What the Buddha Never Said

  • “We are what we think.” Paid Member

    There are several kinds of Fake Buddha Quotes. Some are sayings that have been ascribed to the Buddha, often accidentally, although they are actually the words of modern Buddhist authors. Others are anonymous quotations, or quotations from sources relatively unknown, that someone, somewhere, decided would carry more heft with “The Buddha” as a byline. And then there are actual verses from the scriptures translated in such a way that either the essential meaning has been lost or new meanings have been added. This last category is well represented by the words “We are what we think. / All that we are arises with our thoughts. / With our thoughts we make the world.” You may well recognize these words as the opening of the Dhammapada, and some readers may wonder what could possibly be wrong with them. Isn’t this what the Buddha taught? Didn’t the Buddha say that the world is an illusion, that we become what we think? More »
  • “There is no self.” Paid Member

    The Buddha was careful to classify questions according to how they should be answered, based on how helpful they were to gaining awakening. Some questions deserved a categorical answer, that is, one that holds true across the board. Some he answered analytically, redefining or refining the terms before answering. Some required counter-questioning, to clarify the issue in the questioner’s mind. But if the question was an obstacle on the path, the Buddha put it aside. More »
  • "I Teach Only Suffering and the End of Suffering" Paid Member

    One statement popularly ascribed to the Buddha is quoted so often that it has become virtually an axiom of modern Buddhism. The statement appears in several formulations, the broadest of which runs: “I teach only suffering and the cessation of suffering.” A variant reads: “I teach only two things: suffering and the end of suffering.” And another variant makes the point even more sharply: “I teach one thing and one thing only: suffering and the end of suffering.” More »
  • "You Deserve Your Love and Affection" Paid Member

    Sometimes it’s hard to say how you know. You come across a quote attributed to the Buddha on Facebook or Twitter, or on a blog—sometimes even in a magazine or a book—and something just doesn’t feel right. The wording may be too modern, the sentence structure a tad too polished, the sentiment, perhaps, too syrupy. But for some reason, deep in the computational matrix of the brain, pattern recognition algorithms are triggered, an alert fires off, and you wonder, “Hmmm, did the Buddha really say this?”  More »