Zen Quotes


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

The best preparation for a better life next year is a full, complete, harmonious, joyous life this year. Thomas Dreier

It is for us to make the effort. The result is always in god’s hands. Gandhi

Listen to your life. Ill moments are key moments. Frederick Buechner

The mature person pays attention to what is happening in the innermost self. Tsz-ssu

We cannot put off living until we are ready. The most salient characteristic of life is its urgency “here and now” without any possible postponement. Life is fired at us point-blank. Jose Ortegay Gasset

Always we hope
Someone else has the answer
Some other place will be better,
It will all turn out
This is it.
No one else has the answer.
No other place will be better,
And it has already turned out. Lao-tzu

Fill your mind with the meaningless stimuli of a world preoccupied with meaningless things, and it will not be easy to feel peace in your heart. Marianne Willianson

Foolish, ignorant people indulge in careless lives, whereas a clever man guards his attention as his most prized possession. Buddha

People have a hard time letting go of their suffering. Out of a fear of the unknown, they prefer suffering that is familiar. Thich Nhat Hanh

At the end of all things, the blessed will say, “we never lived anywhere but in heaven.” C.S. Lewis

If a man speaks or acts with a pure thought, happiness follows him, like a shadow that never leaves him. The Dhammapada

To make all life
More poetical, more sane
More living, loving
To experience
The true of all things
This moment...
This moment...
This moment. William Segal

If for a moment we make way with our petty selves, wish no ill on anyone, apprehend no ill, cease to be but as a crystal which reflects a ray- what shall we not reflect! What a universe will appear crystallized and radiant around us. Henry David Thoreau

Because I know that this is always time and place is always and only place and what is actual only for one time and only for one place I rejoice that things are as they are. T.S. Eliot

Zen is like looking for spectacles that are sitting on your nose. Zen saying

Without freedom from the past, there is no freedom at all, because the mind is never new, fresh, innocent. Krishnamurti

Taking off your shoes is a sacred ritual. It is a hollowed moment of remembering the goodness of space and time. It is a way of celebrating the holy ground on which you stand. Macrina Wiederkehr

To the one who knows how to look and feel, every moment of this free wandering life is an enchantment. Alexandra David-Neel

Things pass... that I have seen. Life is what you make it now. So let us put our energies into life. Ulkye Maung

Every day we are engaged in a miracle which we don’t even recognize: the black, curious eyes of a child- our own two eyes. All is a miracle. Thich Nhat Hanh

The miracle of love comes to you in the presence of the uninterpreted moment. If you are mentally somewhere else, you miss real life. Bryon Katie

Do not look back. And do not dream about the future, either. It will neither give you back the past, nor satisfy your other day dreams. Your duty, your reward- your destiny-are here and now. Dag Hammarskjold

Happiness...no tin another place, but this place...not for another hour, but this hour. Walt Whitman

If you want something then you lose everything...if you don’t want anything then you already have everything. Seung Sahn

The real enemies of your life are the “oughts” and the “ifs”. They pull us backward into the unalterable past and forward into the unpredictable future. Henri J.M. Nouwen

I have arrived.
I am home.
In the here,
In the now.
I am solid.
I am free.
In the ultimate
I dwell. Thich Nhat Hanh

From time to time, to remind ourselves and be peaceful, we may wish to set aside some time for a retreat, a day of mindfulness, where we walk slowly, smile, drink tea with a friend, and enjoy being together as if we are the happiest people on earth. Thich Nhat Hanh

If there is to be any place it will come through being, not having. Henry Miller

Wherever my travel’s may lead, paradise is where I am. Voltaire

Listen closely...the eternal hush of silence goes on and on throughout all this, and has been going on, and will go on and on. This is because the world is nothing but a dream and is just thought of and the everlasting eternity pays no attention to it. Jack Kerouac

To understand the immeasurable, the mind must be extraordinarily quiet, still. J. Krishnamurti

The less effort, the faster and more powerful you will be. Bruce Lee

Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished. Lao-tzu

The wholeness and freedom we seek is our true nature, who we really are. Whenever we start a spiritual practice, read a spiritual book, or contemplate what it means to live well, we have begun the inevitable process of opening to this truth, the truth of life itself. Jack Kornfield

People cling to their worldly possessions and selfish passions so blindly as to sacrifice their own lives for them. They are like a child who tries to eat a little honey smeared on the edge of a knife. The amount is by no means sufficient to appease his appetite, and he runs the risk of wounding his tongue. Sutra of 42 chapters

The soul that is attached to anything, however much good there may be in it, will not arrive at the liberty of the divine. St. John of the Cross

The universe is sacred. You cannot improve it. If you try to change it, you will ruin it. If you try to hold it, you will lose it. Lao-tzu

Everything you do right now ripples outward and affects everyone. Your posture can shine your heart or transmit anxiety. Your breath can radiate love or muddy the room in depression. Your glance can awaken joy. Your words can inspire freedom. Your every act can open hearts and minds. David Deida

