The Top 10 Inspirational Buddha Quotes

The Buddha

Buddha means “Awakened One”, someone who has awakened and sees things as they really are. According to , a Buddha is a person who is completely free from all faults and mental obstructions. Because he has awakened from the sleep of ignorance and has removed all obstructions from his mind, he knows everything of the past, present, and future, directly and simultaneously. Moreover, Buddha has great compassion which is completely impartial, embracing all living beings without discrimination.

The person who is generally referred to by the name Buddha was Siddhārtha Gautama, a spiritual teacher born in Nepal and the founder of Buddhism who lived at around 500 BCE. Forty-nine days after Buddha attained enlightenment he was requested to teach. As a rematter osult of this request, Buddha rose from meditation and taught the first Wheel of Dharma.

Those teachings of The Buddha such as The Four Noble Truths or the Noble Eightfold Path are timeless and reflect personal and spiritual development.

Many Buddha quotes that are handed down until today are both inspirational as well as reflecting deeper truth of reality. What can we learn, where can we be inspired from The Buddha for everyday life and our own development today?

I selected the following Buddha quotes as both inspirational and helpful, regardless of where we are in personal development

1. “All that we are is the result of what we have thought. The mind is everything. What we think we become.” [Tweet this!]

You become what you think about or in other words: what you focus on grows in your life and from what you take your focus away from diminishes. This is also the message of the law of attraction, recently very popular by the movie and book “The Secret“.

It means that the mind is directing our life in the way we manifest the life around us by the thoughts and directions we take with our mind. Since everything we created around us is first created in the mind, it is the tool or the interface between our self and the material world.

Another quote of Buddha with a similar message here is “He is able who thinks he is able”. This also shows the creative power of the mind and if we are able to consciously use it in that way – avoiding negative thoughts and utilizing empowering thoughts – we use it in a supportive manner.

2. “All wrong-doing arises because of mind. If mind is transformed can wrong-doing remain?” [Tweet this!]

This is the core of personal development. It points towards the need to train and develop the mind and to free it from limits and negativity.

The other quote “The mind is the source of happiness and unhappiness.” makes the same point with the special notion of happiness. The mind used correctly – i.e. constructive, empowering, solution- and action-oriented, positive, truth-seeking – can create happiness. But used poorly – i.e. blaming, egocentric, negative, blinded by ambition or separation – it will create unhappiness for us. Training the mind is the key here.

The quote may also point to a transformation by awakening directly, where the mind becomes the servant of the self and not the creator of a self-image (the concept of the ego) as a replacement for the true self.

3. “Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.” [Tweet this!]

This points to the abundant nature of reality. The abundance mentality says there is enough for everyone, we only have to realize and live by it. It is the opposite of a scarcity mentality, where you have the belief that you always have to fight for your part in a limited world.

4. “Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.” [Tweet this!]

The essence of living in the present moment, the Now, is focusing the mind here and take attention away from thinking about past or future. The present moment is all there ever is to experience life directly. Past and future are only concepts of our mind and therefore are good for learning from the past or conceptual planning when it is useful, but after this there is no need for them. Especially not to dwell in them and get stuck there in the mind by constant thinking loops.

I wrote more about this in “What is The Present Moment ” and in “Clock Time vs. Psychological Time “. The present moment is the entry point to the spiritual dimension and to life itself.

5. “However many holy words you read, however many you speak, what good will they do you If you do not act on upon them?” [Tweet this!]

Action is what counts. It means to be action-oriented and to actually do what we think, to prove what we believe by applying it in reality. Only if we “walk our talk” we are authentic and truthful to ourselves.

To apply yourself and your ideas in reality is like a proof-test for what we think is right and will work. If there is no action and therefore no testing in reality, the words or ideas themselves are of no real sustainable value.

Another quote for this message is “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.”

6. “Even death is not to be feared by one who has lived wisely.” [Tweet this!]

This is the essence of Carpe Diem – to seize the day fully means living wisely. It means to live to the highest truth we know and to rise to our highest values and capabilities.

