“Ambition is like love, impatient both of delays and rivals.”

“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]

4 thoughts on ““Ambition is like love, impatient both of delays and rivals.””

  1. Here’s one for your investigation: “To keep the body in good health is a duty, otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear – Buddha”.

  2. Good point. Great . You have spotted that .
    I believe you have read all The scriptures from Buddha ,before saying “ it is not from Buddha “ .

    I am sorry I don’t buy your logic .
    Meaning you didn’t read all scriptures, because you found it somewhere, you just believed it . Before saying” it is not from Buddha” , please read all .

    1. I think you underestimate the degree to which Buddhism was virtually unknown in Europe in the 17th century.

      At that time Buddhist scriptures had not yet been translated into European languages. Does it therefore seem reasonable that Sir John Denham, back in 1641, somehow discovered a quote from the Buddha and inserted it into his play? No.

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