Gautama Buddha

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Just as a bird, wherever it goes, flies with its wings as its only burden, so too, the bhikkhu becomes content with robes to protect his body and with almsfood to maintain his stomach, and wherever he goes he sets out taking only these with him. Possessing this aggregate of noble virtue, he experiences within himself a bliss that is blameless.
Any kind of material form whatever, whether past, future, or present, internal or external, gross or subtle, inferior or superior, far or near, all material form should be seen as it actually is with proper wisdom thus: “This is not mine, this I am not, this is not my self.”
The seers of old had fully restrained selves, and were austere. Having abandoned the five strands of sensual pleasures, they practiced their own welfare.
The brahmans had no cattle, no gold, no wealth. They had study as their wealth and grain. They guarded the holy life as their treasure.

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. Shakyamuni Buddha, whose original name was Siddhartha Gautama, was the founder of Buddhism.

Pali Canon[edit]

Sutta Pitaka[edit]

Digha Nikaya (Long Discourses)[edit]

Main article: Digha Nikaya
  • Whereas some ascetics and Brahmins remain addicted to attending such shows as dancing, singing, music, displays, recitations, hand-music, cymbals and drums, fairy-shows, acrobatic and conjuring tricks, combats of elephants, buffaloes, bulls, goats, rams, cocks and quail, fighting with staves, boxing, wrestling, sham-fights, parades, manoeuvres and military reviews, the ascetic Gotama refrains from attending such displays.
    • M. Walshe, trans. (1987), Sutta 1, verse 1.13
  • “Well, Lord, is the soul the same as the body, is the soul one thing and the body another?”
“I have not declared that the soul is one thing and the body another.”
“Well, Lord, does the Tathāgata exist after death?” …
“I have not declared that the Tathāgata exists after death.” …
“But, Lord, why has the Lord not declared these things?”
“Potthapada, that is not conducive to the purpose, not conducive to Dhamma, not the way to embark on the holy life; it does not lead to disenchantment, to dispassion, to cessation, to calm, to higher knowledge, to enlightenment, to Nibbana. That is why I have not declared it.”
  • M. Walshe, trans. (1987), Sutta 9, verse 28, p. 164

Majjhima Nikaya (Middle Length Discourses)[edit]

as translated by B. Nanamoli and B. Bodhi (Wisdom Publications: 1995)
  • Just as a bird, wherever it goes, flies with its wings as its only burden, so too, the bhikkhu becomes content with robes to protect his body and with almsfood to maintain his stomach, and wherever he goes he sets out taking only these with him. Possessing this aggregate of noble virtue, he experiences within himself a bliss that is blameless.
    • Sutta 51, Verse 15, p. 450
  • Any kind of material form whatever, whether past, future, or present, internal or external, gross or subtle, inferior or superior, far or near, all material form should be seen as it actually is with proper wisdom thus: “This is not mine, this I am not, this is not my self.”
    • Sutta 62, verse 3, p. 527
  • Rahula, whatever internally, belonging to oneself, is solid, solidified, and clung-to, that is, head-hairs, body-hairs, nails, teeth, skin, flesh, sinews, bones, bone-marrow, kidneys, heart, liver, diaphragm, spleen, lungs, large intestines, small intestines, contents of the stomach, feces, or whatever else internally, belonging to oneself, is solid, solidified, and clung-to: this is called the internal earth element. Now both the internal earth element and the external earth element are simply earth element. And that should be seen as it actually is with proper wisdom thus: “This is not mine, this I am not, this is not my self.” When one sees it thus as it actually is with proper wisdom, one becomes disenchanted with the earth element and makes the mind dispassionate towards the earth element.
    • Sutta 62, verse 8, p. 528
  • Rahula, develop meditation that is like water. ... Just as people wash clean things and dirty things, excrement, urine, spittle, pus, and blood in water, and the water is not horrified, humiliated, and disgusted because of that, so too, Rahula, develop meditation that is like water.
    • Sutta 62, verse 14, p. 530

