A selection of quotations that have appeared as the “Quote of the Month” or “Thought for the Month”

in Guernsey Buddhist Group publications



When you sit in a café, with a lot of music in the background and a lot of projects in your head, you're not really drinking your coffee or your tea. You're drinking your projects, you're drinking your worries. You are not real, and the coffee is not real either. Your coffee can only reveal itself to you as a reality when you go back to your self and produce your true presence, freeing yourself from the past, the future, and from your worries. When you are real, the tea also becomes real and the encounter between you and the tea is real. This is genuine tea drinking.

Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh





“Breath is the bridge which connects life to consciousness,

which unites your body to your thoughts.

Whenever your mind becomes scattered,

use your breath as the means to take hold of your mind again.”

Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh




“People usually consider walking on water or in thin air a miracle. But I think the real miracle is not to walk either on water or in thin air, but to walk on earth. Every day we are engaged in a miracle which we don’t even recognize: a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black, curious eyes of a child — our own two eyes. All is a miracle.”

Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh




“Just as the great ocean has one taste, the taste of salt,

so also this teaching and discipline has one taste,

the taste of liberation.”


The Buddha

(from the Udana)







“When we are mindful, deeply in touch with the present moment,

 our understanding of what is going on deepens,

and we begin to be filled with acceptance, joy, peace and love.”

Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh






“The Buddha's teachings on love are clear. It is possible to live twenty-four hours a day in a state of love. Every movement, every glance, every thought, and every word can be infused with love.”

Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh






“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.”

Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh



The most precious gift we can offer others is our presence.

When mindfulness embraces those we love,

they will bloom like flowers


Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh





The present moment contains past and future.
The secret of transformation,
is in the way we handle this very moment.

Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh






“Every path, every street in the world

is your walking meditation path.”

Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh






“Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky.

Conscious breathing is my anchor.”


Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh








“Breathing in, I calm body and mind. Breathing out, I smile.

Dwelling in the present moment I know this is the only moment.”


Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh







“Waking up this morning, I smile.

Twenty-four brand new hours are before me.

I vow to live fully in each moment

and to look at all beings

with eyes of compassion.”


Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh






“We are here to awaken from the illusion of our separateness”


Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh



“People kill and are killed because they cling too tightly to their own beliefs and ideologies.

When we believe that ours is the only faith that contains the truth,

violence and suffering will surely be the result.”

Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh





“Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet.”

Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh

(Peace Is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life)





“Usually when we hear or read something new, we just compare it to our own ideas.

If it is the same, we accept it and say that it is correct.

If it is not, we say it is incorrect.

In either case, we learn nothing.”

Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh





"Life cannot be consumed by the fire at the end of the kalpa, nor can it be washed away by floods. It can neither be cut by swords nor pierced by arrows. Although it can fit inside a mustard seed, the seed does not expand, nor does life contract. Although it fills the vastness of space, space is not too wide, nor is life too small."





“As a solid rock is not shaken by the wind, even so the wise remain unshaken amidst blame and praise”

(The Dhammapada: Sayings of the Buddha)





“A truly wise man will not be carried away by any of the eight winds: prosperity, decline, disgrace, honour, praise, censure, suffering and pleasure. He is neither elated by prosperity nor grieved by decline. The heavenly gods will surely protect one who does not bend before the eight winds”

(The Eight Winds: Writings of Nichiren Daishonin)





"Though one defeats a million men in battle, one who overcomes the self alone is in fact the highest victor”

(The Dhammapada: Sayings of the Buddha)




"If one stays close to the teachers of the Law, one will speedily gain the bodhisattva way. By following and learning from these teachers one will see Buddhas as numerous as Ganges sands”

(The Lotus Sutra)




“The future is not some place we are going to, but one we are creating. The paths to it are not found, they are made and the activity of making them changes both the maker and the destination."





"It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare. It is because we do not dare that they are difficult."






Buddhism has the characteristics of what would be expected in a cosmic religion for the future: it transcends a personal god, avoids dogmas and theology; it covers both the natural and spiritual, and it is based on a religious sense aspiring from the experience of all things, natural and spiritual, as a meaningful unity."





