14. Some Sayings of the Buddha

Wisdom is purified by virtue and virtue is purified by wisdom. Where there is one there is always the other. The virtuous person has wisdom and the wise person has virtue. A combination of the two is called the highest thing in the world. D.I,24

The mind precedes all things, the mind dominates them, they are all mind-made. If a person speaks or acts with a pure mind happiness will follow him like a shadow that never leaves. Dhp.2

One should not blame another nor despise anyone anywhere for any reason. Do not wish pain on another out of either anger or rivalry. Sn.149

Just as the great ocean has but one taste, the taste of salt, so too this Dhamma has but one taste, the taste of freedom. Ud.56

It is easy to see the faults of others but it is hard to see one’s own. While winnowing others’ faults like chaff we hide our own like a hunter concealing himself in a hide. Those who look to others’ faults only get irritable. Their negativities grow and are far from being destroyed. Dhp.252-3

Many garlands can be made from a heap of flowers. Likewise, many good deeds can be done by one born human. Dhp.53

When you speak to others you might speak at the right time or the wrong time, according to the facts or not, gently or harshly, to the point or not, with a mind full of hate or full of love. You should train yourselves like this: ‘Our minds shall not be perverted nor shall we speak evil speech but with kindness and compassion we will live with a mind free from hatred and filled with love. We will live suffusing firstly one person with love and starting with them suffuse the whole world with a love that is expansive, pervasive, immeasurable and utterly devoid of hatred or enmity.’ This is how you should train yourselves. M.I,126

Sometimes what one think will happen does not, and what one thinks will never happen does. The happiness of men and women is not dependant on their expectations. Ja.VI,43

It is by three things that the wise person can be recognized. What three? He sees his own faults as they are, on seeing them he tries to correct them, when others acknowledge their faults he forgives them. A.I,103

Cease to do evil, learn to do good, purify the mind. This is the teaching of the Buddhas. Dhp.183

Learn this from the waters. In mountain clefts and chasms loud gush the streamlets. But great rivers flow silently. Empty things make a noise, the full is always quiet. The fool is like a half-filled pot, the wise person like a deep still pool. Sn.720-1

Even if low-down criminals were to cut you limb from limb with a double-handled saw, if you filled your mind with hatred you would not be practicing my teachings. M.I,126

If the freedom of the mind brought about by love is cultivated and enhanced, always practised, made one’s vehicle and foundation, strengthened, consolidated and properly undertaken, one will be blessed in these eleven ways. One sleeps happily, wakes happily, has no bad dreams, is dear to humans, dear to non-humans, cherished by the gods, protected from fire, poison and weapons, easily concentrated, has a radiant complexion, passes away peacefully and after death at the very least is reborn in heaven. A.V,342

Honoring one’s mother and father, cherishing one’s wife and child, being straightforward in one’s business, this is the highest blessing. Sn.262

If good people quarrel they should quickly be reconciled and form a bond that long endures. Like useless cracked or broken pots, only fools do not seek reconciliation. One who understands this, who considers this teaching, does what’s hard to do and is a worthy brother. He who bears the abuse of others is fit to be a conciliator. Ja.III,38

Tasty or bland, much or little, one can eat anything made with love. Indeed love is the highest taste. Ja.III,145

If one is jealous, selfish or dishonest he is unattractive despite their eloquence and good features. But the person who is purged of such things and is free from hatred, it is he or she who is really beautiful. Dhp.262-3

It is impossible that a person who is not themselves restrained, disciplined or satisfied could restrain, discipline or satisfy others. But it is very possible that one who has restrained, disciplined and satisfied themselves could help others become like that. M.I,45

Contentment is the greatest wealth. Dhp.204

If others criticize me, the Dhamma or the Sangha you should not get angry or resentful because that would cloud your judgment and you would not know whether what they said was right and wrong. If others do this explain to them how their criticism is incorrect, saying, ‘This is not correct. That is not right. This is not our way. That is not what we do.’ Likewise, if others praise me or the Dhamma or the Sangha you should not get proud or puffed up because that would cloud your judgment and you would not know whether what they said was right and wrong. So if others do this explain to them how their praise is justified, saying, ‘This is correct. That is right. This is our way. That is found in us.’ D.I,3

If words have five marks they are not ill-spoken but well-spoken, laudable and praised by the wise. What five? They are spoken at the right time, they are true, they are spoken with gentleness, they are to the point and they are spoken with love. A.III,243

Just as a deep lake is clear and still, even so the wise become utterly peaceful when they hear the teachings. Dhp.82

