All Fake Buddha Quotes

Listed alphabetically. Fake Quotes are first, followed by “Fake Buddha Stories,” “Fakeish Quotes” and then “Other Posts,” which don’t deal with individual quotes. Quotes I’ve been asked about that are verified can be found on another page, and we have a sister site, Real Buddha Quotes, where you’ll find other genuine quotations from the Buddhist scriptures.

Fake Quotes

Mistranslations and mis-attributions.

Fake Buddha Stories

Things too complex to be treated as quotes — made-up stories usually involving extensive dialogue.

Fakeish Quotes

Often these are paraphrases or condensations. There’s nothing particularly wrong with most of these, but they’re included for the sake of completeness.

The Buddha on Fake Buddha Quotes

Other Posts

Pieces (not all of them by myself) on the topic of Fake Buddha Quotes, or fake quotes generally.

Genuine Quotes

Try reading some of the original scriptures, either on Access to Insight‘s wonderful site, or in book form. There are also a few genuine quotes I’ve been asked about that are discussed on this site.

Or you can visit our sister site, Real Buddha Quotes, to see a small selection of quotations, some of them in graphic form.

Enjoy!
Bodhipaksa

22 thoughts on “All Fake Buddha Quotes”

  1. Here is another one which I bet is not by the Buddha popping up =the teaching is simple. do what is right and be pure.
    Also, if you want to recommend my book some people find it useful – The Buddhas Teachings: Seeing Without Illusion
    Best
    Rodger

    1. I’ve only been able to find that quote on one site, Rodger. It was a massage and reflexology website. Where else have you seen it?

        1. I initially didn’t do a very thorough job of searching online for this one, Nick. The “original” form of this quote is “Yet the teaching is simple. Do what is right. Be pure” [no “and”]. I’d forgotten to search for variants, which it’s important to do since quotes can mutate.

          Anyway, this is indeed fake. It’s from Byrom’s appalling Dhammapada. It’s supposed to be verse 183, which is “Ceasing to do evil, learning to do good, purifying the heart — this is the teaching of the Buddhas.”

          I’ll write this one up!

          [Update] Here’s a link to my piece on this quote.

    1. That’s not so recent, Chris! It’s a quote from the Mahayana “Diamond Sutra,” which could be almost 2,000 years old. It has resonances with the Pali Phena Sutta, which compares the skandhas to a drop of water, a mirage, a magician’s display, etc.

  2. Hello 🙂
    I would like to know if the following quote is actually a quote from the Buddha. I’ve seen it many times in social media.
    “Happiness or sorrow whatever befalls you walk on untouched unattached meaning”

    Thank you,
    Kind regards,
    Doni

    1. Hi, Doni.

      That’s a new one to me. You’d have to add some punctuation for that even to make sense: “Happiness or sorrow — whatever befalls you, walk on, untouched, unattached.” (For some reason you’ve added the word “meaning” to the end, but it’s not part of the quote.)

      This is fake. It’s from Byrom’s “fake” translation of the Dhammapada. In other words, it’s meant to be a translation, but Byrom’s words bear little or no relation to the original. The verse in question is verse 83 of the Dhammapada, which in Buddharakkhita’s version is,

      The good renounce (attachment for) everything. The virtuous do not prattle with a yearning for pleasures. The wise show no elation or depression when touched by happiness or sorrow.

      Thanissaro’s version is:

      Everywhere, truly,
      those of integrity
      stand apart.
      They, the good,
      don’t chatter in hopes
      of favor or gains.
      When touched
      now by pleasure,
      now pain,
      the wise give no sign
      of high
      or low.

      You can see that those two translations are very similar in meaning (with the exception of “stand apart” and “renounce everything,” where some interpretation of the original is taking place. And you can see that Byrom’s rendering, which in full is:

      Want nothing.
      Where there is desire,
      Say nothing.
      Happiness or sorrow —
      Whatever befalls you,
      Walk on, untouched, unattached

      Is pretty much unrelated. That’s because Byrom basically just made up pretty words as he went along.