Samyutta Nikaya (Connected Discourses)[edit]

  • Just as the eldest son of a wheel-turning monarch properly keeps in motion the wheel of sovereignty set in motion by his father, so do you, Sāriputta, properly keep in motion the Wheel of Dhamma set in motion by me.
    • Vangisasamyutta, as translated by B. Bodhi (2000), p. 287

Anguttara Nikaya (Numerical Discourses)[edit]

Khuddaka Nikaya (Minor Collection)[edit]

Dhammapada[edit]
Main article: Dhammapada
  • As rain breaks through an ill-thatched house, passion will break through an unreflecting mind.
  • Can there be joy and laughter When always the world is ablaze? Enshrouded in darkness Should you not seek a light?
To cease from evil, to do good, and to purify the mind yourself, this is the teaching of all the Buddhas.
  • No one saves us but ourselves,
    No one can and no one may.
    We ourselves must walk the path
    Buddhas merely teach the way.
    By ourselves is evil done,
    By ourselves we pain endure,
    By ourselves we cease from wrong,
    By ourselves become we pure.
    • Ch. 165, as translated in The Dharma, or The Religion of Enlightenment; An Exposition of Buddhism (1896) by Paul Carus; variants for some years have included "We ourselves must walk the path but Buddhas clearly show the way", but this is not yet located in any of the original publications of Carus.
  • Conquer anger with love, evil with good, meanness with generosity, and lies with truth.
    • Verse 223
  • To cease from evil, to do good, and to purify the mind yourself, this is the teaching of all the Buddhas.
    • Ch. 183
Sutta Nipata (Suttas falling down)[edit]
The seers of old ... had no cattle, no gold, no wealth. They had study as their wealth and grain. They guarded the holy life as their treasure.

The Group of Discourses, K. R. Norman, trans. (Oxford: 2001)

  • That bhikkhu who has cut off passion in its entirety, like one picking a lotus, both flower and stalk, leaves this shore and the far shore as a snake leaves its old worn-out skin.
That bhikkhu who has cut off craving in its entirety, like one drying up a fast-flowing stream, leaves this shore and the far shore as a snake leaves its old worn-out skin.
  • § 2-3
  • Leaving behind son and wife, and father and mother, and wealth and grain, and relatives, and sensual pleasures to the limit, one should wander solitary as a rhinoceros horn.
'This is an attachment; here there is little happiness, and little satisfaction; here there is very much misery; this is a hook.' Knowing this, a thoughtful man should wander solitary as a rhinoceros horn.
Having torn one's fetters asunder, like a fish breaking a net in the water, not returning, like a fire not going back to what is already burned, one should wander solitary as a rhinoceros horn.
  • § 60-62
  • The brahman Kasibhāradvāja addressed the Blessed One with a verse.
'You say you are a ploughman, but we do not see your ploughing. Being asked, tell us about your ploughing, so that we may know your ploughing.'
'Faith is the seed, penance is the rain, wisdom is my yoke and plough; modesty is the pole, mind is the yoke-tie, mindfulness is my ploughshare and goad. ...
Thus is this ploughing of mine ploughed. It has the death-free as its fruit. Having ploughed this ploughing one is freed from all misery.
  • § 75-80
  • Not by birth does one become an outcaste, not by birth does one become a brahman. By one's action one becomes an outcaste, by one's action one becomes a brahman.
    • § 136
  • Faith is the best wealth for a man in this world. Righteousness when well practised brings happiness. Truth is the sweetest of flavours. They say the life of one living by wisdom is the best.
    • § 182
  • Joined together with bones and sinews, having a plastering of skin and flesh, covered with hide, the body is not seen as it really is—full of intestines, full of stomach, of the lump of the liver, of bladder, of heart, of lungs, of kidneys and of spleen, of mucus, of saliva, and of sweat, and of lymph, of blood, of synovial fluid, of bile, and of fat, ... and its hollow head is filled with brain. A fool, overwhelmed by ignorance, thinks of it as beautiful, but when it lies dead, swollen up and discoloured, cast away in a cemetery, relatives have no regard for it. Dogs devour it, and jackals, and wolves and worms. Crows and vultures devour it, and whatever other living creatures there are. The bhikkhu possessing knowledge here, having heard the Buddha's word, indeed understands it, for he sees the body as it really is.
    • § 194-202
  • The seers of old had fully restrained selves, and were austere. Having abandoned the five strands of sensual pleasures, they practiced their own welfare. The brahmans had no cattle, no gold, no wealth. They had study as their wealth and grain. They guarded the holy life as their treasure.
    • § 284-285
Sutta 3.2. Padhana Sutta[edit]
As translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (1999) Full text online,
  • 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

