way.” – Dōgen Zenji

“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as if nothing is a miracle. The other is as if everything is a miracle.” – Albert Einstein

“The real meditation is how you live your life.” – Jon Kabat-Zinn

“The personal life deeply lived always expands into truths beyond itself.” – Anais Nin

“The meaning of life is just to be alive. It is so plain and so obvious and so simple. And yet, everybody rushes around in a great panic as if it were necessary to achieve something beyond themselves.” – Alan Watts

“The man who asks a question is a fool for a minute, the man who does not ask is a fool for life.” – Confucius

“The aim of spiritual life is to awaken a joyful freedom, a benevolent and compassionate heart in spite of everything.” – Jack Kornfield

“Respect life, revere life. There is nothing more holy than life, nothing more divine than life.” – Osho

“Practice is this life, and realization is this life, and this life is revealed right here and now.” – Maezumi Roshi

“Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can’t help them, at least don’t hurt them.” – Dalai Lama

“Life is like stepping onto a boat which is about to sail out to sea and sink.” – Shunryu Suzuki

“Life begins where fear ends.” – Osho

“It really boils down to this: that all life is interrelated. We are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

“If you want happiness for a year, inherit a fortune. If you want happiness for a lifetime, help someone else.” – Confucius

“If you miss the present moment, you miss your appointment with life. That is very serious!” – Thich Nhat Hanh

“A zen master’s life is one continuous mistake.” – Dogen

“Have good trust in yourself … not in the One that you think you should be, but in the One that you are.” – Maezumi Roshi

“The present moment is filled with joy and happiness. If you are attentive, you will see it.” – Thich Nhat Hahn

“The search for happiness is one of the chief sources of unhappiness.” – Eric Hoffer

“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.” – Soyen Shaku

Zen Quotes On Love

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“Wisdom says we are nothing. Love says we are everything. Between these two our life flows.” – Jack Kornfield

“Love is the absence of judgment.” – Dalai Lama

“Love all. Serve all. Help ever. Hurt never.” – Sathya Sai Baba

“If we do not know how to take care of ourselves and to love ourselves, we cannot take care of the people we love. Loving oneself is the foundation for loving another person.” – Thích Nhất Hạnh

“All the things that truly matter, beauty, love, creativity, joy and inner peace arise from beyond the mind.” – Eckhart Tolle

“Have the fearless attitude of a hero and the loving heart of a child.” – Soyen Shaku

Zen Quotes On Nature

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“Zen in it’s essence is the art of seeing into the nature of one’s being, and it points the way from bondage to freedom.” – D.T. Suzuki

“Things derive their being and nature by mutual dependence and are nothing in themselves” – Nagarjuna

“There is no mistake in nature.” – Byron Katie

“Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.” – Lao Tzu

“It is the nature of the wise to resist pleasures, but the foolish to be a slave to them.” – Epictetus

“In the scenery of spring, nothing is better, nothing worse; the flowering branches are; some long, some short.” – Eicho

“Unhappiness and rain just drift by and are gone, they are visitors.” – John Aske

Zen Quotes On Death

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“The way out of life & death is not some special technique; essential thing is to penetrate to the root of life & death.” – Bukko

“Many have died; you also will die. The drum of death is being beaten. The world has fallen in love with a dream. Only sayings of the wise will remain.” – Kabir

“Even if it seems certain that you will lose, retaliate. Neither wisdom nor technique has a place in this. A real man does not think of victory or defeat. He plunges recklessly towards an irrational death. By doing this, you will awaken from your dreams.” – Yamamoto Tsunetomo

“Even death is not to be feared by one who has lived wisely.” – Buddha

“When something dies is the greatest teaching.” – Shunryu Suzuki

“The goal in life is to die young, but to do as late as possible.”

“People sleep, and when they die they wake.” – Muhammad

“Let go over a cliff, die completely, and then come back to life — after that you cannot be deceived.” – Zen Proverb

Originally published February 4, 2021, updated April 5, 2021

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