THE SAYINGS OF THE BUDDHA

 

The Dhammapada, which is a great spiritual testimony,  is a collection of the sayings of  Master Shakyamuni Buddha  during his forty-five years of teaching in India. This collection preserves “the Words of the Buddha” on the nature of mind, emotions and his teachings; and it has been translated  into more languages than any other Buddhist Texts.  The translation of The Dhammapada from the Pali into English was first accomplished by the Venerable Ananda Maitreya, who was a highly respected Monk and a renowned scholar of Buddhism. “The  Sayings of the Buddha” are shared by all Buddhist Schools and millions of devotees throughout the world.

Master Shakyamuni Buddha , who is a Fully Enlightened One, is called the Giver of Deathlessness.  He is also called the Giver of the Purest Love, the Profoundest  Wisdom and the Highest Truth.

The Dhammapada consisting of 423 beautiful verses was originally compiled for Bhiksus, who are the male members of the Buddhist Sangha; and it served as a basic guide for following the teachings of the Buddha.  In his time (more than 2,500 years ago), life was difficult.  With cultivation, one could live with less trouble and strife, the society would be harmonious.  Although many of his teachings were given in the context of monastic community in which he lived, many more were given to lay people to make their lives more peaceful and joyful.

There is a Buddha in each of us.  So, when we read The Dhammapada, we feel that the insights of the Buddha are also our own.  The wisdom of the Buddha transcends time and space and directly speaks to the heart of all human beings.  After making selection, updating the language to current usage and adding more sayings of the Buddha, I am honored to present here my version of  the Sayings of the Buddha.

NA MO MASTER SHAKYAMUNI BUDDHA!

NA MO MASTER SHAKYAMUNI BUDDHA!

NA MO MASTER SHAKYAMUNI BUDDHA!

 

Three things cannot be long hidden:  The Sun, The Moon, and The Truth.

Peace comes from within, do not seek it from outside.

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

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

Those who are free of resentful  thoughts surely find peace.

Ignorance is not our true nature; one needs to develop awareness and practice mindfulness.

Pure mind is our innate goodness; one has no need to seek it from outside.

You only lose what you cling to.

Every being has the potential for enlightenment just as surely as every sesame seed contains oil.

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.

Envy, hatred, and illusion are the roots of evil.  To be free of these is the root of good.

Commit no wrong, cultivate the good, and purify one’s mind.

By oneself is one purified; by oneself is one defiled.

To depend on others for salvation is negative, but to depend on oneself is positive.

When ignorance was dispelled, and wisdom arose; darkness vanished, and light arose, one is enlightened.

Just as a mother would protect her only child with her life, even so let one cultivate a boundless loving-kindness towards all beings.

Standing, walking, sitting or relaxing, as long as he is awake, let him develop the mindfulness, which is a Noble Living.

Everything we say or do has the nature of mind, and mind  takes the lead.  If one speaks or acts with a negative intention, suffering follows him, as the wheel follows the foot of the ox that draws the cart.

Everything we say or do has the nature of mind, and mind is the Master.  If one speaks or acts with a positive intention, happiness follows him, like a shadow that never leaves him.

By mind the world is led, by mind the world is drawn; and all men are the master of their mind.

Our mind, not our body, is who we really are.  If our mind is loving and peaceful, we will become stronger and wiser, even if our bodies have difficulties.

Mind is one’s foe and best friend.  Destroy the passions of lust, hatred, and ignorance that reside in one’s mind by morality, mindfulness and wisdom.

“He insulted me, he beat me, he hurt me, and he deprived me,” a man who always thinks about such thoughts  hatred will never end.

“He insulted me, he beat me, he hurt me, and he deprived me,” a man who does not hold such thoughts in mind hatred will end.

Blaming our misfortunes on others will end up causing more injury to us.  Accepting the misfortunes forces us to take responsibility for correcting past mistakes and preventing them from being repeated.

Hatred does not end by hatred, hatred ends by loving-kindness.

There is the incredible wisdom that lies at the heart of the attitude of loving-kindness.

It may not be easy to maintain and generate loving-kindness in the face of aggression, but it is the most worthwhile approach, which creates the least harm and heals the damages from past ills.

He who lives seeking pleasures only, his acts uncontrolled, immoderate in his food, idle, and weak, Mara (the tempter) will surely overthrow him, like the wind throws down a feeble tree.

He who lives without seeking pleasures, his acts well controlled, moderate in his food, faithful and strong, Mara will certainly not be able to overthrow him, because the wind  could  not throw down a rocky mountain.

As rain penetrates into a badly-roofed house, lust breaks through a polluted mind.

As rain does not penetrate into a well-roofed house, lust will not break through a well-developed mind.

The wicked people mourn in this world, and they mourn in the next; they mourn in both.  They mourn and suffer when they see their misdeeds.

The righteous people delight in this world, and they delight in the next.  They delight and rejoice when they see  their good deeds.

