The Virtuous Teachings of Buddha

Buddha, or “Awakened One”, was born Siddhārtha Gautama, a wise sage who traveled India in search of truth and enlightenment. Known widely as the founder of Buddhism, Buddha’s life and legacy was celebrated in various regions of Asia on Sunday, May 8. Interestingly enough, many people across the United States celebrated Mother’s Day on Sunday, a day set aside to show love, respect, and kindness to those who gave us life and continue to fill our lives with love.

Born a prince with three palaces of his own, Siddhārtha Gautama had no need to travel outside the kingdom walls. But with a thirst for truth, he wandered, encountering people who were hungry, sick, and dying. This led him to question the purpose of our lives on Earth. Buddha himself achieved spiritual enlightenment at the age of 35, through a practice of meditation, morality, and inner peace. Buddha made it his life’s mission to end suffering. He shared compassion with those around him and spread a message of virtue, peace, and respect for all living beings.

Buddha felt that his role was not exclusive. He once said, “All living beings have the Buddha nature.” That’s the part of us that is true, wise and pure, but it is up to each individual to question life and their role in it and to not simply follow teachings blindly. “No one saves us but ourselves. We ourselves must walk the path.”

It’s not about preaching what is true and right, but actually putting those lessons into practice and living a life filled with compassion that brings you in touch with your true nature—your Buddha nature. Here are a few wise words from Buddha, which remind us that life is transient and fleeting. Let’s make the most of each day, and bring peace into our own corners of the world. Start with yourself and the people closest to you. Reflect on these words today:

“You can search 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, deserves your love and affection.”

“We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts, we make the world.”

“No matter how hard the past, you can always begin again.”