Great Throughts Treasury

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


"There is no unmixed good in human affairs; the best principles, if pushed to excess, degenerate into fatal vices. Generosity is nearly allied to extravagance; charity itself may lead to ruin; the sternness of justice is but one step removed from the severity of oppression. It is the same in the political world; the tranquillity of despotism resembles the stagnation of the Dead Sea; the fever of innovation the tempests of the ocean It would seem as if, at particular periods, from causes inscrutable to human wisdom, a universal frenzy seizes mankind; reason, experience, prudence, are alike blinded; and the very classes who are to perish in the storm are the first to raise its fury." - Archibald Alison

"The purpose of this discipline is to bring man into the habit of applying the insight that has come to him as the result of the preceding disciplines. When one is rising, standing, walking, doing something, stopping, one should constantly concentrate one’s mind on the act and the doing of it, not on one’s relation to the act, or its character or value. One should think: there is walking, there is stopping, there is realizing; not, I am walking, I am doing this, it is a good thing, it is disagreeable, I am gaining merit, it is I who am realizing how wonderful it is. Thence come vagrant thoughts, feelings of elation or of failure and unhappiness. Instead of all this, one should simply practice concentration of the mind on the act itself, understanding it to be an expedient means for attaining tranquillity of mind, realization, insight and Wisdom; and one should follow the practice in faith, willingness and gladness. After long practice the bondage of old habits become weakened and disappears, and in its place appear confidence, satisfaction, awareness and tranquillity. What is the Way of Wisdom designed to accomplish? There are three classes of conditions that hinder one from advancing along the path to Enlightenment. First, there are the allurements arising from the senses, from external conditions and from the discriminating mind. Second, there are the internal conditions of the mind, its thoughts, desires and mood. All these the earlier practices (ethical and mortificatory) are designed to eliminate. In the third class of impediments are placed the individual’s instinctive and fundamental (and therefore most insidious and persistent) urges - the will to live and to enjoy, the will to cherish one’s personality, the will to propagate, which give rise to greed and lust, fear and anger, infatuation, pride and egotism. The practice of the Wisdom Paramita is designed to control and eliminate these fundamental and instinctive hindrances." - Aśvaghoṣa NULL

"Back of tranquillity lies always conquered unhappiness." - David Grayson, pseudonym of Ray Stannard Baker

"Continual success in obtaining those things which a man form time to time desireth, that is to say, continual prospering, is that men call felicity; I mean the felicity of this life. For there is no such thing as perpetual tranquillity of mind, while we live here; because life itself is but motion, and can never be without desire, nor without fear, no more than without sense." - Thomas Hobbes

"There is no such thing as perpetual tranquillity of mind, while we live here; because life itself is but motion, and can never be without desire, nor without fear, no more than without sense." - Thomas Hobbes

"It is neither wealth, nor splendor, but tranquillity and occupation, which give happiness." - Thomas Jefferson

"Self-knowledge brings tranquillity to the mind, and then only can truth come into being. Truth cannot be sought after. Truth is the unknown, and that which you seek is already known. Truth comes into being unsought when the mind is without prejudice, when there is the understanding of the whole process of ourselves." - Jiddu Krishnamurti

"Happy is the man who, by continually effacing all images and through introversion and the lifting up of his mind to God, at last forgets and leaves behind all such hindrances... If, therefore, thou desirest a safe stair and short path to arrive at the end of true bliss, then, with an intent mind, earnestly desire and aspire after continual cleanness of heart and purity of mind. Add to this a constant calm and tranquillity of the senses, and a recollecting of the affections of the heart, continually fixing them above. Work to simplify the heart, that being immovable and at peace from any invading vain phantasms... Thus continue, until thou becomest immutable and dost arrive at any vicissitude of space or time, reposing in that inward quiet and secret mansion of the deity." - Albertus Magnus, known as Albert the Great and Albert of Cologne

"A soul guaranteed against prejudice is marvelously advanced toward tranquillity." - Michel de Montaigne, fully Lord Michel Eyquem de Montaigne

"To compose our character is our duty, not to compose books, and to win, not battles and province, but order and tranquillity in our conduct. Our great and glorious masterpiece is to live appropriately. All other things, to rule, to lay up treasure, to build, are at most but little appendices and props." - Michel de Montaigne, fully Lord Michel Eyquem de Montaigne

"The fountain of tranquillity is within ourselves; let us keep it pure." - Phocion, aka Phokion "The Good" NULL

"Repose is agreeable to the human mind; and decision is repose. A man has made up his opinions; he does not choose to be disturbed; and he is much more thankful to the man who confirms him in his errors, and leaves him alone, than he is to the man who refutes him, or who instructs him at the expense of his tranquillity." - Sydney Smith

"The world will never be in any manner of order or tranquillity until men are firmly convinced that conscience, honor and credit are all in one interest; and that without he concurrence of the former the latter are but impositions upon ourselves and others." - Richard Steele, fully Sir Richard Steele

