Is fear holding you back? Buddhists have a message that you need to hear

“I am first a Buddhist, second a feminist” | Heinrich Böll Foundation | Southeast Asia Regional Office

Is fear holding you back? Buddhists have a message that you need to hear
Christianity without monks and nuns would be unthinkable; the same applied to Theravada Buddhism until around the 11th or 12th century AD.

Back then the influence of Buddhism in India and Sri Lanka diminished significantly and the number of monks (Bhikkhus) and nuns (Bhikkhunis) declined rapidly until a point was reached in which no more practicing Theravada nuns were alive.

After Theravada Buddhism rose again and was carried from Sri Lanka to the old Siam in the 13th century AD, the clergy consisted exclusively of monks. This status quo has remained unchanged until now. A huge majority of the male-only Buddhist clergy in Thailand refuses to accept female ordination.

Women have to seek assistance from foreign monks to fulfill their wish in becoming a fully ordained follower of Theravada Buddhism.
 Dhammananda Bhikkhunī, born as Chatsumarn Kabilsingh, is a renowned scholar in Buddhist studies and became the first Thai Theravada nun after she received her full ordination in Sri Lanka in 2003.

Today she is the Abbess of Wat Songdhammakalyani, a monastery in Nakhon Pathom, roughly one hour west of Bangkok, where she teaches and carries out temporary and full ordinations for women. Srijula Yongstar and Florian Reinold met her for an interview at her monastery in July 2015.

Q: The controversy around female ordination in Theravada Buddhism seems to be a technical one: According to Buddhist literature, a male as well as a female Sangha have to be present to conduct the ordination ceremony of a woman. As the lineage of fully ordained nuns died out centuries ago, there is no way back– a position that the Supreme Sangha Council holds. How do you perceive their stance?

Dhammananda Bhikkhunī: I can summarize the debate in one sentence for you: “They do not know that they do not know.” Everything we say, everything we believe, every way we lead our life comes from the Buddhist text. We are guided by the text.

We have talked with many, supposedly well-studied, scholars, but when it comes to the part of ordained women, even very highly esteemed monk scholars just read through the text quickly. They say there are no nuns in Thailand, so they do not have to be particular about it and just skip these passages of the text.

They are well-renowned scholars and should have read the whole text. But they do not, which is why they do not get the real message. Sometimes we have to read between the lines, and actually not even between – just on the lines would be enough.

That is where it would backfire on them, because when people go back to the text and really read it, I can give quotations and references that will show their stance on the ordination of women is contrary to what the Buddha said.

When the Buddha allowed the monks to give ordinations to women, the monks were required to ask the women 24 specific questions, some of them concerning very private matters about the women’s body parts.

In the old days, women were too shy to answer these questions, so the Buddha asked some Bhikkhunīs to join the ceremony to make the applicants feel more secure and confident. That is the only reason why Bhikkhunīs were invited to do the first part of clearing the candidates from obstacles before the actual ordination.

Today, women are stronger, they do not have problems talking about their bodies, so the Bhikkhus could ordain them, even without the presence of Bhikkhunīs. But the Thai Sangha elders have not come to this part of the text. The “Vinaya,” which is the monastic discipline, never said that we cannot do something. The “Vinaya” is not meant to imprison you, but to allow you to walk on this monastic path beautifully. If you do not understand the spirit of Buddhism, then the monastic rules will imprison you, but that is not what the Buddha meant. That is why we always have to rely on our knowledge, on our way of doing things according to the text. So the text is our strength now.

What is the Sangha?
The term Sangha comes from Sanskrit and means “assembly.” It can either stand for the whole Buddhist faith community or describe the Buddhist clergy, which usually consists of a Sangha with monks and a Sangha with nuns, whereas there are currently no examples of the latter in Thailand. The clergy is formalized by law in the Sangha Act.

It regulates the organizational structure of the monkhood. On top of the clergy is the Supreme Patriarch of Thailand, who chairs the Supreme Sangha Council, which carries legal powers in religious matters such as overseeing nominations of regional abbots or registrations of temples.

Q: What is the agenda of the Supreme Sangha Council in sticking to their strict view not to accept female ordination?

Dhammananda Bhikkhunī: I cannot say if there is any hidden agenda, but I feel sometimes that there is fear. Why is there fear? If you are a secure person there is no fear to speak openly to me, but if you are insecure, that is a source of fear.

Why do you not make yourself secure? So go back and read the text, it is your strength. If you read the text carefully, you will find that there is nothing to be afraid of.