The trouble you have is that you think you have time. Zen master

Happiness is a quality of mind. It is something we possess within... If we do not have it written, nothing outside can give it to us. Paramananda

Everything we do is infused with the energy with which we do it. If we’re frantic, life will be frantic. If we’re peaceful, life will be peaceful. And so our goal in any situation becomes inner peace. Marianne Williamson

Well-being means to be fully born, to become what one potentially is, it means to have the full capacity for joy and sadness or, to put it differently, to awake from the half-slumber the average man lives in and to be fully awake. Erich Fromm

If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion. Dalai Lama

The mind is never right but when it is at peace with itself. Seneca

Try as much as possible to be wholly alive, with all your might, and when you laugh, laugh like hell, and when you get angry, get good and angry. Try to be alive. You will be dead soon enough. William Saroyan

Without freedom from the past, there is no freedom at all, because the mind is never new, fresh, innocent. Krishnamurti

To the mind the art is still, the whole universe surrenders. Lao-tzu

Awareness is not something to be acquired at the end of a process. We already have all we need. Francis Lucille

As you walk and eat and travel, be where you are. Otherwise you will miss most of your life. Buddha

Let life happen to you. Believe me life is in the right, always. Rainer Maria Rilke

Like a child standing in a beautiful park with his eyes shut tight, there’s no need to imagine trees, flowers, deer, birds, and sky we merely need to open our eyes and realize what is already here, who we already are- as soon as we stop pretending we’re small or unholy. Bo Lozoff

If you choose a job that you like, you will never have to work a day in your life. Confucius

The wise man knows that it is better to sit on the banks of a remote mountain stream then to be emperor of the whole world. Zhuang Tzi

Life is love
And do your work
Make amends of your sorrows
Releases and lets fall
Its withered flowers,
Let fall willfulness and hatred. The Dhammapada

To the right, books, to the left, a teacup. In front of me, the fireplace... There is no greater happiness than this. Teiga

The practice of forgiveness is our most important contribution to the healing of the world. Marianne Williamson

Friend, hope for the truth while you are alive. Jump into experience while you are alive! What you call “salvation” belongs to the time before death. If you don’t break your ropes while you are alive, do you think ghosts will do it after. Kabir

From the pine tree
Warn of the pine tree
And from the bamboo
Learn of the bamboo. Basho

Walking in zen
sitting, too, is zen.
If I speak or am silent,
tarry or hasten.
Everything, in its true nature,
is stillness. Shodoka

Waking up this morning, I smile. Twenty-four brand new hours are before me. I vow to live fully in each moment and to look at all beings with eyes of compassion. Thich Nhat Hanh

When we meet real tragedy in life, we can react in two ways-either by losing hope and falling into self-destructive habits, or by using the challenge to find our inner strength. Dalai Lama

The fundamental delusion of humanity is to suppose that I am here and you are out there. Yasutani Roshi

Most people think that we live in the actual world while we are alive, and that after we take the last breath we somehow wander into a vague realm of the spirit. It is a great mistake to see two separate realms. Soen Nakagawa

I have learned silence from the talkative, tolerance from the intolerant, and kindness from the unkind. I should not be ungrateful, to those teachers. Kahlil Gibran

Manifest plainness, embrace simplicity, reduce selfishness, have few desires. Lao-tzu

The mind is like a mirror through which you can see infinity, but if you put the blackness of hatred over it, you will see nothing. Yogi Bhajan

The cloud is free only
to go with the wind
the rain is free only in falling. Wendell Berry

The lure of the distant and the difficult is deceptive. The great opportunity is where you are. Do not despise your own place and hour. Every place is under the stars, every place is the center of the world. John Burroughs

Everything hinges upon how you look at things. Henry Miller

We must be the change we wish to see in the world. Gandhi

To be great, to be whole, exclude nothing, exaggerate nothing that is you. Be whole in everything. Put all you are into the smallest thing you do. The whole moon gleams in every pool, it rides so high. Fernando Pessoa

Without accepting the fact that everything changes, we cannot find perfect composure. But unfortunately, although it is true, it is difficult for us to accept it. Because we cannot accept the truth of transience, we suffer. D.T. Suzuki

Root out the violence in your life, and learn to live compassionately and mindfully. Seek peace. When you have peace within, real peace with others will be possible. Thich Nhat Hanh

...To look life in the face, always to look life in the face, and to know what it is, to love it for what it is. At last to know it. To love it for what it is. And then to put it away. Virginia Woolf

If your compassion does not include yourself, it is incomplete. Buddha

Most of us go through each day looking for what we saw yesterday. And, not surprisingly, that is what we find. James A. Kitchens

But do not ask me where I am going, as I travel in this limitless world, where every step I take is my home. Dogen

