The Buddha on Fake Buddha Quotes (8)

These two things, mendicants, lead to the decline and disappearance of the true teaching. What two? The words and phrases are misplaced, and the meaning is misinterpreted. When the words and phrases are misplaced, the meaning is misinterpreted. These two things lead to the decline and disappearance of the true teaching.

These two things lead to the continuation, persistence, and enduring of the true teaching. What two? The words and phrases are well organized, and the meaning is correctly interpreted. When the words and phrases are well organized, the meaning is correctly interpreted. These two things lead to the continuation, persistence, and enduring of the true teaching.

This is from Aṅguttara Nikāya 2.20. Above is Bhante Sujato’s translation.

Sujato translates dunnikkhitta as “badly placed,” although it could also be translated as “badly worded.”

In fact Nyānatiloka’s German translation has these as verkehrter Wortlaut (wrong wording) and mißverstandener Sinn (misunderstood meaning), which I think are clearer.

So if the teachings are not worded precisely, or are dunnīta (badly interpreted) then the teaching declines.

So much for the claim many people make here that the Buddha wouldn’t mind being misquoted.

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