(Last updated on: 19/05/2022)
Sometimes a few zen quotes is all we need to bring some peace into our lives! Life these days can be far too stressful and I think that most of us could do with a bit of zen from time to time, however this isn’t always easy to find! But in this article I will make finding zen that little bit easier by sharing with you my top 175 zen quotes to bring you peace!
The best quotes about zen
What are the best zen quotes? Here are my top picks-
1. When you realize nothing is lacking, the whole world belongs to you.
2. What the superior man seeks is in himself; what the small man seeks is in others.
3. Let go, or be dragged.
4. What the superior man seeks is in himself; what the small man seeks is in others.
5. To seek is to suffer. To seek nothing is bliss.
6. Mind is like a mad monkey.
7. Wise men don’t judge – they seek to understand.
8. When thoughts arise, then do all things arise. When thoughts vanish, then do all things vanish.
9. Wherever you are, it’s the place you need to be.
10. The noble-minded are calm and steady. Little people are forever fussing and fretting.
11. Rest and be kind, you don’t have to prove anything.
12. Nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know.
13. Only the hand that erases can write the true thing.
14. Where can I find a man who has forgotten words so I can talk with him?
15. When we discover that the truth is already in us, we are all at once our original selves.
16. Life is a balance of holding on and letting go.
17. Wherever you are, be there totally.
Zen quotes about love
There are plenty of zen quotes about love, perfect for that romantic moment! Here are my favourites-
18. I live by letting things happen.
19. Zen is not some fancy, special art of living. Our teaching is just to live, always in reality, in its exact sense
20. Who you are is always right.
21. And when they played they really played. And when they worked they really worked.
22. Do not seek the truth, only cease to cherish your opinions.
23.One loses joy and happiness in the attempt to possess them.
24.Forget the years, forget distinctions. Leap into the boundless and make it your home.
25. Before enlightenment; chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment; chop wood, carry water.
26. Education breeds confidence. Confidence breeds hope. Hope breeds peace.
27. Relax, Nothing’s missing.
28. Peace of mind is that mental condition in which you have accepted the worst.
29. Learn to be comfortable in adversity but most importantly, learn to be comfortable when you’re bored.
30. 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.
31. Relax. Nothing is under control.
32. The place to improve the world is first in one’s own heart and head and hands.
Zen quotes about change
And if you are a bit stressed about changes in your life then some zen quotes about change might just be the answer-
33. Everything that happens to you is a form of instruction if you pay attention.
34. The less you try to impress, the more peaceful you can be.
35. Every experience is a lesson. Every loss is a gain.
36. 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.
37. The only Zen you can find on the tops of mountains is the Zen you bring up there.
38. Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength mastering yourself is true power.
39. The first and the best victory is to conquer self.
40. The ability to observe without evaluating is the highest form of intelligence.
41. Pursue not the outer entanglements; dwell not in the inner void; be serene in the oneness of things; and dualism vanishes by itself.
42. 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.
43. We shape clay into a pot, but it is the emptiness inside that holds whatever we want.
44. For things to reveal themselves to us, we need to be ready to abandon our views about them.
45. One has not understood until one has forgotten it.
46. Nothing is permanent, except change
47. Somehow, in the process of trying to deny that things are always changing, we lose our sense of the sacredness of life. We tend to forget that we are part of the natural scheme of things.
48. If you begin to understand what you are without trying to change it, then what you are undergoes a transformation.
49. Everything changes.
50. Life is expressed in a perpetual sequence of changes. The birth of the child is the death of the baby, just as the birth of the adolescent is the death of the child.