Try to be like the turtle- at ease in your own shell. Bill Copeland

There’s no time for confused thoughts. Practice the meaning of single-mindedness. Godrakpa

Sincerity is the fulfillment of our own nature, and to arrive at it we need only follow our own true self. Sincerity is the beginning and end of existence, without it, nothing can endure. Therefore the mature person values sincerity above all things. Tzu-ssu

My advice is not to inquire why or whither, but just enjoy your ice cream while it’s on your plate. Thornton Wilder

Keep your heart clear and transparent and you will never be bound. A single disturbed thought, though, creates ten thousand distractions. Let myriad things captivate you and you’ll go further and further astray. How painful to see people all wrapped up in themselves. Ryokan

By sitting alone all day long I clear my mind of a thousand thoughts. To speak of this is beyond words, only by sitting under the quiet forest can we ever understand. Fa Yen

Spring has its hundred flowers, Autumn its many moons. Summer has cool winds, winter its snow. If useless thoughts do not cloud your mind, each day is the best of your life. Wu-Men-Aui-Kai

How can we ever lose interest in life? Spring has come again and cherry trees bloom in the mountains. Ryokan

In the end these things matter most: How well did you love? How fully did you love? How deeply did you learn to let go? Buddha

Be broad-minded, whole, without relying on others. Hongzhi Zhengjue

The practice of the reality is simply to sit serenely in silent introspection. When you have fathomed this, you cannot be turned around by external causes and conditions. This empty, wide-open mind is subtly and correctly illuminating. Hongzhi Zhengjue

In a prayer, come empty, do nothing. St. John of the cross

The butterfly counts not months but moments, and has time enough. Rabindranath Tagore

Don’t be surprised,
don’t be startled,
all things will arrange themselves.
Don’t cause a disturbance,
don’t exert pressure,
all things will clarify themselves. Huai-nan-tzu

Following the path of least resistance is the essence of zen gentleness. This concept hints at the delicate nature of learning to go with the flow. Anonymous

Speak the truth, do not become angered, and give when asked, even be it a little. By these three conditions one goes to the presence of the gods. Buddha

If you understand, things are just as they are, if you do not understand, things are just as they are. Zen proverb

Happy the man, and happy he alone, he who can call today his own, he who, secure within, can say, tomorrow do thy worst, for I have lived today. John Dryden

We are cups, constantly and quietly being filled. The trick is knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out. Ray Bradbury

The quiet you become, the more you can hear. Ram Dass

A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play, his labor and his leisure, his mind and his body, his education and his recreation. He hardly knows which is which. He simply purses his vision of excellence through whatever he is doing, and leaves others to determine whether he is working or playing. To himself, he always appears to be doing both. Francoise Rene Auguste Chaneaubriand

You have everything you need for complete peace and total happiness right now. Wayne Dyer

It is necessary to be noble, and yet take humility as a basis. It is necessary to be exalted, and yet take modesty as a foundation. Lao-tzu

In calmness there should be activity, in activity there should be calmness. Anonymous

Relaxation and concentration go hand in hand. But too much concentration defeats itself. If you are truly relaxed, and allow the body and the unconscious to do their share, instead of working the conscious mind over time, concentration can become effortless effort. Joe Hyams

The poor long for riches, the rich long for heaven, but the wise long for a state of tranquility. Swami Rama

Although the world is full of suffering, it is full also of the over coming of it. Helen Keller

Now today, moment by moment, realize that each person and event that happens is life for you. Life is not somewhere else. See how fully you can accept the life that presents itself to you now. Brenda Shoshanna

I do not cut my life up into days but my days into lives, each day, each hour, an entire life. Juan Ramon Jimenez

We experience ourselves, our thoughts and feelings as something separate from the rest. A kind of optical delusion of consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Albert Einstein

Our life is shaped by our mind, we become what we think. Joy follows a pure thought like a shadow that never leaves. Buddha

Zen does not confuse spirituality with thinking about god while one is peeling potatoes. Zen spirituality is just to feel the potatoes. Alan Watts

The only Zen you find on tops of mountains is the zen you bring there. Robert M. Pirsig

At the center of your being you have the answer, you know who you are and you know what you want. Lao-tzu

In dwelling, live close to the ground. In thinking, keep to the simple. In conflict, be fair and generous. In governing, don’t try to control. In work, do what you enjoy. In family life, be completely present. Tao Te Ching

The notes I handle no better than many pianists. But the pauses between the notes- ah, that is where the art resides. Arthur Schnabel

The true value of a human being can be found in the degree to which he has attained liberation from the self. Albert Einstein

The prayer of the monk is not perfect until he no longer recognizes himself or the fact that he is praying. Saint Anthony

The person of superior integrity does not insist upon his integrity. For this reason, he has integrity. The person of inferior integrity never loses sight of his integrity, for this reason, he lacks integrity. Lao-tzu

