Quotes From Confucius

Confucius (traditionally 28 September 551 B.C. – 479 B.C.) was a Chinese social philosopher, whose teachings deeply influenced East Asian life and thought. “Confucius” is a latinization of the Chinese 孔夫子, Kong Fu Zi or K’ung-fu-tzu, literally “Master Kong”, but he is usually referred to in China with a simpler version of this honorific as 孔子, Kongzi, or Kǒng Zǐ.

See also: Confucius, Disciples of Confucius, Confucius Quotes, Confucius, Confucius Quotes from The Analects

Confucius was orphaned as a small boy, since there is no records of his parents. While he was growing up China was in despair with warfare and corruption running rampant. This gloom in China is what some felt led Confucius to teach his philosophies of having a good moral standing or having jen which means humaneness. Confucius is will known for some phrases that give meaning to what a good up standing citizen represents. 

We have collected and put his best quotes in the following categories. Enjoy reading these insights and feel free to share this page on your social media to inspire others.

May these Confucius Quotes on many subjects inspire you to never give up and keep working towards your goals. Who knows—success could be just around the corner.

Quotes From Confucius

A bit of fragrance always clings to the hand that gives roses. If you are generous, you will gain everything. –  Confucius

A blemish may be removed from a diamond by careful polishing, but evil words once spoken cannot be effaced. –  Confucius

A common man marvels at uncommon things. A wise man marvels at the commonplace. –  Confucius

A country of a thousand war-chariots cannot be administered unless the ruler attends strictly to business, punctually observes his promises, is economical in expenditure, loves the people, and uses the labor of the peasantry only at the proper times of year. –  Confucius

A father’s and a mother’s age must be borne in mind; with joy on the one hand, fear on the other. –  Confucius

A fool despises good counsel, but a wise man takes it to heart. –  Confucius

A fool marvels at rare things, but a wise man at common ones. –  Confucius

A gentleman can see a question from all sides without bias. –  Confucius

A gentleman can withstand hardships; it is only the small man who, when submitted to them, is swept off his feet. –  Confucius

A gentleman considers justice to be essential in everything. He practices it according to the principles of propriety. He brings it forth in modesty and faithfully completes it. This is indeed a gentleman. –  Confucius

A gentleman considers what is right; the vulgar consider what will pay. –  Confucius

A gentleman does not promote a man on account of what he says; nor does he reject sayings, because the speaker is what he is. –  Confucius

A gentleman is ashamed to let his words outrun his deeds. –  Confucius

A gentleman is calm and spacious: the vulgar are always fretting. –  Confucius

A gentleman wishes to be slow to speak and quick to act. –  Confucius

A gentleman would be ashamed should his deeds not match his words. –  Confucius

A gentleman, in his plans, thinks of the Way; he does not think how he is going to make a living. Even farming sometimes entails 5 times of shortage; and even learning may incidentally lead to high pay. But a gentleman’s anxieties concern the progress of the Way; he has no anxiety concerning poverty. –  Confucius

A good man does not make a warrior, just as good steel does not go for nails. –  Confucius

A good man does not worry about not being known by others, but rather is concerned about not knowing them. –  Confucius

A good man is not mine to see. Could I see a man possessed of constancy, that would satisfy me. –  Confucius

A good man will certainly also possess courage; but a brave man is not necessarily good. –  Confucius

A great man is hard on himself; a small man is hard on others. –  Confucius

A hammer shatters glass but it also forges steel. –  Confucius

A happy union with wife and child is like the music of lutes and harps. –  Confucius

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. –  Confucius

A knight whose heart is set upon the Way, but who is ashamed of wearing shabby clothes and eating coarse food, is not worth calling into counsel. –  Confucius

A lack of patience in trifling matters might lead to the disruption of great project. –  Confucius

A lion chased me up a tree, and I greatly enjoyed the view from the top. –  Confucius

A man exercising no forethought will soon experience present sorrow. –  Confucius

A man is great not because he hasn’t failed; a man is great because failure hasn’t stopped him. –  Confucius

