Zen Buddhism is a branch of Mahayana Buddhism that emphasizes the value of meditation and intuition over ritual and intellectual study. Zen Buddhists believe that everyone has the ability to achieve enlightenment, but that this requires letting go of attachments and desires.

Zen Buddhism and its focus on simplicity and detachment from material goods can be traced back to the founder of the religion, Siddhartha Gautama. Siddhartha was born into a wealthy family but left his life of privilege after witnessing the suffering of others. He spent years wandering and studying with different teachers before finally sitting in meditation under a tree and reaching enlightenment.

Siddhartha’s experience is often called “The Middle Way,” as it represents a path between the extremes of self-indulgence and self-mortification. This balance is at the heart of Zen Buddhist teachings.

Quotes about life from Zen Buddhists

Here are some quotes about life from Zen Buddhists that can help you find your own middle way:

“You should sit in meditation for twenty minutes every day — unless you’re too busy. Then you should sit for an hour.”

Zen proverb

“The mind is everything. What you think, you become.”

Siddhartha Gautama

“There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth; not going all the way, and not starting.”

Siddhartha Gautama

“An essential aspect of mindfulness is non judgmentalness.”

Thich Nhat Hanh

“Meditation is not a way of making your mind quiet. It’s a way of entering into the quiet that’s already there — buried under the 50,000 thoughts the average person thinks every day.”

Deepak Chopra

“When you realize nothing is lacking, the whole world belongs to you.”

Lao Tzu

“As soon as you see something, you already start to conceptualize it. As soon as you conceptualize it, you’ve already moved away from the truth.”

Zen proverb

“There is no escape — we pay for the violence of our ancestors.”

Siddhartha Gautama

“To walk safely through the maze of human life, one needs the light of wisdom and the guidance of virtue.”

Buddha

How to stay mindful and live in the present moment

It can be easy to get caught up in the past or worried about the future, but Zen Buddhists believe that the only way to find true happiness is to live in the present moment.

Here are some tips for how you can stay mindful and appreciate life as it happens:

Pay attention to your senses

When you are fully present, you will be aware of what you see, smell, taste, feel, and hear. Allow yourself to experience the world around you without judgment or distraction.

Be aware of your thoughts

Your mind will naturally wander, but it’s important to notice when this happens and bring your focus back to the present moment. Don’t get caught up in ruminating on past events or worrying about the future.

Accept things as they are

One of the most difficult parts of living in the present moment is accepting that life is sometimes messy and imperfect. Rather than trying to control everything, allow yourself to let go and flow with the changes that happen in life.

Practice gratitude

When you are grateful for what you have, it’s easier to appreciate the present moment. Make it a habit to regularly reflect on the things in your life that you are thankful for.

Find joy in simple pleasures

Don’t wait for big moments or special occasions to enjoy your life — savor the small moments that happen every day. Take time to appreciate the little things, like a beautiful sunset or a warm cup of coffee.

Living in the present moment can be challenging, but it’s worth the effort. When you are fully present, you will find that life is more joyful, peaceful, and meaningful.