“The mind is everything. What you think, you become.”

the-mind-is-everything.-what-you-think-you-become-buddha-235x300“What you think, you become,” or sometimes “The mind is everything. What you think, you become,” is commonly attributed to the Buddha, but doesn’t seem to be scriptural. At best an overly-free — well, inaccurate — paraphrase.

Jayarava did a blog article on this one some time ago and concluded it was not from the Buddha. His exposition is rather long, but worth reading. I agree with him, by the way.

The closest I know of to this quote is in Majjhima Nikaya 19, “Whatever a monk keeps pursuing with his thinking and pondering, that becomes the inclination of his awareness.” That’s a rather different statement, of course.

“What you think, you become” has always puzzled me. If I think about Lady Gaga I’m not going to become an outré pop star. But that’s probably just me being literalist. I suppose it’s intended to mean something like “Whatever a monk keeps pursuing with his thinking and pondering, that becomes the inclination of his awareness.”

Here’s a fuller version of that quote:

Whatever a monk keeps pursuing with his thinking and pondering, that becomes the inclination of his awareness. If a monk keeps pursuing thinking imbued with sensuality, abandoning thinking imbued with renunciation, his mind is bent by that thinking imbued with sensuality. If a monk keeps pursuing thinking imbued with ill will, abandoning thinking imbued with non-ill will, his mind is bent by that thinking imbued with ill will. If a monk keeps pursuing thinking imbued with harmfulness, abandoning thinking imbued with harmlessness, his mind is bent by that thinking imbued with harmfulness.

This is from a sutta called the Dvedhavitakka, or “Two Modes of Thinking,” where the Buddha is talking about his realization, before his Awakening, that there were two tendencies within the mind.

First, he would notice that, ‘Thinking imbued with sensuality [or ill will, or harmfulness] has arisen in me; and that leads to my own affliction or to the affliction of others or to the affliction of both. It obstructs discernment, promotes vexation, and does not lead to Nibbana.’

He further noticed that as he mindfully observed this kind of thinking, with an awareness that it led to suffering, it would subside.

Second, he would notice that ‘Thinking imbued with renunciation [and non ill will, and non-harmfulness] has arisen in me; and that leads neither to my own affliction, nor to the affliction of others, nor to the affliction of both. It fosters discernment, promotes lack of vexation, and leads to Nibbana.’

And having observed the arising of this kind of thinking, he would give it his mindful attention. As he says, in a rather lovely simile:

Just as in the last month of the hot season, when all the crops have been gathered into the village, a cowherd would look after his cows: While resting under the shade of a tree or out in the open, he simply keeps himself mindful of ‘those cows.’ In the same way, I simply kept myself mindful of ‘those mental qualities.’

From that point on, to cut a long story short, he entered the jhānas and then got enlightened.

So this is the context of “Whatever a monk keeps pursuing with his thinking and pondering, that becomes the inclination of his awareness.” It means that the mind is trainable, and what kind of thoughts we put our energy into come to shape the mind, and affect both its affective tone (are we happy or unhappy) and its ability to discern the truth.

It’s been suggested that the “what you think, you become” quote may also stem from the first two verses of the Dhammapada, which express in poetic form what the Dvedhavitakka Sutta explains in a more expanded form:

1. Mind precedes all mental states. Mind is their chief; they are all mind-wrought. If with an impure mind a person speaks or acts suffering follows him like the wheel that follows the foot of the ox.

2. Mind precedes all mental states. Mind is their chief; they are all mind-wrought. If with a pure mind a person speaks or acts happiness follows him like his never-departing shadow.

These verses are from the “Chapter on the Pairs” (Yamakavagga) which explores these two modes of thinking, or being.

This derivation, rather than the Dvedhavitakka Sutta origin, may be supported by the fact that “What you think, you become” is often seen in another form: “The mind is everything; What you think, you become.” The connection may not be obvious, but sometimes those Dhammapada verses have been translated to include “our life is the creation of our mind” rather than “our mind is the creation of our thoughts.” And it’s not a great leap from “our life is the creation of our mind” to “the mind is everything.” So that may be the origin of this suspect quote.

Eknath Easwaran’s translation of the first verse of the Dhammapada in fact begins, “Our life is shaped by our mind, for we become what we think.” This is not at all far from “The mind is everything; What you think, you become.”

