Buddhism teaches us that every person can achieve enlightenment. The famous linguist and writer, Patrick Lafcadio Hearn, was among those who became convinced of this. In the late 19th century, he travelled all around Japan, cataloguing the various aphorisms from the country’s Buddhist tradition which were popular among the common people. Such sayings provide a fascinating look into the impact Buddhist philosophy has had on the thinking, speech and way of life of Japan.
But they can also teach us something important. If you wish to achieve a healthier state of mind, we strongly recommend reading and contemplating the following statements.
1. Hell and Heaven are in the hearts of men.
2. Even a common man by obtaining knowledge becomes a Buddha.
3. All lust is grief.
4. One must go outside to hear Buddhist doctrine or the sound of rain on a straw roof.
5. Learn to let go — therein lies the key to happiness.
6.Even the experience of a single shadow, or a single ripple of water, is the result of the karma-relations of a previous life.
7. Cause-and-effect is like a wheel.
8. Meeting is only the beginning of separation.
9. All things are merely dreams.
10. The priest who preaches foul doctrine shall be reborn as a fungus.
11. The flower goes back to its root.
12. Though the flame be put out, the wick remains.
13. Even a worm an inch long has a soul half-an-inch long.
14. Even in hell old acquaintances are welcome.
15. Good actions go not outside of the gate: bad deeds travel a thousand ri.
16. The body is tortured only by the demon of the heart.
17. Be the teacher of your heart: do not allow your heart to become your teacher.
18. The mouth is the front-gate of all misfortune.
19. Nothing will grow, if the seed be not sown.
20. There is no King on the Road of Death.
21. The Wind of Impermanency does not choose a time.
22. Even a devil, when you become accustomed to the sight of him, may prove a pleasant acquaintance.
23. With one hair of a woman you can tether even a great elephant.
24. There is no miracle in true doctrine.
25. Virtue is the return for virtue; evil is the return for evil.
26. Only by reason of having died does one enter into life.