Gautama Buddha Quotes 1–30 of 152 Quotes

Siddhārtha Gautama (Sanskrit/Devanagari: सिद्धार्थ गौतम Siddhārtha Gautama, c. 563/624 – c. 483/544 BCE) or Siddhattha Gotama in Pali,; also called the Gautama Buddha, the Shakyamuni Buddha ("Buddha, Sage of the Shakyas") or simply the Buddha, after the title of Buddha, was a monk (śramaṇa), mendicant, sage, philosopher, teacher and religious leader on whose teachings Buddhism was founded. He is believed to have lived and taught mostly in the northeastern part of ancient India sometime between the 6th and 4th centuries BCE.

Below are 30 of 152 sourced Gautama Buddha quotes. Sources and related information appear under each quote. Use the 'Cite this quote' link to get citation references.

“There are these four ways of answering questions. Which four? There are questions that should be answered categorically [straightforwardly yes, no, this, that]. There are questions that should be answered with an analytical (qualified) answer [defining or redefining the terms]. There are questions that should be answered with a counter-question. There are questions that should be put aside. These are the four ways of answering questions.”

— Gautama Buddha

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Quote source: As quoted in: Ṭhānissaro (Bhikkhu.) (2004) Handful of leaves. Vol. 3, p. 80

“Now in those days, brethren, there shall arise in the world an Exalted One by name Maitreya (the Kindly One) an Arhat, a Fully Enlightened One, endowed with wisdom and righteousness, a Happy One, a World-knower, the Peerless Charioteer of men to be tamed, a teacher of the devas and mankind, an Exalted One, a Buddha like myself. He of His own abnormal powers shall realize and make known the world, and the worlds of the devas, with their Maras, their Brahmas, the host of recluses and brahmins, of devas and mankind alike, even as I do now. He shall proclaim the Norm, lovely in its beginning, lovely in its middle, and lovely in the end thereof. He shall make known the wholly perfect life of righteousness in all its purity, both in the spirit and in the letter of it, even as I do now. He shall lead an Order of Brethren numbering many thousands, even as I do now lead an order of Brethren numbering many hundreds.”

— Gautama Buddha

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Quote source: Gautama Buddha in Digha Nikaya as quoted in Avatars down the ages by Felicity Elliot

“‘Brethren, if outsiders should speak against me, or against the Doctrine, or against the Order, you should not on that account either bear malice, or suffer heart-burning, or feel ill will. If you, on that account, should be angry and hurt, that would stand in the way of your, own self-conquest. If, when others speak against us, you feel angry at that, and displeased, would you then be able to judge how far that speech of theirs is well said or ill?’ ‘That would not be so, Sir.’ ‘But when outsiders speak in dispraise of me, or of the Doctrine, or of the Order, you should unravel what is false and point it out as wrong, saying: “For this or that reason this is not the fact, that is not so, such a thing is not found among us, is not in us.” ‘But also, brethren, if outsiders should speak in praise of me, in praise of the Doctrine, in praise of the Order, you should not, on that account, be filled with pleasure or gladness, or be lifted up in heart. Were you to be so that also would stand in the way of your self-conquest. When outsiders speak in praise of me, or of the Doctrine, or of the Order, you should acknowledge what is right to be the fact, saying: “For this or that reason this is the fact, that is so, such a thing is found among us, is in us.””

— Gautama Buddha

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Quote source: T. W. Rhys Davids trans. (1899), Brahmajāla Sutta, verse 1.5-6 (text at archive.org), as cited in: Hajime Nakamura (1992). A Comparative History of Ideas, p. 221-2

“Whereas some ascetics and Brahmins remain addicted to attending such shows as dancing, singing, music, displays, recitations, hand-music, cymbals and drums, fairy-shows, acrobatic and conjuring tricks, combats of elephants, buffaloes, bulls, goats, rams, cocks and quail, fighting with staves, boxing, wrestling, sham-fights, parades, manoeuvres and military reviews, the ascetic Gotama refrains from attending such displays.”

— Gautama Buddha

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Quote source: M. Walshe, trans. (1987), Sutta 1, verse 1.13

““The tongue is like a sharp knife, it kills without drawing blood; words in the hands of someone skilled can do more damage than a weapon in the hands of a warrior.””

— Gautama Buddha

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Quote source: M. Walshe, trans. (1987), Sutta 1, verse 5

““Well, Lord, is the soul the same as the body, is the soul one thing and the body another?” “I have not declared that the soul is one thing and the body another.” “Well, Lord, does the Tathāgata exist after death?” … “I have not declared that the Tathāgata exists after death.” … “But, Lord, why has the Lord not declared these things?” “Potthapada, that is not conducive to the purpose, not conducive to Dhamma, not the way to embark on the holy life; it does not lead to disenchantment, to dispassion, to cessation, to calm, to higher knowledge, to enlightenment, to Nibbana. That is why I have not declared it.””