And that fuller version of the quote is very old indeed. I’ve found it in a 1897 book, In Tune with the Infinite, by Ralph Waldo Trine. Trine used “The mind is everything; What you think, you become” in several of his books, but I haven’t been able to establish where he got it from. I’ll keep looking.

These two Dhammapada verses are often rendered in a very different way from how they were intended, along the lines of “The world is the creation of your mind” — but that’s for another fake Buddha Quote post.

PS A close match is from a non-Buddhist source: ‘You are what you think’ (from the 11th verse of Chapter 1 of the ‘Ashtavakra Gita’ – Marshall’s translation, 2005).

Also, Easwaran’s translation of Dhammapada verse 1 has “Our life is shaped by our mind; we become what we think.” However, the first line of Dhammapada 1 is Manopubbaṅgamā dhammā manoseṭṭhā manomayā.

I would translate this as “All experiences (dhammā) are preceded by mind (Manopubbaṅgamā), having mind as their master (manoseṭṭhā) created by mind (manomayā).”

I don’t see anything in there that corresponds to “we become what we think.”

If you like it, share it!
Share on TumblrShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Share on FacebookEmail this to someonePin on PinterestShare on StumbleUponTweet about this on Twitter

46 thoughts on ““The mind is everything. What you think, you become.””

  1. Thanks for this article; it was informative.

    I think that the idea that “the mind is everything” is often used as a defense mechanism, since it allows one to deny any aspect of reality which is anxiety-provoking or causes stress.

    I try to maintain equanimity even when aspects of reality are anxiety-provoking, although it is easier said than done. I’m still not convinced that training the mind in this way is the path to the cessation of suffering; it seems to make logical sense, but in practice, it seems like some aspects of mind are hard-wired, and cannot be trained.

  2. Lecture by Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh

    Did he gave the words of Buddha a spin?

    The Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha, Vol 1
    Talks given from 21/06/79 am to 30/04/80 am
    The Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha, Vol 1
    Chapter #1
    Chapter title: We are what we think
    21 June 1979 am in Buddha Hall

    WE ARE WHAT WE THINK.
    ALL THAT WE ARE ARISES WITH OUR THOUGHTS.
    WITH OUR THOUGHTS WE MAKE THE WORLD.
    SPEAK OR ACT WITH AN IMPURE MIND
    AND TROUBLE WILL FOLLOW YOU
    AS THE WHEEL FOLLOWS THE OX THAT DRAWS THE CART.
    WE ARE WHAT WE THINK.
    ALL THAT WE ARE ARISES WITH OUR THOUGHTS.
    WITH OUR THOUGHTS WE MAKE THE WORLD.
    SPEAK OR ACT WITH A PURE MIND
    AND HAPPINESS WILL FOLLOW YOU
    AS YOUR SHADOW, UNSHAKABLE.
    “LOOK HOW HE ABUSED ME AND BEAT ME,
    HOW HE THREW ME DOWN AND ROBBED ME.”
    LIVE WITH SUCH THOUGHTS AND YOU LIVE IN HATE.
    “LOOK HOW HE ABUSED ME AND BEAT ME,
    HOW HE THREW ME DOWN AND ROBBED ME.”
    ABANDON SUCH THOUGHTS, AND LIVE IN LOVE.
    IN THIS WORLD
    HATE NEVER YET DISPELLED HATE.
    ONLY LOVE DISPELS HATE.
    THIS IS THE LAW,
    ANCIENT AND INEXHAUSTIBLE.
    YOU TOO SHALL PASS AWAY.
    KNOWING THIS, HOW CAN YOU QUARREL?
    HOW EASILY THE WIND OVERTURNS A FRAIL TREE.

    Dhammapada Vol 1 Osho
    SEEK HAPPINESS IN THE SENSES,
    INDULGE IN FOOD AND SLEEP,
    AND YOU TOO WILL BE UPROOTED.
    THE WIND CANNOT OVERTURN A MOUNTAIN.
    TEMPTATION CANNOT TOUCH THE MAN
    WHO IS AWAKE, STRONG AND HUMBLE,
    WHO MASTERS HIMSELF AND MINDS THE LAW.
    IF A MAN’S THOUGHTS ARE MUDDY,
    IF HE IS RECKLESS AND FULL OF DECEIT,
    HOW CAN HE WEAR THE YELLOW ROBE?
    WHOEVER IS MASTER OF HIS OWN NATURE,
    BRIGHT, CLEAR AND TRUE,
    HE MAY INDEED WEAR THE YELLOW ROBE.

