65 Zen Quotes and Proverbs to Help You Live Your Best Life

This Zen quotes collection will help bring your mind, body and true nature into a connected state of focus.

For many of us life is a drive on the Autobahn; it’s fast, it’s flashy and it can become reckless.

We confuse initiative with risky behavior.

We’re always in a hurry to get to “the next best thing.”

Our desires drive our point of view.

So, we see things the way we want them to be; not the way they really are.

Before we know it, our actions can often go awry, and we find ourselves stressed, confused and dealing with conflicts or issues resulting from our distorted state of thinking which led to misguided actions.

But, we can take a stand and drive to live the best life we can.

It is within our power to manage our mindset, thoughts and action.

This power comes when we utilize the insight into our true nature to honestly frame our mind and our thoughts; guiding our decisions and actions.

It is this very same power that is harnessed in the practice of Zen to stay calm, maintain attentiveness, remove selfish desires and rely on wisdom that is not distorted by illusions; thereby, getting to the “real” and operating without “noise” and “external influences.”

So, we can start today by trying to bring our mind, body and true nature into a connected state of focus.

Begin today with motivation from these Zen quotes and proverbs, and continue on with our collection of Confucius quotes.

Check out our most popular quote article, a list of short inspirational quotes for daily inspiration.

Check out our entire collection of motivational quotes here.

Zen Quotes and Proverbs to Help You Live Your Best Life

1. “Have the fearless attitude of a hero and the loving heart of a child.” — Soyen Shaku

2. “When I feel like dancing, I dance. I don’t care if anyone else is dancing or if everyone else is laughing at me. I dance. “ – Rachel Danson

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3. “The good life can be as simple as just paying attention.” — Charlie Ambler

4. “Have a mind that is open to everything and attached to nothing.” — Tilopa

5. “The most important point is to accept yourself and stand on your two
feet.” — Shunryu Suzuki

6. “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” — Lao Tzu

7. “The art of living… is neither careless drifting on the one hand nor fearful clinging to the past on the other. It consists in being sensitive to each
moment, in regarding it as utterly new and unique, in having the mind open and wholly receptive.” — Alan Watts

8. “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

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Zen quotes to inspire and motivate

9. “I don’t have a preconception of a perfect day because if I did then it would ruin the day that I was living.” — Naval Ravikant

10. “Realize that life will never be how you want it to be. Jump in regardless. The jump itself is living; its whole spectrum, its entire beauty.” – Mr. Mircea

11. “Once you realize that the road is the goal and that you are always on the
road, not to reach a goal, but to enjoy its beauty and its wisdom, life ceases
to be a task and becomes natural and simple, in itself an ecstasy.”
Nisargadatta Maharaj

12. “The problem with winning the rat race is: you’re still a rat.” — Lily Tomlin

13. “The quieter you become, the more you are able to hear.” — Lao Tzu

14. “To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself.” —Thích Nhất Hạnh

15. “If we do not know how to take care of ourselves and to love ourselves, we cannot take care of the people we love. Loving oneself is the foundation for loving another person.” — Thích Nhất Hạnh

16. “Suffering is how Life tells you that you are resisting or misperceiving what is real and true.” —Adyashanti

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More Zen quotes to help shape your attitude and character

17. “The less you judge things, including the contents of your mind, the more clearly you’ll see them.” — Robert Wright

18. “Nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know.”
Pema Chödrön
If you’re enjoying these quotes, you’ll love our collection of Pema Chödrön quotes about finding peace in life.