Do not go by revelation, by tradition, by hearsay, by what the scriptures say, by logical reasoning, by inferences, by the supposed authority of the teacher or because you think ‘He is our teacher.’ But when you yourself know that a thing is good, admirable, praised by the wise, and if undertaken and practiced leads to your benefit and happiness, them you should undertake it. A.I,190

Once, the Buddha said to some monks who were quarrelling: `If animals can be courteous, deferential and polite towards each other, so should you be.’ Vin.II,162

Of little importance is the loss of such things as wealth but it is a terrible thing to lose wisdom. Of little importance is the gaining of such things as wealth but it is a wonderful thing to gain wisdom. A.I,15

Just as the great ocean slopes away gradually, tends downwards gradually, without any abrupt precipice, even so this Dhamma and discipline is a gradual doing, a gradual training, a gradual practice. There is no sudden penetration of knowledge. Ud.54

The Lord is awakened, he teaches the Dhamma for awakening. The Lord is tamed, he teaches the Dhamma for taming. The Lord is calmed, he teaches the Dhamma for calming. The Lord has crossed over, he teaches the Dhamma for crossing over. The Lord has attained Nirvana, he teaches the Dhamma for the attaining of Nirvana. M.I,235

If the heedless person recites the sacred texts but does not apply what they say, they are like a cowherd counting someone else’s cows, they will not enjoy the benefits of the holy life. Dhp.19

Just as a mother protects her one and only child even at the risk of her own life, even so, one should cultivate immeasurable love to all beings in the world. Sn.149

One who wants to admonish another should first ponder like this; ‘Am I or am I not one who practices complete purity in body and speech? Are these qualities present in me or not?’ If they are not there will no doubt be those who say; ‘Come now, why don’t you practice complete purity in body and speech first?’ Again, one who wants to admonish another should first ponder like this; ‘Have I freed myself from ill will and developed love towards others. It this quality present in me or not?’ If they are not there will no doubt be those who say; ‘Come now, why don’t you practice love yourself?’ A.V,79

The Dhamma protects those who practice Dhamma, as a great umbrella protects in time of rain. Ja.IV,55

Whoever practices righteousness in the morning, at noon or at night, they will have a happy morning, a happy noon and a happy night. A.I,294

If anyone abuses you, hits you, throws stones at you or strikes you with a stick or a sword, you must put aside all worldly desires and considerations and think, ‘My heart will not be moved. I shall speak no evil words. I will feel no resentment but maintain kindness and compassion for all beings.’ You should think like this. M.I,126

Irrigators lead the water, fletchers bend the shaft, carpenters shape the wood, the wise mold themselves. Dhp.80

The Buddha asked Anuruddha how he was able to live in harmony with his fellow monks and he replied; ‘I always consider what a blessing it is, what a real blessing, that I am living with such companions in the spiritual life. I think, speak and act with love towards them, both in public and in private. I always consider that I should put aside my own wishes and acquiesce to what they want, and then I do that. Thus we are many in body but one in mind.’ M.III,156

Having seen conflict as a danger and harmony as peace, abide in unity and kind-heartedness. This is the teaching of the Buddhas. Cp.3,15,13

In a battle they want a hero, in advice clear instruction, and in sharing food and drink a friend. But when in real need they want the counsel of the wise. Ja.I,387

There are four types of people found in the world. What four? Those concerned with neither their own welfare nor the welfare of others, those concerned with the welfare of others but not their own, those concerned with their own welfare but not that of others, and those who are concerned with both their own welfare and the welfare of others…Of these four types of people those who are concerned with their own welfare and the welfare of others are the chief, the highest, the topmost and the best. A.II,94

When someone becomes a monk (or disciple) out of faith in me, they have me as their leader, their helper, and their guide. And these people follow my example. M.I,16

If you take refuge in the Buddha, the Dhamma and the Sangha you will be free from fear and trembling. S.I,220

Greed is to be slightly blamed but it is slow to change. Hatred is to be greatly blamed but it is quick to change. Delusion is to be greatly blamed and it is slow to change. A.I,200

Whatever has had to be done by a teacher out of compassion for his disciples and for their welfare, I have done for you. Here are the roots of the trees, here are the empty places. Meditate! Do not be slothful, do not be remorseful later. These are my instructions to you.M.I,46

Cultivate a friend whose ways are seven. What seven? He gives what is hard to give, does what is hard to do, bear what is hard to bear, he confesses his secrets and keeps your secrets, in times of trouble he does not abandon you, and he does not despise you when you are down. A.IV,31