"I believe the root of all happiness on this earth to life in the realization of a spiritual life with a consciousness of something wider than materialism; in the capacity to live in a world that makes you unselfish because you are not over anxious about your personal place; that makes you tolerant because you realize your own comic fallibility; that gives you tranquillity without complacency because you believe in something so much larger than yourself." - Hugh Walpole, fully Sir Hugh Seymour Walpole

"How many people ever consider that the lack of certain qualities - such as balance, common sense, tranquillity - affect the physical state of the human body?... Did you ever hear of people being sick because they hated someone? This is not uncommon." - Brooke Foss Westcott

"Power rests in tranquillity." - Richard Cecil

"There is but one way to tranquillity of mind and happiness; let this, therefore, be always ready at hand with thee, both when thou wakes early in the morning, and all the day long, and when thou goest late to sleep, to account no external things thine own, but to commit all these to God." -

"Envy not the old man the tranquillity of his existence, nor yet blame him if it sometimes looks like apathy. Time, the inexorable, does not threaten him with the scythe so often as with the sand-bag. He does not cut, but he stuns and stupefies." - Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

"Sorrow is the tranquillity remembered in emotion." -

"Commerce tends to wear off prejudices which maintain destruction and animosity between nations. It softens and polishes the manners of men. It unites them by one of the strongest of all ties - the desire of supplying their mutual wants. It disposes them to peace by establishing in every state an order of citizens bound by their interest to be the guardians of public tranquillity." -

"Of all things beyond my power, I value nothing more than friendship with people who sincerely love the truth, for I believe that of the things beyond our power, there is nothing in the world we can love with tranquillity except such people." -

"Humor is emotional chaos remembered in tranquillity." -

"Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquillity." - William Wordsworth

"Let human prudence say what it likes and reason as it pleases, it is impossible to produce true temporal peace and tranquillity by things repugnant or opposed to the peace and happiness of eternity." - Silvio Antoniano

"The love of money has been in all ages, one of the passions that have given great disturbances to the tranquillity of the world." - Samuel Johnson, aka Doctor Johnson

"What is trust? Tranquillity of soul in the one who trusts... Who trusts in God fears no man." - Bahya ben Joseph ibn Pakuda NULL

"For him who has no concentration, there is no tranquillity." - Bhagavad Gītā, simply known as Gita NULL

"Amidst the calm and tranquillity of peace the human race accomplishes most freely and easily its’ given work… Whence it is manifest that universal peace is the best of those things that are ordained for our beatitude." - Dante, full name Durante degli Alighieri, aka Dante Alighieri NULL

"The tranquillity or agitation of our temper does not depend so much on the big things which happen to us in life, as on the pleasant or unpleasant arrangements of the little things which happen daily." - François de La Rochefoucauld, François VI, Duc de La Rochefoucauld, Prince de Marcillac, Francois A. F. Rochefoucauld-Liancourt

"When we are unable to find tranquillity (contentment) within ourselves, it is useless to seek it elsewhere." - François de La Rochefoucauld, François VI, Duc de La Rochefoucauld, Prince de Marcillac, Francois A. F. Rochefoucauld-Liancourt

"There is but one way to tranquillity of mind and happiness. Let this therefore be always ready at hand with thee, both when thou wakest early in the morning, and when thou goest late to sleep, to account no external thing thine own, but commit all these to God." - Epictetus "the Stoic" NULL

"Both houses of Congress have, by their joint Committee, requested me “To recommend to the People of the United States, a Day of Public Thanksgiving and Prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful Hearts the many Signal Favours of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a Form of Government for their Safety and Happiness”... That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks for his kind Care and Protection of the People of this Country previous to their becoming a Nation; for the signal and manifold Mercies, and the favourable Interpositions of his Providence in the Course & Conclusion of the late War; for the great Degree of Tranquillity, Union, and Plenty, which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational Manner in which we have been enabled to establish Constitutions of Government for our Safety and Happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted; for the civil and religious Liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general, for all the great and various Favours which he hath been pleased to confer upon us... to enable us all, whether in public or private Stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually... to promote the Knowledge and Practice of true Religion and Virtue, and the increase of Science among them and us; and generally to grant unto all mankind such a Degree of temporal Prosperity as He alone knows to be best." - George Washington

"Love joins our present with the past and the future... Love is a divine knowledge that enables men to see as much as the gods... Love is a blinding mist that keeps the soul from discerning the secret of existence, so that the heart sees only trembling phantoms of desire among the hills, and hears only echoes of cries from voiceless valleys... Love is the rest of the body in the quiet of the grave, the tranquillity of the soul in the depth of Eternity... And so, all who passed spoke of Love as the image of their hopes and frustrations, leaving it a mystery as before." - Kahlil Gibran

