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Updated: May 1, 2021

The Buddha’s Teachings carry many unique features. One of these is the emphasis given to Self-Reliance and Self-Effort for a person to realize his or her personal development, progress, happiness, and ultimate salvation. There are numerous occasions when the Buddha had exhorted us to be Self-reliant. For example in the Maha Parinibbanna Sutta just before he breathed his last breath, He advised Venerable Ananda:

Be ye islands unto yourself;

Be ye refuge unto yourself;

Seek not for refuge in others.

The Buddha consistently exhorted us to depend on ourselves for deliverance because our purity and defilements are dependent on no one else but on ourselves alone. In clarifying and simultaneously underlining the critical importance of Self-Reliance and Self-Effort, He urged us:

You Yourself must do the striving;

The Buddhas only point out the Path.

The Meditative who enter the Noble Way,

are delivered from the bonds of Mara.

Again, as the Buddha lay dying, His last words of advice to Venerable Ananda Would forever remain true and relevant for all times: Subject to change are all component things.

Strive on with diligence.

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