I do not praise wrong behaviour in either householder or monk. If either a householder or a monk fares along wrongly, then he is not accomplishing the perfect way, the Dhamma, the skilled, as a result of his wrong behaviour. Rather, I praise good behavior in both householder and monk. If either a householder or a monk fares along rightly, then he can win the Perfect Way, the True Dhamma, the Skillful, as a result of his right behavior. A.I,69

For one who is virtuous, in full possession of virtue, there is no need for the conscious thought: ‘May I be free from remorse.’ And why? Because it is natural that one who is virtuous is free from remorse. And for one free from remorse there is no need for the purposeful thought: ‘May I be joyful.’ And why? Because it is natural that one who is free from remorse is joyful. A.V,1

Whoever is received hospitably in another’s home but is not hospitable in return when they come to his home, know him as an outcaste. Sn.128

It is good to be an able householder, to share one’s food, to be modest about one’s wealth and not be downcast if it declines. Ja.III,466

Conquer hate with love, evil with good, meanness with generosity, and lies with truth. Dhp.223

There are six things that foster love and respect, helpfulness and agreement, harmony and unity. What six? When one acts with love towards one’s companions in the spiritual life, both in public and in private; when one speaks with love towards them, both in public and in private; when one thinks with love towards them, both in public and in private; when one shares with them, without reservations, whatever one has acquired justly, even if it be no more than the food from one’s alms bowl; when one possesses together with them virtues that are complete, unbroken and freedom-giving, praised by the wise and conducive to concentration; and when one possesses with one’s companions in the holy life, both in public and in private, the understanding that is noble, leading to freedom and which conduces to the complete destruction of suffering; then will there be love and respect, helpfulness and agreement, harmony and unity. M.I,322

Those who love the noble Dhamma, who are pure in word, thought and deed, always peaceful, gentle, focused and composed, they proceed through the world properly. Ja.III,442

Those whose thoughts, speech and actions are good are their own best friend. Even if they say, ‘We do not care about ourselves,’ they are still their own best friend. And why? Because they do for themselves what a friend would do for them. S.I,71

Do not think lightly of goodness saying, ‘I cannot be like that.’ A drop at a time is the water pot filled and likewise little by little do the wise fill themselves with good. Dhp.122

Only within will one find peace. Sn.919

Now at that time a certain monk was suffering from dysentery and lay where he had fallen in his own excrement. The Lord and Ananda were visiting the lodgings and they came to where the sick monk was and the Lord asked him, ‘Monk, what is wrong with you?’

‘I have dysentery, Lord.’

‘Is there no one to look after you?’

‘No Lord.’

‘Then why don’t the other monks look after you?’

‘Because I am of no use to them.’

Then the Lord said to Ananda, ‘Go and fetch water and we will wash this monk.’ So Ananda brought water and the Lord poured it while Ananda washed the monk all over. Then taking the monk by the head and feet they carried him and laid him on a bed. Later the Lord called the monks together and asked them, ‘Why did you not look after that sick monk?’

‘Because he was of no use to us.’

‘Monks, you have no mother or father to take care of you. If you do not look after each other, who else will? He who would nurse me let him nurse the sick.’ Vin.IV,301

One who would give up wealth to save a limb, or sacrifice a limb to save his life, should be prepared to give up wealth, limb, life, indeed everything for the Truth. Ja.V,500

One endures the rude words of the strong out of fear, such words from an equal one endures to avoid arguments. But to patiently endure rudeness from an underling is true patience. So say the good. But how to tell from outward form who is higher than oneself, equal or lower? Indeed sometimes unattractiveness is hidden behind goodness. Therefore, be patient with whoever speaks. Ja.V,141-2

The gift of truth excels all other gifts. Dhp.354

Let one be pleased and joyous with the gains of others just as one is pleased and joyous with one’s own gains. S.II,198

For the attaining the highest knowledge and conduct reputation based on status, family or such conceited talk as; ‘You are worthy of me!’ or You are not worthy of me!’ means nothing. Such notions are suitable only when giving in marriage or taking in marriage. Those who are entranced by reputation based on statue, family or such conceited talk as; ‘You are worthy of me!’ or ‘You are not worthy of me!’ are far from attaining the highest knowledge and conduct. It is by abandoning such notions that one attains the highest knowledge and conduct. D.I,99

I have proclaimed the Dhamma without any idea of a hidden or open teaching. I do not have the closed fist of a teacher who holds something back. D.II,100

