10 Editor's Pick
March 21, 2012

Pretty much my favorite Buddhist quote ever.

When I was young, I was insecure. So insecure, it was hard to have a conversation, sometimes. I was sweet, too, and sensitive, and proud, and speedy—and wild. Over the years, my insecurity—the cracks in our ego are where the light gets in—connected with the Buddhadharma, and I grew up, and tamed myself, somewhat.

This quote helped enlighten my confusion.


One of my five favorite Buddhist quotes.

Go to the well for more: 50 Buddhist Slogans & short Quotes to Inspire your Life.

Bonus: just below, I’ve added another all-time favorite, that helped me when young to remember that sadness is not only okay, it’s essential to our empathy, to our vision of creating an entlightened society…

…and that the fruition of all this meditation practice and study, of the power and the vision, of our genuine sadness and empathy for suffering, but…

…the fruition is simply right here, right now, in our present actions: like how we drink our tea.

naropa trungpa elephant journal

How can beauty and joy and positive things…and suffering and depression and war and rape coexist? How do we deal?

How can we deal with sadness, with fear, with anxiety, with looking at and feeling the suffering of humans, or animals, without getting depressed?

And what is the fruition of opening to this wonderful yet heartbreaking world?

So many of my friends don’t want to hear about factory farming or climate change. They want to be happy. That’s understandable!

The world is beautiful, they tell me. They’re right!

But here’s what’s ugly: ignoring. We can—we must—be able to look with brave vulnerable empathy at world that will soon be roiling in the waves of our self-inflicted climate crisis, that already attacks the weakest and most vulnerable of us. In only a few decades, say, billions of people in India and China will lose their drinking water source–high up in the Himalayas. That will cause more than thirst and death–it’ll cause warfare, looting, rape, suffering untold. Can we avoid it?

Mostly: but only if we don’t ignore.

But it ain’t enough for us to be martyrs for good. It ain’t enough to care. We need to find our joy, too, and remember that this life of ours is precious, and celebrate how beautiful planet of ours.

Here’s a Buddhist poem that sums up this pain/happy contradiction—it helped guide me years ago:

“Hold the sadness and pain of samsara

in your heart and at the same time

the power and vision of the Great Eastern Sun.

Then the warrior can make a proper cup of tea.”

~ Pema Chodron


With notes: “Hold the sadness and pain of samsara [suffering, confusion] in your heart and at the same time the power and vision of the Great Eastern Sun [fundamental awake human nature]. Then the warrior [brave enough to look at & work with reality] can make a proper cup of tea.” ~ Pema Chodron

Another longtime favorite, reminding us of delight in being present:

Since everything is but an apparition,

perfect in being what it is,

having nothing to do with good or bad,

acceptance or rejection,

one may well burst out in laughter.

~ Longchenpa

Spirituality, meditation, enlightenment isn’t serious stuff. If you’re overly serious about it, you have much work left to do. For many years, this beautifully-calligraphed quote hung in Marpa House. Not sure where it hangs, now. ~ ed.



Best Quote from the Dalai Lama Ever.

My Favorite Buddhist Quote By Someone I’ll Bet You Never Realized Was Buddhist.

Bonus! Once you’ve made your cup of tea and burst out in laughter, wake your mind up to the present moment:


This is all Buddhists want:

Read 21 Comments and Reply

Read 21 comments and reply

Top Contributors Latest

Waylon Lewis  |  Contribution: 1,510,860

Image: Barcelos_fotos/Pexels