“Without health life is not life; it is only a state of langour and suffering – an image of death.”

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Andy Rickford kindly kicked off the new year by emailing me this little gem:

Here’s a nice one to start the year for you, Bodhipaksa: “Without health life is not life; it is only a state of langour and suffering – an image of death.”

This is attributed to the Buddha on brainyquote.com and searchquotes.com. If you google there a zillions of hits, often health-related blogs or articles. There’s even a coffee mug!

This quote seems bogus to me because the Buddha taught us how to live at peace with the reality of illness, old age and death. Whereas this quote is expressing aversion to both illness and death.

Elsewhere on the web it is attributed to Rabelais, which seems a great deal more feasible. But feasibility isn’t proof, so can your investigative skills settle the matter for sure? Buddha, Rabelais or A.N.Other? (Place your bets ladeez’n’genmen!)

And it is Rabelais. It’s from the “Author’s Prologue” to the fourth book of Gargantua and Pantagruel.

I wonder how many people have the mug?

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