Ancient Buddhist Words of Wisdom

During the 5th century, Bhadantācariya Buddhaghosa served as a known Indian Theravadin Buddhist commentator and scholar. He is best known for penning the Visuddhimagga (also known as the Path of Purification), which delivered a wide ranging summary and exploration of the Theravada understanding that dealt with the bath of Buddha towards liberation. It was through this man that the orthodox understanding of Theravada scriptures developed that has lasted since around the 12th century CE.

Western scholars and Theravadins alike look at Buddhaghosa as the most significant commentator of the Theravada, as he accomplished a great deal when it comes to translating lengthy bodies of work. For instance, take a look at his Visuddhimaggga, which digs dig into Theravada Buddhism , with people still turning the pages of this read and studying his word to this day. Over the years, some people believe that Buddhaghosa did not write all of the works that were attributed to him.

A quote to remember Buddhaghosa by includes:

“Strong mindfulness, however, is needed in all instances; for mindfulness protects the mind lapsing into agitation through faith, energy and understanding, which favour agitation, and from lapsing into idleness through concentration, which favours idleness.”


With the Dhammapada (often referred to as the ‘Path of the Dharma’ when translated into English), you will encounter what is called a versified Buddhist scripture that is traditionally associated with the Buddha himself. When reading the Theravada canon, you will come in contact with one of the best known texts. Still some will argue the literary prowess of the writing is debatable. This text dates back to 300 BC. A couple of passages are found below:

“Just as a flower which seems beautiful and has color but no perfume, so are the fruitless words of the man who speaks them but does them not.”

“He who holds back rising anger like a rolling chariot, him I call a real driver; other people are but holding the reins”

“Few cross the river of time and are able to reach non-being. Most of them run up and down only on this side of the river. But those who when they know the law follow the path of the law, they shall reach the other shore and go beyond the realm of death. “

“In the light of his vision he has found his freedom: his thoughts are peace, his words are peace and his work is peace. “

“The traveler has reached the end of the journey! In the freedom of the infinite he is free from all sorrows, the fetters that bound him are thrown away, and the burning fever of life is no more.”

“Do not have evil-doers for friends, do not have low people for friends: have virtuous people for friends, have for friends the best of men.”

“Those who have high thoughts are ever striving; they are not happy to remain in the same place. Like swans that leave their lake and rise into the air, they leave their home and fly for a higher home.”

“However many holy words you read, however many you speak, What good will they do you if you do not act upon them? “

“For hatred does not cease by hatred at any time: hatred ceases by love – this is an old rule “