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145 Zen Quotes for a Peaceful State of Mind

Karabo Baloyi
Jun 22, 2022
04:53 P.M.
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The Zen philosophy encourages awareness, peace, and balance. If you've been lacking some of these valuable traits in your life lately, here are 145 Zen quotes to help you recenter yourself.

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People who appreciate spiritual awareness, peace, balance, and detachment from material possessions will find Zen a valuable source of inspiration and insight. Zen is an Indian philosophy that was formalized in China. It urges one to focus on the present moment and be at peace with what the present offers.

Zen propagates the notion that there are glimpses of the divine even in the simplest moments of our daily routine. The philosophy grew popular in the United States in the 1960s, gaining traction in San Fransisco and Los Angeles first before spreading to other cities in America.

Since then, it had steadily extended its reach globally, garnering millions of followers. It doesn't matter whether you are an avid follower of the Zen philosophy or you've never even heard of it. These 145 quotes on Zen will help you achieve a calmer mindset.

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Robert M. Pirsig 's quote: “The only Zen you can find on the tops of mountains is the Zen you bring up there.” | Image: AmoDays

Robert M. Pirsig 's quote: “The only Zen you can find on the tops of mountains is the Zen you bring up there.” | Image: AmoDays

WHAT ZEN MEANS TO EXPERTS

“Zen is not some fancy, special art of living. Our teaching is just to live, always in reality, in its exact sense.” — Shunryu Suzuki

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“Zen is an effort to become alert and awake.” — Osho

“The practice of Zen is forgetting the self in the act of uniting with something.” — Koun Yamada

“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

“Zen is a path of liberation. It liberates you. It is freedom from the first step to the last. You are not required to follow any rules; you are required to find out your own rules and your own life in the light of awareness.” — Osho

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Shunryu Suzuki's quote: “Zen is not some fancy, special art of living. Our teaching is just to live, always in reality, in its exact sense.” | Image: AmoDays

Shunryu Suzuki's quote: “Zen is not some fancy, special art of living. Our teaching is just to live, always in reality, in its exact sense.” | Image: AmoDays

“The only Zen you can find on the tops of mountains is the Zen you bring up there.” — Robert M. Pirsig

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“Zen is not some kind of excitement, but concentration on our usual everyday routine.” — Shunryu Suzuki

“Zen is not an art, it’s not a religion. It’s a realization.” — Gene Clark

“Zen is not a religion. There is no room for a cult. There is no dependence on a teacher. There is only learning how to use your own mind and making it strong.” — Frederick Lenz

“Zen teaches nothing; it merely enables us to wake up and become aware. It does not teach, it points.” — D.T. Suzuki

 Osho's quote: “Zen is an effort to become alert and awake.” | Image: AmoDays

Osho's quote: “Zen is an effort to become alert and awake.” | Image: AmoDays

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“Zen in its essence is the art of seeing into the nature of one’s being, and it points the way from bondage to freedom.” — D.T. Suzuki

“The true purpose [of Zen] is to see things as they are, to observe things as they are, and to let everything go as it goes.” — D.T. Suzuki

“Zen practice is to open up our small minds.” — D.T. Suzuki

“Zen teaches that if we can open up to the inevitability of our demise, we can begin to transform and lighten up about it.” — Allen Klein

“But as long as you think you are practicing Zen for the sake of something, that is not true practice.” — Shunryu Suzuki

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 Koun Yamada's quote: “The practice of Zen is forgetting the self in the act of uniting with something.” | Image: AmoDays

Koun Yamada's quote: “The practice of Zen is forgetting the self in the act of uniting with something.” | Image: AmoDays

SHORT ZEN QUOTES

“Let go, or be dragged.” — Zen proverb

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“The first and the best victory is to conquer self.” — Plato

“To seek is to suffer. To seek nothing is bliss.” — Bodhidharma

“Life is a balance of holding on and letting go.” — Rumi

“In the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity.” — Sun Tzu

 Alan Watts's quote: “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.” | Image: AmoDays

Alan Watts's quote: “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.” | Image: AmoDays

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“Wise men don’t judge — they seek to understand.” — Wei Wu Wei

