From The Story of Buddhism by Donald S. Lopez Jr.
“The Buddha’s first gift to the world was not the gift of dharma, but the gift of relic.”
“A painful experience will remain painful unless one acts to counteract the pain, but a pleasurable experience will naturally become painful eventually.”
On the concept of no-self:
“…the person is a mere projection, that before and behind the chain of causation there is no agent, no person, no self.”
“The person is a process of physical and mental constituents…and those constituents are impermanent and thus subject to change at any moment.”
Karma is “how beings rise and fall, succeed and fail, as a consequence of their deeds.”
“It is our free response to the events of our lives (those events caused by karma) that create future karma, which in turn determines the future.”
“The root of all suffering [is] ignorance…”
Ignorance is “an active misconception about the nature of things [which are] summarized as the four perverse views: seeing the impermanent as permanent, the ugly as beautiful, the painful as pleasurable and no self as self.” *
On the role of bodhisattva:
“The bodhisattva vows to follow the long path to Buddhahood so that he may uncover the path to nirvana and show it to the word, after it has been forgotten.”
On the next Buddha:
The new Buddha will not come until Buddhism has disappeared from the world.
“If we respond with anger, we are both planting the seeds for our own future suffering and causing further pain for the person who already will have to suffer for the harm they have done us. Anger is thus self-destructive.”
“The world is filled with enemies, those who find fault with us in varying degrees. In order to avoid the harm caused, to oneself and others, by responding in anger, there are two solutions: one can destroy all the enemies, or one can practice patience.” *
On the layperson:
“The primary deed of the Buddhist layperson is therefore charity, but charity directed to a pure object, the sangha, which has the power to transmute the material wealth of the present into happiness in the future.”
Laypeople today cannot reach enlightenment because they did not learn directly from the Buddha. Instead they must try to be reborn in the time of Maitreya, the coming Buddha.
This book clarified several questions I had about Buddhism. I hope these quotes and notes help you understand better as well.