“The forest is a peculiar organism of unlimited kindness and benevolence…”

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The forest is a peculiar organism of unlimited kindness and benevolence that makes no demands for its sustenance and extends generously the products of its life activity; it provides protection to all beings, offering shade even to the axeman who destroys it.
— Gautama Buddha

I’d never come across this one until someone called Upul, from Australia, asked me about it. It certainly strikes me as being fake, on the grounds that the language of “a peculiar organism” isn’t something he would have said. But it may be based on something canonical, or be an amalgamation of commentary and a genuine quotation.

It’s all over the place, once you look for it.

The earliest reference I’ve found to this in print is from 1941, in “Forest soils: origin, properties, relation to vegetation, and silvicultural management” (page 195) by Sergius Alexander Wilde, and published by the Soils Dept., College of Agriculture, University of Wisconsin. Unfortunately no source is given…

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