255+ Zen Quotes

Zen quotes provide a unique and inspiring outlook on life, offering words of wisdom that can be used to guide our thoughts and actions. These meaningful Zen quotes offer a sense of peace, clarity and insight that can help us navigate difficult times and find inner strength. By exploring these positive Zen quotes, we can gain a deeper understanding of the world around us and find the courage and wisdom to live a meaningful life.

Best Zen Quotes

An idea that is developed and put into action is more important than an idea that exists only as an idea.

Every morning we are born again. What we do today is what matters most.

The trouble is, you think you have time. Buddha

The root of suffering is attachment.

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

If you wish to be gentle with others, be gentle first with yourself.

I do not dispute with the world; rather it is the world that disputes with me.

Wherever you are, be there totally. Eckhart Tolle

Radiate boundless love towards the entire world — above, below, and across — unhindered, without ill will, without enmity.

There is nothing more dreadful than the habit of doubt. Doubt separates people. It is a poison that disintegrates friendships and breaks up pleasant relations. It is a thorn that irritates and hurts; it is a sword that kills.

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

Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.

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

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

Just as a snake sheds its skin, we must shed our past over and over again.

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

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

Generosity brings happiness at every stage of its expression. We experience joy in forming the intention to be generous. We experience joy in the actual act of giving something. And we experience joy in remembering the fact that we have given.

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

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

The foot feels the foot when it feels the ground.

Things derive their being and nature by mutual dependence and are nothing in themselves. Nagarjuna

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

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

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

Whatever is not yours: let go of it. Your letting go of it will be for your long-term happiness and benefit.

All tremble at violence; all fear death. Putting oneself in the place of another, one should not kill nor cause another to kill.

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

All experiences are preceded by mind, having mind as their master, created by mind.

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

Life is so very difficult. How can we be anything but kind?

Know from the rivers in clefts and in crevices: those in small channels flow noisily, the great flow silent. Whatever’s not full makes noise. Whatever is full is quiet.

Just as the great ocean has one taste — the taste of salt — so also this teaching and discipline has one taste: the taste of liberation.

The less you judge things, including the contents of your mind, the more clearly you’ll see them. Robert Wright

It is easy to see the faults of others, but difficult to see one’s own faults. One shows the faults of others like chaff winnowed in the wind, but one conceals one’s own faults as a cunning gambler conceals his dice.

There is no fear for one whose mind is not filled with desires.

The whole secret of existence is to have no fear. Never fear what will become of you, depend on no one. Only the moment you reject all help are you freed.

We all have experienced a lot of ups and downs. Let famous mindfulness quotes change the way you think about your own life and how you see the world.

Famous Zen Quotes

Your own self is your master; who else could be? With yourself well controlled, you gain a master very hard to find.

Our sorrows and wounds are healed only when we touch them with compassion.

Let go, or be dragged. Zen Proverb

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

If your compassion does not include yourself, it is incomplete.

Whatever has the nature of arising has the nature of ceasing.

Let none find fault with others; let none see the omissions and commissions of others. But let one see one’s own acts, done and undone.

To enjoy good health, to bring true happiness to one’s family, to bring peace to all, one must first discipline and control one’s own mind. If a man can control his mind he can find the way to Enlightenment, and all wisdom and virtue will naturally come to him.

Zen practice is to open up our small minds. Shunryu Suzuki

If you light a lamp for somebody, it will also brighten your path.

Zen is not some fancy, special art of living. Our teaching is just to live, always in reality, in its exact sense. Shunryu Suzuki

Each morning we are born again. What we do today is what matters most. Buddha

You will not be punished for your anger. You will be punished by your anger.

Happiness will never come to those who fail to appreciate what they already have.

Ardently do today what must be done. Who knows? Tomorrow, death comes.

When you seek it, you cannot find it. Zen Proverb

Whatever is not yours: let go of it. Your letting go of it will be for your long-term happiness & benefit.

If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading.

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

Do not dwell in the past. Do not dream of the future. Concentrate the mind on the present moment.

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

When you attain victory over yourself, not even the gods can turn it into defeat.

Pain is certain, suffering is optional.

Silence the angry man with love. Silence the ill-natured man with kindness. Silence the miser with generosity. Silence the liar with truth.

Be where you are; otherwise you will miss your life.

Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without.

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Conquer anger through gentleness, unkindness through kindness, greed through generosity, and falsehood by truth.

Purity or impurity depends on oneself, no one can purify another.

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

Be master of mind rather than mastered by mind. Zen Proverb

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

Learn to be comfortable in adversity but most importantly, learn to be comfortable when you’re bored. Maxime Lagacé

Your work is to discover your world and then with all your heart, give yourself to it.