These women, who want to be ordained, are only coming as sisters to the monks, to help promote Buddhism, to help to heal the wounds of society; there is nothing to be afraid of.

Q: Is there a regular exchange between your monastery and the Supreme Sangha Council?

Dhammananda Bhikkhunī:  No, there is no exchange. In fact, the Buddhist text offers seven ways of dealing with controversy and one of them is called “Sammukkha,” which means “face to face.” This face to face thing never happened.

If they allow us to explain to them why we do it this way, it will be much better – now we are just being interviewed by media and what we say ends up in the papers. But even the papers get the quotes wrong sometimes, which is a shame.

Another way of dealing with conflict that the Buddha offered is “to sweep under the carpet” what is gone and not open old wounds, which is the strategy that the Thai Sangha Council uses.

Q: Your temple is not officially recognized as a monastery by Thai authorities. Which obstacles do you face therefore?

Dhammananda Bhikkhunī: We have not done anything wrong according to the law, but we also do not have the law to support us. It is a very strange situation.

You cannot register the land as a temple, so we had to take an alternative approach What is the Sangha? The term Sangha comes from Sanskrit and means “assembly.

” It can either stand for the whole Buddhist faith community or describe the Buddhist clergy, which usually consists of a Sangha with monks and a Sangha with nuns, whereas there are currently no examples of the latter in Thailand. The clergy is formalized by law in the Sangha Act.

It regulates the organizational structure of the monkhood. On top of the clergy is the Supreme Patriarch of Thailand, who chairs the Supreme Sangha Council, which carries legal powers in religious matters such as overseeing nominations of regional abbots or registrations of temples.

“I am first a Buddhist, second a feminist” Thailand 11 and registered as a foundation. I cannot call myself “Bhikkhunī” officially, because when I get my ID card, my only options are to go by “Ms. or Mrs.,” as there is no computer code in the system for Bhikkhunī. That is the very simple reason that they give you.

And how do I get this computer code? I have to go to the Department of Administration, which in turn will get permission from the Council of Elders to issue such a code. So you see how it goes about that? So I am fine as long as I do not have to do anything with the government, but when you have to deal with the government, you need a legal position, which we do not have, and that is where we have some problems.

Q: There are some rules for fully ordained nuns that seem to subordinate you to monks; still, you and other women seek the ordination.

Dhammananda Bhikkhunī: Yes, but I do not mind, because I think when the Buddha set that up, we have to keep in mind the ancient Indian setting in which the Buddha grew up. In this context, the men always took the lead.

Even in our Thai society, if there are seven men and one woman at a meeting, it is always the woman who gets up and makes coffee. I understand the context, but there is one particular rule that we do not follow: It is to be in the same compound with monks. The purpose was for security reasons in the Buddha’s time.

But today, I find that when I have to be in the same compound with monks, it will cause many more problems for us.

We understand that this rule provides security for us, but we have a wall around our monastery here and dogs and fences, so our lifestyle is safe, which means we do not pay particular respect to that rule, but we have other ways of answering to the call of that rule. In general I have no problem paying respect to the monks as long as I know they are good. But if they have shown bad behavior, I do not have to pay respect.

Q: UNDP’s 2014 Gender Inequality Index ranks Thailand 89 187 countries. On your website you state that you describe yourself first as a Buddhist and then as a feminist. How is gender equality interlinked with the recognition of ordination?

Dhammananda Bhikkhunī: You already have that right of gender equality, but the right is taken away from you. So you are demanding your own right and we are demanding our right to be ordained. We do not ask or claim something that we never had and was not for us. We are actually demanding our right. This right is given to us by the Buddha.

So it is not a gender issue of “I want to be equal to men.” I do not see it that way. My standpoint is that this is a heritage given to me by the Buddha and I would to claim that. When I say that I am a Buddhist before a feminist, I am thinking of a situation in my life back in 1983 during a conference at Harvard University.

I saw many of the early feminists in the 1980s; they were weeping and crying and had lots of anger. I agree with them on everything they are fighting for, but I do not want to be weeping and crying and full of anger. So I really focused on Buddhism first. I can still fight for the same issue, but at the same time I must be calm and peaceful a Buddhist.

So that is the balance, the balance between Buddhist and feminist. Buddhist first and feminist second.

Q: How strong is the support of feminists in Thailand for Bhikkhunis?