Living wisely also means not to believe every thought that comes, but to live more from the space between thoughts, from our essence.

7. “Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without.” [Tweet this!]

The so-called Inside-Out approach means to look within oneself to find the inspiration and power to act from this place. It means not to look to the outside world for liberation or happiness, but to take the responsibility for oneself and become that what we are seeking.

His second quote here “No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path.” talks directly about this responsibility, response-ability we have inside.

8. “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.” [Tweet this!]

Any perspective we have on anything is only a relative truth. There are always both (or more) sides of any story. An objective perspective or an absolute truth is very hard or maybe impossible to see. But to be aware of this and to be interested to see another perspective from another person can be very mind-opening and valuable.

The matter of perspective (also described in the 7 habits of highly effective people) is a very powerful one and it is the core of most (if not all?) conflicts between people. One things one is right as long one stays in one’s own single perspective – needless to say, the other person has the same reality.

There is a similar quote by The Buddha that fits in here: “In seperateness lies the world’s great misery, in compassion lies the world’s true strength” which shows that if we become able to dissolve the separate perspective to a perspective of oneness with all other, we hold the key to end conflicts and to find solution and agreements suitable for everybody.

9. “If we could see the miracle of a single flower clearly, our whole life would change.” [Tweet this!]

This quote is perhaps the most difficult one to really understand. In the first place, it is not about the beautiful nature of the flower or beauty itself. What Buddha is talking about – in my humble opinion – is to see and get in touch with the life in a flower directly, without any interference by our mind by mental concepts and thoughts of the flower.

Eckhart Tolle in “A New Earth” talks about the flowering of human consciousness, maybe you want to take a look

10. “The only real failure in life is not to be true to the best one knows.” [Tweet this!]

If we are not authentic and truthful to ourselves, we build a wall around us that eventually we have to tear down again. It is then literally a resistance to the reality and our own nature where we can hide some time, but life has a way to show us our own faults in the end.

To be true to the best one knows means to come from our own best knowledge and not buy into something outside ourselves blindly, always asking: is this really true to what I know?

In resonance with this quote also is the final one by The Buddha:

“There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth; not going all the way, and not starting.”

About the author Myrko Thum

I'm author of this site and I could coach you to make a giant leap ahead in your personal life and your business. I founded Personal Breakthrough Academy, a powerful personal development video course to create your personal breakthrough. Sign up below to get started:


  • Srinivasan

    September 13, 2008

    Really inspiring.

    Srinivasan’s last blog post: Tips For Motivating Yourself – 1

  • Ariel - We Are All One

    September 13, 2008

    Hey Myrko,

    Fantastic list. Thank you for putting this collection together, as well as giving your understandings about the quotes.

    3 really resonated with me and 5 cracked me up. I’ve definitely fallen for that one. :)

    9 is particularly awesome, and your explanation of it is bang on.

    10 is dynamite. It then begs the question… “Who am I?” ;)

    Ariel – We Are All One’s last blog post: Realizations from Awakening, Part 1

  • Myrko

    September 13, 2008

    Hey Ariel, to be honest I tend to violate 5 sometimes, too :)
    Btw. I liked your latest realization postings on your site. Really interesting to get to know many different approaches…

  • Psiplex

    September 13, 2008

    Beautiful. Also grateful for the grace that allows experiencing and being. To have service to others and the spirit of “What can I give?” allows beautiful connection to happen.

    Thank you for your remarkable post!

    Psiplex’s last blog post: Closer

  • Evelyn Lim

    September 13, 2008

    I enjoyed all the quotes here on this post. You’ve done an excellent job in explaining them.

    My favorite for today is “If we could see the miracle of a single flower clearly, our whole life would change.” I did not have the time to stop to see the miracle of a flower previously; but now I choose to. And the day I did, a whole new world opened up!

    Evelyn Lim’s last blog post: Hire A Dream Team For Creative Visualization

  • Myrko

    September 13, 2008

    Yes Psiplex, “What can I give?” or “How may I serve?” seemst to be THE question of the spirit. (opposed to what’s in it for me?)

