60 Zen Quotes That’ll Calm Your Spirit

Be inspired to soothe your soul and calm your mind by reading these Zen quotes.

Zen is the school of Buddhism focusing on meditation and intuition. It is a critical practice to free the mind and reach enlightenment. By knowing the value of living in the present and silencing the noise inside our heads, we can discover our innermost self and gain wisdom.

So, if you need some quotes that will introduce you to Zen, then this collection is for you.

Zen Quotes That’ll Calm Your Spirit

Read our quotes below so you can find the path toward meditation and relaxation.

Let’s get started.

Best Zen Quotes

1. “Zen is not effort. Effort is tension, effort is work, effort is to achieve something. Zen is not something to achieve. You are already that. Just relax, relax so deeply that you become a revelation to yourself.” – Osho

2. “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.” – Shunryū Suzuki

3. “Zen is a path of liberation. It liberates you. It is freedom from the first step to the last. You are not required to follow any rules. You are required to find out your own rules and your own life in the light of awareness.” – Osho

4. “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

5. “Zen is not some kind of excitement, but concentration on our usual everyday routine.” – Shunryū Suzuki

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

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

8. “Not thinking about anything is Zen. Once you know this, walking, sitting, or lying down, everything you do is Zen.” – Bodhidharma

9. “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

10. “When thoughts arise, then do all things arise. When thoughts vanish, then do all things vanish.” – Huángbò Xīyùn

11. “Zen, in its essence, is the art of seeing into the nature of one’s being, and it points the way from bondage to freedom.” – Daisetsu Teitaro Suzuki

12. “Zen is not an art, it’s not a religion. It’s a realization.” – Gene Clark

13. “Zen teaches nothing. It merely enables us to wake up and become aware. It does not teach. It points.” – Daisetsu Teitaro Suzuki

14. “Zen is not a religion. There is no room for a cult. There is no dependence on a teacher. There is only learning how to use your own mind and making it strong.” – Frederick Lenz

Inspirational Zen Quotes to Arm Yourself With Peace of Mind

15. “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

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

17. “Do not follow the ideas of others, but learn to listen to the voice within yourself. Your body and mind will become clear, and you will realize the unity of all things.” – Dōgen

18. “Letting go gives us freedom, and freedom is the only condition for happiness. If, in our heart, we still cling to anything, anger, anxiety, or possessions, we cannot be free.” – Thích Nhất Hạnh

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

20. “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

21. “Let your mind wander in the pure and simple. Be one with the infinite. Let all things take their course.” – Zhuang Zhou

22. “When both body and mind are at peace, all things appear as they are: perfect, complete, lacking nothing.” – Dōgen

23. “If we don’t occupy ourselves with everything, then the peaceful mind will have nowhere to abide.” – Shenhui

24. “If you just sit and observe, you will see how restless your mind is. If you try to calm it, it only makes it worse, but over time it does calm, and when it does, there’s room to hear more subtle things. That’s when your intuition starts to blossom, and you start to see things more clearly and be in the present more. Your mind just slows down, and you see a tremendous expanse at the moment. You see so much more than you could see before. It’s a discipline. You have to practice it.” – Walter Isaacson

25. “In a mind clear as still water, even the waves, breaking, are reflecting its light.” – Dōgen

Also read: Spiritual Awakening Quotes, Inspirational Quotes

Deep Zen Quotes for People Who Seek Tranquility

26. “Still water has no mind to receive the image of the migrating geese.” – Zen Proverb

27. “Zen practice is to open up our small minds.” – Shunryū Suzuki

28. “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.” – Shunryū Suzuki

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

30. “No thought, no reflection, no analysis, no cultivation, no intention. Let it settle itself.” – Tilopa

31. “Silence is the language of Om. We need silence to be able to reach ourselves. Both internal and external silence is very important to feel the presence of that supreme love.” – Amit Ray

32. “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

33. “Your home is where your thoughts find peace.” – Anonymous

34. “I’m here to tell you that the path to peace is right there when you want to get away.” – Pema Chödrön

35. “When the mind is perfectly clear, what is, is what we want.” – Byron Katie

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

37. “Wherever you are, be there totally.” – Eckhart Tolle

Also read: Positive Quotes

Zen Quotes About Life

38. “Zen is not some fancy, special art of living. Our teaching is just to live, always in reality, in its exact sense.” – Shunryū Suzuki

