Hello! I have come across this quote and would like to know your input. (smells fishy). Thank you! Buddha was asked: “What have you gained from Meditation?” He replied: “Nothing.” “However”, Buddha said, “let me tell you what I lost : Anger, Anxiety, Depression, Insecurity, Fear of Old, Age and Death.”
That one’s as fishy as a barrel of mackerel.
This particular quote is found in many variants. The locus classicus for this particular version would seem to be Eknath Easwaran’s introduction to his translation of the Dhammapada, which itself is the source of a number of Fake Buddha Quotes. Here’s the relevant portion of the introduction:
Someone once asked the Buddha skeptically, “What have you gained through meditation.”
The Buddha replied, “Nothing at all.”
“Then, Blessed One, what good is it.”
“Let me tell you what I lost through meditation: sickness, anger, depression, insecurity, the burden of old age, the fear of death. That is the good of meditation, which leads to nirvana.”
That was first published in 1985.
That in turn seems to be based on something published in 1973 — World Buddhism, Volume 22 — by the World Fellowship of Buddhists.
It may be stating the case too strongly to say that in meditation one seeks to gain nothing. For there is an increase in happiness and peace of mind. But when asked, “What have you gained from meditation?”, the answer would be: “It is not what I have gained that is important but rather what I have diminished, namely, greed, hatred, and delusion.”
This is clearly not the Buddha who is supposed to be speaking, but simply a hypothetical meditator.
The quote — as indicated — is found in a number of forms on various blogs as well as in a few books. One book attempts to make the quote a bit more similar to the style of the Pali canon by throwing in a “blessed one”:
Someone once asked the Buddha: “What have you gained through meditation?” The Buddha replied, “Nothing at all.”
“Then, Blessed One, what good is it?”
The Buddha said: “Let me tell you what I have lost in meditation: sickness, depression…
It would have been better also to have reverted to the traditional “greed, hatred, and delusion” that World Buddhism used, especially given that the Buddha was hardly immune to sickness, and in fact died of food poisoning.