Some Sayings of the Buddha

21 April 2515

SOME ETHICAL TEACHINGS

I.

Not to do any evil; to cultivate good; to purify one’s mind—this is the teaching of the Buddhas. (183)

It is hard to be born as a human being. Hard is the life of mortals. It is hard to hear the true teaching. The arising of the Buddha is very hard to see. (182)

Having myself discovered the way to the removal of the arrow of suffering, I have revealed it to you. You yourself must make the effort. The Perfect Ones only point out the way. (275–6)

As many kinds of garlands can be made of a heap of flowers, so many good deeds should be done once one is born. (53) Better than a hundred years of inactivity and idleness is one day of energetic life. (112)

Better than a hundred years of folly and thoughtlessness is a single day of wise and thoughtful life. (111)

It is easy to do what is bad and harmful to oneself. What is helpful and good is hard to do. (163)

Riches ruin the foolish but not those who seek the goal. (355)

The man who overcomes his committed evil with good actions brightens up the world like the moon emerging from behind the cloud. (173)

II.

Two things, monks, I have realized: discontent with good achievements and perseverance in exertion. (A.l.49)

Like a well-trained horse when touched by the whip, let a man be active and lively. By confidence, by virtue, by effort, by concentration and by discernment of truth, you, being perfect in knowledge and conduct, will get rid of this great sorrow. (144)

Let no man think lightly of good: “It cannot be for me.” Drop by drop is the pitcher filled and little by little the wise man is filled with merit. (122)

If a man commits an evil, let him not do it again nor take pleasure in it, for the accumulation of evil is painful. (117)

Oneself indeed is one’s savior. Who else could be the savior? With oneself well trained one obtains a savior who is hard to gain. (160)

Oneself is the refuge of oneself. Who else could be the refuge? Oneself is the destiny of oneself. Therefore, take care of yourself even as a merchant takes care of his noble horse. (380)

Though one may conquer a thousand times a thousand men in battle, one who conquers oneself is the greatest victor. (103)

Mules and horses and elephants are excellent when trained, but more excellent is the man who has trained himself. (322)

Irrigators guide the water; fletchers strengthen the arrow; carpenters bend the wood; wise people train themselves. (80, 145)

As a fletcher straightens his arrows, so the wise man straightens his unsteady mind, which is so hard to control. (33)

It is good to train the mind. A mind under control brings happiness. (35)

Whatever an enemy may do to an enemy or a hater to a hated, a wrongly directed mind can do one far greater harm. (42)

Neither father nor mother nor any other relative can do a man so much good as a well-directed mind. (43)

III.

The faults of others are easily seen, but one’s own is hard to see. A man winnows others’ faults like chaff, but one’s own faults he covers as a fowler hides himself. (252)

Let a wise man first go the right way himself, and then teach others. So he will not be defiled. (158)

As he teaches others so should he himself act. Being himself well trained he may train others. It is indeed one’s own self that is difficult to train. (159)

Happily do we live, we who have no worry. Feeders of joy shall we be even as the shining gods. (200)

Not nakedness, nor matted hair, nor dirt, not fasting, nor sleeping on the ground, nor rubbing the body with dust or ashes, nor sitting like an ascetic can purify a man who has not overcome his doubts. (141)

The well-disciplined man is tolerant like the earth, firm like the great pillars, clear like a lake without mud. For him there is no (spiritual) wandering on. (95)

A man is not an elder merely because his hair is gray. He may be old in years but known as “old in vain.” (260)

He who leads others considerately, lawfully and impartially is a guardian of the law; he is wise and is called righteous. (257)

There never was and never will be, nor is there now a man who is wholly blamed or wholly praised. (228)

As a solid rock remaining unmoved by the wind, so the wise remain unmoved by praise or blame. (81)

If a man finds a prudent friend who walks with him, who leads a good life and is wise, let him walk with such a friend joyfully and mindfully, overcoming all troubles. (328)

Though a fool associates with a wise man all his life, he will not understand the truth even as a spoon does not know the taste of soup. (64)

But when an intelligent man knows a wise man, even for a little while, he will soon understand the truth as the tongue knows the taste of soup. (65)

The fool who knows his folly is wise so far, but a fool who thinks himself wise is called a fool indeed. (63)

IV.

