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Buddhism is a religion and philosophy with between 230 to 500 million adherents worldwide, said to have been founded by Gautama Buddha. The vast majority of Buddhists live in Asia. It consists of two major schools: Mahayana and Theravada.

  • Renunciation is not getting rid of the things of this world, but accepting that they pass away.
    • Aitken Roshi
  • The greatest achievement is selflessness. The greatest worth is self-mastery. The greatest quality is seeking to serve others. The greatest precept is continual awareness. The greatest medicine is the emptiness of everything. The greatest action is not conforming with the world's ways. The greatest magic is transmuting the passions. The greatest generosity is non-attachment. The greatest goodness is a peaceful mind. The greatest patience is humility. The greatest effort is not concerned with results. The greatest meditation is a mind that lets go. The greatest wisdom is seeing through appearances.
    • Atisha
  • In criticizing, the teacher is hoping to teach. That's all.
    • Bankei
  • The true meaning of the precepts is not just that one should refrain from drinking alcohol, but also from getting drunk on nirvana.
    • Bassui
  • All know the Way, but few actually walk it.
  • If you don't find a teacher soon, you'll live this life in vain. It's true, you have the buddha-nature. But without the help of a teacher, you'll never know it. Only one person in a million becomes enlightened without a teacher's help. If, though, by the conjunction of conditions, someone understands what the Buddha meant, that person doesn't need a teacher. Such a person has a natural awareness superior to anything taught. But unless you're so blessed, study hard, and by means of instruction you'll understand.
  • Mindfulness is the aware, balanced acceptance of the present experience. It isn't more complicated that that. It is opening to or receiving the present moment, pleasant or unpleasant, just as it is, without either clinging to it or rejecting it.
    • Sylvia Boorstein
  • If only I could throw away the urge to trace my patterns in your heart, I could really see you.
    • David Brandon (Zen in the Art of Helping)
  • You can explore the universe, looking for somebody who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and you will not find that person anywhere.
  • Develop the mind of equilibrium. You will always be getting praise and blame, but do not let either affect the poise of the mind: follow the calmness, the absence of pride.
    • The Buddha - Sutta Nipata
  • One day, Ananda, who had been thinking deeply about things for a while, turned to the Buddha and exclaimed: "Lord, I've been thinking - spiritual friendship is at least half of the spiritual life!" The Buddha replied: "Say not so, Ananda, say not so. Spiritual friendship is the whole of the spiritual life!"
    • Samyutta Nikaya, Verse 2
  • In what is seen, there should be just the seen;
    In what is heard, there should be just the heard;
    In what is sensed;
    there should be just the sensed;
    In what is thought, there should be just the thought.
    He should not kill a living being, nor cause it to be killed, nor should he incite another to kill. Do not injure any being, either strong or weak in the world.
    • Sutta Nipata II,14
  • One should follow a man of wisdom who rebukes one for one's faults, as one would follow a guide to some buried treasure. To one who follows such a wise man, it will be an advantage and not a disadvantage.
    These teachings are like a raft, to be abandoned once you have crossed the flood. Since you should abandon even good states of mind generated by these teachings, how much more so should you abandon bad states of mind!
    Conquer the angry man by love.
    Conquer the ill-natured man by goodness.
    Conquer the miser with generosity.
    Conquer the liar with truth.
  • In Aryans' Discipline, to build a friendship is to build wealth, to maintain a friendship is to maintain wealth and to end a friendship is to end wealth.
    • Cakkavatti Sutta, Patika Vagga, Digha Nikaya
  • If beings knew, as I know, the results of sharing gifts, they would not enjoy their gifts without sharing them with others, nor would the taint of stinginess obsess the heart and stay there. Even if it were their last and final bit of food, they would not enjoy its use without sharing it, if there were anyone to receive it.
    • Itivuttaka 18
  • A brahmin once asked the Blessed One: "Are you a God?" "No, brahmin," said the Blessed One. "Are you a saint?" "No, brahmin," said the Blessed One. "Are you a magician?" "No, brahmin," said the Blessed One. "What are you then?" "I am awake."
  • Let your love flow outward through the universe,
    To its height, its depth, its broad extent,
    A limitless love, without hatred or enmity.
    Then, as you stand or walk,
    Sit or lie down,
    As long as you are awake,
    Strive for this with a one-pointed mind;
    Your life will bring heaven to earth.
    Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle,
    And the life of the candle will not be shortened.
    Happiness never decreases by being shared
    I teach one thing and one only: suffering and the end of suffering.
    Just as a mother would protect with her life her own son, her only son, so one should cultivate an unbounded mind towards all beings, and loving-kindness towards all the world. One should cultivate an unbounded mind, above and below and across, without obstruction, without enmity, without rivalry.
    Standing, or going, or seated, or lying down, as long as one is free from drowsiness, one should practice this mindfulness. This, they say, is the holy state here.
