“If you knew what I know about the power of giving, you would not let a single meal pass without sharing it in some way.”

I was asked today what I made of this quote:

“If you knew what I know about the power of giving, you would not let a single meal pass without sharing it in some way.”

My correspondent said, “I like it very much, but it sounds very much like a later translation/adaptation of something the Buddha might have said, but less soundbite-y and eloquent.”

The exact wording in that quotation is from Jack Kornfield and Joseph Goldstein’s 1987 book, Seeking the Heart of Wisdom, but it’s a reasonably good paraphrase of a passage from the Itivuttika.

Access to Insight has:

“If beings knew, as I know, the results of giving & sharing, they would not eat without having given…”

So this one, happily, is not fake. Or, if we’re prepared to accept that what is canonical is, without good evidence to the contrary, the word of the Buddha, then it’s genuine. It’s at least a genuine canonical quote, even if we are to doubt that the Buddha said anything in the Pali canon.

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