“Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.”
Do you know that the above quote or saying is probably NOT by the Lord Gautama Buddha?
Even though it has been widely published and shared all over the Internet, books and even magazines.
Thousand Candles Might Not Be Lighted By Buddha
The authenticity of this so-called Buddha quote is still doubtful and questionable.
For your information, this quote is actually taken from the book of Shakyamuni Buddha’s teachings, “The Teaching of Buddha: Wheel Of Dharma” by Bukkyō Dendō Kyōkai.
Here is another source where you can find the full version on Part III: The Way Of Practice, Chapter One: The Way Of Purification, Section II, The Good Way Of Behaviour on page 87.
It is listed as number nine (9).
“It is a very good deed to cast away greed and to cherish a mind of charity. It is still better to keep one’s mind intent on respecting the Noble Path.
One should get rid of a selfish mind and replace it with a mind that is earnest to help others. An act to make another happy, inspires the other to make still another happy, and so happiness is born from such act.
Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the single candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.
Those who seek Enlightenment must be careful of each of their steps. No matter how high one’s aspiration may be, it must be attained step by step. The steps of the path to Enlightenment must be taken in our everyday life.”
Click here to see the actual text.
The Sutra of Forty-Two Chapters
In fact, this questionable saying is taken and modified from Section 10 of the Chinese translation “The Sutra of Forty-Two Chapters” ( 四十二章經 )
The Chapter 10 : Joyful Bestowals To Acquire Bliss
The Buddha said, “When you see someone practicing Donation, and though you merely assist him by encouraging and feeling joyful for him, the Merits you are to acquire would be quite a cornucopia.”
Then a monk asked, “Would the Merits of the Original Donor be diminished by sharing with others?”
The Buddha replied, “It is like the fire of a Torch: if hundreds or thousands of people would come each with a torch to ignite by that flame, each torch they have ignited from the original one could be used to cook meals and keep a dark house bright, and yet the Original Torch would stay as bright as it used to be. To share Merits with others is akin to that.”
The Chinese (Mandarin) version below:
佛言：「人施道，助之歡喜，得福甚大。」沙門問 曰：「此福盡乎？」佛言：「譬如一炬之火，數千百 人，各以炬來分取，熟食除冥，此炬如故。福亦如 之。」
(The Sutra Of Forty-Two Chapters Divulge By The Buddha, Bilingual-Juxtaposed, Second Edition, Translated And Annotated By Ven. Cheng Kuan, Taiwan: Neo-Carefree Garden Buddhist Canon Translation Institute, A Charitable Trust Foundation, 2011, ch. 10: Joyful Bestowals To Acquire Bliss, p.15)
As you can see, the popular thousands-candles line is paraphrased from the above paragraph.
In short, the authenticity of this popular quotation “Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the single candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared” by Buddha, is still dubious and unverified.
Anyway, the debatable thousands-candles wise words above is all about sharing and the power of just one person.
Do not underestimate the impact of one voice or one heart. It can be very effective. It is just like dropping a single pebble in the water and it starts sending out ripples.
I am sure you have heard the parable about the boy who was picking up starfish that had been washed onto the sea shore. One at a time, he was throwing them back into the water.
A elderly man saw him doing that, felt puzzled. So he approached the native and asked what he was doing. “I’m throwing these starfish back into the ocean. It’s low tide right now and all of these starfish have been washed up onto the shore. If I don’t throw them back into the sea, they’ll die up here from lack of oxygen.”
“But c’mon, there are thousands of starfish on this beach,” the man said to the native. “I’m sure you can’t save all of them. Your effort possibly make a difference”
The other issue is about sharing. When you share your happiness with others, it doesn’t make you less happy. In fact, you make more people happy. Sharing is fundamental to the development of human relationships.
Who Was Siddhartha Gautama And Why Was He Important
He is popularly known as Buddha. His actual name is Siddhartha Gautama.
He was born as a royal prince in 624 BC in a place called Lumbini (now Nepal).
He started of as the leader and founder of a sect of wanderer ascetics and they are known as Sangha.
He is also known by other names, such as Siddhārtha Gautama, Shakyamuni or the Buddha (means “awakened one”).
He is the sage who founded Buddhism and taught the Middle Way between sensual indulgence and the severe asceticism. Buddha describes it as a path of moderation.
It was after his death, his community of followers gradually evolved into a religious-like movement.
Later it was established as a state religion in India by the time of Emperor Ashoka. [source]
Here is a list of fake or bogus Buddha quotes, which you should stop using or sharing them with others.
Here is a collection of verified authentic Buddha sayings for your enlightenment.