    1. Rajneesh/Osho did in fact mangle or even invent quite a few Buddha quotes — you can search for “Osho” on this site and find some examples — but in this case the translation was not his.

      In fact, technically it’s not a translation at all, but a “rendering” (the word used by the publisher). This version is from Thomas Byrom’s Dhammapada, which is almost certainly the most inaccurate one that’s ever been published. As far as I know, Byrom didn’t know any Pali, and relied on others’ translations and his own creative impulses to put together a highly poetic and beautiful Dhammapada that at times unfortunately has little relation to the original language

  3. Dear friend,
    As you must know, Buddha taught the hinayana (small vehicle), mahayana (great vehicle) and the Vajrayana (tantric buddhism). If you are a strict Hinayana you won’t believe in the Buddhism of Dalai Lama and the Mahayana Buddhism of Nargajuna, Bodhidharma and many others.
    In the Vajrayana and Mahayana it is that everything is the manifestation of our thoughts. So it is not a fake Buddha’s quotation. The only here who is misleading others and explaining wrong is you.

    If you really believe that you are lady Gaga you will be a pop star, with millions of fans and full of money (on your mind). Wether you will be considered as madman on the society is another thing. You are what you believe. Buddha stated that clearly in hundreds of occasion. Please, read the works of the yogachara and mind only school of the mahayana branch. You can read Asanga and Vasubhandu works. They are considered to be among the 6 main Mahayana masters. So, please, get more informed, open the mind and don’t keep Buddhism on the confines of Hinayana view. Buddhism has 3 branches at least, wether you believe it or not.

    Thank you
    Warm regards
    Lady Gaga

    1. This may come as an unwelcome shock, but the Buddha did not teach “Hinayana,” Mahayana, and Vajrayana. Although that’s the myth that’s found embedded in the teachings of the latter two yanas, the Buddha did not teach any “yana” at all: He taught simply “Buddhadharma,” without holding anything back (as he said in the Parinibbana sutta). The Mahayana and Vajrayana were later historical developments. There are plenty of sources of information on Buddhist history, and you might want to consult some of them rather than merely repeating what your own tradition says.

      “Hina” by the way, means “inferior” or “lowly,” rather than “small.” It’s a term of abuse devised by the Mahayana as a way of asserting their perceived superiority. In the spirit of the Buddha’s teachings on right speech, you might want to avoid using such a pejorative term.

  4. Again, you are misleading people. Buddha taught the Buddhadharma which by itself is a “yana”. And the first tantra was taught by Buddha himself in Amaravati and it is historically recorded on the sutras of the Tibetan canon. Whether you accept it or not is another thing. The Dalai Lama, the most influential Buddhist master of this time, has been in Amaravati giving the same teachings that were given by Buddha. And the Mahayana teachings of emptiness and bodhicitta were given by Buddha himself in the vulture peak in Rajgir and other places and it is recorded on the Mahayana sutra. There are plenty of sources of information on Buddhist history, and you might want to consult some of them rather than merely repeating what your own tradition says. Certainly the crooked history your are reading is from Hinayana source or skeptical western scholars who love to distort the history and talk about what they have no knowledge. The highest authority of the Vajrayana teachings is Dalai Lama and not those uninformed historians which many times are not even buddhist. Some of them would even say that Buddha did not exist. Mahayana and Vajrayana are teachings from the Buddha’s time. You should inform yourself.

    If the Buddha had taught only one “yana”, why the hinayanists or Theravada don’t accept the teachings of bodhicitta and the Vajrayana meditation as authentic teachings? Was Nagarjuna, Asanga, Dalai Lama all wrong and teaching something that is not Buddhism?

    If you want to say that those quotes are wrong, at least inform people that it is wrong accordingly with the Theravada tradition and not from the Mahayana and Vajrayana. If you don’t know you should not comment about and be misleading people.

    Hina can means inferior, lowly but it is best translated as “lesser” in the context. Small vehicle as a contrast to big vehicle is also a valid translation since it is called small because the Hinayana is a vehicle for self-liberation while the Mahayana talk about liberating all sentient being. How could be teachings that are just for one self-liberation be the buddhas teachings while the other who teach about liberate all beings be not the teachings of Buddha?