“Wherever you are, be there totally.” — Eckhart Tolle

“Relax. Nothing’s missing.” — Maxime Lagacé

“Relax. Nothing is under control.” — Adi Da

“I live by letting things happen.” — Dogen

 Osho's quote: “Zen is a path of liberation. It liberates you. It is freedom from the first step to the last. You are not required to follow any rules; you are required to find out your own rules and your own life in the light of awareness.” | Image: AmoDays

Osho's quote: “Zen is a path of liberation. It liberates you. It is freedom from the first step to the last. You are not required to follow any rules; you are required to find out your own rules and your own life in the light of awareness.” | Image: AmoDays

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“Do not seek the truth, only cease to cherish your opinions.” — Seng-ts’an

“All know the way, but few actually walk it.” — Bodhidharma

“Not engaging in ignorance is wisdom.” — Bodhidharma

“You can have the mind or you can have the moment.” — Naval Ravikant

“One must be deeply aware of the impermanence of the world.” — Dogen

 Shunryu Suzuki's quote: “Zen is not some kind of excitement, but concentration on our usual everyday routine.” | Image: AmoDays

Shunryu Suzuki's quote: “Zen is not some kind of excitement, but concentration on our usual everyday routine.” | Image: AmoDays

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“Prefer to be defeated in the presence of the wise than to excel among fools.” — Dogen

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

“The essence of the Way is detachment.” — Bodhidharma

“In Zen, we have no gurus.” — Frederick Lenz

“Still your waters.” — Josh Waitzkin

Frederick Lenz's quote: “Zen is not a religion. There is no room for a cult. There is no dependence on a teacher. There is only learning how to use your own mind and making it strong.” | Image: AmoDays

Frederick Lenz's quote: “Zen is not a religion. There is no room for a cult. There is no dependence on a teacher. There is only learning how to use your own mind and making it strong.” | Image: AmoDays

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“Who you are is always right.” — Ming-Dao Deng

“Act without expectation.” — Lao Tzu

“Not creating delusions is enlightenment.” — Bodhidharma

“All things are difficult before they are easy.” — Thomas Fuller

“The more you know, the less you need.” — Yvon Chouinard

 D.T. Suzuki's quote: “Zen teaches nothing; it merely enables us to wake up and become aware. It does not teach, it points.” | Image: AmoDays

D.T. Suzuki's quote: “Zen teaches nothing; it merely enables us to wake up and become aware. It does not teach, it points.” | Image: AmoDays

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“Life begins where fear ends.” — Osho

“Don’t be afraid to just sit and watch.” — Anthony Bourdain

“Your mind wants control. Life wants change.” — Maxime Lagacé

“Do not be too interested in Zen.” — Shunryu Suzuki

“Be present above all else.” — Naval Ravikant

D.T. Suzuki's quote: “Zen in its essence is the art of seeing into the nature of one’s being, and it points the way from bondage to freedom.” | Image: AmoDays

D.T. Suzuki's quote: “Zen in its essence is the art of seeing into the nature of one’s being, and it points the way from bondage to freedom.” | Image: AmoDays

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“Think with your whole body.” — Taisen Deshimaru

“Love all. Serve all. Help ever. Hurt never.” — Sathya Sai Baba

“To go beyond is as wrong as to fall short.” — Confucius

“Roads were made for journeys, not destinations.” — Confucius

“Don’t curse the darkness, light a candle.” — Confucius

D.T. Suzuki's quote: “The true purpose [of Zen] is to see things as they are, to observe things as they are, and to let everything go as it goes.” | Image: AmoDays

D.T. Suzuki's quote: “The true purpose [of Zen] is to see things as they are, to observe things as they are, and to let everything go as it goes.” | Image: AmoDays

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“Body and mind dropped off.” — Dogen

“Those who seek the easy way do not seek the true way.” — Dogen

“Enlightenment is intimacy with all things.” — Dogen

“A Zen master’s life is one continuous mistake.” — Dogen

“Now I know what success is: living your truth, sharing it.” — Kamal Ravikant

 Shunryu Suzuki's quote: “Zen practice is to open up our small minds.” | Image: AmoDays

Shunryu Suzuki's quote: “Zen practice is to open up our small minds.” | Image: AmoDays

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“To live — is that not enough?” — D.T. Suzuki

