Japanese Quotes

Reflections, thoughts and conclusions developed by great Japanese Zen and Martial Arts Masters, and that over the centuries have spread like Quotations and Famous Japanese Quotes:


DÖGEN ZENJI (19 January 1200 – 22 September 1253) Japanese Zen Master. Born in Kyoto, and was the founder of the Soto Zen school in Japan.

But do not ask me where I am going, as I travel in this limitless world, where every step I take is my home.   – Dögen Zenji –

When you want to say something, think about it three times before you say it.  Speak only if your words will benefit yourself and others. Do not speak if it brings no benefit.– Dögen Zenji –

If he cannot stop the mind that seeks after fame and profit, he will spend his life without finding peace.   – Dögen Zenji –

Just practice good, do good for others, without thinking of making yourself known so that you may gain reward. Really bring benefit to others, gaining nothing for yourself. This is the primary requisite for breaking free of attachments to the Self.   – Dögen Zenji –

To study Buddhism is to study ourselves. To study ourselves is to forget ourselves.   – Dögen Zenji –

Zazen is the ultimate practice. This is indeed the True Self. The Buddhadharma is not to be sought outside of this.   – Dögen Zenji –

Something you want badly enough can always be gained. No matter how fierce the enemy, how remote the beautiful lady, or how carefully guarded the treasure, there is always a means to the goal for the earnest seeker. The unseen help of the guardian gods of heaven and earth assure fulfillment.   – Dögen Zenji –


MIYAMOTO MUSASHI (c.1584 – June 13, 1645) Was a famous Japanese swordsman, believed to have been one of the most skilled swordsmen in history. He founded the Hyoho Niten Ichi-ryu, or Nito Ryu style of Japanese swordsmanship and wrote Go Rin No Sho (The Book of Five Rings) a classic work on strategy, tactics and philosophy.

Think lightly of yourself and think deeply of the world.   – Miyamoto Musashi –

You can abandon your own body, but never let go of your honor.   – Miyamoto Musashi –

Respect the gods, without relying on their help.   – Miyamoto Musashi –


YAMAMOTO TSUNETOMO (12 June 1659-1719) Was a Samurai of the Saga domain in the Hizen Province of Japan, famous for his statements in the Hagakure [In the shadow of the leaves], a controversial exposition of his views on the Bushido (the “Way of the Warrior”).

When all your judgements are based on your own wisdom, you tend towards selfishness and fail by straying from the right path.   – Yamamoto Tsunetomo –

Above all, the Way of the Samurai should be in being aware that you do not know what is going to happen next, and in querying every item day and night. Victory and defeat are matters of the temporary force of circumstances.   – Yamamoto Tsunetomo –

There is surely nothing other than the single purpose of the present moment. A man’s whole life is a succession of moment after moment. If one fully understands the present moment, there will be nothing else to do, and nothing else to pursue. Live being true to the single purpose of the moment.   – Yamamoto Tsunetomo –


MORIHEI UESHIBA (December 14, 1883 – April 26, 1969) Japanese philosopher, martial artist, was the author and creator of the discipline of Aikido.

There are no contests in the Art of Peace. A true warrior is invincible because he or she contests with nothing. Defeat means to defeat the mind of contention that we harbor within.   – Morihei Ueshiba –

If your opponent strikes with fire, counter with water, becoming completely fluid and free-flowing. Water, by its nature, never collides with or breaks against anything. On the contrary, it swallows up any attack harmlessly.   – Morihei Ueshiba –

Instructors can impart only a fraction of the teaching. It is through your own devoted practice that the mysteries of the Art of Peace are brought to life.   – Morihei Ueshiba –