You think?! Like the satipatthana, for example?! Is that weird?! And if not, then what’s the point of declaring it an inauthentic teaching, especially given that it has since long been regarded to be effectively helpful and useful to many practitioners, including highly acclaimed ones?! And how well and good is it, to watch a confused beginner, or a self-proclaimed expert, discontinuing its practice and disregarding it as an inauthentic teaching, “according to the findings of such and such research”, as if the only reason he’s been practising it previously was only that it was not yet declared inauthentic!
I am too familiar with the attitude of regarding people as a bunch of intellectual toddlers who need to be fed the Dhamma by an authoritative spoon inserted into their fumbling and mumbling mouths! And it gives me dizziness! The saddest thing is not even that this attitude too may lead them astray (and often does), but rather that it only reinforces their dependency rather than reduces it gradually; and only to the benefit of the “teacher’s” ego, which in turn grows rather than diminishes! And even mundane education regards “independence”, rather than the inculcation of information or consecration of views, as its ultimate purpose, even morally so!
And, I’m sorry, but the examples I see around me of people who are swayed by arguments of authenticity are not of those who are troubled by “the weird stuff in the suttas”, but rather those who are concerned with either an abstract conceptual Dhamma truth, or that which directly relates to training and practice, and whose desperation in the search for an “authoritative source” lends them to trust in yet another authority to do the interpretation of the authenticity, and therewith the worth of the text, on their behalf! Alas!
Doing things …
… should not be an exception or a rarity, especially among those who regard themselves as Buddhists! Those who are regarded as “lost without guidance” are not going to persevere through that kind of guidance, not even in a mundane pursuit will that do good, let alone an utterly transcendental one. Those who regard themselves as Buddhists first, and then go around wondering what the Buddha really said, are only susceptible to bend “true Buddhism” to whatever it is that they already believed before they start their perceived objective inquiry, and that is precisely how they end up disagreeing among themselves! This is not the problem, and this is properly their business - the problem is in thinking that there is any benefit in claiming to have grasped with any certainty what the Buddha “did not” say, and, very much not in the spirit of Buddha, go around after that inculcating others what that is, rather than helping them figure it all out by themselves in their own unique ways. At least, it would be good to begin by saying “I think that …” or “I believe that …”, or even better, “maybe or perhaps or it is possible”, before saying “the Buddha didn’t give this teaching or didn’t say that thing”. And it’s not like this will make much difference, for if a people trust in you just like that, then they will probably follow whatever it is that you believe anyway, and on goes the rolling of the wheel! And that’s precisely why caution and humility are important, not because of some postmodern attitude I have regarding the absence of ultimate truths, or because I personally am not certain of what I believe in, but because I am aware of it as something that is true in so far as my experience is concerned, and in so far as it worked out for me, and in so far as I am only partially capable of giving expression to its very reality, and thereby might only end up confusing others about the truth in the same moment as I intend to help them see it. Friend, had it been otherwise, had it been so easy; everyone would be an arahant by now!