“Zen has no business with ideas.” — D.T. Suzuki

“I follow four dictates: face it, accept it, deal with it, then let it go.” — Sheng-yen

“This will never come again.” — Steve Hagen

“Movement is evil. Being still is good.” — Ben Caesar

 Allen Klein's quote: “Zen teaches that if we can open up to the inevitability of our demise, we can begin to transform and lighten up about it.” | Image: AmoDays

Allen Klein's quote: “Zen teaches that if we can open up to the inevitability of our demise, we can begin to transform and lighten up about it.” | Image: AmoDays

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“In the highest level, a man has the look of knowing nothing.” — Yamamoto Tsunetomo

“Singlemindedness is all-powerful.” — Yamamoto Tsunetomo

“One has not understood until one has forgotten it.” — D.T. Suzuki

“A great man is hard on himself; a small man is hard on others.” — Confucius

“We just let it happen… and that’s the beauty of this technique.” — Bob Ross

Shunryu Suzuki's quote: “But as long as you think you are practicing zen for the sake of something, that is not true practice.” | Image: AmoDays

Shunryu Suzuki's quote: “But as long as you think you are practicing zen for the sake of something, that is not true practice.” | Image: AmoDays

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ZEN QUOTES THAT GIVE YOU LIFE ADVICE

“Rest and be kind, you don’t have to prove anything.” — Jack Kerouac

“The noble-minded are calm and steady. Little people are forever fussing and fretting.” — Confucius

“Wherever you are, it’s the place you need to be.” — Maxime Lagacé

“The less you try to impress, the more peaceful you can be.” — Maxime Lagacé

“Cease from practice based on intellectual understanding, pursuing words, and following after speech.” — Dogen

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Plato's quote: “The first and the best victory is to conquer self.| Image: AmoDays

Plato's quote: “The first and the best victory is to conquer self.| Image: AmoDays

“Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.” — Buddha

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“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as if nothing is a miracle. The other is as if everything is a miracle.” — Albert Einstein

“Treat every moment as your last. It is not preparation for something else.” — Shunryu Suzuki

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

“Have the fearless attitude of a hero and the loving heart of a child.” — Soyen Shaku

 Bodhidharma's quote: “To seek is to suffer. To seek nothing is bliss.” | Imag: AmoDays

Bodhidharma's quote: “To seek is to suffer. To seek nothing is bliss.” | Imag: AmoDays

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“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.” — 14th Dalai Lama

“Why do you so earnestly seek the truth in distant places? Look for delusion and truth in the bottom of your own heart.” — Ryōkan

“Learn to be comfortable in adversity but most importantly, learn to be comfortable when you’re bored.” — Maxime Lagacé

“The mind of the beginner is empty, free of the habits of the expert, ready to accept, to doubt, and open to all the possibilities.” — Shunryu Suzuki

“The place to improve the world is first in one’s own heart and head and hands.” — Robert M. Pirsig

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Sun Tzu's quote: “In the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity.” | Image: AmoDays

Sun Tzu's quote: “In the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity.” | Image: AmoDays

“Empty your mind, be formless. Shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.” — Bruce Lee

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“Everything that happens to you is a form of instruction if you pay attention.” — Robert Greene

“To be wronged is nothing unless you continue to remember it.” — Confucius

“If you chase two rabbits, you catch none.” — Confucius

“Do not think you will necessarily be aware of your own enlightenment.” — Dogen

Rumi's quote: “Life is a balance of holding on and letting go.”| Image: AmoDays

Rumi's quote: “Life is a balance of holding on and letting go.”| Image: AmoDays

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“To study Buddhism is to study ourselves. To study ourselves is to forget ourselves” — Dogen

METAPHORICAL ZEN QUOTES

“The mind is like a mad monkey.” — Sathya Sai Baba

“Only the hand that erases can write the true thing.” — Meister Eckhart

“Muddy water is best cleared by leaving it alone.” — Alan Watts

“Just as parents care for their children, you should bear in mind the whole universe.” — Dogen

Wei Wu Wei's quote: “Wise men don’t judge — they seek to understand.” | Image: AmoDays

Wei Wu Wei's quote: “Wise men don’t judge — they seek to understand.” | Image: AmoDays

