Just spotted in the wild:
“You cannot travel the path until you have become the path itself”
This seems to be from Helena Petrovna Blavatsky’s “Voice of the Silence,” which has,
Thou canst not travel on the Path before thou hast become that Path itself.
Blavatsky was a founder of Theosophy and in 1880 became one of the first westerners to convert to Buddhism. She was strongly interested in spiritualism, and accusations of fraud followed her her entire life. It’s hard to escape the conclusion that she was a talented charlatan, although she may have been a well-meaning one in that she hoped to turn people’s attention toward spirituality.
One of the means for achieving this was to write books that purported to be translations from mystical Eastern works. The Voice of the Silence, And Other Chosen Fragments from the “Book of the Golden Precepts”, published in 1889, was one such work.
Blavatsky wrote in a faux-antique style, full of “thees” and “thous,” and her writings bear very little resemblance to Buddhist teachings. For example, the lines immediately preceding our Fake Buddha Quote are:
Ere thy Soul’s mind can understand, the bud of personality must be crushed out; the worm of sense destroyed past resurrection.
And there are things like this:
Saith the Great Law: “In order to become the KNOWER of ALL SELF, thou has first of SELF to be the knower.” To reach the knowledge of that SELF, thou hast to give up Self to Non-Self, Being to Non-Being.
(Hystrionic ALL CAPS in original.)
Despite Blavatsky having used a smattering of Buddhist termininology, her model for spirituality seems to have been primarily Hindu, given her belief in a universal self (sorry, that should be “SELF”) to which we must surrender our “selves.”
There’s also some straightforward teaching, such as “Shun praise, O Devotee. Praise leads to self-delusion.” I suspect most of this practical advice was made up rather than copied from any actual spiritual text.
This quote is rather similar to “There is no path to happiness. Happiness is the path.”