A man may not transgress the bounds of major morals, but may make errors in minor morals. –  Confucius

A man of humanity is one who, in seeking to establish himself, finds a foothold for others and who, in desiring attaining himself, helps others to attain. –  Confucius

A man should demand much from himself, but little from others. When you meet a man of worth, think how you may attain to his excellence. When you meet an unworthy one, then look within and examine yourself. –  Confucius

A man should practice what he preaches, but a man should also preach what he practices. –  Confucius

A man who does not forget an agreement is resolved and honorable man. –  Confucius

A man who does not plan long ahead will find trouble right at his door. –  Confucius

A man who does not think and plan long ahead will find trouble right at his door. –  Confucius

A man who has committed a mistake and does not correct it is committing another mistake. –  Confucius

A man who lacks reliability is utterly useless. –  Confucius

A man who reviews the old so as to find out the new is qualified to teach others. –  Confucius

A man without a mustache is a man without a soul. –  Confucius

A man without persistence will never make a good shaman or a good physician. –  Confucius

A Nation’s character is typified by its dancers. –  Confucius

A picture is poem without words. –  Confucius

A reasonable man adjusts himself to the world. An unreasonable man expects the world to adjust itself to him. Therefore all progress is made by unreasonable people. –  Confucius

A superior man in dealing with the world is not for anything or against anything. He follows righteousness as the standard. –  Confucius

A superior man is one who is free from fear and anxieties –  Confucius

A superior man may be made to go to the well, but he cannot be made to go down into it. He may be imposed upon, but he cannot be fooled. –  Confucius

A true gentleman is one who has set his heart upon the Way. A fellow who is ashamed merely of shabby clothing or modest meals is not even worth conversing with. –  Confucius (Analects 4.9)

A true gentleman makes demands upon himself but not upon others. –  Confucius

A true teacher is one who, keeping the past alive, is also able to understand the present. –  Confucius

A truly great man never puts away the simplicity of a child. –  Confucius

A wise man has dignity without pride; a fool has pride without dignity. –  Confucius

A wise man seeks by music to strengthen his soul: the thoughtless one uses it to stifle his fears. –  Confucius

A workman who wants to do his work well must first prepare his tools. –  Confucius

A youth is to be regarded with respect. –  Confucius

A youth is to be regarded with respect. How do we know that his future will not be equal to our present? –  Confucius

A youth is to be regarded with respect. How do we know that his future will not be equal to our present? If he reach the age of forty or fifty, and has not made himself heard of, then indeed he will not be worth being regarded with respect. –  Confucius

A youth, when at home, should be filial and, abroad, respectful to his elders. He should be earnest and truthful. He should overflow in love to all and cultivate the friendship of the good. When he has time and opportunity, after the performance of these things, he should employ them in polite studies. –  Confucius

A youth, when at home, should be filial, and, abroad, respectful to his elders. –  Confucius

Ability will never catch up with the demand for it. – Confucius

Acquire new knowledge whilst thinking over the old, and you may become a teacher of others. –  Confucius

Act with kindness, but do not expect gratitude. –  Confucius

Ah, music, sacred tongue of God! I hear thee calling and I come. –  Confucius

All men are born good. –  Confucius

All people are the same; only their habits differ. –  Confucius

All the darkness in the world can’t put out the light of one candle. –  Confucius

All things are already complete in oneself. –  Confucius

All things are nourished together without their injuring one another. The courses of the seasons, and of the sun and moon, are pursued without any collision among them. The smaller energies are like river currents; the greater energies are seen in mighty transformations. It is this which makes heaven and earth so great. – Confucius

Among us, in our part of the country, those who are upright are different from this. The father conceals the misconduct of the son, and the son conceals the misconduct of the father. Uprightness is to be found in this. –  Confucius

Among the appliances to transform the people, sound and appearances are but trivial influences. – Confucius

An angry man is full of poison. –  Confucius

An angry person is always full of poison. –  Confucius

An image is better than one thousand words. –  Confucius

An inch of time on the sundial is worth more than a foot of jade. –  Confucius

An inconvenience is an unrecognized opportunity. –  Confucius

An oppressive government is more to be feared than a tiger. –  Confucius

An orchid in a deep forest sends out its fragrance even if no one is around to appreciate it. –  Confucius