— Gautama Buddha

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Quote source: M. Walshe, trans. (1987), Sutta 9, verse 28, p. 164

“Just as a bird, wherever it goes, flies with its wings as its only burden, so too, the bhikkhu becomes content with robes to protect his body and with almsfood to maintain his stomach, and wherever he goes he sets out taking only these with him. Possessing this aggregate of noble virtue, he experiences within himself a bliss that is blameless.”

— Gautama Buddha

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Quote source: Sutta 51, Verse 15, p. 450

“Any kind of material form whatever, whether past, future, or present, internal or external, gross or subtle, inferior or superior, far or near, 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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Quote source: Sutta 62, verse 3, p. 527

“Rahula, whatever internally, belonging to oneself, is solid, solidified, and clung-to, that is, head-hairs, body-hairs, nails, teeth, skin, flesh, sinews, bones, bone-marrow, kidneys, heart, liver, diaphragm, spleen, lungs, large intestines, small intestines, contents of the stomach, feces, or whatever else internally, belonging to oneself, is solid, solidified, and clung-to: this is called the internal earth element. Now both the internal earth element and the external earth element are simply earth element. And that should be seen as it actually is with proper wisdom thus: “This is not mine, this I am not, this is not my self.” When one sees it thus as it actually is with proper wisdom, one becomes disenchanted with the earth element and makes the mind dispassionate towards the earth element.”

— Gautama Buddha

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Quote source: Sutta 62, verse 8, p. 528

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“(...) Just this noble eightfold path: right view, right aspiration, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration. That is the ancient path, the ancient road, traveled by the Rightly Self-awakened Ones of former times. I followed that path. Following it, I came to direct knowledge of aging & death, direct knowledge of the origination of aging & death, direct knowledge of the cessation of aging & death, direct knowledge of the path leading to the cessation of aging & death. I followed that path. Following it, I came to direct knowledge of birth... becoming... clinging... craving... feeling... contact... the six sense media... name-&-form... consciousness, direct knowledge of the origination of consciousness, direct knowledge of the cessation of consciousness, direct knowledge of the path leading to the cessation of consciousness. I followed that path.”

— Gautama Buddha

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Quote source: Nagara Sutta, Samyutta Nikaya II.124, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

“Just as the eldest son of a wheel-turning monarch properly keeps in motion the wheel of sovereignty set in motion by his father, so do you, Sāriputta, properly keep in motion the Wheel of Dhamma set in motion by me.”

— Gautama Buddha

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Quote source: Vangisasamyutta, as translated by Bhikkhu Bodhi (2000), p. 287

“Do not go by revelation; Do not go by tradition; Do not go by hearsay; Do not go on the authority of sacred texts; Do not go on the grounds of pure logic; Do not go by a view that seems rational; Do not go by reflecting on mere appearances; Do not go along with a considered view because you agree with it; Do not go along on the grounds that the person is competent; Do not go along because "the recluse is our teacher." Kalamas, when you yourselves know: These things are unwholesome, these things are blameworthy; these things are censured by the wise; and when undertaken and observed, these things lead to harm and ill, abandon them... Kalamas, when you know for yourselves: These are wholesome; these things are not blameworthy; these things are praised by the wise; undertaken and observed, these things lead to benefit and happiness, having undertaken them, abide in them.”

— Gautama Buddha

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Quote source: Kalama Sutta - Angutarra Nikaya 3.65

“Monks, a lay follower should not engage in five types of business. Which five? Business in weapons, business in human beings, business in meat, business in intoxicants, and business in poison.”

— Gautama Buddha

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Quote source: 5.177: Vanijja Sutta, as translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (2001)

“As rain breaks through an ill-thatched house, passion will break through an unreflecting mind.”

— Gautama Buddha

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Quote source: Ch. 1: The Twin Verses, verse 13

“He abused me, he struck me, he overcame me, he robbed me' -- in those who do not harbor such thoughts hatred will cease.”

— Gautama Buddha

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Quote source: 1.3-4; as translated by Radhakrishnan.

“Can there be joy and laughter When always the world is ablaze? Enshrouded in darkness Should you not seek a light?”

— Gautama Buddha

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Source: Wikiquote: "Gautama Buddha" (Pali Canon, Sutta Pitaka, Khuddaka Nikaya (Minor Collection), Dhammapada)

“No one saves us but ourselves, No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path Buddhas merely teach the way. By ourselves is evil done, By ourselves we pain endure, By ourselves we cease from wrong, By ourselves become we pure.”

