Gautama Buddha

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Hatred does not cease by hatred, but only by love. This is the eternal rule. (from: Dhammapada, Vers 5)

Gautama Buddha (c. 563 – c. 483 BC) was a teacher and religious leader. "Buddha", meaning "awakened one" or "enlightened one" is a title, not a name; the Shakyamuni Buddha, whose original name was Siddhartha Gautama, was the founder of Buddhism.

See also Dhammapada

Quotes[edit]

Even death is not to be feared by one who has lived wisely.
No one saves us but ourselves, no one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path but Buddhas clearly show the way.
To cease from evil, to do good, and to purify the mind yourself, this is the teaching of all the Buddhas.
We are what we think.
All that we are arises with our thoughts.
With our thoughts we make the world.
  • But truly, Ananda, it is nothing strange that human beings should die.
  • Let my skin and sinews and bones dry up, together with all the flesh and blood of my body! I welcome it! But I will not move from this spot until I have attained the supreme and final wisdom.
    • The Jatka (From the Attainment of the Buddhaship. Also is in the Nirvana Sutta.)
  • Whatever is subject to origination is all subject to cessation.
    • Majjhima Nikaya 74; Dighanaka Sutta (this saying is also in many other suttas as well)
  • This is deathless, the liberation of the mind through lack of clinging.
    • Majjhima Nikaya (MN) 106
  • Do not go by revelation;
    Do not go by tradition;
    Do not go by hearsay;
    Do not go on the authority of sacred texts;
    Do not go on the grounds of pure logic;
    Do not go by a view that seems rational;
    Do not go by reflecting on mere appearances
    ;
    Do not go along with a considered view because you agree with it;
    Do not go along on the grounds that the person is competent;
    Do not go along because "the recluse is our teacher."
    Kalamas, when you yourselves know: These things are unwholesome, these things are blameworthy; these things are censured by the wise; and when undertaken and observed, these things lead to harm and ill, abandon them...
    Kalamas, when you know for yourselves: These are wholesome; these things are not blameworthy; these things are praised by the wise; undertaken and observed, these things lead to benefit and happiness, having undertaken them, abide in them.
  • Behold now, Bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to decay. Strive with diligence!
    • Last words, as quoted in DN 16; Mahaparinibbana Sutta 6:8
    • Variant translations:
    • Mendicants, I now impress it upon you, the parts and powers of man must be dissolved; work out your own salvation with diligence.
      • As quoted in Present Day Tracts on the Non-Christian Religions of the World (1887) by Sir William Muir, p. 24
    • Now, then, monks, I exhort you: All fabrications are subject to decay. Bring about completion by being heedful.
      • translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu
    • Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!
      • translated by Sister Vajira & Francis Story
  • Therefore, Ananda, be islands unto yourselves, refuges unto yourselves, seeking no external refuge; with the Dhamma as your island, the Dhamma as your refuge, seeking no other refuge. And how, Ananda, is a bhikkhu an island unto himself, a refuge unto himself, seeking no external refuge; with the Dhamma as his island, the Dhamma as his refuge, seeking no other refuge? When he dwells contemplating the body in the body, earnestly, clearly comprehending, and mindfully, after having overcome desire and sorrow in regard to the world; when he dwells contemplating feelings in feelings, the mind in the mind, and mental objects in mental objects, earnestly, clearly comprehending, and mindfully, after having overcome desire and sorrow in regard to the world, then, truly, he is an island unto himself, a refuge unto himself, seeking no external refuge; having the Dhamma as his island, the Dhamma as his refuge, seeking no other refuge. Those bhikkhus of mine, Ananda, who now or after I am gone, abide as an island unto themselves, as a refuge unto themselves, seeking no other refuge; having the Dhamma as their island and refuge, seeking no other refuge: it is they who will become the highest, if they have the desire to learn.
    • Mahaparinibbana Sutta 2:33-35, as translated by Sister Vajira & Francis Story
  • Even death is not to be feared by one who has lived wisely.
    • As quoted in Wisdom for the Soul: Five Millennia of Prescriptions for Spiritual Healing (2006) edited by Larry Chang, p. 193
    • This is actually a pithy modern-day 'summary' of the "Abhaya Sutta" (AN 4.184). It appears in "Buddha’s Little Instruction Book" by Jack Kornfield (p88).

