85 Zen Quotes that will Inspire You to Keep Going

zen quotes

There comes a time in your life when you can no longer deal with and handle your problems. There comes a time when you cannot see the path clearly and can no longer control the turmoil – that is life. On the other hand, these difficulties teach us valuable life lessons.

Struggles and life’s problems can be difficult to handle. This is when Zen quotes come in to find all the answers and inspire you to keep going.

The wisdom of Zen is not something strange to use and can be found in other ways than just meditating. Zen is about life, and how we experience life is something about we ourselves fully apply in each moment.

85 Inspirational Zen Quotes

Practicing Zen has a calming effect on both the body and mind. This helps to have a healthy life and deal with various problems. So, if you want to have some inspiration to help you keep going, here are 85 Zen quotes we have gathered for you.

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

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

3. “When you do something, you should burn yourself up completely, like a good bonfire, leaving no trace of yourself.” – Shunryu Suzuki

4. “We carry inside us the wonders we seek outside us” – Rumi

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

6. “Each morning we are born again, what we do today is what matters most.” – Buddha

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

8. “What was never lost can never be found.” ― Zen Proverb

9. “One must be deeply aware of the impermanence of the world.” – Dogen

10. “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.” ―  Shunryu Suzuki 

11. “The obstacle is the path.” – Zen Saying

12. “To live is enough.” ― Shunryu Suzuki 

13. “These mountains that you are carrying, you were only supposed to climb.” – Najwa Zebian

14. “All the things that truly matter, beauty, love, creativity, joy, and inner peace arise from beyond the mind.”– Eckhart Tolle

15. “Those who are awake, live in a state of constant amazement.” ― Buddha

16. “Have good trust in yourself… not in the one that you think you should be, but in the one that you are.” – Maezumi Roshi

17. “The place to improve the world is first in one’s own heart and head and hands.” – Robert M. Pirsig

18. “Know that people are doing the best they can from their level of awareness. Accept people for who they are and always be ready to forgive.” – Deepak Chopra

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

20. “The quieter you become, the more you can hear.” – Anonymous

21. “To follow the path, look to the master, follow the master, walk with the master, see through the master, become the master.”– Zen Proverb

22. “The true miracle is not walking on water or walking in air, but simply walking on this earth.” ― Thích Nhất Hạnh

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

24. “The noble-minded are calm and steady. Little people are forever fussing and fretting.” – Confucius

25. “When an ordinary man attains knowledge, he is a sage. When a sage attains understanding, he is an ordinary man.” – Zen Proverb

26. “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.” ― Shunryu Suzuki 

27. “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

28. “Mind your thoughts, as they become your words. Mind your words, as they become your actions. Mind your actions, as they become you.” ― Buddha

29. “Life is like stepping onto a boat which is about to sail out to sea and sink.” ― Shunryu Suzuki

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

31. “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

32. “It is easy to believe we are each waves and forget we are also the ocean.” – John J. Muth

33. “Stress is an ignorant state. It believes that everything is an emergency. Nothing is that important.” – Natalie Goldberg

34. “Let your mind wander in the pure and simple. Be one with the infinite. Let all things take their course.”– Chuang Tzu

35. “Don’t seek, don’t search, don’t ask, don’t knock, don’t demand – relax.” ― Osho

36. “Let go over a cliff, die completely, and then come back to life — after that, you cannot be deceived.” – Zen Proverb

37. “Do you have the patience to wait until your mud settles and the water is clear?” ― Lao Tzu

38. “Yesterday I was clever and wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.” – Rumi

39. “All that we are is the result of what we have thought. The mind is everything. What we think, we become.”  – Buddha

40. “Flow with whatever may happen and let your mind be free: Stay centered by accepting whatever you are doing. This is the ultimate.”– Chuang

41. “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

42. “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

43. “Everything that happens to you is a form of instruction if you pay attention.” ― Robert Greene

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

45. “We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves” – Buddha

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

47. “Be the master of the mind rather than mastered by the mind.” ― Zen Proverb

48. “Only when you can be extremely pliable and soft can you be extremely hard and strong.” – Zen Proverb

49. “I don’t mind what happens. That is the essence of inner freedom.” ― Jiddu Krishnamurti

50. “What was never lost can never be found.” – Zen Saying

51. “Remember that sometimes not getting what you want is a wonderful stroke of luck.” – Dalai Lama

52. “Nothing ever exists entirely alone. Everything is in relation to everything else.”– Buddha

53. “When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.” ― Lao Tzu

54. “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

55. “Relax. Nothing’s missing.” ― Maxime Lagacé

56. “Awareness is the greatest agent for change.”– Eckhart Tolle

57. “Our character is what we do when we think no one is looking.” – Jackson Browne

58. “Respect life, revere life. There is nothing more holy than life, nothing more divine than life.” ― Osho

59. “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

60. “Forget the years, forget distinctions. Leap into the boundless and make it your home.” – Zhuangzi

61. “Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities! Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy.” – Norman Vincent Peale

62. “If you miss the present moment, you miss your appointment with life. That is very serious!”– Thich Nhat Hanh

63. “The trouble is, you think you have time.” ― Buddha

64. “Muddy water is best cleared by leaving it alone.” – Alan Watts

65. “Life is a balance of holding on and letting go.” – Rumi

66. “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” – Nelson Mandela

67. “The only thing that is ultimately real about your journey is the step that you are taking at this moment. That’s all there ever is.”– Eckhart Tolle

68. “We shape clay into a pot, but it is the emptiness inside that holds whatever we want.” ― Lao Tzu

69. “As a bee gathering nectar does not harm or disturb the color and fragrance of the flower; so do the wise move through the world.” – Buddha

70. “When we discover that the truth is already in us, we are all at once our original selves.” – Dogen

71. “The truth is, unless you let go, unless you forgive yourself, unless you forgive the situation, unless you realize that that situation is over, you cannot move forward.” – Steve Maraboli

72. “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

73. “Move and the way will open.” ― Zen Proverb

74. “To accept some idea of truth without experiencing it is like a painting of a cake on paper which you cannot eat.” – Suzuki Roshi

75. “Peace of mind is that mental condition in which you have accepted the worst.” ― Lin Yutang

76. “How people treat you is their karma; how you react is yours.” – Wayne Dyer

77. “Throughout this life, you can never be certain of living long enough to take another breath.” ―  Huang Po

78. “The purpose of our lives is to be happy.” ― Dalai Lama

79. “It really boils down to this: that all life is interrelated. We are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

80. ”Every experience is a lesson. Every loss is a gain.” ― Sathya Sai Baba 

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

82. “The purpose of life is a life of purpose “ – Robert Byrne

83. “It all depends on you. You can go on sleeping forever; you can wake up right this moment.” ― Osho

84. “Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can’t help them, at least don’t hurt them.” ― Dalai Lama

85. “The first and the best victory is to conquer self.” ― Plato


These Zen quotes have inspired millions of people to live a peaceful life. If you enjoy uplifting quotes, then you will surely enjoy this collection of Zen words of wisdom. These quotes will inspire you to find a new way or stay on your path. I hope that this list of Zen quotes will give you some insight on how wonderful it is to live.