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Develop the mind of equilibrium. You will always be getting praise and blame, but do not let either affect the poise of the mind: follow the calmness, the absence of pride. ~ Gautama Buddha
Institutional Buddhism has been conspicuously ready to accept or ignore the inequalities and tyrannies of whatever political system it found itself under. This can be death to Buddhism, because it is death to any meaningful function of compassion. ~ Gary Snyder
Buddhism is a religion for the closing, over-wearied stages of civilization. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

Buddhism is a religion based on teachings attributed to Gautama Buddha. Buddhism encompasses a variety of traditions, beliefs and spiritual practices largely based on original teachings attributed to the Buddha and resulting interpreted philosophies. It originated in ancient India as a Sramana tradition sometime between the 6th and 4th centuries BCE, spreading through much of Asia. Two major extant branches of Buddhism are generally recognized by scholars: Theravāda (Pali: "The School of the Elders") and Mahāyāna (Sanskrit: "The Great Vehicle"). Most Buddhist traditions share the goal of overcoming suffering and the cycle of death and rebirth, either by the attainment of Nirvana or through the path of Buddhahood.

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  • There is, in the Buddhist philosophy, a wonderful sentence of the Lord Gautama Buddha, where he is striving to indicate in human language something that would be intelligible about the condition of Nirvana. You find it in the Chinese translation of the Dhammapada, and the Chinese edition has been translated into English in Trübner’s Oriental Series. He puts it there that, unless there were Nirvana, there could be nothing; and he uses various phrases in order to indicate what he means, taking the uncreated and then connecting with it the created; taking the Real and then connecting with it the unreal. He sums it up by saying that Nirvana is; and that if it were not, naught else could be. That is an attempt (if one may call it so with all reverence) to say what cannot be said. It implies that unless there existed the Uncreate, the invisible and the Real, we could not have a universe at all. You have there, then, the indication that Nirvana is a plenum, not a void. That idea should be fundamentally fixed in your mind, in your study of every great system of Philosophy. So often the expressions used may seem to indicate a void. Hence the western idea of annihilation. If you think of it as fullness, you will realize that the consciousness expands more and more, without losing utterly the sense of identity; if you could think of a centre of a circle without a circumference, you would glimpse the truth.
  • Early in the present century a Florentine scientist, a skeptic and a correspondent of the French Institute, having been permitted to penetrate in disguise to the hallowed precincts of a Buddhist temple, where the most solemn of all ceremonies was taking place, relates the following as having been seen by himself. An altar is ready in the temple to receive the resuscitated Buddha, found by the initiated priesthood, and recognized by certain secret signs to have reincarnated himself in a new-born infant. The baby, but a few days old, is brought into the presence of the people and reverentially placed upon the altar. Suddenly rising into a sitting posture, the child begins to utter in a loud, manly voice the following sentences: "I am Buddha, I am his spirit; and I, Buddha, your Dalai-Lama, have left my old, decrepit body, at the temple of . . . and selected the body of this young babe as my next earthly dwelling." Our scientist, being finally permitted by the priests to take, with due reverence, the baby in his arms, and carry it away to such a distance from them as to satisfy him that no ventriloquial deception is being practiced, the infant looks at the grave academician with eyes that "make his flesh creep," as he expresses it, and repeats the words he had previously uttered.
    • H.P. Blavatsky, Isis Unveiled: A Master-Key to the Mysteries of Ancient and Modern Science and Theology, Vol. I, Ch. 12, (1877)
  • A detailed account of this adventure, attested with the signature of this eye-witness, was forwarded to Paris, but the members of the Institute, instead of accepting the testimony of a scientific observer of acknowledged credibility, concluded that the Florentine was either suffering under an attack of sunstroke, or had been deceived by a clever trick of acoustics... there is a verse in the Lotus* which says that "A Buddha is as difficult to be found as the flowers of Udumbara and Palaca," if we are to believe several eye-witnesses, such a phenomenon does happen. Of course its occurrence is rare, for it happens but on the death of every great Dalai-Lama; and these venerable old gentlemen live proverbially long lives.
    • H.P. Blavatsky, Isis Unveiled: A Master-Key to the Mysteries of Ancient and Modern Science and Theology, Vol. I, Ch. 12, (1877)
  • Buddhism is now split into two distinct Churches: the Southern and the Northern Church. The former is said to be the purer form, as having preserved more religiously the original teachings of the Lord Buddha. It is the religion of Ceylon, Siam, Burmah and other places, while Northern Buddhism is confined to Tibet, China and Nepaul. Such a distinction, however, is incorrect. If the Southern Church is nearer, in that it has not departed, except perhaps in some trifling dogmas due to the many councils held after the death of the Master, from the public or exoteric teachings of Sâkyamuni—the Northern Church is the outcome of Siddhârta Buddha’s esoteric teachings which he confined to his elect Bhikshus and Arhats. In fact, Buddhism in the present age, cannot be justly judged either by one or the other of its exoteric popular forms. Real Buddhism can be appreciated only by blending the philosophy of the Southern Church and the metaphysics of the Northern Schools....Correspondentially they stand in their relation to each other as Protestantism to Roman Catholicism. Both err by an excess of zeal and erroneous interpretations, though neither the Southern nor the Northern Buddhist clergy have ever departed from truth consciously, still less have they acted under the dictates of priestocracy, ambition, or with an eye to personal gain and power, as the two Christian Churches have.
  • If only I could throw away the urge to trace my patterns in your heart, I could really see you.
    • David Brandon, Zen in the Art of Helping
  • If beings knew, as I know, the results of sharing gifts, they would not enjoy their gifts without sharing them with others, nor would the taint of stinginess obsess the heart and stay there. Even if it were their last and final bit of food, they would not enjoy its use without sharing it, if there were anyone to receive it.