51. Like a robe wears out over time and turns to rags, life wears out from day to day, from second to second.
Short zen quotes
Sometimes the best kind of zen quotes are short zen quotes! Here are my top picks-
52. I don’t mind what happens. That is the essence of inner freedom.
53. Act without expectation.
54. Not creating delusions is enlightenment.
55. All things are difficult before they are easy.
56. Words diminish meanings; these words included.
57. The more you know, the less you need.
58. Life begins where fear ends.
59. Don’t be afraid to just sit and watch.
60. Your mind wants control. Life wants change.
61. Do not be too interested in Zen.
62. Be present above all else.
63. Think with your whole body.
64. Love all. Serve all. Help ever. Hurt never.
65. Don’t try to steer the river.
66. To go beyond is as wrong as to fall short.
67. Roads were made for journeys not destinations.
68. Don’t curse the darkness, light a candle.
69. Body and mind dropped off.
Zen quotes about the mind
If mindfulness is your thing then these zen quotes about the mind might be right up your street-
70. 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.
71. 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.
72. To be wronged is nothing unless you continue to remember it.
73. Do not think you will necessarily be aware of your own enlightenment.
74. To study Buddhism is to study ourselves. To study ourselves is to forget ourselves.
75. In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s mind there are few.
76. If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito.
77. Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.
78. If you know the enemy and know yourself you need not fear the results of a hundred battles.
79.Yesterday is not ours to recover, but tomorrow is ours to win or lose.
80. In the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity.
81. 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.
82. 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.
83. They call it ‘peace of mind’ but maybe it should be called ‘peace from mind’.
84. Your mind is a mad monkey trying to understand life which is unfair and crazy. Get used to it.
85. To set up what you like against what you dislike, this is the disease of the mind.
86. But as long as you think you are practicing zazen for the sake of something, that is not true practice.
87. Un-think. Un-learn. Un-know. Un-believe. Un-speculate. Un-seek. Un-strive. Un-fear. Lose your mind and effortlessly be.
88. You can have the mind or you can have the moment
Zen quotes about death
Death can be a very sad and stressful time, and some zen quotes might be able to help you get through this difficult time. Here are my top picks-
89. When one first seeks the truth, one separates oneself from it.
90. Treat every moment as your last. It is not preparation for something else.
91. All know the way, but few actually walk it.
92. Enlightenment is intimacy with all things.
93. A Zen master’s life is one continuous mistake.
94. To live – is that not enough?
95. This will never come again.
96. Movement is evil. Being still is good.
97. 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.
98. My daily affairs are quite ordinary; but I’m in total harmony with them.
99. 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
100. The man who asks a question is a fool for a minute, the man who does not ask is a fool for life.
101. One must be deeply aware of the impermanence of the world.
102. If a warrior is not unattached to life and death, he will be of no use whatsoever.
103. Peace of mind is that mental condition in which you have accepted the worst.
104. The true miracle is not walking on water or walking in air, but simply walking on this earth.
105. Roads were made for journeys, not destinations.
106. The personal life deeply lived always expands into truths beyond itself.
107. 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.
108. When you accept what is, every moment is the best moment. That is enlightenment.
109. Not everything happens for a reason. Nature is not rational. Just make peace with whatever happens.
110. The way to free yourself of pain and suffering is to accept it.
Zen quotes about friendship
And there are plenty of zen quotes about friendship too!
111. If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.
112. Now I know what success is: living your truth, sharing it.
113. In the highest level a man has the look of knowing nothing.
114. Truth makes you rise to new heights, no matter where you are.
115. These mountains that you are carrying, you were only supposed to climb.
116. Have the fearless attitude of a hero and the loving heart of a child.
117. Confuse them with your silence and amaze them with your actions.
118. There is no need for temples; no need for complicate philosophy Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness.
119. As a bee gathering nectar does not harm or disturb the colour and fragrance of the flower; so do the wise move through the world.
120. We just let it happen… and that’s the beauty of this technique.
121. Cease from practice based on intellectual understanding, pursuing words, and following after speech.
122. It is the nature of the wise to resist pleasures, but the foolish to be a slave to them.
123. The thief left it behind: the moon at my window.
124. Matters of great concern should be treated lightly. Matters of small concern should be treated seriously.
125. When you understand one thing through and through, you understand everything. When you try to understand everything, you will not understand anything.
126. 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.
