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Buddha means “Awakened One”, someone who has awakened and sees things as they really are. According to AboutBuddha.org , 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.”

75 comments

  1. Comment by Srinivasan

    Srinivasan Reply September 13, 2008 at 3:55 am

    Really inspiring.

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

  2. Comment by Ariel - We Are All One

    Ariel - We Are All One Reply September 13, 2008 at 4:05 am

    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

  3. Comment by Myrko

    Myrko Reply September 13, 2008 at 4:54 am

    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…

  4. Comment by Psiplex

    Psiplex Reply September 13, 2008 at 6:05 am

    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

  5. Comment by Evelyn Lim

    Evelyn Lim Reply September 13, 2008 at 10:44 am

    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

  6. Comment by Myrko

    Myrko Reply September 13, 2008 at 1:47 pm

    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. – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zen

  7. Comment by brianohio

    brianohio Reply September 13, 2008 at 6:15 pm

    “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…

  8. Comment by Shamelle - TheEnhanceLife

    Shamelle - TheEnhanceLife Reply September 15, 2008 at 6:01 am

    Recently I wrote a post on “Inspirational Quotes To Get You Through The Toughest Of Days”
    http://www.theenhancelife.com/2008/09/inspirational-quotes-to-get-you-through.html.

    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 …)

  9. Comment by Myrko

    Myrko Reply September 15, 2008 at 1:28 pm

    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 :)

  10. Comment by Julian

    Julian Reply February 12, 2009 at 11:46 pm

    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

  11. Comment by Life Coach

    Life Coach Reply May 7, 2009 at 1:34 pm

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

  12. Comment by SharRell

    SharRell Reply September 4, 2009 at 3:32 pm

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

  13. Comment by Maxime - SmilingMind

    Maxime - SmilingMind Reply November 19, 2009 at 4:57 pm

    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

  14. Comment by thuy

    thuy Reply December 27, 2009 at 12:56 pm

    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

  15. Comment by Amit Sodha - The Power Of Choice

    Amit Sodha - The Power Of Choice Reply December 29, 2009 at 8:11 pm

    Hey Myrko,

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

    Happy new year!

  16. Comment by Alison Bova from Live Beyond Nine to FIve

    Alison Bova from Live Beyond Nine to FIve Reply September 13, 2010 at 7:41 am

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

    Thanks again,
    Alison

  17. Comment by Autumn

    Autumn Reply April 10, 2011 at 9:21 pm

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

  18. Comment by champak ghaskata

    champak ghaskata Reply April 17, 2011 at 8:25 pm

    Do not speak- unless it improves on silence.

  19. Comment by santhosh

    santhosh Reply May 21, 2011 at 8:49 am

    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…

  20. Comment by Property Marbella

    Property Marbella Reply June 18, 2011 at 6:11 pm

    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.

  21. Comment by divina

    divina Reply July 28, 2011 at 9:07 am

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

  22. Comment by ritusoni

    ritusoni Reply July 29, 2011 at 8:17 am

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

  23. Comment by huangyouyou

    huangyouyou Reply October 13, 2011 at 11:35 am

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

  24. Comment by Lotus

    Lotus Reply December 7, 2011 at 3:04 am

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

  25. Comment by yoel reuben

    yoel reuben Reply February 8, 2012 at 10:53 am

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

  26. Comment by Lance

    Lance Reply February 16, 2012 at 3:02 am

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

  27. Comment by Rabi

    Rabi Reply March 22, 2012 at 11:40 pm

    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.

  28. Comment by Myrko

    Myrko Reply March 25, 2012 at 6:20 pm

    Thanks Rabi, this is updated now!

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  31. Comment by Manjula

    Manjula Reply May 25, 2012 at 9:30 am

    Hi Myrko
    Thanks a lot for the explanations
    Very inspiring indeed
    Cheers
    Manjula

  32. Comment by Praveen kumar

    Praveen kumar Reply October 4, 2012 at 8:11 am

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

  33. Comment by Aaron

    Aaron Reply October 10, 2012 at 11:22 am

    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

  34. Comment by liza miles

    liza miles Reply October 17, 2012 at 2:20 pm

    Thanks for this inspiring collection of quotes.

  35. Comment by Dr. Ranajna Sharma

    Dr. Ranajna Sharma Reply December 2, 2012 at 4:56 am

    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

  36. Comment by T.MANOHARAN

    T.MANOHARAN Reply December 27, 2012 at 7:01 am

    Thanks for your nice inspiring messages.

