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15 Quotes That Get to the Heart of Buddhism

Buddhism is rooted in the teachings of Siddhartha Gautama, more commonly known as the Buddha, one of the most influential spiritual thinkers in history.

The essence of Buddhism centers on the Four Noble Truths: the truth of suffering’s existence, the truth that suffering is rooted in desires and attachments, the truth that suffering has an end, and the truth of the enlightened path that leads to suffering’s end. These principles help delineate the transient nature of existence and the interdependence of all things, and together their aim is to help cultivate compassion, empathy, mindfulness, and mental discipline.

Another core principle of Buddhism is living in nonviolent and compassionate coexistence with all beings. Like much of Buddha’s wisdom, these core values transcend religious boundaries; their insight can apply to anyone looking for a more grounded and fulfilling life.

This selection of quotes highlights some of the core tenets of Buddhism, which may be viewed not as strict rules, but rather as universal guidelines for finding inner peace, reducing unhealthy attachments, and fostering a more harmonious existence, regardless of our spiritual beliefs.

Conquer anger with love, evil with good, meanness with generosity, and lies with truth.
Gautama Buddha

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The miracle is not to walk on water. The miracle is to walk on the green earth in the present moment, to appreciate the peace and beauty that are available now.
Thích Nhất Hạnh

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Let your body relax and your heart soften. Open to whatever you experience without fighting. Let go of the battle. Breathe quietly and let it be.
Jack Kornfield

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If the mind can stay with itself and not go out looking for things to criticize or latch onto, it can maintain a natural form of stillness.
Upasika Kee Nanayon

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Please guide all beings from this swamp of cyclic existence!
Padmasambhava

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Intention is the core of all conscious life. It is our intentions that … help others, our intentions that lead us away from the delusions of individuality toward the immutable verities of enlightened awareness. Conscious intention colors and moves everything.
Hsing Yun

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To be attached to one’s own happiness is a barrier to the true and perfect path. To cherish others is the source of every admirable quality known.
Tsongkhapa

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See everyone as a Buddha. This purifies the mind of ignorance and arrogance.
Master Baek

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The essence of our experience is change. Change is incessant. Moment by moment life flows by and it is never the same. Perpetual alteration is the essence of the perpetual universe.
Bhante Henepola Gunaratana

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Wisdom is born of meditation; without meditation wisdom is lost.
Gautama Buddha

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Mindfulness is a mental activity that in due course eliminates all suffering.
Ayya Khema

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When we fall on the ground it hurts us, but we also need to rely on the ground to get back up.
Kathleen McDonald

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Wisdom does not mean knowledge but experiential understanding. Wisdom helps you to change radically your habits and perceptions, as you discover the constantly changing, interconnected nature of the whole of existence.
Martine Batchelor

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We have more possibilities available in each moment than we realize.
Thích Nhất Hạnh

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All material form should be seen as it actually is with proper wisdom thus: “This is not mine, this I am not, this is not my self.”
Gautama Buddha

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Featured image credit: Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields/ Archive Photos via Getty Images

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About the Author
Nicole Villeneuve
Nicole is a writer, thrift store lover, and group-chat meme spammer based in Ontario, Canada.
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