Quotes about Buddhism

NOTE: This section actually contains more quotes from Gautama Buddha than about Buddhism, per se; we’ll eventually get around to categorizing these quotes more appropriately. Enjoy!

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)

Conquer the angry man by love.
Conquer the ill-natured man by goodness.
Conquer the miser with generosity.
Conquer the liar with truth.
(The Buddha, Dhammapada)

Do not speak unless it improves on silence.
(Buddhist proverb)

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.
(Buddhist proverb)

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.
(The Buddha, Sutta Nipata II, 14)

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.
(The Buddha)

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.”
(The Buddha)

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.
(The Buddha, Sutta Nipata)

The world, Govinda, is not imperfect or slowly evolving along a long path to perfection. No, it is already perfect at every moment; every sin already carries grace within it, all small children are potential old men, all sucklings have death within them, all dying. . . eternal life. . . Therefore, it seems to me that everything that exists is good – death as well as life, sin as well as holiness, wisdom as well as folly. Everything is necessary, everything needs only my agreement, my assent, my loving understanding; then all is well with me and nothing can harm me.
(Siddhartha to Govinda. from Herman Hesse’s Siddhartha)

Phenomena are preceded by the heart
Ruled by the heart
Made of the heart.
If you speak or act
With a calm, bright heart,
Then happiness follows you
Like a shadow that never leaves.
(The Buddha, Dhammapada 1)

Whenever I wish to move or speak,
First I shall examine my state of mind,
And firmly act in a suitable way.
Whenever my mind becomes attached or angry,
I shall not react, nor shall I speak;
I shall remain mum and unmoved like a tree.
(Shantideva, 8th century Indian Buddhist scholar)

You live in illusion and the appearance of things. There is a reality, but you do not know this. When you understand this, you will see that you are nothing, and being nothing, you are everything.
Kalu Rinpoche, Buddhist

How does this affect my Buddhist practice? It doesn’t. These reported events are like an arrow shot at my heart but it lands at my feet. I choose not to bend over, pick it up, and stab myself with it.

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.
(The Buddha, Sutta Nipata)

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.
(The Buddha, Udana 10)

The fool thinks he has won a battle when he bullies with harsh speech, but knowing how to be forbearing alone makes one victorious.
(The Buddha, Samyutta Nikaya I, 163)

Things are not what they appear to be: nor are they otherwise.
(The Buddha, Surangama Sutra)

Do not pursue the past.
Do not lose yourself in the future.
The past no longer is.
The future has not yet come.
Looking deeply at life as it is,
In the very here and now, the practitioner dwells in stability and freedom.
We must be diligent today.
To wait until tomorrow is too late.
Death comes unexpectedly.
How can we bargain with it?
(The Buddha, Bhaddekaratta Sutta)

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 be 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 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 then 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.

It is better to conquer yourself than to win a thousand battles. Then the victory is yours. It cannot be taken from you, not by angels or by demons, heaven or hell.
(The Buddha)

It is better to travel well than to arrive.
(The Buddha)

Just as a candle cannot burn without fire, men cannot live without a spiritual life.
(The Buddha)

No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path.
(The Buddha)

Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without.
(The Buddha)

The mind is everything. What you think you become.
(The Buddha)

The only real failure in life is not to be true to the best one knows.
(The Buddha)

The way is not in the sky. The way is in the heart.
(The Buddha)

The whole secret of existence is to have no fear. Never fear what will become of you, depend on no one. Only the moment you reject all help are you freed.
(The Buddha)

There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth; not going all the way, and not starting.
(The Buddha)

There has to be evil so that good can prove its purity above it.
(The Buddha)

Those who are free of resentful thoughts surely find peace.
(The Buddha)

To enjoy good health, to bring true happiness to one’s family, to bring peace to all, one must first discipline and control one’s own mind. If a man can control his mind he can find the way to Enlightenment, and all wisdom and virtue will naturally come to him.
(The Buddha)

To keep the body in good health is a duty… otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.
(The Buddha)

To live a pure unselfish life, one must count nothing as one’s own in the midst of abundance.
(The Buddha)

Unity can only be manifested by the Binary. Unity itself and the idea of Unity are already two.
(The Buddha)

We are formed and molded by our thoughts. Those whose minds are shaped by selfless thoughts give joy when they speak or act. Joy follows them like a shadow that never leaves them.
(The Buddha)

Work out your own salvation. Do not depend on others.
(The Buddha)