Whatever words we utter should be chosen with care, for people will hear them and be influenced by them for good or ill.

When thoughts arise, then do all things arise. When thoughts vanish, then do all things vanish. Huang Po

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

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

Even as a solid rock is unshaken by the wind, so are the wise unshaken by praise or blame.

Health is the best gift, contentment the best wealth, trust the best kinsman, nirvana the greatest joy. Drink the nectar of the dharma in the depths of meditation, and become free from fear and sin.

Whatever a monk keeps pursuing with his thinking and pondering, that becomes the inclination of his awareness.

If you are quiet enough, you will hear the flow of the universe. You will feel its rhythm. Go with this flow. Happiness lies ahead. Meditation is key.

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

We do not exist for the sake of something else. We exist for the sake of ourselves. Shunryu Suzuki

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

Whatever living beings there may be — feeble or strong, long, stout, or of medium size, short, small, large, those seen or those unseen, those dwelling far or near, those who are born as well as those yet to be born — may all beings have happy minds.

Suffering is how Life tells you that you are resisting or misperceiving what is real and true. Adyashanti

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

It is in the nature of things that joy arises in a person free from remorse.

Those who cling to perceptions and views wander the world offending people.

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

Zen is an effort to become alert and awake. Osho

Your work is to discover your work and then with all your heart to give yourself to it.

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

What you are is what you have been. What you’ll be is what you do now.

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

Those who are free of resentful thoughts surely find peace.

Happiness is here, and now. Thích Nhất Hạnh

The one in whom no longer exist the craving and thirst that perpetuate becoming; how could you track that awakened one, trackless, and of limitless range.

There is nothing so disobedient as an undisciplined mind, and there is nothing so obedient as a disciplined mind.

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

Leave behind confused reactions and become patient as the earth; unmoved by anger, unshaken as a pillar, unperturbed as a clear and quiet pool.

Taking time to reflect and ponder on the powerful messages within deep chakra quotes can change your life.

Powerful Zen Quotes

Chaos is inherent in all compounded things. Strive on with diligence.

We will develop love, we will practice it, we will make it both a way and a basis…

The way is not in the sky. The way is in the heart.

A disciplined mind brings happiness.

There is in Zen nothing to explain, nothing to teach, that will add to your knowledge. Unless it grows out of yourself no knowledge is really yours, it is only a borrowed plumage. D. T. Suzuki

What was never lost can never be found. Zen Proverb

We will develop and cultivate the liberation of mind by loving kindness, make it our vehicle, make it our basis, stabilize it, exercise ourselves in it, and fully perfect it.

Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth.

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

You should respect each other and refrain from disputes; you should not, like water and oil, repel each other, but should, like milk and water, mingle together.

Nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know. Pema Chödrön

Like someone pointing to treasure is the wise person who sees your faults and points them out. Associate with such a sage.

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

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

To be idle is a short road to death and to be diligent is a way of life; foolish people are idle, wise people are diligent.

Your purpose in life is to find your purpose and give your whole heart and soul to it.

Be truthful; do not yield to anger. Give freely, even if you have but little. The gods will bless you.

If you find no one to support you on the spiritual path, walk alone.

The problem with winning the rat race is: you’re still a rat. Lily Tomlin

Have compassion for all beings, rich and poor alike; each has their suffering. Some suffer too much, others too little.

The mind is everything. What you think you become.

You have to grow from the inside out. None can teach you, none can make you spiritual. There is no other teacher but your own soul. Swami Vivekananda

Should you find a wise critic to point out your faults, follow him as you would a guide to hidden treasure.

Should a person do good, let him do it again and again. Let him find pleasure therein, for blissful is the accumulation of good.

Move and the way will open. Zen Proverb

Nevertheless, it can be very difficult to deal with them. This is exactly when you go to the Zen to get all the answers. Zen is a form of Buddhism, which puts an emphasis on 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.

Ceasing to do evil, Cultivating the good, Purifying the heart: This is the teaching of the Buddhas.

Be vigilant; guard your mind against negative thoughts.

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

If a man going down into a river, swollen and swiftly flowing, is carried away by the current how can he help others across?

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

Smile, breathe and go slowly. Thích Nhất Hạnh

If you knew what I know about the power of giving, you would not let a single meal pass without sharing it in some way.

Love is a gift of one’s innermost soul to another so both can be whole.

People with opinions just go around bothering each other.

It seems that although we thought ourselves permanent, we are not. Although we thought ourselves settled, we are not. Although we thought we would last forever, we will not.

Conquer anger with non-anger. Conquer badness with goodness. Conquer meanness with generosity. Conquer dishonesty with truth.

In the end, only three things matter: how much you loved, how gently you lived, and how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you.

