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From Life To Motorcycle Maintenance – 70+ Zen Quotes

Zen Buddhism has brought meaning to many people’s lives. Zen philosophy has influenced many writers and thinkers for hundreds of years. The meaning of Zen is learning to understand the world without distractions. The philosophy of Zen is also centered around balance in all things. Zen practitioners believe that anyone can find enlightenment in themselves and become a Zen master.

Koans help teach important lessons. A koan is a brief story or parable that shows the reader how to deal with challenges. These Zen quotes can show you how to be more enlightened and balanced.
Life isn’t as serious as the mind makes it out to be.
Eckhart Tolle

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


Have a mind that is open to everything and attached to nothing.
Tilopa

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

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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Have good trust in yourself … not in the One that you think you should be, but in the One that you are.
Maezumi Roshi

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

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

When you plant a seed of love, it is you that blossoms.
Ma Jaya Sati Bhagavati

Life is more or less a lie, but then again, that’s exactly the way we want it to be.
Bob Dylan

And when they played they really played. And when they worked they really worked.
Dr. Seuss

It is the power of the mind to be unconquerable.
Seneca

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

I use a Bruce Lee technique: ‘The way of no way.’ He had the idea that he would learn everything, so that whoever he had to fight, he could improvise anything. The best way of starting a gig is just to not think of anything – to clear your mind, not in an empty Zen state, but more just to go on and see where you go.
Eddie Izzard

Zen is not some kind of excitement, but concentration on our usual everyday routine.
Shunryu Suzuki
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One must be deeply aware of the impermanence of the world.
Dogen

Having plants and flowers in my space makes me feel very calm and Zen. For me, it’s important to meditate every morning to be very clear in the head, and nature really helps me do the same thing.
Nicola Formichetti

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

The intuitive recognition of the instant, thus reality… is the highest act of wisdom.
D.T. Suzuki

Our character is what we do when we think no one is looking.
Jackson Browne

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

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

When you catch yourself slipping into a pool of negativity, notice how it derives from nothing other than resistance to the current situation.
Donna Quesada

Only when you can be extremely pliable and soft can you be extremely hard and strong.
Zen Proverb

For your past, for your flaws, and ultimately for your stress; I judge no one whom I’ve met along the way because in a sense we were all wounded in our own ways.
Forrest Curran

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

To seek is to suffer. To seek nothing is bliss.
Bodhidharma

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

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


Have the fearless attitude of a hero and the loving heart of a child.
Soyen Shaku

Out beyond ideas of wrong doing and right doing there is a field. I’ll meet you there. When the soul lies down in that gr*ss the world is too full to talk about.
Rumi

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

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

It is easy to believe we are each waves and forget we are also the ocean.
Jon J. Muth

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

In the stillness of the mind I saw myself as I am – unbound.
Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

Zen teaches that once we can open up to the inevitability of our demise, we can begin to transform that situation and lighten up about it.
Allen Klein

Stress is an ignorant state. It believes that everything is an emergency. Nothing is that important
Natalie Goldberg

Just think of the trees: They let the birds perch and fly, with no intention to call them when they come and no longing for their return when they fly away. If people’s hearts can be like the trees, they will not be off the Way.
Langya

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

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

When you’ve understood this scripture, throw it away. If you can’t understand this scripture, throw it away. I insist on your freedom.
Jack Kerouac

Zen is not an art, it’s not a religion. It’s a realisation.
Gene Clark

Think with your whole body.
Taisen Deshimaru

I think that that’s why artists make art – it is difficult to put into words unless you are a poet. What it takes is being open to the flow of universal creativity. The Zen artists knew this.
Alex Grey

Learning to let go should be learned before learning to get. Life should be touched, not strangled. You’ve got to relax, let it happen at times, and at others move forward with it.
Ray Bradbury

Only the hand that erases can write the true thing.
Meister Eckhart

Regardless of what you want to call it, guys need some type of spirituality they can grab onto. If it’s Christianity, which is a very structured approach, or if it’s something that’s a little more open-ended… like, Zen’s something you can make yourself a part of. You can interpret it for yourself, like Taoism and stuff like that.
Barry Zito

These mountains that you are carrying, you were only supposed to climb.
Najwa Zebian

Don’t take anything personally. Nothing other people do is because of you. It is because of themselves.
Don Miguel Ruiz

Do not let the behavior of others destroy your inner peace.
Dalai Lama


Silence is the language of Om. We need silence to be able to reach our Self. Both internal and external silence is very important to feel the presence of that supreme Love.
Amit Ray

Letting go is the lesson. Letting go is always the lesson. Have you ever noticed how much of our agony is all tied up with craving and loss?
Susan Gordon Lydon

If we don’t occupy ourself with everything, then peaceful mind will have nowhere to abide.
Shen-hui

When an ordinary man attains knowledge, he is a sage; when a sage attains understanding, he is an ordinary man.
Zen Proverb

If you want to change the world, start with the next person who comes to you in need.
B. D. Schiers

Well, I believe life is a Zen koan, that is, an unsolvable riddle. But the contemplation of that riddle – even though it cannot be solved – is, in itself, transformative. And if the contemplation is of high enough quality, you can merge with the divine.
Tom Robbins

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

Flow with whatever may happen, and let your mind be free: Stay centered by accepting whatever you are doing. This is the ultimate.
Zhuangzi

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

In fact, in many ways my mother was quite hippy-dippy, serving macrobiotic food and reading ‘Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.’
Kristin Scott Thomas

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

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


Upon awakening, let the words Thank You flow from your lips, for this will remind you to begin your day with gratitude and comp*ssion.
Wayne Dyer

Nothing is permanent in this wicked world – not even our troubles.
Charlie Chaplin


I don’t think my competition is with the heroes. I don’t think I’m competing with anyone. I don’t mean to sound Zen, but genuinely, when I stopped competing with anything is when I started enjoying my work, and that brought out the best in me. I’m living in a universe of my own, and I’m enjoying that. I love to appreciate other people’s work.
Vidya Balan

Don’t seek, don’t search, don’t ask, don’t knock, don’t demand – relax.
Osho

Take rest; a field that has rested gives a bountiful crop.
Ovid

When we are unable to find tranquility within ourselves, it is useless to seek it elsewhere.
Francois de La Rochefoucauld

To receive everything, one must open one’s hands and give.
Taisen Deshimaru

People living deeply have no fear of death.
Anais Nin

At the still-point in the center of the circle one can see the infinite in all things.
Chuang Tzu

Fighting for one’s freedom, struggling towards being free, is like struggling to be a poet or a good Christian or a good Jew or a good Muslim or good Zen Buddhist. You work all day long and achieve some kind of level of success by nightfall, go to sleep and wake up the next morning with the job still to be done. So you start all over again.
Maya Angelou

Don’t waste your time with explanations: people only hear what they want to hear.
Paulo Coelho


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

People sleep, and when they die they wake.
Muhammad

Many have died; you also will die. The drum of death is being beaten. The world has fallen in love with a dream. Only sayings of the wise will remain.
Kabir

Do not listen to those who weep and complain, for their disease is contagious.
Og Mandino

Well, for one thing, in the tradition of Zen that I’ve practiced, there is no prayerful worship and there is no affirmation of a deity.
Leonard Cohen

We have only now, only this single eternal moment opening and unfolding before us, day and night.
Jack Kornfield

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