  • The Buddhist doctrine of impermanence includes the notion that there is no self... It holds that the idea of a separate, individual self is an illusion, just another form of maya, an intellectual concept that has no reality. To cling to this idea of a separate self leads to the same pain and suffering (duhkha) as the adherence to any other fixed category of thought.
  • Schumacher ... rightly saw that in the world today Buddhism is a more potent basis for resisting the economism that rules the West and through it most of the East.
  • Whereas traditional Christianity calls for the subordination of all other commitments to the commitment to God, Buddhism teaches us to give up all craving and attachment, just those aspects of the human psyche that ground economism.
  • Gay subject–subject consciousness is more compatible with Buddhist non‐duality than the hetero subject–object consciousness. It can be claimed, therefore, that Buddha Nature, and Buddhism itself, is queer.
    • Roger Corless, "Towards a queer dharmology of sex," Culture and Religion, vol. 5, no. 2 (2004)


  • Remember always that you are just a visitor here, a traveler passing through. your stay is but short and the moment of your departure unknown. None can live without toil and a craft that provides your needs is a blessing indeed. But if you toil without rest, fatigue and weariness will overtake you, and you will denied the joy that comes from labor's end. Speak quietly and kindly and be not forward with either opinions or advice. If you talk much, this will make you deaf to what others say, and you should know that there are few so wise that they cannot learn from others. Be near when help is needed, but far when praise and thanks are being offered. Take small account of might, wealth and fame, for they soon pass and are forgotten. Instead, nurture love within you and and strive to be a friend to all. Truly, compassion is a balm for many wounds. Treasure silence when you find it, and while being mindful of your duties, set time aside, to be alone with yourself.
    Cast off pretense and self-deception and see yourself as you really are. Despite all appearances, no one is really evil. They are led astray by ignorance. If you ponder this truth always you will offer more light, rather than blame and condemnation. You, no less than all beings have Buddha Nature within. Your essential Mind is pure. Therefore, when defilements cause you to stumble and fall, let not remorse nor dark foreboding cast you down. Be of good cheer and with this understanding, summon strength and walk on. Faith is like a lamp and wisdom makes the flame burn bright. Carry this lamp always and in good time the darkness will yield and you will abide in the Light.


