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Fake Buddha Quote?

Posted: Tue Apr 30, 2013 3:48 am
by SamKR
I read somewhere online the following Buddha quote:
"All of my teachings can be put in a single sentence. Nothing is to be clung to as I, me, or mine."
When I Google it, I find 4,220 results with the exact sentence. I am almost sure this is a fake Buddha quote, but still would like to confirm if there is (or is not) really any sutta where the Buddha said this (especially the bold part above). I would appreciate your input.

Re: Fake Buddha Quote?

Posted: Tue Apr 30, 2013 4:27 am
by DNS
Sounds like a fake.

Anatta is only one of the three characteristics (tilakkhaṇa) or marks of existence, not the one and only.

Nearest thing, but definitely not the same:
Body is not self, feelings are not self, perception is not self, mental constructs are not self and consciousness is not self…When one sees this one becomes detached from these things, being detached the passions fade, when the passions have faded one is free, and being free one knows one is free (Samyutta Nikaya 3. 66)

Re: Fake Buddha Quote?

Posted: Tue Apr 30, 2013 4:29 am
by DNS
The nearest thing to a one sentence summary:

Dhp.183. To avoid all evil, to cultivate good, and to cleanse one's mind this is the teaching of the Buddhas.

Re: Fake Buddha Quote?

Posted: Tue Apr 30, 2013 4:30 am
by Bhikkhu Pesala
Not fake IMO — just a paraphrase of teachings in the Anattalakkhaṇa Sutta and elsewhere.
“Whatever consciousness, whether past, future, or present; internal or external; gross or fine; inferior or superior; far or near; should be seen with own knowledge, as it truly is, ‘This is not mine, I am not this not, this is not my self’.”

Re: Fake Buddha Quote?

Posted: Tue Apr 30, 2013 4:41 am
by DNS
Good find, Venerable.

However, not the sum-total of all teachings as quoted in the OP.

Re: Fake Buddha Quote?

Posted: Tue Apr 30, 2013 5:11 am
by LonesomeYogurt
This is almost certainly a reference to MN 37 (repeated in sutta 61 of the Anguttara's book of sevens) where Sakka asks, "In brief, how is a bhikkhu liberated in the destruction of craving? " and the Buddha replies, "A bhikkhu who has heard that nothing is worth clinging to as me, I, or mine, he directly knows all things." Whether or not this can accurately be referred to as "all of the Buddha's teachings in one sentence" is up for debate, but sabbe dhamma nalam abhinivesaya is probably the best summation of the Dhamma I've come across.

Re: Fake Buddha Quote?

Posted: Tue Apr 30, 2013 3:20 pm
by alan
Most Buddha quotes are fake, because the Dhamma can't be summarized into a cute little post. Attempts to do so are usually one-dimensional, and trite. In general, they do more harm than good.

Re: Fake Buddha Quote?

Posted: Tue Apr 30, 2013 3:44 pm
by Buckwheat
The Buddha says he teaches only two things: Suffering and the end of suffering. As clinging to atta leads to suffering, and clear vision of anatta leads to non-suffering, the OP does not seem horribly misleading. However, I do see where a fool (such as myself) could be led astray by such a statement. It seems the Buddha reserved these sweeping simplified statements for people who were already rather wise, not as a soundbite for mass consumption. Usually his wide spread soundbite message would be more along the lines of teaching kamma, generosity, metta, peace, etc. Not to say those are inferior practices to anatta, simply that they are less prone to perversion by the foolish (such as myself), and lay a strong foundation for perception of anatta.

Re: Fake Buddha Quote?

Posted: Tue Apr 30, 2013 6:17 pm
by SamKR
Thank you everyone, for the possible suttas/sources.
David N. Snyder wrote: Nearest thing, but definitely not the same:
Body is not self, feelings are not self, perception is not self, mental constructs are not self and consciousness is not self…When one sees this one becomes detached from these things, being detached the passions fade, when the passions have faded one is free, and being free one knows one is free (Samyutta Nikaya 3. 66)
Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:
“Whatever consciousness, whether past, future, or present; internal or external; gross or fine; inferior or superior; far or near; should be seen with own knowledge, as it truly is, ‘This is not mine, I am not this not, this is not my self’.”
LonesomeYogurt wrote:This is almost certainly a reference to MN 37 (repeated in sutta 61 of the Anguttara's book of sevens) where Sakka asks, "In brief, how is a bhikkhu liberated in the destruction of craving? " and the Buddha replies, "A bhikkhu who has heard that nothing is worth clinging to as me, I, or mine, he directly knows all things."
Buckwheat wrote:The Buddha says he teaches only two things: Suffering and the end of suffering. As clinging to atta leads to suffering, and clear vision of anatta leads to non-suffering, the OP does not seem horribly misleading.
All of the above sayings of the Buddha are quite close to the quote in the OP. However, as David said, these still do not explicitly present sum-total of all teachings in one sentence. But as LonesomeYogurt noted it is up for debate. Among all I find Buckwheat's quote about suffering above, and David's quote
To avoid all evil, to cultivate good, and to cleanse one's mind this is the teaching of the Buddhas.
to be the closest to a one-sentence summary. But then they do not explicitly say anything about no-self (although it is implied by "cleanse one's mind", or by "suffering and the end of suffering").
LonesomeYogurt's quote from MN37 sounds to me the closest to a one-sentence summary with reference to no-self.

Re: Fake Buddha Quote?

