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144 Incredible Alan Watts Quotes

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Alan Watts Quotes

Alan Wilson Watts was born in Chislehurst (England), on January 6, 1915. He was known for his attributions toward the interpretation of Buddhism, Taoism, and Hinduism for the Western audience. He became an Episcopal priest in 1944, and left the church in 1950 after running his course. He was fascinated by Asian art, philosophy, and literature.

In 1951, Alan moved to San Francisco and started teaching Buddhism to Americans at the American Academy of Asian Studies. He became quite known for his lectures, and started evening classes also which were open to the public.

In 1956, he became popular for his famous radio broadcast series called “The Great Books of Asia” which was again followed in 1956 by another radio show called “Way Beyond the West”. Alan became quite eminent in the Bay audience.

He wrote 25 books and gave more than 400 lectures and became one of the most popular philosophers of his era. His philosophy embraces 5 main lessons.

5 Alan Watts Philosophy of Life

  1. “Jesus Christ knew he was God. So, wake up and find out eventually who you really are. In our culture, of course, they’ll say you’re crazy.”

  2. “Looking out into it the universe at night, we make no comparisons between right and wrong stars, nor between well and badly arranged constellations.”

  3. “The past and future are real illusions, that they exist in the present, which is what there is and all there is.”

  4. “If you see yourself in the correct way, you are all as much extraordinary phenomenon of nature as trees, clouds, the patterns in running water… You are all just like that, and there is nothing wrong with you at all.”

  5. “The more a thing tends to be permanent, the more it tends to be lifeless.”

11 Alan Watts Quotes from “The Way of Zen”

Alan wrote “The Way of Zen” in 1957. It was a non-fiction book and was a bestseller. This book played a vital role in introducing Buddhism to Western youngsters. Let’s have a look at some fascinating quotes from the book.

Alan Watts while commenting on Western thought of distrusting human nature says,

  1. “It is fundamental to both Taoist and Confucian thought that the natural man is to be trusted, and from their standpoint it appears that the Western mistrust of human nature—whether theological or technological—is a kind of schizophrenia”. – Alan Watts

    Alan believed that a person’s soul should not be hijacked by the ego.

  2. “It is fundamental to every school of Buddhism that there is no ego, no enduring entity which is the constant subject of our changing experiences. For the ego exists in an abstract sense alone, being an abstraction from memory, somewhat like the illusory circle of fire made by a whirling torch. We can, for example, imagine the path of a bird through the sky as a distinct line which it has taken. But this line is as abstract as a line of latitude. In concrete reality, the bird left no line, and, similarly, the past from which our ego is abstracted has entirely disappeared. Thus any attempt to cling to the ego or to make it an effective source of action is doomed to frustration.”

  3. “Man is involved in karma when he interferes with the world in such a way that he is compelled to go on interfering, when the solution of a problem creates still more problems to be solved, when the control of one thing creates the need to control several others. Karma is thus the fate of everyone who “tries to be God.” He lays a trap for the world in which he himself gets caught.”

  4. “The human situation is seen for what it is—a quenching of thirst with salt water, a pursuit of goals which simply require the pursuit of other goals, a clutching of objects which the swift course of time renders as insubstantial as mist.”

  5. “to seek to become Buddha is to deny that one is already Buddha—and this is the sole basis upon which Buddhahood can be realized! In short, to become a Buddha it is only necessary to have the faith that one is a Buddha already.”

  6. “The illusion of significant improvement arises in moments of contrast, as when one turns from the left to the right on a hard bed. The position is “better” so long as the contrast remains, but before long the second position begins to feel like the first. So one acquires a more comfortable bed and, for a while, sleeps in peace. But the solution of the problem leaves a strange vacuum in one’s consciousness, a vacuum soon filled by the sensation of another intolerable contrast, hitherto unnoticed, and just as urgent, just as frustrating as the problem of the hard bed. The vacuum arises because the sensation of comfort can be maintained only in relation to the sensation of discomfort, just as an image is visible to the eye only by reason of a contrasting background.”

  7. “For when a human being is so self-conscious, so self-controlled that he cannot let go of himself, he dithers or wobbles between opposites.”

