Attitudes inspired by Buddhism

  1. There is only the human being. And that human being has the potential to be spiritually awakened. God is merely an extrapolation by the mind. There is no higher being or power that sits in judgment over man’s destiny.

  2. Man’s emancipation depends on his own realization of Truth, and not on the benevolent grace of a god or any external power as a reward for his obedient good behaviour. Each person must develop himself and work out his own emancipation.

  3. Do not be led by reports, or tradition or hearsay. Be not led by the authority of religious texts, nor by mere logic or inference, nor by considering appearances, nor by the delight in speculative opinions, nor by seeming possibilities, nor by the idea: ‘this is our teacher’. It is proper to have doubt, to have perplexity, for a doubt has arisen in a matter which is doubtful.

  4. When you know for yourselves that certain things are unwholesome, and wrong, and bad, then give them up. And when you know for yourselves that certain things are wholesome and good, then accept them and follow them.

  5. A disciple should examine even the Teacher himself, so that he (the disciple) might be fully convinced of the true value of the teacher whom he followed.

  6. The root of all evil is ignorance and false views. There must be doubt as long as one does not understand or see clearly. Doubt is not a ‘sin’. In order to progress further it is absolutely necessary to get rid of doubt and see clearly.

  7. Just to say ’I believe’ does not mean that you understand and see. To force oneself to believe and to accept a thing without understanding is political, and not spiritual or intellectual.

  8. Let all listen, and be willing to listen to the doctrines professed by others. Whosoever honours his own religion and condemns other religions, does so indeed through devotion to his own religion, thinking “I will glorify my own religion”. But on the contrary, in so doing he injures his own religion more gravely.

  9. Truth needs no label. It is neither Buddhist, Christian, Hindu nor Moslem. It is not the monopoly of anybody. Sectarian labels are a hindrance to the independent understanding of Truth, and they produce harmful prejudices in men’s minds.

  10. When we label a human being as English, French, German, American, or Jew, we may regard him with all the prejudices associated with that label in our mind. Yet he may be completely free from those attributes which we have put on him.

  11. The love of a mother for her child is neither Buddhist nor Christian: it is mother love. Human qualities and emotions like love, charity, compassion, tolerance, patience, friendship, desire, hatred, ill-will, ignorance, conceit, etc., need no sectarian labels.

  12. To the seeker after Truth it is immaterial from where an idea comes. In fact, in order to understand Truth, it is not necessary even to know whether the teaching comes from the Buddha, or from anyone else. What is essential is seeing the thing, understanding it. If the medicine is good, the disease will be cured. It is not necessary to know who prepared it, or where it came from.

  13. Emphasis should be laid on seeing, knowing, understanding, and not on faith, or belief. One must have (a) full and firm conviction that a thing is (b) serene joy at good qualities, and (c) aspiration or wish to achieve an object in view.

  14. The question of belief arises when there is no seeing (seeing in every sense of the word). The moment you see, the question of belief disappears. If I tell you that I have a gem hidden in the folded palm of my hand, the question of belief arises because you do not see it yourself. But if I unclench my fist and show you the gem, then you see it for yourself, and the question of belief does not arise.

  15. A man has a faith. If he says “This is my faith”, so far he maintains truth. But by that he cannot proceed to the absolute conclusions: “This alone is Truth, and everything else is false”.

  16. To be attached to a certain view and to look down upon other views as inferior – this the wise men call a fetter.

  17. It is unnecessary to discuss metaphysical questions, which are purely speculative and which create imaginary problems.

  18. Discuss those things that are useful, fundamentally connected with the spiritual holy life, and conducive to aversion, detachment, cessation, tranquility, deep penetration, full realization, and Nirvāna.

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