30 Zen Quotes to Blow Your Mind and Open Your Heart

Zen sprouted up in China in the 6th Century AD and took root in Japan some time later. It is thought that the early teachings of Taosim, around 800 years earlier, and teachings from the Mahayana Buddhist tradition from India, laid the foundations for the teachings of Zen to originate.

The word ‘Zen’ is a Japanese pronunciation of the Chinese word ‘Chan’ which was derived from the Sanskrit word of dhyana. Dhyana means “a meditative state.” japanese-zen-buddhism

The unique thing about Zen is that the teachings de-emphasizes the practice of studying and memorizing scripture and instead prefer the simple practices of zazen, or sitting meditation, and contemplation. The teachings and practices of Zen allowed for common people, and not just monks, to be able to reach stages of enlightenment. It was understood that enlightenment was available to all people, at any moment, one just needed the veils of illusion to be removed.

A large part of Zen practices focused on koans, sayings and Zen master’s teachings. Many of the quotes seem paradoxical or illogical. This is the purpose of such tales as the comments are designed to break down mental conditioning so the truth of enlightenment can be revealed.

Here is a list of 30 unique zen quotes to help you come out of the mind and into your heart…

 

If you use your mind to look for a Buddha, you won’t see the Buddha.

~ Bodhidharma

 

A Buddha is someone who finds freedom in good fortune and bad.

~ Bodhidharma

 

Buddhas don’t practice nonsense.

~ Bodhidharma

 

It is better to practice a little than talk a lot.

~ Muso Kokushi

 

If you cannot find the truth right where you are, where else do you expect to find it?

~ Dogen Zenji

 

Do not think you will necessarily be aware of your own enlightenment.

~ Dogen Zenji

 

A flower falls even though we love it and a weed grows even though we do not love it.

~ Dogen Zenji

 

No matter how bad a state of mind you may get into, if you keep strong and hold out, eventually the floating clouds must vanish and the withering wind must cease.

~ Dogen Zenji

 

To escape the world means that one’s mind is not concerned with the opinions of the world.

~ Dogen Zenji

 

No snowflake ever falls in the wrong place.

~ Lao Tzu

 

At the center of your being you have the answer; you know who you are and you know what you want.

~ Lao Tzu

 

Let it be still and it will gradually become clear.

~ Lao Tzu

 

Doing nothing is better than being busy doing nothing.

~ Lao Tzu

 

To hold, you must first open your hand. Let go.

~ Lao Tzu

 

He who talks more is sooner exhausted.

~ Lao Tzu

 

Happiness is the absence of the striving for happiness.

~ Chuang Tzu

 

A path is made by walking on it.

~ Chuang Tzu

 

The purpose of a fish trap is to catch fish, and when then fish are caught, the trap is forgotten. The purpose of words is to convey ideas. When the ideas are grasped, the words are forgotten.

~ Chuang Tzu

 

Sitting quietly, doing nothing, spring comes, and the grass grows by itself.

~ Zen saying

 

If you light a lamp for somebody, it will also brighten your own path.

~ Buddhist saying

 

Just as a candle cannot burn without fire, men cannot live without a spiritual life.

~ Buddha

 

You only lose what you cling to.

~ Buddha

 

Enjoy your problems.

~ Shunryu Suzuki

 

You should rather be grateful for the weeds you have in your mind, because eventually they will enrich your practice.

~ Shunryu Suzuki

 

When you can do nothing, what can you do?

~ Zen Koan

 

Here it is – right now. Start thinking about it and you miss it.

~ Huang Po

 

Since it is all too clear, it takes time to grasp it.

~ Wumen Hukai

 

Let go or be dragged.

~ Zen saying

 

Sometimes, simply by sitting, the soul collects wisdom.

~ Zen Proverb

 

Better to sit all night than to go to bed with a dragon.

~ Zen proverb

 

Don’t seek the truth, just drop your opinions.

~ Zen saying

 

Want more? All of these quotes and more are available in one of my quote books “Simply Zen Quotes” which can be found in the Barnes & Nobles online bookstore. Click here to check it out.

Zen and Buddha Quotes