All Fake Buddha Quotes

In alphabetical order…

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94 thoughts on “All Fake Buddha Quotes

  1. I’m glad I found your website. So many people post things on the internet without fact checking them. While I’m not a Buddhist, I do appreciate having this resource to fact check supposed quotes from Buddha that others might post. Thank you!

    • You’re welcome, Greg. I enjoy looking at the website stats and seeing that dozens of people each day have Googled a particular quote. Apart from rejoicing in the fact that some people are willing to check their facts before passing them on, I like to think that I might be slowing down, if very slightly, the propagation of these misattributed quotes.

      • When I see something attributed to the Buddha on the internet these days I have begun to ask or a citation from sutta or sutra. I think we should all do this as another way to put the brakes on fake Buddha quotes.

        • I reflexly search for the origins of any quotation, since I find that a large proportion of them are fake. I also do fact-checking with a lot of the infographics that float around, particularly when they’re political in nature. Often the information on them is easily disproved.

  2. This is about quote #8: Although it is not exactly the way the quote is worded, isn’t it a “valid” quote from the Kalama Sutta? Help me understand it. Sadhu, sadhu, sadhu.

    • Hi. These quotes are all hyperlinked. Click on the quote and you’ll find the explanation of why I don’t consider this to be a valid translation. Sorry if the links aren’t obvious…

        • I get the feeling that a lot of modern Buddhists have read very little of the scriptures, and rely on writers like Pema Chodron and Jack Kornfield. Excellent though those teachers are, without a grounding in the early teachings it’s easy to be misled about what the Buddha taught.

  3. Great website . The Buddha’s words in the present age have become sound bites . Sometimes brilliant transmissions of the Dharma can be found .
    But If the Dharma is cut down to fit the ideals of the present times : example “love thy self” or to fit the photo it is attached to , at best losses the essence of the lesson
    at worst damages us all .

    Thank you

  4. Hello. Thank you for this, and the real explanations. I have just begun walking the Buddhist path and it helps a lot to filter out that which is correct, and which is not correct. In order to understand the Buddha’s real teachings it is important to know what he really said, even though some of the false quotes might hold wisdom, I rather would like to know what was actually said. I bookmarked this page for future reference, also to those interested in Buddhism and now seem to follow up on false quotes. :) _/|\_

  5. Does it matter who quote or not?

    To me, the contents are more important. If it is quoted similar or having the same effect on a human being to do good, why create a website just to contradict the sayings?

    As a practising Buddhist, I would suggest to create another website of similar Buddhist contents or sayings which benefits mankind… just my 2-cents worth..:)))

    Om Mani Padme Hum…

    • Apparently the Buddha disagreed with you, Constance. As I’ve posted elsewhere, in the Anguttara Nikaya you’ll find the following:

      “Monks, these two slander the Tathāgata. Which two? He who explains what was not said or spoken by the Tathagata as said or spoken by the Tathagata. And he who explains what was said or spoken by the Tathagata as not said or spoken by the Tathagata. These are two who slander the Tathagata.”

      In fact being misquoted was one of the things that genuinely seems to have bothered the Buddha.

      For me it’s a question of truthful speech. To say that the Buddha said something when in fact the words belong to someone else, or when the words have been altered, is false speech. As Buddhists, shouldn’t we be concerned about spreading false speech? Also, many Fake Buddha Quotes misrepresent or even contradict what the Buddha said. Shouldn’t we be concerned about spreading false accounts of the Buddha’s teaching?

      • Your website is pretty cool. Was brought here by looking up the kalama sutta quote. Personally, I disagree that the paraphrase is in conflict with the passage you excerpt, but you make a good argument for not attributing it to the Buddha – though I know several people that were brought to Buddhism by this quote. On a cheeky note – which is more slanderous, to attribute the quote to “the Buddha” or to not attribute the quote to any name at all? lol

          • There are many translation to Buddha’s quotes. It’s like me speaking Chinese and having people translate into English. The display of the words should not matter, however if the meaning is there then yes it was quoted by Buddha. That’s just stupid all I’m saying is if the quotes follows what Buddha true intention and meaning then basically all they are doing is paraphrasing what he said just not word for word but the meaning is still there.

