Aphorisms and Proverbs of the Wise

Aphorisms, proverbs and sayings have been employed in many of the world's spiritual traditions to preserve and transmit wisdom.

Two historical examples are the injunction 'Know Thyself' from the Temple of Apollo in ancient Greece and the saying 'As Above so Below' from the Emerald Tablets of Hermes Trismegistus.

Throughout the ages, schools of inner knowledge have used aphorisms, proverbs and sayings to awaken higher perceptions and stimulate a deeper exploration of the human condition. In this sense, they fulfil a function similar to myths, fables, symbols, teaching stories and sacred art.

Most of the following aphorisms and proverbs are drawn from Idries Shah's Caravan of Dreams and The Dermis Probe.


It is wisdom to know others;
It is enlightenment to know one's self.

Others sowed for me; I sow for others.

Deep in the sea are riches beyond compare.
But if you seek safety, it is on the shore.

Brave is the thief who carries a lamp in his hand.

Look at the grain of pepper -- and at the size of the sneeze.

No surgeon can treat the wounds of the tongue.

Patience is a garment which has never worn out.

The smile that you send out, returns to you.

Death does not visit more than once.
Be prepared, therefore, for its coming.

A nut has a sweet kernel; a date has a useless stone.

When tomorrow comes, think tomorrow's thoughts.

Pick up a bee from kindness, and learn the limitations of kindness.

The mine is always bigger than the gem.

If you want to know who is the bravest among cowards:
It is the one who first dares to kick the fallen lion.

It will pass, whatever it is.


Opportunity's precious, and time is a sword.

The fruit of timidity is neither gain nor loss.

He has been a worker who has finished the job.

Because sugar is not arsenic, many graves are full.

Separations are better than unhappy meetings.

Do not carry your year's burdens on one day.

If a gem falls into mud it is still valuable.
If dust ascends to heaven, it remains valueless.

Three things in this life are destructive:
Anger, greed, self-esteem.

Sunshine proves it own existence.

Patience is bitter, but bears a sweet fruit.

Call yourself unlucky only if you take up
coffin-making and people stop dying.

You cannot hit two targets with one arrow.

Learn about hornets from those who have been stung by them.

None meets harm who knows their capacity.

Love is an endless mystery, for it has nothing else to explain it.


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