In Western society, we tend to place our wellbeing and happiness on external forces, such as our job, our relationships or our material possessions.
However, Buddhism takes a different point of view.
They believe that happiness, peace and wellbeing come from inside us, regardless of our external environment.
They place huge emphasis on virtues such as compassion and kindness and use countless meditation techniques to achieve peace and enlightenment.
In order to understand this different but enlightening point of view, we’ve collated some of the most mind altering quotes from famous Zen masters around the world.
We hope it will offer you a different way to look at things so you can find true meaning in life.
On letting go and acceptance
“Flow with whatever may happen, and let your mind be free: Stay centered by accepting whatever you are doing. This is the ultimate.” – Zhuangzi
“I discovered that it is necessary, absolutely necessary, to believe in nothing. That is, we have to believe in something which has no form and no color–something which exists before all forms and colors appear… No matter what god or doctrine you believe in, if you become attached to it, your belief will be based more or less on a self-centered idea.” – Shunryu Suzuki
On the mind
“When mind exists undisturbed in the Way, nothing in the world can offend, and when a thing can no longer offend it ceases to exist in the old way. When no discriminating thoughts arise, the old mind ceases to exist.” – Sengcan
“In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few.” – Shunryu Suzuki
“But people of the deepest understanding look within, distracted by nothing. Since a clear mind is the Buddha, they attain the understanding of a Buddha without using the mind.” – Bodhidharma
On Zen living
“Zen is not some fancy, special art of living. Our teaching is just to live, always in reality, in its exact sense. To make our effort, moment after moment, is our way. In an exact sense, the only thing we actually can study in our life is that on which we are working in each moment. We cannot even study Buddha’s words.”
“So we should be concentrated with our full mind and body on what we do; and we should be faithful, subjectively and objectively, to ourselves, and especially to our feelings. Even when you do not feel so well, it is better to express how you feel without any particular attachment or intention. So you may say, “Oh, I am sorry, I do not feel well.” – Shunryu Suzuki
“Zen is a liberation from time. For if we open our eyes and see clearly, it becomes obvious that there is no other time than this instant, and that the past and the future are abstractions without any concrete reality.” – Alan Watts
“To deny the reality of things is to miss their reality; to assert the emptiness of things is to miss their reality. The more you talk and think about it, the further astray you wander from the truth. Stop talking and thinking and there is nothing you will not be able to know.” – Sengcan
On the present moment
“If you miss the present moment, you miss your appointment with life. That is very serious!” – Thich Nhat Hanh
“When you do something, you should burn yourself up completely, like a good bonfire, leaving no trace of yourself.” – Shunryu Suzuki
“Where you are right now is where you are.” – Zen Proverb
“One must be deeply aware of the impermanence of the world.” – Dogen
On your true self
“The self divides into ten billion distinct illuminating spirits. Distinguish these without falling into names and classifications.” – Hongzhi
How to find enlightenment
“I’m simply saying that there is a way to be sane. I’m saying that you can get rid of all this insanity created by the past in you. Just by being a simple witness of your thought processes.
It is simply sitting silently, witnessing the thoughts, passing before you. Just witnessing, not interfering not even judging, because the moment you judge you have lost the pure witness. The moment you say “this is good, this is bad,” you have already jumped onto the thought process.
It takes a little time to create a gap between the witness and the mind. Once the gap is there, you are in for a great surprise, that you are not the mind, that you are the witness, a watcher.
And this process of watching is the very alchemy of real religion. Because as you become more and more deeply rooted in witnessing, thoughts start disappearing. You are, but the mind is utterly empty.
That’s the moment of enlightenment. That is the moment that you become for the first time an unconditioned, sane, really free human being.” – Osho
***Do you want to be a stronger person? Do you want to stare down your challenges and overcome any obstacles? If so, check out our eBook: The Art of Resilience: A Practical Guide to Mental Toughness.