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5 quotes by Zen and Taoist masters for heartbreak

As Oscar Wilde once said, “the heart was made to be broken.” Heartbreak is something we all face at some point in our lives, and how we handle heartbreak will shape all of our future relationships.

Taoist and Zen Buddhists have a valuable perspective to share, and we put together 5 quotes in a guide to help you get over your heartbreak.

Just remember:

Tears and painful emotions are the natural response to loss. As you’ll see from these quotes, it’s important to embrace your emotions and go through a grieving process.

In fact, experiencing heartbreak shows that you’re living a full life, opening yourself up to the experience of love and connecting deeply with another human.

While the pain is real, it’s important to celebrate this part of yourself. If the love is waning between you and someone else, this is an opportunity to make a real commitment to the love you feel for the eternal self.

Here are the quotes. We would love to know what you think at, where there’s a campaign running about how we communicate with love in the modern age.


Be open to the wounds of life

Many people preach the importance of being vulnerable and acting authentically, but it’s in moments of heartbreak that we have the opportunity to show that we are able to live by these values.

The quote below from Stephen Russell reminds us of the importance of being vulnerable during these difficult times.

“Vulnerability is the only authentic state. Being vulnerable means being open, for wounding, but also for pleasure. Being open to the wounds of life means also being open to the bounty and beauty. Don’t mask or deny your vulnerability: it is your greatest asset. Be vulnerable: quake and shake in your boots with it. The new goodness that is coming to you, in the form of people, situations, and things can only come to you when you are vulnerable, i.e. open.”
― Stephen Russell

Embrace your suffering

There’s a culture that has emerged with new age thinking on the importance of remaining positive and optimistic in the face of challenges.

While being positive and optimistic are important, at times the most appropriate thing to do is to embrace your suffering.

In another article, we wrote about how depression actually helps people adapt to situations – when it is embraced. The same goes with the suffering that comes from heartache.

Suffering can be our greatest teacher.

“Those who don’t know how to suffer are the worst off. There are times when the only correct thing we can do is to bear out troubles until a better day.”
― Ming-Dao Deng

Remember that no-one is ever alone

The quote below by the Buddha is simple but powerful. Everything in this world exists in relation to everything else.

It’s a powerful reminder that even when you’re going through the pain of heartbreak, you’re not alone. You are always intertwined in the fabric of the universe through your relationships with other people and everything else around you.


“All things appear and disappear because of the concurrence of causes and conditions. Nothing ever exists entirely alone; everything is in relation to everything else.”
― The Buddha

What matters is what’s happening inside you

The quote below is a powerful follow up to the quote above by the Buddha. It poetically demonstrates the interconnection we have with everything, even the ants in our lives!

“When I was in solitary retreat, I knew that I was together with all sentient beings in innumerable worlds. Even though I seemed to be alone in a small, enclosed room, actually I was in company with many ants who found their way inside, and there were many insects around the hut who created all kinds of sounds in the evening. When I opened the Sutras, people thousands of years in the past were talking to me. How could I feel lonely? Some people think I must feel lonely being a monk without any wife or children. Not at all. I have the 5 precepts and the 10 Virtuous Deeds as my wife, and my children are all the people who I have developed a karmic affinity with and who call me Shih-fu. It is only those pitiable people who enclose themselves and cannot establish a relationship with the outside world who feel lonely. If you keep yourself enclosed, even if you live among thousands of people you will still feel very lonely. However, if you keep yourself open, then even if you are living alone, you will still have a very full life. So open your mind and treat everyone as your intimate, virtuous friend.”
― From a lecture by Shih-fu Sheng-ye

Continue living from the heart

One danger of heartbreak is that it causes you to stop being active and go back into your own shell. That’s when you get slowed down and as the quote below says, you become lazy and mired in your own funk.

If you can remain active, remain open to the pain you’re experiencing, and keep your heart open to others, you’ll not be reflecting so heavily on what’s happening inside yourself. You’ll experience being connected with people around you and you’ll experience the natural flow of life again.


“Why are we bored, lonely and lazy? Because we don’t have the will to totally open our hearts to others. If you have the strength of will to totally open your heart to others, you will eliminate laziness, selfishness and loneliness. Actually, the reason you get lonely is that you are not doing anything. If you were busy, you wouldn’t have time to get lonely. Loneliness can only enter an inactive mind. If your mind is dull and your body inactive, then you get lonely. Basically, this comes from a selfish attitude, concern for yourself alone. That is the cause of loneliness, laziness and a closed heart.”
― Lama Yeshe in “Becoming Vajrasattva, the Tantric Path of Purification

We hope you found this five step guide to heartbreak useful. If you’d like to read more about how to get over heartbreak and related topics, check out these articles:

How to deal with heartbreak: 12 no bullsh*t tips

How to get over someone: 17 steps to letting go for good

Emotionally unavailable men: My apology to women

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