When deluded, one is called an ordinary being, but when enlightened, one is called a Buddha”



When you realize the nature of mind, layers of confusion peel away. You don't actually "become" a Buddha, you simply cease, slowly, to be deluded. And being a Buddha is not being some omnipotent spiritual superman, but becoming at last a true human being.”

[Sogyal Rinpoche]




Overcome anger with freedom from anger. Overcome evil with good. Overcome meanness with generosity, and overcome a liar with truthfulness.

 [Dhammapada – The sayings of the Buddha]




“That which you give to another will become your own sustenance; if you light a lamp for another, your own way will be lit.”






Live in joy,

Live in love,

Even among those who hate.

[Dhammapada – The sayings of the Buddha]




“One is not noble if one harms other living beings. It is by

non-violence to all forms of life that one is called noble.”

[Dhammapada – The sayings of the Buddha]




“All that we are is the result of what we have thought: it is founded on our thoughts, it is made up of our thoughts. If a man speaks or acts with a pure thought, happiness follows him, like a shadow that never leaves him.”

[Dhammapada – The sayings of the Buddha]




The thought manifests as the word;

The word manifests as the deed;

The deed develops into habit;

And 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…

[The Dhammapada – Sayings of the Buddha]



You must become the master of your mind rather than let your mind master you.

[Shakyamuni Buddha – The Six Paramitas Sutra]



One's own misdirected thought can do one more harm than an enemy or an ill-wisher.

[Dhammapada – The sayings of the Buddha]



When we are upset, it’s easy to blame others. However, the true cause of our feelings is within us. For example, imagine yourself as a glass of water. Now, imagine past negative experiences as sediment at the bottom of your glass. Next, think of others as spoons. When one stirs, the sediment clouds your water. It may appear that the spoon caused the water to cloud – but if there were no sediment, the water would remain clear no matter what. The key, then, is to identify our sediment and actively work to remove it.

[Josei Toda]



The universe is life itself. When we die, our lives melt back into the greater life of the universe and are nowhere to be found, much like the interval of sleep when our minds are seemingly nowhere. Just as we resume our mental activities from the previous day upon awakening, so too are we born with our karma from previous existences. In this way, just as we sleep and wake, we are born and die, maintaining an eternal cycle of life.


[Josei Toda]



A person writing at night may put out the lamp, but the words he has written will remain. It is the same with the destiny we create for ourselves in this world.


[Shakyamuni Buddha]




The heart is what matters most. One sutra tells the story of a boy named Doji who had nothing to offer the Buddha but a mud pie. Others offered gold and gems, but their hearts were insincere. Since the Buddha was worthy of great respect and since Doji’s heart was sincere, a single mud pie became such a great offering that Doji was later reborn as

King Ashoka.


[Buddhist teaching story]




There was once a woman who lost her child to disease. Crazy with grief, she stumbled through the city begging for medicine to bring her child back. When she came upon the Buddha, he told her he would give her the medicine she needed. He asked her to find a poppy from a house where no one had lost a loved one. In her quest, she found there was not even one such home. She realized that death is a fact of life, and that she was not alone in her grief. In this way, the Buddha awakened her wisdom, restoring peace to her heart.





Even as a mother protects with her life
Her child, her only child,
So with a boundless heart
Should one cherish all living beings:
Radiating kindness over the entire world
Spreading upwards to the skies,
And downwards to the depths;
Outwards and unbounded,
Freed from hatred and ill-will.


(From  the Metta Sutta – The Buddha’s teaching on loving-kindness)




This screen is empty of an independent self.

Empty, in this sense, means that the screen is full of everything,

the entire cosmos.

The presence of this computer display screen

proves the presence of the whole universe.


Based on similar statement by Thich Nhat Hanh





It is not easy to be reborn as a human being. It is rarer than for a one-eyed turtle, who rises to the surface only once every hundred years, to push his neck through a wooden yoke with one hole that floats on the surface of the wide ocean


Shakyamuni Buddha




Humility does not mean believing oneself to be inferior, but to be freed from self-importance. It is a state of natural simplicity which is in harmony with our true nature and allows us to taste the freshness of the present moment.


