based upon quotes by Jesus, Buddha, Socrates, Confucius, Laozi, Zoroaster, and Akhenaten.

Published at: www.archania.org/sages/

Ancient sages
With an open mind, seek and listen to all the highest ideals. Consider the most enlightened thoughts. Then choose your path, person by person, each for oneself. Believe nothing on the faith of traditions, even though they have been held in honor for many generations and in diverse places. Do not believe a thing because many people speak of it. Do not believe on the faith of the sages of the past. Do not believe what you yourself have imagined, persuading yourself that a God inspires you. Believe nothing on the sole authority of your masters and priests. After examination, believe what you yourself have tested and found to be reasonable, and conform your conduct thereto. If you look to others for fulfillment, you will never be truly fulfilled. Some help others in order to receive blessings and admiration. This is simply meaningless. Some cultivate themselves in part to serve others, in part to serve their own pride. They will understand, at best, half of the truth. But those who improve themselves for the sake of the world - to these, the whole truth of the universe will be revealed.

True wisdom is less presuming than folly. The wise man doubts often, and changes his mind; the fool is obstinate, and doubts not; he knows all things but his own ignorance. Awareness of ignorance is the beginning of wisdom. True wisdom comes to each of us when we realize how little we understand about life, ourselves, and the world around us. To know is to know that you know nothing. That is the meaning of true knowledge. I am a fool, but I know I'm a fool and that makes me smarter than you. I know that I am intelligent, because I know that I know nothing. To know that you do not know is the best. To pretend to know when you do not know is a disease. The man who asks a question is a fool for a minute, the man who does not ask is a fool for life. A man is great not because he hasn't failed; a man is great because failure hasn't stopped him. Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall. There are thousand lessons in defeat, but only one in victory.

Do not give your attention to what others do or fail to do; give it to what you do or fail to do. You see the mote in your brother's eye, but you do not see the beam in your own eye. When you cast the beam out of your own eye, then you will see clearly to cast the mote from your brother's eye. Attack the evil that is within yourself, rather than attacking the evil that is in others. The wise shine because they don't want to impress. They achieve great things because they don't look for recognition. Their wisdom is contained in what they are, not their opinions. They refuse to squabble, so no-one squabbles with them. Those who know do not shout. Those who shout do not know. Those who are right do not squabble. Those who squabble are not right. Little people are forever fussing and fretting. Because one believes in oneself, one doesn't try to convince. Because one is content with oneself, one doesn't need others' approval. Because one accepts oneself, the whole world accepts him or her.

All things appear and disappear because of the concurrence of causes and conditions. Nothing ever exists entirely alone; everything is in relation to everything else. All phenomena link together in a mutually conditioning network. If we destroy something around us we destroy ourselves. If we cheat another, we cheat ourselves. People aren't against you; they are for themselves. But they don't always know what is best for themselves. Whatever suffering there is in this world, all arises from desiring only myself to be happy. And whatever joy there is in this world, all arises from desiring to share my happiness with everyone. The wise stand out because they see themselves as part of the whole. Love others as you would love yourself, judge others as you would judge yourself, and cherish others as you would cherish yourself. When you wish for others as you wish for yourself and when you protect others as you would protect yourself, that's when you can say it's true love. Doing good to others is a joy, for it increases your own health and happiness.

He is the richest who is content with the least. Happiness does not consist in having what you want, but in wanting what you have. The man who loves his job never works a day in his life. Happiness will never come to those who fail to appreciate what they already have. The secret of happiness, you see, is not found in seeking more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less. He who is not contented with what he has, would not be contented with what he would like to have. To be satisfied with a little, is the greatest wisdom; and he that increases his riches, increases his cares; but a contented mind is a hidden treasure, and trouble finds it not.

Great is the man who can overcome the world, but greater still is the man who can overcome himself, for he will have the world spinning on the palm of his hand. More than those who hate you, more than all your enemies, an undisciplined mind does greater harm. Your mind is a powerful thing. When you filter it with positive thoughts, your life will start to change. If you want to awaken all of humanity, then awaken all of yourself, if you want to eliminate the suffering in the world, then eliminate all that is negative in yourself. Truly, the greatest gift you have to give is that of your own self-transformation. He who controls others may be powerful, but he who has mastered himself is mightier still. The noble-minded are calm and steady. Those who are truly wise will remain unmoved by feelings of happiness and suffering, fame and disgrace, praise and blame, gain and loss. They will remain calm like the eye of a hurricane.

Why do you seek revenge? With what purpose do you pursue it? Do you want to cause pain to your adversary? Know that you yourself feels its greatest torments. When you are maliciously insulted, you should patiently endure it and not feel angry. Those who are trying to insult others are just insulting themselves. One should never do wrong in return, nor mistreat any man, no matter how one has been mistreated by him. You have heard that it was said, 'Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.' But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. Those who attempt to conquer hatred by hatred are like warriors who take weapons to overcome others who bear arms. This does not end hatred, but gives it room to grow. But, ancient wisdom has advocated a different timeless strategy to overcome hatred. This eternal wisdom is to meet hatred with non-hatred. The method of trying to conquer hatred through hatred never succeeds in overcoming hatred. But, the method of overcoming hatred through non-hatred is eternally effective.

Most people live in a world of relative ignorance. We are even comfortable with that ignorance, because it is all we know. When we first start facing truth, the process may be frightening, and many people run back to their old lives. But if you continue to seek truth, you will eventually be able to handle it better. In fact, you want more! It's true that many people around you now may think you are weird or even a danger to society, but you don't care. Once you've tasted the truth, you won't ever want to go back to being ignorant. Education breeds confidence. Confidence breeds hope. Hope breeds peace. Only through education does one come to be dissatisfied with his own knowledge, and only through teaching others does one come to realize the uncomfortable inadequacy of his knowledge. Being dissatisfied with his own knowledge, one then realizes that the trouble lies with himself, and realizing the uncomfortable inadequacy of his knowledge one then feels stimulated to improve himself. Therefore, the processes of teaching and learning stimulate one another.

The ideal teacher guides his students but does not pull them along; he urges them to go forward and does not suppress them; he opens the way but does not take them to the place. No one can teach, if by teaching we mean the transmission of knowledge, in any mechanical fashion, from one person to another. The most that can be done is that one person who is more knowledgeable than another can, by asking a series of questions, stimulate the other to think, and so cause him to learn for himself. If you want happiness for a year, get yourself a fortune. If you want happiness for a lifetime, help someone else. Give a bowl of rice to a man and you will feed him for a day. Teach him how to grow his own rice and you will save his life.

Excessive liberty and excessive governance are equally dangerous. The more prohibitions there are, the less virtuous people will be. The more subsidies there are, the less self reliant people will be. Governing a large country is like frying a small fish. You spoil it with too much poking. All things in moderation, including moderation. Good people strengthen themselves ceaselessly. Strength of character is the backbone of society. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you, since it strengthens your character. When no one outside ourselves can rule us inwardly, then we become truly free.

Don't curse the darkness, light a candle. The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new. Do not wish for quick results, nor look for small advantages. If you seek quick results, you will not reach the ultimate goal. If you are led astray by small advantages, you will never accomplish great things. It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.

I am a citizen, not of any city or country, but of the world.