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Buddhist Spirituality

Buddhist Spirituality & Mysticism Quotations
from the Dhammapada & Lotus Gospel

Of all the Eastern religions it is the various forms of Buddhism that seem to have gained the greatest hold on the Western imagination.

Siddhartha Gautama Buddha who was born circa 563 B.C.E. and lived into his eighties, having taught for more than forty years based on his Enlightenment experiences.

There is no "God" in Buddhism!!!

Huston Smith is widely known for his classic primer to comparative religion "The Religions of Man", first published in 1958 and apparently now titled "The World's Religions."

In this bestselling work Huston Smith begins his chapter on Buddhism with this observation:
Buddhism begins with a man...
And shortly thereafter continues:
...In his later years, when India had become electric with his message and kings themselves were bowing before him, people came to him even as they were to come to Jesus asking what he was.

How many people have provoked this question: not "Who are you?" with respect to name, origin, or ancestry, but "What are you? - what order of being do you belong to, what species do you represent?" Not Caesar, certainly. Not Napoleon, not even Socrates. Only two, Jesus and Buddha. When the people carried their puzzlement to the Buddha himself, the answer he gave provided a handle for his entire message.

"Are you a god?" they asked.
Buddha replied, ~ "No."

"An Angel?"
~ "No."

"A saint?"
~ "No."

"Then what are you?"
Buddha answered, ~ "I am awake."

His answer became his title, for this is what Buddha means. In the Sanskrit root budh denotes both to wake up and to know. Buddha, then, means the "Enlightened One" or the "Awakened One."
Buddha did not leave behind him a fully recognised canon of religious writings. Moreover Buddha, prior to his demise, refused to comply with requests that he nominate a successor preferring to recommend that individual people should look to their own spirituality.

After Buddha's death the faith-system he founded - Buddhism - fragmented, in the shorter time-frame, into some eighteen schools or approaches to faith and in the longer time-frame the foundations were laid for the eventual emergence of two major traditions within Buddhism - the Theravadan and the Mahayanan.

This Buddhist Spirituality page is one of a series of seven pages on our site that consider the extensive! range of deep! agreement about important aspects of spirituality and spiritual mysticism between such major World Religions as Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Sikhism, Taoism and Vedanta-Hinduism.

Sets of quotations and quotes that seem to recognise a pronounced emphasis on such aspects of Spirituality and Mysticism as a Disdain for Materialism, a Distrust of the Intellect, a Preference for Divine Inspiration, Charity, Purity of Heart, Humility and Meekness from each of these major World Religions ( Buddhist, Christian, Islamic, Jewish, Sikh, Taoist and Vedic or Hindu ) can be accessed through our series of "Central" Spiritual Insights pages.

Please be prepared for some "soul-force" that might be held to reside within many of these quotations!!!



Disdain for Material Things

He who lives looking for pleasures only, his senses uncontrolled, immoderate in his food, idle, and weak, Mara (the Tempter) will certainly overthrow him, as the wind throws down a weak tree. He who lives without looking for pleasures, his senses well controlled, moderate in his food, faithful and strong, him Mara will certainly not overthrow, any more than the wind throws down a strong mountain.

Dhammapada V. 7-8





Distrust of Intellect

They pass from generation to generation ,
Poor in virtue and of little happiness,
Oppressed by all the sorrows
And dwelling in the thickets of debate,
Such as, Existence? or Non-existence?
Relying on their propositions,
sixty-two in number,
They become rooted in false philosophy,
Tenacious and unyielding,
Self-sufficient and self-inflated,
Suspicious, warped, without faith.
During thousands and milliards of kalpas
Such hear not the name of Buddha,
Nor ever learn of the truth

from The Lotus Gospel





Spiritual Insights are possible!

Wise people, after they have listened to the laws, become serene, like a deep, smooth still lake.

Dhammapada V. 82





Charity

The disciples of Gotama are always well awake, and their mind day and night always delights in compassion.

Dhammapada V. 300





Purity of Heart

All that we are is the result of what we have thought: it is founded on our thoughts, it is made up of our thoughts. If a man speaks or acts with an evil thought, pain follows him, as the wheel follows the foot of the ox that draws the carriage. All that we are is the result of what we have thought: it is founded on our thoughts, it is made up of our thoughts. If a man speaks or acts with a pure thought, happiness follows him, like a shadow that never leaves him.