Exertion[edit]

Full text online, as translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu
  • Sensual passions are your first enemy.
Your second is called Discontent.
Your third is Hunger & Thirst.
Your fourth is called Craving.
Fifth is Sloth & Drowsiness.
Sixth is called Terror.
Your seventh is Uncertainty.
Hypocrisy & Stubbornness, your eighth.
Gains, Offerings, Fame, & Status wrongly gained,
and whoever would praise self
& disparage others.
That, Namuci, is your enemy,
the Dark One's commando force.
A coward can't defeat it,
but one having defeated it
gains bliss.
  • I spit on my life.
    Death in battle would be better for me
    than that I, defeated, survive.
    • This statement is made in reference to his battle against the personification of temptation to evil, Mara.
  • That army of yours,
that the world with its devas can't overcome,
I will smash with discernment
  • I will go about, from kingdom to kingdom,
training many disciples.
They — heedful, resolute
doing my teachings —
despite your wishes, will go
where, having gone,
there's no grief.
  • Sn 3.2, Buddha's Purpose

After Enlightenment[edit]

  • Open are the doors to the Deathless
    to those with ears.
    Let them show their conviction.
    • Ayacana Sutta
  • Conquerors are those like me
    who have reached fermentations' end.
    I've conquered evil qualities,
    and so, Upaka, I'm a conqueror
    • Ariyapariyesana Sutta

Dhammapada[edit]

These are just a few samples, for more from this work see the page for the Dhammapada'
  • As rain breaks through an ill-thatched house, passion will break through an unreflecting mind.
  • No one saves us but ourselves, no one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path but Buddhas clearly show the way.
    • Ch. 165
  • To cease from evil, to do good, and to purify the mind yourself, this is the teaching of all the Buddhas.
    • Ch. 183
  • Can there be joy and laughter When always the world is ablaze? Enshrouded in darkness Should you not seek a light?
  • We are what we think.
    All that we are arises with our thoughts.
    With our thoughts we make the world.
    • As translated by T. Byrom (1993), Shambhala Publications.

Anguttara Nikaya[edit]

Friends
Nothing is as intractable as an untamed heart.
The untamed heart is intractable.
Nothing is as tractable as a tamed heart.
The tamed heart is tractable.
Nothing tends toward loss as does an untamed heart.
The untamed heart tends towards loss.
Nothing tends toward growth as does a tamed heart.
The tamed heart tends towards growth.
Nothing brings suffering as does
the untamed, uncontrolled unattended and unrestrained heart.
That heart brings suffering.
Nothing brings joy as does a
tamed, controlled, attended and restrained heart.
This heart brings joy.

Samyutta Nikaya[edit]

Online Translations

[A devata] Giving what does one give strength? Giving what does one give beauty? Giving what does one give ease? Giving what does one give sight? Who is the giver of all? Being asked, please explain to me

[The Blessed One] Giving food, one gives strength; Giving clothes, one gives beauty; Giving a vehicle, one gives ease; Giving a lamp, one gives sight.