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“We are here to awaken from our illusion of separateness.” — Thich Nhat Hanh

“The whole moon and the entire sky are reflected in one dewdrop on the grass.” — Dogen

“Many have died; you also will die. The drum of death is being beaten. The world has fallen in love with a dream. Only sayings of the wise will remain.” — Kabir

“We shape clay into a pot, but it is the emptiness inside that holds whatever we want.” — Lao Tzu

“There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.” — Leonard Cohen

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 Eckhart Tolle's quote: “Wherever you are, be there totally.” | Image: AmoDays

Eckhart Tolle's quote: “Wherever you are, be there totally.” | Image: AmoDays

“The thief left it behind: the moon at my window.” — Ryōkan

“Don’t try to steer the river.” — Deepak Chopra

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“To be truly ignorant, be content with your own knowledge.” — Zhuangzi

“Unhappiness and rain just drift by and are gone, they are visitors.” — John Aske

“As a bee gathering nectar does not harm or disturb the color and fragrance of the flower; so do the wise move through the world.” — Buddha

Maxime Lagacé's quote: “Relax. Nothing’s missing.” | Image: AmoDays

Maxime Lagacé's quote: “Relax. Nothing’s missing.” | Image: AmoDays

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“Obstacles don’t block the path, they are the path.” — Zen proverb

ZEN QUOTES TO CHANGE YOUR PERSPECTIVE

“It is the nature of the wise to resist pleasures, but the foolish to be a slave to them.” — Epictetus

“To set up what you like against what you dislike is the disease of the mind.” — Sengcan

“The ability to observe without evaluating is the highest form of intelligence.” — Jiddu Krishnamurti

“Pursue not the outer entanglements; dwell not in the inner void; be serene in the oneness of things, and dualism vanishes by itself.” — Sengcan

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Adi Da's quote: “Relax. Nothing is under control.” | Image: AmoDays

Adi Da's quote: “Relax. Nothing is under control.” | Image: AmoDays

“One thing, all things: move among and intermingle, without distinction. To live in this realization is to be without anxiety about non-perfection. To live in this faith is the road to non-duality because the non-dual is one with the trusting mind.” — Sengcan

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“Matters of great concern should be treated lightly. Matters of small concern should be treated seriously.” — Yamamoto Tsunetomo

“For things to reveal themselves to us, we need to be ready to abandon our views about them.” — Thich Nhat Hanh

“It’s beautiful to be alone. To be alone does not mean to be lonely. It means the mind is not influenced and contaminated by society.” — Jiddu Krishnamurti

“When you understand one thing through and through, you understand everything. When you try to understand everything, you will not understand anything.” — Shunryu Suzuki

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Dogen's quote: “I live by letting things happen.” | Image: AmoDays

Dogen's quote: “I live by letting things happen.” | Image: AmoDays

“When we start to feel anxious or depressed, instead of asking, ‘What do I need to get to be happy?’ The question becomes, ‘What am I doing to disturb the inner peace that I already have?’” — D.T. Suzuki

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“If you want something then you lose everything. If you don’t want anything then you already have everything.” — Seungsahn

“To say one is revolutionary is a little like saying one is a Zen Buddhist – if you say you are, you probably aren’t.” — Lawrence Ferlinghetti

“When you catch yourself slipping into a pool of negativity, notice how it derives from nothing other than resistance to the current situation.” — Donna Quesada

“The foolish reject what they see, not what they think; the wise reject what they think, not what they see.” — Huang Po

Seng-ts’an's quote: “Do not seek the truth, only cease to cherish your opinions.” | Image: AmoDays

Seng-ts’an's quote: “Do not seek the truth, only cease to cherish your opinions.” | Image: AmoDays

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“A wise man speaks because he has something to say; a fool because he has to say something.” — Plato

“The man who asks a question is a fool for a minute, the man who does not ask is a fool for life.” — Confucius

“Un-think. Un-learn. Un-know. Un-believe. Un-speculate. Un-seek. Un-strive. Un-fear. Lose your mind and effortlessly be.” — Brian Thompson

“Little people try to control everything. Thus, they control nothing. Wise people focus on one thing, the most important, and let go of the rest.” — Maxime Lagacé