All tremble at weapons; life is dear to all. Comparing others with oneself, one should not kill nor cause to kill. (180)

Hatred does not cease by hatred; hatred ceases by love—this is an eternal law. (5)

Conquer anger by love. Conquer evil by good. Conquer the miser by generosity. Conquer the liar by truth. (223)

Let him advise, let him instruct, let him prevent wrongdoing. Good men will love him and only the bad will hate him. (77)

Health is the highest gain. Contentment is the greatest wealth. The trusty are the best kinsmen. Nibbana is the highest bliss. (204)

Whatever offering or sacrifice a man may make for a whole year in order to gain merit, the whole of it is not worth a small part of reverence for the upright. (108)

Before long, alas! this body will lie on the ground, cast aside and devoid of consciousness, like a useless log of wood. (41)

While the man is gathering the flowers of pleasures, death carries him off as a flood sweeps away a sleeping village. (47)

While a man is gathering the flowers of pleasure, he is overtaken by death before he is satisfied. (48)

“I have sons, I have wealth.” Thinking thus the fool is troubled. Verily, he himself is not his own. How can sons or wealth be his? (62)

Come, look at the world, glittering like a royal chariot with which the foolish are taken up, but for the wise there is no attachment. (171)

A fool does not know when he does evil. The wicked man burns by his own deeds as if burnt by fire. (136)

An evil deed does not turn suddenly like milk. Smoldering, it follows the fool like fire covered by ashes. (71)

It is an ill deed which brings remorse and the fruit of which is reaped in sorrow. (67)

There is no fire like lust. There is no grip like hate. There is no net like delusion. There is no river like craving. (251) Misconduct is the taint of a woman. Stinginess is the taint of a benefactor. Taints indeed are all evil things both in this world and in the next. But there is a taint worse than all these. Ignorance is the greatest taint. (242–3)

It is a good deed which needs no regrets and the fruit of which is reaped in joy. (68)

The craving of the man who lives a careless life grows like a creeper. He jumps hither and thither like a monkey in the forest looking for fruit. (334)

Sandalwood or tagara wood, a lotus flower or a jasmine—sweeter than the scent of all these is the perfume of virtue. (55)

As a beautiful flower that is full of color but without scent, even so fruitless is the well-spoken word of the man who does not practice it. (51)

As a beautiful flower that is full of color and scent-laden, even so fruitful is the well-spoken word of the man who practices it. (52)

Better than a thousand meaningless words is one word of sense which brings the hearer peace. (100)

There is no happiness higher than peace. (202)

V.

You should thus train yourself: “Though I am ill in body, my mind shall not be ill.” (S. III. 1)

There is no concentration for him who has no wisdom; nor is there wisdom for him who has no concentration. He in whom are both concentration and wisdom is indeed in the presence of nibbana. (372)

Craving grows greater in the man who is disturbed by evil thoughts, who is strongly lustful and looks only for pleasures. He tightens his own fetters. (349)

One is not a monk merely by a shaven head. How can a man be a monk if he is undisciplined, deceitful, filled with greed and desire? But he who wholly quiets the evil, whether small or great, is called a monk because he has quieted all evil. (264–5)

Not merely with morality and ascetic practices, nor with much learning, nor with the higher attainments, nor with solitary dwelling, nor with the thought ‘I enjoy the bliss of renunciation, which is unknown to the worldlings’ should a Bhikkhu rest content so long as he has not reached the extinction of impurities. (271–2)

Driven on by craving men circle around like an ensnared hare. Bound fast by fetters and bonds, for long they come to sorrow again and again. (342)

From craving springs grief; from craving springs fear. For him who is free from craving there is no grief. How then can there be fear? (216)

A man is not a sage merely because of silence, he may be dull and ignorant as well. But the wise man who, as if holding a pair of scales, takes what is good and leaves out what is evil, is indeed a sage, is a sage for that very reason. He is a sage because he knows both sides in the world. (268–9)

As the bee collects honey without destroying the beauty and scent of the flowers, so should the sage go about the town. (49)

For those who are ever watchful, who train themselves day and night, who are intent on nibbana, their defilements come to an end. (226)

Calm is his mind, calm are his words and deeds. Thus calm is he who has become perfectly peaceful and wholly freed through true knowledge. (96)

Driving away idleness by earnestness, the wise man climbs the high palace of wisdom and, being free from sorrow, looks upon the ignorant and sorrowing mankind as one on a mountain sees those on the plain. (28)

Phra Srivisuddhimoli
April 21,1972

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