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Zen Quotes for Contemplation

Updated on April 3, 2013
State of Zen
State of Zen

Zen is quite a familiar word but how many of us DO really understand it? Zen is a way of life and there is not a single word or a phrase or even a whole book that can explain it clearly. This hub offers an excellent explanation about Zen: Zen, It Is What It Is (currently has been unplublished). As what the title sounds, Zen is really something about what is it's just what it is.

The core concept of Zen has to do with the mind. It is about being present at all time because there is no time except now. Time is an illusion that traps us in the past or in the future. Being not able to focus to the present moment, we are bombarded with lots of issues that have already gone or post problems that are constructed by the time. If we dare not to breakthrough time, we will always absent from now.

Zen is a way of life, a state of being that can't be described or defined. The more you think about it, the further you will be gone. That's the reason why no one can make the cup of tea tastes the same as the one made by a Zen master. The difference lays in the mind, not the method of pouring the tea or the tea itself.

Below is a list of thirty Zen quotes for your contemplation but please don't emphasize on the verb 'contemplate', just read throught and start thinking without thinking:

Buddha Statue
Buddha Statue
The Word 'Zen'
The Word 'Zen'

1. "When the pupil is ready to learn, a teacher will appear." - Zen Proverb

2. "We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves." - Buddha

3. "Before enlightenment: Chop wood, carry water. After Enlightenment: Chop wood, carry water." - Famous Old Zen Saying

4. "When you get to the top of the mountain, keep climbing." - Zen Proverb

5. "This is the Zen approach: nothing is there to be done. There is nothing to do. One has just to be. Have a rest and be ordinary and be natural." - Osho

6. "If you understand, things are just as they are; if you do not understand, things are just as they are." - Zen Proverb

7. "Do not speak, unless it improves on silence." - Buddhist Saying

8. "The mind is always present. You just don't see it." - Bodhidharma

9. "All phenomena are empty." - Bodhidharma

10. "If you walk, just walk. If you sit, just sit; but whatever you do, don't wobble." - Ummon

11. "I gained nothing at all from supreme enlightenment, and for that very reason it is called supreme enlightenment." - Buddha

12. "If you cannot find the truth right where you are, where else do you expect to find it?" - Dogen Zenji

13. "I’d like to offer something to help you but in the zen school we don’t have a single thing!" - Ikkyu

14. "As long as you're enthralled by a lifeless form, you're not free." - Bodhidharma

15. "Walking is Zen, sitting is Zen." - Daishi

Zen Master Bodhidharma
Zen Master Bodhidharma
Zen Garden
Zen Garden

16. "The Way is basically perfect. It doesn't require perfecting." - Bodhidharma

18. "We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves." - Buddha

19. "There is nothing you can see that is not a flower; there is nothing you can think that is not the moon." - Basho

20. "The journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step." - Lao Tzu

21. "A flower falls even though we love it and a weed grows even though we do not love it." - Dogen Zenji

22. "When the mind is the master, you live in a hell. When you are the master of your mind, you live in the land of the Buddhas." - Bodhidharma

23. "Look for Buddha outside your own mind, and Buddha becomes the devil." - Dogen

24. "The only Zen you find on the tops of mountains is the Zen you bring up there." - Robert M. Pirsig

25. "Zen is not a philosophy, it is poetry. It does not propose, it simply persuades. It does not argue, it simply sings its own song." - Osho

26. "Whether talking or remaining silent, Whether moving or standing quiet, The Essence itself is ever at ease." - Daishi

27. "It is better to practice a little than talk a lot." - Muso Kokushi

28. "The quieter you become, the more you can hear." - Baba Ram Dass

29. "Calm in quietude is not real calm. When you can be calm in the midst of activity, this is the true state of nature. Happiness in comfort is not real happiness. When you can be happy in the midst of hardship, then you see the true potential of the mind." - Huanchu Daoren

30. "There is more to life than increasing its speed." - Gandhi

Zen is life, don't try to think about it. What you have been doing is Zen if you could realize it, as Bodhidharma said it, "the mind is always here, always being present, you just don't see it.

Do you like the idea of living a Zen life?

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Introduction to Zen Practice

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Submit a Comment
  • KenWu profile imageAUTHOR


    6 years ago from Malaysia

    Thanks a lot Au fait, glad you like it!

  • Au fait profile image

    C E Clark 

    6 years ago from North Texas

    A great hub. I think I like #22 best, but all are fantastic will much wisdom. Voted you up, BAUI, and will share!

  • KenWu profile imageAUTHOR


    6 years ago from Malaysia

    Thanks Christy...yeap go with the flow!

  • ChristyWrites profile image

    Christy Birmingham 

    6 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

    Great list of Zen quotes and nice overview of the concept too. Go with the flow :)

  • KenWu profile imageAUTHOR


    6 years ago from Malaysia

    Never did I think of that, yeap you are right! But the Zen Sounds album is a meditative type of music. the new age type. Yet again, one can debate that it is still a Zen :) God bless.

  • Randy M. profile image

    Randy McLaughlin 

    6 years ago from Liberia, Costa Rica

    Good collection. But, a thought occurred to me regarding the Zen Sounds offering - aren't all sounds Zen Sounds?


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