  8. “Philosophers do not easily recognize that there is a point where thinking—like boiling an egg—must come to a stop.”

  9. “Yet it should be obvious that action without wisdom, without clear awareness of the world as it really is, can never improve anything. Furthermore, as muddy water is best cleared by leaving it alone, it could be argued that those who sit quietly and do nothing are making one of the best possible contributions to a world in turmoil.”

  10. “The perfection of Zen is to be perfectly and simply human. The difference of the adept in Zen from the ordinary run of men is that the latter are, in one way or another, at odds with their own humanity, and are attempting to be angels or demons.”

  11. “Zen has no goal; it is a traveling without point, with nowhere to go. To travel is to be alive, but to get somewhere is to be dead, for as our own proverb says, “To travel well is better than to arrive.” A world which increasingly consists of destinations without journeys between them, a world which values only “getting somewhere” as fast as possible, becomes a world without substance. One can get anywhere and everywhere, and yet the more this is possible, the less is anywhere and everywhere worth getting to.”

94 Alan Watts Quotes on Life and Success:

Alan got married 3 times and has 7 children. He was optimistic and believed in clearing muddy water rather than leaving it alone. He believed that we are blessed with life to live it and thinking about the past and future is meaningless. Let’s go through some of his famous quotes on life and success to get in-depth knowledge of the personality of the author.

  1. “This is the real secret of life — to be completely engaged with what you are doing in the here and now. And instead of calling it work, realize it is play.”

  2. “The most dangerous risk of all: the risk of spending your life not doing what you want on the bet you can buy yourself the freedom to do it later.”

  3. “Don’t make a distinction between work and play. Regard everything that you’re doing as play, and don’t regard for one minute that you have to be serious about it.”

  4. “We are living in a culture entirely hypnotized by the illusion of time, in which the so-called present moment is felt as nothing but an infinitesimal hairline between an all-powerfully causative past and an absorbingly important future. We have no present. Our consciousness is almost completely preoccupied with memory and expectation. We do not realize that there never was, is, nor will be any other experience than present experience. We are therefore out of touch with reality. We confuse the world as talked about, described, and measured with the world which actually is. We are sick with a fascination for the useful tools of names and numbers, of symbols, signs, conceptions and ideas.”

  5. “Muddy water is best cleared by leaving it alone.”

  6. “We seldom realize, for example that our most private thoughts and emotions are not actually our own. For we think in terms of languages and images which we did not invent, but which were given to us by our society.”

  7. “Man suffers only because he takes seriously what the Gods made for fun.”

  8. “You are an aperture through which the universe is looking at and exploring itself.”

  9. “Just as true humor is laughter at oneself, true humanity is knowledge of oneself.”

  10. “Trying to define yourself is like trying to bite your own teeth.”

  11. “Every intelligent individual wants to know what makes him tick, and yet is at once fascinated and frustrated by the fact that oneself is the most difficult of all things to know.”

  12. “A scholar tries to learn something every day; a student of Buddhism tries to unlearn something daily.”

  13. “No one is more dangerously insane than one who is sane all the time: he is like a steel bridge without flexibility, and the order of his life is rigid and brittle.”

  14. “Problems that remain persistently insoluble should always be suspected as questions asked in the wrong way.”

  15. “When we attempt to exercise power or control over someone else, we cannot avoid giving that person the very same power or control over us.”

  16. “One is a great deal less anxious if one feels perfectly free to be anxious, and the same may be said of guilt.”

  17. “If you cannot trust yourself, you cannot even trust your mistrust of yourself – so that without this underlying trust in the whole system of nature you are simply paralyzed.”

  18. “The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.”

  19. “What we have to discover is that there is no safety, that seeking is painful, and that when we imagine that we have found it, we don’t like it.”

  20. “Hospitals should be arranged in such a way as to make being sick an interesting experience. One learns a great deal sometimes from being sick.”

  21. “Normally, we do not so much look at things as overlook them.”

  22. “Our pleasures are not material pleasures, but symbols of pleasure – attractively packaged but inferior in content.”

  23. “It’s better to have a short life that is full of what you like doing, than a long life spent in a miserable way.”