    A question, why in your tradition there is no vow of returning after enlightenment to continue to help sentient beings? Why just be in nirvana and forget to come to help the mother sentient beings?

    fakebuddhaquotesforthehinayana.com
    you should change the name of the link

    1. Oh, dear. You really do take a literalist view of Buddhist scripture, with no awareness of the historical evolution of the tradition. That’s rather sad.

      It’s also sad that you reflexly assume that someone who disagrees with your literalist and fundamentalist views must be a “Hinayanist” or a Theravadin. I do not in fact practice in the Theravadin tradition, and your question about “my tradition” is therefore moot.

  5. You have first to read the vajra, maha and hina full canon, interpret them and memorize then in full and then you can start to say that this or that quote is wrong. I had a short look on the quotes you say are fake. Maybe some kitschy translations there but I can’t say everything is fake, I have not read all the sutras and sastras so instead of spreading misunderstanding you could rather study the sutras.

    Another thing is that many times traslations are translated in a loose way with modern words sometimes. It is not that it is wrong but the translation is made in a modern way or in a certain context.
    Hinayana interprets the teachings of the Buddha in a literal way while Mahayana interprets the Buddha’s teachings accordingly with the meaning.

    I will bookmark your blog. I have some questions about the Hinayana tradition. If there are no yanas so there is no one who will get offended due the use of the word “Hinayana” 😛

    Best

    1. If you think some of the quotes I’ve said are fake are in fact canonical, then please point me to a source. I’m always open to changing my mind, because I have no desire to present inaccurate information. I count anything that’s in the any of the Buddhist scriptures as being authentic.

      When a translation is “loose,” I only count it as false when it is so far from the original that it conveys something very different. At least I think I do.

      You really should stop using the term “Hinayana.” What does it say about your practice that you continue to use a pejorative term after it’s been pointed out to you that it’s offensive?

    1. I’d disagree that the Buddha expressed this idea over and over. He did say that what we repeatedly dwell on becomes the tendency of the mind (in other words we develop mental habits through repetition), but that is very different from the very vague and ambiguous statement that we become what we think.

  6. Bodhipaksa, you are wrong. First, you study the teachings of the yogachara tradition then you can say that, specially on the internet. Misleading people on your wrong view. Look for the masters of mind only tradition in Japan and China, and specially Tibetan masters and they will tell you hundreds of quotes that buddha says, “EVERYTHING IS MIND” in the sense that reality is what you see, what you conceive.

    You are not even a Buddhist master, how can you be talking about what the buddha said or not with so much certainty?!

    You are just creating bad karma to yourself and teaching bullshit to others.

    1. The Buddha did not teach the Yogacara, therefore your argument doesn’t hold water. And do you really have to stoop to telling people what their karma is? You’re not a Buddha. And to throwing around insults like “bullshit”? Maybe you should spend more time learning about basic Buddhist ethics and a little less time on Vijñānavāda.

      Anyway, if everything is mind, then presumably you’re arguing with yourself. Perhaps you could find better things do do with your time 🙂

  7. Yes, what you are telling others is completely bullshit. You first read the Avatamsaka sutra, which is one of the bases of yogachara and mind only school. Who are you, stupid man who doesn’t know about Buddas teachings to say that the yogachara is not Buddha’s teachings? All Chinese and Japanese Buddhists they know it is from Buddha and you are the only stupid here without knowledge who is telling bullshit. You do not even know what you are saying.

    If people wish to understand
    All Buddhas of the three periods of time,
    They should contemplate the nature of the Dharma Realm:
    Everything is made from the Mind Alone.
    (that is from where the “mind only” school start, stupid, you dont know)

    It is from one of the sutras and always quoted by Tibetan masters as a reliable source. You are so dumb, man. If you have any sense of shame you would stop to spread lies about the buddhas teachings.

    All Tibetan masters would tell that it is from Buddha since Tibetan Buddhism is very much connected with yogachara and mind only school.

    If you say it is not Buddha’s teachings it just shows how bullshit is your knowledge about the tradition of Dalai Lama.

    I stop here…it is just that I can’t stand stupid people saying stupid things about the Buddhas teachings. If you don’t know, you should shut up.

    bye bye baby
    Hope you don’t reborn in avichi hell due belittle the buddha’s teachings.

