Our needs are few; our wants are many.
To be grateful and repay kindness—this is first; to benefit others is to benefit ourselves.
Devote wholehearted effort without calculating who does or gains more.
Kindness and compassion have no enemies; wisdom engenders no vexations.
The busy make the most of time; the diligent enjoy the best of health.
Those who give selflessly are blessed; those who do good deeds are happy.
Cultivate a big heart—but a small ego.
To take on anything, one must first be able to let go. One is truly free who can take on and let go of anything in peace.
Know yourself and others, and the ways of the world, so as to have a peaceful body and mind. Recognize, cherish, and nurture your blessings, and seize every chance to be of service.
For those who can take things on and let them go in peace, every year is an auspicious year. For those who can sow with wisdom the seeds of blessings, every day is a good day.
Maintain a relaxed body and mind, and meet and greet with a smile. Relaxation enhances physical and mental health, and a smiling face promotes friendship.
Before you open your mouth to speak, think twice and chew your words carefully. The point is not to hold your peace, but to speak with discretion and prudence.
Try to cultivate this attitude in life: if I can have what I want, that’s good; if I can’t, that’s fine too. This will help us turn our suffering into joy, and live a happier life.
To uplift our character, begin with cultivating peace in mind, body, family, and activity.
In dealing with your heart’s desire, ask yourself these questions: Do I need it, or do I want it? Can I acquire it? Should I acquire it?
To get along with others, we must feel grateful for events that help us grow, feel thankful for chances to hone ourselves, reform ourselves through the Dharma, and inspire others through exemplary behavior.
When faced with any difficulty of life, resolve it by following these four steps: face it, accept it, deal with it, and then let it go.
To increase our blessings we need to recognize blessings, cherish blessings, nurture blessings, and sow the seeds of blessings.
Pursue only what you can and should acquire. Never pursue what you can’t and shouldn’t acquire.
Gratitude can make us grow, and the resolve to return favors can help us succeed.
Feel thankful for the chances to hone ourselves: both good and ill fortune are our benefactors.
When good things happen, we should rejoice in, praise, encourage, and then learn from them in modesty.
To criticize less and praise more is a good way to avoid creating negative karma of speech.
An ordinary mind is a mind of utmost freedom and unsurpassed joy.
A solid step forward speaks louder than a hundred empty, fair words.
The more weaknesses you discover in yourself, the faster you will develop, and the more self-confident you will be.
Keep your ears and eyes wide open, but mouth tight shut; be quick with your hands and legs, but slow to spend.
Only after encounters with hardships will one be roused to vigorous diligence.
Be a down-to-earth person with a broad mind; be a sure hand with piercing foresight.
◎聖嚴法師108自在語:享受工作 Enjoying Work
Be busy without being disorganized, and weary without being dispirited.
Be busy but happy, and tired but joyful.
It’s fine to be busy: just don’t let it get on your nerves.
Work swiftly, but don’t tense up; relax your body and mind and never tighten up.
Work swiftly in an orderly fashion; never compete with time in a nervous flurry.
Don’t measure success and gain by wealth and rank: to benefit ourselves and others as best we can is all that matters.
To take on tough tasks, one must prepare to tough out complaints, and to be in charge is to be in for criticism. Yet complaints help foster compassion and patience, and criticism often holds golden advice.
Stay at ease under all circumstances, and give whenever conditions allow.
The tripartite formula for success is: go with the causes and conditions, seize them as they come, and create them when they don’t.
Grasp opportune conditions when they come, create them when there are none, and ere conditions ripen, never force a thing to be done.
All the ups and downs of life are nourishing experiences for our growth.
Deal with matters with wisdom, and care for people with compassion.
Rectify deviations with wisdom; accommodate others with compassion.
The deeper our compassion, the greater our wisdom and the fewer our vexations.
Simply deal with matters with wisdom and treat people with compassion, without worrying about personal gain or loss. Then we’ll never be plagued by vexations.
To let the circumstances dictate one’s state of mind is human; to let the mind dictate the circumstances is sage.
A big duck cuts a big wake; a small duck cuts a small wake. Big or small, each duck will paddle its own way to the other shore—but only if it paddles.
If the mountain won’t move, build a road around it. If the road won’t turn, change your path. If you are unable to even change your path, just transform your mind.
Diligence doesn’t mean stretching beyond our limits. It means displaying unremitting persistence.
A passing boat leaves no trace upon the waters; a bird’s flight leaves no trace in the sky. When fleeting success, failure, gain, or loss leaves no trace upon the heart, the great wisdom of liberation has been achieved.
To be accommodating to others is to be accommodating to ourselves.
Who is willing to be openly exploited is noble-minded; who is insulted and insidiously exploited is dim-witted.
Pressure usually stems from caring too much about externals and other people’s opinion.