Dhammananda Bhikkhunī: Oh, not that strong. The Thai feminists in the early 1980s did not want to have to do anything with Buddhism because they felt that Buddhism was suppressing women. I was the very first feminist to become a Buddhist nun, and I was the one who tried to correct this attitude of Thai feminists toward Buddhism.

Actually, Buddhism is very sup- 12 Thailand “I am first a Buddhist, second a feminist” portive of women. I think the Buddha was the first feminist in my life; the second one is my father.

My mother was a nun too and when she became ordained, my father bowed to her, bowed on the ground and praised her for having fulfilled the fourfold Buddhism – which is the full form of Buddhism with its four pillars of monks, nuns, female, and male lay followers. Of course I converted all my sons to feminists, too. Yes, feminists do not have to be women.

It is the quality of women and men and any other gender that supports the space for women to grow according to their potential. Women have potential, but they are being suppressed and the potential never blossomed.

Q: Which kind of progress do you foresee for you, the monastery, and the recognition of female ordination in Thailand in the next 10 years?

Dhammananda Bhikkhunī: I hope there will be a time when people will wake up and really say that this is enough, that it is too far and too long. For 700 years we did not have ordained women in this country.

However, now we have more than 100 Bhikkhunīs in 20 provinces, so there is progress.

Thailand always boasts about having the highest Buddhist population in the world, but yet that Buddhist population is lopsided, because Bhikkhunīs are still missing; it is not completely fourfold.


This interview was published in Perspectives Asia #4: The Gender Issue. To download the full publication with other interesting articles on Gender topics in Southeast Asia follow this link:


25 profound Zen Buddhism quotes on letting go and experiencing true freedom and happiness

Is fear holding you back? Buddhists have a message that you need to hear

Letting go is a painful part of life. But according to Buddhism, we must let go of attachment and desires if we are to experience happiness.

However, letting go doesn’t mean you don’t care about anyone and anything. It actually means you can experience life and love fully and openly without clinging to it for your survival.

According to Buddhism, this is the only way to experience true freedom and happiness.

So below, we’ve found 25 beautiful quotes from Zen masters that explain what letting go really entails. Get ready for some liberating Zen quotes that will blow your mind.

25 profound quotes by Zen Buddhist masters

1) “Letting go gives us freedom, and freedom is the only condition for happiness. If, in our heart, we still cling to anything — anger, anxiety, or possessions — we cannot be free.” — Thich Nhat Hanh,

2) “Open your arms to change, but don’t let go of your values.” — Dalai Lama

3) “You can only lose what you cling to.” — Buddha

4) “Nirvana means to extinguish the burning fires of the Three Poisons: greed, anger, and ignorance. This can be accomplished by letting go of dissatisfaction.” — Shinjo Ito

5) “The greatest loss of time is delay and expectation, which depend upon the future. We let go the present, which we have in our power, and look forward to that which depends upon chance, and so relinquish a certainty for an uncertainty.” — Seneca

Breath by breath, let go of fear, expectation and anger

6) “Breath by breath, let go of fear, expectation, anger, regret, cravings, frustration, fatigue. Let go of the need for approval. Let go of old judgments and opinions. Die to all that, and fly free. Soar in the freedom of desirelessness.” — Lama Surya Das

7) “Let go. Let Be. See through everything and be free, complete, luminous, at home — at ease.” — Lama Surya Das

8) “It is only when we begin to relax with ourselves that meditation becomes a transformative process. Only when we relate with ourselves without moralizing, without harshness, without deception, can we let go of harmful patterns. Without maitri (metta), renunciation of old habits becomes abusive. This is an important point.” —  Pema Chödrön

When you solidify your expectations, you get frustrated

9) “Patience from a Buddhist perspective is not a ‘wait and see’ attitude, but rather one of ‘just be there’… Patience can also be not expecting anything.Think of patience as an act of being open to whatever comes your way.

When you begin to solidify expectations, you get frustrated because they are not met in the way you had hoped… With no set idea of how something is supposed to be, it is hard to get stuck on things not happening in the time frame you desired.

Instead, you are just being there, open to the possibilities of your life.”  — Lodro Rinzler

10) “Buddhism teaches that joy and happiness arise from letting go. Please sit down and take an inventory of your life. There are things you’ve been hanging on to that really are not useful and deprive you of your freedom. Find the courage to let them go.”  — Thich Nhat Hanh

11) “The Buddha’s principal message that day was that holding on to anything blocks wisdom. Any conclusion that we draw must be let go. The only way to fully understand the bodhichitta teachings, the only way to practice them fully, is to abide in the unconditional openness of the prajna, patiently cutting through all our tendencies to hang on.” — Pema Chödrön

12) “Whether we it or not, change comes, and the greater the resistance, the greater the pain.

