Fake Buddha Quotes: How to tell

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As part of the Bhavana Society Therevadan Forest Monastery social media team, I’ve been helping with the Twitter feed for the West Virginia  monastery. Which, if you are on Twitter, I highly recommend you follow, as it’s a great source for Dhamma talk videos by Bhante Gunaratana and other Bhavana monastics, plus quotes and links to talks rooted in the Buddha’s actual teachings.

I stress that because in surveying the Buddha-sphere on Twitter there are a lot of fake and false quotes that circulate attributed to the Buddha. For that reason, I highly recommend a wonderful blog called Fake Buddha Quotes, maintained by Bodhipaksa, a Buddhist teacher and author who has been practicing within the Triratna Buddhist Community since 1982 and has been a member of the Triratna Buddhist Order since 1993. Bodhipaksa previously taught meditation in the Religious Studies department at the University of Montana.

The blog politely but firmly does takedowns of the many supposed Buddha quotes that circulate on Twitter, Facebook and elsewhere, determining if the quote is outright something the Buddha never said, or if it has  roots in a loose translation, or if in fact it is just a well-intentioned restatement of something from the Pali canon. (He has some pretty sharp things to say about Osho, the guru formerly known as the Bhagwan Shri Rajneesh, who was into collecting white Rolls Royces and — at least in the linked example — gets the Buddha’s intended meaning  exactly backward). Check it out. You can also submit quotes that sound ‘off’ or too modern in their phrasing and Bodhipaksa goes on the hunt to determine: fake or not?

PS: One of the more common fake Buddha quotes in circulation (below) gets a good analysis by Bodhipaksa at this link:

“You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere. You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe deserve your love and affection.”

~ Douglas

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