The BBC has these two quotes attributed to the Buddha that strike me as suspiciously pop-culture-esque assumptions of Buddhism.


Quote #1:

An action, even if it brings benefit to oneself, cannot be considered a good action if it causes physical and mental pain to another being.

The Buddha

Quote #2:

If a person foolishly does me wrong, I will return to him the protection of my boundless love. The more evil that comes from him, the more good will go from me.

The Buddha

The language isn't right, and they don't stand up to the test of logic.

For example:

1: A girl pesters a monk to marry her, and is heartbroken when the monk refuses and commits suicide out of heart break. I don't think Buddhism would blame the monk because his intention is not to hurt the girl.

2: The words "protection of my boundless love" seem odd, when actually per the laws of karma, none can protect another from the effects of their actions. Plus, the Buddha doesn't mind calling a spade a spade - he can't hate anyone obviously, but he isn't going to love the sinners more than the virtuous as the quote implies.

  • 4
    You can submit these quotes to fakebuddhaquotes.com/all-fake-buddha-quotes They will find if a quote is genuine or not.
    – user5380
    Commented Jul 1, 2015 at 16:56
  • @user5380 Thanks I was thinking of Bodhipaksa when I wrote this.
    – Buddho
    Commented Jul 1, 2015 at 16:57
  • 2
    They don't sound like Buddha quotes. The Buddha in the Pali Canon doesn't really speak in such quotable 1-liners like this. His speech is much deeper. I don't know for certain, though.
    – Ryan
    Commented Jul 2, 2015 at 0:13
  • the language isn't right, definitely, but i think that the general idea in each, that causing harm to others is always bad, and that the buddha won't punish sinners, seems ok, i think
    – user2512
    Commented May 5, 2018 at 21:26

2 Answers 2


In the first one I think they are summarizing the following from Ambalaṭṭhikā-Rāhulovada Sutta.

“Whatever action you desire to do with the body [similarly with mind and word] Rāhula, of that particular bodily action you should reflect: ‘Now, this action that I desire to do with the body—would this, my bodily action, be conducive to my own harm, or to the harm of others, or to that of both (myself and others)?—Then, unskilful is this bodily action, entailing suffering and productive of pain.

The other one seems to be coming from a Mahayana sutta, "Sermon on Abuse" in The sutta of 42 sections

Buddha said: A man foolishly stating or considering that I do that which is not right, will obtain no other refutation from me but that which proceeds from the exercise of my four qualities of love (?), so the more evil he brings against me, the more good will proceed from me; the influence of this resting on me, the effect of that returning to him


Little known fact: the words “A Fake Buddha Quote all ’bout truth” were originally in Alanis Morissette’s song “Ironic,” but she took them out when she realized that this actually was an example of irony, unlike most of the other images in the song.

No, that’s not true.

But isn’t it ironic?

This one has its origins in the first translated Buddhist text I ever read: Juan Mascaró’s translation of the Dhammapada for Penguin Classics. I was deeply impressed by this at the time, although now I realize that Mascaró, like other Hindu translators of the Dhammapada, seriously misrepresented what some key passages say.

But that’s a story for another day. Here we’re not talking about the translation since these words are from Mascaró’s introduction. On page 21 of my edition, we find: Buddha Quotes

“Love is beauty and beauty is the truth, and this is why in the beauty of a flower we can see the truth of the universe.” (Note that we have here “this is why” and not the “that is why” of the quote in the image above.)

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