“The root of suffering is attachment.”

root-of-suffering-is-attachment-570x377

Message:
Hello,

I would like to know if the following is a Buddha quote or not:
“The root of suffering is attachment.”

Thanks,
Ozkan

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, …

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“Health is the greatest gift, contentment is the greatest wealth”

Health is the greatest gift,
contentment is the greatest wealth,
a trusted friend is the best relative,
Liberated mind is the greatest bliss.

This one’s very common and it’s legitimate. It’s verse 204 of the Dhammapada, in a translation by Daw Mya Tin. He has

Health is the greatest gift,
contentment is the greatest wealth,
a trusted friend is the best relative,
Nibbana is the greatest bliss.

“Nibbana” has been changed to “liberated mind” in the Facebook version, but that’s fair enough, since it makes the verse understandable to non-Buddhists without significantly changing the meaning.

Buddharakkhita in Access to …

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“He who loves 50 people has 50 woes; he who loves no one has no woes.”

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.

Surprisingly, this one is a …

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“If you knew what I know about the power of giving, you would not let a single meal pass without sharing it in some way.”

I was asked today what I made of this quote:

“If you knew what I know about the power of giving, you would not let a single meal pass without sharing it in some way.”

My correspondent said, “I like it very much, but it sounds very much like a later translation/adaptation of something the Buddha might have said, but less soundbite-y and eloquent.”

The exact wording in that quotation is from Jack Kornfield and Joseph Goldstein’s 1987 book, Seeking the Heart of Wisdom, but it’s a reasonably good paraphrase of a passage from the Itivuttika.

Access to …

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“We will develop love, we will practice it, we will make it both a way and a basis…”

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

I was suspicious too, but this is …

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“People with opinions just go around bothering each other.”

“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.

Bhikkhu Thanissaro translates this verse as:

“Those who grasp at perceptions and views
go about butting their



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“If anything is worth doing, do it with all your heart.”

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.”

Here are some variant translations:

  • If anything is


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