77 Zen Quotes To Bring Stillness Into Your Life

By Maxime Lagacé

Maxime is the founder of WisdomQuotes. He has been collecting quotes since 2004. His goal? To help you develop a calm and peaceful mind. Learn more about him on his about page.

zen quotes bring stillness into your life wisdom

Zen is about being peaceful, calm, and serene.

It’s about focusing on the present moment.

Not the future or the past.

It’s also what Wisdom Quotes teaches you: To relax, find wisdom, and inner peace.

That’s why I’ve collected 77 of the best Zen quotes for you.

In today’s modern world, being calm can be a superpower.

I hope you’ll enjoy the words of Lao Tzu, Confucius, Buddha (and many more) as much as I did.

zen quotes when you realize nothing lacking whole world belongs lao tzu wisdom

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

Meaning: Life is perfect the way it is. Nature is perfect. It’s our perceptions that are imperfect.

Mind is like a mad monkey. Sathya Sai Baba

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

I live by letting things happen. Dogen

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

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

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

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


zen quotes let go dragged zen proverb wisdom

Let go, or be dragged. Zen proverb

Meaning: When you let go (of expectations, of old memories, of grudges), you become free. You become light. Those who are attached to the past or the future have dead weight.

Who you are is always right. Ming-Dao Deng

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

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

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

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

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

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

Relax. Nothing’s missing. Maxime Lagacé

zen quotes superior man seeks himself others confucius wisdom

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

Meaning: People who are confused seek validation/happiness/comfort in others. But this leads to misery. Wise people are self-reliant. Wise people focus on what they control.

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. Bruce Lee

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

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

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

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

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

Still your waters. Josh Waitzkin



zen quotes thoughts arise things vanish huang po wisdom

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

Meaning: Learn to observe your thoughts and quiet your mind. Meditate for at least 5 minutes daily. A calm mind leads to a calm life.

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

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

Zen is an effort to become alert and awake. 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

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

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

Related: Tao Te Ching, The Definitive Edition (Amazon book)
zen quotes wherever you are place need maxime lagace wisdom

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

Meaning: Don’t resist the moment. Accept it as if you had chosen it. The present moment always has something to teach.

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

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

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

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

Treat every moment as your last. It is not preparation for something else. Shunryu Suzuki (Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind)

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

zen quotes noble minded calm steady little people fretting confucius wisdom

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

Meaning: Zen people don’t rush things. They avoid the frenzy and what’s popular. They simply do their things, slowly, because it’s the right thing to do.

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

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

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

The essence of the Way is detachment. Bodhidharma

Act without expectation. Lao Tzu

The more you know, the less you need. Yvon Chouinard (Patagonia)

Life begins where fear ends. Osho


zen quotes rest kind prove anything jack kerouac wisdom

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

Meaning: Zen people have simple lives. They enjoy ordinary moments and just try to help others. They don’t try to look good. They simply do good.

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

Your mind wants control. Life wants change. Maxime Lagacé

Don’t try to steer the river. Deepak Chopra

Be present above all else. Naval Ravikant

To go beyond is as wrong as to fall short. Confucius

Those who seek the easy way do not seek the true way. Dogen

zen quotes seek suffer nothing bliss bodhidharma wisdom

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

Meaning: Zen people take what comes. They know “seeking” is “desiring”, which is suffering. That’s why they seek nothing. They enjoy the “now”, as it is.

A Zen master’s life is one continuous mistake. Dogen

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

Zen has no business with ideas. D.T. Suzuki

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

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

Singlemindedness is all-powerful. Yamamoto Tsunetomo


zen quotes wherever you are totally eckhart tolle wisdom

Wherever you are, be there totally. Eckhart Tolle

Meaning: Zen people know it’s useless to think of the future and the past because both don’t exist. The only reality is the present moment. And the best way to prepare for the future is to do your best, right now.

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

Little people try to control everything. Thus, they control nothing. Wise people focus on one thing, the most important, and let go of the rest. Maxime Lagacé

Little people are overwhelmed by emotions. Zen people are calm and detached. Maxime Lagacé

In the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity. Sun Tzu

Zen is not some special state, it is our normal condition, silent, peaceful, awake, without agitation. Taisen Deshimaru

Purity is something that cannot be attained except by piling effort upon effort. Yamamoto Tsunetomo (Hagakure: The Book of the Samurai)

The beauty of Zen is found in simplicity and tranquility, in a sense of the all-embracing harmony of things. Thich Thien-An

zen quotes relax nothing under control adi da wisdom

Relax. Nothing is under control. Adi Da

Meaning: Zen people stopped a long time ago their battle against life. They trust that whatever happens is the right thing that had to happen. They stopped taking life so seriously.

We just let it happen… and that’s the beauty of this technique. Bob Ross

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

My daily affairs are quite ordinary; but I’m in total harmony with them. Layman Pang

Your mind is a mad monkey trying to understand life which is unfair and crazy. Get used to it. Maxime Lagacé

I don’t hold on to anything, don’t reject anything; nowhere an obstacle or conflict. Layman Pang

RelatedHere’s How A Month Of Zen Meditation Changed My Life (fastcompany.com)

Key Takeaways

  • Want to be Zen? First understand your ego is a desire machine. If you don’t control your desires, they will control you.
  • Letting go is the wisest path. The other ones lead to misery.
  • All your sufferings have the same cause: your attachments.
  • Fools want to be rich externally. The wise want to be rich internally.
  • What do Zen people seek? Nothing. They simply smile at what happens.

Further Readings

Hope you enjoyed these beautiful Zen quotes. If you did, please share them with a friend today!

Are you Zen/relaxed? What’s your favorite Zen quote?

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zen quotes bring stillness into your life wisdom

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Author Bio

maxime lagace

Maxime Lagacé started collecting quotes in 2004 after he lost his girlfriend in a car accident.

In search of meaning, he dived in the self-improvement world, psychology and trail running.

Books, blogs, quotes and nature became his guide.

He started journaling, reflecting, writing his thoughts, feelings and quotes.

His goal was to understand his pain, his depression, his fears, his lack of motivation and inspiration.

He finished his software engineering degree in 2007 at the École de Technologie Supérieure de Montréal.

A few years later, he started his first website to share his love of quotes.

Maxime is a father of two, husband, and INFJ.

Other notable interests of Maxime are health (mental and physical), meditation, bananas, SEO, human potential, and education.

You can find him on X, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, YouTube.

Last update

April 5, 2023

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