    Evelyn: One of the Buddha’s disciples, Mahākāśyapa, silently gazed at the flower and is said to have gained a special insight …, beyond words. Mahākāśyapa somehow understood the true inexpressible meaning of the flower and the Buddha smiled at him. –

  • brianohio

    September 13, 2008

    “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.”

    This is my new favorite quote, my inspiration to be more than a good talker…

    brianohio’s last blog post: 99 days of change…

  • Shamelle - TheEnhanceLife

    September 15, 2008

    Recently I wrote a post on “Inspirational Quotes To Get You Through The Toughest Of Days”

    One commenter mentioned that we can use religious quotes. Reading your post I definitely found a some quotes that fit this category.

    Shamelle – TheEnhanceLife’s last blog post: Book Review:Who’s Pulling Your Strings? (How to Break the Cycle of Manipulation …)

  • Myrko

    September 15, 2008

    Shamelle, definately. There is a lot of pure wisdom inside of the quotes. I would not call them religious necessarily, but spiritual or inSpirational, which is a more general term.

    Whatever you call it, it contains truth and is helpful to be inspired by them :)

  • CG Walters

    January 8, 2009

    Thank you for this wonderful collection, Myrko!
    This article is featured in CelebraZine (Celebrate What’s Right In the World)
    blessings and continued inspiration to you, for the work you bring into our world,

    CG Walters´s last blog post: CelebraZine 05Jan09

  • Julian

    February 12, 2009

    The first one has such deep meaning. I think the book The Secret doesn’t accurately reflect what the Buddha was getting at. He taught the Law of Karma which is a definite factor in these things.

    Julian´s last blog post: 9 Tips To Create An Extra Hour In Your Day

  • Life Coach

    May 7, 2009

    “Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away”.

  • SharRell

    September 4, 2009

    thank you for the beautiful things you share with the world.this web site mixedbag has changed my days into thought and beauty

  • Maxime - SmilingMind

    November 19, 2009

    I stumbledupon this post and I’m happy about that. Those quotes from Buddha are really profound yet so simple.

    Here are 2 other quotes I found interesting :

    -Happiness comes when your work and words are of benefit to yourself and others.

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

    In other words, this is what I try to do : help/inspire others but not depend on them for my own happiness. The more I depend on material,ideas and persons, the more I solidify my “cage”.

    “No self, no problem”. -Zen Proverb

  • thuy

    December 27, 2009

    This list is just what I need to past onto my friend. I am sure it will give her hope her time and moment of clarity. thank you

  • Hey Myrko,

    Great post and some fantastic quotes that I’ll also be adding to my quotes page too!

    Happy new year!

  • Hi Myrko,
    great post. There is so much to be learnt by Buddha’s teachings.

    Thanks again,

  • Autumn

    April 10, 2011

    My favorite one is #10 I have to be true to myself and follow my heart.

  • champak ghaskata

    April 17, 2011

    Do not speak- unless it improves on silence.

  • santhosh

    May 21, 2011

    buddha is believed as a god by the people of many countries… really he is i like his teachings and each word and quote from him wil inspire me a lot…

  • Property Marbella

    June 18, 2011

    Every one of your articles is so inspiration and deep. Thank you for the beautiful things you share with me and the world. This web site has changed my days into thought and beauty.

  • divina

    July 28, 2011

    its really inspiring and enlightening..thank you for the free access of these quotes..

  • ritusoni

    July 29, 2011

    Its really great and well explain quote about buddha ,
    thanks for Sharing

  • huangyouyou

    October 13, 2011

    Wishing you all the best and I will be following your posts for more inspiration

  • Lotus

    December 7, 2011

    Thanks everyone for the beautiful
    nd sp Ttiritual. Awakaaaening…need to soul search

  • yoel reuben

    February 8, 2012

    I really liked the 10 inspirational quotes by the D.L. thanks a million for enlightining me on many issues, please continue.

  • Lance

    February 16, 2012

    The Buddha, in creating an arduous ‘path’ to enlightenment, revealed the path ‘he’ was on. True enlightment requires only the wind and the moon.

