Buddhism, Buddhist Quotes, Zen Buddhism

50 Quotes Never Spoken by the Buddha

His teachings, rooted in the Buddhist tradition, have traversed centuries, offering insights into suffering, mindfulness, and the path to Nirvana. However, in the modern digital age, the Buddha’s name has often been attached to various quotes that, despite their profound nature, are not his words. This misattribution can stem from a desire to simplify complex teachings or to give weight to philosophical statements.

This article delves into 50 such quotes that, while insightful and reflective of a deep understanding of life and its intricacies, are not uttered by the Buddha. Understanding this distinction helps preserve the authenticity of the Buddha’s actual teachings and offers an opportunity to explore the origins and implications of these popular but misattributed sayings.

Quotes the Buddha Never Said

Here are these 50 quotes often mistakenly attributed to the Buddha. Though they resonate with deep wisdom and often align with Buddhist philosophy, they were not spoken by Siddhartha Gautama.

  1. “The trouble is, you think you have time.”
  2. “No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path.”
  3. “Happiness does not depend on what you have or who you are; it solely relies on what you think.”
  4. “All that we are is the result of what we have thought.”
  5. “You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.”
  6. “Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.”
  7. “Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without.”
  8. “Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth.”
  9. “Hatred does not cease by hatred, but only by love; this is the eternal rule.”
  10. “To understand everything is to forgive everything.”
  11. “In the end, only three things matter: how much you loved, how gently you lived, and how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you.”
  12. “Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.”
  13. “You will not be punished for your anger, you will be punished by your anger.”
  14. “It is better to conquer yourself than to win a thousand battles. Then the victory is yours.”
  15. “We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think.”
  16. “The mind is everything. What you think you become.”
  17. “There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth; not going all the way, and not starting.”
  18. “Better than a thousand hollow words, is one word that brings peace.”
  19. “Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.”
  20. “The healthiest response to life is joy.”
  21. “To conquer oneself is a greater task than conquering others.”
  22. “Just as a candle cannot burn without fire, men cannot live without a spiritual life.”
  23. “Every human being is the author of his own health or disease.”
  24. “The foot feels the foot when it feels the ground.”
  25. “Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense.”
  26. “Let go, or be dragged.”
  27. “The tongue like a sharp knife… Kills without drawing blood.”
  28. “Work out your own salvation. Do not depend on others.”
  29. “A jug fills drop by drop.”
  30. “Be where you are; otherwise you will miss your life.”
  31. “If you light a lamp for somebody, it will also brighten your path.”
  32. “An idea that is developed and put into action is more important than an idea that exists only as an idea.”
  33. “What you are is what you have been. What you’ll be is what you do now.”
  34. “To live a pure unselfish life, one must count nothing as one’s own in the midst of abundance.”
  35. “Your work is to discover your work and then with all your heart to give yourself to it.”
  36. “The past is already gone, the future is not yet here. There’s only one moment for you to live.”
  37. “One moment can change a day, one day can change a life and one life can change the world.”
  38. “Pain is certain, suffering is optional.”
  39. “You will not be punished for your anger; you are punished by your anger.”
  40. “When you realize how perfect everything is you will tilt your head back and laugh at the sky.”
  41. “Do not learn how to react. Learn how to respond.”
  42. “The way is not in the sky. The way is in the heart.”
  43. “A disciplined mind brings happiness.”
  44. “There is no path to happiness: happiness is the path.”
  45. “The mind is everything; what you think, you become.”
  46. “Wear your ego like a loose fitting garment.”
  47. “The darkest night is ignorance.”
  48. “Every morning we are born again. What we do today is what matters most.”
  49. “It is ridiculous to think that somebody else can make you happy or unhappy.”
  50. “The world is afflicted by death and decay. But the wise do not grieve, having realized the nature of the world.”


The journey through these 50 quotes reveals a fascinating aspect of human culture: our tendency to attach wisdom to well-known figures to validate its significance. While these quotes resonate with the essence of Buddhist philosophy in many ways, their misattribution to the Buddha highlights the importance of critical examination and authenticity in the realm of spiritual teachings. It reminds us that wisdom can come from many sources, and its value does not diminish even when it doesn’t originate from a figure like the Buddha.

As we continue to seek guidance and inspiration in ancient teachings and modern interpretations, let us do so with an informed understanding and an open heart, appreciating wisdom in all its forms and origins. This exploration not only deepens our appreciation for genuine Buddhist teachings but also opens our minds to the universal nature of wisdom, transcending individual authorship.