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10 Must Read Life Lessons from Buddha

Photo by Asaf Einy

Siddhartha Gautama was a great spiritual leader from a kingdom that is now called Nepal. He founded Buddhism. In most Buddhist traditions, he is considered the Supreme Buddha. “Buddha” is interpreted to mean “awakened one” or “the enlightened one.”

Siddhartha is the primary figure in Buddhism, and the accounts of his life, teachings, and monastic rules were recapitulated after his death and memorized by his followers.

Today I want to discuss some very important life lessons which I’ve derived from the teachings of Buddha.

10 Must Read Life Lessons from Buddha:

1. Its Okay to Start Small

“A jug fills drop by drop.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Every artist was once an amateur.”

We all start small, do not despise small beginnings. If you’re consistent, and if you’re patient, you will succeed! No one succeeds over night; success belongs to those who are willing to start small and patiently work until their jug is filled.

2. Thoughts Become Things

“All that we are is the result of what we have thought. If a man speaks or acts with an evil thought, pain follows him. If a man speaks or acts with a pure thought, happiness follows him, like a shadow that never leaves him.”

Buddha said, “The mind is everything. What you think you become.” James Allen said, “Man is mind.”

In order to live rightly, you must fill your mind with “right” thoughts.

Your thinking determines your actions; your actions determine your outcome. Right thinking will grant you everything you desire; wrong thinking is a vice that will eventually destroy you.

If you change your thinking you will change your life. Buddha said, “All wrong-doing arises because of mind. If mind is transformed can wrong-doing remain?”

3. Forgive

“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.”

When you release those who you are holding captive in the prison of un-forgiveness, it is you who is released from prison. You can’t keep someone down, without staying down with them. Learn to forgive, learn to forgive quickly.

4. It’s Your Actions That Count

“However many holy words you read, however many you speak, what good will they do you if you do not act on upon them?”

They say “Talk is cheap,” because it is. To progress you must act; to progress quickly, you must act daily. Greatness will not fall upon you!

Greatness is for everyone, but only those who are willing to act consistently will experience it. There’s a proverb that goes, “God gives every bird a worm, but he doesn’t throw it into their nest.” To be great you must act great. Buddha said, “I do not believe in a fate that falls on men however they act; but I do believe in a fate that falls on them unless they act.”

5. Seek to Understand

“In a controversy the instant we feel anger we have already ceased striving for the truth, and have begun striving for ourselves.”

Stephen Covey said, “Seek to understand first, then to be understood.” Easily said, very difficult to do; you must labor to understand the “other” person’s perspective. When you feel anger rising, let it cease. Listen to others, understand their perspective, and you will have more peace. Be more concerned with being happy, than being right

6. Conquer Yourself

“It is better to conquer yourself than to win a thousand battles. Then the victory is yours. It cannot be taken from you, not by angels or by demons, heaven or hell.”

He who can conquer himself is greater than the mighty. To conquer yourself you must conquer your mind. You must control your thinking. Your thoughts cannot be tossed to and fro like the waves of the sea. You may be thinking, “I can’t control my thoughts, if a thought comes, it comes.” To that I say, you may not be able to stop a bird from flying over your head, but you can certainly stop him from building a nest in your hair. Dismiss thoughts that are contrary to the life you desire to live. Buddha said, “It is a man’s own mind, not his enemy or foe that lures him to evil ways.”

7. Live in Peace

“Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without.”

Don’t look without for something that can only be found within. Many times we may look without only to distract ourselves from the reality we know is true. That reality is that peace can only be found within. Peace is not a new job, peace is not a new car, or a new spouse….peace is a new perspective, and that new perspective begins with you.

8. Be Thankful

“Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn’t learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn’t learn a little, at least we didn’t get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn’t die; so, let us all be thankful.”

There’s always something to be thankful for. Don’t be so pessimistic that for a moment, even a split moment, you fail to realize the thousands of things you have to be thankful for. Everyone didn’t wake up this morning; some people went to sleep last night for the last time. There’s always something to be grateful for, recognize it, and give thanks. A grateful heart will make you great!

9. Be True to What You Know

“The only real failure in life is not to be true to the best one knows.”

We know a lot, but we don’t always do what we know. If you fail, it won’t be because you didn’t know; it will be because you didn’t do what you knew to do. Work to do what you know to do. Don’t just consume information, but ponder on thoughts that are conducive to what you desire to become until you have a burning desire to manifest it.

10. Travel Well

“It is better to travel well than to arrive.”

Life is about the journey! I’m not trying to arrive, I’m already there. I am happy, and content, and satisfied where I am today. I may experience nicer places, and finer wines, but I am traveling well. Don’t put off your happiness into some nebulous time in the future based on some goal that you think will bring you happiness. Travel well today, enjoy the journey.

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Mr. Self Development is an author who teaches a practical guide to success and wealth. Please visit him at Mr. Self If you’ve enjoyed reading this article, then you may want to subscribe to his feed, follow him on Twitter, or read one of his most popular articles, “How I Manifested a Seven Bedroom Home at 24.”