  24. “The art of living… is neither careless drifting on the one hand nor fearful clinging to the past on the other. It consists in being sensitive to each moment, in regarding it as utterly new and unique, in having the mind open and wholly receptive.”

  25. “Tomorrow and plans for tomorrow can have no significance at all unless you are in full contact with the reality of the present, since it is in the present and only in the present that you live. There is no other reality than present reality, so that, even if one were to live for endless ages, to live for the future would be to miss the point everlastingly.”

  26. “The meaning of life is just to be alive. It is so plain and so obvious and so simple. And yet, everybody rushes around in a great panic as if it were necessary to achieve something beyond themselves.”

  27. “You are a function of what the whole universe is doing in the same way that a wave is a function of what the whole ocean is doing.”

  28. “I have realized that the past and future are real illusions, that they exist in the present, which is what there is and all there is.”

  29. “If you say that getting the money is the most important thing, you’ll spend your life completely wasting your time. You’ll be doing things you don’t like doing in order to go on living, that is to go on doing thing you don’t like doing, which is stupid.”

  30. “Zen does not confuse spirituality with thinking about God while one is peeling potatoes. Zen spirituality is just to peel the potatoes.”

  31. “We cannot be more sensitive to pleasure without being more sensitive to pain.”

  32. “If we cling to belief in God, we cannot likewise have faith, since faith is not clinging but letting go.”

  33. “The more a thing tends to be permanent, the more it tends to be lifeless.”

  34. “Through our eyes, the universe is perceiving itself. Through our ears, the universe is listening to its harmonies. We are the witnesses through which the universe becomes conscious of its glory, of its magnificence.”

  35. “Things are as they are. Looking out into the universe at night, we make no comparisons between right and wrong stars, nor between well and badly arranged constellations.”

  36. “You can’t live at all unless you can live fully now.”

  37. “To have faith is to trust yourself to the water. When you swim you don’t grab hold of the water, because if you do you will sink and drown. Instead you relax, and float.”

  38. “What I am really saying is that you don’t need to do anything, because if you see yourself in the correct way, you are all as much extraordinary phenomenon of nature as trees, clouds, the patterns in running water, the flickering of fire, the arrangement of the stars, and the form of a galaxy. You are all just like that, and there is nothing wrong with you at all.”

  39. “Try to imagine what it will be like to go to sleep and never wake up… now try to imagine what it was like to wake up having never gone to sleep.”

  40. “The reason we want to go on and on is because we live in an impoverished present.”

  41. “My image of me is not at all your image of me.”

  42. “Omnipotence is not knowing how everything is done; it’s just doing it.”

  43. “The reason we have poverty is that we have no imagination. There are a great many people accumulating what they think is vast wealth, but it’s only money… they don’t know how to enjoy it, because they have no imagination.”

  44. “You don’t look out there for God, something in the sky, you look in you.”

  45. “How is it possible that a being with such sensitive jewels as the eyes, such enchanted musical instruments as the ears, and such fabulous arabesque of nerves as the brain can experience itself anything less than a god.”

  46. “Saints need sinners.”

  47. “What the devil is the point of surviving, going on living, when it’s a drag? But you see, that’s what people do.”

  48. “We do not ‘come into’ this world; we come out of it, as leaves from a tree.”

  49. “Philosophy is man’s expression of curiosity about everything and his attempt to make sense of the world primarily through his intellect.”

  50. “Everything that happens, everything that I have ever done, everything that anybody else have ever done is part of a harmonious design, that there is no error at all.”

  51. “The positive cannot exist without the negative.”

  52. “Your soul is not in your body; your body is in your soul.”

  53. “Meditation is the discovery that the point of life is always arrived at in the immediate moment.”

  54. “To put is still more plainly: the desire for security and the feeling of insecurity are the same thing. To hold your breath is to lose your breath.”

  55. “Life exists only at this very moment, and in this moment it is infinite and eternal, for the present moment is infinitely small; before we can measure it, it has gone, and yet it exists forever….”

  56. “There will always be suffering. But we must not suffer over the suffering.”

