By January 22, 2012 62 Comments Read More →

Buddha Quotes

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You’ve probably come across several quotes attributed to Buddha over the years. I’ve always enjoyed the precision, profoundness, and pragmatism of his quotes.

His words of wisdom have stood the test of time on a number of broad topics.   For this collection of Buddha quotes, I’ve arranged them by key themes including: Action, Anger, Fear, Health, Life, Love, Mind, Personal Development, Self-Reliance, Speech, and Truth.

As you read through the quotes, see if his words, inspire new insight or echo your experience, or challenge your beliefs in some new way.

(Note — If you’re looking for more inspiration, check out my book on Getting Results the Agile Way!  It helps you think, feel, and be your best.)

Top 10 Buddha Quotes

  1. “Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.”
  2. “It is better to conquer yourself than to win a thousand battles. Then the victory is yours. It cannot be taken from you, not by angels or by demons, heaven or hell.”
  3. “It is better to travel well than to arrive.”
  4. “Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without.”
  5. “The only real failure in life is not to be true to the best one knows.”
  6. “The way is not in the sky. The way is in the heart.”
  7. “There is nothing more dreadful than the habit of doubt. Doubt separates people. It is a poison that disintegrates friendships and breaks up pleasant relations. It is a thorn that irritates and hurts; it is a sword that kills.”
  8. “Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.”
  9. “We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts, we make the world.”
  10. “What we think, we become.“

Action

  • “A jug fills drop by drop.”
  • “An idea that is developed and put into action is more important than an idea that exists only as an idea.”
  • “Chaos is inherent in all compounded things. Strive on with diligence.”
  • “Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.”
  • “However many holy words you read, however many you speak, what good will they do you if you do not act on upon them?”
  • “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.”
  • “I never see what has been done; I only see what remains to be done.”
  • “To be idle is a short road to death and to be diligent is a way of life; foolish people are idle, wise people are diligent.”

Anger, Forgiveness, and Compassion

  • “Hatred does not cease through hatred at any time. Hatred ceases through love. This is an unalterable law.”
  • “Have compassion for all beings, rich and poor alike; each has their suffering. Some suffer too much, others too little.”
  • “In a controversy the instant we feel anger we have already ceased striving for the truth, and have begun striving for ourselves.”
  • “Teach this triple truth to all: A generous heart, kind speech, and a life of service and compassion are the things which renew humanity.”
  • “To understand everything is to forgive everything.”
  • “You will not be punished for your anger, you will be punished by your anger.”

Fear

  • “Even death is not to be feared by one who has lived wisely.”
  • “The whole secret of existence is to have no fear. Never fear what will become of you, depend on no one. Only the moment you reject all help are you freed.”
  • “When one has the feeling of dislike for evil, when one feels tranquil, one finds pleasure in listening to good teachings; when one has these feelings and appreciates them, one is free of fear.”

Health

  • “Every human being is the author of his own health or disease.”
  • “Health is the greatest gift, contentment the greatest wealth, faithfulness the best relationship.”
  • “The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.”
  • “To enjoy good health, to bring true happiness to one’s family, to bring peace to all, one must first discipline and control one’s own mind. If a man can control his mind he can find the way to Enlightenment, and all wisdom and virtue will naturally come to him.”
  • “To keep the body in good health is a duty … otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.”
  • “Without health life is not life; it is only a state of languor and suffering an image of death.”

Life and Living

  • “He who experiences the unity of life sees his own Self in all beings, and all beings in his own Self, and looks on everything with an impartial eye.”
  • “Just as a candle cannot burn without fire, men cannot live without a spiritual life.”
  • Just as treasures are uncovered from the earth, so virtue appears from good deeds, and wisdom appears from a pure and peaceful mind. To walk safely through the maze of human life, one needs the light of wisdom and the guidance of virtue.”
  • “Life is suffering.”
  • “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.”
  • “The foot feels the foot when it feels the ground.”
  • “There has to be evil so that good can prove its purity above it.”
  • “To live a pure unselfish life, one must count nothing as one’s own in the midst of abundance.”
  • “When you realize how perfect everything is you will tilt your head back and laugh at the sky.”
  • “You cannot travel the path until you have become the path itself.”
  • “Your work is to discover your work and then with all your heart to give yourself to it.”

