A collection of 44 affirmations that will inspire you to understand the concept of Zen and be more Zen in your daily life.

Keep reading for an explanation of what Zen is and what it can mean to you, or skip to the affirmations if you don’t have time. Enjoy!

What is Zen?

Zen is a school of Buddhism which originated in China about 1,300 years ago.

The literal translation of the word Zen is “meditation”, or “meditative state”, or “contemplation”.

Indeed, this type of buddhism involves and is based on meditation and focusing one’s energy and awareness on the present moment.

When we practice Zen, we forget the past or the future, and live fully in the present moment.

We also forget about our own ideas and opinions of things, at least temporarily, and perceive the outer world as it is — without judgement, without tension.

Zen is also about enlightenment — forgetting what we think our identity is, asking who we truly are, and seeking the truth in general.

The more we get lost in our own ideas, the more we listen to the chattering mind, the harder it will be to understand who we are.

Conversely, through Zen and its practices, such as Zazen (literally: “seated meditation”), we gain clarity and awareness; we forget about societal preconceptions, the past, our own ideas of what’s good or bad — and get closer to the actual truth.

Today, the word Zen has become more common and is now used in a much broader way, either as a noun or an adjective.

Today, when we use the word Zen, we can refer to a peaceful mental state, slow living, mindfulness, or calmness.

Is Zen a religion?

When talking about Buddhism in general, some would say it’s not a religion, and that it is a lot closer to philosophy than the religious world, but this is very subjective as there are different interpretations of what Buddhism is.

When it comes to Zen, on the other hand, we can clearly state that it is not a religion.

Zen is simply a school, or series of practices, or lifestyle, based on meditation and the attainment of enlightenment — a higher level of awareness and understanding which liberates us from suffering.

There are no gods, no doctrines, and no religious rituals. One can practice Zen; one does not believe in Zen.

Moreover, Zen teaches us to be present; it’s about the here and now. And although it can lead to profound spiritual growth, Zen is more about practicality and improving our daily life.

As mentioned earlier, Zazen is one of the main practices of Zen and it involves sitting (usually with crossed legs, on a cushion) and simply focusing on the breath and letting go of our thoughts.

Zazen has no specific aim or purpose other than sitting and meditating; when we practice Zazen, we meditate, but we don’t expect any particular reaction or result; we just “do it”.

How to use Zen affirmations

Affirmations are a powerful tool which can be used whenever and wherever you want.

You can repeat Zen affirmations silently before a meditation session, or before you go to bed, or as you wake up; it is a way of reminding yourself of some key Zen principles so you can live a happier, calmer, more balanced life.

As you practice the affirmations, you’ll find that eventually your mind surrenders to them.

It’ll then be easier to suspend judgemental thoughts, and be more aware of both the inner world and the outer world, and see how the two are deeply interconnected.

Some of these Zen affirmations will also inspire you to let go of your ideas and certainties, and ask questions that have no answers other than those your intuition can come up with.

Zen is about finding the truth, and that’s a very deep, profound process, and there’s going to be questions we won’t know the answer to. However, that’s also the beauty of it — being comfortable not knowing…

Zen affirmations

  • I am awake
  • I am filled with peace
  • I am filled with kindness
  • The universe is in my own mind
  • The past does not exist
  • The future does not exist
  • I live right now in this moment
  • My mind can be my worst enemy
  • There is no right or wrong
  • There is no beginning; there is no end
  • I am one with the universe
  • I focus on the breath
  • I focus on the present moment
  • I challenge my own ideas and preconceptions
  • I am comfortable not knowing
  • I let go of what I think of myself
  • I let go of what I think is right or wrong
  • I let go of my expectations
  • I seek my true self; I seek the truth
  • I seek clarity and awareness
  • I seek enlightenment
  • I am connected to every other living being
  • I am everything and nothing at the same time
  • I am able to detach from the self
  • I can be free from suffering
  • I can achieve inner peace
  • I see the outer world as it is
  • I practice Zen daily
  • I silence/ignore my own negative thoughts
  • Who I think I am is not who I am
  • Everything is interconnected
  • I am mindful
  • I embrace silence
  • I embrace uncertainty
  • I embrace the unknown
  • We suffer when we hold on to things
  • I believe in myself and in my own intuition
  • I am more powerful than my thoughts and feelings
  • I disengage from the chattering mind
  • I put my energy into the present moment
  • All I have is the present moment
  • Through meditation, I have more clarity
  • I am at peace with myself and the world
  • Happiness is in the here and now