I came across this one in the feed of someone who started following me on Twitter. Here’s a link to the original status update.
When you realize how perfect everything is, you will tilt your head back and laugh at the sky. ~ Buddha
This of course bears no resemblance to anything the Buddha’s recorded as having said.
With some Fake Buddha Quotes it’s possible to trace the origins to a bad translation or some other obvious misattribution (for example a quote appears in a book called “The Teaching of the Buddha,” is subsequently quoted and attributed “The Teaching of the Buddha,” and is then requoted as attributed to “the Buddha”). But this one’s rather mysterious.
The origins of this quote are slowly being pushed earlier in time.
At first the earliest use of this quote I cold find was from a blog post from Nov 29, 2005.
I then found an earlier example on a forum post dated November 30, 2004, as a signature.
But then an astute commenter (see below) found an example from the Usenet group, alt.quotations, from Nov 27, 2001, where it had been posted by a Robert Muhich. Muhic didn’t attribute this to the Buddha, but simply described it as “Buddhist.”
In 2007 it appears in a book, “A Year of Questions,” by Fiona Robyn, and (in a slightly different form) in “Hell in the Hallway,” by Sandi Bachom. This of course lends the quote a false air of legitimacy, and it’s now found in most of the quite appalling quotes sites that litter the web.
If you come across any references to this quote earlier than November 2001, please let me know.
Thanks to George Draffan, we have a potential original from which this quote might be derived. George wrote, saying:
Sounds like a stanza from a Tibetan Dzoghcen text:
thams cad mnyam rdzogs sgyu ma’i rang bzhin la//
bzang ngan blang dor med pas dgod re bro//
Since everything is but an illusion,
Perfect in being what it is,
Having nothing to do with good or bad,
Acceptance or rejection,
One might as well burst out laughing!
This is from chapter 1 of “The Great Perfection’s Self-Liberation in the Nature of Mind,” by Longchenpa (1308-1364)
That sounds like a good candidate for the origins of this quote. It’s certainly possible that someone paraphrased Longchenpa’s saying, and that this was first described as a “Buddhist” quote, which was then taken to be a quote from the Buddha himself.
Some readers will recognize an added irony in the image above, which is not even of the Buddha. The graphic is akin to a quote being attributed to Jesus when it’s actually by Duns Scotus, and illustrated with a picture of Santa Claus. There’s more info on this happy chappie here.