Children are natural zen masters, their world is brand new in each and ever moment. John Bradshaw

Each of us literally chooses, by his way of attending to things, what sort of universe he shall appear to himself to inhabit. William James

To set up what you like against what you dislike, this is the disease of the mind. Seng-T’san

If you are patient in one moment of anger, you will escape a hundred days of sorrow. Chinese proverb

Although gold dust is precious,
when it gets in your eyes,
it obstructs your vision. His-tang

Meditation is not an escape from life, but preparation from really being in life. Thich Nhat Hanh

Strictly speaking, there is no such thing as an enlightened person. There is only enlightened activity. Shunryu Suzuki

Peace does not dwell in outward things, but within the soul, we may preserve it in the midst of the bitterest pain, if our will remains firm and submissive. Peace in this life springs from acquiescence to not in an exemption from, suffering. Francois de Fenelon

Contentment is natural wealth. Luxury is artificial poverty. Socrates

Originally, there is no name and no form, so where is south, east, west and north? If you attain this point you attain the standing place. Seung Sahn

And as to me, I know nothing else but miracles. Walt Witman

I believe in the forest, and in the meadow, and in the night in which the corn grows. Henry David Thoreau

Do not conquer the world with force, for force only causes resistance. Thorns spring up when an army passes. Years of misery follow a great victory. Do only what needs to be done, without using violence. Lao-tzu

The purpose of zen is the perfection of character. Yamada Roshi

The lesson that life reappears and constantly enforces is “Look under foot.” You are always nearer to the divine and the true source of your power than you think. John Burroughs

There is only one world, the world pressing against you this minute. Storm Jameson

To see clearly is poetry, philosophy and religion all in one. John Ruskin

You hold in your hand an invitation: to remember the transforming power of forgiveness and loving kindness. To remember that no matter where you are and what you face, within your heart peace is possible. Jack Kornfield

Whatever is begun, in anger, ends in shame. Benjamin Franklin

I claim to be no more than the average person with less than average ability. I have not the shadow of a doubt that any man or woman can achieve what I have, if he or she would make the same effort and cultivate the same hope and faith. Gandhi

Meet this transient world with neither grasping nor fear, trust the unfolding of life, and you will attain true serenity. Bhaganad Gita

If we could read the secret history of our enemies, we should see sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Do not be afraid to take a chance on peace, to learn peace, to live peace...peace will be the last word of history. John Paul II

We can make our minds so like sill water that beings gather around us, that they may see their own images, and so live for a moment with a clearer perhaps even a fiercer life because of our quiet. William Butler Yeats

To live here and now you must train yourself: in the seen there will be just the seen, in the heard just the head, in the sensed just the sensed, in the thought just the thought. That is the end of sorrow. Buddha

Once we recognize that thoughts are empty, the mind will no longer have the power to deceive us. Khyetse Rinpoche

To allow oneself to be carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns, to surrender to too many demands, to commit oneself to too many projects, to want to help everyone in everything, is to succumb to the violence of our times. Thomas Merton

If your eyes are blinded with your worries, you cannot see the beauty of the sunset. Krishnamurti

Doubt everything...find your own light. Buddha

Peace requires us to surrender our illusions of control. We can love and care for others but we cannot possess our children, lovers, family, or friends. We can assist them, pray for them, and wish them well, yet in the end their happiness and suffering depend on their thoughts and actions, not on our wishes. Jack Kornfield

You must not let your life run in the ordinary way, do something that nobody else has done, something that will dazzle the world. Show that god’s creative principle works in you. Paramahansa Yoganada

As a mountain is unshaken by the wind, so the heart of a wise man is unmoved by all the changes on this earth. Buddha

He who thinks to reach god by running away from the world, when and where does he expect to meet him? We are reaching him here in this very spot, now at this very moment. Rabindranath Tagore

The first step to the knowledge of the wonder and mystery of life is the recognition of the monstrous nature of the earthly human realm as well as its glory, the realization that this is just how it is and that it cannot and will not be changed. Those who think they know how the universe could have been had they created it, without pain, without sorrow, without time, without death, are unfit for illumination. Joseph Cambele

Always aim at complete harmony of thought and word and deed. Always aim at purifying your thoughts and everything will be well. Gandhi

The art of living...is neither careless drifting on the one hand or 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

If you want to see the heroic, look at those who can live in return for hatred. If you want to see the brave, look for those who can forgive. Bhagavad Gita

We all carry within us our places of exile, our crimes, our ravages. Our task is not to unleash them on the world, it is to transform them in ourselves and others. Albert Camus

I can feel guilty about the past, apprehensive about the future, but only in the present can I act. The ability to be in the present moment is a major component of a mental wellness. Abraham Maslow

He who has no faith in himself can never have faith in god. Niveananda

Develop a mind that is vast like the water, where experiences both pleasant and unpleasant can appear and disappear without conflict, struggle, or harm. Rest in a mind like vast water. Buddha