And remember, no matter where you go, there you are. –  Confucius

Anyone can find the switch after the lights are on. –  Confucius

As I came not into life with any knowledge of it, and as my likings are for what is old, I busy myself in seeking knowledge there. –  Confucius

As in the case of making a mound, if, before the very last basketful, I stop, then I shall have stopped. As in the case of leveling the ground, if, though tipping only one basketful, I am going forward, then I shall be making progress. –  Confucius

As the water shapes itself to the vessel that contains it, so a wise man adapts himself to circumstances. –  Confucius

Ask yourself constantly, “What is the right thing to do?” –  Confucius

Ask yourself constantly, What is the right thing to do? Behave toward everyone as if receiving a great guest. –  Confucius

At fifteen I set my heart upon learning. At thirty, I had planted my feet firm upon the ground. At forty, I no longer suffered from perplexities. At fifty, I knew what were the biddings of Heaven. At sixty, I heard them with docile ear. At seventy, I could follow the dictates of my own heart; for what I desired no longer overstepped the boundaries of right. –  Confucius

At fifteen my mind was directed to study, and at thirty I knew where to stand. –  Confucius

At fifteen, my mind was bent on learning.
At thirty, I stood firm.
At forty, I had no doubts.
At fifty, I knew the decrees of Heaven.
At sixty, my ear was receptive to truth.
At seventy, I could follow my heart’s desires without sin. –  Confucius

Attack the evil that is within yourself, rather than attacking the evil that is in others. –  Confucius

Balance is the perfect state of still water. Let that be our model. It remains quiet within and is not disturbed on the surface. –  Confucius

Base yourself in loyalty and trust. Don’t be companion with those who are not your moral equal. When you make a mistake, don’t hesitate to correct it. –  Confucius

Baseball is wrong, man with four balls cannot walk. –  Confucius

Be aroused by poetry; structure yourself with propriety, refine yourself with music. –  Confucius

Be faithful and true of word; let thy walk be plain and lowly: thou wilt get on, though in savage land. If thy words be not faithful and true, thy walk plain and lowly, wilt thou get on, though in thine own home? Standing, see these words ranged before thee; driving, see them written upon the yoke. Then thou wilt get on. –  Confucius

Be in harmony, yet be different. –  Confucius

Be loyal and trustworthy. Do not befriend anyone who is lower than yourself in this regard. –  Confucius

Be loyal to yourself, charitable to neighbours, nothing more. –  Confucius

Be sincere and true to your word, serious and careful in your actions; and you will get along even among barbarians, But if you are not sincere and untrustworthy in your speech, frivolous and careless in your actions, how will you get along even among your own neighbors? When stand, see these principles in front of you; in your carriage see them on the yoke. Then you may be sure to get along. –  Confucius

Be strict with yourself but least reproachful of others and complaint is kept afar. –  Confucius

Be versed in ancient lore, and familiarize yourself with the modern; then may you become teachers. –  Confucius

Because the newer methods of treatment are good, it does not follow that the old ones were bad: for if our honorable and worshipful ancestors had not recovered from their ailments, you and I would not be here today. –  Confucius

Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves. – Confucius

Behave toward everyone as if receiving a great guest. –  Confucius

Behave when away from home as though you were in the presence of an honored guest. Employ the people as though you were assisting at an important sacrifice. Do not do to others what you would not like yourself. Then there will be no feelings of opposition to you, whether it is the affairs of a state that you are handling or the affairs of a family. –  Confucius

Behind every smile there’s teeth. –  Confucius

Being strong does not mean that you never fall down, but that whenever you fall, you get up again. –  Confucius

Benevolence is the characteristic element of humanity. –  Confucius

Better than the one who knows what is right is the one who loves what is right. –  Confucius