Posted: Tue Apr 30, 2013 6:20 pm
by SamKR
alan wrote:Most Buddha quotes are fake, because the Dhamma can't be summarized into a cute little post. Attempts to do so are usually one-dimensional, and trite. In general, they do more harm than good.
That is interesting perspective, alan, and maybe you are right. But I don't see how they do more harm than good.

Re: Fake Buddha Quote?

Posted: Wed May 01, 2013 1:24 am
by retrofuturist
Greetings,

I don't like fake Buddha quotes. I think that if someone is lacking in integrity such that they would stuff words down the Buddha's throat, then this lack of integrity is representative of a lack of progression in the pursuit of the Dhamma. Thus, whatever view they put forward in the name of the Buddha is likely to be lopsided, like their own development. If someone thinks they have something insightful to say, let them say it on their own behalf, rather than try to leverage the Buddha's good name.

"Nothing in life is perfect. We either find joy in the imperfection or we find it nowhere at all." - Retrofuturist (not Buddha).

Metta,
Retro. :)

Re: Fake Buddha Quote?

Posted: Wed May 01, 2013 1:41 am
by Viscid
I saw a Buddha quote on Facebook the other day:

"The trouble is, you think you have time." - The Buddha

It could've been seen as a paraphrase of the Pabbatopama Sutta so I wasn't too disgusted by it. If it isn't blatantly contrary to The Buddha's teachings and is used positively, I don't see the harm.

Re: Fake Buddha Quote?

Posted: Wed May 01, 2013 2:29 am
by SamKR
@Retro: I agree, and I also don't like fake quotes, but people may be quoting (the words not said by the Buddha) without any bad intention. But I can see how it can affect one's practice.
The quote (in the OP) says that the Buddha said: "All of my teachings can be put in a single sentence...". If the Buddha really said (in any sutta) that all of his teaching can be summarized into one sentence teaching about no-self/no-clinging, then that can significantly change some people's Dhamma practice.

@Viscid: But even if some fake quotes are not blatantly contrary to The Buddha's teachings and even if they are useful in some ways, the important thing is not to slander the Tathagata as said in Abhasita Sutta.

Re: Fake Buddha Quote?

Posted: Wed May 01, 2013 3:08 am
by cooran
Viscid wrote:I saw a Buddha quote on Facebook the other day:

"The trouble is, you think you have time." - The Buddha

It could've been seen as a paraphrase of the Pabbatopama Sutta so I wasn't too disgusted by it. If it isn't blatantly contrary to The Buddha's teachings and is used positively, I don't see the harm.
Hello Viscid,

It is one of my signature lines - I got it from one of Jack Kornfield's books - not a quote from The Buddha.

With metta
Chris

Re: Fake Buddha Quote?

Posted: Wed May 01, 2013 3:52 am
by LonesomeYogurt
I dislike fake Buddha quotes that misrepresent the Dhamma in any way; however, I also realize that the suttas are not the most easily quotable scriptures on Earth, and recognize the value in earnest paraphrases.

Re: Fake Buddha Quote?

Posted: Thu May 02, 2013 2:17 pm
by Paribbajaka
http://www.fakebuddhaquotes.com/ This is a good repository of some of the more popular Buddha nonquotes making their rounds.

There is currently an epidemic of mistranslated quotes, oversimplified quotes, or outright fabrications. If one has a little familiarity with the Pali Canon, the blatantly false ones are very easy to identify. The simlified quotes I don't mind as much, but there is definitely enough quotable and inspirational Tipitaka quotes that there is no need for this (Some parts of the Tipitaka, such as the Udana, seem designed solely for the purpose of providing bite-sized quotables.)

I think that because Buddhism still has this "oooh mysterious and mystical" factor in many western minds, many quotes from new age writers, gestalt and cbt therapists, transcendentalist and romantic writers, and motivational speakers seem to find their way to the Buddha's mouth. The fact that these quotes are very rarely provided with a scriptural source (as opposed to, say, Jesus quotes) adds to the confusion. As it stands now, there are many general "feel good" quotes that people try to retrofit into the Buddha because of lack of historical knowledge and wishful thinking, even if they stand in stark contrast to what the Buddha actually taught.

I try, when I can, to point out false quotes in as gentle a way as possible when I see them to try and make things ever so slightly clearer.

Re: Fake Buddha Quote?

Posted: Thu May 02, 2013 2:30 pm
by Buckwheat
http://theworsthorse.com/2012/06/dharma ... ty-buddha/

"Thirsty Buddha" - Now that's an oxymoron!! ;)

Re: Fake Buddha Quote?

Posted: Thu May 02, 2013 11:44 pm
by Paribbajaka
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zq4iuBweZJsI'm personally a fan of this one, irreverence, inaccuracies and all.

Re: Fake Buddha Quote?

Posted: Fri May 03, 2013 2:05 pm
by alan
Sam KR: Fake Buddha quotes spread disinformation, and convince ignorant people they are on the right path. It's slander.

Re: Fake Buddha Quote?

Posted: Mon Mar 09, 2015 2:57 pm
by EricK
I just did a search on the Majjhima Nikaya, Digha Nikaya, Samyutta Nkaya, Anguttara Nikaya and the Dhammapadda and I could not find this quote. (I was using the eBook versions of all.) I also could not find LonesomeYogurt's quotes in MN 37 and AN 6.61. There are quotes that sound similar, but they do not have to do with clinging. They are more in the area of right view (MN 22, for example). Here is the flavor of those discussions:

“Is what is impermanent, suffering, and subject to change fit to be regarded thus: ‘This is mine, this I am, [233] this is my self’?”—“No,
[MN 35.20]

So yes, I think this is a fake quote. Some very prominent teachers use it.