  8. You are not sorry for the suffering of anyone, you are just lying again, stupid baby. your are a lier, fake and you dont know about buddhas teachings.
    your opinion about Buddhas teachings is completely BULSHIT.
    No one gives a shit to your opinion when you stupidly says that Mind Only school teachings are not from Buddha. The whole mahayana and vajrayana would be fake if mind only is not buddhas teachings. We have Bodhidharma, Dogen Zenji, Dalai Lama, Padmashambhava, VAsubhandu, Asanga, Shantideva and many others. And you are just a baby who doesnt know anything Dharma. Your opinion and wrong view is completely uselees in front of the holders of Buddha`s teachings. You are just a sick guy looking for attention in your websites spreading lies. What your are to say what is Buddhas teachings or not.

    I hope you manage to let go of clinging to the idea that the Buddha did not taught emptiness and Yogacara.

      1. THIS is probably the only appropriate reply to the chain of anger, insults, and other very “buddhist-like” responses in these comments…
        For a moment I thought I was reading some fundamentalist christian internet troll.
        It deeply concerns me that some buddhists will go to great extents of studying various texts, traditions, doing so many ceremonies and revering so many religious figures but then seem to forget simple concepts such as “right speech”.

        Anyway thank you Bodhipaksa for all you explanations on this quote.

        1. Indeed, Maria. Clinging to the literal truth of texts (especially the texts’ claims of originating with the Buddha); extreme anger when beliefs are challenged; threatening people with hell for disagreeing with them; I don’t really see much difference between some Buddhists and fundamentalist Christians. It seems some people just swap one dogma for another.

  9. 1-If everything does not arise from mind so it arises from what?
    2-And even interdependence is not understood by the projection of individual mind?
    3-Why shit is delicious for mosquitos and disgusting for human beings? Are not all those projections or creations to different individual beings as process of mind only?
    Please, comment.
    Thank you

    1. 1. What does mind arise from? What does mind create the universe out of? Is it a sort of “In the beginning Mind created the heavens and the earth?” thing?
      2. I’ve no idea what your question means. Sorry!
      3. I believe mosquitoes eat blood, not shit, and I’ve no idea whether they have a sense of taste. But are you suggesting that mosquito minds create blood? If they create blood, then do they also create the rest of the bodies whose blood they feed on? Am I the creation of a mosquito? For that matter, did you create me? Did you write this post?

  10. 1-You did not reply this question. Waiting your reply 🙂
    Mind arises from mind since the beggineless time in a interdependent way. There is no beginning of mind and sentient beings as in the way you suggested.
    universe is just your and mine deluded perception. In Buddhas mind there is nothing as universe or non-universe because it is all dualistic conceptual (mind) and Buddha has no such a dualistic projection. Have you heard that all phenomenas are empty? You can never find ultimately (superior mind) such a thing called universe or non-universe.
    2- basically, the matrix that we live is all the play of interdependence of individual and collective minds projection, no? Why not?
    When you talk about mind you forget interdependence.Why? All minds of beings are in a process of interdependence. Created interdependent due individual and collective karma.
    3- I should say “flyies”. Shit is delicious food for them. If shit was a outer object not created by/and dependent of the mind of the perceiver it should be always dirty and smelly but it is banquet for flies. All mind creation. Everything is mind 🙂
    -But are you suggesting that mosquito minds create blood? If they create blood, then do they also create the rest of the bodies whose blood they feed on? Am I the creation of a mosquito? Reply:
    Reply for that is YES, their mind create blood with their individual karma plus ALL beings collective mind/karma. All responsability on the mosquito shoulder is not fair, specially on a buddhist context 🙂
    For that matter, did you create me?
    REply: I create my perception of you because “you” doesn’t exist ultimately or truly. You are a false perception (of mind) And you create yourself too. Precess explained above already. Annata 🙂
    Did you write this post? reply: My and your projection together see your post as a post but a lunatic see it as noodles or whatever they come to believe. We 3 are creating different realities of the same object and the object as singular (in some sense) is our collective karma projection.
    4- When you dream there is a outer world there? That is what seems you are suggesting. Dreams should be made of matter accordingly with your logic. Dreams are all mind process without objects but still a hambuguer is delicious in the dream and I get drunnk with beers too.
    Perception of objects trully existing outside is not the Buddha’s teachings, I guess. The blood that you perceive are you sure that mosquitos perceive it as blood too?
    Like dreams, there is even elephants in a small room….all are no other than projection of mind. When you wake up you will see that you were only dreaming. 🙂

    Would be happy to hear good arguments 🙂 But not simplistic, please.
    Thanks

    1. “You did not reply this question. Waiting your reply. There is no beginning of mind and sentient beings as in the way you suggested. universe is just your and mine deluded perception.”

