Zen Proverbs (31 Proverbs)


  • If you want a certain thing, you must first be a certain person. Once you are that certain person, obtaining that certain thing will no longer be a concern of yours.
    (Zen Proverb)

  • It takes a wise man to learn from his mistakes, but an even wiser man to learn from others.
    (Zen Proverb)

  • Knock on the sky and Listen to the sound.
    (Zen Proverb)

  • To follow the path, look to the master, follow the master, walk with the master, see through the master, become the master.
    (Zen Proverb)

  • To know and not do is not yet to know.
    (Zen Proverb)


  • When the pupil is ready to learn, a teacher will appear.
    (Zen Proverb)

  • When you reach the top, keep climbing.
    (Zen Proverb)

  • When you try to stay on the surface of the water, you sink; but when you try to sink, you float.
    (Zen Proverb)

  • Sitting quietly, doing nothing, spring comes and the grass grows by itself.
    (Zen Proverb)

  • Only when you can be extremely pliable and soft can you be extremely hard and strong.
    (Zen Proverb)

  • One day a student asked Taiga, "What is the most difficult part of painting?" Taiga answered, "The part of the paper where nothing is painted is the most difficult."
    (Zen Proverb)

  • No snowflake ever falls in the wrong place.
    (Zen Proverb)

  • Let go over a cliff, die completely, and then come back to life -- after that you cannot be deceived.
    (Zen Proverb)

  • Learning Zen is a phenomenon of gold and dung. Before you understand it, it's like gold; after you understand it, it's like dung.
    (Zen Proverb)

  • In studying the way, realizing it is hard; once you have realized it, preserving it is hard. When you can preserve it, putting it into practice is hard.
    (Zen Proverb)

  • If you understand, things are just as they are; if you do not understand, things are just as they are.
    (Zen Proverb)

  • Chop wood, carry water.
    (Zen Proverb)

  • Do not seek the truth, only cease to cherish your opinions.
    (Zen Proverb)

  • From the withered tree, a flower blooms.
    (Zen Proverb)

  • Better to struggle with a sick jackass than carry the wood by yourself.
    (Zen Proverb)

  • Sit, walk, or run, but don't wobble.
    (Zen Proverb)

  • Better to sit all night than to go to bed with a dragon.
    (Zen Proverb)

  • The obstacle is the path.
    (Zen Proverb)

  • Better to see the face than to hear the name.
    (Zen Proverb)

  • The tighter you squeeze, the less you have.
    (Zen Proverb)

  • Before you study Zen, a bowl is a bowl and tea is tea. While you are studying Zen, a bowl is no longer a bowl and tea is no longer tea. After you've studied Zen, a bowl is again a bowl and tea is tea.
    (Zen Proverb)

  • The infinite is in the finite of every instant.
    (Zen Proverb)

  • Be master of mind rather than mastered by mind.
    (Zen Proverb)

  • The Great Way is not difficult for those who have no preferences.
    (Zen Proverb)

  • A beautiful woman who is pleasing to men is good only for frightening fish when she falls into the water.
    (Zen Proverb)

  • The best leaders of all, the people know not they exist. They turn to each other and say We did it ourselves.
    (Zen Proverb)


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