Matthieu Ricard





Each act of generosity is a recognition of our interdependence,

an expression of our Buddha nature.


Jack Kornfield





I let the people witness my nirvana
as a means to save them,
but in truth I do not die;
I am here always, teaching the Law.



Shakyamuni Buddha – The Lotus Sutra




The Lotus Sutra promises that those who practice the Buddha's teachings will enjoy peace and security in their present existence and good circumstances in future existences.


Nichiren – “Reply To Hakiri Saburo






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.




How can a troubled mind
Understand the way?

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.


Shakyamuni Buddha - from “The  Dhammapada




“Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe simply because it has been handed down for many generations. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken of and rumoured by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is written in Holy Scriptures. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of teachers, elders or wise men.

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


Shakyamuni Buddha




In this world
hostilities are never
appeased by hostility.
But by the absence of hostility
are they appeased.
This is an interminable truth.



The Dhammapada – Sayings of Shakyamuni Buddha





One of his students asked Buddha, "Are you the messiah?"
"No", answered Buddha.
"Then are you a healer?"
"No", Buddha replied.
"Then are you a teacher?" the student persisted.
"No, I am not a teacher."
"Then what are you?" asked the student, exasperated.
"I am awake", Buddha replied.





In the time of war

Raise in yourself the Mind of Compassion.

Help living beings

Abandon the will to fight.



(Vimalakirti Nirdesa Sutra)




If you truly fear the sufferings of birth and death and yearn for nirvana, if you carry out your faith and thirst for the way, then the sufferings of change and impermanence will become no more than yesterday’s dream, and the awakening of enlightenment will become today’s reality.


Nichiren (WND p. 214)





Life is the foremost of all treasures.

It is expounded that even the treasures of the entire major world system cannot equal the value of one’s body and life. Even the treasures that fill the major world system are no substitute for life.



Nichiren (WND p. 1125)




The mind is hard to check.

It is swift and wanders at will.

To control it is good.

A controlled mind is conducive to happiness.


The Dhammapada – Sayings of the Buddha



May all beings be at ease.
Whatever living beings there may be;
Whether they are weak or strong, omitting none,
The great or the mighty, medium, short or small,
The seen and the unseen,
Those living near and far away,
Those born and to-be-born,
May all beings be at ease!


The Metta Sutta – The Buddha’s teaching on loving-kindness



You are your only master.

Who else?

Subdue yourself,

And discover your master.


The Dhammapada  – The Sayings of the Buddha





Beware of the anger of the body.

Master the body.

Let it serve truth.

Beware of the anger of the mouth.

Master your words.

Let them serve truth.

Beware of the anger of the mind.

Master your thoughts.

Let them serve truth.


The Dhammapada  – The Sayings of the Buddha




Do not make light of your failings,

Saying, “What are they to me?”

A jug fills drop by drop.

So the fool becomes brimful of folly.


Do not belittle your virtues,

Saying, “They are nothing.”

A jug fills drop by drop.

So the wise man becomes brimful of virtue.


The Dhammapada  – The Sayings of the Buddha









In this world

Hate never yet dispelled hate.

Only love dispels hate.

This is the law,

Ancient and inexhaustible.


The Dhammapada  – The Sayings of the Buddha






To straighten the crooked

You must first do a harder thing –

Straighten yourself.


The Dhammapada  – The Sayings of the Buddha




Even if we should gather all the water of the four great oceans to wet inkstones, burn all the trees and plants to make ink sticks, collect the hairs of all beasts for writing brushes, employ all the surfaces of the worlds in the ten directions for paper and, with these, set down expressions of gratitude, how could we possibly repay our debt to the Buddha?


Nichiren (The Four Debts of Gratitude)




Above all, be sure to follow your original teacher so that you are able to attain Buddhahood.