The one who gives a residence Is the giver of all. But the one who teaches the Dhamma Is the giver of the Deathless


  • Whatever is felt is within suffering.
    • 36.11

Soma and Mara An adapation of a translation by C.A.F. Rhys-Davids

Once Soma, having returned from her alms round
and having eaten her meal, entered the woods to meditate.
Deep in the woods, she sat down under a tree.
Everything changes, nothing remains without change....
The tempter Mara, desirous and capable of arousing fear, wavering and dread,
and wishing her to interrupt her focused meditation, came to her and said,
Your intent is difficult, even for the sages;
Completion cannot be reached by a woman regardless the wisdom reaped."
Then Soma thought, "Who is this speaking, human or nonhuman?
Surely it is evil Mara desiring to interrupt my focused meditation."
Knowing that it was Mara, she said,
"What does gender matter with regard to a well-composed mind,
which experiences insight in the light of the dharma?"
The evil Mara thought, "Soma knows me"
and sorrowful for the evil, instantly vanished into darkness.
In protecting oneself, others are protected; In protecting others, oneself is protected.

Bamboo Acrobats An adaptation of a translation by John Ireland.

The Exalted One was dwelling in the Sumbha country,
in a location of the Sumbhas called Sedaka
There He addressed the monks:
"Once upon a time, a bamboo-acrobat set up his pole
and called to his pupil, Medakathalika, saying,
'Come my lad Medakathalika,
climb the pole and stand on my shoulders!'
'All right master,'
replied the pupil to the bamboo-acrobat.
The student then climbed the pole
and stood on the master's shoulders.
Then the bamboo-acrobat said to his pupil:
'Now Medakathalika, protect me well and I shall protect you.
Thus watched and warded by each other,
we will show our tricks, get a good fee and
come down safe from the bamboo pole.'
Meditation brings wisdom; lack of meditation leaves ignorance. Know well what leads you forward and what hold you back, and choose the path that leads to wisdom.
At these words Medakathalika the pupil
said to the bamboo-acrobat,
'No, no! That won't do master!
Look after yourself and I'll look after myself.
Thus watched and warded each by himself,
we'll show our tricks and get a good fee and
come down safe from the bamboo-pole.'"
"In the synthesis is the right way,"
said the Exalted One,
"Just as Medakathalika the pupil said to his master,
'I shall protect myself,'
by this the Foundation of Mindfulness is practiced.
'I shall protect others,'
by this the Foundation of Mindfulness is practiced.
In protecting oneself, others are protected;
In protecting others, oneself is protected."
Words have the power to both destroy and heal. When words are both true and kind, they can change our world.
And how does one in protecting oneself, protect others?
By frequent practice, development and
making much of the Foundation of Mindfulness.
Thus in protecting oneself, others are protected.
And how does one, in protecting others, protect oneself?
By forbearance and nonviolence,
By loving kindness and compassion.
Thus in protecting others, one protects oneself.
With the intention, 'I shall protect myself,'
the Foundation of Mindfulness is practiced.
With the intention, 'I shall protect others,'
the Foundation of Mindfulness is practiced.
In protecting oneself, others are protected;
In protecting others, oneself is protected."
  • And this, monks, is the noble truth of the origination of dukkha: the craving that makes for further becoming — accompanied by passion & delight, relishing now here & now there — i.e., craving for sensual pleasure, craving for becoming, craving for non-becoming.
    • 56.11 Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta: Setting the Wheel of Dhamma in Motion translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

The Gospel of Buddha (1894)[edit]

The Gospel of Buddha is a compilation from ancient records by Paul Carus
Neither fire, nor moisture, nor wind can destroy the blessing of good deeds, and blessings enlighten the whole world.

Ch. 58 The Buddha Replies to the Deva

On a certain day when the Blessed One
dwelt at Jetavana, the garden of Anathapindika,
a celestial deva came to him in the shape of a Brahman
enlightened and wearing clothing as white as snow.

The deva asked,

What is the sharpest sword?
What is the deadliest poison?
What is the fiercest fire?
What is the darkest night?"

The Blessed One replied,

The sharpest sword is a word spoken in wrath;
the deadliest poison is covetousness;
the fiercest fire is hatred;
the darkest night is ignorance.

The deva said,

What is the greatest gain?
What is the greatest loss?
Which armour is invulnerable?
What is the best weapon?

The Blessed One replied,

The greatest gain is to give to others;
the greatest loss is to greedily receive without gratitude;
an invulnerable armor is patience;
the best weapon is wisdom.