Our life is shaped by our mind; we become what we think. Suffering follows an evil thought as the wheels of a cart follow the oxen that draws it.

One is not called noble who harms living beings. By not harming living beings one is called noble.

Practicing Zen is believed to have a calming effect on the mind and body, which not only helps one to lead a healthy life, but also to deal with various problems efficientlyWhen the student is ready, the teacher will appear, the Zen says. So, if you are ready to learn, here are a few inspirational and motivational teachings to help you lead a peaceful life.

Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama

True love is born from understanding.

These motivational meditation quotes can provide guidance, inspiration, and insight.

Inspirational Zen Quotes

The only real failure in life is not to be true to the best one knows.

Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense.

A man is not called wise because he talks and talks again; but if he is peaceful, loving, and fearless then he is in truth called wise.

Resolutely train yourself to attain peace.

No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path.

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

Hatreds never cease through hatred in this world; through love alone they cease. This is an eternal law.

Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn’t learn a lot, at least we learned a little, and if we didn’t learn a little, at least we didn’t get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn’t die; so, let us all be thankful.

Don’t believe everything you think. Byron Katie

Health is the greatest gift. Contentment the greatest wealth, faithfulness the best relationship.

All wrong-doing arises because of mind. If mind is transformed can wrong-doing remain?

To support mother and father, to cherish wife and children, and to be engaged in peaceful occupation — this is the greatest blessing.

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

As an elephant in the battlefield withstands arrows shot from bows all around, even so shall I endure abuse.

Nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know.

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

One who conquers himself is greater than another who conquers a thousand times a thousand men on the battlefield. Be victorious over yourself and not over others.

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

You cannot travel the path until you have become the path itself.

Zen is freedom, happiness, truth, living, wisdom, peace, tranquility, stillness, letting go, and so much more. It’s a perfect lifestyle. Ian Tuhovsky

Should a seeker not find a companion who is better or equal, let them resolutely pursue a solitary course.

Drop by drop is the water pot filled. Likewise, the wise man, gathering it little by little, fills himself with good.

One who, while himself seeking happiness, oppresses with violence other beings who also desire happiness, will not attain happiness hereafter.

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In the sky, there is no distinction of east and west; people create distinctions out of their own minds and then believe them to be true.

Train your eyes and ears; train your nose and tongue. The senses are good friends when they are trained. Train your body in deeds, train your tongue in words, train your mind in thoughts. This training will take you beyond sorrow.

As a water bead on a lotus leaf, as water on a red lily, does not adhere, so the sage does not adhere to the seen, the heard, or the sensed.

May all beings have happy minds.

The quieter you become, the more you are able to hear. Lao Tzu

Better it is to live one day seeing the rise and fall of things than to live a hundred years without ever seeing the rise and fall of things.

There is no path to happiness: happiness is the path.

Often in life, there comes a time, when you can no longer deal with your problems, when you can no longer see your path clearly, and when you no longer know how to deal with the turmoil―that is called life. However, difficult times arrive, just to teach us life’s most important lessons.

In whom there is no sympathy for living beings: know him as an outcast.

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

She who knows life flows, feels no wear or tear, needs no mending or repair.

Purity and impurity depend on oneself; no one can purify another.

Meditate … do not delay, lest you later regret it.

It is ridiculous to think that somebody else can make you happy or unhappy.

You only lose what you cling to.

It is better to travel well than to arrive.

Live with no sense of ‘mine,’ not forming attachment to experiences.

The one in whom no longer exist the craving and thirst that perpetuate becoming; how could you track that Awakened one, trackless, and of limitless range?

If anything is worth doing, do it with all your heart.

It is easy to see the faults of others, but difficult to see one’s own faults.

Let him not deceive another nor despise anyone anywhere. In anger or ill will let him not wish another ill.

Like a fine flower, beautiful to look at but without scent, fine words are fruitless in a man who does not act in accordance with them.

We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves.

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

If by renouncing a lesser happiness one may realize a greater happiness, let the wise one renounce the lesser, having regard for the greater.

Caucasian woman practicing yoga at seashore

Whatever precious jewel there is in the heavenly worlds, there is nothing comparable to one who is Awakened.

Stop, stop. Do not speak. The ultimate truth is not even to think.

Understanding is the heartwood of well-spoken words.

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

To insist on a spiritual practice that served you in the past is to carry the raft on your back after you have crossed the river.

Taking the time to look to beautiful self reflection quotes can help keep the flame of positivity burning bright within your life.

Motivational Zen Quotes

Our theories of the eternal are as valuable as are those which a chick which has not broken its way through its shell might form of the outside world.

What we think, we become.

