This is kind of a continuation on the theme of fakeness…
I recently came across Bodhipaksa’s blog “bodhi tree swaying” and in particular his series on fake Buddha quotes. With the preponderance of quotation sites online, it is easy enough to grab a “Buddha” quote to fit what you want to say…but are they genuine quotes of the Buddha? One I have used in particular in the past is “If we could see the miracle of a single flower clearly, our whole life would change“. I love this quote; I find it inspiring and I believe that others do too. But after reading a few of Bodhipaksa’s posts on fake Buddha quotes, I suspected that it might not be authentic. It turns out I was right! Bodhipaska writes:
It’s from page 112 of Jack Kornfield’s “Buddha’s Little Instruction Book,” in which Jack “distilled and adapted an ancient teaching for the needs of contemporary life.” This is a common pattern: if a book is called “The Teaching of Buddha” or “Buddha’s Little Instruction Book” then people jump to the conclusion that any quote from it is the teaching of the Buddha or one of the Buddha’s instructions. It’s not the fault of the author, of course…
So the quote is fake. I do vow to be more mindful in attributing quotes, and checking sources. But in some ways, I think, does it matter? If the phrase is one which is in line with the Buddha’s teachings, and is helpful to people treading the path, how important is it that the quote be “authentic”? I would be interested to hear others’ thoughts on this.
I have also been skimming through The Life of Milarepa (I will read it properly soon ) and came across this:
Showing others the path
When you don’t know the way
Harms yourself and others
This has become jumbled up in my self doubts of yesterday. Though I don’t think I am trying to show others the path, but only to share thoughts that I have found helpful and others may do too. I think if we took this Milarepa quote too literally, then there would be very few dharma teachers, and that could hardly be a good thing! But it is certainly something to chew on.
But – hey – flowers are wonderful, in the eyes of Jack Kornfield and many others, so today I am going to share a few from my garden. A miracle, every one of them. Enjoy