If you’ve been reading for a while, you’ll know that I have problems with egogooglaholism. I could stop any time I want… but in the meantime I still put my name into google every so often (!) and see what I can find.
Recently I was dismayed to find myself on a site which exposes fake Buddha quotes – here I am as Fake Buddha Quote #197. In my book ‘A Year of Questions‘, I included this quote which I found on the internet:
When you realize how perfect everything is, you will tilt your head back and laugh at the sky. ~ Buddha
It turns out he didn’t say this at all. Someone on the internet said he said it, but it isn’t written down in the scriptures, and I think I’m going with the scriptures.
Misquoting the Buddha. Not great. I should have checked my sources more diligently. But I didn’t, and the quote is there, in the book, for all of eternity. Sorry, Buddda.
There’s a fine balance to be had with mistakes. It’s important to feel contrition. But it’s also important not to get caught up in endless circling guilt, which helps nobody. This kind of guilt is less about our actual mistake, and more about a suspicion we have about ourselves – that the mistake uncovers something about us – how useless we are, what a fraud we are.
I’m an ordinary person, and I misquoted the Buddha. I feel bad that I did. I will try not to misquote the Buddha or anyone else in the future. And now, I will forgive myself and let my mistake go.
Things to be curious about
Which mistakes are you most ashamed of? Did you feel contrition? If your guilt gets stirred up over and over again, what else might be behind this? Can you forgive yourself and let it go?
Mistakes are part of the dues one pays for a full life.
Three conditions are necessary for Penance: contrition, which is sorrow for sin, together with a purpose of amendment; confession of sins without any omission; and satisfaction by means of good works.
-Saint Thomas Aquinas
-Saint Thomas Aquinas
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