  37. Comment by David

    David Reply January 27, 2013 at 4:20 am

    Is number 8 about non dualism?

  38. Comment by asgaeg dfgsdhg

    asgaeg dfgsdhg Reply March 26, 2013 at 10:21 pm

    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

  39. Comment by FELIX TAN

    FELIX TAN Reply April 18, 2013 at 9:55 pm

    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

  40. Comment by karthi

    karthi Reply April 28, 2013 at 5:47 pm

    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.

  41. Comment by karthi

    karthi Reply April 28, 2013 at 6:15 pm

    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.

  42. Pingback: Path to Well Being » Blog Archive » The Dalai Lama’s Guide to Happiness

  43. Comment by Dustin

    Dustin Reply May 28, 2013 at 3:21 am

    @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!

  44. Comment by tenzin londen

    tenzin londen Reply May 30, 2013 at 6:56 am

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

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  47. Comment by Henrik axelsson

    Henrik axelsson Reply June 17, 2013 at 10:10 pm

    @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

  48. Comment by Warren c.Powell

    Warren c.Powell Reply June 23, 2013 at 5:22 am

    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!!

  49. Comment by Mary J Robbins

    Mary J Robbins Reply July 1, 2013 at 3:29 am

    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.

  50. Comment by jitendra

    jitendra Reply July 7, 2013 at 5:13 am

    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

  51. Comment by Joan Fenold

    Joan Fenold Reply July 13, 2013 at 10:25 am

    Myrko…
    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

  52. Comment by Matt kawakami

    Matt kawakami Reply July 30, 2013 at 3:35 am

    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.

  53. Comment by listopencil

    listopencil Reply August 30, 2013 at 12:12 am

    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.”

  54. Comment by Florin

    Florin Reply October 27, 2013 at 2:04 pm

    Excellent quotes, I love them & there are many I neaver heard about. For inspirational quotes I also recommend The Reader Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/The.Reader.Page.

  55. Comment by Manjula

    Manjula Reply October 28, 2013 at 7:26 am

    Beautfull things.
    like it.

  56. Comment by Barry

    Barry Reply November 8, 2013 at 5:20 am

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

  57. Comment by Kenny Zumwalt

    Kenny Zumwalt Reply November 16, 2013 at 11:32 am

    Giving must fulfill three purities………….

  58. Comment by mike

    mike Reply December 3, 2013 at 11:53 pm

    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

  59. Comment by mike

    mike Reply December 4, 2013 at 12:00 am

    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

  60. Pingback: Top 10 Inspirational Buddha Quotes | AlieZEN

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  62. Comment by David Sebastian PDA

    David Sebastian PDA Reply May 20, 2014 at 7:48 pm

    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.

  63. Comment by nilesh wardhe

    nilesh wardhe Reply June 1, 2014 at 9:33 am

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

  64. Comment by Guy

    Guy Reply June 9, 2014 at 5:35 am

    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.

  65. Comment by Shreyas

    Shreyas Reply June 14, 2014 at 5:52 am

    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…

  66. Comment by Christopher Tan

    Christopher Tan Reply August 4, 2014 at 6:29 pm

    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!

    http://theplanetandthepeople.com

  67. Comment by David M LaBuda

    David M LaBuda Reply August 8, 2014 at 12:28 am

    Myrko,

    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

  68. Comment by Darryl

    Darryl Reply August 18, 2014 at 3:14 pm

    All those Buddha quotes appear to be fake.

    Get your facts straight before disseminating misinformation please. All of those quotes are in direct contravention to the Buddha’s true teachings. Take the time to read Buddhist texts from reliable sources and you’ll see for yourself.

    The Buddha taught that everything in existence is impermanent. Everything. Not even God, or Brahma, or whatever you call it is permanent. Everything in existence is subject to change as you can see from just looking at the world around you.