      I guess I’m going to have to write a blog post for this one! Thanks for bringing it to my attention!

      1. Thank you so much Bodhipaksa,
        Apologies for the bad punctuation, I don’t know how I accidentally added a new word!
        Thank you, that totally makes sense!
        Appreciate your assistance,
        Regards
        Doni

        1. I guess you copied the text from a Google search autocomplete, where the word “meaning” is often added after a quote (obviously as a result of many people wondering what the meaning of the quote is), and punctuation is missing.

  3. In reference to the first contribution by Rodger Ricketts:

    “To avoid all evil, to cultivate good, and to purify one’s mind—this is the teaching of the Buddhas” (Dhammapada 183).

    It is not the same as “____the teaching is simple. do what is right and be pure”, but it is very close.

  4. What i want to know is Buddha’s quotes translated from his mother tongue? And if so, when translated to English how is it to match perfectly to the vocabulary and direct intention of thought he was implying? I believe Buddha’s quotes makes a perfect sense when you read it directly in his mother tongue.

    1. Most quotes by the Buddha are translated from an ancient Indian language called Pali, Tselote. Ideally a translation should be literal but not stilted. Even the “literal” part can be difficult, because some passages are hard to understand, with the language being very compact, especially in verse.

  5. Bodhipaksa, thank you for your effort.
    The dilution and distortion of the Dhamma seems to be accelerating now that we are globally connected. Thanks Tim Berners-Lee!
    Imagine 2,600 years ago. Go to where the Buddha stayed, wait for the appropriate time, listen, and learn. No problem.
    Not only is there incorrect information all over the web but there is also copy and paste – multiplying that incorrect information.
    I’d think the proper thing to do if rephrasing or repurposing a Sutta would be to make it clear it was your own thoughts and take ownership of the difference. The Kamma from delivering incorrect teaching is important to recognize. Leave the Buddha’s words as they are and learn from them as directly as possible.
    Thanks again – I’ll make these sites true favorites!

    1. Thanks, Mike. It’s alarming how quickly misinformation metastasizes on the internet. It doesn’t seem possible even to slow it down, and in fact many of the people who write comments here are of the opinion that it doesn’t matter that we misrepresent what the Buddha (and other people) have said. Apparently the concept of truthfulness and accuracy as a concept is lost on many people who claim to be spiritual practitioners.

  6. Hi. Great site. Is there some site on the internet with ALL Buddha quotes, but all real quotes?
    Brainyquotes or think exist perhaps? Do they have all of the real quotes, or perhaps any other site? Thanks!

    1. Brainyquotes and Think Exist are, frankly, crap. They have pretty much every fake quote here, and a bunch more besides. If you’re just looking for isolated quotes, the only reliable site I know of is realbuddhaquotes.com, which is mine 🙂

      If you’re looking for more substantial passages, try accesstoinsight.org.

  7. Hi! I hope your site is still active. I sent you an email about this quote and other variations of it: “Life is so very difficult, how can we be anything other than kind?”

    Any idea about the origins of this possibly attributed Buddha quote? I’m having trouble tracking it down.

    1. Hi, Trixy. The site and I are both still very active, thanks. I just replied to your email, and I’m about to do a little write-up.

  8. I am very pleased and joyful to have found your site. This is a noble and beneficial way to, at the same time, teach, learn and keep untainted the BuddhaDharma.

    Thank you for your effort.

    I am from Brazil and usually stumbles upon the quote (I translated from Portuguese, so it might be inaccurate, but the general idea from the quote is still there): “The law of the mind is relentless. What you think, you create; What you feel, you attract; What you believe, become reality.”

    I have to say that this looks very superficial and simplistic to me, but I didn’t find any source telling me that that is a fake, so maybe you could help me tracking the source of this quote.

    Best regards.

    1. Hi Attila.

      I assume you have some Hungarian ancestry?

      Anyway, even translated from English to Portuguese and back, I recognize that quote. You’ll find it here, although this lacks the part about the law of the mind being relentless.

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