Bird in hand makes it harder to blow nose. –  Confucius

Boldness, without the rules of propriety, becomes insubordination. –  Confucius

But if you do not have the Tao yourself, what business have you spending your time in vain efforts to bring corrupt politicians into the right path? –  Confucius

By gaining the people, the kingdom is gained; by losing the people, the kingdom is lost. –  Confucius

By nature, men are nearly alike; by practice, they get to be wide apart. –  Confucius

By the ruler’s cultivation of his own character there is set up the example of the course which all should pursue. –  Confucius

Can any do otherwise than assent to words said to them by way of correction? Only let them reform by such advice, and it will then be reckoned valuable. Can any be other than pleased with words of gentle suasion? Only let them comply with them fully, and such also will be accounted valuable. With those who are pleased without so complying, and those who assent but do not reform, I can do nothing at all. –  Confucius

Care not for being unknown, but seek to be worthy of note. –  Confucius

Care not for want of place; care for thy readiness to fill one. Care not for being unknown, but seek to be worthy of note. –  Confucius

Ceremonies are the first thing to be attended to in the practice of government. –  Confucius

Charity is that rational and constant affection which makes us sacrifice ourselves to the human race, as if we were united with it, so as to form one individual, partaking equally in its adversity and prosperity. –  Confucius

Charity, like the sun, brightens every object on which it shines. –  Confucius

Chi Wen Tzu always thought three times before taking action. Twice would have been quite enough. –  Confucius

Clever talk and domineering manner have little to with being a Man at His Best. –  Confucius

Clever talk can confound the workings of virtue, just as small impatiences can confound great projects. –  Confucius

Coarse rice to eat, water to drink, my bended arm for a pillow – therein is happiness. Wealth and rank attained through immoral means are nothing but drifting clouds. –  Confucius

Coloring requires a pure and clear background. –  Confucius

Conscience is the inner voice which warns us that someone might be looking. Hear and you forget, see and you remember, do and you understand. –  Confucius

Cultivate the root; the leaves and branches will take care of themselves. –  Confucius

Cultivated people foster what is good in others,
not what is bad.
Petty people do the opposite. –  Confucius

Desire to have things done quickly prevents their being done thoroughly. –  Confucius

Do not answer the person whose questions are vile. Do not question a person whose answers are vile. –  Confucius

Do not be desirous of having things done quickly. Do not look at small advantages. Desire to have things done quickly prevents their being done thoroughly. –  Confucius

Do not be desirous of having things done quickly. Do not look at small advantages. Desire to have things done quickly prevents their being done thoroughly. Looking at small advantages prevents great affairs from being accomplished. –  Confucius

Do not do to others what you do not want done to yourself. –  Confucius

Do not let a leader lead you on a bad path. –  Confucius

Do not treat others as you yourself would not be treated. –  Confucius

Do not unto another that you would hot have him do unto you. Thou needest this law alone. It is the foundation of all the rest. –  Confucius

Do not use a cannon to kill a mosquito. –  Confucius

Do not wish for quick results, nor look for small advantages. If you seek quick results, you will not reach the ultimate goal. If you are led astray by small advantages, you will never accomplish great things. –  Confucius

Do not worry about holding high position; worry rather about playing your proper role. –  Confucius

Do not worry about not holding high position; worry rather about playing your proper role. Worry not that no one knows of you; seek to be worth knowing. –  Confucius

Do not worry if others do not understand you. Instead worry if you do not understand others. –  Confucius

Do unto others as you wish others do unto you. –  Confucius

Do unto others what you want done unto you. –  Confucius

Does Heaven ever speak? The four seasons come and go, and all creatures thrive and grow. Does Heaven ever speak! –  Confucius

Don’t complain about the snow on your neighbor’s roof when your own doorstep is unclean. –  Confucius

Don’t be concerned about others not appreciating you. Be concerned about your not appreciating others. –  Confucius

Don’t be concerned that you have no position; be concerned how you may fit yourself to occupy one. . –  Confucius

Don’t complain about the snow on your neighbor’s roof when your own doorstep is unclean. –  Confucius

