Buddhist ideas that Maimonides would like

Dr. Oliver Kent wrote a fascinating educational book called “Inspirational Buddhist Quotations: Meditations and Reflections.”[1] He quotes 100 Buddhist teachings and adds his own brief reflections on each of them.

The famed philosopher Maimonides wrote that people should realize that “The truth is the truth no matter what its source.” Although Jewish, he saw no problem with drawing his philosophy from the Greek pagan Aristotle (384-322 BCE).[2] Maimonides taught that reason is primary, above all else, and people need to improve themselves, develop good habits, and help others and society general develop. In fact, he states that the purpose of the Torah is three-fold: it teaches some truths, and helps a person improve and advance society.[3]

With this advice in mind, we should pay attention to the wise and uplifting ideas that Dr. Kent quotes from Buddhist sources. The following are a dozen of the hundred quotes, without the insightful comments that Dr. Kent appends to them.

You are searching for treasures, but the real treasure is yourself.

You will not be punished for your anger; you will be punished by your anger.

Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth.

What we think, we become.

Your pain becomes your greatest ally in your life’s search for love and wisdom.

No one saves us but ourselves.

Beauty surrounds us, but usually we need to be walking in a garden to know it.

Do not dwell on the past, do not dream of the future. All they can do is distract us from the now.

To keep the body in good health is a duty…otherwise we shall be unable to keep our mind strong and clear.

However many holy words you read, however many you speak, what good will they do if you do not act upon them.

There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth; not going all the way, and not starting.

A jug fills drop by drop.

 

[1] Amazon Digital Services LLC, 2017.

[2] Needless to say, many rabbis who were not nearly as smart as he, berated him for doing so.

[3] Guide of the Perplexed 3:28.

About the Author
Dr. Israel Drazin served for 31 years in the US military and attained the rank of brigadier general. He is an attorney and a rabbi, with master’s degrees in both psychology and Hebrew literature and a PhD in Judaic studies. As a lawyer, he developed the legal strategy that saved the military chaplaincy when its constitutionality was attacked in court, and he received the Legion of Merit for his service. Dr. Drazin is the author of more than 40 books.
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