Leave your front door and your back door open. Allow your thoughts to come and go. Just don't serve them tea.

— Shunryu Suzuki

The most unusual Shunryu Suzuki quotes to get the best of your day

When you do something, you should burn yourself up completely, like a good bonfire, leaving no trace of yourself.


Treat every moment as your last. It is not preparation for something else.


The most important point is to accept yourself and stand on your two feet.


It must be obvious...that there is a contradiction in wanting to be perfectly secure in a universe whose very nature is momentariness and fluidity.


When my master and I were walking in the rain, he would say, 'Do not walk so fast, the rain is everywhere.'


In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities;

in the expert's mind there are few.... In the beginner's mind there is no thought, 'I have attained something.' All self-centered thoughts limit our vast mind. When we have no thought of achievement, no thought of self, we are true beginners. We can really learn something.


It is easy to have calmness in inactivity, it is hard to have calmness in activity, but calmness in activity is true calmness.


Everything is perfect, but there is a lot of room for improvement.


Whereever you are, you are one with the clouds and one with the sun and the stars you see. You are one with everything. That is more true than I can say, and more true than you can hear.


Without accepting the fact that everything changes, we cannot find perfect composure. But unfortunately, although it is true, it is difficult for us to accept it. Because we cannot accept the truth of transience, we suffer.


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. Zen practice is to open up our small mind.


Moment after moment everything comes out of nothingness. This is the true joy of life.


About Shunryu Suzuki

Quotes 192 sayings
Nationality Japanese
Profession Leader
Birthday October 16

If your mind is empty, it is always ready for anything; it is open to everything.


Our tendency is to be interested in something that is growing in the garden, not in the bare soil itself. But if you want to have a good harvest, the most important thing is to make the soil rich and cultivate it well.


Moment after moment, completely devote yourself to listening to your inner voice.


In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert's mind there are few.


In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, in the expert's mind there are few.


So the secret is just to say 'Yes!' and jump off from here.

Then there is no problem. It means to be yourself, always yourself, without sticking to an old self.


Nothing we see or hear is perfect. But right there in the imperfection is perfect reality.


It is only by practicing through a continual succession of agreeable and disagreeable situations that we acquire true strengths. To accept that pain is inherent and to live our lives from this understanding is to create the causes and conditions for happiness.


To cook is not just to prepare food for someone or to cook for yourself;

it is to express your sincerity. So when you cook you should express yourself in your activity in the kitchen. You should allow yourself plenty of time.


What we call "I" is just a swinging door which moves when we inhale and when we exhale.


The true practice to meditation is to sit as if you where drinking water when you are thirsty.


Because we cannot accept the truth of transience, we suffer.


When you are just you, without thinking or trying to say something special, just saying what is on your mind and how you feel, then there is naturally self-respect.


When you do not realize that you are one with the river, or one with the universe, you have fear. Whether it is separated into drops or not, water is water. Our life and death are the same thing. When we realize this fact, we have no fear of death anymore.


Zen is not some fancy, special art of living.

Our teaching is just to live, always in reality, in its exact sense. To make our effort, moment after moment, is our way.


Ego is a social institution with no physical reality. The ego is simply your symbol of yourself.


Happiness is sorrow; sorrow is happiness. There is happiness in difficulty; difficulty in happiness. Even though the ways we feel are different, they are not really different, in essence they are the same. This is the true understanding transmitted from Buddha to us.


Our way is to practice one step at a time, one breath at a time, with no gaining idea.


Zen is not some kind of excitement, but concentration on our usual everyday routine.


You are perfect as you are and there is always room for improvement.


Even though you have pain in your legs, you can do it.

Even though your practice is not good enough, you can do it.


Christopher McCandless:"I will miss you too, but you are wrong if you think that the joy of life comes principally from the joy of human relationships. God's place is all around us, it is in everything and in anything we can experience. People just need to change the way they look at things.


Our practice should be based on the ideal of selflessness.

Selflessness is very difficult to understand. If you try to be selfless, that is already a selfish idea. Selflessness will be there when you do not try anything.


Tai Shimano visited Shunryu Suzuki. "How are you feeling these days?" Suzuki replied, "They have a new name for me: Cancer!"


It is a big mistake to think that the best way to express yourself is to do whatever you want, acting as you please. This is not expressing yourself. If you know what to do exactly, and you do it, then you can express yourself fully.


Concentration comes not from trying hard to focus on something, but from keeping your mind open and directing it at nothing.


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


Preparing food is not just about yourself and others. It is about everything!


The beginner's mind is the mind of compassion. When our mind is compassionate, it is boundless.


Real Freedom is to not feel limited when wearing this Zen robe, this troublesome formal robe. Similarly, in our busy life we should wear this civilization without being bothered by it, without ignoring it, without being caught by it.


When you try to attain something, your mind starts to wander about somewhere else. When you do not try to attain anything, you have your own body and mind right here. In Buddhism it is a heretical view to expect something outside this world. We do not seek for something besides ourselves.


A student, filled with emotion and crying, implored, "Why is there so much suffering?" Suzuki Roshi replied, "No reason.


We have to study with our warm heart, not just with our brain.


True communication depends upon our being straightforward with one another.

.. But the best way to communicate may be just to sit without saying anything.


People who know the state of emptiness will always be able to dissolve their problems by constancy.


If you were not born in this world, there would be no need to die.

To be born in this world is to die, to disappear [laughing].


To give your sheep or cow a large, spacious meadow is the way to control him.