Those who have failed to work to ward the truth have missed the purpose of living. Buddha

We can sense the ever changing waves around us, and breathe and relax. We can rest in the eternal present, the still point. We can learn that no matter what happens, we are home. Jack Kornfield

We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better. Albert Einstein

When you are guided by compassion and loving kindness, you are able to look deeply into the heart of reality and see the truth. Thich Nhat Hanh

The only wisdom we can hope to acquire is the wisdom of humility. Humility is endless. T. S. Eliot

Zen opens a man’s eyes to the greatest mystery as it is daily and hourly performed, it enlarges the heart to embrace eternity of time and infinity of space in its every palpitation, it makes us live in the world as if walking in the garden of eden. D. T. Suzuki

If you fail to achieve freedom in this life, when do you expect to achieve it? Wu-hsin

Events and hopes seldom agree. Who can step back does not worry. We blossom and face life flowers, gather and part like clouds. Worldly thoughts I forgot long ago, relaxing all day on a peak. Stonehouse

Worldly ups and downs should be treated as lightly as clouds gathering and breaking up. Anonymous

Delight in meditation and in solitude. Compose yourself be happy. You are a seeker. The Dhammapada

Those who have strong passions are never able to perceive the way. It is like stirring up clear water with your hands, you may come wishing to find a reflection of your face, but you’ll never see clearly in disturbed waters. A mind troubled and vexed with passions is never able to see the way. Sutra of 42 chapters

We have long forgotten that activities can be simple and precise. Every act of our lives can contain simplicity and precision and thus can have tremendous beauty and dignity. Chogyam Trungpa

It is proper to doubt. Do not be led by holy scriptures, or by mere logic or inference, or by appearances, or by the authority of religious leaders. But when you realize that something is unwholesome and bad for you, give it up. And when you realize that something is wholesome and good for you, do it. Buddha

Consider life and death equal, and the intellect is not afraid, consider change as sameness, and clarity is not obscured. Lao-tzu

God exists in eternity. The only point where eternity meets time is in the present. The present is the only time there is. Marianne Williamson

How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world. Anne Frank

When you do a thing, do it with the whole self. On thing at a time. Now I sit here and I eat. For me nothing exists in the world except this. Food, this table. I eat with the whole attention. So you must do-in everything. George J. Gardjieff

For it is by giving that one receives, it is by self-forgetting that one finds, it is by forgiving that one is forgiven, it is by dying that one awakens to eternal life. St. Francis of Assisi

The only devils in the world are those running in our own hearts. That is where the battle should be fought. Gandhi

The voyage of discovery is not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes. Mercel Proust

The greater part of our happiness or misery depends on our dispositions and not our circumstances. Martha Washington

The outward freedom that we shall attain will only be in exact proportion to the inward freedom to which we may have grown at a given moment. And if this is a correct view of freedom, our chief energy must be concentrated on achieving reform from within. Gandhi

Just trust yourself, then you will know how to live. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

There are those who discover they can leave behind destructive reactions and become patient as the earth, unmoved by fires of anger or fear, unshaken as a pillar, unperturbed as a clear and quiet pool. The Dhammapada

The deepest waters make the least noise. Guatemalan proverb

Do everything with a mind that lets go. Do not expect praise or reward. Achaan Chah

Possessions, outward success, publicity, luxury, to me these have always been contemptible. I believe that a simple and unassuming manner of life is best for everyone, best for both the body and the mind. Albert Einstein

Each act of our lives can contain simplicity and precision and thus can have tremendous beauty and dignity. Chogyam Trungpa

Listen or thy tongue will keep thee deaf. Native American Indian proverb

How could drops of water know themselves to be a river? Yet the river flows on. Antoine de Saint Exupery

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. Buddha

Serenity is the final word of all teachings. Hung chih

Nothing is more simple than greatness, indeed, to be simple is to be great. Ralph Waldo Emerson

Quiet minds cannot be perplexed or frightened, but go on in fortune or misfortune at their own private pace, like a clock during a thunderstorm. Robert Louis Stevenson

It is a puzzling thing. The truth knocks on the door and you say, “go away, I’m looking for the truth, “ and so it goes away. Puzzling. Robert M. Pirsig

My mind is my own church. Thomas Paine

Walking, then, with courage and kindness, never ceasing to walk in wonder. Ji Aoi Isshi

Many lifetimes of misunderstanding come from distrust, hindrance, and screens of confusion that we create in a scenario of isolation. Hongzhi Zhengjue

Nature teaches more than she preaches. There are no sermons in stones. It is easier to get a spark out of a stone than a moral. John Burroughs

Only those concerned with the problem of life and death should enter here. Those not completely concerned with this problem have no reason to pass this gate. Plagues inside main gates, Eihei-ji Temple, Japan

