“Ambition is like love, impatient both of delays and rivals.”
I spotted this on a quotes site, and was immediately certain that it wasn’t from the Buddha. Only someone completely unfamiliar with the Buddha’s mode of expression would entertain the notion that it was one of his sayings. It sounds far too literary and bon mot-ish.
It took about two minutes to establish for certain that it was from a 1641 play, The Sophy, by the Anglo-Irish poet and courtier, Sir John Denham.
I was rather surprised to see this on the blog of the well-known author, Paulo Coelho, along with a number of other Fake Buddha Quotes.
Here’s a couple of things the Buddha did say about ambition:
“Let both laymen and monks think that it was done by me. In every work, great and small, let them follow me” — such is the ambition of the fool; thus his desire and pride increase. [Dhammapada, verse 74]
To be of noble birth, with vast ambition and of slender means, and to crave for rulership — this is a cause of one’s downfall. [Sutta Nipata]