19. “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

20. “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.” — Dalai Lama

21. “Don’t believe everything you think.” — Byron Katie

22. “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.” —Zen Proverb

23. My experience is that the teachers we need most are the people we’re living with right now.” — Byron Katie

24. “Upon retiring, sleep as if you had entered your last sleep. Upon awakening, leave your bed behind you instantly as if you had cast away a pair of old shoes.“– Soyen Shaku

25. “Each morning we are born again. What we do today is what matters most.” — Buddha

Zen Quotes To Calm Your Mind

26. “When you realize nothing is lacking, the whole world belongs to you.” — Lao Tzu

27. “The feeling that any task is a nuisance will soon disappear if it is done in mindfulness.” – Thich Nhat Hahn

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

29. “Everything that has a beginning has an ending. Make your peace with that and all will be well.” – Jack Kornfield

30. “When thoughts arise, then do all things arise. When thoughts vanish, then do all things vanish.” — Huang Po

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

32. “Do not let the behavior of others destroy your inner peace.” ― Dalai Lama

33.Smile, breathe and go slowly.” ― Thích Nhất Hạnh

34. “If you realize you have enough, you are truly rich.” ― Lao Tzu

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

Zen Quotes To Show The Importance Of Zen

36. “Surfing soothes me, it’s always been a kind of Zen experience for me. The ocean is so magnificent, peaceful, and awesome. The rest of the world disappears for me when I’m on a wave.” – Paul Walker

37. “Cooking is one of the most zen things – you have to be there.” – Roy Choi

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

39. “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

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

41. “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

42. “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

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

44. “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

45. “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

Zen Quotes To Help You Relax And Have Peace

46. “Zen is freedom, happiness, truth, living, wisdom, peace, tranquility, stillness, letting go, and so much more. It’s a perfect lifestyle.” — Ian Tuhovsky

47. “Zen practice is to open up our small minds.” — Shunryu Suzuki

48. “By practicing Zen, you are reminded to take back this creative power and to re-create a better world for yourself and others.” — Dharma Master Hsin Tao

49. “Zen is life — completely natural and without any artificiality. It is something so intimate and apparent that it defies language and so can never be satisfactorily captured by words.” — Tim Freke

50. “Things derive their being and nature by mutual dependence and are nothing in themselves.” — Nagarjuna

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

52. “Wherever you are, be there totally.” — Eckhart Tolle

53. “You have to grow from the inside out. None can teach you, none can make you spiritual. There is no other teacher but your own soul.” — Swami Vivekananda

54. “There is in Zen nothing to explain, nothing to teach, that will add to your knowledge. Unless it grows out of yourself no knowledge is really yours, it is only a borrowed plumage.” — D. T. Suzuki

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

Zen Quotes To Help You Live Your Best Life

56. “We do not exist for the sake of something else. We exist for the sake of ourselves.” ― Shunryu Suzuki

57. “Our sorrows and wounds are healed only when we touch them with compassion.” ― Buddha

58. “To receive everything, one must open one’s hands and give.” ― Taisen Deshimaru

59. “The resistance to the unpleasant situation is the root of suffering.” ― Ram Dass

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

61. “Life isn’t as serious as the mind makes it out to be.” ― Eckhart Tolle

62. “Do not follow the idea of others, but learn to listen to the voice within yourself.” ― Dōgen Zenji

63. “Prefer to be defeated in the presence of the wise than to excel among fools.” ― Dōgen Zenji

64. “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

65. “To understand everything is to forgive everything.” ― Buddha

Which of these Zen quotes was your favorite?

Attitude and mindset guide our hearts and drives the quality of the life we live.

So, these “simple” but “eye-opening” messages are helpful tools for getting to a calm, mellow, insightful, and introspective state of being.

If we meditate on them from time to time; they can work to free our mind of clutter; and in turn, tune our heart with mind so we get started on the road which leads to living peacefully.

Which of these Zen quotes and proverbs resonated with you best?

Do you have any other favorite quotes to add?

Feel free to share with us in the comment section below.

Jacqueline P. Walker has over 30 years of leadership experience. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Arts (Psychology/ English/Communication Arts) and completed graduate coursework inOrganizational and Technology Management. She is a Certified Professional Technical Communicator (CPTC) with certificates in Workplace Communications, Data Analytics, Business Strategy: Achieving Competitive Advantage, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. She shares this valuable knowledge, experience, and training by craftingwritten content encourages and inspires others to identify theirpassions and pursue their purpose. Her work provides tangible tools tohelp with goal definition and achievement.Jacqueline also volunteers for a local organization developing anddelivering presentations along with coaching presenters and projectmanagers to provide information that motivates event participants tostrive for success.