10 Compelling and Facinating Quotes From Buddha
Siddhārtha Gautama Buddha was a spiritual teacher from ancient India. He lived around the time of 500BC and from his teachings, Buddhism was formed. Gautama was known to his followers as the Buddha or “Awakened One” (“Buddha” is also sometimes translated as “The Enlightened One”).
Siddhārtha was born in a Royal Hindu family. Although his father ensured that Siddhartha had everything he could want or need, Buddhist scriptures say that the future Buddha felt that material wealth was not life’s ultimate goal.
Although his father had tried to shield him from life’s suffering, Siddhārtha ventured out of the palace and for the first time in his life, saw sickness and death. At the age of 29, he escaped the palace in search of enlightenment.
When he finally discovered that meditation was the right way to enlightenment, he spent 49 days under a Bodhi tree and when he ended his meditation, he realized the reason behind human suffering and how to end it.
Below is a selection of the 10 most inspirational quotes by Buddha, and what they mean for us today.
1. “Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment. I never see what has been done; I only see what remains to be done”
Buddha believed that we spend too much time consumed by our thoughts of the past, and planning for the future, that we miss the joy of the present moment. When we finally reach the moment that we have planned for, we are again in the process of thinking of a future moment so in fact, we are never in the present. A concept brilliantly explained in The Power of Now.
Being able to focus on the moment is essential because we cannot change the past, we cannot predict the future, and all that there exists is the present moment. Working hard now and remaining happy in the present will ensure us a great future.
2. “The way is not in the sky. The way is in the heart”
Instead of looking up for some sort of salvation or enlightenment, Buddha taught that Nirvana was available to all, regardless of caste or creed, and they did not have to wait for a sign from above or a higher power to achieve it.
3. “Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned”
The damage that a hurtful thought or an angry intent can do to the body and the mind is the same if not more than the damage you wish to inflict on your enemy. Hatred is a redundant and damaging emotion. Having abundant patience and forgiveness is the only way to free yourself from anger and frustration.
4. “Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared”
The Buddha believed that happiness and love were forces that could be given without any loss to the person who is giving. By acting against greed and hatred, we free ourselves from them and live a happier life.
5. “We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves. The mind is everything. What you think you become”
What you think about is incredibly important because your thoughts create your actions and your actions create your future. Your attitude and perspective on life create what you become. Right thinking can help you get what you want. Changing your mind will change your life.
6. “Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth”
Hiding the truth is not impossible, but it is damaging. Living the truth is effortless. Living a lie is all-consuming. By revealing the truth in your every action, you will free yourself from the endless thoughts of the past and the future, and allow yourself to focus on being naturally you.
7. “You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere. You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe deserve your love and affection”
You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection. The best thing you can do for those around you is to love yourself. Only then can you love them as much as you want and as much as they deserve.
8. “To be idle is a short road to death and to be diligent is a way of life; foolish people are idle, wise people are diligent”
Working on your passions, working on your goals, working on self-improvement and getting closer to your enlightenment is not something that will just happen. By being diligent, you create your future. Taking action and making a mistake is far better than no action at all.
9. “An insincere and evil friend is more to be feared than a wild beast; a wild beast may wound your body, but an evil friend will wound your mind”
The aims of the teachings of Buddhism are to reach a state of Supreme Liberation or Nirvana. This state is described as having a perfect peace of mind which is free of ignorance, greed, hatred and other afflictive states.
These characteristics are of the mind, and when we are surrounded by them, they are harder to ignore. We are heavily influenced by the people we are surrounded by. They will corrupt your mind and cause you great pain.
10. “However many holy words you read, however many you speak, what good will they do you if you do not act on upon them?”
Without action, all the wise words will be worthless. Learning and growing never ends. The eventual destination is not important because it’s the journey that we experience and we gain the lessons from. None of this will happen unless you take the first steps and apply any advice you are given.