  • If I had to pick a religion, I'd pick Buddhism. Buddhism is a kindly religion. It says you got a chance... it's got humor, it's got wisdom, it says to be nice to each other. All the rest of them have gods that want to beat the crap out of you if you defy the rules.


  • View all problems as challenges.
    Look upon negativities that arise as opportunities to learn and to grow.
    Don't run from them, condemn yourself, or bury your burden in saintly silence.
    You have a problem? Great.
    More grist for the mill. Rejoice, dive in, and investigate.




  • As a student of comparative religions, I believe that Buddhism is the most perfect one the world has even seen. The philosophy of the theory of evolution and the law of karma were far superior to any other creed. It was neither the history of religion nor the study of philosophy that first drew me to the world of Buddhist thought but my professional interest as a doctor. My task was to treat psychic suffering and it was this that impelled me to become acquainted with the views and methods of that great teacher of humanity, whose principal theme was the chain of suffering, old age, sickness and death.


  • Popular Buddhism with its profuse idolatry, its relics, and its superstitions repels me, and I have reservations even about the teachings of the Buddha. I admire much of his profound analysis of man's condition: the world has no purpose; it is up to us to give our lives a purpose; and we cannot rely on any supernatural assistance. Life is full of suffering, suffering is rooted in desire and attachment, and much desire and attachment are rooted in ignorance. By knowledge, especially of the Buddha's teachings, it is possible to develop a pervasive detachment, not incompatible with a mild, comprehensive compassion—and to cease to suffer. But ... the price for the avoidance of all suffering is too high. Suffering and sacrifice can be experienced as worthwhile: one may find beauty in them and greatness through them.


  • [Indra's Net is a metaphor for] the profound cosmology and outlook that permeates Hinduism. Indra's Net symbolizes the universe as a web of connections and interdependences [...] I seek to revive it as the foundation for Vedic cosmology and show how it went on to become the central principle of Buddhism, and from there spread into mainstream Western discourse across several disciplines.


  • The lives and writings of the mystics of all great religions bear witness to religious experiences of great intensity, in which considerable changes are effected in the quality of consciousness. Profound absorption in prayer or meditation can bring about a deepening and widening, a brightening and intensifying, of consciousness, accompanied by a transporting feeling of rapture and bliss. The contrast between these states and normal conscious awareness is so great that the mystic believes his experiences to be manifestations of the divine; and given the contrast, this assumption is quite understandable. Mystical experiences are also characterized by a marked reduction or temporary exclusion of the multiplicity of sense-perceptions and restless thoughts. This relative unification of mind is then interpreted as a union or communion with the One God. … The psychological facts underlying those religious experiences are accepted by the Buddhist and are well-known to him; but he carefully distinguishes the experiences themselves from the theological interpretations imposed upon them. … The meditator will not be overwhelmed by any uncontrolled emotions and thoughts evoked by his singular experience, and will thus be able to avoid interpretations of that experience not warranted by the facts. Hence a Buddhist meditator, while benefiting from the refinement of consciousness he has achieved, will be able to see these meditative experiences for what they are; and he will further know that they are without any abiding substance that could be attributed to a deity manifesting itself to his mind. Therefore, the Buddhist’s conclusion must be that the highest mystical states do not provide evidence for the existence of a personal God or an impersonal godhead.
  • This method of Bare Attention, so helpful to mind-knowledge and, through it, to world-knowledge, tallies with the procedure and attitude of the true scientist and scholar: clear definition of subject-matter and terms; unprejudiced receptivity for the instruction that comes out of the things themselves; exclusion, or at least reduction, of the subjective factor in judgment; deferring of judgment until a careful examination of facts has been made.