Love, Connection, and Unity

  • “All things appear and disappear because of the concurrence of causes and conditions. Nothing ever exists entirely alone; everything is in relation to everything else.”
  • “Ambition is like love, impatient both of delays and rivals.”
  • “He who loves 50 people has 50 woes; he who loves no one has no woes.”
  • “Unity can only be manifested by the Binary. Unity itself and the idea of Unity are already two.”
  • “You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere. You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe deserve your love and affection.”
  • “You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.”

Mind, Thought, and Thinking

  • “All wrong-doing arises because of mind. If mind is transformed can wrong-doing remain?”
  • “An insincere and evil friend is more to be feared than a wild beast; a wild beast may wound your body, but an evil friend will wound your mind.”
  • “Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense.”
  • “He is able who thinks he is able.”
  • “It is a man’s own mind, not his enemy or foe, that lures him to evil ways.”
  • “The mind is everything. What you think you become.”
  • “Those who are free of resentful thoughts surely find peace.”
  • “We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts, we make the world.”

Personal Development

  • “Do not overrate what you have received, nor envy others. He who envies others does not obtain peace of mind.”
  • “The virtues, like the Muses, are always seen in groups. A good principle was never found solitary in any breast.”
  • “To conquer oneself is a greater task than conquering others.”
  • “Virtue is persecuted more by the wicked than it is loved by the good.”
  • “We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves.”

Self-Reliance

  • “No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path.”
  • “Work out your own salvation. Do not depend on others.”

Speech

  • “A dog is not considered a good dog because he is a good barker. A man is not considered a good man because he is a good talker.”
  • “Better than a thousand hollow words, is one word that brings peace.”
  • “The tongue like a sharp knife … Kills without drawing blood.”
  • “The wise ones fashioned speech with their thought, sifting it as grain is sifted through a sieve.”
  • “Whatever words we utter should be chosen with care for people will hear them and be influenced by them for good or ill.”

Truth

  • “In the sky, there is no distinction of east and west; people create distinctions out of their own minds and then believe them to be true.”
  • “There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth; not going all the way, and not starting.”
  • “Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth.”

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Posted in: Life, Life Hacks, Quotes

62 Comments on "Buddha Quotes"

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  1. Alik Levin says:

    JD,
    From what I read it’s about action, self, and independence. And I love it!
    My favorite:
    “I never see what has been done; I only see what remains to be done.”

  2. My favorite! Thank you JD. I especially like this one: “Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without.”

  3. Lisa H. says:

    I love quotes. So much wisdom in such a few words. I don’t think that this is the only quotes only article that I have seen on your site. I know that it takes some effort to put something like this together. I really like how you broken them down into life-categories. There is nothing like a good and appropriate quote to put things in perspective. “The tongue like a sharp knife … Kills without drawing blood.” is sticking out to me today. We have to remember that words hurt.

  4. JD says:

    @ Alik — Your distillation hits the spot. Another spin would be, lead from the inside out, with compassion.

    @ Sandra — I’ve long been a Budha fan so it was great to be able to share his words of wisdom. I really like Buddha’s focus on reflection and driving from the inside out.

    @ Lisa — It’s a labor of love. I’ve started to really appreciate the value of organizing by meaningful categories. It helps to show themes and I think the focus makes the messages stronger. For example, I didn’t really think of Buddha as an acton-oriented guy, but now I see that aspect.

    The knife analogy cuts deep.

  5. Deeone says:

    Hey JD,

    Man, you really loaded this post with some goodies! I have entirely to many faves to list, and certainly had a few that I had to read over just to make it stick a little more. So I’ll go with my two favorite of the list instead, the first one was, “When one has the feeling of dislike for evil, when one feels tranquil, one finds pleasure in listening to good teachings; when one has these feelings and appreciates them, one is free of fear.” This actually spoke the loudest to me. The next one was, “You will not be punished for your anger, you will be punished by your anger.” This was simply powerful! A most excellent choice of share though, man! I enjoyed reading each one of them! :)

  6. Hi JD,

    I know it takes a lot of time to find and organize quotes like this so I thank you.

