Powerful Buddha Quotes to be Inspired By

Although thousands of years have passed since the Buddha walked the earth, his wisdom continues to bring peace, tranquility and inspiration to people around the world.

Apr 23, 2020

(Photo by Eric Prouzet on Unsplash)

Today, over 450 million people practice Buddhism, but anyone can benefit from the Buddha’s teachings on inner peace and living in the present. In fact, according to Psychology Today, many psychologists incorporate Buddhist practices like mindfulness meditation to heal patients. These powerful quotes from Buddha can help you too.

Who was the Buddha?
Thousands of years ago, a young prince named Siddhartha Gautama was born into a wealthy family in ancient India. Despite his life of luxury, his soul searched for deeper meaning beyond comfort and riches. 

So he decided to abandon the palace. He traveled on his own, seeking happiness. Yet along his journey, he continued to encounter suffering; old age, hunger, sickness, and death. This realization made him very unhappy.

After six years of wandering, the young prince sat beneath a Bodhi fig tree. Beneath the shade of the heart-shaped leaves, he contemplated all that he had witnessed. Through deep meditation, he found enlightenment—a state of inner peace and wisdom—and became The Buddha. 

So what did the Buddha discover during his mystical awakening? Discover these powerful quotes from the Dhammapada, a book of sacred sayings of the Buddha. 

“You are what you think. All that you are arises from your thoughts. With your thoughts, you make your world.” 

Your thoughts are like seeds. If you water seeds of gratitude and compassion, you will grow a life full of joy and love. But if you cultivate greed, anger, or hatred, you will end up with a much different world. So which seeds will you water?

“We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves.”

Let’s say you walk around feeling angry all the time. You think to yourself: “I’m mad because this person hurt me!” “My life is so unfair!” You’ll certainly have a short fuse when things don’t go your way. Your unpleasant behavior will eventually push people away and make it difficult to make and keep friends.

When you water thoughts of compassion and gratitude, people will feel joy in your presence and treat you with kindness in return. This leads to stronger connections and a life full of meaningful relationships.

“Quiet your mind. Reflect. Watch. Nothing binds you. You are free. You are strong.”

What if, instead of letting negative emotions take over you, you could simply observe those feelings. Sitting in quiet contemplation, you notice the anger. You pause and allow yourself to release that emotion. Anger no longer becomes you. You simply notice the feeling and let it go. Through practice, you train the mind to sit and observe. You free yourself from the pull of every thought and emotion. You become free. You feel strong. 

“The one who has conquered himself is a far greater hero than he who has defeated a thousand times a thousand men.”

You’ve likely heard the phrase “You are your own worst enemy”. We often hold onto painful narratives that cause us to suffer. We fall into negative thought patterns, telling ourselves, “I’m not good enough” or “I can’t do it”. This way of thinking can hurt us far more than anyone else ever could. 

By training the mind, through meditation practices, our thoughts and emotions have less power. We begin to observe our thoughts and become more self-aware of negative patterns. We uncover the source of these negative thought patterns in painful events from the past. As we heal, our thoughts have less power. We no longer hold ourselves back with self-defeating narratives.

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

Often our minds get caught up in a swirling pattern of thoughts and emotions. We get lost in thought, longing for the past or feeling anxious about could-be situations in the future. But if you think about, all we really have is now. Mindfulness meditation helps us appreciate the present moment by paying attention to what we experience.

Remember that meditation is a skill that gets better over time. At first, your thoughts might jump around like a monkey. But with practice, you will improve your ability to train your thoughts. You experience a sense of calm that helps to cope with suffering and appreciate the beauty of the present moment.

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ALLISON MICHELLE DIENSTMAN, CONTRIBUTOR
Working from her laptop as a freelance writer, Allison lives as a digital nomad, exploring the world while sharing positivity and laughter. She is a lover of language, travel, music, and creativity with a degree in Chinese language and literature.