  • Rabi

    March 22, 2012

    I really appreciate that you collected and posted these priceless quotes from Buddha. These are great things to know. But the information you gave about the birth place of Buddha in starting of this post is not the correct information. Because Buddha was born in Kapilvastu of Lumbini which is located in Nepal. I might not know about ancient India but the evidences of Buddha’s life in Nepal can still be found in Lumbini Nepal. So I request you not to post India as a birth places of Buddha in your other posts and would request you to correct it in this post as well.

  • Myrko

    March 25, 2012

    Thanks Rabi, this is updated now!

  • Manjula

    May 25, 2012

    Hi Myrko
    Thanks a lot for the explanations
    Very inspiring indeed

  • Praveen kumar

    October 4, 2012

    Thank you thankyou thankyou thankyou and a lot of thanks to you dear……

  • Aaron

    October 10, 2012

    Yea most people are stuck in thinking about their past or future
    Instead of relaxing and living the moment, life becomes much calmer and more beautiful
    you enjoy interactions and environment like 100x more…

    life is a gift, enjoy every moment

  • liza miles

    October 17, 2012

    Thanks for this inspiring collection of quotes.

  • Dr. Ranajna Sharma

    December 2, 2012

    Highly appreciated !!!! u may add………

    “It’s’ Good” to be knows as “nice” but its not “best”to be remain known as “nice’ , you let the other person to test you patience …….. ” By myself


    December 27, 2012

    Thanks for your nice inspiring messages.

  • David

    January 27, 2013

    Is number 8 about non dualism?

  • asgaeg dfgsdhg

    March 26, 2013

    love it, touches me on both a physical and emotional level. i have travelled the world and seen many things but i always struggled to find any reason for faith. as i entered a small town called samamlia i noticed a lot of temples and i decided to visit. the first thing i saw was the extreme reverencre that was shown and instantly i was drawn to it and havent looked back a day since


    April 18, 2013

    I hope all Buddhist fellowers must understand Wisdom
    Forget about the past, don’t hold tight to our present & don’t have to look forward for the future
    All living being have a Soul.
    Only Wisdom leading us back to Heaven and Buddha Land
    All Fellowers must understand our purpose of living in this present Physical Life ( the Cause and Effect from our our Past, Present and Future)
    Cultivate our Wisdom, Settle our Karma, and race forward our eternal life

  • karthi

    April 28, 2013

    Buddha Siddhartha the man born 2000 years before. his words still help people to be happy.I am so much astonished by his sayings. many generations have passed still the truth which he told trimphs.I am thank full to him. finally there is someone who took care for the future generations to live a good life.

  • karthi

    April 28, 2013

    do not measure a man by what he is saying but by what he is doing. many speak but do not do.these quotes are timeless. his whole. life is full of learning.

  • Dustin

    May 28, 2013

    @brianohio: Absolutely. That quote reminds me of another, “Better to be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.”

    Great list!

  • tenzin londen

    May 30, 2013

    its really helpful for bad person like me to
    transform our impulsive behaviour to
    good person…. i m extremely thankful
    for this wonderful post..!

  • Myrko Thum

    May 30, 2013

    You’re welcome tenzin londen.

  • Henrik axelsson

    June 17, 2013

    @Evelyn Lim:

    You thought you chose that day but it was actually given as a gift from god.
    Nothing can be forced.”nothing can be given a man unless it be given to him from heaven.”-bible

  • Warren c.Powell

    June 23, 2013

    God! gave us senses to enlighten oneself. any knowledge embodied as hope and love is everlasting, this might give you the tools to be your self and embrace all things uncomfortable. Trust instincts intuition for the power to embody faith and respect as a leader in a unenlighten world of misguided and mislead souls in need of the right words!!

  • Mary J Robbins

    July 1, 2013

    I am new to this kind of thinking, but I want to find peace and give up medication for anxiety and depression. My favorite quote is from Lao Tzu about being at peace by living in the present. That is the quote that started me on this journey. It’s so simple. I want that so much and believe that I am on the right path to finding it. For someone like me, this would be a monumental change in 50 years of thinking. Thank you.