Sages are benevolent without trying,
trusted without speaking.
They gain without seeking,
succeed without striving.
They take naturalness to heart,
preserve ultimate reality,
embrace the way,
and promote sincerity,
so the whole world follows then as echoes
respond to sounds,
as shadows imitate forms. Wen-tzu

In spring, hundreds of flowers, in autumn, a harvest moon. In summer a refreshing breeze, in winter, snow will accompany you. If useless do not hang in your mind, any season is a good season for you. Mu-mon

You should withdraw inwardly and search for the ground upon which you stand, thereby you will find out what Truth is. Yun-men Wen-yen

For a deed to be totally pure, it must be done without any thought of reward, whether worldly or divine. Thich Thien-An

When you do something, you should be completely involved in it. You should devote yourself completely. Shunryu Suzuki-roshi

I believe that if you think about disaster, you will get it. Brood about death and you hasten your demise. Think positively and masterfully with confidence and faith, and life becomes more secure, more fraught with action, richer in achievement and experience. Eddie Richenbacker

When we are not bored with here and longing to be there, when the life of things is breathed in and breathed out with every breath we take, when we live with the past of our world and into the unborn future without desiring to undo what is done, or avoid what must be, then we live in a timeless life now, a placeless life here. R. H. Blyth

When you are content to be simply yourself and don’t compare or compete, everybody will respect you. Lao-tzu

I have nothing to report, my friends. If you want to find the meaning, stop chasing after so many things. Ryokan

What we are today comes from our thoughts of yesterday, and our present thoughts build our life of tomorrow, our life is the creation of our mind. If a man speaks or acts with an impure mind, suffering follows him as the wheel of the cart follows the breast that draws the cart. If a man speaks or act with a pure mind, joy follows him as his own shadow. The Dhammapada

When we act out of our negativity, the effect is like carving it into stone. The imprint remains for a long, long time. Genpo Merzel

Enlightenment, the personal experience of reality, is man’s ultimate experience. The quest for this experience is the most difficult quest upon which he can embark. It demands of him faith, determination, sacrifice, and, above all, passion. Without the sustained sense of urgency which passion imparts, the goal cannot be achieved. Isshu Miura

Life is like music for its own sake. We are living in an eternal now, and when we listen to music we are not listening to the past, we are listening to the future, we are listening to an expanded present. Alan Watts

The past is already past. Don’t try to regain it. The present does not stay. Don’t try to touch it from moment to moment. The future has not come. Don’t think about it beforehand. Layman P’ang

Trying to define yourself is like trying to bite your own teeth. Alan Watts

To live only for some future goal is shallow. It’s the sides of the mountain that sustain life, not the top. Robert M. Pirsig

Why do you so earnestly seek the truth in distant places? Look for delusion and truth in the bottom of your own heart. Ryokan

God is the experience of looking at a tree and saying “Ah!” Joseph Campbell

The real difference around the world today are not between Jews and Arabs, Protestants and Catholics, Muslims, Croats, and Serbs. The real differences are between those who embrace peace and those who would destroy it. Between those who look to the future and those who cling to the past. Between those who open their arms and those who are determined to clench their fists. William Jefferson Clinton

No thought, no reflection, no analysis, no cultivation, no intention, let it settle itself. Tilopa

Nothing ever exists entirely alone, everything is in relation to everything else. Buddha

The truth of zen, just a little bit of it, is what turns one’s humdrum life, a life of monotonous, uninspiring common placeness, into one of art, full of genuine inner creativity. D. T. Suzuki

Do, or do not. There is no try. Yoda

Things are as they are. Looking out into the universe at night, we make no comparisons between right and wrong stars, nor between well and badly arranged constellations. Alan Watts

Right thoughts produce right actions and right actions produce work that will be a material reflection for others to see of the serenity at the center of it all. Robert M. Pirsig

Better than a thousand hollow words, is one word that brings peace. Buddha

There is no way to peace, peace is the way. A. J. Muste

Our task must be to free ourselves from our prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all humanity and the whole of nature in its beauty. Albert Einstein

My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness. Dalai Lama

To know what you know
and to know
what you don’t know,
that is real wisdom. Confucius

Life is love
and do your work,
make amends of your sorrows,
for just as the jasmine
releases and lets fall
its withered flowers,
let fall willfulness and hatred. The Dhammapada

The experience of eternity right here and now is the function of life. Heaven is not the place to have the experience, here is the place to have the experience. Joseph Campbell

Keep your heart clear
and transparent,
and you will never be bound.
A single disturbed thought
creates ten thousand distractions. Ryokan

When the moon
of your mind becomes
clouded over with confusion,
you are searching
around for the light outside. Hozoin Gakuzengo Inge

The study of the way
does not rely on
knowledge and genius
or cleverness and brilliance.
It is an easy thing. Dogen

