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The Four Noble Truths

Life is suffering.

Suffering is caused by holding onto what is transient.

There is a way to let go of the transient and achieve harmony (Nirvana).

That way is the Eightfold Path

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From the Dhammapada (aphorisms of the Buddha)

What we are today comes from our thoughts of yesterday, and our present thoughts build our life of tomorrow: our life is the creation of our mind. If a man speaks or acts with an impure mind, suffering follows him as the wheel of the cart follows the beast that draws the cart.

"He insulted me, he hurt me, he defeated me, he robbed me." Those who think not such thoughts will be free from hate.

Disharmony is the greatest sorrow.

For hate is not conquered by hate: hate is conquered by love. This is a law eternal.

Those who think the unreal is, and think the Real is not, they shall never reach the Truth, lost in the path of wrong thought.

He suffers in this world, and he suffers in the next world: the man who does evil suffers in both worlds.

If a man speaks many holy words but he speaks and does not, this thoughtless man cannot enjoy the life of holiness: he is like a cowherd who counts the cows of his master. But if a man speaks but a few holy words and yet he lives the life of those words, free from passion and hate and illusion--with right vision and a mind free, craving for nothing both now and hereafter--the life of this man is a life of holiness.

Watchfulness is the path of immortality: unwatchfulness is the path of death. Those who are watchful never die: those who do not watch are already as dead.

Watchful amongst the unwatchful, awake amongst those who sleep, the wise man like a swift horse runs his race, outrunning those who are slow.

Hidden in the mystery of consciousness, the mind, incorporeal, flies alone far away. Those who set their mind in harmony become free from the bonds of death.

An enemy can hurt an enemy, and a man who hates can harm another man; but a man's own mind, if wrongly directed, can do him a far greater harm.

A father or a mother, or a relative, can indeed do good to a man; but his own right-directed mind can do him a far greater good.

As the bee takes the essence of a flower and flies away without destroying its beauty and perfume, so let the sage wander in this life.

The perfume of flowers goes not against the wind, not even the perfume of sandalwood, of rose-bay, or of jasmine; but the perfume of virtue travels against the wind and reaches unto the ends of the world.

"These are my sons. This is my wealth." In this way the fool troubles himself. He is not even the owner of himself: how much less of his sons and of his wealth!

A wrong action may not bring its reaction at once, even as fresh milk turns not sour at once: like a smoldering fire concealed under ashes it consumes the wrongdoer, the fool.

And if ever to his own harm the fool increases in cleverness, this only destroys his own mind and his fate is worse than before.

Even as a great rock is not shaken by the wind, the wise man is not shaken by praise or by blame.

Even as a lake that is pure and peaceful and deep, so becomes the soul of the wise man when he hears the words of Dhamma.

For he whose mind is well trained in the ways that lead to light, who surrenders the bondage of attachments and finds joy in his freedom from bondage, who free from the darkness of passions shines pure in a radiance of light, even in this mortal life he enjoys the immortal Nirvana.

Who can trace the path of those who know the right food of life and, rejecting over-abundance, soar in the sky of liberation, the infinite Void without beginning?

In the light of his vision he has found his freedom: his thoughts are peace, his words are peace and his work is peace.

Better than a thousand useless words is one single word that gives peace.

If a man should conquer in battle a thousand and a thousand more, and another man should conquer himself, his would be the greater victory, because the greatest of victories is the victory over oneself; and neither the gods in heaven above nor the demons down below can turn into defeat the victory of such a man.

Better than a hundred years lived in vice, without contemplation, is one single day of life lived in virtue and in deep contemplation.

Painful is the accumulation of wrongdoings.

Hold not a sin of little worth, thinking "this is little to me." The falling of drops of water will in time fill a water-jar. Even so the foolish man becomes full of evil, although he gather it little by little.

Hold not a deed of little worth, thinking "this is little to me." The falling of drops of water will in time fill a water-jar. Even so the wise man becomes full of good, although he gather it little by little.

As a man who has no wound on his hand cannot be hurt by the poison he may carry in his hand, since poison hurts not where there is no wound, the man who has no evil cannot be hurt by evil.

The fool who does evil to a man who is good, to a man who is pure and free from sin, the evil returns to him like the dust thrown against the wind.

Neither in the sky, nor deep in the ocean, nor in a mountain-cave, nor anywhere, can a man be free from the evil he has done.

All beings tremble before danger, all fear death. When a man considers this, he does not kill or cause to kill. All beings fear before danger, life is dear to all. When a man considers this, he does not kill or cause to kill.

He who for the sake of happiness hurts others who also want happiness, shall not hereafter find happiness.

If you can be in silent quietness like a broken gong that is silent, you have reached the peace of Nirvana and your anger is at peace.

Have fire like a noble horse touched by the whip. By faith, by virtue and energy, by deep contemplation and vision, by wisdom and by right action, you shall overcome the sorrows of life.