Dhammapada V. 1-2





Humility

He who controls his hand, he who controls his feet, he who is well controlled, he who delights inwardly, who is collected, who is solitary and content, him they call a bhikshu. The bhikshu who controls his mouth, who speaks wisely and calmly, who teaches the meaning and the law, his word is sweet. He who dwells in the law, delights in the law, meditates on the law, follows the law, that bhikshu will never fall away from the true law. Let him not despise what he has received, nor ever envy others: a mendicant who envies others does not obtain peace of mind. A bhikshu who, though he receives little, does not despise what he has received, even the gods will praise him, if his life is pure, and if he is not slothful.

Dhammapada V. 362-366





Meekness

Let a man overcome anger by love, let him overcome evil by good; let him overcome the greedy by liberality, the liar by truth! Speak the truth, do not yield to anger; give, if thou art asked for little; by these three steps thou wilt go near the gods.

Dhammapada V. 223-224





Communion with God

There is no "God" in Buddhism!!!
That being said - those who make spiritual progress through following the teachings of Buddha are often held to attain to states of trancendent calm and of Enlightenment.


The bhikshu, full of delight, who is calm in the doctrine of Buddha will reach the quiet place (Nirvana), cessation of natural desires, and happiness.

Dhammapada V. 381




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The following linked pages are intended to fully demonstrate a degree of Common Ground between the Inner-most Spiritual Teachings of several major World Religions on Charity, Purity of Heart, Humility, Meekness, A Disdain for Materialism (compared to the Spiritual), A Distrust of the Intellect (compared to Divine Inspiration) and A Yearning for Divine Edification (or A Thirst for Spiritual Enlightenment).
These quotations are presented on a series of very brief pages where each faith is considered individually.

We have seen it as worthwhile to add another category of quotation ~ where recognition has been given to the possibility of Mystical Communion with God ~ as this addition may rather directly tend the range of agreement about "Core Spiritual Truths" already demonstrated towards actually becoming something of a proof of the Existence of the one God or Spirit which is the focus of Mystical Faith.


World Religions Spirituality Quotations


Buddhist       Islamic       Hindu


Christian


Sikh       Taoist       Jewish




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  The Dhammapada - of the principal texts of Buddhism - suggests that human behaviors have identifiable tendencies - other than spirituality.

  Him I call indeed a Brâhmana who does not cling to pleasures, like water on a lotus leaf, like a mustard seed on the point of a needle.
  Him I call indeed a Brâhmana who, even here, knows the end of his suffering, has put down his burden, and is unshackled.
  Him I call indeed a Brâhmana whose knowledge is deep, who possesses wisdom, who knows the right way and the wrong, and has attained the highest end.
  Him I call indeed a Brâhmana who keeps aloof both from laymen and from mendicants, who frequents no houses, and has but few desires.
  Him I call indeed a Brâhmana who finds no fault with other beings, whether feeble or strong, and does not kill nor cause slaughter.
  Him I call indeed a Brâhmana who is tolerant with the intolerant, mild with fault-finders, and free from passion among the passionate.
  Him I call indeed a Brâhmana from whom anger and hatred, pride and envy have dropt like a mustard seed from the point of a needle.

Dhammapada V. 401-407




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Many of our visitors seem to find the content of one of our pages -


Which is about Human Nature, (and 'Very Possibly' related matters)


- to be particularly fascinating!!!


There's neither honesty, manhood, nor good fellowship in thee.
William Shakespeare

"…can we possibly refuse to admit that there exist in each of us the same generic parts and characteristics as are found in the state? For I presume the state has not received them from any other source. It would be ridiculous to imagine that the presence of the spirited element in cities is not to be traced to individuals, wherever this character is imputed to the people, as it is to the natives of Thrace, and Scythia, and generally speaking, of the northern countries; or the love of knowledge, which would be chiefly attributed to our own country; or the love of riches, which people would especially connect with the Phoenicians and the Egyptians.
From Plato's most famous work ~ The Republic ~ detailing conversations entered into by his friend, and teacher, Socrates


Please click for more detail . . .




