2,500 years ago, when the sagely Buddha (of Buddhism fame) began fasting on one grain of rice per day, sleeping on nails, letting his buddies rub his belly, and generally experiencing unpleasant things in the name of enlightenment, we doubt he had curing road rage in mind.
Then again, it’s hard to prove he didn’t.
Yes, some may say the great Siddhartha was driven by the urge to understand suffering and improve society with humility. Others contend he was just so steamed at people for hogging 2 parking spaces at Costco that he needed a way to avoid losing it.
Either way, Buddha gave us some undeniable pearls of wisdom to help manage our driving anger and keep car insurance premiums low.
Here are 8 Buddhist quotes to make stress disappear faster — handily translated for the modern driving world.
1. “3 things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth.”
Translation: It’s not up to you (or your crowbar) to teach speeders a lesson about justice. If they’re truly reckless and lawbreaking, they can’t stay hidden from a cop’s radar gun for long.
2. “To keep the body in good health is a duty … otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.”
Translation: Exercise regularly, eat a good breakfast, and for God’s sake stop drinking 3 espressos before your commute … you’re a ticking time bomb out there!
3. “As we think, so we become.”
Translation: Don’t lash out at the driver behind you because you think he’s tailgating you on purpose. Give it a minute — he’s probably just spacing out listening to NPR.
4. “Just as the dawn is the forerunner of the arising of the sun, so true friendship is the forerunner of the arising of the noble eightfold path.”
Translation: Why not try carpooling? With some pals sharing the ride, you might be less likely to scream at the top of your lungs when someone forgets to signal.
5. “People with opinions just go around bothering each other.”
Translation: You think that’s “your” parking space. The other person thinks it’s “their” parking space. Point is, you’re both just annoying the rest of us. Move on and stop blocking the lane so we can get to the store and buy new tube socks.
6. “A man is not an elder because his head is grey; his age may be ripe, but he is called old in vain.”
Translation: No matter how slow the mature driver ahead of you is going, do not start badgering him or her into a drag race. It’s dangerous and illegal — plus you might get embarrassed by an old-timer with some well-worn tricks.
7. “Let him overcome evil by good. Let him overcome the greedy by liberality.”
Translation: Are drivers who wait until the last second to merge at lane closures so they can get to the front greedy? Probably. But are they evil? Again, probably. Still, instead of closing the gap to keep them from getting in (which is sooo tempting), take a breath, shake it off, and politely wave them forward.
8. “An action, even if it brings benefit to oneself, cannot be considered a good action if it causes physical and mental pain to another.”
Translation: Keying someone’s car is never cool, no matter what they’ve done to you.
Have these Buddhist quotes left you with a feeling of Zen? Keep reading for even more tips on avoiding road rage and defusing aggressive drivers.