The deva said,

Who is the most dangerous thief?
What is the most precious treasure?
Who can capture the heavens and the earth?
Where is the securest treasure-trove?
A saviour has a greater right over the saved one than killer.

The Blessed One replied,

The most dangerous thief is unwholesome thought;
the most precious treasure is virtue;
the heavens and the earth may be captured by the mind's eye;
surpassing rebirth locates the securest treasure-trove.

The deva asked,

What is attraction?
What is repulsion?
What is the most horrible pain?
What is the greatest enjoyment?


The Buddha replied,

Attraction is wholeness;
repulsion is unwholesomeness;
the most tormenting pain is bad conscience;
the height of bliss is redeemed awakening.

The deva asked,

What causes ruin in the world?
What breaks off friendships?
What is the most violent fever?
Who is the best physician?"

The Blessed One replied,

Ruin in the world is caused by ignorance;
friendships are broken off by envy and selfishness;
the most violent fever is hatred;
the best physician is the Buddha;

The deva continued,

Now I have only one doubt to resolve and absolve:
What is it fire cannot burn,
nor moisture corrode,
nor wind crush down,
but is able to enlighten the whole world.
To conquer oneself is a greater task than conquering others.

The Buddha replied,

Blessing!
Neither fire, nor moisture, nor wind
can destroy the blessing of good deeds,
and blessings enlighten the whole world.

Hearing these answers,

the deva was overflowing with joy.
Then clasping hands, bowed down in respect and
disappeared suddenly from the presence of the Buddha.
  • True charity occurs only when there are no notions of giving, giver, or gift.
    • David Ross, 1,001 Pearls of Wisdom, 2006, p. 26
  • We forgive principally for our own sake, so that we may cease to bear the burden of rancour.
    • David Ross, 1,001 Pearls of Wisdom, 2006, p. 30
  • Rather than continuing to seek the truth, simply let go of your views.
    • David Ross, 1,001 Pearls of Wisdom, 2006, p. 39



Disputed[edit]

These quotes are unsourced and their authenticity as sayings of the Gautama Buddha has been questioned.
Life is no more than a dewdrop balancing on the end of a blade of grass.
  • Your work is to discover your work and then with all your heart to give yourself to it.
    • Research done at Fake Buddha Quotes indicates that this seems to have arisen as a paraphrase of paraphrases, and has been further paraphrased as "Your work is to discover your world and then with all your heart to give yourself to it." They seem to have been derived from a "rendering" of verse 166 of the Dhammapada by Anne Bancroft: "Your work is to find out what your work should be and not to neglect it for another’s. Clearly discover your work and attend to it with all your heart." A 1996 translation by Acharya Buddharakkhita renders this more correctly as : Let one not neglect one’s own welfare for the sake of another, however great. Clearly understanding one’s own welfare, let one be intent upon the good.
  • Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Just as the candle won't be shortened, one's happiness never decreases by being shared.
  • The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, nor to worry about the future, but to live the present moment wisely and earnestly.
  • Words have the power to both destroy and heal. When words are both true and kind, they can change our world.
  • If we could see the miracle of a single flower clearly, our whole life would change.
  • Let us all be thankful for this day, for we have learned a great deal; if we have not learned a great deal, then at least we learned slightly; if we did not learn slightly, then at least we did not become sick; if we did become sick, then at least we did not die. So, let us all be thankful.
  • On life's journey faith is nourishment, virtuous deeds are a shelter, wisdom is the light by day and right mindfulness is the protection by night. If a man lives a pure life, nothing can destroy him.
  • Teach this triple truth to all: A generous heart, kind speech, and a life of service and compassion are the things which renew humanity.
  • Desire is the cause for all your sickness and misery.
  • It is your mind that creates this world.
  • Believe nothing, O monks, merely because you have been told it … or because it is traditional, or because you yourselves have imagined it. Do not believe what your teacher tells you merely out of respect for the teacher. But whatsoever, after due examination and analysis, you find to be conducive to the good, the benefit, the welfare of all beings—that doctrine believe and cling to, and take it as your guide.
    • Reported in Life (March 7, 1955), p. 102. Reported in unverified in his writings in Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations (1989).