Friedrich Nietzsche, The Antichrist (1895)

The Antichrist (Der Antichrist) by Friedrich Nietzsche, originally published in 1895. (Transl.) H.L. Mencken
  • One now begins to see just what it was that came to an end with the death on the cross: a new and thoroughly original effort to found a Buddhistic peace movement, and so establish happiness on earth--real, not merely promised. For this remains--as I have already pointed out--the essential difference between the two religions of decadence: Buddhism promises nothing, but actually fulfills; Christianity promises everything, but fulfills nothing.
  • In my condemnation of Christianity I surely hope I do no injustice to a related religion with an even larger number of believers: I allude to Buddhism. Both are to be reckoned among the nihilistic religions--they are both decadence religions--but they are separated from each other in a very remarkable way. For the fact that he is able to compare them at all the critic of Christianity is indebted to the scholars of India.
  • Buddhism is a hundred times as realistic as Christianity--it is part of its living heritage that it is able to face problems objectively and coolly; it is the product of long centuries of philosophical speculation. The concept, "god," was already disposed of before it appeared. Buddhism is the only genuinely positive religion to be encountered in history, and this applies even to its epistemology (which is a strict phenomenalism) --It does not speak of a "struggle with sin," but, yielding to reality, of the "struggle with suffering." Sharply differentiating itself from Christianity, it puts the self-deception that lies in moral concepts be hind it; it is, in my phrase,beyond good and evil.--
  • The things necessary to Buddhism are a very mild climate, customs of great gentleness and liberality, and no militarism; moreover, it must get its start among the higher and better educated classes. Cheerfulness, quiet and the absence of desire are the chief desiderata, and they are attained. Buddhism is not a religion in which perfection is merely an object of aspiration: perfection is actually normal.--
  • Buddhism is a religion for peoples in a further state of development, for races that have become kind, gentle and over-spiritualized (--Europe is not yet ripe for it--): it is a summons 'that takes them back to peace and cheerfulness, to a careful rationing of the spirit, to a certain hardening of the body.
  • Buddhism is a religion for the closing, over-wearied stages of civilization.
  • Buddhism, I repeat, is a hundred times more austere, more honest, more objective. It no longer has to justify its pains, its susceptibility to suffering, by interpreting these things in terms of sin--it simply says, as it simply thinks, "I suffer." To the barbarian, however, suffering in itself is scarcely understandable: what he needs, first of all, is an explanation as to why he suffers. (His mere instinct prompts him to deny his suffering altogether, or to endure it in silence.) Here the word "devil" was a blessing: man had to have an omnipotent and terrible enemy--there was no need to be ashamed of suffering at the hands of such an enemy.


  • It is the negation of the pleasures of the body that serves as the living source of the religious view, and is the axis of every religious dogma. This is especially evident in the religions of Christianity and Buddhism.
  • Among present-day religions Buddhism is the best. The doctrines of Buddhism are profound; they are almost reasonable, and historically they have been the least harmful and the least cruel. But I cannot say that Buddhism is positively good, nor would I wish to have it spread all over the world and believed by everyone. This is because Buddhism only focuses on the question of what Man is, not on what the universe is like. Buddhism does not really pursue the truth; it appeals to sentiment and, ultimately, tries to persuade people to believe in doctrines which are based on subjective assumptions not objective evidence.

Foundations of Buddhism by Helena Roerich, (1930)