  57. “For there is never anything but the present, and if one cannot live there, one cannot live anywhere.”

  58. “You’re under no obligation to be the same person you were 5 minutes ago.”

  59. “Really, the fundamental, ultimate mystery — the only thing you need to know to understand the deepest metaphysical secrets — is this: that for every outside there is an inside and for every inside there is an outside, and although they are different, they go together.”

  60. “Like too much alcohol, self-consciousness makes us see ourselves double, and we make the double image for two selves – mental and masufferingterial, controlling and controlled, reflective and spontaneous. Thus instead of suffering we suffer about , and suffer about suffering about suffering.”

  61. “Zen is a way of liberation, concerned not with discovering what is good or bad or advantageous, but what is.”

  62. “Don’t hurry anything. Don’t worry about the future. Don’t worry about what progress you’re making. Just be entirely content to be aware of what is.”

  63. “To have faith is to trust yourself.”

  64. “The real you are the whole universe.”

  65. “To travel is to be alive, but to get somewhere is to be dead, for as our own proverb says, To travel well is better than to arrive.”

  66. “What happens if you know that there is nothing you can do to be better? It’s kind of a relief, isn’t it? You say ‘Well, now what do I do?’ When you are freed from being out to improve yourself, your own nature will begin to take over.”

  67. “When you know that you have to go with the river, suddenly you acquire—behind everything that you do—the power of the river.”

  68. “Only those who have cultivated the art of living completely in the present have any use for making plans for the future, for when the plans mature they will be able to enjoy the results.”

  69. “Tomorrow never comes.”

  70. “Waking up to who you are requires letting go of who you imagine yourself to be.”

  71. “Everybody is ‘you’. Everybody is ‘I’. That’s our name. We all share that.”

  72. “For eternally and always there is only now, one and the same now; the present is the only thing that has no end.”

  73. “When a bird sings, it doesn’t sing for the advancement of music.”

  74. “Nirvana is right where you are, provided that you don’t object to it.”

  75. “The future is a concept, it doesn’t exist. There is no such thing as tomorrow. There never will be because time is always now. That’s one of the things we discover when we stop talking to ourselves and stop thinking. We find there is only present, only an eternal now.”

  76. “Life is not a problem to be solved, but an experience to be had.”

  77. “The best way to convince someone is by making him realize that what you speak came from his own mind.”

  78. “Buddha is the man who woke up, who discovered who he really was.”

  79. “We have frustration because we are fighting the changing of things.”

  80. “Most problems that are solved in a rush are solved in the wrong way, especially emotional problems between people.”

  81. “This whole world is a phantasmagoria, an amazing illusion.”

  82. “The world is precisely the relationship between the world and its witnesses, and so if there are no eyes in this world, the sun doesn’t make any light, nor do the stars.”

  83. “Memory creates the future as well as the past, you wouldn’t know that you were going to have anything happen tomorrow if you didn’t have something yesterday.”

  84. “There is nothing except the eternal now.”

  85. “To be implies not to be.”

  86. “Creative people can stimulate creativity in others, by osmosis.”

  87. “Choice is not a form of freedom in the sense of the word; choice is the act of hesitation that occurs before making a decision.”

  88. “Every manifestation of life is impermanent. Our quest to make things permanent, to straighten everything out, to get it fixed is an impossible and insoluble problem.”

  89. “Our image of ourselves is completely inaccurate and incomplete.”

  90. “The word ‘person’ comes from the latin word ‘persona’ which referred to the masks worn by actors in which sound would come through. The ‘person’ is the mask — the role you’re playing. And all of your friends and relations and teachers are busy telling you who you are and what your role in life is.”

  91. “No amount of anxiety makes any difference to anything that is going to happen.”

  92. “Faith is, above all, open-ness — an act of trust in the unknown.”

  93. “Education, in the real sense, is not preparation for life, it is actually living. It is the child participating in adult concerns. And doing it now and realizing that the point of the process in which the child is engages, is not to prepare the child for the future, but to enjoy doing the thing today.”

  94. “Paradoxical as it may seem, the purposeful life has no content, no point. It hurries on and on, and misses everything. Not hurrying, the purposeless life misses nothing, for it is only when there is no goal and no rush that the human senses are fully open to receive the world.”

