[copyright] The Theosophical Publishing House,1887; 1967,The Theosophical Publishing House, Adyar, Madras 20, India; Wheaton, Ill., U.S.A. and London, England

The Golden Rules of Buddhism - part II

Compiled by H.S. Olcott

[This online edition has been slightly edited. The notes have been moved so that they come straight after the quote they belong to instead of at the bottom of the page, as there are no pages in HTML-documents. The many details about the publication have been moved to the back,whereas they were listed in the beginning in the original edition. Numbers between brackets signify the page the information directly above was on in the printed edition of 1967. For clarity's sake I've added horizontal lines after each quote and source. - Editor Buddha's World]

[ Back to part 1]

Parents, Teachers and Children

Parents should:
1. Restrain their children from vice.
2. Train them in virtue.
3. Have them taught arts and sciences.


4. Provide them with suitable wives or husbands.
5. Give them an inheritance.

The child should say:
1. I will support them who supported me.
2. I will perform family duties incumbent upon them.
3. I will guard their property.
4. I will make myself worthy to be their heir.
5. When they are gone I will honour their memory.
(Sigalovada Sutta)

Happy in this world is he who honours his father, so likewise he who honours his mother is happy.
(Udanavarga, xxx, v. 23)

The succouring of mother and father, the cherishing of child and wife, and the following[13] of a lawful calling, this is the greatest blessing.
(Mahamangala Sutta, v. 5)

Whoever, being able[to do so], does not support his feeble and aged mother or father, know him as a Vasala.*
Whoever strikes, or abuses by words, his mother, father, brother, sister, or mother-in-law, know him as a Vasala.
(Vasala Sutta, vv. 9, 10)

* A slave.

Research Recommended

Extensive knowledge and science, well-regulated discipline and well-spoken speech, this is the greatest blessing.
(Mahamangala Sutta, v. 4)

The world exists by cause; all things exist by cause; all beings are bound by cause, [even] as [14] the rolling cart-wheel by the pin of an axletree.
(Vasettha Sutta, v. 61)

From whomsoever a man learns the Law, he should worship him, even as the gods worship Indra. The learned man, being thus honoured, his mind pleased with [his disciple], makes the Law more manifest.
(Nava Sutta, v. 1)

The Moral Law Inexorable

There exists no spot on the earth, or in the sky, or in the sea, neither is there any in the mountain-clefts, where an [evil deed does not bring trouble to the doer].*
(Udanavarga, ix, v. 5)

* A man can never escape punishment for evil Karma, nor can anyone deprive him of the reward of his good Karma. A Buddhist friend asks me to here recall the case of the robber, Angulimala, who, becoming converted by Lord Buddha, attained the state of Arhat. But this does not alter the principle here stated. Angulimala's Karma was to be, first a robber, and then a saint.


The evil doer suffers in this world, and he suffers in the next; he suffers in both. He suffers when he thinks of the evil he has done; he suffers more when going on the evil path. (Dhammapada, v. 17)

Surely an evil deed does not turn on a sudden like milk [curdling]; it is like fire smouldering in the ashes, which burns the fool. . . . . An evil deed kills not instantly, as does a sword, but it follows the evil doer [even] into the next world.
- (Udanavarga, ix, vv. 16, 17)

All that we are is the result of what we have thought: it is founded on our thoughts, it is made up of our thoughts. If a man speaks or acts with a pure thought, happiness follows him, like a shadow that never leaves him.
(Dhammapada, v. 2)
[16 ]

Adeptship a Fact

The Rahat* is able to fly through the air, change his appearance, fix the years of his life, shake heaven and earth.
(Sutra of the 42 Sections, Beal's Catena, p. 191)

* Adept or Mahatma.

Matanga, the Doctor of the Law, having before this arrived at the condition of a Rahat,forthwith, by his miraculous power, ascended up into space and there exhibited himself, undergoing various spiritual changes, e.g., flying, walking, sitting, sleeping and so on.
Hereupon was a rain of precious flowers, so that the feelings of the beholders were deeply moved, etc.
(Ming Ti pen niu chouen. Beal's trans.)