Buddhism perceives the beauty of change, for life is music in this: if any note or phrase is held for longer than its appointed time, the melody is lost.

Thus Buddhism may be summed up in two phrases: “Let go!” and “Walk on!” Drop the craving for self, for permanence, for particular circumstances, and go straight ahead with the movement of life.”  — Alan W. Watts

Letting go takes a lot of courage

13) “Letting go takes a lot of courage sometimes. But once you let go, happiness comes very quickly. You won’t have to go around search for it.”  — Thich Nhat Hanh

14) “Bhikkhus, the teaching is merely a vehicle to describe the truth. Don’t mistake it for the truth itself. A finger pointing at the moon is not the moon.

The finger is needed to know where to look for the moon, but if you mistake the finger for the moon itself, you will never know the real moon. The teaching is a raft that carries you to the other shore. The raft is needed, but the raft is not the other shore.

An intelligent person would not carry the raft around on his head after making it across to the other shore. Bhikkhus, my teaching is the raft which can help you cross to the other shore beyond birth and death.

Use the raft to cross to the other shore, but don’t hang onto it as your property. Do not become caught in the teaching. You must be able to let it go.”  — Thich Nhat Hanh

If you want more from Thich Nhat Hanh, his book, Fear: Essential Wisdom for Getting Through the Storm is highly recommended.

15) “One of the key paradoxes in Buddhism is that we need goals to be inspired, to grow, and to develop, even to become enlightened, but at the same time we must not get overly fixated or attached to these aspirations.

If the goal is noble, your commitment to the goal should not be contingent on your ability to attain it, and in pursuit of our goal, we must release our rigid assumptions about how we must achieve it.

Peace and equanimity come from letting go of our attachment to the goal and the method. That is the essence of acceptance. Reflecting”  — Dalai Lama

16) ““The art of living… is neither careless drifting on the one hand nor fearful clinging to the past on the other. It consists in being sensitive to each moment, in regarding it as utterly new and unique, in having the mind open and wholly receptive.” — Alan Watts

For more quotes by Alan Watts, check out our article 25 of the most mind opening quotes from Alan Watts

17) “The intuitive recognition of the instant, thus reality… is the highest act of wisdom.” — D.T. Suzuki

18) “Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves – slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future.” — Thich Nhat Hanh

19) “Heaven and earth and I are of the same root, The ten-thousand things and I are of one substance.” — Seng-chao

Forgetting the self

20) “The practice of Zen is forgetting the self in the act of uniting with something.” — Koun Yamada

21) “To study Buddhism is to study the self. To study the self is to forget the self. To forget the self is to be awakened by all things.” — Dogi

22) “To accept some idea of truth without experiencing it is a painting of a cake on paper which you cannot eat.” — Suzuki Rosh

23) “Zen has no business with ideas.” — D.T. Suzuki

24) “Today, you can decide to walk in freedom. You can choose to walk differently. You can walk as a free person, enjoying every step.” — Thich Nhat Hanh

25) “When an ordinary man attains knowledge, he is a sage; when a sage attains understanding, he is an ordinary man.” — Zen proverb


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How Does a Buddhist Monk Face Death?

Is fear holding you back? Buddhists have a message that you need to hear

Geshe Dadul NamgyalCredit…Devin Yalkin for The New York Times

By George Yancy

Photographs by Devin Yalkin

Mr. Yancy is a professor of philosophy and an author.

This is the first in a series of interviews with religious scholars from several faiths — and one atheist — on the meaning of death.

This month’s conversation is with Geshe Dadul Namgyal, a Tibetan Buddhist monk who began his Buddhist studies in 1977 at the Institute of Buddhist Dialectics in Dharamsala, India, and went on to earn the prestigious Geshe Lharampa degree in 1992 at Drepung Loseling Monastic University, South India.

He also holds a master’s degree in English Literature from Panjab University, Chandigarh, India. He is currently with the Center for Contemplative Science and Compassion-Based Ethics, Emory University. This interview was conducted by email. — George Yancy

George Yancy: I was about 20 years old when I first became intrigued by Eastern thought, especially Buddhism.

It was the transformation of Siddhartha Gautama to the Buddha that fascinated me, especially the sense of calmness when faced with competing desires and fears. For so many, death is one of those fears.

