Article taken from fakebudhaquotes dot com.
"What you think, you become,” or sometimes “The mind is everything; What you think, you become,” is commonly attributed to the Buddha, but doesn’t seem to be scriptural. At best an overly-free — well, inaccurate — paraphrase.
Jayarava did a blog article on this one some time ago and concluded it was not from the Buddha. His exposition is rather long, but worth reading. I agree with him, by the way.
The closest I know of to this quote is in Majjhima Nikaya 19, “Whatever a monk keeps pursuing with his thinking and pondering, that becomes the inclination of his awareness.” That’s a rather different statement, of course.
“What you think, you become” has always puzzled me. If I think about Lady Gaga I’m not going to become an outré pop star. But that’s probably just me being literalist. I suppose it’s intended to mean something like “Whatever a monk keeps pursuing with his thinking and pondering, that becomes the inclination of his awareness.”
Here’s a fuller version of that quote:
This is from a sutta called the Dvedhavitakka, or “Two Modes of Thinking,” where the Buddha is talking about his realization, before his Awakening, that there were two tendencies within the mind.
First, he would notice that, ‘Thinking imbued with sensuality [or ill will, or harmfulness] has arisen in me; and that leads to my own affliction or to the affliction of others or to the affliction of both. It obstructs discernment, promotes vexation, and does not lead to Nibbana.’
He further noticed that as he mindfully observed this kind of thinking, with an awareness that it led to suffering, it would subside.
Second, he would notice that ‘Thinking imbued with renunciation [and non ill will, and non-harmfulness] has arisen in me; and that leads neither to my own affliction, nor to the affliction of others, nor to the affliction of both. It fosters discernment, promotes lack of vexation, and leads to Nibbana.’
And having observed the arising of this kind of thinking, he would give it his mindful attention. As he says, in a rather lovely simile:
From that point on, to cut a long story short, he entered the jhānas and then got enlightened.
So this is the context of “Whatever a monk keeps pursuing with his thinking and pondering, that becomes the inclination of his awareness.” It means that the mind is trainable, and what kind of thoughts we put our energy into come to shape the mind, and affect both its affective tone (are we happy or unhappy) and its ability to discern the truth.
It’s been suggested that the “what you think, you become” quote may also stem from the first two verses of the Dhammapada, which express in poetic form what the Dvedhavitakka Sutta explains in a more expanded form:
These verses are from the “Chapter on the Pairs” (Yamakavagga) which explores these two modes of thinking, or being.
This derivation, rather than the Dvedhavitakka Sutta origin, may be supported by the fact that “What you think, you become” is often seen in another form: “The mind is everything; What you think, you become.” The connection may not be obvious, but sometimes those Dhammapada verses have been translated to include “our life is the creation of our mind” rather than “our mind is the creation of our thoughts.” And it’s not a great leap from “our life is the creation of our mind” to “the mind is everything.” So that may be the origin of this suspect quote.
Eknath Easwaran’s translation of the first verse of the Dhammapada in fact begins, “Our life is shaped by our mind, for we become what we think.” This is not at all far from “The mind is everything; What you think, you become.”
And that fuller version of the quote is very old indeed. I’ve found it in a 1897 book, In Tune with the Infinite, by Ralph Waldo Trine. Trine used “The mind is everything; What you think, you become” in several of his books, but I haven’t been able to establish where he got it from. I’ll keep looking.
These two Dhammapada verses are often rendered in a very different way from how they were intended, along the lines of “The world is the creation of your mind” — but that’s for another fake Buddha Quote post.
Article taken from fakebuddhaquotes.com A list of fake Buddha quotes are available here; http://www.fakebuddhaquotes.com/all-fake-buddha-quotes/
"You must walk in the steps of the man to understand him, not trying to understand him by merely looking at his footsteps. For if he crosses a river, you won't get wet. If he walks in snow, your feet won't bog down. 'twas always thus that your own experience provides you with understanding. Never your understanding that provides experience. He walked before you and the footsteps are there, you may walk the very same path as he did and ultimately learn what each foot step means"
Dhammapadas in other words then, is description of Buddha's experiences or journey through his life. But it's only a map showing you direction. You may look at a map, but you won't understand what it is like at that area. But it will lead you there, and when you arrive you will know.
By reading only Dhammapadas you will interpret them in accordance with your own belief system. In other words, you take the words and try to fit them into your perspective, often times changing the meaning. This is why even if you were with Buddha, you would not understand him. To me, it is no good wondering what Buddha meant, I don't ponder or get entangled in various translations. As I advance on my own journey, I uncover true meaning . And then I look back at Sutras from Buddha, I can verify my own experience against his, ensuring I'm still walking in his footsteps.
Just like a few days back absurdity of questions like "Who am I","what is the meaning of life","how are you" occurred to me. And from the point of witnessing my life I realized these questions cannot be answered in truth, for it was untruth that these question arisen from. It is only there that sense of identity or meaning can be created. One moment I'm father, the next moment I'm employee, so who am I? People struggle in their lives, because they are trying so hard to answer questions like these. Looking for sense of identity and sense of meaning. They identify themselves with worldly things and labels, or they go to abstract levels and say they are light, child of god and so on. Which is worse than identifying yourself with worldly things. Worse, in a sense that it may take a lifetime or more to realize fallacy of such identity. They are bound to these identities by their beliefs, which rather than setting you free, chain you down. Through faith, which you may one day realize, is blind.
That is why in eastern part of the world comments to each Dhammapada exist, which explain in detail what is meant by each Dhammapada. Unlike western translations and speculations that are very often incorrect, simply because the language in which Buddha spoke contains words which has no direct translation in any language commonly used on Earth nowadays.
So you see the problem with translations. Someone takes the most similar word available and uses it completely twisting the meaning of the saying.
Here is one of those comments that Osho provides on the very Dhammapada you question.