Having a troubled and agitated mind can affect not only your daily life but also your overall well-being.
In these situations, what you need is positivity, inspirations, and peace of mind to get yourself back on track.
What’s a better way to calm your mind than Zen, the journey of meditation towards self-actualization?
Today, we have compiled the best Zen sayings and proverbs by famous Zen masters to help you get started towards achieving a calmed soul.
Read on to break free from the chains on your mind.
Best Zen Sayings and Proverbs
Below are 101 Zen sayings that you can ponder upon to achieve the peace you want:
Sayings by Buddha
- Be vigilant; guard your mind against negative thoughts.
- The mind is the source of happiness and unhappiness.
- You can only lose what you cling to.
- Inward calm cannot be maintained unless physical strength is constantly and intelligently replenished.
- There is nothing more dreadful than the habit of doubt.
- Happiness is a journey, not a destination.
- Resolutely train yourself to attain peace.
- Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.
- Every morning we are born again. What we do today is what matters most.
- Those who envy others will never find peace of mind.
- Pain is certain, suffering is optional.
- All wrong-doing arises because of the mind. If the mind is transformed, can wrong-doing remain?
- Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.
- Meditate. Do not delay, lest you later regret it.
- 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.
- What you think, you become.
- Be where you are. Otherwise, you will miss your life.
- Anger will never disappear so long as thoughts of resentment are cherished in mind. Anger will disappear just as soon as thoughts of resentment are forgotten.
- It is a man’s own mind, not his enemy or foe, that lures him to evil ways.
- Those who are free of resentful thoughts surely find peace.
- Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without.
- You will not be punished for your anger; you will be punished by your anger.
- A disciplined mind brings happiness.
Quotes by Shunryu Suzuki
- Emotionally we have many problems, but these problems are not actual problems; they are something created; they are problems pointed out by our self-centered ideas or views.
- 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.
- The person who can freely acknowledge that life is full of difficulties can be free.
- Treat every moment as your last.
- When we do not expect anything we can be ourselves.
- The most important point is to accept yourself.
- When we have our body and mind in order, everything else will exist in the right place, in the right way.
- Realize the everlasting truth of “everything changes”.
- Calmness in activity is true calmness.
- When you do something, you should do it with your whole body and mind.
- When you bow, you should just bow; when you sit, you should just sit; when you eat, you should just eat.
- We do not exist for the sake of something else. We exist for the sake of ourselves.
Quotes by Lao Tzu
- 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.
- Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.
- Act without expectation.
- If you realize you have enough, you are truly rich.
- When there is no desire, all things are at peace.
Zen Quotes by Dogen
- Live by letting things happen.
- One must be deeply aware of the impermanence of the world.
- To be in harmony with the wholeness of things is not to have anxiety over imperfections.
- Each of us should strive to awaken.
Other Famous Zen Sayings and Proverbs
- In Zen, we don’t find the answers; we lose the questions.
- Single-mindedness is all-powerful.
- Not creating delusions is enlightenment.
- Don’t be afraid to just sit and watch.
- Don’t try to steer the river.
- Worry is like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do, but it doesn’t get you anywhere.
- To a mind that is still, the whole universe surrenders.
- Only when we relate with ourselves without moralizing, without harshness, without deception, can we let go of harmful patterns.
- Let go of the need for approval.
- Soar in the freedom of desirelessness.
- Buddhism teaches that joy and happiness arise from letting go.
- Unhappiness and rain just drift by and are gone; they are visitors.
- They call it “peace of mind”, but maybe it should be called “peace from mind”.
- Guilt, regret, resentment, sadness, and all forms of non-forgiveness are caused by too much past and not enough presence.
- Melting our attachment to self is the most powerful medication for bringing mental and emotional imbalances in check.
- All the things that truly matter—beauty, love, creativity, joy, and inner peace—arise from beyond the mind.
- You’re never given more pain than you can handle.
- There is a crack in everything; that’s how the light gets in.
- When we start to feel anxious or depressed, instead of asking, “What do I need to get to be happy?”, the question becomes, “What am I doing to disturb the inner peace that I already have?”.
- Lose your mind and effortlessly be.
- Smile, breathe, and go slowly.
- You don’t need to be accepted by others.
- To seek nothing is bliss.
- Don’t be satisfied with your accomplishment, nor be dissatisfied with it.
- Always look on the bright side of things. If you can’t comprehend this, polish that which has become dull until it begins to shine.
- The resistance to the unpleasant situation is the root of suffering.
- Life isn’t as serious as the mind makes it out to be.
- Muddy water is best cleared by leaving it alone.
- Little people seek lasting happiness in the material world. Zen people seek understanding first and then find lasting peace.
- Flow with whatever may happen and let your mind be free. Stay centered by accepting whatever you are doing.
- If we are always demanding something out of life, then we will never be content. However, if we accept life as it is, then we will know contentment.
- There is one thing in life that you can always rely on: life being as it is.
- Do not be assertive, but adjust to the object, and you shall find a way around or through it.
- Detachment is necessary for peace, and peace is necessary for happiness.
- If you cry because the sun has gone out of your life, your tears will prevent you from seeing the stars.
- Release attachment to outcomes, deep inside yourself, you’ll feel good no matter what.
- Thinking comes and goes; you must not be attached to the coming or the going.
- The wise adapt themselves to circumstances.
- Let go; let be. See through everything and be free, complete, luminous, at home, and at ease.
- If you have inner peace, nobody can force you to be a slave to the outer reality.
- Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.
- The more we value things, the less we value ourselves.
- If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you’ll never get it done.
- Your problems never cease. They just change.
- Be a master of mind rather than mastered by mind.
- Move and the way will open.
- Don’t seek, don’t search, don’t ask, don’t knock, don’t demand. Relax.
- All things are difficult before they are easy.
- Become comfortable with not knowing.
- Whatever happens always happens on time.
- Live calmly. The time will come when the flowers bloom by themselves.
- Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves—slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future.
- These mountains that you are carrying, you were only supposed to climb.
- Let go, or be dragged.
- Do not let the behavior of others destroy your inner peace.
- To be angry is to let others’ mistakes punish yourself.
- Yesterday is not ours to recover, but tomorrow is ours to win or lose.
These best Zen short inspirational quotes and proverbs come from wise souls from different eras.
They can surely help you calm your mind and have a peaceful soul, as long as you realize the true value and deep meaning that rests within these wise words. According to a quote on bloglingo ,Contentment is the simplest way to feel true happiness and peace. It is learning to appreciate what you have, who you’re with, and where you are at present. Developing a sense of thankfulness and an attitude of gratitude will make you feel the joy that is not fleeting.
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