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51 Famous Zen Quotes about Life

Since life doesn't come with an instruction book, we remain learners all throughout our lives. In this article, Buzzle picks out the most famous Zen quotes to guide you through your journey of life.
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Dalai Lama quote
Nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know. - Pema Chödrön

Often in life, there comes a time, when you can no longer deal with your problems, when you can no longer see your path clearly, and when you no longer know how to deal with the turmoil―that is called life. However, difficult times arrive, just to teach us life's most important lessons.

Nevertheless, it can be very difficult to deal with them. This is exactly when you go to the Zen to get all the answers. Zen is a form of Buddhism, which puts an emphasis on meditation to attain peace of mind. The Zen masters say that it is more of a way of living than a religion, and everyone can practice it, irrespective of their religion.

Practicing Zen is believed to have a calming effect on the mind and body, which not only helps one to lead a healthy life, but also to deal with various problems efficiently. "When the student is ready, the teacher will appear", the Zen says. So, if you are ready to learn, here are a few inspirational and motivational teachings to help you lead a peaceful life.

Buddha Quotes

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

What was never lost can never be found. ― Zen Proverb

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

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

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

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

Don't seek, don't search, don't ask, don't knock, don't demand - relax. ― Osho

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

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

Be master of mind rather than mastered by mind. ― Zen Proverb

Lao Tzu Quotes

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

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

When you seek it, you cannot find it. ― Zen Proverb

The trouble is, you think you have time. ― Buddha

To a mind that is still, the whole universe surrenders. ― Chuang Tzu

Each morning, we are born again. What we do today is what matters most. ― Buddha

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

Move and the way will open. ― Zen Proverb

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

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

Osho Quotes

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

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. Thanks to the teachings of Buddha, I have been able to take this second way. ― Dalai Lama

When the student is ready, the teacher will appear. ― Zen Proverb

To live a pure unselfish life, one must count nothing as one's own in the midst of abundance. ― Buddha

Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. ― Dalai Lama

Happiness is here, and now. ― Thích Nhất Hạnh

Even death is not to be feared by one who has lived wisely. ― Buddha

When you think everything is someone else's fault, you will suffer a lot. When you realize that everything springs only from yourself, you will learn both peace and joy. ― Dalai Lama

Let go, or be dragged. ― Zen Proverb

Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished. ― Lao Tzu

Bodhidharma Quotes

The most important point is to accept yourself and stand on your two feet. ― Shunryu Suzuki

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

When walking, walk. When eating, eat. ― Zen Proverb

This dewlike life fades away; time speeds swiftly. In this short life of ours, avoid involvement in superfluous things and just study the Way. ― Dōgen Zenji

Act without expectation. ― Lao Tzu

Life begins where fear ends. ― Osho

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

Love is the absence of judgment. ― Dalai Lama

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

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

Zen Proverbs

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

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

To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don't need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself." ― Thích Nhất Hạnh

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

In a mind clear as still water, even the waves, breaking, are reflecting its light. ― Dōgen Zenji

To understand everything is to forgive everything. ― Buddha

Man stands in his own shadow and wonders why it is dark. ― Zen Proverb

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

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

The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. ― Lao Tzu

Smile, breathe and go slowly. ― Thích Nhất Hạnh

The basic principles of Zen teachings are to relax and be at utmost peace with oneself. Like Osho said, "Zen is not effort. Effort is tension, effort is work, effort is to achieve something. Zen is not something to achieve. You are already that. Just relax, relax so deeply that you become a revelation to yourself."
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Published: August 7, 2014
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