    The five aggregates that make up our being – body, feeling, perception, mental formations (mind), consciousness – are all subject to change. Our bodies are continually undergoing the cyclical process of renewal and elimination at the cellular and atomic level through various systems, for example the digestive system, respiratory system etc. It is said that every 7 years 98% of your body’s atoms have been completely replaced anew. I can’t verify the exact veracity of this statement but it pretty much holds true. As for the other aggregates, they are all undergoing patterns and cycles similar to the human body. Feelings arise in response to certain phenomena, either pleasurable or painful; the same applies to mental-formations. You may say “I thought of that myself.” You never truly THINK of anything truly authentic all by your-SELF. The six-sense media (sight, sound, taste, touch, smell, mental-perception) receives input from the environment. Immediately in response to this, subconscious material (sanskaras) produce mental and emotional responses, and more often than not we react to these responses. Look around you and you may just see people reacting most of the time rather than responding. That’s what I see. Because if we were all truly responding 100% autonomously we would respond from a pure heart free from the defilement of hatred (aversion). Nothing is ever truly authentic. We are all standing on the shoulders of giants in terms of technology. The same can be said for ideas. Every idea comes from external inspiration. Einstein was accused of being a plagiarist due to similarities of his work with others, but I think really all that was happening is he received sensory input in the form of information, which intermingled with subconscious material, and in return insightful thoughts popped up into his head in the form of ideas.

    Very few people are wholly in control of their minds. Try meditating on your breath and within seconds your mind will begin to wander all by itself. Even the aggregate of consciousness is subject to change: you know, sleeping. The bottom line is everything we identify with – body, perception, perception, mental formations and consciousness – are all subject to change. There’s no all-enduring self which underpins our existence. If you believe in rebirth (I do because I know I’m not my body because I had an out of body experience) then the only thing that transmigrates to the next life is a mental-continuum and consciousness. And if you think about it, identifying with mind and consciousness is futile. Imagine you were born a dog. Your entire consciousness would be completely different to who you are now due to the other 4 aggregates being different. Not to mention your entire identity/memory would be wiped.

    What we call “me” or “self” or “personality” is nothing but interrelated process of the five aggregates of being. The grandest delusion is identifying with this thing we call the “self”. In actual fact, it is merely a series of processes being carried out in tandem with the rest of the cosmos and particularly its immediate environment.

    Don’t believe me? Fair enough. But try to verify for yourself and if you don’t then you don’t. This is at the heart of the Buddha’s TRUE teachings. Not believing something because he said it, or your mother said it, or the rest of society is saying it, or because you said it in the past, but rather find out for yourself, right here, right now. That’s at the core of the Noble Eightfold path. First you gain insight into the illusory, impermanent nature of reality through vipassana meditation (something I have yet to do – I only have a thorough conceptual understanding). Next the path reveals itself to you and it’s up to you to follow it if you so choose. But it requires abandoning rites & rituals, the second fetter tying us to the wheel of becoming. Another name for this fetter can be called “belief systems”. Dogmatised, indoctrinated, blind-faith belief systems with no actual experiential proof, just belief. Malcom X said “religion is the opiates of the masses.” But really, I think belief systems are truly the opiates of the masses. Beliefs are prisons of the mind that lock us into a fixed view of reality and thereby govern the way we think, feel and act. And since birth our minds are conditioned to perceive the world in a certain light. The delusion of self creates attachment. When there’s attachment there’s aversion. It’s a self-perpetuating process that prolongs the cycle of existence for an indefinite period of time. Life on Earth as a human is said to be the only realm where we have a truly representative picture of reality, wherein lies both pleasure and pain, as opposed to other states of existence in which one predominates the other. Of course there are other realms like the Earth out there, according to out of body experience experts, but I haven’t seen for myself.

    This is my interpretation of Buddhism based on reading from source material and Buddhist monks. Please, don’t be swept away by the tides of naivety. It’s good to keep an open-mind, but if left unguarded it begets misinformation, which begets ignorance, which begets attachment, which begets aversion. Try to find a balance between open-mindedness and discernment. Try to find the Middle Way :)

  69. Comment by Darryl

    Darryl Reply August 19, 2014 at 12:58 pm

    Those Buddha quotes are fake. Already made a huge comment describing his TRUE teachings, but it was deleted. Don’t be fooled by this New Age trite. A lot of New Age concepts hold true but a lot are also bull. Try to find a balance between open-mindedness and discernment.

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  71. Comment by Joann

    Joann Reply November 16, 2014 at 4:54 pm

    This all seems so self-centered. Is there ultimate evil and ultimate good? I believe yes and it does not come from within the self. Why is Bhudda seen as the source of good information or quotes but at the same time only a human being? I hope that people reading this will come to know that we were created by one And only one God who is the light, the truth, and the way. If I were to push someone out of the way of oncoming traffic and died but they were saved I would be seen as a hero or at least the other person would know that I loved them. Jesus did that for us without hesitation. Simply meditating for one’s self enlightenment will not save you or anyone in the afterlife. I may have struggles in this life but this world is not the end.

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