Mindfulness Quotes to Inspire Your Day
Mindfulness meditation is growing in popularity in the West, and there have been some incredible teachers sharing these teachings. Here are some of our favorite mindfulness quotes from teachers about daily living, meditation, and more!
General Mindfulness Quotes
“Impermanence is a principle of harmony. When we don’t struggle against it, we are in harmony with reality.”
“The best way to capture moments is to pay attention. This is how we cultivate mindfulness. Mindfulness means being awake. It means knowing what you are doing.”
“If you want to conquer the anxiety of life, live in the moment, live in the breath.”
“Respond; don’t react. Listen; don’t talk. Think; don’t assume.”
“Mindfulness is simply being aware of what is happening right now without wishing it were different; enjoying the pleasant without holding on when it changes (which it will); being with the unpleasant without fearing it will always be this way (which it won’t).”
“Mindfulness is the aware, balanced acceptance of the present experience. It isn’t more complicated than that. It is opening to or receiving the present moment, pleasant or unpleasant, just as it is, without either clinging to it or rejecting it.”
“In Asian languages, the word for ‘mind’ and the word for ‘heart’ are the same word. So when we hear the word ‘mindfulness’, we have to inwardly also hear ‘heartfulness’ in order to grasp it even as a concept, and especially as a way of being.”
Mindfulness Meditation Quotes
“Mindfulness is the root of all the methods that tame the mind. First it focuses the mind. Then it eases the mind. Finally it is the luminous nature, beyond thoughts.”
“At certain times, a silent mind is very important, but ‘silent’ does not mean closed. The silent mind is an alert, awakened mind; a mind seeking the nature of reality.”
“Why Meditate? Because It’s Good Medicine. Meditation is a quiet, simple technique that belies an extraordinary power to boost disease resistance and maintain overall health.”
“The more and more you listen, the more and more you hear; the more and more you hear, the deeper and deeper your understanding becomes.”
“Meditation is participatory observation.
What you are looking at responds to the process of looking.
What you are looking at is you,
and what you see depends on how you look.”
-Bhante Henepola Gunaratana
“The war to end all wars is the battle against our delusions.”
“No matter how far out on the sea of suffering we’ve sailed,
all that is required is to turn toward awakening.
It’s never too late, but it takes that turning, and no one can do that for us.”
-Bonnie Myotai Treace
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Quotes from the Buddha
There are hundreds of quotes out there often incorrectly attributed to the Buddha. However, there are many teachings attributed to the Buddha. I recommend checking out www.FakeBuddhaQuotes.com for a list of quotes that are incorrectly cited.
“All experiences are preceded by mind, having mind as their master, created by mind.”
“Ardently do today what must be done. Who knows? Tomorrow, death comes.”
“If with a pure mind a person speaks or acts, happiness follows them like a never-departing shadow.”
“Meditate … do not delay, lest you later regret it.”
“Speak only endearing speech, speech that is welcomed. Speech, when it brings no evil to others, is a pleasant thing.”
“Whatever is not yours: let go of it. Your letting go of it will be for your long-term happiness & benefit.”
“All conditioned things are impermanent’ — when one sees this with wisdom, one turns away from suffering.”
“The root of suffering is attachment.”
“You yourself must strive. The Buddhas only point the way.”
Our Favorite Quote Authors
Jack Kornfield is a Buddhist teacher who was instrumental in carrying Buddhism to the West. He is a founder of Spirit Rock Meditation Center, and the author of many great books!
“We have only now, only this single eternal moment opening and unfolding before us, day and night.”
“The trouble is, you think you have time.”
“When we get too caught up in the busyness of the world, we lose connection with one another – and ourselves.”
“Let go of the battle. Breathe quietly and let it be. Let your body relax and your heart soften. Open to whatever you experience without fighting.”
“The entire teaching of Buddhism can be summed up in this way: Nothing is worth holding on to.”
“Much of spiritual life is self-acceptance, maybe all of it.”
“To meditate is to discover new possibilities, to awaken the capacity each of us has to live more wisely, more lovingly, more compassionately, and more fully.”
Tara Brach is one of our favorite teachers, leading groups in Washington, D.C. and teaching around the world. She teaches a lot about trauma, accepting our experience, and how we can bring modern psychological understanding and ancient Buddhist traditions together to promote freedom.
“Imperfection is not our personal problem – it is a natural part of living.”