  • No teaching foresaw the future with such precision as Buddhism. Parallel with reverence to the Buddha, Buddhism develops the veneration of Bodhisattvas—future Buddhas. According to the tradition, Gotama, before reaching the state of Buddha, had been a Bodhisattva for many centuries. The word, Bodhisattva, comprises two concepts: Bodhi—enlightenment or awakening, and Sattva—the essence. Who are these Boddhisattvas? The disciples of Buddhas, who voluntarily have renounced their personal liberation and, following the example of their Teacher, have entered upon a long, weary thorny path of help to humanity. Such Bodhisattvas appear on earth in the midst of the most varying conditions of life. Physically indistinguishable in any way from the rest of humanity, they differ completely in their psychology, constantly being the heralds of the principle of the common welfare.
  • Let us consider Buddhism and contemporary science. It is evident that Buddhists are most open to all evolutionary achievements. Of course, this quality was instilled by their basic Teaching. Becoming familiar with the foundations we see how greatly the statements of the Teacher are confirmed by the achievements of our contemporary science. The same results which Einstein reached by way of experiment were reached by ancient Buddhists in a purely contemplative way.
  • Regarding the constant change of the world, visible to our coarse organs, as well as its dissolution, Buddhism points out that those dissolutions are temporary and periodical; for, according to the principle of evolution guided by the law of individual and collective Karma, the disappearing world will in turn manifest a new world with all its contents, just as our Universe was manifested from the primary substance—matter.
  • Denying miracles, the Teacher pointed out the concealed powers of human nature which, when developed, can produce the so-called miracles.
    The method of developing these powers is interpreted in Buddhist books and is known under the name of the science “Iddhi-Vidhanana,” which points out two forms of manifestation of these powers and two ways to attain them. One, the lower, is reached by way of various ascetic and other physical practices; the other higher one, embracing all possible manifestations, is attained by the power of inner development. The first method of developing these powers is not lasting and may be lost, whereas inner development can never be lost. Its mastery is attained by following the noble way indicated by Buddha. All these hidden powers gradually unfold in man, usually of themselves, in proportion to man’s mastery of the lower expressions of his nature in a whole series of previous lives.
  • According to tradition, the Blessed One preordained the Bodhisattva Maitreya as his successor. “And the Blessed One said to Ananda, ‘I am not the first Buddha who has come upon Earth, nor shall I be the last. In due time another Buddha will arise in the world, a Holy One, a supremely enlightened One, endowed with wisdom in conduct, embracing the Universe, an incomparable leader of men, a ruler of devas and mortals. He will reveal to you the same eternal truths, that I have taught you. He will establish his Law, glorious in its origin, glorious at the climax, and glorious at the goal, in the spirit and in the letter. He will proclaim a righteous life, wholly perfect and pure, such as I now proclaim. His disciples will number many thousands while mine number many hundreds.’ “Ananda said, ‘How shall we know him?’ “The Blessed One said, ‘He will be known as Maitreya!’ ”  (Paul Carus, The Gospel of Buddha) The future Buddha, Maitreya, as his name indicates, is the Buddha of compassion and love. This Bodhisattva, according to the power of his qualities, is often called Ajita—the Invincible.
  • It is interesting to note that reverence of many Bodhisattvas was accepted and developed only in the Mahayana school. Nevertheless, the reverence of one Bodhisattva, Maitreya, as a successor chosen by Buddha himself, is accepted also in the Hinayana. Thus, one Bodhisattva, Maitreya, embraces the complete scope, being the personification of all aspirations of Buddhism.
  • What qualities must a Bodhisattva possess? In the Teaching of Gotama Buddha and in the Teaching of Bodhisattva Maitreya, given by him to Asanga according to tradition in the fourth century (Mahayana-Sutralankara), the maximum development of energy, courage, patience, constancy of striving, and fearlessness was underlined first of all. Energy is the basis of everything, for it alone contains all possibilities.
  • Throughout the entire Buddhist world the rocks on the roadsides, with the images of Maitreya, point out the approaching future. From the most ancient times until now this Image has been erected by Buddhists who know the approach of the New Era. In our day, venerable lamas, accompanied by disciples, painters, and sculptors, travel through the Buddhist countries, erecting new images of the symbol of aspirations toward the radiant future.
  • Buddha, as the source, and Maitreya, as a universal hope, will unite the austere followers of the Teaching of the South with the multiformity of the North. That which is most essential for the immediate future will definitely manifest itself. Instead of swelling the Teaching with commentaries, it will again be restored to the beauty of the value of concise conviction. The new time of the Era of Maitreya is in need of conviction.
  • Life in its entirety must be purified by the flame of achievement. The great Buddha, who preordained Maitreya, prescribed the path for the whole of existence. For those wise and clear covenants, the manifestation of the new evolution is calling. The demand for the purification of the Teaching is not accidental. The dates are approaching. The Image of Maitreya is ready to rise. All the Buddhas of the past have combined their wisdom of experience and have handed it on to the Blessed Coming One.