Lord Buddha's aunt, Mahaprajapati,and five other holy women, who lived according to the rules, "walked on the water as on dry [17] land; others leaving the ground, walked in the air,or sat, or lay down, or stood still, all in the same element. Fire and water were seen flowing from the right side of some, and from the left side of others. In others it was seen issuing from their mouths." *
(Edkin's Chinese Buddhism, p. 49)

*Bishop Bigandet, in his Legend of Gaudama, and Rev. S. Beal, in his Catena of Buddhist Scriptures, give many data with respect to the powers (iddhi) attained by Rahats (Adepts, or "Mahatmas").

At a great assembly of the gods, Buddha, thinking that it would be better if his discourse was delivered to them in the form of a dialogue, and finding that the gods were backward to join in the dialogue, created a duplicate of himself,** who,standing before him put the [18] questions which Gotama has answered in the Sammaparibbajaniya Sutta. (See translation by Sir Coomara Swamy.)

** Or, as expressed in modern scientific language, "projected his own double, or astral body." An aged priest in the Southern Province of Ceylon kindly gave me a small silver toy representing this phenomenon. It is called Samparana. (For an account of the wonders, see Bigandet's Legend of Gaudama, Vol. 1).

The True Buddhists Priest

There are four kinds of priests; not a fifth,O Chunda! Whoever has crossed all his doubts, is freed from the dart (of sorrow), attached to Nibbana, divested of greediness, the guide of all the world and the gods, such an one the Buddhas call Maggajina [the victorious wayfarer].
Whoever, knowing here the best as the best, preaches and discourses extensively on it; him [the Buddhas] declare to be the doubt-cutting sage, who is freed from desire, the second of priests,Maggadesi [who teaches the way]. Whoever lives in the paths which are taught [as] the Paths of the Law, well trained, possessed of a good memory, him they call the third priest, Maggajivi [who follows the blameless paths]. [19]
He who, putting on the garb of well-conducted men,*[yet rushes] forward [to acquire different objects], and brings disgrace on families, [and being] forward, hypocritical, ill trained,babbling, walks in the garden of good men, is a Maggadusi [who defiles the way].
(Chunda Sutta)

* The robes of the Buddhist monk.

Whoever,not being a sanctified person, pretends to be a saint, he indeed is the lowest Vasala,** the thief in all worlds, including that of Brahma.
(Vasala Sutta, v. 20)

** A slave.

A priest fond of quarreling - hemmed in by the attributes of ignorance, understands not the advice [given by others], nor the Law preached by Buddha;
Led away by ignorance, he knows not that quarreling is injurious to those whose hearts [20] are practiced in religion, and that it is sinful, [and] a road to hell.
Such a priest, going to hell, flits [thence] from womb to womb,* from darkness to darkness, [and] certainly meets with affliction.
(Dhammachariya Sutta, vv. 3, 4, 5)

* In constant rebirths.

Of old there were only three diseases, [viz.],desire, want of food, decay. Owing to the killing of cattle there sprang ninety-eight diseases.
This old sin of injuring[living beings] has comedown [to this day]. Innocent cows are killed. Priests have fallen off from their virtues.
Thus this old [and] mean act is despised by the wise. Men despise a priest in whom such vice is found.
(Brahmanadhammika Sutta, vv. 29, 30, 31)

Some fortify themselves for controversy. We praise not those small-minded persons; temptations from here and there are made to cling to[21] them and they certainly send their minds very far away when engaged in it.
(Dhammika Sutta, v. 15).

The priest who, like one who seeks flowers on fig-trees, has not found any more good in repeated births, gives up Orapara,* as a snake [casts off its] decayed old skin.
The priest in whose heart there are no feelings of anger [and] who likewise has gone past merit and demerit, gives up Orapara, etc.
(Uraga Sutta, vv. 5, 6)

*i.e., destroys that yearning for life in the body which results in rebirth.