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40 thoughts on 10 Must Read Life Lessons from Buddha

  1. Hi there.

    It sure is okay to start small. We have to be more than okay with starting small. Try and start big and you find that it is almost not doable. Running requires warming up by moving around. Building a business requires warming up by building a reputation and customer-base. Everything requires small steps to warm up to the main activity.

    Being true to you what you know is a very good way to also build self-esteem. What you already know is more than enough to work with and build off of, and so you don’t have to base your thoughts off of what others do or say to do. They are not in your brain, and you are.

  2. Guy

    Thanks for this beautiful post

  3. A very comprehensive post. Seems to have everything in it to lead a happy, peaceful life. Its now for us to practice. To start small, pay attention to thought, focus on self, and always be grateful. Thank you for a great post.

  4. Out thoughts become things is the most amazing thing that we can apply to helping us building a more successful life.

  5. Hi,
    This is a wonderful article. If people lived my these rules there would be so much happiness for people. I love #6. We can conquer our thoughts. We can customize our thoughts to what we need to feel. If we need more positivity than we will have it by telling ourselves positive things. I’m living proof this is true! Thanks for the inspirations!

  6. Let me tell you that Siddhartha Gautam Budhha wasn’t born in India. This has been a greatest misconception of this century. He was born in Lumbini, siddharthanagar, Nepal which is a neighboring country to India.

    Please spread this message after all Nepal is celebrating Visit Nepal 2011.

  7. I love this article. I believe that by living and practicing each of these tips makes for a healthy heart, mind, and soul!

  8. Stephanie Richmond

    Definitely agree that anger is the root of most of our problems…very well-written piece. Thanks!

  9. Nirmal

    Though history may not be important here please be informed that Buddha was born in Nepal

  10. Leah

    I really enjoyed this post. Thank you. :)

  11. Great post. Thank you for sharing your insights.

    I specifically appreciated #10 as this is the area of struggle for me. I am never content and always driven to make things better. Not the worst of qualities, but does get in the way of sitting back and relaxing at times.

    I saved the link to this post and come back to re-read it next time I am restless :)

    Thanks again

    To Your Success in 2011 and beyond!

  12. Hu Rong Mei

    Siddhartha said, “We are as gods and should starting acting as such.”

    Tóu n?o shì yí qiè shén nín rèn wéi nín chéng wéi.
    méi y?u rén zhí de n? liú lèi zhí de ràng n? you zhè me zuò dì rénbú huì rang n? k? qì.

    Or no?

  13. Hu Rong Mei

    In my message above the computers could not print the vowels with long accents and umlauts.

  14. Hu Rong Mei

    My friend Mohing Su Hu advised me not to make like a language teacher.

    Mei you ren zhi de ni liu lei zhi de rang ni you zhe me zuo di ren bu hui rang ni ku qi

    (don’t know know wher s.t eyes land.)

  15. Hu Rong Mei

    in my mind………..


    Yesterday a child came out to wonder
    Caught a dragonfly inside a jar
    Fearful when the sky was full of thunder
    And tearful at the falling of a star
    And the seasons they go round and round
    And the painted ponies go up and down
    We’re captive on the carousel of time
    We can’t return we can only look behind
    From where we came
    And go round and round and round
    In the circle game

    Then the child moved ten times round the seasons
    Skated over ten clear frozen streams
    Words like, when you’re older, must appease him
    And promises of someday make his dreams
    And the seasons they go round and round
    And the painted ponies go up and down
    We’re captive on the carousel of time
    We can’t return we can only look behind
    From where we came
    And go round and round and round
    In the circle game

    Sixteen springs and sixteen summers gone now
    Cartwheels turn to car wheels thru the town
    And they tell him,
    Take your time, it won’t be long now
    Till you drag your feet just to slow the circles down
    And the seasons they go round and round
    And the painted ponies go up and down
    We’re captive on the carousel of time
    We can’t return we can only look behind
    From where we came
    And go round and round and round
    In the circle game

    So the years spin by and now the boy is twenty
    Though his dreams have lost some grandeur coming true
    There’ll be new dreams, maybe better dreams and plenty
    Before the last revolving year is through
    And the seasons they go round and round
    And the painted ponies go up and down
    We’re captive on the carousel of time
    We can’t return, we can only look behind
    From where we came
    And go round and round and round
    In the circle game

  16. Tina,

    Thanks for the great list.

    Forgiveness is one people forget is a very selfish act. Not selfish like a child keeping their toys, but selfish in that it heals the forgiver. The only person who is injured by the holding of anger and a grudge is the holder.

  17. Guna

    Great Inspiration!!!.. I love it!!!

  18. Hi Tina, i love reading your so many self development posts. It is a great post to start my Sunday morning back in hometown. I have bookmarked your interesting blog and will definitely be back often to read your other posts.

  19. Michael

    I agree… You created something really nice…
    If I keep reading then you know it’s good….

  20. Sekhar

    A beautiful summary of the essential teaching of Buddha. Keep up the good work!

  21. Siracha

    Thank you for your post. I found comfort reading these. I’d like to read more about those highlights. Do they come from a book?

  22. Roshan

    Thank you for the life lessons. These are some of the practical ways how we can succeed in life.

  23. Lucio

    Just THANK YOU! for this great post

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