15 Buddha Quotes to Live By – Day 251 of 365 Days to a Better You

Siddhartha Gautama, better known to the world as the Buddha, was born a prince in northern India about 2600 years ago. His father was told his son would either be a world king or a great spiritual teacher. Wishing his son to expand the power of his kingdom, King Suddhodana ordered that he be immersed in the richest worldly pleasures to prevent him from pursuing the spiritual path.

However, at 29, Siddhartha was exposed to illness, aging, and death. These were all forbidden knowledge to him. His charioteer, against orders, explained that all human beings, including one day the young prince, experience these things. Then he saw a monk and was awakened to his true life’s purpose. The rest, as they say, is history.

Beginning with his famous Fire Sermon, the Tathagata taught for 47 years. He left us a wealth of wisdom. Here are 15 quotes we can all apply to our lives.

All these centuries later, these words are easy to read, but the challenge of a lifetime to live.

  1. All that we are is the result of what we have thought: we are formed and molded by our thoughts. Those whose minds are shaped by selfish thoughts cause misery when they speak or act. Sorrows roll over them as the wheels of a cart roll over the tracks of the bullock that draws it. All that we are is the result of what we have thought: we are formed and molded by our thoughts. Those whose minds are shaped by selfless thoughts give joy whenever they speak or act. Joy follows them like a shadow that never leaves them.
  2. Let none find fault with others. Let none see the commissions and omissions of others. But, let one see one’s open acts done and undone.
  3. A mind unruffled by the vagaries of fortune, from sorrow freed, from defilements cleansed, from fear liberated — this is the greatest blessing.
  4. Therefore, bhikkhus, you should train yourselves thus: ‘We will develop and cultivate the liberation of mind by lovingkindness, make it our vehicle, make it our basis, stabilize it, exercise ourselves in it, and fully perfect it.’ Thus should you train yourselves.
  5. Radiate boundless love toward the entire world.
  6. Some do not understand that we must die. But those who do realize this settle their quarrels immediately.
  7. All conditioned things are impermanent’ — when one sees this with wisdom, one turns away from suffering.
  8. Drop by drop is the water pot filled. Likewise, the wise man, gathering it little by little, fills himself with good.
  9. Irrigators channel waters. Fletchers straighten arrows. Carpenters shape wood. The wise master themselves.
  10. Hatred is never appeased by hatred in this world. By non-hatred alone is hatred appeased. This is a law eternal.
  11. The way is not in the sky. The way is in the heart.
  12. Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.
  13. If you understood the power of giving as I do, you would never let a meal pass without sharing.
  14. The root of suffering is attachment.
  15. The greats of the past only show the way. You must walk the path yourself.

Namaste, my friends, namaste!

Ray

Ray Davis is the founder of The Affirmation Spot. He’s been studying and practicing personal development for 30 years. He’s also studied many of the world’s spiritual traditions and mythologies.

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Accentuate The Positive – Day 237 of 365 Days to a Better You

Some 2500 years ago the Buddha, as recorded in the Dhammapada, is said to have articulated the following.

All that we are is the result of what we have thought: we are formed and molded by our thoughts. (Verse 1)

Whatever harm an enemy may do to an enemy, or a hater to a hater, an ill-directed mind inflicts on oneself a greater harm. Neither mother, father, nor any other relative can do one greater good than one’s own well-directed mind. (Verses 42-43)

The Buddha’s meaning is quite clear. He was among the earliest to say something along the lines of, “You become what you think.” Then he goes further. He tells us that no outside force can do us as much harm or good as our own thoughts.

This begs the question, “Who controls your thoughts?”

That ought to be 100 percent of time Y-O-U.

The equation is simple from here. Badly as we might want to shift the blame to other people, God, or society; you control your thinking and your thinking dominates your life. I say dominates rather than controls because there are circumstantial exceptions, but not many.

So, what you’re feeling, what you’re attracting, where you’re stuck all follows a straight line back to your thinking. There’s just no way around it.

This isn’t a blame game. I’m not telling you this so you can feel worse about yourself or become defensive. I’m telling you this because your thinking has led you to where you are as surely as the earth follows the sun. If you want to change your circumstances, you will have to change your thinking.

It’s not a replacement for faith or a support system, but those can only help you when you’re thinking is leading the way forward.