“ Clearly recognizing what is happening inside us, and regarding what we see with an open, kind and loving heart, is what I call Radical Acceptance. If we are holding back from any part of our experience, if our heart shuts out any part of who we are and what we feel, we are fueling the fears and feelings of separation that sustain the trance of unworthiness. Radical Acceptance directly dismantles the very foundations of this trance.”
“What would it be like if I could accept life – accept this moment – exactly as it is?”
“Nothing is wrong. Whatever is happening is just ‘real life.’”
“Observing desire without acting on it enlarges our freedom to choose how we live.”
“Suffering is our call to attention, our call to investigate the truth of our beliefs.”
“There is something wonderfully bold and liberating about saying yes to our entire imperfect and messy life.”
Ajahn Chah was a Thai meditation teacher who taught many prominent teachers. His focus was on letting go, and is widely considered one of the great meditation masters of the 20th century.
“You are your own teacher. Looking for teachers can’t solve your own doubts. Investigate yourself to find the truth – inside, not outside. Knowing yourself is most important.”
“Try to be mindful, and let things take their natural course. Then your mind will become still in any surroundings, like a clear forest pool. All kinds of wonderful, rare animals will come to drink at the pool, and you will clearly see the nature of all things. You will see many strange and wonderful things come and go, but you will be still. This is the happiness of the Buddha.”
“Do everything with a mind that lets go. Don’t accept praise or gain or anything else. If you let go a little you a will have a little peace; if you let go a lot you will have a lot of peace; if you let go completely you will have complete peace. ”
“If you have time to be mindful, you have time to meditate.”
“Peace is within oneself to be found in the same place as agitation and suffering. It is not found in a forest or on a hilltop, nor is it given by a teacher. Where you experience suffering, you can also find freedom from suffering. Trying to run away from suffering is actually to run toward it.”
“Mindfulness is life. Whenever we don’t have mindfulness, when we are heedless, it’s as if we are dead.”
“With mindfulness you can see the real owner of things. Do you think this is your world, your body? It is the world’s world, the body’s body. If you tell it, Don’t get old, does the body listen? Does your stomach ask permission to get sick? We only rent this house; why not find out who really owns it?”
Ajahn Sumedho is a student of Ajahn Chah and one of Jack Kornfield’s teacher. He has written many books and was the abbot of Amaravati monastery for many years.
“The mind of an enlightened human being is flexible and adaptable. The mind of the ignorant person is conditioned and fixed.”
“The empty mind – the pure mind – is not a blank, zero-land, where you’re not feeling or caring about anything. It’s an effulgence of the mind. It’s a brightness that is truly sensitive and accepting. It’s an ability to accept life as it is. When we accept life as it is, we can respond appropriately to the way we’re experiencing it, rather than just reacting out of fear and aversion.”
“Meditation is a skillful letting go; gently, but with resolution.”
“Some people do not know the difference between “mindfulness” and “concentration.” They concentrate on what they’re doing, thinking that is being mindful. . . . We can concentrate on what we are doing, but if we are not mindful at the same time, with the ability to reflect on the moment, then if somebody interferes with our concentration, we may blow up, get carried away by anger at being frustrated. If we are mindful, we are aware of the tendency to first concentrate and then to feel anger when something interferes with that concentration. With mindfulness we can concentrate when it is appropriate to do so and not concentrate when it is appropriate not to do so.”
Noah Levine is a student of Jack Kornfield’s and the founding teacher of Against the Stream meditation center in Los Angeles. He found Buddhism at a young age due to suffering surrounding addiction, and is a prominent modern American Buddhist teacher.
“Waking up is not a selfish pursuit of happiness, it is a revolutionary stance, from the inside out, for the benefit of all beings in existence.”
“We are born into a realm of constant change. Everything is decaying. We are continually losing all that we come in contact with. Our tendency to get attached to impermanent experiences causes sorrow, lamentation and grief, because eventually we are separated from everything and everyone we love. Our lack of acceptance and understanding of this fact makes life unsatisfactory.”
“Happiness is closer to the experience of acceptance and contentment than it is to pleasure. True happiness exists as the spacious and compassionate heart’s willingness to feel whatever is present.”
“The greatest satisfaction comes not from chasing pleasure and avoiding pain, but from the radical acceptance of life as it is, without fighting and clinging to passing desires.”