Pythagoras was a prominent figure in the intellectual life of the Greek world of the sixth century B.C.
Alongside his genuine contributions to mathematics and geometry Pythogoras is also considered to have recognised that there was evidently a "Tripartite" complexity to Human Nature:-
 Pythagoras who, according to Heraclides of Pontus, the pupil of Plato and a learned man of the first rank, came, the story goes, to Philus and with a wealth of learning and words discussed certain subjects with Leon the ruler of the Philasians. And Leon after wondering at his talent and eloquence asked him to name the art in which he put most reliance. But Pythagoras said that for his part he had no acquaintance with any art, but was a philosopher. Leon was astonished at the novelty of the term and asked who philosophers were and in what they differed from the rest of the world.

 Pythagoras, the story continues, replied that the life of man seemed to him to resemble the festival which was celebrated with most magnificent games before a concourse collected from the whole of Greece. For at this festival some men whose bodies had been trained sought to win the glorious distinction of a crown, others were attracted by the prospect of making gains by buying or selling, whilst there was on the other hand a certain class, and that quite the best class of free-born men, who looked neither for applause no gain, but came for the sake of the spectacle and closely watched what was done and how it was done: So also we, as though we had come from some city to a kind of crowded festival, leaving in like fashion another life and nature of being, entered upon this life, and some were slaves of ambition, some of money; there were a special few who, counting all else as nothing, ardently contemplated the nature of things. These men he would call "lovers of wisdom" (for that is the meaning of the word philo-sopher).


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In all districts of all lands, in all the classes of communities thousands of minds are intently occupied, the merchant in his compting house, the mechanist over his plans, the statesman at his map, his treaty, & his tariff, the scholar in the skilful history & eloquence of antiquity, each stung to the quick with the desire of exalting himself to a hasty & yet unfound height above the level of his peers. Each is absorbed in the prospect of good accruing to himself but each is no less contributing to the utmost of his ability to fix & adorn human civilization.
In William H. Gilman (ed.) The Journals and Miscellaneous Notebooks of Ralph Waldo Emerson, vol II, 1822-1826, 305


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In what is perhaps Ralph Waldo Emerson's most famous essay - 'History' - we read such things as:-
… There is one mind common to all individual men. Every man is an inlet to the same and to all of the same. He that is once admitted to the right of reason is made a freeman of the whole estate. What Plato has thought, he may think; what a saint has felt, he may feel; what at any time has be-fallen any man, he can understand. Who hath access to this universal mind is a party to all that is or can be done, for this is the only and sovereign agent.

Of the works of this mind history is the record. Its genius is illustrated by the entire series of days. Man is explicable by nothing less than all his history. Without hurry, without rest, the human spirit goes forth from the beginning to embody every faculty, every thought, every emotion, which belongs to it in appropriate events. But the thought is always prior to the fact; all the facts of history preexist in the mind as laws. Each law in turn is made by circumstances predominant, and the limits of nature give power to but one at a time. …

… We are always coming up with the emphatic facts of history in our private experience, and verifying them here. All history becomes subjective; in other words, there is properly no history; only biography. Every mind must know the whole lesson for itself, -- must go over the whole ground. What it does not see, what it does not live, it will not know. …

… In old Rome the public roads beginning at the Forum proceeded north, south, east, west, to the centre of every province of the empire, making each market-town of Persia, Spain, and Britain pervious to the soldiers of the capital: so out of the human heart go, as it were, highways to the heart of every object in nature, to reduce it under the dominion of man. A man is a bundle of relations, a knot of roots, whose flower and fruitage is the world. His faculties refer to natures out of him, and predict the world he is to inhabit, as the fins of the fish foreshow that water exists, or the wings of an eagle in the egg presuppose air. He cannot live without a world. …


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"History is for human self-knowledge ... the only clue to what man can do is what man has done. The value of history, then, is that it teaches us what man has done and thus what man is."
R. G. Collingwood


To access our page about Human Nature, (and 'Very Possibly' related matters), - please click here:-


Human Nature (and the Courses of History?)