— Gautama Buddha

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Quote source: Ch. 165, as translated in The Dharma, or The Religion of Enlightenment; An Exposition of Buddhism (1896) by Paul Carus; variants for some years have included "We ourselves must walk the path but Buddhas clearly show the way", but this is not yet located in any of the original publications of Carus.

“Conquer anger with love, evil with good, meanness with generosity, and lies with truth.”

— Gautama Buddha

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Quote source: Ch. 17, Verse 223

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“To cease from evil, to do good, and to purify the mind yourself, this is the teaching of all the Buddhas.”

— Gautama Buddha

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Quote source: Ch. 14, Verse 183

“That bhikkhu who has cut off passion in its entirety, like one picking a lotus, both flower and stalk, leaves this shore and the far shore as a snake leaves its old worn-out skin. That bhikkhu who has cut off craving in its entirety, like one drying up a fast-flowing stream, leaves this shore and the far shore as a snake leaves its old worn-out skin.”

— Gautama Buddha

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Quote source: § 2-3

“Leaving behind son and wife, and father and mother, and wealth and grain, and relatives, and sensual pleasures to the limit, one should wander solitary as a rhinoceros horn. 'This is an attachment; here there is little happiness, and little satisfaction; here there is very much misery; this is a hook.' Knowing this, a thoughtful man should wander solitary as a rhinoceros horn. Having torn one's fetters asunder, like a fish breaking a net in the water, not returning, like a fire not going back to what is already burned, one should wander solitary as a rhinoceros horn.”

— Gautama Buddha

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Quote source: § 60-62

“The brahman Kasibhāradvāja addressed the Blessed One with a verse. 'You say you are a ploughman, but we do not see your ploughing. Being asked, tell us about your ploughing, so that we may know your ploughing.' 'Faith is the seed, penance is the rain, wisdom is my yoke and plough; modesty is the pole, mind is the yoke-tie, mindfulness is my ploughshare and goad. ... Thus is this ploughing of mine ploughed. It has the death-free as its fruit. Having ploughed this ploughing one is freed from all misery.”

— Gautama Buddha

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Quote source: § 75-80

“Not by birth does one become an outcaste, not by birth does one become a brahman. By one's action one becomes an outcaste, by one's action one becomes a brahman.”

— Gautama Buddha

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Quote source: § 136

“Faith is the best wealth for a man in this world. Righteousness when well practised brings happiness. Truth is the sweetest of flavours. They say the life of one living by wisdom is the best.”

— Gautama Buddha

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Quote source: § 182

“Joined together with bones and sinews, having a plastering of skin and flesh, covered with hide, the body is not seen as it really is—full of intestines, full of stomach, of the lump of the liver, of bladder, of heart, of lungs, of kidneys and of spleen, of mucus, of saliva, and of sweat, and of lymph, of blood, of synovial fluid, of bile, and of fat, ... and its hollow head is filled with brain. A fool, overwhelmed by ignorance, thinks of it as beautiful, but when it lies dead, swollen up and discoloured, cast away in a cemetery, relatives have no regard for it. Dogs devour it, and jackals, and wolves and worms. Crows and vultures devour it, and whatever other living creatures there are. The bhikkhu possessing knowledge here, having heard the Buddha's word, indeed understands it, for he sees the body as it really is.”

— Gautama Buddha

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Quote source: § 194-202

“The seers of old had fully restrained selves, and were austere. Having abandoned the five strands of sensual pleasures, they practiced their own welfare. The brahmans had no cattle, no gold, no wealth. They had study as their wealth and grain. They guarded the holy life as their treasure.”

— Gautama Buddha

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Quote source: § 284-285 Sutta 3.2. Padhana Sutta
As translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (1999) Full text online,

“Sensual passions are your first enemy. Your second is called Discontent. Your third is Hunger & Thirst. Your fourth is called Craving. Fifth is Sloth & Drowsiness. Sixth is called Terror. Your seventh is Uncertainty. Hypocrisy & Stubbornness, your eighth. Gains, Offerings, Fame, & Status wrongly gained, and whoever would praise self & disparage others. That, Namuci, is your enemy, the Dark One's commando force. A coward can't defeat it, but one having defeated it gains bliss.”

— Gautama Buddha

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Source: Wikiquote: "Gautama Buddha" (Pali Canon, Sutta Pitaka, Khuddaka Nikaya (Minor Collection), Sutta Nipata (Suttas falling down): The Group of Discourses, K. R. Norman, trans. (Oxford: 2001))

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