    Whether your Buddhist or not, it’s hard to argue with any of his words. It’s good teaching.

    Have a great weekend,

    Bryce

  7. Chris Edgar says:

    I particularly like the quote about the way being in the heart rather than in the sky — which to me suggests that spiritual practices that have us imagine or visualize something other than what’s happening right now actually take us away from where we need to go, and focusing on how we’re feeling and what we want right now can be painful and scary but is ultimately the way to move forward on our path.

  8. JD says:

    @ Deeone — Buddha is the best. Free of fear is the way to be. The more I think about it, the more I realize how deeply fear is the opposite of flourish.

    I especially like the anger quote, because life is a reflection and we need to like what we show in the mirror.

    @ Bryce — It’s powerful stuff on multiple levels. I’ve always been a “truth seeker” so timless wisdom, quotable quotes, and things like Jyâna yoga (“path of knowleedge”.)

    @ Chris — I really like that point to. It’s very “down to Earth” and reminds me just how important it is to be “integrated” (mind, body, emotions, spirit), and to drive life from experiences … to soak up with our senses all that’s possible in our lifetime.

  9. Dia says:

    Hi JD,

    Thank you for all these quotes. They are truely inspiring :) There is so much wisdom from Buddha

  10. JD says:

    @ Dia — Buddha’s words are wise. His one-liner, echoes in my mind: “What we think, we become.“

  11. Lion says:

    Actually, so much of this quotes brings a nice sense … but you need to be in some exact state to get them influenced on you, if you feel what said in quotes, you will get so much knowledge that you can realize directly in your life, and it change you … My favourite are … “We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts, we make the world.” .. you need to undestand it… reality actually is nothing, only our mind is doing reality, that is the only law … “Hatred does not cease through hatred at any time. Hatred ceases through love. This is an unalterable law.” also so great … actually love is best cure, maybe after enlightment, but you can feel it in your life, thats all that you truly need is … love, it is the best prize for your life and to your soul, so spread it … and you will do great thing in this world for others… “No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path.” Also, as we live mostly in society, we cant realize what actually the meaning of self-existing means, as buddha said that traditions just set our mind lazy, but when you are one, you realize how much is need to be done, and it is so hard way, that you need to acomplish…
    All good for you guys …

    • Linda says:

      It’s real difficult and hard work to follow Buddhism teaching, but to me, it’s the only way to bring peace.

  12. Tim says:

    Dhammapada 165

    By oneself is evil done;
    by oneself is one defiled.
    By oneself is evil left undone;
    by oneself is one made pure.
    Purity and impurity depend on oneself;
    no one can purify another.

  13. surya says:

    The great reality in the world of humanity.Thanks for your committed work of the listing.

  14. rahul says:

    i love buddha

  15. Sumanth says:

    Hi JD, Great work of categorising Buddha’s quotes and thanks! His quotes reflect the modern focus on rational thought.

  16. Debbie says:

    I think the quote, “What we think, we become” is very apt. This covers such a lot of people and they don’t even realise it. I know of somebody who has so much hate in their heart but do not see it, they only blame everybody else. I can’t help them as they will not listen as they only see what they think is right. Very sad

  17. Alex says:

    Really nice quotes. They are full of wisdom.

    Thanks for sharing. Much appreciated.

    This is what i’ve learned from the greatest teacher ever, life:

    “Open your eyes and you will see the beauty of the Universe. Open your mind and you will understand the Universe. Open your heart and the Universe is yours.”

  18. Nair says:

    Your own mind is more powerful than Budha’s wise words. That is what budha says too. These words will definitely give power of inspiration, but if no practice then mindwaves will cover up again till next budha’s birth.

  19. a soul, who starts learning to feel love says:

    Good day,

    Love, connection and unity – You have decorated these topic, with a collection of valuable truthful words.

    I like it and its important to realize that, our soul first of all is waiting for our own love towards in.

    Thanks for sharing :)

  20. Bita Asakura says:

    Thank you JD for wonderful quotes! It’s always great to share. I alsol heard the following attributed to Buddha: “Let yourself be open and life will be easier. A spoon of salt in a glass of water makes the water undrinkable. A spoon of salt in a lake is almost unnoticed.” Buddha

    Has anyone heard of this quote too?