Misattributed[edit]

  • To understand everything is to forgive everything.
    • This is generally reported as a French proverb, and one familiar as such in Russia as well, in many 19th and 20th century works; it seems to have first become attributed to Gautama Buddha without citation of sources in Farm Journal, Vol. 34 (1910), p. 417
  • I do not believe in a fate that falls on men however they act; but I do believe in a fate that falls on them unless they act.
  • Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha, drew a circle with a piece of red chalk and said: "When men, even unknowingly, are to meet one day, whatever may befall each, whatever the diverging paths, on the said day, they will inevitably come together in the red circle."
    • Director Jean-Pierre Melville made it up for the epigraph of Le Cercle Rouge (The Red Circle).
  • We are what we think.
    All that we are arises with our thoughts.
    With our thoughts we make the world.
    • As rendered by T. Byrom (1993), Shambhala Publications.
    • There is no quote from the Pali Canon that matches up with any of these. The closest quote to this is in the Majjhima Nikaya 19:
      • "Whatever a monk keeps pursuing with his thinking & pondering, that becomes the inclination of his awareness. If a monk keeps pursuing thinking imbued with sensuality, abandoning thinking imbued with renunciation, his mind is bent by that thinking imbued with sensuality. If a monk keeps pursuing thinking imbued with ill will, abandoning thinking imbued with non-ill will, his mind is bent by that thinking imbued with ill will. If a monk keeps pursuing thinking imbued with harmfulness, abandoning thinking imbued with harmlessness, his mind is bent by that thinking imbued with harmfulness." Sources: [1]

Quotes about Buddha[edit]