Many men whose shoulders are covered with the orange robes are ill-conditioned and unrestrained; such evil-doers by their evil deeds go to hell.
(Dhammapada, v. 307)

He whose head is shaven, and who wears the saffron-coloured robe, but who seeks only for [22] food, drink, clothes and bedding, is his [own] greatest enemy.
(Udanavarga, xiii, v. 14)

He who smites will be smitten; he who shows rancour will find rancour; so likewise from reviling, comes reviling and to him who is angered comes anger.
(Udanavarga, xiv, v. 3)

Those foolish priests who know not the holy law, though this life be brief, in the foolishness of their hearts they give themselves to wrangling.
(Udanavarga, xiv, vi 4)

"He abused me, he reviled me, he beat me, he subdued me"; who keeps this in his mind, and who feels resentment, will find no peace.
(Dhammapada, xiv, v. 4)

Like a beautiful flower full of colour but without scent, are the fine but fruitless words of him who does not act accordingly.
(Dhammapada, v. 51)

One is the road that heads to Wealth, another the road that leads to Nirvana.
(Dhammapada, v. 75)

If a man consorting with me [Buddha] does not conform his life to my commandments, what benefit will ten thousand precepts be to him?
(Sutra of the 42 Sections, Beal's Catena, p. 202)

Better it would be that a man should eat a hump of flaming iron than that one who is unrestrained and who has broken his vows should live on the charity of the land.
(Udanavarga, ix, v. 2)

If thou hast done evil deeds, if thou wouldst do them, thou mayest arise and run where'er thou wilt, but thou canst not free thyself of thy suffering.
(Udanavarga, ix, v. 4)

The thoughtless man even if he can recite Manygathas, but is not a doer of the law, has no part in the priesthood, but is like a cowherd counting the cows of others.
(Dhammapada, v. 19)

Who is the good man? The religious man only is good. Who is the great man? He who is strongest in the exercise of patience. He who patiently endures injury, and maintains a blameless life - he is a man indeed!
(Sutra of the 42 Sections, Beal's Catena, p. 196)

When a fire is placed under a pot, and the water within it made to boil, then whoever looks down upon it will see no shadow of himself. So the three poisons(covetousness, anger, delusion), and the five obscurities (envy,passion, sloth, vacillation, unbelief) which embrace it, effectually prevent one attaining supreme reason.
(Sutra of the 42 Sections, Beal's Catena, p. 196)

A man who is under the influence of religious principle may be compared to a single warrior opposed to ten thousand in a fight.
(Sutra of the 42 Sections, Beal's Catena, p. 200)

If one man conquer in battle a thousand times thousand men, and if another conquer himself, he is the greatest of conquerors.
(Dhammapada, v. 103)

By oneself evil is done, by oneself one suffers; by oneself evil is left undone, by oneself one is purified. Purity and impurity belong to oneself, no one can purify another.
(Dhammapada, v. 165)

Self is the lord of self; who else could be the lord? With self well subdued, a man finds a master such as few can find.
(Dhammapada, v. 160)

That priest whose[ideas of] omens, meteors, dreams and signs are destroyed, and who is released from[a belief in] the evil consequences of omens, conducts himself well in the world. That priest who, not quarreling in word, thought or deed,[and]knowing the Law well looks forward to Nirvana, conducts himself well in the world.
(Sammaparibbajaniya Sutta, vv. 2. 7)

Kinsfolk, friends and lovers salute a man who has been long away, and returns from afar. In like manner his good works receive him who has done good, and has gone from this world to the other; as kinsmen receive a friend on his return.
(Dhammapada, vv. 219, 220)

Even a good man sees evil days, as long as his good deed is not ripened: but when his good deed has ripened, then does the good man see happy days.
(Dhammapada, v. 120)


In fit time, observe kindness, impartiality, mercy, freedom from sin, delight at the prosperity of others; unopposed to the whole world, let one walk alone like the rhinoceros.
(Khaggavisana Sutta, 39)

If a man's thoughts are not dissipated, if his mind is not perplexed, if he has ceased to think of good and evil, then there is no fear for him while he is watchful.
(Dhammapada, v. 39)

Procrastination is[moral] defilement, continued procrastination is defilement. By non procrastination [punctuality] and knowledge, root out your darts [of sin].
(Utthana Sutta, v. 4)

First printed as a Pamphlet in 1887

Second Edition 1891
Third " 1902
Adyar Pamphlet 1918
Reprinted 1938
" 1944
" 1967

At the Vasanta Press, The Theosophical Society,
Adyar, Madras 20


November 27, 1887
I HAVE read Colonel Wolcott's compilation of moral precepts from the Buddhist Scriptures, and recommend the same as a book of instruction for Buddhist youth.
- H. Sumangala,
High Priest.