Embracing an Intentional Life: 10 Life-Changing Quotes from Tilopa

By Rob

January 15, 2024

quotes, Tilopa, wisdom

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Do you yearn for a life filled with meaning, purpose, and inner peace? Perhaps you seek to break free from the shackles of the past, embrace the present moment, and unlock your true potential. Then let us embark on a journey together, guided by the wisdom of Tilopa, a 10th-century scholar whose words continue to resonate across time and cultures.

A Brief Biography of Tilopa

Tilopa, also known as Mahasiddha Tilopa, was a Buddhist master and scholar who lived in the 10th century. Born in the vibrant tapestry of Bengal, India, Tilopa’s life was a tapestry itself, woven with threads of scholarly pursuits, spiritual quests, and unorthodox practices he was considered one of the greatest tantric masters of his time. Tilopa’s teachings were deeply rooted in the Mahamudra tradition, which emphasizes direct experience and realization of the true nature of reality.

Despite the scarcity of historical records, it is believed that Tilopa wandered the Himalayas, embraced unconventional wisdom from various masters, and challenged established norms, all in pursuit of ultimate truth. Through his dedicated practice he eventually attained enlightenment . His legacy, however, lies not in his travels, but in the profound wisdom he eventually passed down to his disciple Naropa, who became one of the most influential figures in Tibetan Buddhism.

10 Life-Changing Quotes from Tilopa

These 10 simple yet powerful quotes, like precious gems, offer glimpses into Tilopa’s teachings and practical ways to integrate them into your daily life, transforming your aspirations into lived experiences:

1. “Let go of what has passed. Let go of what may come. Let go of what is happening now. Don’t try to figure anything out. Don’t try to make anything happen. Relax, right now, and rest.”

Tilopa’s words echo across time, reminding us that clinging to the past, present, or future only steals our joy. By letting go, we shed unnecessary worries, unrealistic expectations, and limiting anxieties. We stop trying to control the current moment or predict the future, and instead, open ourselves to the beauty and peace that resides in simply being.

Letting go doesn’t mean erasing memories or burying anxieties. It’s about acknowledging them and allowing them to drift away without resistance. It’s about freeing ourselves from the pull of our emotional attachment that is clouding our vision of the present moment and restricting us from fully experiencing it for what it is. The same is true for expectations you may have on the current moment or the worries you might have about the future.

Just like trying to grasp water, clinging to the past, future, or even the expectations we may have for the present moment, only leads to stress and frustration. Instead, we must learn to float like a lotus flower, rooted in awareness yet unperturbed by the ripples around us. True joy, he reminds us, resides in just being fully present in the current moment.

In the stillness of the present, life’s symphony unfolds around us. We savor the warmth of sunlight on our skin, the laughter of a loved one, the intricate dance of a butterfly. Our senses come alive, unfiltered by judgments or expectations. We discover an infinite wellspring of joy within, not dependent on external circumstances but nourished by the simple act of being.

The next time you find yourself worrying about something that may or may not happen, or feeling bad about what you did or didn’t do, see it as an opportunity to practice the art of letting go. Instead of getting swept away by your thoughts, become aware and mindful of your breath, your surroundings, and your inner world. Let go of the mental chatter and simply be.

Practice: Take a few minutes each day to sit quietly and focus on your breath. Notice the rise and fall of your chest, the inhales and exhales. As thoughts arise, acknowledge them gently and let them go without judgment.

2. “Don’t search for the truth; just cease to cherish opinions.”

In a world saturated with information and conflicting perspectives, Tilopa encourages us to let go of our attachment to opinions. Instead of seeking the ultimate truth, we can find freedom by embracing open-mindedness and being receptive to new ideas. Holding onto rigid beliefs limits our ability to learn and grow. Instead, cultivate a spirit of curiosity, welcome diverse viewpoints, and let go of the need to be right. By releasing our attachment to fixed beliefs, we open ourselves up to personal growth and a deeper understanding of the world.

Practice: Engage in conversations with people who hold different points of view. Listen actively and without judgment. Seek to understand their perspective rather than simply defending your own.

3. “Be aware of what is happening, and you will naturally become more present.”

Mindfulness is the cornerstone of Tilopa’s teachings. He emphasizes the importance of cultivating awareness in our daily lives. By paying attention to our thoughts, emotions, and actions, we break free from the autopilot mode and become more present and connected to the world around us. Mindfulness allows us to make conscious choices and live with intention, rather than being driven by unconscious habits.

Practice: Throughout the day, take short mindful pauses. Notice your physical sensations, your emotional state, and the thoughts passing through your mind. Don’t judge, just observe.

4. “There is nothing to do. There is nothing to undo.”

