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 exactly what WisdomQuotes 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.
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
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
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
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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)
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
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
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
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
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
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
Related: Here’s How A Month Of Zen Meditation Changed My Life (fastcompany.com)
- Want to be Zen? First understand your ego is a desires 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.
- Topic: Happiness
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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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