    I wish we could all submit short essays on what these beautiful quotes mean. I enjoy reading various interpretation of the same quote. Any one wants to do it? You can also check out my facebook page at:

    http://www.facebook.com/OneBuddhism

    THank you again for your time. If anyone knows of a forum to SPEAK and exchange views on Buddhism, please let me know. My eyes are ailing now but I love to have conversations on the words of Buddhs.

    Many blessings,

    Bita

  21. ROJAN BHATTARAI says:

    ONE MAIN THING TO REMIND ALL OF YOU BUDDHA WAS BORN IN NEPAL

    • Mavi says:

      I was born Catholic, yet since I became independent within my own mind and actions, I became then to observe, absorve, and adopt from any type of beliefs or Religion that would benefit my Soul’s and actions’ growth.

      I mix with all kind and I share a smile with all kind of Life’s Walkers, yet I feel deeply that I belong to everywhere and nowhere, because, I learn from everything and everyone.

      A few years ago, I was invited to Buddhist Teaching in Newcastle, where my mind was reminded and awaken to those inner believes burried in my Soul. I remain as calm as posible under many circumstances, but I know that there is so much work to do in order to reach my highest aim.

      Only those moments of practice dedicated to Meditation, becames the place where my Soul feels free and lifted to a level of Conciousness and Subconciousness. Detachment towards anything and everything, yet. Meditation Practice is a concious moment of Self existence.

      Live each moments as if it was your last, yet if we do not Meditate and focus, we step out of our inner potential of working towards Happiness,….

      When I focused Mind working towards Self Discipline and mindful thinking, actions, and stopping the Self puting out there in the Universe bad energy, is what I call
      “My Buddha Mind”.

      Thank you to anyone spreading this Universal energy that many of us shared!

  22. yoosaf ali says:

    i love quotes,,these quotes are highly inspiring… thanks a lot

  23. SUNIL MAHARJAN says:

    JD,

    THANK YOU FOR SUCH A WONDERFUL JOB YOU HAVE DONE BY PUTTING TOGETHER BUDDHA’S QUOTES IN SUCH A NICE WAY.

    KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK!

    -SUNIL

    @BITA ASAKURA: PLEASE LET ME KNOW IF YOU FIND A FORUM WHERE PEOPLE INTERPRET BUDDHA’S QUOTES AND TEACHINGS. THANKS.

  24. Maggie says:

    Here’s my favorite:
    “The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.”
    I used to worry a LOT, but I decided to quit worrying about anything I could not control. It has brought me a lot of peace of mind.
    BE HERE NOW!
    Thank you JD for putting all this together, he was a very wise man and I love to read his quotes. This page is an inspiration!

  25. Lion says:

    “ONE MAIN THING TO REMIND ALL OF YOU BUDDHA WAS BORN IN NEPAL”
    Yep, in Lumbini, was there one week ago :)

  26. Faheem Alam says:

    Woah this blog is magnificent i love reading your articles. Keep up the good work! You realize, many persons are searching round for this information, you could aid them greatly.

  27. amrit says:

    thanks for these compilation of quotes,let me tell every truth is a lie unless you implement in your life

  28. Saju says:

    Desire is the cause of all suffering.. Lord Buddha
    This is a burden of modern age as well… myself

  29. MoCee says:

    Love the quotes, though some may not be actual quotes of The Buddha’s teachings, they all carry the message nicely. The image of the Chinese version of Maitreya on your page is nice, but perhaps an image of the Buddha (Siddhartha Gautama) would be more appropriate for your page. The fat Maitreya is a folklore images from ancient China that combines a folk tale of Budai with the story of Maitreya Bodhisattva. The Buddha was actually born in what is now Nepal (Lumbini) and was quite thin considering he ate very little and only considered food “as medicine.” Thank you.

  30. joel t. says:

    thank you for sharing such a wonderful collection of wisdom and spiritual enlightment with us all. We appreciate the work that you’ve done in indexing the volumes of teachings. Im inspired by buddha as well as christ, and believe that christ too was in india to learn his teachings and spread them to the western world. Peace.