By practicing Zen, you are reminded to take back this creative power and to re-create a better world for yourself and others. Dharma Master Hsin Tao

Just as treasures are uncovered from the earth, so virtue appears from good deeds, and wisdom appears from a pure and peaceful mind. To walk safely through the maze of human life, one needs the light of wisdom and the guidance of virtue.

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

Let him associate with friends who are noble, energetic, and pure in life. Let him be cordial and refined in conduct. Thus, full of joy, he will make an end of suffering.

Zen is life — completely natural and without any artificiality. It is something so intimate and apparent that it defies language and so can never be satisfactorily captured by words. Tim Freke

I will not look at another’s bowl intent on finding fault: a training to be observed.

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

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

Better than a thousand hollow words is one word that brings peace.

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

The way to happiness is: keep your heart free from hate, your mind from worry. Live simply, give much. Fill your life with love. Do as you would be done by.

Remembering a wrong is like carrying a burden on the mind.

Teach this triple truth to all: A generous heart, kind speech, and a life of service and compassion are the things which renew humanity.

Good people keep on walking whatever happens. They do not speak vain words and are the same in good fortune and bad. If one desires neither children nor wealth nor power nor success by unfair means, know such a one to be good, wise, and virtuous.

Delight in heedfulness! Guard well your thoughts!

Nothing remains without change.

The world is afflicted by death and decay. But the wise do not grieve, having realized the nature of the world.

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

Endurance is one of the most difficult disciplines, but it is to the one who endures that the final victory comes.

Nothing can harm you as much as your own thoughts unguarded.

It is better to conquer yourself than to win a thousand battles. Then the victory is yours. It cannot be taken from you — not by angels or by demons, heaven, or hell.

When you realize how perfect everything is you will tilt your head back and laugh at the sky.

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

Don’t run after pleasure and neglect the practice of meditation. If you forget the goal of life and get caught in the pleasures of the world, you will come to envy those who put meditation first.

Most problems, if you give them enough time and space, will eventually wear themselves out.

He who can curb his wrath as soon as it arises, as a timely antidote will check snake’s venom that so quickly spreads — such a monk gives up the here and the beyond, just as a serpent sheds its worn-out skin.

Meditation brings wisdom; lack of meditation leaves ignorance.

You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere. You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.

All conditioned things are impermanent—when one sees this with wisdom, one turns away from suffering.

Just as a solid rock is not shaken by the storm, even so the wise are not affected by praise or blame.

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

If you meditate earnestly, pure in mind and kind in deeds, leading a disciplined life in harmony with the dharma, you will grow in glory. If you meditate earnestly, through spiritual disciplines you can make an island for yourself that no flood can overwhelm.

An insincere and evil friend is more to be feared than a wild beast; a wild beast may wound your body, but an evil friend will wound your mind.

Our life is shaped by our mind; we become what we think. Suffering follows an evil thought as the wheels of a cart follow the oxen that draw it. Our life is shaped by our mind; we become what we think. Joy follow a pure thought like a shadow that never leaves.

To understand everything is to forgive everything. Buddha

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

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

Faith and prayer both are invisible, but they make impossible things possible.

Better than a thousand hollow words, is one word that brings peace.

One moment can change a day, one day can change a life, and one life can change the world.

If we could see the miracle of a single flower clearly, our whole life would change.

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

Kindness should become the natural way of life, not the exception.

Long is the night to him who is awake; long is a mile to him who is tired; long is life to the foolish who do not know the true law.

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

If with a pure mind a person speaks or acts, happiness follows them like a never-departing shadow.

There is no fire like passion, there is no shark like hatred, there is no snare like folly, there is no torrent like greed.

What we are today comes from our thoughts of yesterday, and our present thoughts build our life of tomorrow: Our life is the creation of our mind.

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

Ambition is like love: impatient both of delays and rivals.

As rain falls equally on the just and the unjust, do not burden your heart with judgments but rain your kindness equally on all.

They blame those who remain silent, they blame those who speak much, they blame those who speak in moderation. There is none in the world who is not blamed.

We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts, we make the world.

Hatred is never appeased by hatred in this world. By non-hatred alone is hatred appeased. This is a law eternal.

Not by rituals and resolutions, nor by much learning, nor by celibacy, nor even by meditation can you find the supreme, immortal joy of nirvana until you extinguish your self-will.

As I am, so are these. As are these, so am I. Drawing the parallel to yourself, neither kill nor get others to kill.

Just as the great ocean has one taste, the taste of salt, so also this teaching and discipline has one taste, the taste of liberation.

Speak only endearing speech, speech that is welcomed. Speech, when it brings no evil to others, is a pleasant thing.

Refocus and recharge with these deep calm quotes.