Connecting People Through Goodwill and Friendship

Insightful Sayings of the Buddha

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Insightful Sayings of the Buddha


Thailand Foundation would like to present you with some Buddhist aphorisms, quoted in The Nectar of Truth and The Dhammapada, hoping that they will instruct your day:


“All that man experiences springs out of his thoughts. If his thoughts are good, the words and deeds will also be good. The result of good thoughts, words, and deeds will be happiness. This happiness never leaves the person whose thoughts are good. Happiness will always follow him like his shadow that never leaves him. On the other hand, if his thoughts are bad, the words and deeds will be bad. The result of evil thoughts will be unpleasant circumstances and suffering.”


“Different people have different views. It is impossible to make them all think alike.”


“There never was and will never be one who is totally blamed or praised.”


“Easy to detect are others’ faults. One’s own one hides like a crafty gambler his losing die.”


“Killing makes man ignoble. Non-violence towards all being confers nobility on man.”


“It is not good for a householder, a secular, to be lazy. It is not good for a monk not to be self-restrained. It is not good for a sovereign to act without forethought. It is not good for a wise man to be given to anger.”


“Firstly, a man should not be infatuated with his acquired glory. Secondly, he should not be disheartened even when there occurs a potentially fatal incident. Thirdly, he should try to keep on doing his duties. Fourthly, he should guard himself against vulnerabilities.”


“Those who do not speak righteously are not virtuous people.”


“That action which is likely to make one repent later is not good action at all.”


“The wise will never do anything wrong for the sake of any gain whatsoever.”


“Mistakes corrected make one shine like the moon beaming out of a bank of clouds.”


“Repeat your acts of goodness. Delight therein. Goodness amassed brings happiness. On the other hand, never repeat an act of evil. Never incline more that way. Evil amassed leads to unhappiness.”


“An evil doer has no escape from his bad actions wherever he tries to hide.”


“It is better not to do an evil deed; an evil deed torments one later on. It is better to do a good deed as one does not have to repent for having done it.”


“A fool who realizes his own foolishness can still be counted wise to some extent, but a fool who thinks himself wise is called an absolute fool.”


“The strength of fools lies in finding fault with others. The strength of wise men lies in reflective contemplation.”


“One who keeps silent, they blame. One who speaks much, they blame. Even one who speaks in moderation, they also blame. There is no one in this world who is not blamed. Never was there, never will there be, nor even is there now, one who is either totally blamed or totally praised.”


“It is better to be blamed by the wise than praised by the unwise.”


“Associate not with the wicked and the evil. Seek the company of noble and virtuous friends.”


“Being too soft breeds contempt. Being too harsh brings trouble. One should conduct oneself in moderation.”


“Both in praise and blame the wise are unshaken like the rock in the wind.”


“Sir, you are capable of doing good. Why do you look down upon yourself?”


“One should do what one constantly teaches others to do.”


“He who follows the dictates of his mind will be in trouble.”


“Let your children acquire knowledge.”


“A wise man, even when in misery, can still find happiness.”


“One should go wherever one can spend one’s life. One should not get oneself killed by the place one lives.”


“One should regard as a guide to hidden treasure someone who points out faults and who reproves. One should associate with such a wise person, the association with whom is only for the better, never for the worse at all.”


“How I am, so are these beings; how they are, so am I. Putting oneself in their shoes, one should not kill or cause to kill.”


“A good person takes pleasure in helping others.”


“Trained horses and tuskers are excellent. The self-disciplined excels at them all.”


“All tremble at violence, all fear death. Putting oneself in another’s shoes, do not harm, do not kill.”


“Harassing others in quest of one’s own happiness, one gains no happiness hereafter. On the other hand, harassing not others, those who seek happiness gain their own happiness hereafter.”


“Use no harsh words. They are painful. More harsh words will follow with retaliatory action.”


“An evil-doer who is unmindful of consequences suffers consequently because of his own deeds.”


“Irrigators direct the water. Fletchers shape the arrows. Carpenters shape the wood. The wise conscientiously control themselves.”


“One meaningful word which leads to calm is better than a thousand empty ones.”


“In this world, hatred is never appeased by hatred.”


“Conquest of oneself trumps the victory over a thousand others in battle.”


“A worshipper gets worshipped in return. A saluter gets saluted in return. A wise man giving happiness gains happiness himself.”


“The wise can eliminate others’ sorrow and are thus the greatest comfort of men.”


“Respectful behavior towards elders confers long life, beauty, joy and strength.”


“Eating by oneself brings no joy. A delicacy should not be eaten alone.”


“A man who does not provide for his mother and father who are old and past their youth even though he can – that is a channel of ruin.”


“A virtuous and wise life of a single day outweighs a hundred years of sinful unbridled life.”


“One who loves himself should guard himself. A wise man checks at least once every night.”


“First do the right thing yourself. Then, instruct others. One’s own purity is a wise man’s treasure.”


“Corrupt behavior is suicidal, self-ruinous, like the strangling Maluva creeper on a Sala tree.”


“Calamitous, self-ruinous things are easy to do. Beneficial and worthy things are most difficult to do.”


“Wake up to reality; do not be deluded. Live in accordance with reality. The realistic person lives happily in this world and in the next.”


“A man who is wealthy, with a lot of money and things to be consumed, but who keeps delicacies to himself— that is a channel of ruin.”


“Born as a human, one should share— whether much or little—with others.”


“In a state where the ruler is kind-hearted, firmly established in righteousness, the people will live happily, like there being a pleasant shade in their own houses.”


“Do not take pride in reigning supreme and causing the downfall of your people on that account.”


“One should teach a person deserving to be humbled, and praise a person worthy of being praised.”


“Merit cannot be stolen by thieves.”


“Do not belittle evil, thinking that it will never get to you. For drop by drop of water can still fill a waterpot. A fool fills himself with evil, gathering it little by little.”


“Evil is easy for an evil person to do. Good is easy for a good person to do.”


“A doer of good reaps good; a doer of evil reaps evil.”


“To avoid all evil, to cultivate good, and to cleanse one’s own mind – this is the teaching of the Buddha.”


“An angry man falls short of knowing that anger is a peril which arises from within.”


“Truth, indeed, is deathless speech.”


“One should utter pleasant speech that is beneficial.”


“Even wholesome speech should not be uttered untimely.”


“One’s time of life is whittled away by night and day.”


“While you are grieving, you are in effect hurting yourself, your body emaciated, your complexion sallow. The deceased, on the other hand, can never make use of that grief to protect themselves. Lamentation is of no avail.”


“Thus, for the rest of his life, a person should do his duties and should not be negligent.”


“For those who harbor no enmity, it is blissful to live even among enemies.”


“Victory begets enmity. Vanquished lies in grief. Beyond both these lies bliss of equanimity.”


“Conquer anger with love, evil with good, greed with charity and falsehood with truth.”


“Speak the truth. Do not get angry. When asked, give even a modicum. This is the godly way.”


“I have no evil done anywhere at all. I therefore have no fear for the coming death.”


“Having established oneself in righteousness, one need not fear the hereafter.”


“Gain, loss, repute, disrepute, blame, praise, happiness, and suffering— all these are common among humans. Nothing is permanent. Do not lament. What do you feel sorry for?”


“Grief neither brings back what is past and gone nor brings forth happiness yet to come.”


“One who has attained the Dhamma neither grieves over what is past and gone nor daydreams about what is yet to come, but lives with the present. Hence, his complexion is radiant.”


“He is happy indeed who has nothing left to be concerned about.”


“Those who practice Dhamma and whose action is right will cross to nirvana.”


“True disciplines of the Buddha yearn not even for heavenly pleasures.”


“Refrain from all evil. Practice virtue. Cleanse the mind. This is the teaching of Buddha.”


Paitoon Songkaeo, PhD