Zen Sayings and Quotes

Below you will find our collection of inspirational, wise, and humorous old zen quotes, zen sayings, and zen proverbs, collected over the years from a variety of sources.

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

We carry inside us the wonders we seek outside us.     


The way out is through the door. Why is it that no one will use this method?     


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

If you have inner peace, nobody can force you to be a slave to the outer reality.     

Sri Chinmoy

A great deal of intelligence can be invested in ignorance when the need for illusion is deep.     

Saul Bellow

The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.     

Eleanor Roosevelt

I'm here to tell you that the path to peace is right there, when you want to get away.     

Pema Chödrön

Man suffers only because he takes seriously what the gods made for fun.     

Alan W. Watts

Before enlightenment; chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment; chop wood, carry water.     


Recognize the ego for what it is: a collective dysfunction, the insanity of the human mind.     

Eckhart Tolle

Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.     


To study Buddhism is to study ourselves. To study ourselves is to forget ourselves.     

Dogen Zenji

In the stillness of the mind I saw myself as I am - unbound.     

Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

Guilt, regret, resentment, sadness & all forms of nonforgiveness are caused by too much past & not enough presence.     

Eckhart Tolle

Work out your own salvation. Do not depend on others.     


Zen is not an art, it's not a religion. It's a realisation.     

Gene Clark

You should study not only that you become a mother when your child is born, but also that you become a child.     

Dogen Zenji

Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet.     

Thich Nhat Hanh

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing there is a field. I'll meet you there. When the soul lies down in that grass the world is too full to talk about.     

Jalaluddin Rumi

What was never lost can never be found.     

Zen Saying

Throughout this life, you can never be certain of living long enough to take another breath.     

Huang Po

Life is a journey. Time is a river. The door is ajar.     

Jim Butcher

One who conquers himself is greater than another who conquers a thousand times a thousand on the battlefield.     


Zen does not confuse spirituality with thinking about God while peeling potatoes. Zen spirituality is just to peel the potatoes.     

Alan Watts

Practice is this life, and realization is this life, and this life is revealed right here and now.     

Maezumi Roshi

Only the hand that erases can write the true thing.     

Meister Eckhart

Meditation is the ultimate mobile device; you can use it anywhere, anytime, unobtrusively.     

Sharon Salzberg

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

Shunryu Suzuki

I come to realize that mind is no other than mountains and rivers and the great wide earth, the sun and the moon and stars.     

Dogen Zenji