Can you say why, from a Buddhist perspective, we humans fear death?

Dadul Namgyal: We fear death because we love life, but a little too much, and often look at just the preferred side of it. That is, we cling to a fantasized life, seeing it with colors brighter than it has.

Particularly, we insist on seeing life in its incomplete form without death, its inalienable flip side. It’s not that we think death will not come someday, but that it will not happen today, tomorrow, next month, next year, and so on.

This biased, selective and incomplete image of life gradually builds in us a strong wish, hope, or even belief in a life with no death associated with it, at least in the foreseeable future. However, reality contradicts this belief.

So it is natural for us, as long as we succumb to those inner fragilities, to have this fear of death, to not want to think of it or see it as something that will rip life apart.


We fear death also because we are attached to our comforts of wealth, family, friends, power, and other worldly pleasures. We see death as something that would separate us from the objects to which we cling.

In addition, we fear death because of our uncertainty about what follows it. A sense of being not in control, but at the mercy of circumstance, contributes to the fear.

It is important to note that fear of death is not the same as knowledge or awareness of death.

Yancy: You point out that most of us embrace life, but fail or refuse to see that death is part of the existential cards dealt, so to speak. It would seem then that our failure to accept the link between life and death is at the root of this fear.

Namgyal: Yes, it is. We fail to see and accept reality as it is — with life in death and death in life. In addition, the habits of self-obsession, the attitude of self-importance and the insistence on a distinct self-identity separate us from the whole of which we are an inalienable part.

Yancy: I really how you link the idea of self-centeredness with our fear of death. It would seem that part of dealing with death is getting the way of ourselves, which is linked, I imagine, to ways of facing death with a peaceful mind.

Namgyal: We can reflect on and contemplate the inevitability of death, and learn to accept it as a part of the gift of life. If we learn to celebrate life for its ephemeral beauty, its coming and going, appearance and disappearance, we can come to terms with and make peace with it.

We will then appreciate its message of being in a constant process of renewal and regeneration without holding back, everything and with everything, including the mountains, stars, and even the universe itself undergoing continual change and renewal.

This points to the possibility of being at ease with and accepting the fact of constant change, while at the same time making the most sensible and selfless use of the present moment.

Yancy: That is a beautiful description. Can you say more about how we achieve a peaceful mind?

Namgyal: Try first to gain an unmistaken recognition of what disturbs your mental stability, how those elements of disturbance operate and what fuels them. Then, wonder if something can be done to address them.

If the answer to this is no, then what other option do you have than to endure this with acceptance? There is no use for worrying. If, on the other hand, the answer is yes, you may seek those methods and apply them.

Again, there is no need for worry.

Obviously, some ways to calm and quiet the mind at the outset will come in handy. that stability or calmness, above all, deepen the insight into the ways things are connected and mutually affect one another, both in negative and positive senses, and integrate them accordingly into your life.

We should recognize the destructive elements within us — our afflictive emotions and distorted perspectives — and understand them thoroughly.

When do they arise? What measures would counteract them? We should also understand the constructive elements or their potentials within us and strive to learn ways to tap them and enhance them.

Yancy: What do you think that we lose when we fail to look at death for what it is?

Namgyal: When we fail to look at death for what it is — as an inseparable part of life — and do not live our lives accordingly, our thoughts and actions become disconnected from reality and full of conflicting elements, which create unnecessary friction in their wake. We could mess up this wondrous gift or else settle for very shortsighted goals and trivial purposes, which would ultimately mean nothing to us. Eventually we would meet death as though we have never lived in the first place, with no clue as to what life is and how to deal with it.

Yancy: I’m curious about what you called the “gift of life.” In what way is life a gift? And given the link that you’ve described between death and life, might death also be a kind of gift?

Namgyal: I spoke of life as a gift because this is what almost all of us agree on without any second thought, though we may differ in exactly what that gift means for each one of us. I meant to use it as an anchor, a starting point for appreciating life in its wholeness, with death being an inalienable part of it.

Death, as it naturally occurs, is part of that gift, and together with life makes this thing called existence whole, complete and meaningful. In fact, it is our imminent end that gives life much of its sense of value and purpose.

Death also represents renewal, regeneration and continuity, and contemplating it in the proper light imbues us with the transformative qualities of understanding, acceptance, tolerance, hope, responsibility, and generosity.

In one of the sutras, the Buddha extols meditation on death as the supreme meditation.

