Tibetan Proverbs

Enjoy dozens of witty and insightful Tibetan proverbs and idioms that have been passed down from one generation to the next for hundreds of years!

  • Cold hearts can find warm words.
  • The person who gets stuck on trivial prosperity will not attain great prosperity.
  • You are only master of food that you haven’t yet eaten.
  • If I know I will die tomorrow, I can still learn something tonight.
  • Each lama has his own teaching.
  • Don’t try to wipe someone else’s rear if yours is unwiped.
  • Better once to see than many times to hear.
  • To set fire to the wood, you need the help of the wind.
  • All the world’s great journeys begin with the first step.
  • Only a certain amount of flowers and jewels are beautiful.
  • Luck that lasts is always suspected.
  • To change the world, we must first change ourselves.
  • The wish is father to the thought.
  • The wise man’s wealth lies in good deeds that follow ever after him.
  • Traveling is a return to the essentials.
  • A hundred male and a hundred female qualities make a perfect human being.
  • If it is here, it is everywhere; if it is not here, it is nowhere.
  • If the master gets drunk, it is an honorable drunkenness; if the servant does, it is evidence of his mean disposition.
  • A father deserted by a wise son is like being caught in a shower without a felt.
  • He who knows a great deal has a hundred eyes.
  • No matter if you eat a little or a lot of garlic, the smell is just as strong.
  • When a king is about to lose his power, his orders burn more intensely than fire.
  • It is easy to see the fly on the other person’s nose, while ignoring the horse on your own.
  • The highest art is the art of living an ordinary life in an extraordinary manner.
  • Cling not to experiences for ever-changing are they.
  • Spreading the news is also multiplying it.
  • A lie is like a jump from a high roof.
  • Without an axe, no tree can be cut down.
  • With a resolute heart, a mouse can lift an elephant.
  • The young magpie that pulls feathers out of its mother thinks that it is showing gratitude.
  • Having drunk the country’s water, one should obey the country’s laws.
  • If your inner mind isn’t deceived, your outer actions won’t be wrong.
  • Beat a Chinese long enough and he will talk Tibetan.
  • At the bottom of patience is Heaven.
  • The unfortunate would be bitten by toothless dogs.
  • Excellent goodness speaks in a whisper—evil shouts.
  • Master and servant—both have the same odor.
  • If there is only one earring among seven daughters, there will always be a quarrel on festival days.
  • A child without education is like a bird without wings.
  • By pride, one causes virtue to decline.
  • Thieves never steal bells.
  • It is hard work to be the mother of many pigs.
  • To a Tendai monk, everything is wonderful.
  • Words are mere bubbles of water; deeds are drops of gold.
  • There are no incurable diseases, only incurable people.
  • When you die, you rejoice, and the world cries.
  • Lies are short-lived.
  • Sow good and you’ll reap good; sow bad and you’ll reap bad.
  • Credulity breeds credulity and ends in hypocrisy.
  • Better than the young man’s knowledge is the old man’s experience.

For thousands more proverbs and words of wisdom, collected from over 40 countries, check out Proverbs from Around the World!

2 thoughts on “Tibetan Proverbs

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    Eliza D. says:

    Tibet has such a fascinating culture. I really love “A child without education is like a bird without wings.” Such an effective image.

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