      Well, you’re going to have to keep waiting. This is pure speculation of the kind that the Buddha discouraged, and the suggestion that the universe is nothing more than a deluded perception is contrary to what I understand the Buddha to have taught. He certainly doesn’t seem to have made any such claim.

  11. You are relying in a source that is completely contrary to reality. The Abhidharma explanation of the universe is clear to be nothing to do with the facts. The explanation of the universe on the Abhidharma is scientific proved as wrong. It has nothing to do with the studies of the universe as made by Stephen Halking and all others scientist. That shape of the universe on the Abhidharma only those who believe in myths would believe and that is what you are taking as a prove to your claims…

    What are your arguments to your claim of your understand be right while Asanga is wrong?

  12. Bodhipaksa, your lack of reply is because you don’t know how to explain how you are right and Asanga is wrong? 🙂
    I hope it is not a dogma from hinayana view 🙂
    Normally it is how we follow our religious believes, as dogmas 😛

    1. I’ve already explained why I’m not going to attempt to answer your questions, and I decline to be goaded by your childish accusations.

  13. Dear Bodhipaksa,

    Even during his lifetime, the Buddha was accused several times, some even tried to kill him. But whoever lives by/in Dhamma, will be protected by the Dhamma.

    I am extremely grateful to you for time and energy that you have put in sharing the original Dhamma . I am sincerely glad to see, that you are not only stand for the purity of the Buddha’s teaching bud you are a living example of it.

    Buddha said: “… be islands unto yourselves, refuges unto yourselves, seeking no external refuge; with the Dhamma as your island, the Dhamma as your refuge, seeking no other refuge.” (DN 16; Sister Vajira & Francis Story tr.)
    I see you’ve found this island. 🙂

    May you to be healthy, happy and free from dukkhā!

    Ṭhitañāṇo Bhikkhu

    1. Thank you, Bhante. I’m not sure how good an example of Dharma practice I am, though. I can be a bit snippy in my responses here sometimes!

  14. Calling others childish while not giving any evidence of one’s own claims just helps to confirm your lacking of understanding about the Buddha’s teachings….and only hinayana people like you will agree with your wrong view. In the hinayana they even believe in a indestructible and ultimately existing atom that is already proved by the science that such a thing does not exist.

    Lankavatara-sutra says :
    There is no outer form,
    For such is but projection of the mind itself.
    Because they have not understood the mind,
    The simple think that objects are compounded.

    If you think that there is only mind,
    You will not grant existence to the outer world.
    And dwelling in the perfect observation of the ultimate,
    You will indeed transcend the mind itself.
    Now, when this mind you thus transcend,
    You go beyond the absence of perception.
    Yogis who abide within such nonappearance76
    Behold indeed the Mahayana.

    in the Samadhiraja-sutra:
    If the nature of the mind is understood,
    Even in the outer world, primordial wisdom will arise.

    Mr Bodhipasika, If you say that this Buddha quote is fake then you are saying that all the Tibetan, Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese and Korean Buddhism are not Buddhism and you are the one who knows what buddhism is about.

    The leader of the community you follow (Sangharakshita) also taught the Way of the bodhisattva by Shantideva, a mind only school promulgator.
    In this text on the 5th chapter says:
    (7) Who intentionally created
    All the weapons for the beings in the joyless realms?
    Who created the burning iron ground?
    Where did all the siren-maids come from?
    (8) The Sage has said that all such things as that
    Are (what come from) a mind having negative karmic force.
    Therefore, in the threefold world,
    There’s nothing to fear except the mind.

    If he is wrong, you know buddhism better than Shantideva?

    Everything is mind has being taught clearly by Buddha

    Thanks

    1. I called Filipe’s goading “childish” because he continued to demand answers to questions when I’d pointed out that the Buddha himself said they were unanswerable and a distraction from the spiritual path, and because he chose to insult me for following the Buddha’s teaching not to engage in pointless speculation.

      I assume that by “hinayana” you mean the earliest teachings of Buddhism which — historically, are the closest we’ll get to what the Buddha taught, and which I study — and/or the Theravadin school, of which I am not a follower. Your use of the word “hinayana” for either of these things is sadly misguided. The term was invented as a pejorative by the self-styled Mahayana, with the word “hina” signifying, “base, low, inferior.” To describe the Buddha’s teachings in this way would be appalling. To use those terms to describe another school of Buddhism is, I think, shameful.

