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quotations about Buddhism

We're all buddhas. We just don't recognize it.

YONGEY MINGYUR RINPOCHE, Joyful Wisdom: Embracing Change and Finding Freedom

In Buddhism, compassion always goes with wisdom. Compassion without wisdom is not understood to be true compassion, and wisdom without compassion is not true wisdom.

MASAO ABE, Zen and the Modern World

The doctrine of Karma, which is the great peculiarity of Buddhism and the main source of its moral excellence, is the complement of the doctrine of Transmigration. It is the teaching of Buddha "that there is no such thing as what is commonly called a soul." I quite agree with him in that "the real man is the net result of his merits and demerits; that a man is what he does, and the character of his acts depends upon his intentions." "All that we are is the result of what we have thought."

JAMES PLATT, "Is Life Worth Living?"

The secret of Buddhism is to remove all ideas, all concepts, in order for the truth to have a chance to penetrate, to reveal itself.

THICH NHAT HANH, Buddha Mind, Buddha Body: Walking Toward Enlightenment

Buddhist wisdom implies the affirmation or recognition of everything and everyone in their distinctiveness or in their suchness.

MASAO ABE, Buddhism and Interfaith Dialogue

Buddhism is more a system of philosophy and practical ethics than a religion. If by religion we mean something which inspires enthusiasm and fervour, Buddhism is certainly a religion, as it has given spiritual enthusiasm and joy to nearly five hundred millions of the world's population, and has served to carry men through material pains and evils and to make them their conquerors. But if we take as the beginning of religion the fear of God, or the dread of the unknown, or the hankering for the unseen and unintelligible, or the feeling for the infinite, Buddhism is certainly not a religion. The most striking feature of Buddhism is that it eschews all hypotheses regarding the unknown, and concerns itself wholly with the facts of life in the present work-a-day world.

POKALA LAKSHMI NARASU, The Essence of Buddhism

Once a Buddha, always a Buddha.

ROGER ZELAZNY, Lord of Light

First of all, Buddhism is neither pessimistic nor optimistic. If anything at all, it is realistic, for it takes a realistic view of life and the world. It looks at things objectively (yathābhūtam). It does not falsely lull you into living in a fool's paradise, nor does it frighten and agonize you with all kinds of imaginary fears and sins. It tells you exactly and objectively what you are and what the world around you is, and shows you the way to perfect freedom, peace, tranquility and happiness.

WALPOLA RAHULA, What the Buddha Taught

The buddha-dharma does not invite us to dabble in abstract notions. Rather, the task it presents us with is to attend to what we actually experience, right in this moment. You don't have to look "over there." You don't have to figure anything out. You don't have to acquire anything. And you don't have to run off to Tibet, or Japan, or anywhere else. You wake up right here. In fact, you can only wake up right here. So you don't have to do the long search, the frantic chase, the painful quest. You're already right where you need to be.

STEVE HAGEN, Buddhism Plain and Simple

Someone says, "Master, please hand me the knife," and he hands them the knife, blade first. "Please give me the other end," he says. And the master replies, "What would you do with the other end?" This is answering an everyday matter in terms of the metaphysical. When the question is, "Master, what is the fundamental principle of Buddhism?" Then he replies, "There is enough breeze in this fan to keep me cool." That is answering the metaphysical in terms of the everyday, and that is, more or less, the principle zen works on. The mundane and the sacred are one and the same.


The starting point for Buddhism is not dogma or belief in the supernatural, but the fact of the existence of sorrow and suffering, not merely the sorrow and suffering of the poor and the wretched, but also of those that live in the lap of luxury. Its goal is not heaven or a union with God or Brahman, but to find a refuge for man from the miseries of the world in the safe haven of an intellectual and ethical life through self-conquest and self-culture.

POKALA LAKSHMI NARASU, The Essence of Buddhism

Ignorance, vulnerability, fear, anger, and desire are expressions of the infinite potential of your buddha nature. There's nothing inherently wrong or right with making such choices. The fruit of Buddhist practice is simply the recognition that these and other mental afflictions are nothing more or less than choices available to us because our real nature is infinite in scope.

YONGEY MINGYUR RINPOCHE, Joyful Wisdom: Embracing Change and Finding Freedom

Buddhism is originally not a religion of faith in a transcendent deity but a religion of awakening to the true nature of self and others.

MASAO ABE, A Study of Dogen: His Philosophy and Religion

To say that Buddhist principles such as dependent origination, emptiness, and suchness are impersonal does not mean that Buddhism is indifferent to human affairs. On the contrary, Buddhism as a religion is essentially concerned with the salvation of humankind.

MASAO ABE, Zen and the Modern World

Buddhist nirvana ... is based on egolessness and is not anthropocentric but rather cosmological. In Buddhism, humans and the things of the universe are equally subject to change, equally subject to transitoriness or transmigration. A person cannot achieve emancipation from the cycle of birth and death until he or she can eliminate a more universal problem: the transience common to all things in the universe.

MASAO ABE, Buddhism and Interfaith Dialogue


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