Offer your service with a heart of gratitude, as if repaying a kindness, then you won’t feel weary or tired.
Always feel gratitude in your heart, and give unstintingly of your wealth, physical strength, mental effort, and wisdom.
◎聖嚴法師108自在語:平安人生 Living Life in Peace
The meaning of life lies in serving; the value of life in giving.
The purpose of life is to receive karmic results, fulfill old vows, and make new ones.
Our value depends not on how long we live, but on how much we contribute.
As the past has faded into misty memories, and the future remains a dream unrealized, seizing the present is most important.
There’s no need to be concerned about the past or the future. Live fully in the present, and you are connected with both the past and the future.
Wisdom is not knowledge, nor experience, nor dialectical excellence, but a selfless attitude.
A positive life pivots on modesty; the bigger the ego, the greater the insecurity.
The noble pursue the path, the average pursue their duties, and the misguided pursue fame and fortune.
Live up to your role and status, and fulfill your required duties.
In peace and harmony, seize the promise of today, and live out a fresh tomorrow.
While worry fuels unnecessary torment, carefulness breeds security.
Wealth is like running water, and giving like digging a well. Just as the deeper the well, the more water it holds, the more you give, the more wealth you have.
In life, we must make the best preparations, and be ready for the worst.
As long as we still have breath, we have boundless hope, and the breath we have is the greatest wealth.
Those who aid and deliver the suffering are bodhisattvas, and those in the throes of suffering are great bodhisattvas.
To transcend the sufferings of birth, old age, and sickness, keep to the three principles: live happily, face illness with a healthy mind, and embrace old age with hope.
To transcend the suffering of death, keep to the three principles: never seek death, never fear death, and never wait for death to come.
Death is an occasion for neither mourning nor celebrating, but one for solemn Buddhist practice.
Every child is a little bodhisattva that helps the parents grow.
With adolescents, we should care, but not worry about them; guide, but not control them; and communicate with, but not command them.
To love your children, rather than worry about them, just give them your blessings!
The relationship between a husband and wife is governed by marital ethics, not logic.
What you have results from karmic causes that you created, and what you’ll gain hinges on karmic causes that you’re creating.
Vision is derived from wisdom; luck, from blessings.
To crave your likes but reject your dislikes will plunge you into constant anxiety. Once there, you are prey to vexations.
Those content with few desires will never want.
Bodily ailments do not necessarily constitute suffering. An unsettled mind does.
To eliminate the suffering induced by an unsettled mind, just start reciting Guanyin’s name to restore your inner peace.
What we have now is the best. He who can never be satisfied is a poor man, no matter how much he owns.
Don’t try to control your negative emotions by suppressing them. Rather, dissolve them through contemplation, reciting the Buddha’s name, or praying.
◎聖嚴法師108自在語:幸福人間 Building a Pure Land
May good words be spoken by all; may good deeds be done by all; then may the fortunes of all be transformed.
May all speak good words; may all do good deeds; then all may transform their fortunes.
If everyone can just say one more good word or do one more good deed every day, all the small good will add up to a great good for society.
If an urgent task is waiting to be done, come forward and say, “I’ll do it!”
In harmony with self and so with others, both in mind and in speech, one is full of joy and happiness.
In harmony with the inner and so with the outer, with causes in harmony with conditions, in peace and well-being one is truly free.
To seek inner peace is to enjoy peace in life; to care for others is to attain happiness.
Virtues are equal to fortunes, and giving is equal to saving.
To give of oneself is to cultivate the path; to achieve inner peace is to succeed on the path.
Possessing much won’t necessarily make one satisfied; possessing little won’t necessarily make one want.
By just picking up litter and refraining from littering, we are doing meritorious deeds.
The good are never alone, and the kindhearted are the merriest. Those who help others and so benefit themselves are the happiest.
To develop good interpersonal relationships, one needs to broaden the mind, and be more affable and tolerant.
Change your mind-set, and you will see the world differently: there is no absolute good or bad in this world.
Building good interpersonal relationships requires communication. When communication fails, try compromise. And if attempts at compromise also fail, then forgive and tolerate.
The larger should tolerate the lesser; the lesser should understand the larger.
Put your heart and soul into the family, and your whole life into your career.
The best way to abstain from greed is to give more, contribute more, and share more with others.
Tolerance is the best solution to differences.
Buddhists have two great missions: one is to glorify the buddha land, and the other is to bring sentient beings to spiritual maturity.
Be a bottomless trash can that can never be choked by others’ mental junk; be a dustless mirror that reflects the world as it is with no distortion.
To dissolve vexations within the heart is wisdom; to share interests with others is compassion.
Scrutinize ourselves with a sense of shame, but view the world with a sense of gratitude.
To purify the mind, start by reducing desires and knowing contentment; to purify society, start by extending loving care to others.
聖嚴法師108自在語: 提昇人品 Uplifting Character