      As I’ve said, I don’t follow the Theravada. I study the teachings of the Pali canon because they are the closest we’re going to get to what the Buddha actually taught. It’s not quite “from the horse’s mouth” so to speak, but at least it’s what the stable-boys overheard the horse saying.

      I’ve also studied the Mahayana texts, including, as you know, Shantideva, but including others too. When I study them I take the approach of seeing them in the light of the earlier teachings. It’s worth noting, however, that we don’t have any teachings, in any school, that are guaranteed to be the exact words that the Buddha used. Everything has to be studied critically.

      “If you say that this Buddha quote is fake then you are saying that all the Tibetan, Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese and Korean Buddhism are not Buddhism and you are the one who knows what buddhism is about.”

      I do not use the word “fake” to describe the Mahayana sutras. For the purposes of this site, I regard as “fake” only things that are ascribed to the Buddha that aren’t in any of the canonical texts — Pali or otherwise.

      The Mahayana Sutras were certainly not taught by the Buddha, but that doesn’t necessarily matter. If they were taught by highly advanced practitioners, then they’re spiritually useful. But if those teachings contradict what I understand the historical Buddha to have taught, then I’ll treat them as mistaken. If you disagree with this perspective then that’s inconsequential. You go and take care of your own spiritual practice, and I’ll take care of mine.

  15. You did not read all the triptaka to say that this or that quote is not there…

    The pali text was composed not in the Buddha’s time but in the third council at least 100 years after Buddha passed away in Sri Lanka, not even in India. Buddha also taught in sanskrit and in different languange accordingly with the people’s need and region. When he taught his father I am pretty sure he used the language spoken by the Sakya clan.

    Felipe’s question are not about speculation. They are pratical question for a correct understanding and they don’t follow on the category of the 14 questions that Buddha did not reply. And by the way, Buddha keeped silence to those question on one occasion. Other ocasions he explained.

    The pali canon has invalid things as ultimately existing atom and explanation of the universe that are totally wrong. How can you trust that as the ultimate teachings of the Buddha? How you know that the sanskrit canon was not taught by Buddha? Where you with Buddha for 24 hours?

    I call hinayana because it is for self liberation while the mahayana includes a vow to come again and again to liberate all sentient beings. This vow is not taught among the hinayanist. They do not dedicate their merit with the porpose to remain coming to samsara to help sentient beings…

    Some more quotes:

    Vasubhandu says in the commentary of Pranidhanamharaja:
    “…(things) arise accordingly with the aspiration of your mere thoughts.”

    And Nagarjuna said:
    When you understand mind
    You understand everything.

    When Buddha had just attained enlightenment people came to him and asked if he was a man or a god, he replied simply, “I am awake”, and that is the very meaning of the word “Buddha”: One who has awakened.

    But hinayanists even intellectually continues to believe that this dreamlike state of ignorance is truly existent and shapes and forms has intrinsic reality.

    Again, how would you explain the miracles which break “laws” of shape, form and materialism performed by Buddha and his Arahats?

    And even scientifically, Albert Einstein said: REALITY is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.
    Mr Bodhipaksa, it means that since illusion is a mind process things are no other than projection of mind.

    And you still think that Lady Gaga is an outer phenomena that truly exist… What you think of Lady Gaga is just your mind creation of it. For a lion she is nothing more than food or something else. Lady Gaga is just a mind concept of the one who looks and label it.
    Ultimately and even conventionally, there is nothing “truly existing” as Lady Gaga. Everything is mind creation. In the case of Lady Gaga as a famous person is again the creation of collective human believe. She is not a famous person in the mind of any other animal because animals have no capacity to create “a famous person” in their minds.

    Metta 🙂

    1. I’m not going to deal with your points in detail, because apparently you have a lot more of time on your hands to engage in prapañca than I do. So just a couple of things:

      The pali canon has invalid things as ultimately existing atom

      There’s no such thing in the suttas, as far as I’m aware. The later commentaries do contain the idea of dhammas as come kind of ultimate units of reality. Perhaps that’s what you have in mind?

      …and explanation of the universe that are totally wrong.

      Of course! The Buddha didn’t have access to modern science, and even modern science will one day be laughed at. But those mistakes about the nature of the world don’t affect our ability to become awakened.

      The Mahayana Sutras are also full of scientific inaccuracies, by the way. Any pre-modern text that deals with the universe is.

