Wisdom for Today

Words of wisdom from the world of Buddhism and beyond, 
updated each weekday.

A good practitioner abandons the notion of self and the tendency to cling to views. He is free and does not depend on anything, even on knowledge. He does not take sides in controversies and does not hold on to any view or dogma. — Paramatthaka Sutta. 14 April 2021

Provided I become a Buddha, if the beings of ten quarters, after having heard my name always longing for that country of mine and cultivating various essential merits for the purpose of realizing their earnest wish to be born in my country, should their fulfillment be failed, then may I not attain the enlightenment. — Amitabha’s  20th Vow. 13 April 2021

Studies have found not only that happier people tend to be more caring and more willing to reach out and help others, but that by deliberately cultivating greater kindness and compassion, a person will experience increased happiness. — His Holiness the Dalai Lama. 12 April 2021

By having faith, one relies on the Dharma; by having wisdom, one truly knows. Of these two, wisdom is the chief; but faith is its prerequisite. — Nāgārjuna. 9 April 2021

The arahant’s sphere of action is wide-open and unmarked, completely free. Like the path of a bird across the sky, his way is hard to trace. The arahant has destroyed all remnants of the fetters. — The Dhammapada. 8 April 2021

Anything which is troubling you, anything which is irritating you, THAT is your teacher. — Ajahn Chah. 7 April 2021

If you can abandon ignorance and desire so understanding arises, you will see that with the end of ignorance, formations cease and so on until the whole mass of suffering ceases. That is the teaching on the Great Emptiness. — Saṃyukta Āgama. 1 April 2021

The essence of possession and giving is love, but one benefits the self while the second benefits others. Possession is self craving; giving stems from a great love that is selfless, joyful, and equanimous. — Master Sheng Yen. 31 March 2021

It is very common, for Western and Eastern practitioners alike, to think we want to attain enlightenment and benefit sentient beings. But there is a tremendous difference between aspiration and actualization. We want to, we hope to, we wish to—but we may not actually have the courage to actualize our aspiration. Therefore the tendency is to take an intellectual approach to the teachings. The pitfall, then, is the tendency to come up with many impediments and obstacles to the path of practice. — Jetsün Khandro Rinpoche. 30 March 2021

Of all the possible ways to help [sentient beings], there could be no gift more beneficial than the gift of the Dharma, for that is something that will not only help them in this life but also free them from future rebirths in the lower realms and finally lead them to enlightenment. — Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche. 26 March 2021

Relaxation brings peace, happiness and creativity. It is possible to incorporate it into our daily life—taking a moment to completely put down our burdens after a long day at work, or scanning our body for a few minutes before we go to sleep. — Thich Nhat Hanh. 25 March 2021

Listen Sariputra, this Body itself is Emptiness and Emptiness itself is this Body. This Body is not other than Emptiness and Emptiness is not other than this Body. The same is true of Feelings, Perceptions, Mental Formations, and Consciousness. — Heart Sutra. 24 March 2021

In this brief span this body exists,
Clothing and food are of course indispensable;
But knowing them to be fruits of former lives,
I make no effort at all to obtain them.
 — Ippen Shōnin. 23 March 2021

The essential practise is about nothing other than realizing your mind. It is only your mind which experiences; there is nothing other in this world that can experience. — Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche. 22 March 2021

The Supreme Truth of all Dharmas Is nothing save tathata, Forever true to its own nature. The sole truth of chittamatra, Mind-only. — Vasubandhu. 19 March 2021

Do not look for faults in others, but look for faults in yourself, and purge them like bad blood. Do not contemplate your own good qualities, but contemplate the good qualities of others, and respect everyone as a servant would. — Atiśa. 18 March 2021

The great bodhisattva realizes that all dharmas invariably are like illusions arising from causes and conditions. Through a single dharma, he understands many dharmas. Through many dharmas, he understands a single dharma. — The Avataṃsaka Sutra. 17 March 2021

At the very moment of sitting, what is sitting? Is it an acrobat’s graceful somersault or the rapid darting of a fish? Is it thinking or not thinking? Is it doing or not doing? Is it sitting within sitting? Is it sitting within body-mind? Is it sitting letting go of sitting within sitting, or letting go of sitting within body-mind? Investigate this in every possible way. Sit in the body’s meditation posture. Sit in the mind’s meditation posture. Sit in the meditation posture of letting go of body-mind. — Dōgen Zenji. 16 March 2021

The living teacher embodies the wisdom of the lineage and functions like a lit lamp that has the energetic power to ignite the mind of the student. If you make a connection, you will get lit, too. — Mingyur Rinpoche. 15 March 2021

As much as possible, I attempt to step toward my distress rather than turn away at the first whiff of discomfort. A better way to put it might be to turn toward, rather than immediately turn away from, distress—turn toward, then take a good look. It’s clear that responses are often governed by habits that have carved a path over time, and we can develop a habit of turning away from—or rushing toward—distress. — Setsuan Gaelyn Godwin. 12 March 2021

Gratitude just feels good, and it can be extended in all directions, since not only clothes but every single thing you use comes to you from others. At mealtime, you can feel grateful for each and every ingredient on your plate, for those who did the cooking and the planting, even for sunlight, for rainfall, and for the minerals that enrich the soil. — His Holiness the Karmapa. 11 March 2021

Cherishing others is like a great holiday for the mind, a wonderful vacation from the oppressive self-cherishing thought. — Lama Zopa Rinpoche. 10 March 2021

A Buddhist practitioner should be able to feel good when he’s alone, and be comfortable with simplicity, and a lack of excitement. When other people feel lonely and bored, we should feel quite comfortable with an uncomplicated life, and feel joyful, safe, and stable. In circumstances like these it is easier for us to focus on practicing the Buddhist teachings. — Master Huijing. 9 March 2021

As we go through life, we accumulate layers of ideas about who we are and what we’re capable of achieving. As these layers accumulate, we tend to become increasingly rigid in our identification with certain views about ourselves and the world around us. Gradually, we lose our connection to the basic openness, clarity, and love that is the essence of our being. — Tsoknyi Rinpoche. 8 March 2021

All phenomena that are born, exist, and are subject to the influence of other phenomena, in other words, all phenomena that are composite, must abide by the law of impermanence and eventually cease to exist. They cannot exist eternally, without someday being destroyed. — Mahāparinibbāṇa Sutta. 5 March 2021

Beings produce wrong perceptions concerning objects of desire. That is why they are caught in desire. Because they do not know what desire really is, they proceed on the path to Death. — Samiddhi Sutta. 4 March 2021

One of the great misconceptions we often carry throughout our lives is that our perceptions of ourselves and the world are basically accurate and true, that they reflect some stable, ultimate reality. This misconception leads to tremendous suffering, both globally and in our personal life situations. — Joseph Goldstein. 3 March 2021

No matter where you stay—be it a busy place or a solitary retreat—the only thing that you need to conquer are the mind’s five poisons and your own true enemies, the eight worldly concerns, nothing else. — Chatral Rinpoche. 2 March 2021

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