If you’ve spent any time on the Internet, you’ve probably heard some wise quotes from Buddha. However, seldom are these his authentic quotes.
When I read the original sutras, I was struck with awe with how insightful they were. For me, they represent life in a nutshell. They’re simple, straightforward, and eloquent. When you talk about mindful living, you can’t get more real than this.
That said, the Buddha’s words aren’t mere preaching telling us what to do or not do. They represent the reality of all our lives. Buddha speaks of suffering, attachment, and impermanence.
His words serve as a helpful, mindful guide for how to improve our life and our state of mind from moment to moment.
Below are 12 quotes from the Buddha himself:
“Better a single day of life seeing the reality of arising and passing away than a hundred years of existence remaining blind to it.”
On the greatest happiness
“When faced with all the ups and downs of life, still the mind remains unshaken, not lamenting, not generating defilements, always feeling secure; this is the greatest happiness.”
On the miracles of the world
“The entire world is ablaze, the entire world is going up in smoke. The entire world is burning the entire world is vibrating.”
“Impermanent truly are conditioned things, having the nature of arising and passing away. If they arise and are extinguished, their eradication brings true happiness.”
Work hard for success
“You have to do your own work; those who have reached the goal will only show the way.”
On doing the right thing
“Burning now, burning hereafter the wrong-doer suffers doubly. Happy now, happy hereafter, the virtuous person doubly rejoices.”
“Abstain from all unwholesome deeds, perform wholesome ones, purify your mind”—
this is the teaching of enlightened persons.”
“By yourself committing wrong you defile yourself. By yourself not doing wrong
you purify yourself.”
On taking responsibility
“You are your own master, you make your own future.”
On the mind
“Mind precedes all phenomena, mind matters most, everything is mind-made. If with an impure mind you speak or act, then suffering follows you, as the cartwheel follows the foot of the draft animal. If with a pure mind you speak or act, then happiness follows you as a shadow that never departs.”
Practice over theory
“Someone may recite much of the texts, but if he does not practice them, such a heedless person is like a herdsman who only counts the cows of others; he does not enjoy the rewards of the life of a truth-seeker. Another may be able to recite only a few words from the texts, but if he lives the life of Dhamma, taking steps on the path from its beginning to the goal, then he enjoys the rewards of the life of a truth-seeker.”
On critical thinking
“Do not simply believe whatever you are told, or whatever has been handed down from past generations, or what is common opinion, or whatever the scriptures say. Do not accept something as true merely by deduction or inference, or by considering outward appearances, or by partiality for a certain view, or because of its plausibility, or because your teacher tells you it is so. But when you yourselves directly know, “These principles are unwholesome, blameworthy, condemned by the wise; when adopted and carried out they lead to harm and suffering,” then you should abandon them. And when you yourselves directly know, “These principles are wholesome, blameless, praised by the wise; when adopted and carried out they lead to welfare and happiness,” then you accept and practice them.”
This article was originally published on The Power of Ideas.