“What the superior man seeks is in himself; what the small man seeks is in others.” — Confucius

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 Bodhidharma's quote: “All know the way, but few actually walk it.” | Image: AmoDays

Bodhidharma's quote: “All know the way, but few actually walk it.” | Image: AmoDays

“When thoughts arise, then do all things arise. When thoughts vanish, then do all things vanish.” — Huang Po

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“Where can I find a man who has forgotten words so I can talk with him?” — Zhuangzi

“When we discover that the truth is already in us, we are all at once our original selves.” — Dogen

“Nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know.” — Pema Chödrön

“And when they played they really played. And when they worked they really worked.” — Dr. Seuss

Bodhidharma's quote: “Not engaging in ignorance is wisdom.” | Image: AmoDays

Bodhidharma's quote: “Not engaging in ignorance is wisdom.” | Image: AmoDays

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“One loses joy and happiness in the attempt to possess them.” — Masanobu Fukuoka

“Forget the years, forget distinctions. Leap into the boundless and make it your home.” — Zhuangzi

“Before enlightenment; chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment; chop wood, carry water.” — Buddha

“Education breeds confidence. Confidence breeds hope. Hope breeds peace.” — Confucius

“Peace of mind is that mental condition in which you have accepted the worst.” — Lin Yutang

 Naval Ravikant's quote: “You can have the mind or you can have the moment.” | Image: AmoDays

Naval Ravikant's quote: “You can have the mind or you can have the moment.” | Image: AmoDays

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“I don’t mind what happens. That is the essence of inner freedom.” — Jiddu Krishnamurti

INSPIRATIONAL ZEN QUOTES

“If you know the enemy and know yourself you need not fear the results of a hundred battles.” — Sun Tzu

“When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don’t adjust the goals, adjust the action steps.” — Confucius

“If you want happiness for a year, inherit a fortune. If you want happiness for a lifetime, help someone else.” — Confucius

“Truth makes you rise to new heights, no matter where you are.” — Kamal Ravikant

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 Dogen's quote: “One must be deeply aware of the impermanence of the world.” | Image: AmoDays

Dogen's quote: “One must be deeply aware of the impermanence of the world.” | Image: AmoDays

“These mountains that you are carrying, you were only supposed to climb.” — Najwa Zebian

“Yesterday is not ours to recover, but tomorrow is ours to win or lose.” — Lyndon B. Johnson

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“It is easy to believe we are each waves and forget we are also the ocean.” — Jon J. Muth

“Little people are overwhelmed by emotions. Zen people are calm and detached.” — Maxime Lagacé

“Emptiness which is conceptually liable to be mistaken for sheer nothingness is, in fact, the reservoir of infinite possibilities.” — D.T. Suzuki

Josh Waitzkin's quote: “Still your waters.” | Image: AmoDays

Josh Waitzkin's quote: “Still your waters.” | Image: AmoDays

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“Even if it seems certain that you will lose, retaliate. Neither wisdom nor technique has a place in this. A real man does not think of victory or defeat. He plunges recklessly towards an irrational death. By doing this, you will awaken from your dreams.” — Yamamoto Tsunetomo

“Purity is something that cannot be attained except by piling effort upon effort.” — Yamamoto Tsunetomo

“The three elements of creativity are thus: loving, knowing, and doing — or heart, mind, and hands — or, as Zen Buddhist teaching has it; great faith, great question, and great courage.” — Eric Maisel

“You look at where you’re going and where you are and it never makes sense, but then you look back at where you’ve been and a pattern seems to emerge.” — Robert M. Pirsig

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“A man is great not because he hasn’t failed; a man is great because failure hasn’t stopped him.” — Confucius

Ming-Dao Deng 's quote: “Who you are is always right.” | Image: AmoDays

Ming-Dao Deng 's quote: “Who you are is always right.” | Image: AmoDays

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Whether or not you subscribe to the Zen philosophy, you deserve to feel at peace with yourself and the world around you as much as possible.

Regardless of the tools you use to find this peace, you need to set aside time and space in your life to intentionally search your thoughts and feelings to understand whether or not you have a powerful sense of peace.

If these quotes helped you feel calm, you'd love these quotes about knowing your worth and value.

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