Yancy: You also said that we fear death because of our uncertainty about what follows it. As you know, in Plato’s “Apology,” Socrates suggests that death is a kind of blessing that involves either a “dreamless sleep” or the transmigration of the soul to another place. As a Tibetan Buddhist, do you believe that there is anything after death?

Namgyal: In the Buddhist tradition, particularly at the Vajrayana level, we believe in the continuity of subtle mind and subtle energy into the next life, and the next after that, and so on without end.

This subtle mind-energy is eternal; it knows no creation or destruction. For us ordinary beings, this way of transitioning into a new life happens not by choice but under the influence of our past virtuous and non-virtuous actions.

This includes the possibility of being born into many forms of life.

Yancy: As a child I would incessantly ask my mother about a possible afterlife. What might we tell our children when they express fear of the afterlife?

Namgyal: We might tell them that an afterlife would be a continuation of themselves, and that their actions in this life, either good or bad, will bear fruit.

So if they cultivate compassion and insight in this life by training in positive thinking and properly relating to others, then one would carry those qualities and their potential into the next. They would help them take every situation, including death itself, in stride.

So, the sure way to address fear of the afterlife is to live the present life compassionately and wisely which, by the way, also helps us have a happy and meaningful life in the present.

To follow this series of monthly interviews with religious scholars (and one atheist) on death, or read all previous Stone essays, visit us here. Professor Yancy’s introductory essay to the series can be found here.

George Yancy is the Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of Philosophy at Emory University. His latest book is “Backlash: What Happens When We Talk Honestly About Racism in America.”

Devin Yalkin is a freelance photographer in New York. The photos featured in this article were taken at the Drepung Loseling Monastery in Atlanta.

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108 Buddha Quotes on Meditation, Spirituality, and Happiness

Is fear holding you back? Buddhists have a message that you need to hear

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Little is known about the life of Buddha.

Historians believe he was born Prince Siddhartha Gautama in the 5th or 6th Century BC in Nepal.  In his 20s, the prince experienced realities of the outside world that led him on a quest for enlightenment. He left the palace to search for it and eventually attained enlightenment.

It was then that he became Buddha.

Until he died at the age of 80, Buddha taught many people how to achieve enlightenment. His doctrines eventually became what is known as Buddhism.

The following 108 Buddha quotes embody the spiritual leader’s emphasis on compassion, peace and happiness.

“Learn this from water: loud splashes the brook but the oceans depth are calm.”

“I never see what has been done; I only see what remains to be done.”

“You only lose what you cling to.”

“The past is already gone, the future is not yet here. There’s only one moment for you to live.”

“The trouble is, you think you have time.”

“Your work is to discover your work and then with all your heart to give yourself to it.”

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

“The tongue a sharp knife… Kills without drawing blood.”

“Teach this triple truth to all: A generous heart, kind speech, and a life of service and compassion are the things which renew humanity.”

“To abstain from lying is essentially wholesome.”

“Avoid evil deeds as a man who loves life avoids poison.”

“Holding onto anger is drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.”

“What you think, you become. What you feel, you attract. What you imagine, you create.”

“There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth; not going all the way, and not starting.”

“No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path.”

“If a man’s thoughts are muddy, If he is reckless and full of deceit, How can he wear the yellow robe? Whoever is master of his own nature, Bright, clear and true, He may indeed wear the yellow robe.”

“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.”

“For soon the body is discarded, Then what does it feel? A useless log of wood, it lies on the ground, Then what does it know? Your worst enemy cannot harm you As much as your own thoughts, unguarded. But once mastered, No one can help you as much, Not even your father or your mother.”

“One should strive to understand what underlies sufferings and diseases – and aim for health and well-being while gaining in the path.”

“If you are quiet enough, you will hear the flow of the universe. You will feel its rhythm. Go with this flow. Happiness lies ahead. Meditation is key.”

“Those who are free of resentful thoughts surely find peace.”

“There has to be evil so that good can prove its purity above it. ”

“To conquer oneself is a greater task than conquering others.”

“The whole secret of existence is to have no fear. Never fear what will become of you, depend on no one. Only the moment you reject all help are you freed.”

“Everything that has a beginning has an ending. Make your peace with that and all will be well.”

“The root of suffering is attachment.”

“You cannot travel the path until you have become the path itself.”

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

“Purity or impurity depends on oneself. No one can purify another.”

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

“If we could see the miracle of a single flower clearly, our whole life would change. ”

“Those who have failed to work toward the truth have missed the purpose of living.”

