The Buddha on Fake Buddha Quotes (3)

There’s a nice little Sutta called the Ani Sutta, which I stumbled upon today. It includes the following:

In future time, there will be bhikkhus [monks] who will not listen to the utterance of such discourses which are words of the Tathāgata [i.e. the Buddha], profound, profound in meaning, leading beyond the world, (consistently) connected with emptiness, they will not lend ear, they will not apply their mind on knowledge, they will not consider those teachings as to be taken up and mastered.

On the contrary, they will listen to the utterance of such discourses which are literary compositions made by poets, witty words, witty letters, by people from outside, or the words of disciples, they will lend ear, they will apply their mind on knowledge, they will consider those teachings as to be taken up and mastered.

Therefore, bhikkhus, you should train thus: ‘We will listen to the utterance of such discourses which are words of the Tathāgata, profound, profound in meaning, leading beyond the world, (consistently) connected with emptiness, we will lend ear, we will apply our mind on knowledge, we will consider those teachings as to be taken up and mastered.’ This is how, bhikkhus, you should train yourselves.

I thought that “literary compositions made by poets, witty words, witty letters, by people from outside, or the words of disciples” was a good description of many of the Fake Buddha Quotes you’ll find on this site, some of which are by disciples (such as Jack Kornfield, whose “Buddha’s Little Instruction Book” has inadvertently given rise to many a FBQ), or “people from outside,” such as Marie Curie and G.K. Chesterton.

I’ve noted that some people are consistently drawn to Fake Buddha Quotes as opposed to quotes from the scriptures, and I presume this is because the fake quotes are often more poetic and polished than the genuine article. In non-Buddhists this is perhaps less of a surprise, but in those who profess to be Buddhists it’s rather puzzling, since one would expect them to have some familiarity with the teachings, and to recognize the cadence and language of the scriptures.

One thought on “The Buddha on Fake Buddha Quotes (3)”

  1. Thank you for your post.
    After seeing many “Buddha quotes” on social media by those that claim to follow Buddhist principles – I have been disheartened on numerous occasions. More so by those claiming to follow this path. Sharing a quote that resonates with someone’s being is one thing, but claiming Buddhism for quotes that are obviously not true to the scriptures is another.
    In some ways, I feel as though Buddhist beliefs have become “trendy” in certain circles. Which is not necessarily a bad thing, as even though these quotes are often fake or rewritten, they still serve to inspire. However, when one stumbles upon any quote claiming to be from anyone- it would be wise to check the sources.

    Those that see these quotes and are inspired by them, should to be inspired to read the scriptures and educate themselves rather than claiming a spirituality they know nothing of. This inspiration does nothing in the ways of obtaining enlightenment, or continuing the teachings. It instead produces false knowledge and fallacies through the way of ignorance.
    My struggle has been that I have grown upset by the this trend – and growing angry over it accomplishes nothing either.

    I am happy to see your post- I hope that it reaches those with good intentions, and inspires them to seek better understanding.

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