These seemingly paradoxical words from Tilopa challenges our constant striving and seeking and invites us to embrace the concept of non-doing. Instead of wanting more and seeking external validation, we can find contentment in simply being. Although at first glance, his words seem to be a call to inaction, I believe they’re a suggestion to embrace the transformative power of acceptance. By accepting ourselves and our circumstances, flaws and all, we unlock a wellspring of inner peace and freedom.

Surprisingly when you accept that you and everything around you is already perfect, and that you don’t need to improve it, you become instantly free to make the changes you truly desire. Embracing non-doing isn’t about becoming passive and ceasing all action. It’s about shifting from a place of compulsion and self-criticism to a space of genuine inspiration and alignment with your true self. It’s a deep knowing that real transformation begins with acceptance.

By accepting yourself just as you are, with all of your flaws, you release the pressure to avoid criticism, prove your self-worth, and be someone you’re not. This inner freedom opens the door for genuine growth, allowing you to make authentic choices, not out of external pressure, but from a place of clarity and wisdom.

Paradoxically, this state of non-doing can become a catalyst for powerful action. When we let go of the need to control, to force, to manipulate, we become more receptive to the flow of life. We can respond to situations with clarity and insight, guided by our inner wisdom rather than external pressures. Imagine an artist not forced to sculpt a masterpiece, but instead, gently guiding the clay into its natural form. This is the essence of non-doing – trusting your inner potential and letting life unfold in its own perfect timing.

Take a moment to imagine a seed nestled in the earth. It doesn’t frantically push through the soil, but trusts the darkness, the moisture, the pressure, knowing these are necessary for its emergence. In its stillness, it gathers energy and prepares for its transformation. This is the power of non-doing – not a passive resignation, but a deep knowing that true transformation begins with acceptance.

So, the next time you find yourself caught up in the relentless pursuit of “doing,” take a moment to breathe, to simply be. In that quiet space, you might discover that true transformation begins not with action, but with authentic acceptance.

Practice: Instead of chasing external validation or happiness, focus on cultivating inner peace and acceptance. Take time to appreciate who you are, right now, in this moment.

5. “If you want to know the truth, don’t think.”

Tilopa encourages us to transcend the limitations of the analytical mind and tap into a deeper knowing. Overthinking can often cloud our judgment and prevent us from accessing our intuition. By quieting the mind and cultivating inner stillness, we can connect with our inner wisdom and gain a deeper understanding of ourselves and the world.

6. “Let go of the idea of becoming someone, because you are already a masterpiece.”

In a society that often measures success by external achievements, Tilopa reminds us of our inherent worthiness. We don’t need to constantly strive to become someone else or seek validation from others. Embracing our unique qualities and recognizing our own inner beauty allows us to live authentically and find fulfillment in being true to ourselves.

7. “Do not be concerned with the faults of others. Do not see others’ faults with a hateful mind. There is no one in the world who is not at fault.”

Tilopa teaches us the importance of compassion and understanding towards others. By recognizing our own imperfections, we can cultivate empathy and compassion for those around us. Instead of judging others, we can choose to focus on our own growth and contribute to a more harmonious and compassionate world.

8. “When the mind is at peace, the world too is at peace.”

Tilopa highlights the profound connection between our inner state and the external world. By cultivating inner peace and calmness, we contribute to a more peaceful and harmonious world. Our personal transformation has a ripple effect, influencing those around us and creating a positive impact on society as a whole.

9. “Know that the essence of all things is emptiness.”

Tilopa encourages us to explore the concept of emptiness, which does not imply a lack, but rather an infinite potential. By recognizing the impermanence of all things and letting go of attachment, we can tap into the vast possibilities that life offers. Embracing emptiness allows us to live with a sense of freedom and openness to new experiences.

10. “The most important practice is to relax.”

Tilopa’s final quote encapsulates the essence of his teachings. In the midst of our busy lives, it is crucial to find moments of relaxation and rest. By creating space for stillness and relaxation, we recharge our energy and connect with our inner selves. This practice enables us to navigate life’s challenges with grace and cultivate a more intentional and fulfilling existence.


Tilopa’s wisdom continues to resonate with individuals seeking a more intentional and purposeful life. Through his profound quotes, we are reminded of the importance of living in the present moment, embracing open-mindedness, cultivating awareness, and finding peace within ourselves. By integrating Tilopa’s teachings into our lives, we can embark on a transformative journey of self-discovery and create a positive impact on the world around us.

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About the author

Hi, I’m Robert Louis Sims …A.K.A. Rob
I’ve been studying the psychology of achievement since 1989, when I picked up a copy of How to Sell Anything to Anybody by Joe Girard. Since then, I’ve been obsessed with learning the difference between people I have now come to call Intentional Achievers and everyone else.
If you’re looking to take your career, relationships, health, energy, productivity, influence, and life to the next level, then I invite you to join me on Achievement Made Simple.
My mission is to find the principles of achievement and share them with you in a simple way that makes them easy to understand and use in our everyday lives.

Robert Louis Sims

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