There is a zen quote that goes something like

Meditate for an hour every day unless you are too busy. In that case meditate for two hours.

I'm not sure about the exact quote - it might be 0.5 hours/1 hour or some other timescale. Does anyone know what the exact quote is and who said it?

  • I will look it up very soon. I am busy right now : )
    – user2341
    Commented Nov 23, 2014 at 18:21

5 Answers 5


Isn't this notion from meditation traditions in general?

James Altucher, in his Ultimate Cheat Sheet For Reinventing Yourself:

What if I don’t have time to sit in silence [for one hour a day]?

Then sit in silence for two hours a day.

  • I think that the "sugar" story is mis-attributed (i.e. I think that it's not Ghandi who is the origin of the "sugar" story); so maybe the other ("hours of meditation") story is also mis-attributed.
    – ChrisW
    Commented Dec 8, 2014 at 19:14
  • @ChrisW, IFIRC, the sugar story is in his autobiography, but therein I don't recall him talking about meditation. Your second doubt may be correct.
    – joharr
    Commented Dec 8, 2014 at 19:39

The exact quote is

You should sit in meditation for 20 minutes a day. Unless you're too busy, then you should sit for an hour.

It is indeed an old Zen saying, but AFAIK the exact origin is not known.


As per some masters in the Theravada tradition it is good to do 2 sessions a day. One in the morning and another in the evening. Ideally a minimum of 1 hour per session.

  • 2
    As a zen quote, it really has nothing to do with meditation. It is more about labels and assumptions that we put on ourselves/reality. At least that was what I was taught as a zen practitioner.
    – Thien
    Commented Nov 26, 2014 at 15:37

It's just an old Buddhist saying that passed down to people. No one claimed to say that in particular.


It's all about priorities... you don't have time for meditation because you don't hold that importance for it which is needed. So you surely won't find the time to meditate for an hour a day, you will have to create the window. hope that helps..

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .