Buddha Quotes -
Great Lessons on Life and Death

Buddha quotes show us the truth about life and death through the wise words from the Buddha. The purpose of this article is to present you as many great Buddha quotes as possible, so that you too can learn from his teaching. You do not have to be a Buddhist to read and understand these quotes, they can just be life lessons which can benefit everyone who are seeking the true meaning of life.

What is Buddhism?

There is so much to talk about Buddha and Buddhism that I can probably build another site about it. But I am just going to briefly write about who Buddha is and what Buddhism is about, so that you get an idea of the philosophy of this teaching.

Buddhism teaches that a universal Law (dharma) underlies everything in the universe. This is the very essence of life. One could also think of it as the fundamental rhythm of life and the universe. To practice Buddhism is to bring their individual life into harmony with the greater life of the universe. The result of this is that one is able to experience greater wisdom, courage, life force and compassion (the qualities of this life-essence). This, practically, is what it means to manifest an enlightened life condition.

It is important to know that Buddha affirms that all people, regardless of gender, capacity or social standing, inherently possess the qualities of a Buddha, and are therefore equally worthy of the utmost respect.

Who is Buddha?

Beautiful Autumn!
Image courtesy of Aunt Owwee
Inspirational Buddha Quotes

So who is Buddha? I have taken the explanation from viewonbuddhism.org to briefly describe this.

Buddha was an "ordinary" human like you and me before he became enlightened. Enlightenment is compared to awakening, as a person suddenly experiences a complete transformation of body and mind from sleeping to waking up. One could say that a Buddha represents the very peak of evolution, as he/she is omniscient or all-knowing.

The historical Buddha, Shakyamuni or Gautama Buddha, lived about 2,500 years ago in India. However, he was not the first Buddha, and will not be the last either. He taught that during this eon (very long time period, maybe comparable to the life-time of the universe as we know it), there would be 1,000 fully enlightened Buddhas who would introduce Buddhism (after it has been totally forgotten).

What a Buddha is NOT?

• A Buddha is not the creator of the universe. In fact, there is no creator of the universe given in Buddhist philosophy apart from the karma (actions) of sentient beings (beings with a mind like humans and animals).

• The Buddha is not omnipotent (all-powerful). (The simple reason is that if he were, out of compassion, he would have long released all sentient beings from suffering.)

• The state of a Buddha is not impossible to reach.

• A Buddha is not hindered by ignorance, but is omniscient (knows everything).

• A Buddha is not a passive being; he will use his wisdom to help to other living beings when they are open to his advice.

My Favorite Buddha Quotes About Life

Tranquility...
Image courtesy of johnbenedick
Inspirational Buddha Quotes
It is so often we hear about how people are trying to preserve their youth and using different anti-aging methods to achieve that. First of all, we must ask ourselves what the purpose of our lives is and why we are trying so hard to prolong it. Without this important question we will only be able to see life at a very superficial level.

One of my favorite Buddha Quotes illustrate the significant meaning of length of life,

"The number of those endowed with human life is as small as the amount of earth one can place on a fingernail. Life as a human being is hard to sustain--as hard as it is for the dew to remain on the grass. But it is better to live a single day with honor than to live to 120 and die in disgrace."

So as we can see, life is not about how young we look when we are 70. It is how much we have learn from our lives, how wise we have become and how much we have help others. To die is not a dreadful event, but to die with disgrace is.

So, are you ready? I have selected these Buddha quotes and put them under different category for easy reference. Happy learning!

On Action
On Anger
On Believe
On Cause and Effect
On Courage
On Compassion
On Doubt
On Death
On Diversity
On Enlightenment
On Family
On Friendship/Peace
On Faith
On Fear
General
On Gratitude
On Humanity
On Hope
On Happiness
On Health
On Jealousy
On Kindness
On Life
On Mind
On Opposite Force
On Power of Now
On Patience
On Self-Growth
On Truth
On Words

Buddha Quotes on Action

"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."
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Buddha Quotes on Anger

"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."

"You will not be punished for your anger, you will be punished by your anger."

"In a controversy the instant we feel anger we have already ceased striving for the truth, and have begun striving for ourselves."

"The heavenly gods will not protect a short-tempered person, however important they may think he or she is."

"Famine occurs as a result of greed, pestilence as a result of foolishness, and warfare as a result of anger."
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Buddha Quotes on Believe

"Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it."
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Buddha Quotes on Cause and Effect

"Just as flowers open up and bear fruits, just as the moon appears and invariably grow full, just as a lamp becomes brighter when oil is added, and just as plants and trees flourish with rain, so will human beings never fail to prosper when they make good causes."

"Neither fire nor wind, birth nor death can erase our good deeds."

"If you want to understand the causes that existed in the past, look at the results as they are manifested in the present. And if you want to understand what results will be manifested in the future, look at the causes that exist in the present."
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Buddha Quotes on Courage

"The shallow is easy to embrace, but the profound is difficult. To discard the shallow and seek the profound is the way of a person of courage."
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Buddha Quotes on Compassion

"It is said that even the moonlight will not deign to shine on the sleeve of an unfeeling person."

"Have compassion for all beings, rich and poor alike; each has their suffering. Some suffer too much, others too little."
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Buddha Quotes on Doubt

"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."
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Buddha Quotes on Death

"Even death is not to be feared by one who has lived wisely."

"It is better to travel well than to arrive."
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Buddha Quotes on Diversity

"Cherry, plum, peach or damson blossoms--all, just as they are, are entities possessing their own unique qualities. "
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Buddha Quotes on Enlightenment

"Worthy persons deserve to be called so because they are not carried away by the eight winds: prosperity,decline,disgrace,honor,praise,censure,suffering, and pleasure.They are neither elated by prosperity nor grieved by decline. The heavenly gods will surely protect one who is unbending before the eight winds."

"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 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."

"To live a pure unselfish life, one must count nothing as one's own in the midst of abundance."

"You cannot travel the path until you have become the path itself."

"When one is deluded, it is as if one were dreaming. And when one is enlightened, it is as if one had awakened."
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Buddha Quotes on Family

"A family is a place where minds come in contact with one another. If these minds love one another the home will be as beautiful as a flower garden. But if these minds get out of harmony with one another it is like a storm that plays havoc with the garden."

"In the end it is nothing other than the loving kindness with which the woman cares for her child that makes the difference. Her concern concentrates on one thing just like the Buddhist practice of concentration. She thinks of nothing but her child, which is similar to Buddhist compassion. That must be why, although she created no other causes to bring about it, she was reborn in the Brahma heaven."

"Who but a son would have gone to such length to search for his father? The Veneraable Maudgalyayana saved his mother from the sufferings of the world of hungry spirits, and the brothers Pure Storehouse and Pure Eye persuaded their father to give up his erroneous views. This is why it is said that a good child is a parent's treasure."
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Buddha Quotes on Friendship/Peace

"Hatred does not cease by hatred, but only by love; this is the eternal rule."

"Never in this world can hatred be stilled by hatred; it will be stilled by non-hatred - this is the law Eternal."

"Mugwort that grows in the midst of hemp, or a snake inside a tube (will as a matter of course become straight), and those who associate with people of good character will consequently become upright in heart, deed, and word."

"Friendship is the only cure for hatred, the only guarantee of peace."

"Peace come from within. Do not seek it without."

"Unity can only be manifested by the Binary. Unity itself and the idea of Unity are already two."

"A good friend who points out mistakes and imperfections and rebukes evil is to be respected as if he reveals a secret of hidden treasure."

"When a tree has been transplanted, thought fierce winds it may blow, it will not topple if it has a firm stake to hold it up. But even a tree that has grown up in place may fall over if its roots are weak. Even a feeble person will not stumble if those supporting him are strong, but a person of considerable strength, when alone, may fall down on an uneven path."

"Chang-an writes, "if one befreinds another person but lacks the mercy to correct him, one is in fact his enemy." The consequences of a grave offense are extremently difficult to erase. The most important thing is to continually strengthen our wish to benefit others."

"We can never obtain peace in the outer world until we make peace with ourselves."

"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."
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Buddha Quotes on Faith


Pure Lotus, pure faith.
Image courtesy of tanakawho
Buddha Quotes 3
"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."

"On a long journey of human life, faith is the best of companions; it is the best refreshment on the journey; and it is the greatest property."

"The strong and steadfast power of faith is precious indeed."
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Buddha Quotes on Fear

"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. "
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General Buddha Quotes

"The world, indeed, is like a dream and the treasures of the world are an alluring mirage! Like the apparent distances in a picture, things have no reality in themselves, but they are like heat haze. "

"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."

"The wise ones fashioned speech with their thought, sifting it as grain is sifted through a sieve."

"Ennui has made more gamblers than avarice, more drunkards than thirst, and perhaps as many suicides as despair."

"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."

"A wise man, recognizing that the world is but an illusion, does not act as if it is real, so he escapes the suffering."

"The way is not in the sky. The way is in the heart."

"He who loves 50 people has 50 woes; he who loves no one has no woes."

"There is no fire like passion, there is no shark like hatred, there is no snare like folly, there is no torrent like greed."

"Let a man avoid evil deeds as a man who loves life avoids poison."
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Buddha Quotes on Gratitude

"Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn't learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn't learn a little, at least we didn't get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn't die; so, let us all be thankful."

"Good men and bad men differ radically. Bad men never appreciate kindness shown them, but wise men appreciate and are grateful. Wise men try to express their appreciation and gratitude by some return of kindness, not only to their benefactor, but to everyone else."

"Even lowly creature know enough to repay debt of gratitude. Thus the bird known as the wild goose will invariably carry out its filial duty to the mother bird when she is about to die. And the fox never forgets its old hillock. If even animals will do such things, then how much more so should this be true of human beings?"
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Buddha Quotes on Humanity

"Teach this triple truth to all: A generous heart, kind speech, and a life of service and compassion are the things which renew humanity."
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Buddha Quotes on Hope

"Winter always turns into Spring."
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Buddha Quotes on Happiness

"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."

"When you realize how perfect everything is you will tilt your head back and laugh at the sky."
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Buddha Quotes on Health

"More valuable than treasures in a storehouse are the treasures of the body. The most valuable of all are the treasures of the heart."

"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."

"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."

"Your body is precious. It is our vehicle for awakening. Treat it with care."
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Buddha Quotes on Jealousy

"Do not overrate what you have received, nor envy others. He who envies others does not obtain peace of mind."
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Buddha Quotes on Kindness

"Virtue is persecuted more by the wicked than it is loved by the good."
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Buddha Quotes on Life

"Do not go around lamenting to others how hard it is for you to live in this world. To do so is an act utterly unbecoming to a worthy man."

"If we could see the miracle of a single flower clearly, our whole life would change."

"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."

"We living beings, right down to crickets, ants, mosquitoes , and flies, all possess life that is without beginning or end."

"Nothing is permanent."

"The foot feels the foot when it feels the ground."
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Buddha Quotes on Mind

"One should become the master of one's mind rather than let one's mind master him."

"All that we are is the result of what we have thought. If a man speaks or acts with an evil thought, pain follows him. If a man speaks or acts with a pure thought, happiness follows him, like a shadow that never leaves him."

"The mind is everything. What you think you become."

"We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts, we make the world."

"All wrong-doing arises because of mind. If mind is transformed can wrong-doing remain?"

"Those who are free of resentful thoughts surely find peace."

"It is a man's own mind, not his enemy or foe, that lures him to evil ways."

"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."

"He is able who thinks he is able."

"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."
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Buddha Quotes on Opposite Force

"There has to be evil so that good can prove its purity above it."

"Wherever there is light, there is shadow; wherever there is length, there is shortness; wherever there is white, there is black. Just like these, as the self-nature of things can not exist alone, they are called non-substantial."
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Buddha Quotes on Power of Now

"Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment."

"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."

"Buddhism stresses the importance of the present and the future. There is little point in dwelling on the past. Far more constructive is looking to the future and moving forward. What is vital is that we achieve a bright and glorious future through our efforts and perseverance today." ~Daisaku Ikeda
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Buddha Quotes on Patience

"A jug fills drop by drop."

"The greatest prayer is patience."

"Endurance is one of the most difficult disciplines, but it is to the one who endures that the final victory comes."
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Buddha Quotes on Self-growth

Path to self-realization.
Image courtesy of Per Ola Wiberg
Buddha Quotes 4

"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."

"Just as a candle cannot burn without fire, men cannot live without a spiritual life."

"No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path."

"The only real failure in life is not to be true to the best one knows."

"Work out your own salvation. Do not depend on others."

"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."

"Your work is to discover your world and then with all your heart give yourself to it."
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Buddha Quotes on Truth

"There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth: 1.) not going all the way; and 2.) not starting."

"Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth."
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Buddha Quotes on Words

"Better than a thousand hollow words, is one word that brings peace."

"The tongue like a sharp knife... Kills without drawing blood."

"Whatever words we utter should be chosen with care for people will hear them and be influenced by them for good or ill."

"Do not speak harshly to any one; those who are spoken to will answer thee in the same way. Angry speech is painful: blows for blows will touch thee."

"Misfortune comes from one's mouth and ruins one, but fortune comes from one's heart and makes one worthy of respect."
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To Approach Buddha's Teaching

Lastly, the Buddha gave some remarkably Buddha quotes just before his passing away on how to approach the teachings, called the Four Reliance:

"Rely on the teaching, not on the person;
Rely on the meaning, not on the words;
Rely on the definitive meaning, not on the provisional;
Rely on your wisdom mind, not on your ordinary mind."

"My teaching is not a philosophy. It is the result of direct experience...
My teaching is a means of practice, not something to hold onto or worship.
My teaching is like a raft used to cross the river.
Only a fool would carry the raft around after he had already reached the other shore of liberation."