“In separateness lies the world’s greatest misery; in compassion lies the world’s true strength.”

“If you find no one to support you on the spiritual path, walk alone. There is no companionship with the immature.”

“Work out your own salvation. Do not depend on others.”

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

“All wrong-doing arises because of mind. If mind is transformed can wrong-doing remain?”

“It is a man’s own mind, not his enemy or foe, that lures him to evil ways.”

“We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows a shadow that never leaves.”

“There is nothing so disobedient as an undisciplined mind, and there is nothing so obedient as a disciplined mind.”

“Your worst enemy cannot harm you as much as your own unguarded thoughts.”

“You will not be punished for your anger, you will be punished by your anger.”

“Wear your ego a loose fitting garment.”

“People with opinions just go around bothering one another.”

“Speak or act with an impure mind and trouble will follow you.”

“In the sky, there is no distinction of east and west; people create distinctions their own minds and then believe them to be true.”

“The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly. ”

“To keep the body in good health is a duty…otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear”

“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. ”

“If the problem can be solved why worry? If the problem cannot be solved worrying will do you no good.”

“Even death is not to be feared by one who has lived wisely.”

“A man is not called wise because he talks and talks again; but is he peaceful, loving and fearless then he is in truth called wise.”

“Even as a solid rock is unshaken by the wind, so are the wise unshaken by praise or blame.”

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

“A dog is not considered a good dog because he is a good barker. A man is not considered a good man because he is a good talker.”

“Remembering a wrong is carrying a burden on the mind.”

“Every morning we are born again. What we do today is what matters most.”

“Nothing ever exists entirely alone; everything is in relation to everything else.”

“Nothing is permanent.”

“A jug fills drop by drop.”

“Holding on to anger is grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.”

“There isn’t enough darkness in all the world to snuff out the light of one little candle.”

“Imagine that every person in the world is enlightened but you. They are all your teachers, each doing just the right things to help you.”

“Whatever words we utter should be chosen with care for people will hear them and be influenced by them for good or ill.”

“An idea that is developed and put into action is more important than an idea that exists only as an idea.”

“Have compassion for all beings, rich and poor a; each has their suffering. Some suffer too much, others too little.”

“Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.”

“If anything is worth doing, do it with all your heart.”

“On life’s journey faith is nourishment, virtuous deeds are a shelter, wisdom is the light by day and right mindfulness is the protection by night. If a man lives a pure life, nothing can destroy him.”

“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.”

“There is no path to happiness. Happiness is the path.”

“It is ridiculous to think that somebody else can make you happy or unhappy.”

“Happiness does not depend on what you have or who you are. It solely relies on what you think.”

“A disciplined mind brings happiness.”

“Happiness is not having a lot. Happiness is giving a lot.”

“Happiness never decreases by being shared.”

“He who loves 50 people has 50 woes; he who loves no one has no woes.”

“Hatred does not cease through hatred at any time. Hatred ceases through love. This is an unalterable law.”

“You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere. You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe deserve your love and affection.”

“True love is born from understanding.”

“If you truly loved yourself, you could never hurt another.”

“The way is not in the sky. The way is in the heart. ”

“Truth is the same always. Whoever ponders it will get the same answer. Buddha got it. Patanjali got it. Jesus got it. Mohammed got it. The answer is the same, but the method of working it out may vary this way or that.” Swami Satchidananda, The Yoga Sutras

“I guess if I had to pick a spiritual figurehead to possess the deed to the entirety of Earth, I’d go with Buddha, but only because he wouldn’t want it.” Sarah Vowell, Unfamiliar Fishes

“The words of the Buddha offer this truth: ∼ Hatred never ceases by hatred but by love alone is healed.” Jack Kornfield, The Art of Forgiveness, Lovingkindness, and Peace

“In Buddha’s opinion, to train in staying open and curious—to train in dissolving our assumptions and beliefs—is the best use of our human lives.” Pema Chödrön, The Pocket Pema Chodron

“The path of awakening begins with a step the Buddha called right understanding.” Jack Kornfield, Seeking the Heart of Wisdom: The Path of Insight Meditation

  1. Buddha was not as chubby as many depictions of him make it seem – he was portrayed this way because, in the east, it was symbolic of happiness. Buddha practiced moderation, fasted regularly, and spent a lot of his time traveling by foot hundreds of miles, spreading his philosophy of enlightenment.
  2. Just a few days after he was born, he was predicted to be a wise old man that would become a king or saint that would change the world.
  3. Buddha’s spot of enlightenment underneath the bodhi tree is still preserved today.
  4. In order to achieve enlightenment, Young Siddhartha sat under a fig tree and meditated until he transcended suffering. At the end of an extremely lengthy meditation and mental battle with Mara, the god of desire, he became awakened and was then known as the Buddha.
  5. The first mention of Buddha in Western writing is in the writings of Clement of Alexandria, 2 AD.