Power hack: Accentuate the positive…eliminate the negative.

You may have heard the old 1940s sing titled Accentuate The Positive. The lyric goes, “You’ve got to accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative…” It’s simple, but profound advice.

When you feel down, depressed, beaten, you can get stuck in an eddy of negativity and there seems like no way out. One negative thought follows another and you start buying into all of it.

When you’re feeling that way, you’ve megadose the positive. Force feed it. Flush out the negative with the positive. Let the sunshine dissipate the clouds. Don’t complain about the clouds. Summon the sunshine.

Easy? No, it’s hard. It sometimes takes every ounce of strength and you may feel oddly attached to your wallowing, but I assure you you can pull yourself out of that ditch when you understand your thoughts don’t just happen.

My wife shared something funny and inspiring today. She follows Rachel Hollis and she now has a tattoo that reads, “Embrace the suck.”

Sometimes we have to do hard things and it sucks. Climbing back to your best self when it’s easier to stay down is hard. But, you are a one-in-a-trillion miracle and totally with that effort.

You’re all the best! Thanks for stopping by and spending your valuable time with me!

Ray

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See Your Humanness in Others – Day 151 of 365 Days to a Better You

I suppose it is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail.

~Abraham Maslow

The great Abraham Maslow came up with one of the most insightful templates for understanding human needs in history. He called it The Hierarchy of Needs.

Maslow divided human needs into five levels. His argument was that human nature does not allow one to move to the needs on the next level of the hierarchy until the needs at the lower levels are secure. You can see a depiction of the hierarchy below.

maslow_hierarchy

As you can see, there are many basic needs that must be met at the three bottom levels before you have a true foundation for the types of thinking and action we talk about in personal development.

Look at those three bottom levels and consider how many people in our world – how many people you know personally – are not or have not achieved the bottom three levels in the hierarchy. These are survival levels not thrive levels. Immediately you see the challenge in our world. There are a lot of hurt, angry, broken people running around on this planet trying to get those bottom needs met. Our best systems of government and economics continue to fail miserably in helping even a majority of people reach stage 4.

If your homeless, starving, abused, sick, it’s challenging those bottom three levels can seem like a mountain to climb.

Let be clear. There is no moral high ground here because you might be inhabiting stage 4 or 5, while others are not. In fact, if you’re at those levels, I would argue, you have a kind of moral obligation to see this path of struggle that being human is and recognize the humanness and the commonality you share with those struggling people.

Buddhism does not recognize the western monotheistic concept of sin. The Buddha discussed skillful and unskillful means that human beings use to get what they want in the world. When people are in survival mode, they very well might do things that you would never do. Do you have enough compassion not to judge and to see their humanness even when they cannot see it in themselves?

Often people struggling on the first three levels are using unskillful means to get what they want. They fear there’s not enough. They fear others will take theirs. They fear people who are different. Bigotries and hatreds often flourish in this environment. It’s easy to fall into an “Us” vs. “Them” mentality.

Power Hack: What can you do?

  • Use skillful means; that is don’t become selfish, mean-spirited, and violent in your efforts to climb the hierarchy. If the enlightened action doesn’t begin with you, where will it begin?
  • Really look for the humanness in other and be aware of the common and challenging path we’re all walking. Judge less. Forgive more. Do it even with people who don’t look like you, think like you, or act like you.
  • Do all you can ethically and practically to reach the highest level. The world would change tomorrow if we had a critical mass of people operating on that  Self-Actualization level. You can only help others once you have helped yourself.
  • Remember people are mostly not evil. They may appear evil as they struggle unskillfully to get their survival needs met. However, that self-actualized being already lives within them. Do what you can to help them let that person become self-actualized.

The world likes to tell you that you’ve been cheated, it’s unfair, they took what was yours, be angry, feel divided, even get violent to get what you want. That predominant mindset is born of the survival mode of the first three levels. It will never get you any higher than level three and it’s likely to have you always worried about level 1.

Buddha shared the perfect answer for this in the Dhammapada.