7 Alan Watts Quotes On Love

Alan believed that everybody loves in life and you cannot force anyone to love. It is a feeling that comes naturally and needs no command.

  1. “Never pretend to a love which you do not actually feel, for love is not ours to command.”

  2. “Love is not something that is a sort of rare commodity, everybody has it.”

  3. “Money is an abstraction. It cannot, of itself, buy any pleasure whatsoever. Because all pleasures involve skill and love.”

  4. “People who exude love are apt to give things away. They are in every way like rivers; they stream. And so when they collect possessions and things they like, they are apt to give them to other people. Because, have you ever noticed that when you start giving things away, you keep getting more?”

  5. “Life and love generate effort, but effort will not generate them. Faith in life, in other people, and in oneself, is the attitude of allowing the spontaneous to be spontaneous, in its own way and in its own time.”

  6. “Peace can be made only by those who are peaceful, and love can be shown only by those who love. No work of love will flourish out of guilt, fear, or hollowness of heart, just as no valid plans for the future can be made by those who have no capacity for living now.”

  7. “Everyone has love, but it can only come out when he is convinced of the impossibility and the frustration of trying to love himself. This conviction will not come through condemnations, through hating oneself, through calling self-love bad names in the universe. It comes only in the awareness that one has no self to love.”

3 Alan Watt thought provoking Quotes on Death:

Alan’s thoughts on death are very peaceful. He believed man should not be afraid of death and should be hopeful for good things that are waiting for him as a gift for his good deeds that he has performed in his lifetime.

  1. “Dying should be one of the great events of life.”

  2. “Try to imagine what it will be like to go to sleep and never wake up… now try to imagine what it was like to wake up having never gone to sleep.”

  3. “Without birth and death, and without the perpetual transmutation of all the forms of life, the world would be static, rhythm-less, un-dancing, mummified.”

9 Alan Watt Inspiring Quotes on Present:

  1. “This is the real secret of life — to be completely engaged with what you are doing in the here and now. And instead of calling it work, realize it is play.”

  2. “I have realized that the past and future are real illusions, that they exist in the present, which is what there is and all there is.”

  3. “If happiness always depends on something expected in the future, we are chasing a will-o’-the-wisp that ever eludes our grasp, until the future, and ourselves, vanish into the abyss of death.”

  4. “The art of living … is neither careless drifting on the one hand nor fearful clinging to the past on the other. It consists in being sensitive to each moment, in regarding it as utterly new and unique, in having the mind open and wholly receptive.”

  5. “We are living in a culture entirely hypnotized by the illusion of time, in which the so-called present moment is felt as nothing but an infinitesimal hairline between an all-powerfully causative past and an absorbingly important future. We have no present. Our consciousness is almost completely preoccupied with memory and expectation. We do not realize that there never was, is, nor will be any other experience than present experience. We are therefore out of touch with reality. We confuse the world as talked about, described, and measured with the world which actually is. We are sick with a fascination for the useful tools of names and numbers, of symbols, signs, conceptions and ideas.”

  6. “Tomorrow and plans for tomorrow can have no significance at all unless you are in full contact with the reality of the present, since it is in the present and only in the present that you live. There is no other reality than present reality, so that, even if one were to live for endless ages, to live for the future would be to miss the point everlastingly.”

  7. “If, then, my awareness of the past and future makes me less aware of the present, I must begin to wonder whether I am actually living in the real world.”

  8. “Stay in the center, and you will be ready to move in any direction.”

  9. “For unless one is able to live fully in the present, the future is a hoax. There is no point whatever in making plans for a future which you will never be able to enjoy. When your plans mature, you will still be living for some other future beyond. You will never, never be able to sit back with full contentment and say, ‘Now, I’ve arrived!’ Your entire education has deprived you of this capacity because it was preparing you for the future, instead of showing you how to be alive now.”

15 Alan Watt Quotes on letting go:

  1. “To have faith is to trust yourself to the water. When you swim you don’t grab hold of the water, because if you do you will sink and drown. Instead you relax, and float.”