    • Sutta Nipata
  • What is this world condition? Body is the world condition. And with body and form goes feeling, perception, consciousness, and all the activities throughout the world. The arising of form and the ceasing of form--everything that has been heard, sensed, and known, sought after and reached by the mind--all this is the embodied world, to be penetrated and realized.
    The fool thinks he has won a battle when he bullies with harsh speech, but knowing how to be forbearing alone makes one victorious.
    • Samyutta Nikaya
  • Make an island of yourself,
    make yourself your refuge;
    there is no other refuge.
    Make truth your island,
    make truth your refuge;
    there is no other refuge.
    • Digha Nikaya, 16
  • Solitude is happiness for one who is content, who has heard the Dhamma and clearly sees. Non-affliction is happiness in the world - harmlessness towards all living beings.
    • Udana 10
  • Things are not what they appear to be: nor are they otherwise.
    • Surangama Sutra
  • Do not try to become anything.
    Do not make yourself into anything.
    Do not be a meditator.
    Do not become enlightened.
    When you sit, let it be.
    What you walk, let it be.
    Grasp at nothing.
    Resist nothing.
    • Ajhan Chah
  • If you haven't wept deeply, you haven't begun to meditate.
    The only reason we don't open our hearts and minds to other people is that they trigger confusion in us that we don't feel brave enough or sane enough to deal with. To the degree that we look clearly and compassionately at ourselves, we feel confident and fearless about looking into someone else's eyes.
    • Pema Chodron
  • Remember always that you are just a visitor here, a traveler passing through. your stay is but short and the moment of your departure unknown. None can live without toil and a craft that provides your needs is a blessing indeed. But if you toil without rest, fatigue and weariness will overtake you, and you will denied the joy that comes from labor's end. Speak quietly and kindly and be not forward with either opinions or advice. If you talk much, this will make you deaf to what others say, and you should know that there are few so wise that they cannot learn from others. Be near when help is needed, but far when praise and thanks are being offered. Take small account of might, wealth and fame, for they soon pass and are forgotten. Instead, nurture love within you and and strive to be a friend to all. Truly, compassion is a balm for many wounds. Treasure silence when you find it, and while being mindful of your duties, set time aside, to be alone with yourself.
    Cast off pretense and self-deception and see yourself as you really are. Despite all appearances, no one is really evil. They are led astray by ignorance. If you ponder this truth always you will offer more light, rather than blame and condemnation. You, no less than all beings have Buddha Nature within. Your essential Mind is pure. Therefore, when defilements cause you to stumble and fall, let not remorse nor dark foreboding cast you down. Be of good cheer and with this understanding, summon strength and walk on. Faith is like a lamp and wisdom makes the flame burn bright. Carry this lamp always and in good time the darkness will yield and you will abide in the Light.
    • Dhammavadaka
  • Sometimes one creates a dynamic impression by saying something, and sometimes one creates as significant an impression by remaining silent.
    • H.H. The 14th Dalai Lama
  • Through violence, you may 'solve' one problem, but you sow the seeds for another.
    One has to try to develop one's inner feelings, which can be done simply by training one's mind. This is a priceless human asset and one you don't have to pay income tax on!
    First one must change. I first watch myself, check myself, then expect changes from others.
    Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive.
    I myself feel, and also tell other Buddhists that the question of Nirvana will come later.
    There is not much hurry.
    If in day to day life you lead a good life, honesty, with love,
    with compassion, with less selfishness,
    then automatically it will lead to Nirvana.
    The universe that we inhabit and our shared perception of it are the results of a common karma. Likewise, the places that we will experience in future rebirths will be the outcome of the karma that we share with the other beings living there. The actions of each of us, human or nonhuman, have contributed to the world in which we live. We all have a common responsibility for our world and are connected with everything in it.
    If the love within your mind is lost and you see other beings as enemies, then no matter how much knowledge or education or material comfort you have, only suffering and confusion will ensue.
    It is under the greatest adversity that there exists the greatest potential for doing good, both for oneself and others.
    Whenever Buddhism has taken root in a new land, there has been a certain variation in the style in which it is observed. The Buddha himself taught differently according to the place, the occasion and the situation of those who were listening to him.
    Samsara - our conditioned existence in the perpetual cycle of habitual tendencies and nirvana - genuine freedom from such an existence- are nothing but different manifestations of a basic continuum. So this continuity of consciousness us always present. This is the meaning of tantra.
    According to Buddhist practice, there are three stages or steps. The initial stage is to reduce attachment towards life.
    The second stage is the elimination of desire and attachment to this samsara. Then in the third stage, self-cherishing is eliminated.
    The creatures that inhabit this earth-be they human beings or animals-are here to contribute, each in its own particular way, to the beauty and prosperity of the world.
    To develop genuine devotion, you must know the meaning of teachings. The main emphasis in Buddhism is to transform the mind, and this transformation depends upon meditation. in order to meditate correctly, you must have knowledge.
