Tibetan Words of Wisdom

A proverb is a short saying or sentence many people are familiar with that can date back to ancient times. The sayings usually contain words of wisdom, truth, and morals that often link back to a common truth or personal experience. Proverbs are found in every culture and language with the Tibetans offering many that transcend their culture and customs. In this article, you are introduced to some of the sayings that originated in the Himalayas, as well as the meaning behind some of them.

“Both flowers and jewelry are lovely if just a few.”
Meaning: Wearing all of your finest accessories all at once or all of the time does not enhance your overall appearance. You should be modest at times.

“Affairs cannot be handled with a two-pointed mind. Sewing cannot be done with a two-pointed needle.”
Meaning: Similar to the saying of too many irons in the fire or too many cooks in the kitchen, the proverb refers to men with double minds not being able to successful handle affairs and business. If there are too many tasks, nothing is ever completed.

“A braggart has no courage, muddy water has no depth.”

“Though one’s tongue can talk to other persons. To see one self there must be a mirror.”
Meaning: Boasting is frowned upon and it is best to look at oneself in a mirror before opening your mouth.

“The goat sends the kid, the kid sends its tail.”
Meaning: Every one wishes to be the boss of another, and it is commonplace for people to pass off their responsibilities to someone of a lower rank.

“A hoe digs, a broom sweeps.”
Meaning: Everything has its proper use.

“Long arms, short sleeves.”
Meaning: Makes a reference to the person who is full of ambition, but does not have the means to realize their dreams. 

“When a righteous king has crooked ministers. He falls under the rule of his ministers.”
Meaning: The company you keep will have an influence on your success and failures.

“If water is clear. The fish can be seen.”
Meaning: In time, the intentions of others come to light in regards to sincerity.

“When the blind escort the blind, both fall into the river.”

“Although the lamp is in his hand, the blind man cannot see his way.”
Meaning: Even though someone is in charge, it does not mean they always know what they are doing.

“The evil mouth of men, breaks the rod of iron.”
Meaning: Gossip can put an end to even the best reputations.

“Snake fears man. Man fears snake.”
Meaning: It is possible for two evils to fear one another when they meet. 

“When fire burns over the great mountain, poison is cast in the great sea.”
Meaning: Negativity will follow those who spread negativity.

“In the beginning eat your meal, afterwards cut down the fir tree.”
Meaning: You should eat first if you want to have enough strength to work.