3. “He abused me, he beat me, he defeated me, he robbed me,”–in those who harbor such thoughts hatred will never cease.
4. “He abused me, he beat me, he defeated me, he robbed me,”–in those who do not harbor such thoughts hatred will cease.
5. For hatred does not cease by hatred at any time: hatred ceases by love, this is a universal law.
6. The world does not know that we must all come to an end here; but those who know it, their quarrels cease at once.

You’ve been cheated. I’ve been cheated. Our world largely continues to operate in the survival levels. The question for you is this. Will you light the way out cycle for yourself and others or will you just wallow in the darkness? See the humanness in every person on this planet beginning with you.

As if with so much else we discuss on this blog, the choice is yours.

Namaste, my friends. May this day bring you peace, abundance, and joy!

Ray

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26 Buddhist Affirmations

Today’s Thought

“All that we are, is the result of what we have thought.”
~ Buddha

zen-509371_1280Siddartha Gautama, the man known to history as The Buddha, was born in Northern India (modern-day Nepal) in 563 B.C.E. He was a prince and the son of King Suddhodana and Queen Maya. The Buddha-to-be grew up in a world of privilege and seclusion from the suffering of the world.

This was ordered and ensured by his father after the prophets in his court told him that his son would either be a great king who would rule the world or a great world-savior. The prophet informed the king that his son would be the latter, if he was exposed to human suffering. The king did all in his power to prevent his son from exposure to anything that would interfere with his son becoming a great ruler.

While in his late 20s, Siddartha witnesses an old person, illness, and death for the first time in his life. He is greatly dismayed, realizing that he too was subject to these forces. Then he encounters a holy man and he immediately understands that if these terrible things exist in the world, there must be a way to overcome them. He decides to leave his princely life in search of a way to overcome these human difficulties.

After studying under a variety of teachers, Siddhartha attained enlightenment at the age of 35. He planted himself beneath a Bodhi Tree and vowed not to rise from the spot until he had discovered the ultimate truth.

The rest is history, as they say. 2500 years later 376 million human beings adhere to the Buddha’s Middle Way and The Noble Eightfold Path; making Buddhism the 4th largest “religion” in the world. However, if you include “cultural Buddhists” there are probably more Buddhists than any other religion on the planet. The Buddha himself is revered as a shining example of human potential, determination, and possibility. His practices and teachings are the basis for many relaxation, visualization, and self-improvement techniques.

Here are some affirmations for Buddhists and those interested in adopting a Buddhist approach in their life and thinking.

  1. Today I am happy. Today I am peaceful. Today I am free from suffering!
  2. Today and every  day, I am committed to my meditation practice.
  3. I practice Metta everywhere I go and in everything I do!
  4. Today my inner lotus blossoms, as I release attachments and turn my face to the sun.
  5. Today I find the pearls of my enlightenment scattered along my path.
  6. Today I seek enlightenment. Today I experience enlightenment. Today I am enlightened.
  7. Today I release my attachment to the transitory circumstances and appearances.
  8. The great teachers of the past showed me the way and today I am making the effort to follow their path.
  9. May I be happy. May I be peaceful. May I be free from suffering.
  10. Today I clearly see the beauty in a flower and my whole world changes.
  11. I am the very embodiment of love and compassion in all my interactions with others.
  12. I work diligently to make peace, love, and compassion my way of life.
  13. I take refuge in the Buddha. I take refuge in the Dharma. I take refuge in the Sangha.
  14. Nirvana is mine when I have the strength to choose it.
  15. Today I am practicing right view in all my thoughts, words, and actions.
  16. Today I am practicing right intention with all my thoughts, words, and actions.
  17. Today I am practicing right speech with every word I say.
  18. Today I am practicing right action with everything I do.
  19. Today I am practicing right livelihood in your job and in all your career choices.
  20. Today I am practicing right effort with all my thoughts, words, and actions.
  21. Today I am practicing right mindfulness with all my thoughts, words, and actions.
  22. Today I am achieving right concentration during my meditations.
  23. As love grows within me, my hatred goes away.
  24. Breathing in, I feel peace. Breathing out, I am peace.
  25. My world is what I make of it and I CHOOSE to make it a compassionate place to be!
  26. My path is peace. My mind is peace. My life is peace.

This list will continue to grow.  Please leave a comment offering suggestions for other areas of Buddhism where I could add affirmations.

Wishing you a day filled with loving-kindness and joy.

Ray

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