Buddha’s spiritual words resonate with all humans, teaching tolerance and love. I hope these famous Buddha quotes bring you inner peace and your own personal enlightenment.


Fear Not: How to surrender fears that are holding you back right now

Is fear holding you back? Buddhists have a message that you need to hear

Fear helps direct your path and in that way, can be very productive. But when we live in fear, when we allow fear to rule our thoughts and our lives, our entire frequency drops to a very low level.

At this low level, our frequency aligns with other low-level vibrations in the Universe and that is – in my view – how we become depressed, sick, angry, and impoverished.

So, you don’t want to eliminate fear from your life. You want to master it. 

In short bursts, it can arise from your intuition directing you where you need to go, or not go. How do you know when you’re striking the right balance? Fear is helpful when it happens in a flash, a few seconds of awareness.

Fear is not helpful when you feel it for hours, days, weeks or months.

In fact, many alternative healing paths (Chinese herbal medicine and Ayurveda for example) acknowledge that the root cause of many modern diseases, especially autoimmune diseases, is a sustained physical experience of fear. It imprints on you. It marks you. And it harms you.

The good news is that by overcoming fear, I believe you can heal yourself. In this post, I want to show you five strategies to release and surrender fear wisdom from a variety of spiritual traditions you may be familiar with. Almost every spiritual path and religion offers scripture, mantra, or prayer to help you overcome fear in your life.


In the Bible, Isaiah 41:10 offers this well known prayer: “‘Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.

” I love this passage because it not only commands us not to fear, but it also recommends that we avoid anxiety; that in knowing God is present to us at all times, and upholds us with his hand, we are safe, all is well, and we can find comfort in that protection.


The following Buddhist quotes offer similar wisdom about fear and its ability to shape our path: “The whole secret of existence is to have no fear. You will not be punished for your anger, you will be punished by your anger. If the problem can be solved why worry? If the problem cannot be solved worrying will do you no good.”

Fear, anger, and worry are all emotions that lower your frequency, but they are also harmful because they are fundamentally unproductive emotions. Anger and worry in particular do not help you solve problems or feel love.

They are simply a spinning of your emotional wheels and in that way they drain the life force. And when you realize how you are worrying about things you absolutely cannot control…what’s the point? When we are in worry, fear, or anxiety, we are living in the future.

And this means that we are missing everything happening right in front of us right now. 


In the Viking Havamal, the Viking code of conduct Odin’s teachings, this proverb is offered: “The brave and generous have the best lives. They’re seldom sorry. The unwise man is always worried, fears favours to repay.” Here, fear is contrasted by bravery and generosity, which suggests that one path to surrendering fears is to face them and give openly to those around you.


In the Quran, the holy text of the Islamic faith, Allah reminds believers that they need not fear so long as they have faith and are generous of spirit: “Those who believe, and do deeds of righteousness, and establish regular prayers and regular charity, will have their reward with their Lord: on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.” [Qur’an Chater 2 Verse 277] Similar to the other paths, in Islam believers are reassured that their spiritual practice will protect them from fear.


In the Talmud, fear is seen as a necessary component of spiritual development that facilitates the death of the Ego: “Faith cannot manifest itself in a person without being accompanied by fear, for egoism bows only to fear.” Because humility is a central concept in Kabbalah, fear is seen as a productive emotion but again only briefly, insofar as it helps you come closer to God.

Today, many of us feel paralyzed by fear – fear of what will happen in our country, fear of what is happening more locally or even within our families and personal lives. Just for today I want to encourage you to set fear down, let it go, and recognize it for what it is: A tool in short spurts to bring you closer to your faith and help you identify dangers.

But sustained indulgence of fear may, in fact, only manifest the things you fear most in the first place. That cycle of fear manifesting fear is one in which many find themselves trapped.

Take a deep breath today, inhale love and exhale fear, and watch your physical health, your emotional health, and your spiritual practice improve. I wish for you fearlessness and joy.

May it be so.