Great Throughts Treasury

This site is dedicated to the memory of Dr. Alan William Smolowe who gave birth to the creation of this database.


"Without knowledge there is no meditation, without meditation there is no knowledge: he who has knowledge and meditation is near unto Nirvana." - Buddha, Gautama Buddha, or The Buddha, also Gotama Buddha, Siddhārtha Gautama Buddha and Buddha Śākyamuni NULL

"The relationship between moral action and spiritual knowledge is circular, as it were, and reciprocal. Selfless behavior makes possible an accession of knowledge, and the accession of knowledge makes possible the performance of further and more genuinely selfless actions, which in their turn enhance the agent’s capacity for knowing... A man undertakes right action (which includes, of course, right consciousness and right meditation), and this enables him to catch a glimpse of the Self that underlies his separate individuality. Having seen his own self as the Self, he becomes selfless (and therefore acts selflessly) and in virtue of selflessness he is to be conceived as unconditioned." - Aldous Leonard Huxley

"Meditation is not a means to an end. It is both the means and the end." - Jiddu Krishnamurti

"I would sit quietly for hours and hours in meditation, but nothing came to my heart. I didn’t feel or realize anything... Then I learned to pray for the sake of prayer and not for anything else. I would not be satisfied with anything but God. If our prayers are that sincere and our interest is only in God and nothing else, then God cannot sit quietly somewhere. He has to run to us. If we need help, it is always waiting. All we need to do is ask sincerely." - Satchidananda, fully Swami Satchidananda, born C. K. Ramaswamy Gounder NULL

"The human mind cannot create anything. It produces nothing until after having been fertilized by experience and meditation; its acquisitions are the germs of its production." - Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon

"The art of meditation may be exercised at all hours, and in all places; and men of genius, in their walks at table, and amidst assemblies, turning the eye of the mind inwards, can form an artificial solitude; retired amidst a crowd, calm amidst distraction, and wise amidst folly." - Isaac D'Israeli

"Reading makes a full man, meditation a profound man, discourse a clear man." - Benjamin Franklin

"Faith is a practical habit, which like every other, is strengthened and increased by continual exercise. It is nourished by meditation, by prayer, and the devout perusal of the Scriptures; and the light which it diffuses becomes stronger and clearer by an uninterrupted converse with its object, and a faithful compliance with its dictates." -

"Real meditation begins when you open your eyes." - Hilda Charlton

"The soul has, living apart from its corporeal envelope, a profound habitual meditation which prepares it for a future life." - Theodore Gottlieb von Hippel the Younger

"Meditation is like a river. It cannot be tamed. It flows and flows and overflows its banks. It is music without sound. It is the silence in which the observer ceases to be immediately he plunges in." - Jiddu Krishnamurti

"Modern man seems to be afraid of silence. We are conditioned by radio and television on which every minute must be filled with talking, or some kind of sound. We are stimulated by the American philosophy of keeping on the move all the time - busy, busy, busy. This tends to make us shallow. A person's life can be deepened tremendously by periods of silence, used in the constructive ways of meditation and prayer. Great personalities have spent much time in the silence of life." - Robert E. Lyon

"The purpose of meditation practice is not enlightenment; it is to pay attention even at un-extraordinary times, to be of the present, nothing-but-the-present, to bear this mindfulness of now into each even of ordinary life." - Peter Matthiessen

"Meditation is the life of the soul; action is the soul of meditation; honor is the reward of action; so meditate, that thou mayst do; so do, that thou mayst purchase honor; for which purchase, give God the glory." - Francis Quarles

"Silence and meditation are the rungs on which one climbs to the Higher Worlds." - Arthur M. Sackler

"Meditation is the nurse of thought, and thought the food for meditation." - Charles Simmons

"A free man thinks of death least of all things; and his wisdom is a meditation not of death but of life." -

"Meditation is the tongue of the soul and the language of our spirit; and our wandering thoughts in prayer are but the neglects of meditation and recessions from that duty; according as we neglect meditation, so are our prayers imperfect, meditation being the soul of prayer and the intention of our spirit." - Jeremy Taylor