Zen quotes about anger
Zen quotes about anger can be a helpful way to release and relax. Here are my favourite zen quotes about anger-
127. Man suffers only because he takes seriously what the gods made for fun.
128. The successful warrior is the average man, with laser-like focus.
129. Not engaging in ignorance is wisdom.
130. The essence of the Way is detachment.
131. Body and mind dropped off.
132. Those who seek the easy way do not seek the true way.
133. Zen has no business with ideas.
134. I follow four dictates: face it, accept it , deal with it, then let it go.
135. When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don’t adjust the goals, adjust the action steps.
136. If you want happiness for a year, inherit a fortune. If you want happiness for a lifetime, help someone else.
137. Little people overwhelmed by emotions. Zen people are calm and detached.
138. Emptiness which is conceptually liable to be mistaken for sheer nothingness is in fact the reservoir of infinite possibilities.
139. Purity is something that cannot be attained except by piling effort upon effort.
140. Unhappiness and rain just drift by and are gone, they are visitors.
141. I don’t hold on to anything, don’t reject anything; nowhere an obstacle or conflict.
142. The whole moon and the entire sky are reflected in one dewdrop on the grass.
143. There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.
144. Why do you so earnestly seek the truth in distant places? Look for delusion and truth in the bottom of your own heart.
145. To be truly ignorant, be content with your own knowledge.
146. Don’t be satisfied with your accomplishment, nor be dissatisfied with it.
147. Prefer to be defeated in the presence of the wise than to excel among fools.
Zen quotes about water
Water can be very zen! And here are some great zen quotes about water-
148. Do you have the patience to wait until your mud settles and the water is clear?
149. Still your waters.
150. Muddy water is best cleared by leaving it alone.
151. It is easy to believe we are each waves and forget we are also the ocean.
152. All know that the drop merges into the ocean but few know that the ocean merges into the drop.
153. The wave is free when it realizes it is part of the sea.
154. How should men know what is coming to pass within them, when there are no words to grasp it? How could the drops of water know themselves to be a river? Yet the river flows on.
155. In one drop of water are found all the secrets of the oceans.
156. Limitless and immortal, the waters are the beginning and end of all things on earth.
157. Silence reveals our true nature.
158. Deep inside we know this – all is connected.
159.When the ego vanishes, the self appears.
160. Each one of us is something greater than ourselves. How could the drops of water know themselves to be a river?
161. Water reminds us, all shall pass in time.
162. In rivers, the water that you touch is the last of what has passed and the first of that which comes; so with present time.
163. Be like water making its way through cracks. Do not be assertive but adjust to the object, and you shall find a way around or through it. If nothing within you stays rigid, outward things will disclose themselves. 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.
164. Water links us to our neighbour in a way more profound and complex than any other.
165. Human nature is like water. It takes the shape of its container.
166. Nothing is softer or more flexible than water, yet nothing can resist it.
167. Thousands have lived without love, not one without water.
168. The deeper the waters are, the more still they run.
169. Where the waters do agree, it is quite wonderful the relief they give.
170. In one drop of water are found all the secrets of all the oceans; in one aspect of You are found all the aspects of existence.
171. For whatever we lose (like a you or a me), It’s always our self we find in the sea.
172. Water does not resist. Water flows. When you plunge your hand into it, all you feel is a caress. Water is not a solid wall, it will not stop you. But water always goes where it wants to go, and nothing in the end can stand against it. Water is patient. Dripping water wears away a stone. Remember that, my child. Remember you are half water. If you can’t go through an obstacle, go around it. Water does.
173. A lake carries you into recesses of feeling otherwise impenetrable.
174. Life in us is like the water in a river.
175. Have you also learned that secret from the river; that there is no such thing as time? That the river is everywhere at the same time, at the source and at the mouth, at the waterfall, at the ferry, at the current, in the ocean and in the mountains, everywhere and that the present only exists for it, not the shadow of the past nor the shadow of the future.
Zen quotes to bring you peace
So there we have it- 175 zen quotes to bring you peace! Did these zen quotes make you feel more relaxed! If so, why not check out these posts too-