Shakyamuni Buddha is the original teacher for all people.


Nichiren (The Essentials for Attaining Buddhahood)





I will teach you how to become a Buddha easily. Teaching another something is the same as oiling the wheels of a cart so that they can turn even though it is heavy, or as floating a boat on water so that it moves ahead easily. The way to become a Buddha easily is nothing special. It is the same as giving water to a thirsty person in a time of drought, or as providing fire for a person freezing in the cold. Or again, it is the same as giving another something that is one of a kind, or as offering something as alms to another even at the risk of one’s life.


(Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, page 1086)




A bird's egg contains nothing but liquid, yet by itself this develops into a beak, two eyes, and all the other parts, and the bird soars into the sky. We, too, are the eggs of ignorance, which are pitiful things, but when nurtured by the chanting of Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo, which is like the warmth of the mother bird, we develop the beak of the thirty-two features and the feathers of the eighty characteristics and are free to soar into the sky of the true aspect of all phenomena and the reality of all things.

Nichiren - Letter to Niike (WND p. 1030)




Do not pursue the past.
Do not lose yourself in the future.
The past no longer is.
The future has not yet come.
Looking deeply at life as it is,
In the very here and now, the practitioner dwells in stability and freedom.
We must be diligent today.
To wait until tomorrow is too late.

Bhaddekaratta Sutta



Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal

 with the intent of throwing it at someone else;

you are the one getting burned.

(The Buddha)



Let your love flow outward through the universe,
To its height, its depth, its broad extent,
A limitless love, without hatred or enmity.
Then as you stand or walk,
Sit or lie down,
As long as you are awake,
Strive for this with a one-pointed mind;
Your life will bring heaven to earth.

Sutta Nipata



The Buddha compares his teaching to the rainfall that descends without discrimination on the earth. That this rain causes some seeds to grow into flowers and some into great trees implies no differentiation in the rain but rather is due to the capacities of the seeds that it nurtures. Thus, the teaching of the Buddha is of a single flavour but benefits beings in a variety of ways according to their capacity.

Donald S. Lopez



You, no less than all beings have Buddha Nature within. Your essential Mind is pure.

Therefore, when defilements cause you to stumble and fall, let not remorse nor dark foreboding cast you down. Be of good cheer and with this understanding, summon strength and walk on.
Faith is like a lamp and wisdom makes the flame burn bright. Carry this lamp always and in good time the darkness will yield and you will abide in the Light







We ordinary people can see neither our own eyelashes, which are so close, nor the heavens in the distance. Likewise, we do not see that the Buddha exists in our own hearts.


Nichiren (New Year’s Gosho)





We living beings, right down to crickets, ants, mosquitoes and flies, all possess life that is without beginning or end.







The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, nor to worry about the future, but to live the present moment wisely and earnestly.


Shakyamuni Buddha




Never speak harsh words

For they will rebound upon you.

Angry words hurt

And the hurt rebounds.


[The Dhammapada – Sayings of the Buddha]




“You will not be punished for your anger,

you will be punished by your anger.”


[Shakyamuni Buddha]



Whatever words we utter should be chosen with care

for people will hear them and be influenced by them

for good or ill.

Shakyamuni Buddha



“Don’t just hope for the other shore to come to you. If you want to cross over to the other shore, the shore of safety, well-being, non‑fear and non-anger, you have to swim or row across.

You have to make an effort.”

Shakyamuni Buddha




“When one has the feeling of dislike for evil, when one feels tranquil, one finds pleasure in listening to good teachings; when one has these feelings and appreciates them,

one is free of fear.”

Shakyamuni Buddha





“Be a light unto yourself; betake yourself to no external refuge.

Hold fast to the Truth.

Look not for refuge to anyone besides yourself.”

(from the Buddha’s final teaching)



“Better than a thousand hollow words, is one word that brings peace.”


Shakyamuni – the Buddha




Anything that is created must sooner or later die.
Enlightenment is permanent because we have not produced it; we have merely discovered it.

