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.
- 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.
- 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.
- A mind unruffled by the vagaries of fortune, from sorrow freed, from defilements cleansed, from fear liberated — this is the greatest blessing.
- 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.
- Radiate boundless love toward the entire world.
- Some do not understand that we must die. But those who do realize this settle their quarrels immediately.
- All conditioned things are impermanent’ — when one sees this with wisdom, one turns away from suffering.
- Drop by drop is the water pot filled. Likewise, the wise man, gathering it little by little, fills himself with good.
- Irrigators channel waters. Fletchers straighten arrows. Carpenters shape wood. The wise master themselves.
- Hatred is never appeased by hatred in this world. By non-hatred alone is hatred appeased. This is a law eternal.
- The way is not in the sky. The way is in the heart.
- Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.
- If you understood the power of giving as I do, you would never let a meal pass without sharing.
- The root of suffering is attachment.
- The greats of the past only show the way. You must walk the path yourself.
Namaste, my friends, namaste!
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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