39. “If you miss the present moment, you miss your appointment with life. That is very serious!” – Thích Nhất Hạnh

40. “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

41. “Hard to restrain, unstable is this mind. It flits wherever it lists. Good, it is to control the mind. A controlled mind brings happiness.” – Buddha

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

43. “The intuitive recognition of the instant, thus reality, is the highest act of wisdom.” – Daisetsu Teitaro Suzuki

Also read: Quotes to Live By

Short Zen Quotes for Serious Practitioners

44. “Zen has no business with ideas.” – Daisetsu Teitaro Suzuki

45. “Think with your whole body.” – Taisen Deshimaru

46. “Little people overwhelmed by emotions. Zen people are calm and detached.” – Maxime Lagacé

47. “In Zen, we have no gurus.” – Frederick Lenz

48. “Do not be too interested in Zen.” – Shunryū Suzuki

49. “A Zen master’s life is one continuous mistake.” – Dōgen

Zen Quotes to Learn About Meditation

50. “What is called zazen is sitting on a zafu pillow in a quiet room, absolutely still, in the exact and proper position and without uttering a word, the mind empty of any thought, good or wicked. It is continuing to sit peacefully, facing a wall, and nothing more. Every day.” – Taisen Deshimaru

51. “Zazen is not the practice of self-improvement, like a course in making friends and influencing people. With earnest zazen, character change does occur, but this is not a matter of ego adjustment. It is forgetting the self.” – Robert Baker Aitken

52. “In doing zazen, it is desirable to have a quiet room. You should be temperate in eating and drinking, forsaking all delusive relationships. Setting everything aside, think of neither good nor evil, right nor wrong. Thus having stopped the various functions of your mind, give up even the idea of becoming a Buddha.” – Dōgen

53. “Zazen is seated meditation. The opposite of contemplation, the emptying of the mind of all thoughts in order simply to be.” – Anonymous

More Zen Quotes That Will Help You Start Living Fully

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

55. “The Zen expression ‘Kill the Buddha!’ means to kill any concept of the Buddha as something apart from oneself.” – Anonymous

56. “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.” – Eric Maisel

57. “When other sects speak well of Zen, the first thing that they praise is its poverty.” – Dōgen

58. “If he cannot stop the mind that seeks after fame and profit, he will spend his life without finding peace.” – Dōgen

59. “But as long as you think you are practicing zazen for the sake of something, that is not true practice.” – Shunryū Suzuki

60. “Zazen is the ultimate practice. This is indeed the True Self. The Buddha-dharma is not to be sought outside of this.” – Dōgen

Also read: Happiness Quotes

Did These Quotes Enlighten You About Zen?

Peace of mind is one of the keys that will lead us to enlightenment. By listening to the silence and freeing the mind, we can look deeper into ourselves and find wisdom. This is where Zen comes in handy.

Zen emphasizes meditation, control, and insight. Its paradoxical nature of knowing oneself by emptying the mind shows how something can only be learned through experience. After all, meditation and reflection remind us of the importance of silence in discovering the truth inside our minds.

In a world where noise is present everywhere, Zen is a practice that is worth a try. It cleanses our thoughts deep enough to reach our souls. Hopefully, this collection was able to encourage you to understand the essence of meditation and intuition, and try out some Zen practices!

Did you learn a lot from these Zen quotes? Which is your favorite Zen quote? Comment your answers in the section below.

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Karen Danao

Hi, I’m Karen, a content curator and writer for Quote Ambition; I’m also a marketing and advertising professional. Beyond the keyboard and the screen, I’m someone who’s out to enjoy every bit that life has to offer!

Poetry, philosophy, history, and movies are all topics I love writing about! However, my true passion is in traveling, photography, and finding common ground to which everyone from different cultures can relate.

With the many places I’ve been to, I found that love, inspiration, and happiness are some things that bring people together. No matter how different we are on the outside, I’m a true believer that our emotions don’t lie; if you dig deep into our psyche, we’re all the same inside.

This belief was further amplified when I joined Quote Ambition. Through the quotes I’ve read, collected, organized, and written about, I found that humans are resilient, creative, and compassionate.

We take from each others’ hearts and courage, and it’s through our individual experiences that we learn how to rise above our challenges and pain. In so many ways, Quote Ambition is a platform that allows people from all over the world to gain the inspiration they need anytime, anywhere!

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