Many are in a place of turmoil right now. If you need to find some inner peace, consider these quotes from Buddha to guide you.
Buddha, whose real name was Siddhartha Gautama, is considered one of the greatest spiritual leaders in history. He traveled the region, sharing his teachings about inner peace. He lived and taught Buddhism in and around modern-day Nepal and India sometime between the 6th to 4th century B.C. His very name means “one who is awakened” or “the enlightened one.”
The Early Life of Buddha
Buddha grew up in a palace as the son of a great ruler of the Shakya clan. His father wanted to raise his son away from all the suffering and tragedies in the world, so he sheltered him inside the palace walls. However, one day Siddhartha left the palace with a charioteer and quickly realized the realities of the human condition. He saw an older man for the first time, and Buddha’s charioteer had to explain to him that all people eventually grow old.
He went on future trips where he encountered a man with the disease, a rotting corpse, and an ascetic (one who practices severe self-discipline and abstinence from indulgence). The charioteer told Buddha that the man had renounced the world to escape the natural sufferings that come from engaging in life. After seeing all of this, Buddha left his palace and kingdom to find a right way to avoid universal pain and overcome the human condition.
Buddha’s path to enlightenment
For the next six years, Buddha lived as a renunciant, studying, and meditating under different philosophies and religious teachings. However, he wasn’t finding the answers he sought with these teachings, so he decided to increase his discipline and level of renunciation. He endured pain, fasted almost to starvation, and didn’t drink water for long periods. These practices didn’t lead to any spiritual understanding, however, until one day, a girl offered Buddha a bowl of rice.
He then realized that simply giving up worldly comforts did not lead to inner freedom and nirvana, so he then ate the rice, drank some water and took a bath in the river. That night, he meditated under a Bodhi tree and made a promise to himself that he wouldn’t get up until he found the answers he needed. He remained under the tree until the sun came up the next day, purifying his mind and seeing his whole life, including his past ones, flash before him.
While he sat under the Bodhi tree, he had to overcome a demon named Mara, who attempted to “steal” Buddha’s enlightenment. When Mara challenged him, Siddhartha touched his hand to the Earth, asking it to bear witness to his wisdom. At that moment, Mara left his mind, and Buddha reached nirvana or the final stage of enlightenment.
After this, Siddhartha got the answers to all the questions he had about the universe and found the ultimate way to release himself from suffering. At this moment, Siddhartha truly became Buddha or the enlightened one.
In the beginning, Buddha didn’t want to spread his teachings because he didn’t know how to communicate the vast knowledge he had learned. However, according to legend, the king of gods named Brahma encouraged Buddha to teach. So, he got up from under the tree where he became enlightened and set out to show others what he had learned.
When he got about 100 miles from the tree, he crossed paths with five ascetics he had meditated and studied with years prior. They had abandoned him in the evening when he became enlightened because they thought he’d given up the way of renunciation. Buddha then told them they should find a middle ground instead of giving up everything or indulging in every desire. He called this path the Middle Way.
These ascetics became his first disciples who helped him form a community of monks called Sangha. As he traveled, many gathered to hear him preach his teachings, which he called the Dharma. In these teachings, he included the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path, which became the foundation of Buddhism. For the rest of his life, he set out to teach this path. Thus, he helped others find their way to enlightenment as well.
When Buddha died, he told his disciples they shouldn’t follow anyone, but should “be [their] own light.” Today, around 350 million people across the world practice Buddhism. However, you don’t need to follow the religion to benefit from the quotes below. No matter your stance on faith, you can put these principles into practice in your daily life to find inner peace.
Here are 15 quotes from Buddha that will help you foster inner peace:
“All that we are is the result of what we have thought. The mind is everything. What we think we become.”
In this quote, Buddha shows the importance of thinking positive thoughts. Even better than feeling good ideas, however, is being able to quiet the mind to hear your intuition. Between the turbulence of feelings, both positive and negative, you can listen to the silence of your soul speaking wisdom to you.
“The whole secret of existence is to have no fear. Never fear what will become of you, depend on no one. Only the moment you reject all help are you freed.”
Depend only on yourself, and you will never meet disappointment. We should have other people in our lives to enjoy and give love to, not to use them or require anything from them.
“You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere. You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.”
Self-love forms the foundation for us to build our love for others. Without love within our hearts, we cannot spread it to other people.
“To conquer oneself is a greater task than conquering others.”
Conquer your own mind and ego, and you will conquer the world.
“Desire is the root of all suffering.”
The attachment to people, objects, or places causes suffering. This doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy the things of this world, but they aren’t meant to be a permanent fixture in our lives. Indeed, we should learn to observe all happenings with a calm non-attachment.
“We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves.”
Purify the mind through meditation, and you will find the riches you seek.
“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.”
Happiness becomes amplified when shared. Selfishness and an overactive ego cause unhappiness and misery in the world.
“A good friend who points out mistakes and imperfections and rebukes evil is to be respected as if he reveals a secret of hidden treasure.”
The best friends will give you constructive criticism so you may improve yourself.
“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.”
We create barriers in our minds. We all arrive here as equals. Pay no mind to one’s skin color, age, race, religion, sex, class, or any other label we give ourselves.
“Do not be jealous of others’ good qualities, but out of admiration adopt them yourself.”
Instead of being envious of others, try to imitate the good qualities you love about other people.
“Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without.”
Looking for peace outside yourself will only lead to dead ends. Build it within yourself, so everywhere you look, you see tranquility.
“The way is not in the sky. The way is in the heart.”
Look within for all the answers you seek, just as Buddha did.
“All wrong-doing arises because of mind. If mind is transformed can wrong-doing remain?”
Transform your thoughts, and all else will follow.
“Even though a speech is composed of a thousand words, but those words are senseless, one word of sense is better; when people hear it, they become quiet.”
The quietest people have the most to say. Practice speaking only words of love and encouragement, and feel the vibration shift within you.
“Health is the greatest of gifts, contentment is the finest of riches, trust is the best of relationships, nirvana is the highest happiness.”
Buddha taught simplicity as the way. Take care of your health, honor your relationships, and look within for answers.
No matter what religion you practice, these quotes from Buddha can benefit your life and instill inner peace. Practicing non-attachment, love for yourself and others, a calm demeanor, a healthy lifestyle, and positive thinking will help transform misery into wisdom and peace. Everything we seek lies within us.