"If meditation is aimed at curing an illness the practicer should forget all about the thought of curing it, and if it is for improving health he should forget all about the idea of improvement, because when mind and objects are forgotten everything will be void and the result thus achieved will be the proper one... If the thoughts of curing an illness and of improving health are clung to the mind will be stirred and no result can be expected." - Yin Shih Tsu

"A little knowledge leads the mind from God. Unripe thinkers use their learning to authenticate their doubts. While unbelief has its own dogma, more peremptory than the inquisitor's, patient meditation brings the scholar back to humbleness. He learns that the grandest truths appear slowly." - Robert Aris Willmott

"Meditation is like a needle after which comes a threatd of gold, composed of affections, prayers and resolutions." - Alphonsus Liguori, fully Saint Alphonsus Maria de Liguori

"After the action of the imagination, follows the action of the understanding which we call meditation, which is nothing else than one or several considerations made in order to move our affections to God and to divine things, in which meditation is different from study and other thoughts and considerations." -

"Zen meditation does not mean sitting and thinking. On the contrary, it means acting with as little thought as possible. The fencing master trained his pupil to guard against every attack with the same immediate, instinctive rapidity with which our eyelid closes over our eye when something threatens it. His work is aimed at breaking down the wall between thought and act, at completely fusing body and senses and mind so that they might all work together rapidly and effortlessly." - Gilbert Arthur Highet

"This middle path… is the noble path, namely: right views, right intent, right speech, right conduct, right means of livelihood, right endeavor, right mindfulness, right meditation… Which leads to insights, leads to wisdom, which conduces to calm, to knowledge, to perfect enlightenment, to Nirvana." - Mahavagga of the Vinaya Texts NULL

"People who know they will die live very carefully. Not careful as in fearful; careful as in full of care. Every word, every act, every relationship holds the possibility of giving birth to something filled with great care. And that thing need not be showy or dramatic, for the most potent spiritual acts are often acts of breathtaking simplicity: a simple prayer, a sip of wine and a piece of bread, a single breath in meditation, a sprinkling of water on the forehead, an exchange of rings, a kind word, a hand on the cheek, a blessing." - Wayne Muller

"Transcendent, mystical, and spiritual experiences have a real biological component. The neurological changes that occur during meditation disrupt the normal processes of the brain – perceptually, emotionally, and linguistically – in ways that make the experience indescribable, awe-inspiring, unifying, and indelibly real. In fact, the intensity of such experiences often gives the practitioner a sense that a different or higher level of reality exists beyond our everyday perceptions of the world." - Andrew Newberg and Mark Robert Waldman

"It is of primary importance that a certain space of time be allotted daily to meditation on eternal things. No priest can omit this without serious manifestation of negligence and without a grave loss to his soul." - Pope Pius X, aka Saint Pope Pius X and Pope of the Eucharist, born Giuseppe Melchiorre Sarto NULL

"Meditation, because it is free of dogma, of historical commitments and narrow prejudices, because it is practiced for the most part silently and thereby secretly, and because it is practiced by some members of all religions - meditation is a channel for seekers of all faiths or no faith, a river into which many streams can freely flow." - Bradford Smith

"Unlike Easterners, who are given to meditation, or Westerners, who have an inquisitive turn of mind, we of Africa, belonging neither to the East nor the West, are fundamentally observers, relying more on intuition than on the process of reasoning ... With us, life has always meant the pursuit of Happiness rather than the pursuit of Beauty or Truth." - Dunduza K. Chisiza

"Love is seeing God in the person next to us, and meditation is seeing God within us." -

"Meditation is a mirror which reveals to you your virtues and your vices." - Attar of Nishapur, formally Abū Hamīd bin Abū Bakr Ibrāhīm NULL

"Words are the shell, meditation the kernel. Words are the body of prayer, and meditation its spirit." - Bahya ben Joseph ibn Pakuda NULL

"I have brought myself by long meditation to the conviction that a human being with a settled purpose must accomplish it, and that nothing can resist a will which will stake even existence upon its fulfillment." - Benjamin Disraeli, 1st Earl of Beaconsfield

"Knowledge is indeed better than blind practice; meditation excels knowledge; surrender of the fruits of action is more esteemed than meditation. Peace immediately follows surrender... Lust, anger, and greed, these three are the soul-destroying gates of hell" - Bhagavad Gītā, simply known as Gita NULL