  • jitendra

    July 7, 2013

    Every question has particular answer …. just find it ….
    Whatever happened is a past today …

    Listen what u want to,hear what u want to, speak what u want to & do only things u want to, coz results will be faced by you only

  • Joan Fenold

    July 13, 2013

    I agree…you’ve created a wonderful space online to express from your own understanding
    the meaning of these quotes…and now we are all able to benefit from reading these quotes
    and your understanding of them. Thank you! Joan

  • Matt kawakami

    July 30, 2013

    The explaination of the 3rd quote is a little off. It’s not about abundance but rather its about nature of teaching good thought and action. And how one persons actions or teachings can affect many people spanning many generations.

  • listopencil

    August 30, 2013

    What is the source of this quote?

    “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.”

  • Florin

    October 27, 2013

    Excellent quotes, I love them & there are many I neaver heard about. For inspirational quotes I also recommend The Reader Facebook page –

  • Manjula

    October 28, 2013

    Beautfull things.
    like it.

  • Barry

    November 8, 2013

    Any sources for these quotes? Some seem to contradict buddhist teachings. It appears that they are misinterpreted or something.

  • Kenny Zumwalt

    November 16, 2013

    Giving must fulfill three purities………….

  • mike

    December 3, 2013

    I think the flower thing isnt that complicated to understand , i think the message is simple : people who apreciate little joy on life will apreciate more is entier life and universe like thé people who pass far from the dead seem to apreciate every little things

  • mike

    December 4, 2013

    Every little thing they were not notice before start to seem then so magical and fantastic to them and their vision of everything change … They notice beauty were before they aint care about

  • D Srinivas

    March 16, 2014

    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…

  • David Sebastian PDA

    May 20, 2014

    Another great quote of Buddha is : “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.”

    BTW, many people believe Buddha to be a God. He was not. He was just a man who has achieved enlightenment (Who has perfectly understood the 4 Noble Truths).

    Look it up on the net, “4 Noble Truths” and “Noble Eightfold Path”, which are also interesting.

  • nilesh wardhe

    June 1, 2014

    @Rabi: @Rabi: the ancient nepal was the constituent part of india as called the shakya republic being siddharth Gautam the Prince

  • Guy

    June 9, 2014

    I often wondered what religion I was, now at age 56 I begin to know, Quote number 9, the miracle of a flower, I remember teaching my children by putting a pomegranate seed on the table and discussing what it was, jointly we decided that the seed contained a book of instructions, a toolbox, materials, a string of DNA and a reproduction system to build a flower then produce a fruit, a seed is life and we all began as a seed and from that seed comes a lot more seeds & one candle will light many more, it is all interlinked, so simple and so amazing.

  • Shreyas

    June 14, 2014

    I disagree with “All that we are is the result of what we have thought. The mind is everything. What we think we become”…Buddha has never said it…We exist, so we think…it is not the other way around. Thought is a very small happening in our existence and “No Mind” or “Being in the Present” is the very teaching of the Buddha.Too much has been made out of using our thoughts to achieve in Life…just be silent, meditative and see the miracles manifest in life in unknown ways…

  • Ramo

    July 9, 2014

    became curious what the exact quote was, and found this interesting discussion:

    here it seems that it might be a nice statement (although that is debatable), but not from the buddha.

  • Christopher Tan

    August 4, 2014

    Thank you for this inspirational and thoroughly explained post. Buddha’s wise words will resonate for years to come and inspire those to do great things. This is what I hope to accomplish with my blog as well (: Thank you for this Myrko!

  • David M LaBuda

    August 8, 2014


    I have been searching for the exact wording of a quote which I believe originate from Lao Tzu. The quote was about changing the world, I think. It went something like … If you would change the world then you must first change … this type of wording would continue on and on peeling away like an onion all the chaff until you are finally left with … If you would change the ??? then you must begin by changing yourself or some such thing. If you know the quote and can point me to it, it would be greatly appreciated! Thanks for your help! Dave


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