Zen Quotes


 Shunryu Suzuki Roshi was one of the most influential teachers of Soto Zen Buddhism in American history. 

Ryoanji Zen Garden - by Kamoda

Zen Buddhism was transmitted from China to Japan in the twelfth century, and was distinguished by the direct transmission of profound insight into the nature of Reality, from master to disciple, rather than through reliance on words and scriptures.

“Zen” is the Japanese pronunciation of Chinese chán, “meditation”. Chán in turn comes from the Prajhna,  (Sanskrit dhyanam), also meaning “meditation,”  and from the Sanskrit root dhya “to see, observe”.

International interest in Zen began in the 1950’s and Zen was popularised in the West by Alan Watts and DT Suzuki. As a result of the growing interest in Zen in particular and Buddhism in general, many Westerners travelled to the East to immerse themselves in the teachings and practice of Buddhism. Many of these people returned to the West to found temples and monasteries which have thrived in the ensuing years due to the flourishing interest in Buddhist teachings.

I asked the boy beneath the pines
He said ” the Master’s gone alone
Herb-picking somewhere on the mount
cloud-hidden, whereabouts unknown”

- Chia Tao

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‘You’ means to be aware of the universe in the form of you, and ‘I’ means to be aware of it in the form of I. — Shunryu Suzuki

As long as you seek for something, you will get the shadow of reality and not reality itself. — Shunryu Suzuki

Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water, after enlightenment chop wood, carry water. — Zen Proverb

Daily life becomes our Zen training. — Shunryu Suzuki

Do not insist upon your own fixed ideas. If your mind is broad it can easily embrace the entire world. — Zen Master Daehaeng

Do not seek the truth, only cease to cherish your opinions. — Zen Saying

Eyes horizontal, Nose vertical. Essence of Buddhism. — Dogen Zenji

For Zen students a weed is a treasure. With this attitude, whatever you do, life becomes an art. — Shunryu Suzuki

Happiness is simple. Everything we do to find it is complicated. — Karen Maezen Miller

If we are facing in the right direction, all we have to do is keep on walking. — Zen Proverb

If you are unable to find the truth right where you are, where else do you expect to find it? — Dogen Zenji

If you understand, things are just as they are; if you do not understand, things are just as they are. — Zen Saying

In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s mind there are few. — Shunryu Suzuki

Knock on the sky and listen to the sound! — Zen Proverb

Knowledge is learning something new every day. Wisdom is letting go of something every day. — Zen Proverb

Life is like stepping onto a boat which is about to sail out to sea and sink. — Shunryu Suzuki

Man stands in his own shadow and wonders why it’s dark. — Zen Proverb

Move and the way will open. — Zen Proverb

No matter how many years you sit doing zazen, you will never become anything special. — Kodo Sawaki Roshi

No snowflake ever falls in the wrong place. — Zen Proverb

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