The Buddha is a being who is totally free of all delusions and faults, who is endowed with all good qualities and has attained the wisdom eliminating the darkness of ignorance. ~ Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama
Buddha in a different language called men to self-forgetfulness five hundred years before Christ. In some ways he was near to us and our needs. ~ H. G. Wells
  • The age in which true history appeared in India was one of great intellectual and spiritual ferment. Mystics and sophists of all kinds roamed through the Ganga Valley, all advocating some form of mental discipline and asceticism as a means to salvation; but the age of the Buddha, when many of the best minds were abandoning their homes and professions for a life of asceticism, was also a time of advance in commerce and politics. It produced not only philosophers and ascetics, but also merchant princes and men of action.
  • For the first time in human history, the Buddha admonished, entreated and appealed to people not to hurt a living being, and it is not necessary to offer prayer, praise or sacrifice to gods. With all the eloquence at his command the Buddha vehemently proclaimed that gods are also in dire need of salvation themselves.
  • India was the motherland of our race, and Sanskrit the mother of Europe's languages: she was the mother of our philosophy; mother, through the Arabs, of much of our mathematics; mother, through the Buddha, of the ideals embodied in Christianity; mother, through the village community, of self-government and democracy. Mother India is in many ways the mother of us all.
    • Will Durant,prolific American writer, historian, and philosopher in The Case for India (1931)
  • I have no hesitation in declaring that I owe a great deal to the inspiration that I have derived from the life of the Enlightened One. Asia has a message for the whole world, if only it would live up to it. There is the imprint of Buddhistic influence on the whole of Asia, which includes India, China, Japan, Burma, Ceylon, and the Malay States. For Asia to be not for Asia but for the whole world, it has to re-learn the message of the Buddha and deliver it to the whole world. His love, his boundless love went out as much to the lower animal, to the lowest life as to human beings. And he insisted upon purity of life.
  • The Buddha is a being who is totally free of all delusions and faults, who is endowed with all good qualities and has attained the wisdom eliminating the darkness of ignorance. The Dharma is the result of his enlightenment. After having achieved enlightenment, a Buddha teaches, and what he or she teaches is called the Dharma. The Sangha is made up of those who engage in the practice of the teachings given by the Buddha. . . . One of the benefits of refuge is that all of the misdeeds you have committed in the past can be purified, because taking refuge entails accepting the Buddha's guidance and following a path of virtuous action.
  • Now in this realm Buddha's speeches are a source and mine of quite unparalleled richness and depth. As soon as we cease to regard Buddha's teachings simply intellectually and acquiesce with a certain sympathy in the age-old Eastern concept of unity, if we allow Buddha to speak to us as vision, as image, as the awakened one, the perfect one, we find him, almost independently of the philosophic content and dogmatic kernel of his teachings, a great prototype of mankind. Whoever attentively reads a small number of the countless speeches of Buddha is soon aware of harmony in them, a quietude of soul, a smiling transcendence, a totally unshakeable firmness, but also invariable kindness, endless patience. As ways and means to the attainment of this holy quietude of soul, the speeches are full of advice, precepts, hints. The intellectual content of Buddha's teaching is only half his work, the other half is his life, his life as lived, as labour accomplished and action carried out. A training, a spiritual self training of the highest order was accomplished and is taught here, a training about which unthinking people who talk about "quietism" and "Hindu dreaminess" and the like in connection with Buddha have no conception; they deny him the cardinal Western virtue of activity. Instead Buddha accomplished a training for himself and his pupils, exercised a discipline, set up a goal, and produced results before which even the genuine heroes of European action can only feel awe.
  • For natures such as Jesus of Nazareth, Mohammed and Gautama Buddha is already the capacity of its openness for a world vision part of its application documents. With its virtues, experiences and abilities they belong to each post written out in the world with each interview to the most promising candidates and easy are erhalten.
    • James Redfield, in the Manual of the 10th Celestine Prophecy part of I: The threshold; Heyne publishing house Munich, German-language edition 1997,ISBN 3-453-11809X
  • If we ask, for instance, whether the position of the electron remains the same, we must say 'no'; if we ask whether the electron's position changes with time, we must say 'no'; if we ask whether the electron is at rest, we must say 'no'; if we ask whether it is in motion, we must say 'no'. The Buddha has given such answers when interrogated as to the conditions of a man's self after his death; but they are not familiar answers for the tradition of seventeenth and eighteenth century science.
  • The fundamental teachings of Gautama, as it is now being made plain to us by study of original sources, is clear and simple and in the closest harmony with modern ideas. It is beyond all disputes the achievement of one of the most penetrating intelligence the world has ever known. Buddhism has done more for the advance of world civilization and true culture than any other influence in the chronicles of mankind.
  • The Buddha Is Nearer to Us You see clearly a man, simple, devout, lonely, battling for light, a vivid human personality, not a myth. Beneath a mass of miraculous fable I feel that there also was a man. He too, gave a message to mankind universal in its character. Many of our best modern ideas are in closest harmony with it. All the miseries and discontents of life are due, he taught, to selfishness. Selfishness takes three forms — one, the desire to satisfy the senses; second, the craving for immortality; and the third the desire for prosperity and worldliness. Before a man can become serene he must cease to live for his senses or himself. Then he merges into a greater being. Buddha in a different language called men to self-forgetfulness five hundred years before Christ. In some ways he was near to us and our needs. Buddha was more lucid upon our individual importance in service than Christ, and less ambiguous upon the question of personal immortality.
  • The teachings of Buddha are eternal, but even then Buddha did not proclaim them to be infallible. The religion of Buddha has the capacity to change according to times, a quality which no other religion can claim to have ... Now what is the basis of Buddhism? If you study carefully, you will see that Buddhism is based on reason. There is an element of flexibility inherent in it, which is not found in any other religion.
    • Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar , Indian scholar, philosopher and architect of Constitution of India, in his writing and speeches

See also[edit]

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