Holding back the tide

canute-245x300A 12th century chronicler tells of how King Cnut (Canute) demonstrated the limits of a king’s powers by commanding the tide not to advance toward him. This is often mistakenly seen as a sign of arrogance, but the lesson was directed at the courtiers; the king himself had no delusions of being able to control nature.

I don’t know how powerful the tide of Fake Buddha Quotes is, but it’s heartening that since I started tracking visits to this site in June 2012, we’ve had a quarter of a million page views. One article, on the quote “Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die” has been read 22,000 times.

For all I know many these readers go ahead and pass on Fake Buddha Quotes anyway, but it’s encouraging that so many people are checking quotes.

In fact yesterday I received word from an editor that an author she was working with had intended to include this quote — “Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense” in his book, but had dropped it in favor of a genuine canonical quote. I hope more editors fact-check quotes that claim to be from the Buddha, since some Fake Buddha Quotes are found it dozens of books, and this lends them an air of legitimacy.

Like Cnut I know that the tide can’t be stopped, but unlike an ocean tide, the tide of human misunderstanding can be at least slowed, if only by a little.

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