After I am gone let the Dhamma and the discipline be your teacher. D.II,154

I will not treat you the way a potter treats wet clay. Repeatedly restraining I will speak to you, repeatedly admonishing. The strong heart will stand the test. M.III,118

It is good from time to time to think about your own faults. It is good from time to time to think about the faults of others. It is good from time to time to think your own virtues. It is good from time to time to think about the virtues of others. A.IV,160

That wise one who is grateful and thankful, a lovely friend firm in devotion, helps the distressed with respect and care, and is thus rightly called ‘good’. Ja.V,146

Those who do good rejoice now, they rejoice later, they rejoice both now and later. They rejoice and are happy when they think of their own good deeds. Dhp.16

Give up wrong. It can be done. If it were impossible I would not ask you to do so. But it is possible and therefore I say, ‘Give up wrong.’ If giving up wrong led to your loss and sorrow I would not ask you to do so. But it will be for your welfare and happiness and therefore I say, ‘Give up wrong.’ Nourish the good. It can be done. If it were impossible I would not ask you to do so. But it is possible and therefore I say, ‘Nourish the good.’ If nourishing the good led to your loss and sorrow I would not ask you to do so. But it will enhance your welfare and happiness and therefore I say, ‘Nourish the good’. A.I,58

All tremble at punishment, life is dear to all. Therefore, put yourself in the place of others and neither kill nor condone killing. Dhp.130

Of the tree in whose shade one sits or lies, not a branch of it should he break, for if he did he would be a betrayer of a friend, an evil doer. Pv.21,5

Mind is luminous but is stained by defilements that come from without. This ordinary uninstructed people do not understand and so for them there is no mental development. Mind is luminous and can be cleansed of defilements that come from without. Instructed noble disciples understand this and so for them there is mental development. A.I,10

One whose mind is freed does not argue with anyone, he does not dispute with anyone. He makes use of the conventional terms of the world without clinging to them. M.I,500

I do not say that the attainment of profound knowledge comes straight away. On the contrary, it comes by a gradual training, a gradual doing, a gradual practice. M.I,479

The sky and the Earth are far apart and this side of the ocean is far from the other side. But they say even further apart than this is the Dhamma of the good from the Dhamma of the bad. Ja.V,483

Being rough, devoid of kindness, back-biting, careless of friends, heartless, arrogant, mean, sharing with no one, this is impure food, not the eating of meat. To be immoral, refuse to repay one’s debts, betray others, cheat in business and create divisions amongst people, this is impure food, not the eating of meat. To kill living beings, steal, harm others, be immoral, cruel, hard and disrespectful, this is impure food, not the eating of meat. Sn.244-6

Like the Himalayas, the good shine from afar. Like an arrow shot into the night, the bad are obscure. Dhp.304

The Lord said, ‘What do you think about this? What is the purpose of a mirror?’

‘It is for the purpose of reflection,’ replied Rahula.

Then the Lord said; ‘Even so, an action should be done with body, speech or mind only after careful reflection’. M.I,415

Just as the River Ganges flows towards, inclines towards, tends towards the east, so too, one who cultivates and develops the Noble Eightfold Path flows towards, inclines towards, tends towards Nirvana. S.V, 40

Truly, good people are grateful and thankful. Vin.IV,55

Those who keep thinking, ‘He abused me!’ ‘He struck me!’ ‘He oppressed me!’ ‘He robbed me!’ never still their hatred. But those who let go of such thoughts do. For in this world hatred is never stilled by more hatred. It is love that stills hatred. This is an eternal truth. Dhp.3-5

For the virtuous every day is special, for them every day is a holy day. M.I,39

Even though being finely adorned, if one is peaceful, restrained, committed to the holy life and harmless to all beings, he is a true ascetic, a true priest, a true monk. Dhp.142

Do not be a judge of others, do not judge others. Whoever judges others digs a pit for themselves. A.III,350

Easy to understand is the yelp of jackals and the song of birds. But to interpret what humans say is difficult indeed. You may think, ‘He is my kin, my friend, my comrade true’ because before he made you happy, but now he may be an enemy. When we love someone they are always near, while those who like us not are always distance. The faithful friend is faithful still though you be oceans apart.

He of corrupt mind is still corrupt though he be across the sea. Ja.IV,218.

Be an island unto yourself, be your own refuge, take no one else as your refuge, have the Dhamma as your island and refuge. D.II,100

‘Now monks I say unto you, all conditioned things are impermanent. Strive on with awareness.’ These were the Buddha’s last words. D.II,156