          • I don’t know how many of the articles you’ve read here, Tommy, but most of the fake quotes are not simply variant translations, but are words spoken or written by other people that have been misattributed to the Buddha. Often their message is at odds with the Buddha’s teaching. There are some quotes here that are translations of scriptures, but they are included because they are such bad translations that they say something the Buddha never said.

    • just like how a wrong element change the result of entire chemical reaction, one erroneous word change the meaning of entire teachings of Buddha, Buddhism is so logical, open and practical, every Buddha using a dead language to emphasize the truth, Gotham Buddha used the Pali, even in that era Pali was a dead Language, reason to do so, to preserve the so original words of the Buddha for the future without changing its meaning, for some Pali words, even there is no English meaning, there are many groups in the face book too, comes with the face of the Buddhism and acutely they all change the truth, and make Buddhism is another Disney land of religions, those who know and understood the truth looking at these changing and keep silent, even we do not attached to Buddhism too much, it’s a great job you made this site behalf of all the people seeks the truth, more happiness and inner peace

  6. Thank you very much for the work you do! I’m also new to Buddhism, and while I’ve done a small amount of study, I’m still not so familiar with the Buddha’s teaching that I would know a true quote from a false one. Do you have a place where we could submit questionable quotes? Thank you again!

  7. Also, can you start a site for fake Dalai Lama quotes? Here’s one that’s been popping up on FB these days:

    People take different roads seeking fulfillment and happiness. Just because they’re not on your road doesn’t mean they’ve gotten lost. – Dalai Lama

    Possible, but I seriously doubt it.

  8. Hi I am thankful you made me aware that I had a false quote up truly I am but wouldn’t it be a little less rude to PM a person rather then blog on their page about it?
    With that said I do thank you for the heads up.
    Warm Regards.

    • I don’t think it’s rude to quote someone, as long as the quote isn’t taken out of context or distorted, or accompanied by derogatory comments. I am pointing to people passing on misattributed quotes, and it makes sense (to me, at least) to point to examples. We’ve all been caught out by these things, and I don’t think there’s any great shame in passing on a quote that’s misattributed, especially if you’ve no expertise in the area, and therefore little chance of spotting the quote’s fake. It is, on the other hand, very odd when you find Buddhists who seem to have more affinity for fake quotes than for real ones. I see some Buddhist tweeters who pass on almost nothing but fake quotes.

  9. Hi, i might have copied and quoted many internet fake Buddha quotes, which feels wrong but unintentional :( could you explain to me the before mentioned “infographics” checking/comparison methods you used? Is it straight out of Pali translations? Thank you.


    • I was talking mainly about political infographics, such as statistics, supposed quotes from the Founders, etc.

      I pretty much assume that any quote embedded in a graphic is fake, and I’m pretty much right 95% of the time. If you take a quote that’s supposedly by Jefferson, for example, and search for it in Google books, you’ll probably see lots of attributions to the man himself (plus perhaps attributions to other people as well). But you’ll probably also notice that most of those attributions are from the late 20th and early 21st centuries. What happens when you narrow the date range using the tools Google provides? Often the quote disappears as you go back in time. It’s unlikely Jefferson came back from the dead to utter the wise words on the jpeg you just had forwarded to you on Facebook. Maybe the quote has disappeared because it’s been altered from some original J. did actually say? Search for fragments of the quote…

      So it’s just a question of using the tools intelligently.

      • I see, thanks for your answer! Another thought came to me this morning as I finished typing the questions to you. All great masters never wrote the words they taught down on paper, and not that pen & paper/papyrus didn’t exist then, but I believe their greater wisdom informed them that they only answered the person(s)/people at that time and according to those individuals’ capacity to comprehend, and not necessarily the actual questions at all, hence readers would often misinterpret their meanings when read 2000 years later. Besides, the best teachers always answer questions with a question. Like Buddha, Dalai Lama for examples. Just a thought. :D

    • The “spring comes” quote has been called a “Zen saying/poem” since the 1960s at least, but I don’t know the source. It sounds genuinely Zen to me.

      The second is more usually “Don’t just do something, sit there” and I’ve always understood it to be a western coinage: an obvious play on “don’t just sit there, do something.” I’d very much doubt that it’s Zen, although I haven’t looked into it.

    • There are lots of fake ones, but I’m not familiar enough with His Holiness’ teaching to be able to vet any but the most obvious, I’m afraid.

  10. I like knowing the incorect quotes but would prefer a source for real ones. I am a flower of Nichiren, via SGI His teachings are based on the Lotus Sutra. We want to plant seeds in the minds of others so they might grow and there by help mankind move to a more enlitened future. I think profound quotes help to awaken the budda nature that lives in all people.
    Do you have a source?
    Thank you

  11. This is about quote : 15

    This kind of idea can be a Buddha’s teaching. I wanted to know its source and I came across your site consequently.

    Well, you mention some of your “True quotations ” Can you mention their source. (Pali sutra)

    And the title says “I didn’t say that. – Buddha” I guess that should also be included in the “fake quotations list.

    • Hi, Anjanee.

      Thanks for writing. I’m not sure which quote you mean by “number 15,” but I’m glad the site was helpful.

      All the genuine quotations are from the Pali canon and should contain links to the source. If you find any that don’t have links, please let me know.

      All the best,

  12. Just found your site, thankyou.
    I laughed out loud about the mention of ‘Grasshopper’!!!
    I loved that tv show!
    My friends and I were always saying ‘Grasshopper’
    to each other.
    Such happy treasured memories, Grasshopper!
    Still laughing!

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  14. Thank you for this website! It’s amazing how many of these quotes are actually misquotes. I’ll be referring to it often in my studies! ~Dana

  15. Would be great to have such as a ranking and statistic to the listed quotes, so that one might see how misinterpretations can lead, as well as corrections of them.

    Maybe a good challenge for people loving to make certain apps and programmings.

    It would be also great to have a big picture gallery, to identify them easy and quick.
    If you like to make a simple random “fakequote” link for your page, please feel free to use this script (if help is needed, please let it be known).

  16. Pingback: Way Leads on to Way | rooshkie

  17. I wonder if the volume of quotes misattributed to the Buddha reflects both the era in which he lived (long ago) and the fact that the Buddha’s spoke in a language foreign to English, and in a variant of that language that is now ancient.

    In other words, while I do think that the plethora of misquotes might be partly attributed to our ‘sound bite’ culture that readily embraces “Eastern wisdom”–especially when delivered in succinct, small quantities–I wonder if this is also due to the inevitable confusions of translation that occur when translating words spoken not just hundreds of years ago, but in a foreign tongue.

    I am not a translator, but I am aware of some of the challenges of good translation–even when translating from one modern language into another. The intricacies of translating an ancient, foreign language into modern English are many…

    Just a thought.

    • Some of the fake quotes that float around are the result of incompetent translators who were basically faking their way through texts and making stuff up as they went along. Many are quotes that are from other people, and the Buddha’s name has been added, presumably to give the quotes seem more authoritative. And it doesn’t help that it’s so easy to share mis-information…

  18. “Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without.” has to be a real Buddha quote! I have it on a framed poster in my home!

  19. “our good or evil deeds follow us continually like shadows” that cannot be real? so many of these! :}

    • It’s apparently from a very early translation by Paul Carus. I’m not sure of what he was translating, exactly, but it seems very similar to this passage from the Samyutta Nikaya:

      Both the merits and the evil
      That a mortal does right here;
      This is what is truly one’s own.
      This one takes when one goes;
      This is what follows one along
      Like a shadow that never departs.

      That our actions are an inheritance that we create for ourselves is something the Buddha said repeatedly, and the image of the consequences of our actions following us like a shadow is a well known one. The best-known example if from verse 2 of the Dhammapada.

    • That one’s Max Müller’s 19th century translation of the first verse of the Dhammapada, which as you know is Manopubbaṅgammā dhammā. “All experiences (dhammas) are preceded by mind” or “all mental phenomena are preceded by mind” would be better translations, I think.

  20. so surprised to see how you think all of these things that you mentioned are fake buddha quotes! did you do any research before post this kind of misleading things? most of these things in “SUTHRA PITAKAYA”. for example – i“Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense.”,“If you truly loved yourself, you could never hurt another”,“ these things from “KALAMA SUTHRAYA” all i can see is you are a restless person.please do your research and studies before u come to your own judgments and share it with the rest of the world…..

    • Perhaps you should read the actual articles. If you do, you’ll see that the Kalama Sutta doesn’t say what you think it does.

  21. Buddha is in hell right now. The bible says JESUS CHRIST died for our sins, he was buried, and resurrected 3 days later. The blood was shed for our sins!

    we are to TRUST IN JESUS CHRIST for salvation, NOT Buddha. Buddha was a sinner just like the rest of us, he needed the savior JESUS CHRIST, but he rejected him so he is now in hell.

    For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16

    • Actually, from a Buddhist point of view, the gods are mortal, and tend to have bad rebirths, typically ending up in hell realms. Since Jehovah doesn’t seem to have been very active of late a Buddhist might speculate not only whether Nietzsche was right and the former deity has passed on, but whether he may have ended up in hell. Let us all hope that Jehovah’s next rebirth is a kinder one…

      PS. I’m curious how the Buddha could have rejected someone who was born 500 years after him…

      • It’s reasons like the above poster that I loathe Christianity as a religion (which I know is not what Buddhism would appreciate, but I am hardly Enlightened yet).

        People don’t get it: Jesus was a philosopher (and possibly a political insurgent), not a god. He and Buddha were far more similar than Christians would believe in the former regard.

    • Lol – “….but he rejected him so he is now in hell” … from both a historical and mathematical standpoint this is hilarious!
      How can you reject the guidance/philosophy/ideals or holy word of someone who came about 4 to 5 centuries after you?

      Buddha lived in like 400 or 500 BC – BC means Before Christ.

      And by the above logic everybody who is supposed to be a “child of God” in the BC era – went to hell b/c they just weren’t born at the right time?

      • Some arent fake, like the one of the barking dog, which can be read in the Dhammapada. Even so, i like the idea of your page cause Buddha can be not only faked but also
        Misinterpreted. Thank you!

        • Thanks, Will. Can you tell me which verse of the Dhammapada the barking dog quote is found in? My memory may be failing me, but I don’t recall ever seeing it there.

  22. ‘He who uses Internet Explorer shall never find inner peace’ – Buddha. Right? Gotta say, a little shattered that some of these are misquotes. They seem so Buddhisty. I feel so cheated. The Internet. It’s. It’s… a bloody liar. Who’d a thought? Oh well. A quote is a quote is a quote. Good work, sir. Carry on. Carry on.

    • The more we read the Buddhist scriptures, the less “Buddhisty” many of these quotes will seem :)

      Love the Internet Explorer quote, by the way…

  23. Question:

    Dear Bodhipaksa
    are there “REAL” Quotes about Truth from Gautama Buddha?
    i was seeking but not finding – ha ha ha :)
    thinking about this one: “The Gift of Truth excels all other Gifts.”
    is that a fake one, as well?
    thank you for your help
    kind regards

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    • I’ve added buttons to make it easier to share, but I presume you know that you can simply select the URL, copy it, and then paste in in Facebook. It only takes seconds…

  25. Hi. This is a great collection of quotes. I’m not a Buddhist by definition, as I don’t know what practicing Buddhism entails. What is the purpose of this collection? Are the quotes not compatible with the practice of Buddhism? Most all of them seem accurate from my perspective. For instance, while I can see how “love thyself” could be confused with selfishness, I feel that drawing that conclusion is the result of personal interpretation. Words are verbal and written symbols meant to convey meaning, right? That makes it difficult to really comprehend what they symbolize. Couldn’t “Satan” also be a word for “negativity”? Isn’t that how Buddhism is, by most people that I know, considered a religion? Words aren’t real. They are meaningless when you can’t relate to the motivation behind them. We can say one thing, and mean the opposite of what the words we use are said to mean, and still be completely understood by others (sarcasm). Why is the legitimacy of these quotes relevant to their origin? I don’t see how their meaning is affected by the source, unless you have faith in the source. Or no faith in the source. Either way, being concerned with the source seems to cloud the ideas. But as I said, I’m not familiar with the practice of Buddhism.

  26. One of the things in life that bothers me the most, and in retrospect is the most dangerous, is the use of a religion or belief for the greater good of a personal cause. At worst it creates wars, at best it misinforms, but in every case it is to serve purpose to the person ‘quoting’ in some way. I find that some people I come across who claim to be Buddhist more often than not tend to be using it as a viel for their VERY unbuddhist actions and or lifestyle. The quotes I see posted online always fumed me when I would see them coming from such a person. Watching them try and educate others incorrectly after posting such things infuriates me more. So a big THANK YOU SIR for calling any of it out.

  27. thank you so much for this- I have seen many of these over the years and to my shame posted some …I know there are a lot of lies on the Internet and Social meeting sites but what I do not know is why people make quotes up???

  28. Hi Bodhipaksa,

    I just want to give some feedback on the quote that involves the following:

    “A generous heart, kind speech, and a life of service and compassion are the things which renew humanity.”

    ― Gautama Buddha

    Like you, at first i felt it was not like the Dhamma i’d studied from childhood. I wracked my brains & recalled after some time the concluding verses of the Sigaalovaada Sutta (Diigha Nikaaya 31).

    They’re as follows:

    “A compassionate maker of friends,
    Approachable, free from stinginess,
    A leader, a teacher, and diplomat;
    Such a person attains glory.

    Generosity and kind words,
    Conduct for others’ welfare,
    The bestowal of equality to all;
    These are suitable everywhere.

    These kind dispositions hold the world together,
    Like the linchpin of a moving chariot.
    And should these kind dispositions not exist,
    Then the mother would not receive
    Respect or honor from her child,
    Neither would a father.”

    Thus it appears that the quote in question, is a summary of the above. You did well to track down its source in the printed medium (of late).

    But i do think that it, being a summary, is a fairly innocent plagiarism from the Buddha. If we bear in mind that: “That which is well-said is the word of the Buddha.” (Due to it being from the same source, which idea was ratified by the Community of Arahants gathered at the Sangha-ayanas), we can see that it’s all really quite fine.

    I think most such memes can be traced to the Buddha at source. If they couldn’t be, they’d not survive, due to their implausibility.

    The question of the truth or authenticity of quotes, is one which i’m concerned we may be possibly doing more harm than good, in terms of in-fighting / dispute. Just an (alternate) point of view.

    (I’ve written to you before).

    With Mettha,


    • Thank you, Arjuna. This kind of comment is very useful.

      I’m sure you’re right and that the part of the Sigalovada Sutta that reads “Generosity and kind words, / Conduct for others’ welfare” is the basis of the first part of the quote, and I’ll update that article accordingly. The part about “renewing humanity,” however, is not even a reasonable paraphrase.

      I really have no interest in in-fighting or disputes. Some people do seem to get very upset when when the attributions of their favorite quotations are called into question, and go on the attack. It’s unfortunate that this happens, but I see no value in remaining silent in order not to offend those who are upset by facts.

      Incidentally, “That which is well-said is the word of the Buddha” does not mean what you think it means. It was a statement made by a disciple who was saying, in effect, that whatever was well said in his own teachings was what he was passing on from the Buddha. He was not saying that anything that was well said by anyone was therefore the word of the Buddha.

      You wrote, “I think most such memes can be traced to the Buddha at source. If they couldn’t be, they’d not survive, due to their implausibility,” but I see no reason for such optimism. False attributions proliferate because a) most people passing on Buddha quotes are completely unfamiliar with his teachings, and b) because only a tiny minority of people will ever bother to check a quote’s origins.

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