A friend recently passed this on, thinking it sounded false. It’s actually a reasonably accurate translation of Dhammapada verse 223, which in Buddharakkhita’s translation is:
Overcome the angry by non-anger; overcome the wicked by goodness; overcome the miser by generosity; overcome the liar by truth.
The only real difference is the choice of verb: “silence” in the suspect quote, versus “overcome” in Buddharakhita’s version.
In the Pali the verb used is “jine” which is definitely “conquer” or “overcome.” It’s what’s called the “third person singular optative,” which means that it’s “one should conquer.” It’s kind of an instruction.
I would like to know if the following is a Buddha quote or not:
“The root of suffering is attachment.”
This precise wording wasn’t familiar to me, and I’d assumed that it was an interpretation of Buddhist teaching rather than something the Buddha said himself, but there is a saying from the Pali canon, upadhi dukkhassa mūlanti, which means “Attachment is the root of suffering.” So this is a genuine canonical quote.
You’ll find it in this sutta, but translated by Thanissaro as “Acquisition is the root of stress.” His translations are rather idiosyncratic, …
A reader, Andy, wrote to me about this one. The subject line of the email was “PLEASE tell me this one is bogus!” I knew I was in store for something interesting.
Andy continued: “I hope you can confirm my gut feeling that this is a fake Buddha quote: ‘He who loves 50 people has 50 woes; he who loves no one has no woes.’ This seems a total distortion of the concept of non-attachment. And obviously completely at odds with loving kindness practice.” He pointed out that this quote is found on many sites.
A reader called Geoffrey sent this one to me, saying:
My meditation teacher used this quote but she didn’t know the source of it. It’s really quite beautiful, but I am pretty suspicious it doesn’t come from the mouth of the Buddha.
“It is in this way that we must train ourselves: By liberation of the self through love, We will develop love, We will practice it, We will make it both a way and a basis, Take a stand upon it, store it up, and thoroughly set it going.” – the Buddha
“People with opinions just go around bothering each other.”
When I first saw this quote I thought I was certain that it was fake. After a bit of investigation I came to be conclusion that it’s a paraphrase, but close enough to the original to be considered a genuine quote.
The original of this striking verse is found in the Magandiya Suta in the Sutta Nipata, which is generally held to be one of the oldest collection of texts in the Pali canon.
When I first saw this quote on Twitter, my suspicious were aroused. It just seemed too neat and “literary” to be a genuine Buddha quote. But having researched it I’ve concluded that it’s a translation that’s just close enough to the original to be considered genuine.
“If anything is worth doing, do it with all your heart.”
It’s from Eknath Easwaran’s translation of the Dhammapada, which is generally held in high regard, although I confess I haven’t read it. This particular quote is part of verse 313, from the chapter on “Hell.”