Gautama Buddha - Philosophy and Ethics
Gautama Buddha (563-483 BC)
Commonly called the Buddha, meaning the Enlightened One, and founder of
Buddhism (pictured right in a statue in Bodh Gaya, India) .
Born the king’s son in a Nepalese tribe, he gave up his wealth and family aged 35 to teach and find peace of
Why was he a great spiritual leader?
1. His Four Noble truths
These are four vital beliefs:
Life is difficult and sad, because of ageing, disease and finally death.
We also suffer because we want things for ourselves.
c) selfless extinction of desire
We are wise and free when we do good to others without concern for ourselves.
d) the Eightfold Path
(see point 2).
2. The Eightfold Path
Eight points for good living to give you “nirvana” (peace of mind and freedom from pain) :
a) right knowledge and right purpose
The best people are:
- concentrate intensely on one moral objective (like helping others).
b) right speech, right action and right livelihood
- be honest, kind, impartial, fulfilled in work
- never be deceitful, envious or violent.
c) right effort, right thinking and right meditation
Be self-disciplined and determined to be a better person through:
- knowing your strengths and weaknesses.
- seeing things as they really are.
3. “The Middle Way”
Happiness lies in moderation between the extremes of
- asceticism (abstinence and self-denial), and
- overindulgence (consuming too much).
4. Lover of wisdom
Gautama Buddha always:
- asked the right questions.
- critically argued about life’s problems with other people.
Peace and wisdom also comes from:
a) conscientious determination
“Work out your salvation with diligence”, he said.
“Nothing lasts forever”, the Buddha said
The relationship between things is vitally important (for example, hatred is
defeated by love)
d) live for now
“Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment”, he said.
5. “Cool head and a warm heart”
This is how one biographer described his mixture of:
- tough-minded pursuit of wisdom
- great kindness to the sick and needy, whatever their position in society.
Like Jesus, he advised:
- love your neighbour as yourself.
“Hate is not overcome by hate; by love alone is hate appeased”, he said.
He fought poverty, because he believed it was
- unjust and immoral.
6. Purpose and vision
He was driven by his purpose of guiding people to peace and wisdom, so
that they would create an ideal world full of love for all living
things including animals and nature.
7. Inspired people
He was a great teacher, because of his:
- understanding of people’s needs.
He loved his followers, inspiring devotion and discipline from them.
Key quote on ethics and
The most precious treasure is virtue.
Key quote on stress and
No one saves us but ourselves.
Key quote on peace of
Work out your salvation with diligence.
Key quotes on
The greatest gain is to give to others; the greatest loss is to greedily receive without gratitude
Hatred does not cease by hatred, but only by love.
Key quote on positive
What you think you become.
Key quote on peace, past, present and
Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.
Key quote on
If a man speaks or acts with a pure thought, happiness follows him like a shadow that never leaves him.
Key quotes on
It is better to conquer yourself than to win a thousand battles.
The only real failure in life is not to be true to the best one knows.
Key quote on influencing
I never see what has been done; I only see what remains to be done.
Key quote on
A generous heart, kind service, and a life of service and compassion are the things which renew humanity.