by Kelvin Belfon
Religion is a polarizing subject. We all have strong dogmatic opinions about our beliefs. It’s the reason we are often told to “keep your religion to yourself” in public.
But when it comes to minimalism, spiritual leaders throughout history appear to be unified in their theology. History is filled with religious men and women who have lived simple humble lives. They esteemed inward contentment, service to others and the expectation of a future reward.
When Gandhi died, he had less than 10 earthly possessions: his sandals, watch, eating bowl, prayer book, and spectacles. His life became the human billboard for proclaiming his message to India, and the world.
The Indian prince, Siddhartha Gautama, traded his earthly riches for spiritual enlightenment. As the first Buddha, he stated, “Joy comes not through possession or ownership but through a wise and loving heart.”
The Prophet Muhammad who ate simply, slept on the floor and lived with few belongings stated, “Wealth is not in having vast riches, it is in contentment.”
Jesus of Nazareth challenged the cultural thinkings around materialism and “love of money.” He encouraged his followers to, “… not store up for yourselves treasures on earth… but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven…”
Physical possessions are not evil.
We need money and things to function in our society. The wisdom is not allowing them to master or control our lives. Own and use your belonging for the necessary functions they have in your live but always value your life and people much more.
25 Simplicity Quotes by Religious Leaders
The following are 25 Simplicity Quotes I’ve put together from different religious leaders. They are meant to inspire your simplicity journey. Please feel free to share them on your favorite social media platform.
- “Unnecessary possessions are unnecessary burdens. If you have them, you have to take care of them!” ~ Peace Pilgrim
- “Our souls are not hungry for fame, comfort, wealth, or power. Our souls are hungry for meaning, for the sense that we have figured out how to live so that our lives matter.” ~ Harold Kushner
- “The more you have, the more you are occupied. The less you have, the more free you are.” ~ Mother Teresa
- “If each retained possession of only what he needed, no one would be in want, and all would live in contentment. As it is, the rich are discontented no less than the poor.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi
- “You may have occasion to possess or use material things, but the secret of life lies in never missing them.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi
- “The man who has two tunics is to share with him who has none; and he who has food is to do likewise.” ~ John the Baptist
- “Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.” ~ Lao Tzu
- “Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.” ~ Confucius
- “To live a pure unselfish life, one must count nothing as one’s own in the midst of abundance.” ~ Buddha
- “If your mind isn’t clouded by unnecessary things, then this is the best season of your life.” ~ Wu-Men
- “If one had taken what is necessary to cover one’s needs and had left the rest to those who are in need, no one would be rich, no one would be poor, no one would be in need.” ~ Saint Basil
- “Give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food that is needful for me, lest I be full and deny you and say, “Who is the Lord?” or lest I be poor and steal and profane the name of my God.” ~ Agur
- “Real happiness is cheap enough, yet how dearly we pay for its counterfeit.” ~ Hosea Ballou
- “Live simply so that others may simply live.” ~ Elizabeth Ann Seton
- “The consumption society has made us feel that happiness lies in having things, and has failed to teach us the happiness of not having things.” ~ Elise Boulding
- “You have succeeded in life when all you really want is only what you really need.” ~ Vernon Howard
- “It is the heart that makes a man rich. He is rich according to what he is, not according to what he has.” ~ Henry Ward Beecher
- “We really must understand that the lust for affluence in contemporary society is psychotic. It is psychotic because it has completely lost touch with reality. We crave things we neither need nor enjoy.” ~ Richard Foster
- “One of the advantages of being born in an affluent society is that if one has any intelligence at all, one will realize that having more and more won’t solve the problem, and happiness does not lie in possessions, or even relationships: The answer lies within ourselves. If we can’t find peace and happiness there, it’s not going to come from the outside.” ~ Tenzin Palmo
- “You say, ‘If I had a little more, I should be very satisfied.’ You make a mistake. If you are not content with what you have, you would not be satisfied if it were doubled.” ~ Charles Spurgeon
- “Smile, breathe and go slowly.” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh
- “If one’s life is simple, contentment has to come. Simplicity is extremely important for happiness. Having few desires, feeling satisfied with what you have, is very vital: satisfaction with just enough food, clothing, and shelter to protect yourself from the elements.” ~ The Dalai Lama
- “For what will it profit them if they gain the whole world but forfeit their life?” ~ Jesus of Nazareth
- “If you wish to be perfect, go, sell your possessions, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.” ~ Jesus of Nazareth
- “People rush for complexity but they yearn for simplicity.” ~ GK Chesterton
Do you have a favorite simplicity quote you’ll like to share?