“If the problem can be solved why worry? If the problem cannot be solved worrying will do you no good.”

I was introduced to this particular Fake Buddha Quote by someone who wanted to show me their Buddha quote website. As is often the case, most of his quotes were fake.

This one comes from Shantideva’s Bodhicaryavatara, or “Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life.” Shantideva was an 8th century Indian teacher who was a monk at Nalanda University. This work outlines a Mahayana concept of a compassionate path to awakening—one where your motivation for spiritual growth is not to benefit just yourself but all beings.

There’s a lot of great stuff in the “Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way …

Read the rest of this article » ““If the problem can be solved why worry? If the problem cannot be solved worrying will do you no good.””

There is no “anatta doctrine”

Bhikkhu Thanissaro—prolific translator of Buddhist texts and a member of what I called the League of Extraordinary Gentle-Bhikkhus—has a great article in Tricycle debunking the idea that the Buddha taught that there was no self. Not only that, but he shows how a teaching the Buddha rejected became seen as his central doctrine.

This emphasis on the self not existing is often paired with the expression “anatta doctrine” or “no-self doctrine,” as if this was something the Buddha actually taught.

Here are the first three results for “anatta doctrine” that came up on Google.

The first, from Wikipedia, says “According …

Read the rest of this article » “There is no “anatta doctrine””

“If you find truth in any religion or philosophy, then accept that truth without prejudice.”

This one is from a longer quote purporting to be from the Digha Nikaya, which is a legitimate collection of Buddhist scriptures:

Sakka asked the Buddha: “Do different religious teachers head for the same goal or practice the same disciplines or aspire to the same thing?” “No, Sakka, they do not. And why? This world is made up of myriad different states of being, and people adhere to one or another of these states and become tenaciously possessive of them, saying, ‘This alone is true, everything else is false.’ It is like a territory that they believe is theirs. So



Read the rest of this article » ““If you find truth in any religion or philosophy, then accept that truth without prejudice.””

“Practice the dhamma to perfection. Do not practice it in a faulty manner.”

I was asked about this one today:

Practice the dhamma to perfection. Do not practice it in a faulty manner. He who follows the teaching in the proper manner will live in peace and comfort both in this world and in the next.

My correspondent was suspicious of the “next life” reference, but that’s actually fine. In fact there wasn’t anything that flagged this one up as being “off” for me. I can well imagine the Buddha of the Pali scriptures using these words.

It turns out, though, that these are not quite the Buddha’s words. I feel like I’m …

Read the rest of this article » ““Practice the dhamma to perfection. Do not practice it in a faulty manner.””

“She who knows life flows, feels no wear or tear, needs no mending or repair.”

When I Googled this quote — “She who knows life flows, feels no wear or tear, needs no mending or repair” — the first ten results all said it was by the Buddha. Many people would take that as confirmation that it was a genuine Buddha quote, but that just goes to remind us that lots of people making a false claim doesn’t make it true. We can also remind ourselves how unwise it is to assume that something must be true because you read it on the internet.

Incidentally there’s a “He who knows life flows…” version as well, …

Read the rest of this article » ““She who knows life flows, feels no wear or tear, needs no mending or repair.””

“You must love yourself before you love another. By accepting yourself and fully being what you are, your simple presence can make others happy.”

This one has been found attributed to the Buddha in a number of books, blogs, Facebook posts, quote sites, graphics, and so on. To anyone familiar with the Buddhist scriptures it’s quite clearly fake.

It’s often found combined with an entirely separate Fake Buddha Quote, the two together looking like this:

You must love yourself before you love another. By accepting yourself and fully being what you are, your simple presence can make others happy. You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.

Thanks to a reader called Rory for bringing this one …

Read the rest of this article » ““You must love yourself before you love another. By accepting yourself and fully being what you are, your simple presence can make others happy.””

“Life is suffering.”

It’s taken me a long time to get around to tackling this old chestnut.

What prompts to me write today is a discussion on Google+ where this supposed quote cropped up. In this discussion, someone of a Taoist persuasion referred to the Buddha having said that life is suffering. He referred to Benjamin Hoff’s “The Tao of Pooh,” in which there is a story about Confucius, the Buddha, and Lao Zi, tasting vinegar—which represents, we are told, “the essence of life.” Confucius has a sour look on his face because the heavens and earth are out of balance, the Buddha …

Read the rest of this article » ““Life is suffering.””

“Set your heart on doing good. Do it over and over again, And you will be filled with joy.”

I was asked about this quote this morning, and thought I’d do a quick write-up in case anyone else was in doubt about it:

“Set your heart on doing good. Do it over and over again, And you will be filled with joy.”

This immediately made me think of a Dhammapada verse, which in Buddharakkhita’s translation on Access to Insight is:

Should a person do good,
Let him do it again and again.
Let him find pleasure therein,
For blissful is the accumulation of good.

So you’ll see that our suspect quote has the same essential meaning, even if …

Read the rest of this article » ““Set your heart on doing good. Do it over and over again, And you will be filled with joy.””