Zen Wisdom

Zen is a practice of achieving enlightenment without applying philosophical thought.

It's a method of approaching the truth through passivity rather than force.

One popular teaching method of zen consists of a series of stories called koans. These koans are designed to spark spontaneous instances of enlightenment that cannot be delivered through intellectual conversation.

They’re kind of like a joke, but the punchline is enlightenment rather than laughter.

A joke sparks laughter. A Zen koan sparks enlightenment.

View All Zen Koans

Zen Wisdom

Quotes and ideas involving Zen Buddhism.

1.

To be calm is the highest achievement of the self.

2.

When you realize nothing is lacking, the whole world belongs to you.

— Lao Tzu

3.

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

4.

I live by letting things happen.

— Dogen

5.

The search for happiness is one of the chief sources of unhappiness.

— Eric Hoffer

6.

The menu is not the meal.

— Alan Watts

7.

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

— Alan Watts

8.

All know the way, but few actually walk it.

— Bodhidharma

9.

Sleep is the best meditation.

— 14th Dalai Lama

10.

Relax. Nothing is under control.

— Adi Da

11.

If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.

— 14th Dalai Lama

12.

Let go, or be dragged.

13.

Wherever you are, be there totally.

— Eckhart Tolle

14.

Don’t curse the darkness, light a candle.

— Confucius

15.

And when they played they really played. And when they worked they really worked.

— Dr. Seuss

16.

If you chase two rabbits, you catch none.

— Confucius

17.

We just let it happen… and that’s the beauty of this technique.

— Bob Ross

18.

Don’t be afraid to just sit and watch.

— Anthony Bourdain

19.

In the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity.

 — Sun Tzu

20.

Act without expectation.

— Lao Tzu

21.

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

— Lao Tzu

22.

There are only two ways to live your life. One is as if nothing is a miracle. The other is as if everything is a miracle.

— Albert Einstein

23.

Do not be too interested in Zen.

— Shunryu Suzuki

24.

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

25.

Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.

— Lao Tzu

26.

The foolish reject what they see, not what they think — the wise reject what they think, not what they see.

— Huang Po

27.

To go beyond is as wrong as to fall short.

— Confucius

28.

I have lived with several Zen masters — all of them cats.

— Eckhart Tolle

29.

My daily affairs are quite ordinary, but I’m in total harmony with them.

— Layman Pang

30.

The ability to observe without evaluating is the highest form of intelligence.

— Jiddu Krishnamurti

31.

For things to reveal themselves to us, we need to be ready to abandon our views about them.

— Thich Nhat Hanh

32.

When walking, walk. When eating, eat.

33.

The moment is where we spend most of our time.

— Terence McKenna

34.

Train yourself to let go of everything you fear to lose.

— Yoda

35.

When one has nothing to lose, one becomes courageous. We are timid only when there is something we can still cling to.

— Carlos Castaneda

36.

If you ever start taking things too seriously, just remember that we are talking monkeys on an organic spaceship flying through the universe.

— Joe Rogan

37.

Welcome if it comes. Let go if it goes. Chase nothing. Cling to nothing. Remain unconcerned.

38.

Once you’ve plunged into the ocean, does it really matter whether or not you believe in water? — William Richards