    Anything that contradicts experience and logic should be abandoned.
    The ultimate authority must always rest with the individual's own reason and critical analysis.
    From one point of view we can say that we have human bodies and are practicing the Buddha's teachings and are thus much better than insects. But we can also say that insects are innocent and free from guile, where as we often lie and misrepresent ourselves in devious ways in order to achieve our ends or better ourselves. From this perspective, we are much worse than insects.
    When the days become longer and there is more sunshine, the grass becomes fresh and, consequently, we feel very happy. On the other hand, in autumn, one leaf falls down and another leaf falls down. The beautiful plants become as if dead and we do not feel very happy. Why? I think it is because deep down our human nature likes construction, and does not like destruction. Naturally, every action which is destructive is against human nature. Constructiveness is the human way. Therefore, I think that in terms of basic human feeling, violence is not good. Non-violence is the only way.
    We humans have existed in our present form for about a hundred thousand years. I believe that if during this time the human mind had been primarily controlled by anger and hatred, our overall population would have decreased. But today, despite all our wars, we find that the human population is greater than ever. This clearly indicates to me that love and compassion predominate in the world. And this is why unpleasant events are "news"; compassionate activities are so much a part of daily life that they are taken for granted and , therefore, largely ignored.
    The fundamental philosophical principle of Buddhism is that all our suffering comes about as a result of an undisciplined mind, and this untamed mind itself comes about because of ignorance and negative emotions. For the Buddhist practitioner then, regardless of whether he or she follows the approach of the Fundamental Vehicle, Mahayana or Vajrayana, negative emotions are always the true enemy, a factor that has to be overcome and eliminated. And it is only by applying methods for training the mind that these negative emotions can be dispelled and eliminated. This is why in Buddhist writings and teachings we find such an extensive explanation of the mind and its different processes and functions. Since these negative emotions are states of mind, the method or technique for overcoming them must be developed from within. There is no alternative. They cannot be removed by some external technique, like a surgical operation."
    • from 'Dzogchen: The Heart Essence of the Great Perfection'
  • The beauty of life is, while we cannot undo what is done, we can see it, understand it, learn from it and change so that every new moment is spent not in regret, guilt, fear or anger but in wisdom, understanding and love.
    • Jennifer Edwards
  • View all problems as challenges.
    Look upon negativities that arise as opportunities to learn and to grow.
    Don't run from them, condemn yourself, or bury your burden in saintly silence.
    You have a problem? Great.
    More grist for the mill. Rejoice, dive in, and investigate.
    • Bhante Henepola Gunaratana, "Mindfulness in Plain English"
  • Humans prepare for the future all their lives, yet meet the next life totally unprepared.
    • Drakpa Gyaltsen
  • To deny the reality of things is to miss their reality;
    to assert the emptiness of things is to miss their reality.
    The more you talk and think about it, the further astray you wander from the truth.
    Stop talking and thinking and there is nothing you will not be able to know.
    • Hsin Hsin Ming
  • Although gold dust is precious, when it gets in your eyes, it obstructs your vision.
    • Hsi-Tang
  • When one does what Buddhas do, one is a Buddha.
    When one does what Bodhisattvas do, one is a Bodhisattva.
    When one does what Arhats do, one is an Arhat.
    When one does what ghosts do, one is a ghost.
    These are all natural phenomena.
    There are no shortcuts in cultivation.
    • Venerable Master Hsuan Hua
  • Our lives are based on what is reasonable and common sense;
    Truth is apt to be neither.
    • Christmas Humphreys
  • ... And the other half is taking complete personal responsibility for getting there!
    • Joshua Bryer
  • If you live the sacred and despise the ordinary,
    you are still bobbing in the ocean of delusion.
    • Lin-Chi
  • One day I complained to Suzuki Roshi about the people I was working with. He listened intently. Finally he said, "If you want to see virtue, you have to have a calm mind."
    • "To Shine One Corner of the World: Moments with Shuryu Suzuki" (Edited by David Chadwick)
  • Like it or not, if you look at your own mind you will discover it is void and groundless; as insubstantial as empty space.
    • Padma Sambhava
  • Suttas are not meant to be 'sacred scriptures' that tell us what to believe. One should read them, listen to them, think about them, contemplate them, and investigate the present reality, the present experience with them. Then, and only then, can one insightfully know the truth beyond words.
    • Venerable Sumedho


  • Buddhists believe that all human sufferings and dissatisfactions stem from desire or "thirst" (trishna)—for possessions , sensual pleasures, power, even for wisdom and knowledge—which warps our minds and distorts our understanding. The Buddha compared a life governed by the delusions of trishna to a river in flood, sweeping us away to a life of constant discontentment. Learning how to control our cravings is the raft that can carry us over the flood to the opposite shore of insight and peace of mind.

See also

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