Nothing prevents the amoral process of natural selection from evolving a brain with genuine big-hearted emotions.
Public opinion is often wrong. Mob opinion is almost always wrong. Religious opinion is wrong by definition.
The best thing that can happen to a human being is to find a problem, to fall in love with that problem, and to live trying to solve that problem, unless another problem even more lovable appears.
All life is problem solving.
All evils are caused by lack of knowledge.
Prediction without explanation is prophecy.
All things are impermanent. Death comes without warning. This body too will be a corpse.
The problem is not enjoyment; the problem is attachment.
It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.
Matter flows from place to place, and momentarily comes together to be you.
Somewhere, something incredible, is waiting to be known.
If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe.
We are a way for the cosmos to know itself.
Those who are governed by reason, desire nothing for themselves which they do not also desire for the rest of humankind.
In fact, every time you breathe out, it is not all that certain that you will breathe in again.
Think carefully about pain and suffering and ask yourself who or what it is that is suffering.
Samsara is like making a mistake, and nirvana is like when you stop making it.
Artists and philosophers agree on one thing: one of their self-appointed tasks is to 'make the familiar strange.'
Meta-advice: don't take any advice too seriously!
Philosophy — in every field of inquiry — is what you have to do until you figure out what questions you should have been asking in the first place.
There is no reason to suppose that the world had a beginning at all. The idea that things must have a beginning is really due to the poverty of our imagination.
How do we turn confusion into wisdom? First, we need to understand what confusion is. Confusion is taking what isn't for what is.
It is said that all sentient beings are buddhas, but they are covered by their temporary obscurations. These 'temporary obscurations' are our own thinking.
There is no end to worldly pursuits; they only end when you stop.
Everything is impermanent, and no fleeting thing is worth pursuing.
The opinion that art should have nothing to do with politics is itself a political attitude.
To the eyes of an enlightened person, all people are equal. Every person's blood is red. Every person's tears are salty.
Religion is the one area of our discourse where it is considered noble to pretend to be certain about things no human being could possibly be certain about.
Atheism is not a philosophy; it is not even a view of the world; it is simply an admission of the obvious.
The lies of the powerful lead us to distrust governments and corporations. The lies of the weak make us callous toward the suffering of others.
Every lie is an assault on the autonomy of those we lie to.
Lying is, almost by definition, a refusal to cooperate with others. It condenses a lack of trust and trustworthiness into a single act.
Unless someone is suicidal or otherwise on the brink, deciding how much he should know about himself seems the quintessence of arrogance.
When we presume to lie for the benefit of others, we have decided that we are the best judges of how much they should understand about their own lives.
Mahavira, the Jain patriarch, surpassed the morality of the Bible with a single sentence: 'Do not injure, abuse, oppress, enslave, insult, torment, torture, or kill any creature'.
If you think that Christianity is the most direct and undefiled expression of love and compassion the world has ever seen, you do not know much about the world's other religions.
A mind that is tied wants to run in ten directions. When let loose, it realises it has nowhere to go.
Engagement with politics is like sports fandom in another way: people seek and consume news to enhance the fan experience, not to make their opinions more accurate.
It is the very nature of argument to stake a claim to being right.
Think of it this way: The average American now retires at age 62. One hundred years ago, the average American died at age 51.
Human life has become more precious, while glory, honor, preeminence, manliness, heroism, and other symptoms of excess testosterone have been downgraded.
The American poverty rate has declined by ninety percent since 1960, from 30 percent of the population to just 3 percent.
People see violence as moral, not immoral: across the world and throughout history, more people have been murdered to mete out justice than to greed.
If you take the opportunity to rest awhile along the journey, eventually you'll realize the place you want to reach is the place you already are.
The key — the how of Buddhist practice — lies in learning to simply rest in a bare awareness of thoughts, feelings and perceptions as they occur.
What we think of as our identity - "my mind," "my body", "my self" - is actually an illusion generated by the unceasing flow of thoughts, emotions, sensation and perceptions.
One of the earliest lessons I was taught by my father was that Buddhists don't see the mind as a discrete entity, but rather as a perpetually unfolding experience.
Gradually I began to recognize how feeble and transitory the thoughts and emotions that had troubled me for years actually were, and how fixating on small problems had turned them into big ones.
The unshakable basis of serenity, confidence and happiness was closer to me than my own eyes.
Buddhism is not so much concerned with getting well as with recognizing that you are, right here, right now, as whole, as good, as essentially well as you could ever hope to be.
A typical person today is smarter than 98 percent of the people in the good old days of 1910.
In many surveys it turns out that every student, questioned privately, thinks that binge drinking is a terrible idea, but each is convinced that his peers think it's cool.
Today's conservatives are more liberal than yesterday's liberals.
Humans can thrive on a modern vegetarian diet and animals' interests in a life free of pain and premature death surely outweigh the marginal increase in pleasure we get from eating their flesh.
Pain and humiliation distract children from pondering what they did wrong.
In 1987 only half of Americans thought it was always wrong for a man to strike his wife with a belt or stick.
The evolutionary biologist J.B.S. Haldane, when asked whether he would lay down his life for his brother, replied, 'No, but for two brothers or eight cousins.'
No two countries with a McDonald's have ever fought in a war.
If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary.
We find that living in a civilization reduces one's chances of being a victim of violence fivefold.
Part of the bargain of being alive is that one takes a chance at dying a premature or painful death, be it from violence, accident or disease.
When the Dalai Lama was asked what had been the happiest point in his life, he answered, "I think right now."