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15 Quotes From the Founder of Zen Buddhism That Will Open Your Mind Wide Open

Ever heard of Bodhidharma? He was a Buddhist monk who lived during the 5th or 6th century. He is traditionally credited with being the founder of Zen Buddhism.

While the biographically details of his existence are extant, there are still texts that credit some amazing words of wisdom to him. His teachings mainly centred on meditation, the mind and how to find enlightenment.

Here are 15 of his most insightful quotes:

On understanding reality

“If you use your mind to study reality, you won’t understand either your mind or reality. If you study reality without using your mind, you’ll understand both.”

“Whoever realizes that the six senses aren’t real, that the five aggregates are fictions, that no such things can be located anywhere in the body, understands the language of Buddhas.”

The three poisons of an ignorant mind

“The ignorant mind, with its infinite afflictions, passions, and evils, is rooted in the three poisons. Greed, anger, and delusion.”

On worship

“Worship means reverence and humility it means revering your real self and humbling delusions.”


On being present

“The mind is always present. You just don’t see it.”

On finding enlightenment

“But deluded people don’t realize that their own mind is the Buddha. They keep searching outside.”

“Buddha means awareness, the awareness of body and mind that prevents evil from arising in either.”

“And as long as you’re subject to birth and death, you’ll never attain enlightenment.”

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“Freeing oneself from words is liberation.”

“To see nothing is to perceive the Way, and to understand nothing is to know the Dharma, because seeing is neither seeing nor not seeing and because understanding is neither understanding nor not understanding.”

“Not creating delusions is enlightenment.”

“The essence of the Way is detachment.”

On the mind

“People who don’t see their nature and imagine they can practice thoughtlessness all the time are lairs and fools.”

“Whoever knows that the mind is a fiction and devoid of anything real knows that his own mind neither exists nor doesn’t exist.”

On your true nature

“Once you see your nature, sex is basically immaterial.”




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