182+ Best Zen Quotes: Exclusive Selection

Zen tries to free the mind from the slavery of words and the constriction of logic. Zen also aims at the perfection of person-hood and the Zen practitioner attempts to embody non-discriminatory wisdom, accompanied by compassion. Inspirational zen quotes on mind, life, wisdom, love, happiness and nature will challenge the way you think, and help guide you through any life experience.

If you’re searching for self happiness quotes and best thank you quotes that perfectly capture what you’d like to say or just want to feel inspired yourself, browse through an amazing collection of top mood quotes, popular inner peace quotes and encouraging dance in the rain quotes.

Most Famous Zen Quotes

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

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

zen quotes

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

We carry inside us the wonders we seek outside us. – Rumi

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

The way out is through the door. Why is it that no one will use this method? – Confucius

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

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

Let go, or be dragged. – Zen Proverb

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

The true miracle is not walking on water or walking in air, but simply walking on this earth. – Thích Nh?t H?nh

If you have inner peace, nobody can force you to be a slave to the outer reality. – Sri Chinmoy

A great deal of intelligence can be invested in ignorance when the need for illusion is deep. – Saul Bellow

The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams. – Eleanor Roosevelt

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

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

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

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

And when they played they really played. And when they worked they really worked. – Seuss

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

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

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

Recognize the ego for what it is: a collective dysfunction, the insanity of the human mind. – Eckhart Tolle

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

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

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

Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering. – Yoda

To study Buddhism is to study ourselves. To study ourselves is to forget ourselves. – Dogen Zenji

In the stillness of the mind I saw myself as I am – unbound. – Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

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

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

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

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

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

Work out your own salvation. Do not depend on others. – Buddha

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

You should study not only that you become a mother when your child is born, but also that you become a child. – Dogen Zenji

Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet. – Thich Nhat Hanh

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

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

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

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing there is a field. I’ll meet you there. When the soul lies down in that grass the world is too full to talk about. – Jalaluddin Rumi

What was never lost can never be found. – Zen Saying

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

Do not follow the idea of others, but learn to listen to the voice within yourself. – D?gen Zenji

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

Mind is like a mad monkey. – Sathya Sai Baba

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

Life is a journey. Time is a river. The door is ajar. – Jim Butcher

One who conquers himself is greater than another who conquers a thousand times a thousand on the battlefield. – Buddha

Zen does not confuse spirituality with thinking about God while peeling potatoes. Zen spirituality is just to peel the potatoes. – Alan Watts

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

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

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

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

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

Meditation is the ultimate mobile device; you can use it anywhere, anytime, unobtrusively. – Sharon Salzberg

Awareness is the greatest agent for change. – Eckhart Tolle

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

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

I come to realize that mind is no other than mountains and rivers and the great wide earth, the sun and the moon and stars. – Dogen Zenji

The world is its own magic. – Shunryu Suzuki

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

We have only now, only this single eternal moment opening and unfolding before us, day and night. – Jack Kornfield

When you plant a seed of love, it is you that blossoms. – Ma Jaya Sati Bhagavati

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

Move and the way will open. – Zen Proverb

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

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

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

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

You will not be punished for your anger, you will be punished by your anger. – Buddha

Learning to let go should be learned before learning to get. Life should be touched, not strangled. You’ve got to relax, let it happen at times, and at others move forward with it. – Ray Bradbury

Think with your whole body. – Taisen Deshimaru

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

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

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

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

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

In a controversy the instant we feel anger we have already ceased striving for the truth, and have begun striving for ourselves. – Buddha

If you have a glass full of liquid you can discourse forever on its qualities, discuss whether it is cold, warm, whether it is really and truly composed of H-2-O, or even mineral water, or sake. Meditation is Drinking it! – Taisen Deshimaru

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

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

If your mind isn’t clouded by unnecessary things, this is the best season of your life. – Wu-Men

Wherever you are, be there totally. – Eckhart Tolle

Flow with whatever may happen, and let your mind be free: Stay centered by accepting whatever you are doing. This is the ultimate. – Zhuang Zhou

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

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

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

People living deeply have no fear of death. – Anais Nin

The truth knocks on the door and you say, Go away, I’m looking for the truth, and so it goes away. Puzzling. – Robert M. Pirsig

It is the power of the mind to be unconquerable. – Seneca

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

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

Happiness is here, and now. – Thích Nh?t H?nh

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

Harmonizing opposites by going back to their source is the distinctive quality of the Zen attitude, the Middle Way: embracing contradictions, making a synthesis of them, achieving balance. – Taisen Deshimaru

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

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

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

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

Wherever you are, it’s the place you need to be. – Maxime Lagacé

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

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

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

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

Smile, breathe and go slowly. – Thích Nh?t H?nh

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

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

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

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

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. – D?gen Zenji

Act without expectation. – Lao Tzu

Life begins where fear ends. – Osho

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

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

Relax. Nothing is under control. – Adi Da

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

Love is the absence of judgment. – Dalai Lama

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

I live by letting things happen. – Dogen

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

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 Nh?t H?nh

Prefer to be defeated in the presence of the wise than to excel among fools. – D?gen Zenji

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

To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself. – Thích Nh?t H?nh

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

You are exactly where you need to be. – Unknown

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

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

In a mind clear as still water, even the waves, breaking, are reflecting its light. – D?gen Zenji

To understand everything is to forgive everything. – Buddha

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

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

If you are unable to find the truth right where you are, where else do you expect to find it? – Dogen

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

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

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

There is no mistake in nature. – Byron Katie

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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

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

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

Still your waters. – Josh Waitzkin

Relax. Nothing’s missing. – Maxime Lagacé

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

Watch what you say, and whatever you say, practice it. – Soyen Shaku

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

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

If a warrior is not unattached to life and death, he will be of no use whatsoever. – Yamamoto Tsunetomo

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

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

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

Think with your whole body. – Taisen Deshimar

The place to improve the world is first in one’s own heart and head and hands. – Robert M. Pirsig

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

Everything that happens to you is a form of instruction if you pay attention. – Robert Greene

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

The less you try to impress, the more peaceful you can be. – Maxime Lagacé

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wherever you are, be there totally. – Eckhart Tolle

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

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

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

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

In Zen we have no gurus. – Frederick Lenz

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

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

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

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