The seed of mystery lies in muddy water. How can I perceive this mystery? Water becomes clear through stillness. How can I become still? By flowing with the stream. Lao-tzu

People deal too much with the negative, with what is wrong. Why not try and see positive things, to just touch those things and make them bloom? Thich Nhat Hanh

Beware of the anger
of the mind.
Master your thoughts.
Let them serve truth. The Dhammapada

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

Foster peace in your own life and then apply the art to all that you encounter. Morihei Veshiba

Nothing matters very much and few things matter at all. Earl Balfour

Through meditation and by giving full attention to one thing at a time, we can learn to direct attention where we choose. Eknath Easwaran

You cannot understand life and its mysteries as long as you try to grasp it. Indeed, you cannot grasp it just as you cannot walk off with a river in a bucket. If you try to capture running water in a bucket, it’s clear that you do not understand it and that you will always be disappointed, for in the bucket the water does not run. To “have” running water you must let go of it and let it run. Alan Watts

with gentleness,
overcome anger.
With generosity,
overcome meanness.
With truth,
overcome delusion. The Dammapada

Be broad-minded,
whole, without relying
on others. Hongzi Zhengjue

Hold faithfulness and sincerity as first principles. Confucius

Sincerity and truth are the basis of every virtue. Confucius

The morning glory which blooms for an hour differs not at heart from the giant pine, which lives for a thousand years. Alan Watts

The sacred is the ordinary. It is to be found in one’s daily life, in one’s neighbors, friends, and family, in one’s own backyard, travel may be a flight from confronting the sacred- this lesson can be easily lost. To be looking elsewhere for miracles is to be a sure sign of ignorance that everything is miraculous. Abraham Maslow

The world is not to be put in order. The world is order. It is for us to put ourselves in union with this order. Henry Miller

When we are mired in the relative world, never lifting out gaze to the mystery, our life is stunned, incomplete, we are filled with yearning for that paradise that is lost when, as young children, we replace it with words and ideas and abstractions- such as merit, such as past, present and future-our direct, spontaneous experience of the thing itself, in the beauty and precision of this present moment. Peter Matthiessen

Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them, that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like. Lao-tzu

Cultivate and nourish yourself to enact maturity and achieve stability. If you accord everywhere with thorough clarity and cut off sharp corners without dependence on doctrines, you can be called a complete person. Hongzhi Zhengjue

Do not seek to follow in the footsteps of the men of old, seek what they sought. Basho

In the ultimate stillness
light penetrates the whole realm,
in the still illumination,
there pervades pure emptiness.
When I look back on the
phenomenal world,
everything is just
like a dream. Han-shan Te-Ch’ing

Whenever conscience speaks with a divided, uncertain, and disputed voice, it is not the voice of god. Descend still deeper into yourself, until you hear nothing but a clear, undivided voice, a voice which does away with doubt and brings with it persuasion, light and serenity. Heri F. Amiel

There can never be peace between nations until there is first known that true peace which... is within the souls of men. Black Elk

Here it is- right now. Start thinking about it and you miss it. Huang Po

Only in quiet waters do things mirror themselves undistorted. Only in a quiet mind is a adequate perception of the world. Hans Margolius

Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves. John Muir

There’s harmony and inner peace to be found in following a moral compass that points in the same direction regardless of fashion or trend. Ted Koppel

Spring passes, and one remembers one’s innocence, summer passes, and one remembers one’s exuberance, autumn passes, and one remembers one’s reverence, winter passes, and one remembers one’s perseverance. Yoko Ono

Let yourself be open and life will be easier. A spoon of salt in a glass of water makes the water undrinkable. A spoon of salt in a lake is almost unnoticed. Buddha

Be the master of mind, rather than mastered by mind. Zen saying

Inner peace is the key, if you have inner peace, the external problems do not affect your deep sense of peace and tranquility. Without the inner peace, no matter how comfortable your life is materially, you may still be worried, disturbed, or unhappy because of circumstances. Dalai Lama

We spend most of our time and energy in a kind of horizontal thinking. We move along the surface of things, but there are times when we stop. We sit still. We lose ourselves in a pile of leaves or its memory. We listen, and breezes from a whole other world begin to whisper. James Carroll

Besides the noble art of getting things done, there is a noble art of leaving things undone. The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of nonessentials. Lin Yutang

Our true home is in the present moment. To live in the present moment in a miracle. The miracle is not to walk on water. The miracle is to walk on the green earth in the present moment, to appreciate the peace and beauty that are available now. Thich Nhat Hanh

As a solid rock is not shaken by the wind, the wise are not moved by praise or blame. The Dhammapada

If we could see the miracle of a single flower clearly, our whole life would change. Buddha

Our mind is like a clear glass of water. If we put salt into the water, it becomes salt water, sugar, it becomes sugar water. But originally the water is clear. No thinking, no mind. No mind, no problem. Seung Sahn

