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Musings for the Modern Mystic

You can read thousands of quotes or hundreds of books and they will not match the wisdom & spiritual guidance of these 35 essential insights of the buddha.

The 35 Essential Insights of The Buddha

“Believe nothing. No matter where you read it, no matter who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense.” ~ Gautama Buddha

You can read thousands of quotes or hundreds of books and they will not match the wisdom and the spiritual guidance 35 timeless insights of the Buddha. Together, they create Buddha’s complete teaching. If you bookmark them, or keep them handy somewhere where you can contemplate their significance over time, reading and re-reading them, you may just come to find your perspective on certain things beginning to change.

35 Essential Insights of the Buddha


  • There’s a Buddhist story; one of the Buddha’s students approached him and asked “Are you the messiah?” No, he replied. “Well are you a healer?” “No.” He replied. “Well are you a teacher then?” “No.” He replied again. “Well then what are you?” Buddha replied ‘’I am awake.’’
  • Believe nothing. No matter where you read it, no matter who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and you own common sense.”
  • First, rely on the spirit and meaning of the teachings not on the words. Second, rely on the teachings not on the personality of the teacher. Third, rely on real wisdom. Not superficial interpretation. And fourth, rely on the essence on your pure wisdom mind. Not on judgemental perceptions.
  • If you knew what I know about the power of giving, you would not let one meal pass without sharing it in some way.
  • Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.
  • Neither fire nor wind, neither birth nor death, can erase our good deeds.
  • You yourself as much as anyone in the entire universe deserve your love and affection.
  • There is no fire like greed, No crime like hatred, No sorrow like separation, No sickness like hunger of heart, And no joy like the joy of freedom.
  • Health, contentment and trust are your greatest possessions, and freedom your greatest joy.
  • Look within. Be still. Free from fear and attachment, know the sweet joy of living in The Way.
  • The thought manifests as the word. The word manifests as the deed. The deed develops into habit. And the habit hardens into character. So watch the thought and its ways with care. And let it spring from love, born out of concern for all beings.
  • There is nothing more dreadful than the habit of doubt. Doubt separates people. It is a poison that disintegrates friendships and breaks up pleasant relations. It is a thorn that irritates and hurts; it is a sword that kills.
  • The tongue, like a sharp knife, kills without drawing blood.
  • Words have the power to both destroy and to heal. When words are both true and kind, they can change our world.
  • Anger will never disappear so long as thoughts of resentment are cherished in the mind. Anger will disappear just as soon as thoughts of resentment are forgotten.
  • Everything is based on mind, is led by mind, is fashioned by mind. If you speak and act with a polluted mind, suffering will follow you, as the wheels of the oxcart follow the footsteps of the ox. Everything is based on mind, is led by mind, is fashioned by mind. If you speak and act with a pure mind, happiness will follow you, as a shadow clings to a form.
  • Better than a thousand hollow words, is one word that brings peace.
  • Hatred does not cease through hatred at any time. Hatred ceases through love. This is an unalterable law.
  • Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.
  • What we think we become.
  • Fill your mind with compassion.
  • Pay no attention to the faults of others, things done or left undone by others. Consider only what by oneself is done or left undone.
  • An insincere and evil friend is more to be feared than a wild beast; a wild beast may wound your body, but an evil friend will wound your mind.
  • Avoid all haughty, conceited, proud, and arrogant minds, and remain peaceful and subdued.
  • Generate compassion for lowly beings, and especially avoid despising or humiliating them.
  • Do not be jealous of others’ good qualities, but out of admiration adopt them yourself.
  • Do not look for faults in others, but look for faults in yourself, and purge them like bad blood.
  • Since you cannot tame the minds of others until you have tamed your own, begin by taming your own mind.
  • No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path.
  • Abandon wrongdoing. It can be done. If there were no likelihood, I would not ask you to do it. But since it is possible and since it brings blessing and happiness, I do ask of you; abandon wrongdoing.
  • Cultivate doing good. It can be done. If it brought deprivation and sorrow, I would not ask you to do it.
  • We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts, we make our world.
  • Buddha’s last words: All conditioned things in the world are changeable. They are not lasting. Try to accomplish your own salvation with diligence.

Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumoured by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. Take in these insights of the Buddha slowly and graciously.

But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.

Feel your spirit wanting you to connect with these messages. Allow them the time and space to sink in. Follow your heart and your truth. You know the way you just need to remember it. Dare to be the true you. At times we all feel the pressures our society puts on us. In those times I always try to remember Mother Teresa’s message: “Do it Anyways“.

Source Notes / Commentary

“Buddha’s 35 Insights: Everything he wanted to teach you”, written by Neil Legault for his website Unbelievable You (since retired). Shared here with permission.



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