This is an interesting topic and one I have been struggling with for a little bit. It finally came to a head when I was looking for Memes and pictures to add to a post; searching for Buddhist quotes to underscore my point.During my search I came across a website (click here) that was debunking inspirational quotes attributed to the Buddha, calling them fake and revealing the real source. I can see how that action isn’t bad in and of itself. It fits in with the need many have to want all the facts and to be right; but it did strike me in my thinking of harm. What is the harm if the quote brings the person comfort and joy? Is it important that joy be based on proven facts and sources, or is joy just joy?
I have to admit another reason for this topic has to do with people I know. Being extra observant, I tend to see patterns and actions that can be taken as destructive if motives aren’t exactly sound. Basically I have people in my life I believe might be acting in a way that seems joyous for the casual observer but I feel are the actions of a masked, and hurting soul that doesn’t know any other way to be. I feel the joy isn’t authentic, and because I see it I must be the one to help them to real and lasting joy. How egotistical am I?
In the case of my friends, I’m working off assumptions and conjecture. They might be suffering but I have no proof of that. What I actually see is how I suffered and displayed some of the same behavior, but I only know that now. In the midst of it I was joyous and fine. If anyone tried to come to me with their suspicions about my suffering, I often times became defensive and dismissive. Who where they to tell me I was a fraud? All I saw was someone trying to rain on my parade, and while now I see they were right, that doesn’t mean I need to be that person to my friends now.
I am suffering in just as many ways as the other person, with happiness and joy being the end game goal. If a little self-delusion is helpful, really not causing any pain or harm in the short run, who am I to stand in that person’s way. And the big get about all of it is, I HAVE NO PROOF. I might have a feeling, and tend to trust my feelings, but it’s not for me to decide how someone’s happiness should be attained. I am a person that most know to be open to assist upon REQUEST. I put it in caps and bold because I know many people only come to realizations and change when it’s right for them, and on their own time. I don’t tend to like to push my ideas and process on to anyone unless asked; even then working hard to make sure I phrase things for self discovery, tailored to the person I’m engaged with.
Going back to the quotes, these are great messages of how to be happy, how to be loving, and how to be spiritual. I don’t see anything at all harmful in uplifting messages, damn the source behind them. In the end they are all messages from the same source, the Universe, just said in different ways; a fact that the website tends to uphold, more so bemoaning calling the sayings direct quotes. It goes to having to be right for me, and I just don’t understand the harm as I use to. I use to be that guy. I pretty much was until I looked at this site, reflected on my ways, and now see the truth for myself.
Joy and happiness are the goal. To think I would try to take away a person’s joy to be right, or to give them authenticity really disappoints me. With everything that is going on in this world, joy should be coveted in whatever form one can find it, as long as it isn’t bring harm to themselves or anyone else. In most cases if suffering is occurring, nothing can be done until it is seen by the one suffering and help is asked for. You can watch an addict destroy themselves everyday but they will only stop when they are ready to. And the real point is, I have been the only proven addict, needing to be right, and needing to be a savior, possibly creating a situation out of that need.
This was a good thing for me to realize. I love my friends and family but I need to love them flaws and all. At present for some, the flaws are in my head and not expressed by them. If and when that happens, I can be there with the love I have inside, and the compassion I have developed through my practice. Just because they might look like they can’t swim, doesn’t mean they can’t, and that is something I have to learn and develop. My eyes see what my experience and perceptions have been trained to see, but they are mine alone and should not be projected onto anyone.
If the quote is fake then okay. Unless isn’t that important to speak as a scholar, with all the facts and figures in your head all the time, then allow people to find joy and happiness in whatever affirmation or saying speaks to them. We all have things that work for us. Try you best not to make your thing destroying someone else’s joy.