“With mindfulness we have the choice of responding with compassion to the pain of craving, anger, fear and confusion. Without mindfulness we are stuck in the reactive pattern and identification that will inevitably create more suffering and confusion.”
“When we pay attention to life, it is easy to recognize that every action has a consequence: when we cling, we suffer; when we act selfishly or violently, we cause suffering for ourselves or others. This is the teaching of karma: positive actions have positive outcomes; negative actions have negative outcomes.”
“When we commit to waking up and revolting against the ignorance and oppression of classism, racism, sexism, and all forms of greed, hatred, and delusion in the world, the first step we must take in that revolt is a personal dedication to purify our actions from these things that cause harm.”
Thich Nhat Hanh
Thich Nhat Hanh is a Vietnamese Buddhist monk, activist, and author. From his poetry to his social activism, he is one of the most revered teachers alive today.
“Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves – slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future; live the actual moment. Only this moment is life.”
“Mindfulness is the energy that helps us to be truly present. When you are truly present, you are more in control of situations, you have more love, patience, understanding, and compassion. That strengthens and improves your quality of being. It can be very healing to touch your true nature of no-self. Psychotherapy can learn a lot from this teaching.”
“Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet.”
“People have a hard time letting go of their suffering. Out of a fear of the unknown, they prefer suffering that is familiar.”
“Letting go gives us freedom, and freedom is the only condition for happiness. If, in our heart, we still cling to anything – anger, anxiety, or possessions – we cannot be free.”
“Because you are alive, everything is possible.”
“Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor.”
“Waking up this morning, I smile. Twenty-four brand new hours are before me. I vow to live fully in each moment and to look at all beings with eyes of compassion.”
“Smile, breathe and go slowly.”
“Breathing in, I calm body and mind. Breathing out, I smile. Dwelling in the present moment I know this is the only moment.”
His Holiness the Dalai Lama XIV
The Dalai Lama is the leader of the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, as well as the leader of Tibet. He has written many books, given many teachings, and is one of the most prominent spiritual leaders in our time.
“Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.”
“Every day, think as you wake up, today I am fortunate to be alive, I have a precious human life, I am not going to waste it. I am going to use all my energies to develop myself, to expand my heart out to others; to achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all beings. I am going to have kind thoughts towards others, I am not going to get angry or think badly about others. I am going to benefit others as much as I can.”
“If a problem is fixable, if a situation is such that you can do something about it, then there is no need to worry. If it’s not fixable, then there is no help in worrying. There is no benefit in worrying whatsoever.”
“We can never obtain peace in the outer world until we make peace with ourselves.”
“If you can cultivate the right attitude, your enemies are your best spiritual teachers because their presence provides you with the opportunity to enhance and develop tolerance, patience and understanding.”
“All suffering is caused by ignorance. People inflict pain on others in the selfish pursuit of their own happiness or satisfaction.”
Sharon Salzberg is a Buddhist teacher who was also instrumental in bringing Buddhism to the West. A founding teacher of both Spirit Rock and IMS, she studied with meditation masters in Burma and Thailand before bringing her experience back to the United States.
“Mindfulness isn’t difficult, we just need to remember to do it.”
“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.”
“It is never too late to turn on the light. Your ability to break an unhealthy habit or turn off an old tape doesn’t depend on how long it has been running; a shift in perspective doesn’t depend on how long you’ve held on to the old view.
When you flip the switch in that attic, it doesn’t matter whether its been dark for ten minutes, ten years or ten decades.
The light still illuminates the room and banishes the murkiness, letting you see the things you couldn’t see before.
It’s never too late to take a moment to look.”
“The mind thinks thoughts that we don’t plan. It’s not as if we say, ‘At 9:10 I’m going to be filled with self-hatred.”
“Meditation is the ultimate mobile device; you can use it anywhere, anytime, unobtrusively.”
“Restore your attention or bring it to a new level by dramatically slowing down whatever you’re doing.”
“Life is like an ever-shifting kaleidoscope – a slight change, and all patterns alter.”
“The difference between misery and happiness depends on what we do with our attention.”
There are many resources out there on meditation. Here are some of our favorite resources available. First, we have some resources from our own site:
Free Week of Guided Meditations
The Buddha’s Words on Mindfulness
Our Favorite Buddhist Books
How to Meditate (For Beginners)
The One Mind Dharma Mobile App