I've recently joined a meditation center that is very welcoming. I have went to a few meditation sessions, and so far I have felt focus on a deeper level. The community is small, though so they don't show many of the teachings. I'd like to read up on the core values of Buddhism, and furthermore, I'm looking for some good methods of finding out for myself what the values are.

If you have any personal stories, all are welcome, as they will be more than useful to me and others with the same question.


3 Answers 3


A good method to start finding the core values of Buddhism, @tuskiomi, is to start reading the Dhammapada (The Way of Truth). These are “Stanzas on Dhamma”, a popular collection of 432 pithy verses of a largely ethical nature. There is always a story behind every verse. The Dhammapada is very accessible, many copies of which are found for free distribution through temples and Buddhist societies, and also on the internet. In the Dhammapada you will see a lot of ‘shoulds’. But each should is based on a condition, “This is what should be done by one if one desires that.” So it is your choice to do it or not. But if that is what you want, this is what you’ve got to do. The nature of cause and effect is such that these are the practices you have to follow. I will give you a few examples that you will find in: http://www.tipitaka.net/tipitaka/dhp/

“If when you see that there’s a greater happiness that comes from abandoning a lesser happiness, be willing to abandon that lesser happiness for the sake of the greater one.”

“A hand without a wound can hold poison and not be harmed. In other words, if you don’t have any bad kamma, the results of bad kamma won’t come to you. But if you have a wound on your hand, then if you hold poison it will seep through the wound and kill you.”

“All tremble at violence. Life is dear to all. Putting oneself in the place of another, One should neither kill nor cause another to kill.”

People who recognize their own mistakes and change their ways “illumine the world like the moon when freed from a cloud.”

“Better than a thousand meaningless statements Is one meaningful word Which, having been heard, Brings peace.”


I am going to recommend three of my favorite teachers and their most popular books. Keep in mind that each of these teachers comes from a different tradition but they are mostly in agreement as to the core values of Buddhism.

"A Path With Heart" by Jack Kornfield. He was one of the very first westerners to teach Dharma in the West beginning in the 1970s.

"The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching" by Thich Nhat Hanh. A famous Vietnamese monk who can trace his lineage back to the Buddha.

"Awakening the Buddha Wihin" by Lama Surya Das. An American who studied for many years in Tibet and became a Tibetan Monk and is a very popular teacher.

All of these books are accessible and you may be able to find them at a public library or certainly find use used versions for sale online.


The basic values of Buddhism are found in the Noble Eightfold Path, which can be read at this link: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn45/sn45.008.than.html

More teachings about values, particular for lay people (non-monks), can be read in the following links:

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/kn/snp/snp.2.04.piya.html http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/dn/dn.31.0.nara.html http://www.mahidol.ac.th/budsir/Contents.html

Note: You should be very careful to not get into arguments at your meditation centre about Buddhist values (since many Buddhists are not learned about Buddhist values & want to learn their own values by meditating).

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