      How can you trust that as the ultimate teachings of the Buddha?

      Maybe you missed the part where I said that all texts need to be read critically.

      I call hinayana because it is for self liberation

      That’s not the position of the Pali texts, where the Buddha called upon his disciples to go forth, out of compassion, for the welfare of the many. You’re engaging in a classic straw man argument.

  16. You: But if those teachings contradict what I understand the historical Buddha to have taught, then I’ll treat them as mistaken.

    Mr. Bodhipaksa, I advice you to do not doubt the Buddha’s teachings but to doubt your understanding of the Buddha’s teachings because thinking that your limited mind has the true understand of the Buddha’s teachings is to arrogate to yourself some divine knowlegde that you don’t have. You don’t have!

    1. On the one hand you write “I advice you to do not doubt the Buddha’s teachings” and on the other you write “The pali text was composed not in the Buddha’s time but in the third council at least 100 years after Buddha passed away in Sri Lanka, not even in India.” How easily you slip into contradicting yourself. (And the Pali texts were not composed in Sri Lanka.)

      And consider, then, that the Mahayana texts were composed even later, sometimes in China!

      Read critically.

  17. Doubt your understanding but not doubt the teachings whish are the Dharma…you can doubt the texts and it’s explanation, of course. There is no contradiction.

    if the pali was not composed in Sri Lanka then is even more than a 100 years after Buddha. You put it is as valid and the mahayana as invalid because time than the pali must be fake too because it was came a long time after. It is very illogical to put valid on the teachings accordingly with the time it was put in a paper…

    Can you mention any sutra composed in China? I am not talking about Buddha sutra and not the hui neng sutras that the Chinese call sutra as well..

    I will deal later with your first positions…

    See you 🙂

    1. Wait. You’re saying it’s OK to doubt the texts, but not the teachings, when (for the purpose of our discussion here, which is about the authenticity of texts) the teachings are the texts. That makes no sense.

      “if the pali was not composed in Sri Lanka then is even more than a 100 years after Buddha.”

      I’m afraid I don’t know what you’re trying to say here. The suttas were in circulation during the life of the Buddha, and continued to be passed on orally for many generations before being written down. There was editing and expansion going on during this period, but there’s a core element of the suttas that goes back to the words of the Buddha. At least some of the Pali canon is what the Buddha actually said. That makes it well worth studying.

      (By the way you earlier said that the Buddha taught in Sanskrit, which is virtually impossible. The Vinaya specifically forbade the monks from translating the teachings into Sanskrit, since at that time it was a “dead” ritual language, and thus would only be accessible to the Brahmin religious elite. I don’t know of any evidence that the Buddha even knew Sanskrit. He wasn’t a Brahmin, after all.)

      Chinese sutras: Some scholars believe that the Heart Sutra was composed in China, and even more think that’s the case for the Sutra of Forty-two Chapters. But there’s a whole class of sutra developed in China. Some were included in the canon there, but others were recognized as fakes and kept out. Here’s a link to an article on the topic in the Chinese Buddhist Encyclopedia.

      “You put it [i.e. the Pali canon] is as valid and the mahayana as invalid.”

      I’ve made no such claim!

  18. ops, you are not going to post my comment? Hope we can have more chance for discussion. Both learn 🙂

    Hope you are well

  19. Hi, I just saw on my search your video and book on vegetarianism on the youtube…I don’t know what is the karma that is bring you to me again. haha
    Can you offer me one book as a gift?! 🙂
    Maybe you send me by email?
    Thank you 😀

    1. Perhaps you’re unaware of how much time and effort goes into writing a book, and how little authors earn in return. If you want to “save all sentient beings” maybe you need to start by putting your hand in your pocket.

  20. I think you are angry because you lost the debate and you don’t put my comment because you want to save your face. You don’t want to show you lost the debate.
    If you can open your hand to save sentient beings I still accept the gift of the book. I am making a documentary on the subject of compassion to the animals. I will work for 2 years only for the benefit of beings and not expecting people put the hand in their pockets to give me money 🙂
    I can send you my address in India to you offer me book, Thanks 🙂

    I found a 200 years old tibetan commentary that says a quote of Buddha very similar to this one you say is fake. But it do not specify from wich sutra…after I post it here.

    1. I’m not angry at all, and as I said the reason I haven’t replied to your very long comments yet is that I haven’t had the time.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *