All Fake Buddha Quotes

In alphabetical order…

58 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…

  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

    • 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!

      • “If we could see the miracle of a single flower clearly, our whole life would change, Grasshopper.”

        “The only real failure in life is not to be true to the best one knows, Grasshopper.”

        “All things are perfect exactly as they are, Grasshopper.”

        Where’s David Carradine when you need him?

  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.

    p.m.

    • 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,
      Bodhipaksa

  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.

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