Consider this body! A painted puppet with jointed limbs, sometimes suffering and covered with ulcers, full of imaginings, never permanent, forever changing.

Only a man himself can be the master of himself: who else from outside could be his master? When the Master and servant are one, then there is true help and self-possession.

Any wrong or evil a man does, is born in himself and is caused by himself; and this crushes the foolish man as a hard stone grinds the weaker stone.

By oneself the evil is done, and it is oneself who suffers: by oneself the evil is not done, and by one's Self one becomes pure. The pure and the impure come from oneself: no man can purify another.

Let no man endanger his duty, the good of his soul, for the good of another, however great. When he has seen the good of his soul, let him follow it with earnestness.

When a man considers this world as a bubble of froth, and as the illusion of an appearance, then the king of death has no power over him.

Come and look at this world. It is like a royal painted chariot wherein fools sink. The wise are not imprisoned in the chariot.

He who in early days was unwise but later found wisdom, he sheds a light over the world like that of the moon when free from clouds.

This world is indeed in darkness, and how few can see the light! Just as few birds can escape from a net, few souls can fly into the freedom of heaven.

By what earthly path could you entice the Buddha who, enjoying all, can wander through the pathless ways of the Infinite? -- the Buddha who is awake, whose victory cannot be turned into defeat, and whom no one can conquer?

O let us live in joy, in love amongst those who hate! Among men who hate, let us live in love.

O let us live in joy, in health amongst those who are ill! Among men who are ill, let us live in health.

O let us live in joy, in peace amongst those who struggle! Among men who struggle, let us live in peace.

O let us live in joy, although having nothing! In joy let us live like spirits of light!

Victory brings hate, because the defeated man is unhappy. He who surrenders victory and defeat, this man finds joy.

Disharmony is the greatest sorrow.

When a man knows the solitude of silence, and feels the joy of quietness, he is then free from fear and sin and he feels the joy of the Dhamma.

If you find a man who is constant, awake to the inner light, learned, long-suffering, endowed with devotion, a noble man--follow this good and great man even as the moon follows the path of the stars.

Be therefore not bound to pleasure for the loss of pleasure is pain. There are no fetters for the man who is beyond pleasure and pain.

From craving arises sorrow and from craving arises fear. If a man is free from craving, he is free from fear and sorrow.

He who can control his rising anger as a coachman controls his carriage at full speed, this man I call a good driver: others merely hold the reins.

Overcome anger by peacefulness; overcome evil by good. Overcome the mean by generosity; and the man who lies by truth.

There is an old saying..."They blame the man who is silent, they blame the man who speaks too much, and they blame the man who speaks too little." No man can escape blame in this world.

Watch for anger of the body: let the body be self-controlled. Hurt not with the body, but use your body well.

Yellow leaves hang on your tree of life. The messengers of death are waiting. You are going to travel far away. Have you any provision for the journey?

Let a wise man remove impurities from himself even as a silversmith removes impurities from the silver: one after one, little by little, again and again.

Dull repetition is the rust of sacred verses; lack of repair is the rust of houses; want of healthy exercise is the rust of beauty; unwatchfulness is the rust of the watcher.

But the greatest of all sins is indeed the sin of ignorance.

A wise man calmly considers what is right and what is wrong, and faces different opinions with truth, nonviolence and peace.

If a man is old only in years then he is indeed old in vain.

A man is not a great man because he is a warrior and kills other men; but because he hurts not any living being he in truth is called a great man.

The best of the paths is the path of eight. The best of truths, the four sayings. The best of states, freedom from passion. The best of men, the one who sees.

It is you who must make the effort. The Great of the past only show the way.

"All is transient." When one sees this, he is above sorrow. This is the clear path.

"All is sorrow." When one sees this, he is above sorrow. This is the clear path.

"All is unreal." When one sees this, he is above sorrow. This is the clear path.

And a saint, a Brahmin, is pure from past sins; even if he had killed his father and mother, had murdered two noble kings, and had ravaged a whole kingdom and its people.

It is painful to leave the world; it is painful to be in the world; and it is painful to be alone amongst the many. The long road of transmigration is a road of pain for the traveler: let him rest by the road and be free.

They take trained elephants to battle, and kings ride on royal trained elephants. The best of men are self-trained men, those who can endure abuse in peace.

But if on the journey of life a man cannot find a wise and intelligent friend who is good and self-controlled, let him then travel alone, like a king who has left his country, or like a great elephant alone in the forest.

The gift of Truth conquers all gifts.

Empty the boat of your life, O man; when empty it will swiftly sail.

For thy Self is the master of thyself, and thy Self is thy refuge. Train therefore thyself well, even as a merchant trains a fine horse.

Who, though innocent, suffers insults, stripes and chains, whose weapons are endurance and soul-force--him I call a Brahmin.

Posted with Craig Chalquist's permission

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