  2. “If we cling to belief in God, we cannot likewise have faith, since faith is not clinging but letting go.”

  3. “A scholar tries to learn something every day; a student of Buddhism tries to unlearn something daily.”

  4. “Real travel requires a maximum of unscheduled wandering, for there is no other way of discovering surprises and marvels, which, as I see it, is the only good reason for not staying at home.”

  5. “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.”

  6. “We must abandon completely the notion of blaming the past for any kind of situation we’re in and reverse our thinking and see that the past always flows back from the present. That now is the creative point of life. So you see it’s like the idea of forgiving somebody, you change the meaning of the past by doing that … Also watch the flow of music. The melody as its expressed is changed by notes that come later. Just as the meaning of a sentence…you wait till later to find out what the sentence means … The present is always changing the past.”

  7. “Jesus Christ knew he was God. So wake up and find out eventually who you really are. In our culture, of course, they’ll say you’re crazy and you’re blasphemous, and they’ll either put you in jail or in a nut house (which is pretty much the same thing). However if you wake up in India and tell your friends and relations, ‘My goodness, I’ve just discovered that I’m God,’ they’ll laugh and say, ‘Oh, congratulations, at last you found out.”

  8. “A man does not really begin to be alive until he has lost himself, until he has released the anxious grasp which he normally holds upon his life, his property, his reputation and position.”

  9. “I find that the sensation of myself as an ego inside a bag of skin is really a hallucination.”

  10. “Every intelligent individual wants to know what makes him tick, and yet is at once fascinated and frustrated by the fact that oneself is the most difficult of all things to know.”

  11. “And people get all fouled up because they want the world to have meaning as if it were words … As if you had a meaning, as if you were a mere word, as if you were something that could be looked up in a dictionary. You are meaning.”

  12. “How is it possible that a being with such sensitive jewels as the eyes, such enchanted musical instruments as the ears, and such fabulous arabesque of nerves as the brain can experience itself anything less than a god.”

  13. “What I am really saying is that you don’t need to do anything, because if you see yourself in the correct way, you are all as much extraordinary phenomenon of nature as trees, clouds, the patterns in running water, the flickering of fire, the arrangement of the stars, and the form of a galaxy. You are all just like that, and there is nothing wrong with you at all.”

  14. “But I’ll tell you what hermits realize. If you go off into a far, far forest and get very quiet, you’ll come to understand that you’re connected with everything.”

  15. “You are an aperture through which the universe is looking at and exploring itself.”

10 Best Alan Watts Quotes Images in 2021

Check out this fantastic collection of Alon Watts quotes wallpapers below:

Alan Watts quotes success

Alan Watts quotes success

Alan Watts quotes about present and opportunities

Alan Watts quotes about present and opportunities

Alan Watts quotes about philosophy of life

Alan Watts quotes about philosophy of life

Alan Watts quotes about life

Alan Watts quotes about life

Alan Watts quotes about life philosophy

Alan Watts quotes about life philosophy

Alan Watts quotes about life and success

Alan Watts quotes about life and success

Alan Watts quotes about life and letting go

Alan Watts quotes about life and letting go

Alan Watts quotes about letting go

Alan Watts quotes about letting go

Alan Watts quotes about letting go and budhism

Alan Watts quotes about letting go and budhism

Alan Watts quotes about death

Alan Watts quotes about death

Summary:

Being a British speaker and a writer, Alan watt had a massive following. His in-depth knowledge of Buddhism, Taoism and Hinduism made him popular in his community, and among Western youngsters who were keen to learn about them.

Alan died on 16 November 1973, in his sleep at the age of 58. He was under treatment for heart conditions.

Which was your favorite quote by Alan Watt. Comment below.

Ranking famous celebrities on the basis of their personal finances and net worths or creating top lists of celebrities based on what similarities they have is the area Asad Hanif loves to play around. He is a personal finance, celebrity lifestyles and their net worth writer for over a decade. He has his way around researching interesting facts about famous personalities and write them in a simplified and interesting way. When he is not talking about the celebrity gossips, you will find him watching his favourite shows or escaping to the mountains with his friends.

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