Mahayana[edit]

Brahmajala Sutra (Mahayana)[edit]

  • The innumerable worlds in the cosmos are like the eyes of the net. Each and every world is different, its variety infinite. So too are the Dharma Doors (methods of cultivation) taught by the Buddhas.

Unclassified[edit]

  • 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
Even death is not to be feared by one who has lived wisely.
  • 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).
  • 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.)
  • I will not take final Nirvana until I have nuns and female disciples who are accomplished…until I have laywomen followers…who will….teach the Dhamma
  • In all things, there is neither male nor female.
    • Vimalakriti Sutra, as quoted by Dr Bettany Hughes Telegraph
  • Whatever an enemy might do to an enemy, or a foe to a foe, the ill-directed mind can do to you even worse.
    Whatever a mother, father or other kinsman might do for you, the well-directed mind can do for you even better.
  • Monks, these two extremes ought not to be practiced by one who has gone forth from the household life. (What are the two?) There is addiction to indulgence of sense-pleasures, which is low, coarse, the way of ordinary people, unworthy, and unprofitable; and there is addiction to self-mortification, which is painful, unworthy, and unprofitable. Avoiding both these extremes, the Tathagata (the Perfect One) has realized the Middle Path; it gives vision, gives knowledge, and leads to calm, to insight, to enlightenment and to Nibbana. And what is that Middle Path realized by the Tathagata? ... It is the Noble Eightfold Path, and nothing else, namely: right understanding, right thought, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness and right concentration.


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]
  • You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe deserve your love and affection
    • Sharon Salzberg in an article in a magazine called “Woman of Power” in 1989
  • There is no way to happiness; happiness is the way.
    • The source is likely to be either modern Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh, or Calvinist clergyman Abraham Johannes Muste. The phrase appears in Thich Nhat Hanh's writings; but it also appears in a volume of US senate hearings from 1948, when Thich Nhat Hanh had not yet been ordained as a monk. Muste is known to have used a variant of the phrase – "'peace' is the way" in 1967, but this was not the first time he had used it, and he had a connection with the 1948 hearing.


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
Sorted alphabetically by author or source
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 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.
  • 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.
  • A maṇi-jewel; magical jewel, which manifests whatever one wishes for (Skt. maṇi, cintā-maṇi, cintāmaṇi-ratna). According to one's desires, treasures, clothing and food can be manifested, while sickness and suffering can be removed, water can be purified, etc. It is a metaphor for the teachings and virtues of the Buddha. ... Said to be obtained from the dragon-king of the sea, or the head of the great fish, Makara, or the relics of a Buddha.
  • 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.
  • One of my sons, the eldest boy, accused me of being a follower of Buddha, and some of my Hindu countrymen also do not hesitate to accuse me of spreading Buddhistic teaching under the guise of Sanatana Hinduism.
    I sympathize with my son's accusations and the accusations of my Hindu friends. And sometimes I feel even proud of being accused of being a follower of the Buddha, and I have no hesitation in declaring in the presence of this audience 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.
    • Mahatma Gandhi, as quoted in With Gandhiji in Ceylon (1928) by Mahadev Haribhai Desai, p. 54
  • 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.

See also[edit]

References[edit]


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