As the bee gathers honey and goes without injuring the flowers or its color or fragrance, so let a good man goes about a village.

Not the faults of others, not what they have done or left undone should a good man pay attention to.  One should not try to find others’ faults intentionally.  By getting rid of the habit of fault-finding, one cuts off a source of defilement.

Like a beautiful flower, full of bright colors, but without fragrance, are the boastful and fruitless words of him who does not act accordingly.

Like a beautiful flower, full of brilliant colors and full of fragrance, are the sincere and fruitful words of him who acts accordingly.

The fragrance of flowers does not travel against the wind, but the pleasing and harmonious atmosphere of a good man travels even aginst the wind;  a good man pervades every place.

How is there laughter, how is there joy, as life is always suffering?  Why do you not seek a light, you who are shrouded in darkness?

This body is wasted, weak, a nest of disease; this heap of corruption breaks into pieces, life indeed ends in death.  The brilliant chariots of kings wear away; in the same way, the body becomes old, but the virtue of good people knows no age, thus do the good say to the good.

A man who is lazy and has learnt little, grows old like an ox, his flesh grows but his wisdom does not grow.

A man with polluted mind indulges in bad habits.  A wise man regards diligence as a supreme treasure.

Through effort, diligence, discipline, and self-control, the wise man makes himself as an island that cannot be overwhelmed by a flood.

By oneself alone is misdeed avoided; by oneself alone is one purified.

Even the gods envy those who are awakened and mindful; who practice meditation and contemplation; and who are carefree in a simple life.

No matter what the problems are, meditation and mindfulness are the solution.

True and lasting inner peace can never be found in external things.  It can only be found within in.  And then, once we find and nurture it with ourselves, it radiates outward.

Happy in this world is non-attachment.

If a traveller does not meet with one who is equal or his better, let him continue to tread alone on the virtuous path.  There can be no wicked friends.  (A Chinese proverb:  Rather go without than have something of bad quality.)

A fool who is aware of his foolish acts and ideas is wise at least for that very reason.  But the fool who thinks himself wise is called a fool, indeed.

Even for a moment, if a man of intelligence associates with a wise man, he quickly comprehends the Truth, as the tongue senses the flavor of a soup.

A man who committed misdeeds must repent for wrongdoing, and the reward of which he receives crying with a tearful face.

A man who performed good deeds without attachment  does not repent, and the reward of which he receives bringing peace of mind.

As long as the misdeed done does not bear fruit, the deceitful person thinks it is like honey; but when it ripens, then he suffers grief.

If you see an intelligent man who detects faults and blames what is blame-worthy, follow that wise man as though he were a revealer of hidden treasures. (Note:  It is permissable to use harsh words or even tough actions in order to save people from hurting themselves, but we must never do it out of hatred or anger.)

Let him admonish, let him teach, let him forbid what is improper.  He will be respected by the good, and he will be hated by the bad.

Do not have wicked people for friends, do not have people of bad quality for friends; have virtuous people for friends, have people of good quality for friends. If you choose to have wicked people for friends, you should try to reform them. (Note:  Be cautious in your social life.  Choose friends who uplift and inspire you to do your very best.)

It is difficult to control the mind, which is swift and apt to change on whatever it pleases.  A controlled mind yields true happiness.

Like irrigaters guide the water, fletchers (who make arrows) bend the arrow; wise people straighten themselves.

As a solid rock is not shaken by the wind, wise people remain unshaken amidst blame and praise.

Wise people, after listening to the laws, become serene like a deep, clear and still lake.

There is no suffering for him who treads on the virtuous path and abandoned grief; who has freed himself on all sides and removed obstacles.

He, who rightly knows and is wholly freed perfectly peaceful, is calm in his mind, his speech and his action.

Even though a speech can be composed of a thousand words but  without sense; one word of sense is better, which if a man hears and becomes quiet.

Though one conquered in battle field a thousand times and a thousand men, yet he who conquers himself is the greatest conqueror.

Even a wrong-doer sees happiness as long as  his misdeed has not ripened; but when his misdeed becomes ripened, then the wrong-doer sees sorrows.

Even a good man suffers as long as his good deed has not ripened;  but when his good deed becomes ripened, then the good man sees true happiness.

Think not lightly of misdeed, saying, “it will not come to me.”  Even a water pot is filled by the falling of water-drops.  In the same way, the fool fills himself with misdeed by gathering it little by little.

Think not lightly of good deed, saying, “it will not come to me.”  Even a water pot is filled by the falling of water-drops.  Likewise the wise man fills himself with merits by gathering it little by little.

Whoever causes harm to a good, pure, and innocent person, that misdeed falls back upon that fool, like light dust thrown up against the wind.

Act quickly in doing good deeds; restrain your mind from negative thoughts; for whoever delays in doing good deed delights in misdeed.

(Spring Liao, 2/5/09)