Proverbs Quotes

45+ Popular Zen Proverbs & Sayings

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Amazing Zen Proverbs

“If you do not get it from yourself, Where will you go for it?”

“Even a good thing isn’t as good as nothing.”

“When you are deluded and full of doubt, even a thousand books of scripture are not enough. When you have realized understanding, even one word is too much.”
Note : Fen-Yang.

“How do you step from the top of a 100-foot pole?”
Note : koan.

“The most important point is to accept yourself and stand on your two feet.”
Note : Shunryu Suzuki.

“An autumn night… don’t think your life, didn’t matter.”
Note : Basho

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

“Live every day like your hair was on fire.”

“If you understand, things are just as they are; if you do not understand, things are just as they are.”

“Before enlightenment, chopping wood and carrying water. After enlightenment, chopping wood and carrying water.”
Note : Basho

“What does mysticism mean? It means the way to attain knowledge. It’s close to philosophy, except in philosophy you go horizontally while in mysticism you go vertically.
Note : Elie Wiesel.

“There’s no meaning to a flower unless it blooms.”

“Nothing is exactly as it seems, nor is it otherwise. ”
Note : Alan Watts.

“The ways to the One are as many as the lives of men.”

“At first, I saw mountains as mountains and rivers as rivers. Then, I saw mountains were not mountains and rivers were not rivers. Finally, I see mountains again as mountains, and rivers again as rivers.”

Awesome Zen Proverbs

“Great Faith. Great Doubt. Great Effort.”
Note : The three qualities necessary for training.

“Where there is great doubt, there will be great awakening; small doubt, small awakening, no doubt, no awakening.”

“If you’re attached to anything, you surely will go far astray.”

“Let the dead bury the dead.”
Note : Jesus Christ.

“One falling leaf is not just one leaf; it means the whole autumn.”

“Knock on the sky and listen to the sound.”

“The fundamental delusion of humanity is to suppose that I am here and you are out there.”
Note : Yasutani Roshi.

“No yesterday, no tomorrow, and no today.”
Note : Sheng-ts’an.

“Everyday life is the way.”

“Zen is not some kind of excitement, but merely concentration on our usual everyday routine.”
Note : Shunkyu Suzuki.

“Everything the same; everything distinct.”

“Chop wood, carry water.”


“When the pupil is ready to learn, a teacher will appear.”

“Zen is selling water by the river.”

“If the problem has a solution, worrying is pointless, in the end the problem will be solved. If the problem has no solution, there is no reason to worry, because it can’t be solved.”

“The quieter you become, the more you can hear.”
Note : Baba Ram Dass.

“Do not seek the truth, only cease to cherish your opinions.”
Note : Hsin Hsin Ming.

“Zen: Seeing into one’s own nature.”
Note : Hui-neng.

“Do not seek to follow in the footsteps of the men of old; seek what they sought.”

“Natural and super-natural, temporal and eternal – continuums, not absolutes.”
Note : Albert Schweitzer. (paraphrased)

Beautiful Zen Proverbs

“No ego, no pain.”

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”
Note : Lao Tzu.

“The only Zen you find on the tops of mountains is the Zen you bring up there.”
Note : Robert M. Pirsig.

“If you meet on the way a man who knows, Don’t speak a word — Don’t keep silent!”

“To a mind that is still, the whole universe surrenders.”
Note : Chuang-tzu

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

“Though the bamboo forest is dense, water flows through it freely.”

“It is better to practice a little than talk a lot.”
Note : Muso Kokushi.

“You must neither strive for truth nor seek to lose your illusions.”
Note : The Shodoka.

“To do a certain kind of thing, you have to be a certain kind of person.”

“The whole moon and the entire sky are reflected in one dewdrop on the grass.”
Note : Dogen.

“Water which is too pure has no fish.”
Note : Ts’ai Ken T’an

“There is no beginning to practice nor end to enlightenment; There is no beginning to enlightenment nor end to practice.”
Note : Dogen.

“In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s mind there are few.”
Note : Shunryu Suzuki.

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