  31. D.S.WANKHEDE says:

    MIND PURIFYER THOUGHT

  32. Guy says:

    The mind is jut a bundle of thoghts of these the root is the thought”I”.
    So the mind is nothing other than the thought “I”_(ramana maharshi)

  33. Jacqueline says:

    Just today I had looked up information to obtain more insight about the Buddha and Buddhism. A great man and inspiration he has been to many of us, I see. When we open our hearts to the path of our own Enlightenment we will then see that we are the Buddha and the valuable speakers of the past. I myself have learned a great deal simply by reading these quotes and practising the art of allowing, the art of just being. Thank you so much :) Namaste Om <3

  34. Thanks for putting this all together J.D. Just what I needed at this time. Subscribed to your mailing list too.

  35. Nandana says:

    JD, great quotes by the enlightened one. “Your wealth is your happiness”
    ND

  36. manisha says:

    ossome philosophy

  37. Mat says:

    Thank you for posting these quotes.

    I would like to point out that the image that you have is mismatched to the quotes that you have.

    The image that you have is not of Siddhartha Gautama, but rather of Budai a Zen Bodhisattva.

    All the best my friend,
    Mat

  38. Tai says:

    Thank you. I wish I know them by heart.

  39. Julia says:

    I find calm and peace in these quotes. If only the world would follow the teachings of buddha, but then there wouldn’t be the buddha because without others to compare to, there is no buddha.

  40. Matt says:

    good post but the pic is not of buddha,that buddha pic is of a folk tale of a chubby monk that looked after children and gave them sweet treats, the real enlightened one is Gautama Buddha

  41. Tomy U.S. says:

    I love all of the Quotes above..
    All of that are worth & make sense to be done in this reality world & no Hypocrite..
    Even it’s difficult to do or to try, but the words above are the real enlightenment for people who do it in his / her life..

  42. Jamie says:

    Thank you for these quotes. I love them. So useful and so true. May I share this on fb?

  43. JD says:

    @ Jamie — Please do, just link back, thank you.

  44. Ernest says:

    Hello, Here is a Buddha saying that I am only paraphrasing: ” Finding success in life is not a sign of happiness, but finding happiness in life is a sign of success!”

    Does anyone recognise this proverb and can give me the real wording svp.

    Enjoy reading the other comments surrounding Buddha on here.

    Thanks.

  45. robin says:

    “It is better to travel well than to arrive.”
    nice quotes

  46. Raju Gogulam says:

    The most original thoughts. Thank you for your research.

    Empowering every visitor as long as the site exists :-)

    Raju

  47. sachin says:

    every quotes have its own meaning and importance. The one who understands find peace and who did’nt., does’nt

  48. a familiar face says:

    quote beautiful list of truth and spiritual fire. thank you.

    ~infinite Love, Always

  49. Tamanna says:

    Thanks a lot for posting such of these inspiring quotes

  50. Dr M says:

    So fine to get wisdom of cosmic consciousness in such a handy way;reminds me of Buddhism as BAM, that is Bliss And Milk [the milk of human kindness].

  51. Dr M says:

    BAM bliss and milk, the milk of human kindness that is;that’s Buddhism!

  52. bradass says:

    truely, these words of wisdom have stood the test of time. Beautiful quotes by a rational thinker nd philosopher which people need at this time to purify their minds…

  53. mpdela says:

    A lifetime is not long enough to perfect each one of these Buddha quotes, but “It is better to travel well than to arrive.” What a journey!

  54. gnosisC says:

    “I am of the nature to grow old.
    And there is no escaping growing old.
    I am of the nature to have ill health.
    And there is no escaping having ill health.
    Everybody I know and everything that I own is of the nature to change.
    And there is no escaping being separated from them.
    My actions are my only true belongings.
    And they are the ground on which I stand.”

  55. SIMRAN1 says:

    “There is nothing more dreadful than the habit of doubt. Doubt separates people. It is a poison that disintegrates friendships and breaks up pleasant relations. It is a thorn that irritates and hurts; it is a sword that kills.”- Buddha

  56. Yoel says:

    I love buddha quotes they are easy to follow and inspiring

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