"Wisdom is the only thing which can relieve us from the sway of the passions and the fear of danger, and which can teach us to bear the injuries of fortune itself with moderation, and which shows us all the ways which lead to tranquillity." - Cicero, fully Marcus Tullius Cicero, anglicized as Tully NULL

"A happy life consists in tranquillity of mind." - Cicero, fully Marcus Tullius Cicero, anglicized as Tully NULL

"Emotional tranquillity, refusal to worry, the attitude of happiness, zest for life, keeping control, having grit and courage - these are important factors in physical health and long life." - Norman Vincent Peale

"The wise will remain serene in the face of trouble... Wisdom leads to tranquillity, gold and silver to anxiety... Tranquillity is the summit of felicity." - Salomon ibn Gabirol, aka Solomon ben Judah or Avicebron

"The end of wisdom is peace and tranquillity, whilst that of gold is grief and vexation." - Salomon ibn Gabirol, aka Solomon ben Judah or Avicebron

"Wisdom leads to tranquillity, gold and silver to anxiety." - Salomon ibn Gabirol, aka Solomon ben Judah or Avicebron

"Of all things beyond my power, I value nothing more than friendship with people who sincerely love the truth, for I believe that of the things beyond our power, there is nothing in the world we can love with tranquillity except such people." -

"Gossip is an expression of a restless mind; but merely to be silent does not indicate a tranquil mind, Tranquillity does not come into being with abstinence or denial; it comes with the understanding of what is. To understand what is needs swift awareness, for what is is not static." - Jiddu Krishnamurti

"I always thought it was a question of achieving some permanent state of tranquillity ... but it's not. It's more like learning to surf. The waves keep rolling in, each different from the last, and you have to ride them, instead of getting pounded to bits." - Lisa Alther

"A human being in perfection ought always to preserve a calm and peaceful mind and never to allow passion or a transitory desire to disturb his tranquility. I do not think that the pursuit of knowledge is an exception to this rule. If the study to which you apply yourself has a tendency to weaken your affections and to destroy your taste for those simple pleasures in which no alloy can possibly mix, then that study is certainly unlawful, that is to say, not befitting the human mind. If this rule were always observed; if no man allowed any pursuit whatsoever to interfere with the tranquillity of his domestic affections, Greece had not been enslaved, Caesar would have spared his country, America would have been discovered more gradually, and the empires of Mexico and Peru had not been destroyed." - Mary Shelley, née Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin

"Because of what you have done the heavens have become a part of man's world. And as you talk to us from the Sea of Tranquillity, it inspires us to redouble our efforts to bring peace and Tranquillity to Earth. For one priceless moment, in the whole history of man, all the people on this Earth are truly one. One in their pride in what you have done. One in our prayers that you will return safely to Earth. [To Neil Armstrong after he landed successfully on the Moon.]" - Richard Nixon, fully Richard Milhous Nixon

"To a Desolate Friend - O friend, like some cold wind to-day Your message came, and chilled the light; Your house so dark, and mine so bright,— I could not weep, I could not pray! My wife and I had kissed at morn, My children’s lips were full of song; O friend, it seemed such cruel wrong, My life so full, and yours forlorn! We slept last night clasped hand in hand, Secure and calm—and never knew How fared the lonely hours with you, What time those dying lips you fanned. We dreamed of love, and did not see The shadow pass across our dream; We heard the murmur of a stream, Not death’s for it ran bright and free. And in the dark her gentle soul Passed out, but oh! we knew it not! My babe slept fast within her cot, While yours woke to the slow bell’s toll. She paused a moment,—who can tell?— Before our windows, but we lay So deep in sleep she went away, And only smiled a sad farewell! It would be like her; well we know How oft she waked while others slept— She never woke us when she wept, It would be like her thus to go! Ah, friend! you let her stray too far Within the shadow-haunted wood, Where deep thoughts never understood Breathe on us and like anguish are. One day within that gloom there shone A heavenly dawn, and with wide eyes She saw God’s city crown the skies, Since when she hasted to be gone. Too much you yielded to her grace; Renouncing self, she thus became An angel with a human name, And angels coveted her face. Earth’s door you set so wide, alack She saw God’s gardens, and she went A moment forth to look; she meant No wrong, but oh! she came not back! Dear friend, what can I say or sing, But this, that she is happy there? We will not grudge those gardens fair Where her light feet are wandering. The child at play is ignorant Of tedious hours; the years for you To her are moments: and you too Will join her ere she feels your want. The path she wends we cannot track: And yet some instinct makes us know Hers is the joy, and ours the woe,— We dare not wish her to come back!" - W. J. Dawson. fully William James Dawson

"The life of an uneducated man is as useless as the tail of a dog which neither covers its rear end, nor protects it from the bites of insects." - Kautilya, aka Chanakya or Vishnu Gupta NULL