Chogyam Trungpa




True spirituality is to be aware that if we are interdependent with everything and everyone else, even our smallest, least significant thought, word and action have real consequences throughout the universe.


Sogyal Rinpoche





Be diligent in developing your faith until the last moment of your life. Otherwise you will have regrets. For example, the journey from Kamakura to Kyoto takes twelve days. If you travel for eleven but stop with only one day remaining, how can you admire the moon over the capital?

(Letter to Niike - WND p1027)





The trouble is that you think you have time.

(Jack Kornfield)



Right now, at this very moment, we have a mind,

which is all the basic equipment we need

to achieve complete happiness.


Howard Cutler




Those whom summer’s heat tortures yearn

for the full moon of autumn

Without even fearing the idea

That a hundred days of their life will then have passed forever.


Shakyamumi Buddha




The most precious gift we can offer others is our presence. When mindfulness embraces those we love, they will bloom like flowers.


Thich Nhat Hanh





Each moment is a chance for us to make peace with the world, to make peace possible for the world, to make happiness possible for the world.


Thich Nhat Hanh





Thanks to impermanence, everything is possible.

Thich Nhat Hanh




Neither the pure land nor hell exists outside oneself; both lie only within one’s own heart. Awakened to this, one is called a Buddha; deluded about it, one is called an ordinary person.






“If you cling to an idea as the inalterable truth, then when the truth does come in person and knock at your door, you will not be able to open the door and accept it.”


Shakyamuni Buddha - Udana Sutta




“A bodhisattva is someone who has compassion within himself or herself and who is able to make another person smile or help someone suffer less. Every one of us is capable of this.”


Thich Nhat Hahn






Buddhist practice exists not only so we can become happy but also so that we can lead others to do the same. Practice for self and others, then, is like two wheels of a cart. If we want to make progress, both wheels should roll together in harmony. When we give hope and encouragement to others, we ourselves also grow, so though we speak of practice for others, it is we ourselves who ultimately benefit.







"Mindfulness helps you go home to the present.

And every time you go there and recognize a condition of happiness that you have, happiness comes."

Thich Nhat Hanh




"The seed of suffering in you may be strong,

but don't wait until you have no more suffering

before allowing yourself to be happy."


Thich Nhat Hanh

(The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching)




“When another person makes you suffer, it is because he suffers deeply within himself, and his suffering is spilling over.

He does not need punishment; he needs help.

That's the message he is sending.”


Thich Nhat Hanh




“Happiness is having friends when need arises.

Happiness is contentment with whatever there is.

Happiness is merit at the end of one’s life.”


The Dhammapada – The Sayings of the Buddha




“Enlightenment is always there.

Small enlightenment will bring great enlightenment.

If you breathe in and are aware that you are alive

     that you can touch the miracle of being alive –

then that is a kind of enlightenment.”


Thich Nhat Hanh



"If in our daily life we can smile,

if we can be peaceful and happy,

not only we, but everyone will profit from it.

This is the most basic kind of peace work."


Thich Nhat Hanh




“The source of love is deep in us and we can help others realize a lot of happiness. One word, one action, one thought can reduce another person’s suffering and bring that person joy.”


Thich Nhat Hanh




In order to be loved, we have to love,

which means we have to understand.


Thich Nhat Hanh





We can smile, breathe, walk, and eat our meals in a way that allows us to be in touch with the abundance of happiness that is available. We are very good at preparing to live, but not very good at living. We know how to sacrifice ten years for a diploma and we are willing to work very hard to get a job, a car, a house, and so on. But we have difficulty remembering that we are alive in the present moment, the only moment there is for us to be alive.


THICH NHAT HANH (from “Peace is Every Step”)



If you look deeply into the palm of your hand,

you will see your parents and all generations of your ancestors.

All of them are alive in this moment. Each is present in your body.

You are the continuation of each of these people.

Thich Nhat Hanh




“When we are mindful, deeply in touch with the present moment,

our understanding of what is going on deepens,

 and we begin to be filled with acceptance, joy, peace and love.”

Thich Nhat Hanh