  • One day I complained to Suzuki Roshi about the people I was working with. He listened intently. Finally he said, "If you want to see virtue, you have to have a calm mind."
    • "To Shine One Corner of the World: Moments with Shuryu Suzuki" (Edited by David Chadwick)
  • Historically, Buddhist philosophers have failed to analyze out the degree to which ignorance and suffering are caused or encouraged by social factors. ... Institutional Buddhism has been conspicuously ready to accept or ignore the inequalities and tyrannies of whatever political system it found itself under. This can be death to Buddhism, because it is death to any meaningful function of compassion.


  • When I occasionally quote the words of Jesus or the Buddha, from A Course in Miracles or from other teachings, I do so not in order to compare, but to draw your attention to the fact that in essence there is and always has been only one spiritual teaching, although it comes in many forms. Some of these forms, such as the ancient religions, have become so overlaid with extraneous matter that their spiritual essence has become almost completely obscured by it. To a large extent, therefore, their deeper meaning is no longer recognized and their transformative power lost... I love the Buddha's simple definition of enlightenment as "the end of suffering." There is nothing superhuman in that, is there? Of course, as a definition, it is incomplete. It only tells you what enlightenment is not: no suffering. But what's left when there is no more suffering? The Buddha is silent on that, and his silence implies that you'll have to find out for yourself. He uses a negative definition so that the mind cannot make it into something to believe in or into a superhuman accomplishment, a goal that is impossible for you to attain. Despite this precaution, the majority of Buddhists still believe that enlightenment is for the Buddha, not for them, at least not in this lifetime.
  • The Arising New Consciousness. Most ancient religions and spiritual traditions share the common insight – that our “normal” state of mind is marred by a fundamental defect. However, out of this insight into the nature of the human condition – we may call it the bad news – arises a second insight: the good news of the possibility of a radical transformation of human consciousness. In Hindu teachings (and sometimes in Buddhism also), this transformation is called enlightenment. In the teachings of Jesus, it is salvation, and in Buddhism, it is the end of suffering. Liberation and awakening are other terms used to describe this transformation.
  • The greatest achievement of humanity is not its works of art, science, or technology, but the recognition of its own dysfunction, its own madness. In the distant past, this recognition already came to a few individuals. A man called Gautama Siddhartha, who lived 2,600 years ago in India, was perhaps the first who saw it with absolute clarity. Later the title Buddha was conferred upon him. Buddha means “the awakened one.” At abut the same time, another of humanity’s early awakened teachers emerged in China. His name was Lao Tzu. He left a record of his teaching in the form of one of the most profound spiritual books ever written, the Tao Te Ching. To recognize one’s own insanity, is of course, the arising of sanity, the beginning of healing and transcendence.


  • The religion of future will be a cosmic religion. It should transcend a personal God and avoid dogmas and theology. Covering both the natural and the spiritual, it should be based on a religious sense arising from the experience of all things, natural and spiritual as a meaningful unity. Buddhism answers this description... If there is any religion that would cope with modern scientific needs, it would be Buddhism.
    • Attributed to Albert Einstein, in The Buddha in the Eyes of Eminent Scholars (1999) by Phra Sripariyattimoli ISBN 974-575-539-7
    • Variants:
    • The religion of the future will be a cosmic religion. It should transcend a personal God and avoid dogmas and theology. Covering both the natural and the spiritual, it should be based on a religious sense arising from the experience of all things, natural and spiritual as a meaningful unity. If there is any religion that would cope with modern scientific needs, it would be Buddhism.
    • Buddhism has the characteristics of what would be expected in a cosmic religion for the future: It transcends a personal God, avoids dogma and theology; it covers both the natural and the spiritual, and it is based on a religious sense aspiring from the experience of all things, natural and spiritual, as a meaningful unity.
      • This version does not actually appear in "Albert Einstein: The Human Side" as is sometimes claimed.
    • These statements are very similar, widely quoted, and seem to paraphrase some ideas in the essay "Religion and Science", but they have not actually been sourced to Einstein's known statements. Notable Einstein scholars such as John Stachel and Thomas J. McFarlane, author of Buddha and Einstein: The Parallel Sayings know of this statement but have not found any source for it. Any information on any definite original sources for these is welcome.

See also

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