"Meditation is not a way to enlightenment, nor is it a method of achieving anything at all. It is peace and blessedness itself. It is the actualization of wisdom, the ultimate truth of the oneness of all things." -

"Wisdom is the intuitive knowledge of the mind of love and clarity that lies beneath one's ego-driven anxieties and aggressions. Meditation is going into the mind to see this for yourself - over and over again, until it becomes the mind you live in." - Gary Snyder

"Reading and conversation may furnish us with many ideas of men and things, yet it is our own meditation that must form our judgment." - Isaac Watts

"Mature spirituality has little to do with altered states of consciousness. Powerful meditation and visionary experiences often initiate people into spiritual life, waking them up to untapped potentials. But mental disciplines, such as meditation cannot single-handedly sustain us on our journeys. We also need to open our hearts, then embody our love in everyday acts of attentive living. This integration of wisdom, love, and embodied action, which requires years of inner and outer work, constitutes our spiritual curriculum in today's modern world." - Jack Kornfield

"Meditation is not a means to an end. It is both the means and the end." -

"Meditation is the action of silence." -

"The meditation of time resting in the eternity, of our life flowing over God’s eternal life, is something to shake the roots of our soul." -

"For just as faith teaches us that the supreme felicity of the other life consists only in this contemplation of the Divine Majesty, so we continue to learn by experience that a similar meditation, though incomparably less perfect, causes us to enjoy the greatest satisfaction of which we are capable of in this life." - René Descartes

"Experience has taught me that financial success, job success and happiness in human relations are, in the main, the result of (a) physical well-being; (b) constant effort to develop one's personal assets; (c) setting up and working toward a series of life goals; (d) allowing time for meditation and spiritual regeneration." - Roger Babson, fully Roger Ward Babson

"Prayer is the wing wherewith the soul flies to heaven, and meditation the eye wherewith we see God." - Saint Ambrose, born Aurelius Ambrosius NULL

"Meditation is no other thing than the attentive thought, voluntarily reiterated and entertained in the mind, to excite the will to holy and salutary affections and resolutions." - Saint Francis de Sales NULL

"Our minds are so constructed that we can keep the attention fixed on a particular object until we have, as it were, looked all around it; and the mind that possesses this faculty in the highest degree of perfection will take cognizance of relations of which another mind has no perception. It is this, much more than any difference in the abstract power of reasoning, which constitutes the vast difference between the minds of different individuals. This is the history alike of the poetic genius and of the genius of discovery in science. “I keep the subject,” said Sir Isaac Newton, “constantly before me, and wait until the dawnings open by little and little into a full light.” It was thus that after long meditation he was led to the invention of fluxions, and to the anticipation of the modern discovery of the combustibility of the diamond. It was thus that Harvey discovered the circulation of the blood, and that those views were suggested by Davy which laid the foundation of that grand series of experimental researches which terminated in the decomposition of the earths and alkalies." - Benjamin Collins Brodie, fully Sir Benjamin Collins Brodie, 1st Baronet

"Everything can be used as an invitation to meditation." - Sogyal Rinpoche

"Chopping wood is meditation. Carrying water is meditation. Be mindful 24 hours a day, not just during the one hour you may allot for formal meditation or reading scripture and reciting prayers. Each act must be carried out in mindfulness. Each act is a rite, a ceremony. Raising your cup of tea to your mouth is a rite. does the word “rite” seem too solemn? I use the word in order to jolt you into the realization of the life-and-death matter of awareness." - Thich Nhất Hanh

"It has become a kind of habit to look at things with the intention of getting something. We call it “pragmatism,” and we say that the truth is something that pays. If we meditate in order to get to the truth, it seems we will be well paid. In meditation, we stop, and we look deeply. We stop just to be there, to be with ourselves and with the world. When we are capable of stopping, we begin to see and, if we can see, we understand. Peace and happiness are the fruit of this process. We should master the art of stopping in order to really be with our friend and with the flower." - Thich Nhất Hanh

"The secret of meditation is to be conscious of each second of your existence and to keep the sun of awareness continually shining - in both the physical and psychological realms, in all circumstances, on each thing that arises." - Thich Nhất Hanh