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 Nov 23 '14 at 18:21

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 Dec 8 '14 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. – JosephHarriott Dec 8 '14 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 Nov 26 '14 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..

protected by Lanka Aug 1 '15 at 14:29

Thank you for your interest in this question. Because it has attracted low-quality or spam answers that had to be removed, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site (the association bonus does not count).

Would you like to answer one of these unanswered questions instead?

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.