Life, we learn too late, in the living, in the tissue of every day and hour. Stephen Leacock

If you are waiting for anything in order to live and love without holding back, then you suffer. David Deida

Here and now contains eternity. Raisen Beshimary

The effort of the genuine spiritual seeker should be to cultivate love until the mind becomes saturated by it. Bhante Y. Wimala

Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. Luke 12:34

The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, not to worry about the future, nor to anticipate troubles, but to live the present moment wisely and earnestly. Buddha

It doesn’t matter what did or did not happen then. It only matters what happens now. Cheri Huber

To shake off the
dust of human ambition
I sit on moss in
zen robes of stillness,
while through the window,
in the setting sun
of late autumn,
falling leaves whirl
and drop to the stone dais. Tesshu Tokusai

In the root and stem of your own psyche, there is an accumulation of bad habits. If you cannot see through them and act independently of them, you will unavoidably get bogged down along the wat. Yuansou

We choose our joys and our sorrows long before we experience them. Kahlil Gibran

Wealth and honor are what people want, but if they are the consequence of deviating from the way, I would have no part in them. Poverty and disgrace are what people deplore, but if they are the consequence of staying on the way, I would not avoid them. Confucius

We too should make ourselves empty, that the great soul of the universe may fill us with its breath. Laurence Binyon

Enlightenment is understanding that there is nowhere to go, nothing to do, and nobody you have to except exactly who you’re being right now. Neale Donald Walsch

Life is a succession of moments. To live each one is to succeed. Corita Kent

Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky, conscious breathing is my anchor. Thich Nhat Hanh

Few of us ever live in the present. We are forever anticipating what is to come or remembering what has gone. Louis L’Amour

Peace does not dwell in outward things, but within the soul, we may preserve it in the midst of the bitterest pain, if our will remains firm and submissive. Peace in this life springs from acquiescence, not in an exemption from suffering. Francis Fenelon

Most people believe the mind to be a mirror, more or less, accurately reflecting the world outside them, not realizing on the contrary that the mind is itself the principal element of creation. Rabindranath Tagore

The moment one gives close attention to anything, even a blade of grass, it becomes a mysterious, awesome, indescribably magnificent world in itself. Henry Miller

It is not length of life, but depth of life. Ralph Waldo Emerson

It is no measure of breath to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society. Krishnamurti

The perfect way is only difficult for those who pick and choose, do not life, do not dislike, all will then be clear. Seng-Ts’an

I have just three things to teach, simplicity, patience, compassion. These things are your greatest treasures. Lao-tzu

We are here, and it is now. Further than that, all human knowledge is moonshine. H. L. Mencken

The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago. The second best time is now. Chinese proverb

He who binds himself to joy,
does the winged life destroy,
he who kisses the joy as it flies,
lives in eternity’s sunshine. William Blake

Life just is. You have to flow with it. Give yourself to the moment. Let it happen. Jerry Brown

Do you imagine the universe is agitated? Go into the desert at night and look at the stars. This practice should answer the question. Lao-tzu

A contented mind is a hidden treasure, and trouble findeth it not. Akhenaton

You shouldn’t allow yourself
to be confused by others.
Act when you need to,
without further hesitation or doubt.
People today can’t do this.
What is there affliction?
Their affliction is in their
lack of self confidence. Linji

A happy life consists of tranquility of mind. Cicero

The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain. Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter’s oven. Kahlil Gibran

Silence is the great teacher, and to learn its lessons you must pay attention to it. There is no substitute for the creative inspiration, knowledge, and stability that come from knowing how to contact your care of inner silence. Deepak Chopra

Let your mind function freely without abiding anywhere or in anything. Hui-neng

The undisturbed mind is like the calm body of water reflecting the brilliance of the moon. Yanyu Jubei

How can I be still? By flowing with the stream. Lao-tzu

There is a soul force in the universe, which, if we permit it, will flow through us and produce miraculous results. Gandhi

The world is a great mirror. It reflects back to you what you are. If you are loving, if you are friendly, if you are helpful, the world will prove loving and friendly to you. Thomas Dreier

Practice not doing, and everything will fall into place. Lao-tzu

We cling to our point of view, as though everything depended upon it. Yet our opinions have no permanence, like autumn and winter, they gradually pass away. Chuang Tzu

Not to have flexibility to change is a tragedy in itself, and have too much flexibility not to stand for anything is a tragedy in itself. Yogi Bhajan

In this world
hate never dispelled hate.
Only love dispels hate.
This is the law,
ancient and inexhaustible.
You too shall pass away.
Knowing this, how can you quarrel? Buddha

What does it matter,
the new year, the old year?
I stretch out my legs
and all alone have a
quiet sleep. Bankei

So let your awareness be vast and inducive as if the whole world is taking place inside your mind. Hear everything, see everything, feel everything with this simple greeting on your lips “yes”. Gary Rosenthal