Don’t curse the darkness, light a candle. –  Confucius

Don’t do unto others what you don’t want done unto you. –  Confucius

Don’t do unto others what you don’t want others to do unto you. –  Confucius

Don’t let your past determine your destiny. –  Confucius

Don’t make to others what you don’t want them to make to you. –  Confucius

Don’t use cannon to kill mosquito. –  Confucius

Don’t worry about being acknowledged by others; worry about failing to acknowledge them. –  Confucius

Don’t worry if people don’t recognize your merits; worry that you may not recognize theirs. –  Confucius

Don’t worry that other people don’t know you;
worry that you don’t know other people. –  Confucius

Driven by his passion, Confucius’ intention was to awaken the people, and he tirelessly tried to do it until the day he died –  Confucius

Eat at your own as you would the table of a king. –  Confucius

Education breeds confidence. Confidence breeds hope. Hope breeds peace. –  Confucius

Even four harnessed horses cannot bring imprudent words back into the mouth. –  Confucius

Even if I could, I would not exchange their virtues for my own. And that is why they are intent on learning from me. –  Confucius

Even if people do not know what real kindness is, they nonetheless have it within them. –  Confucius

Even in killing men, observe the rules of propriety. –  Confucius

Every house guest brings you happiness. Some when they arrive, and some when they are leaving –  Confucius

Every journey starts with a single step. –  Confucius

Every man knows the smell of his own fart. –  Confucius

Every piece of marble has a statue in it waiting to be released by a person of sufficient skill to chip away the unnecessary parts. Just as the sculptor is to the marble, so is education to the soul. It releases it. For only educated people are free people. You cannot create a statue by smashing the marble with a hammer, and you cannot by the force of arms release the spirit or the soul of people. –  Confucius

Everyone calls his son his son, whether he has talents or has not talents. –  Confucius

Everyone eats and drinks; yet only few appreciate the taste of food. –  Confucius

Everything has its beauty but not everyone sees it. –  Confucius

Everything has its beauty but not everyone sees it. To see it a person only needs to imagine how it could be worse. –  Confucius

Excess and deficiency are equally at fault. –  Confucius

Excess weakens the spirits. –  Confucius

Excessive (population) growth may reduce output per worker, repress levels of living for the masses and engender strife. –  Confucius

Exemplary people concern themselves with virtue,
small people concern themselves with territory. The ruling class
thinks of punishment, the lower classes hope for benevolence. –  Confucius

Exemplary persons are steadfast in the face of adversity, while petty persons are engulfed by it. –  Confucius

Expect much from yourself and little from others and you will avoid incurring resentments. –  Confucius

Faithfulness and sincerity are the highest things. –  Confucius

Faithfulness and sincerity first of all. –  Confucius

Fear not to reform. –  Confucius

Fine words and an insinuating appearance are seldom associated with true virtue. –  Confucius

First there must be order and harmony within your own mind. –  Confucius

First there must be order and harmony within your own mind. Then this order will spread to your family, then to the community, and finally to your entire kingdom. Only then can you have peace and harmony. –  Confucius

For benefits return benefits; for injuries return justice without any admixture of revenge. –  Confucius

For one word a man is often deemed to be wise, and for one word he is often deemed to be foolish. We should be careful indeed what we say. –  Confucius

From a grain of sand in the Pearl comes. –  Confucius

From the loving example of one family a whole State may become loving, and from its courtesies, courteous; while from the ambition and perverseness of the one man the whole State may be thrown into rebellious disorder. Such is the nature of influence. –  Confucius

From the Son of Heaven down to the mass of the people, all must consider the cultivation of the person the root of everything besides. –  Confucius

Future generation is the most important thing. –  Confucius

Gentlemen cherish worth; the vulgar cherish dirt. Gentlemen trust in justice; the vulgar trust in favor. –  Confucius

Gentlemen should not waste their time on trivial games — they should play go[3]. –  Confucius

Girl who sit on Judge’s lap get honorable discharge. –  Confucius

Give a man a fish, feed home for a day. Teach a man to fish, feed for a lifetime. –  Confucius

Go before the people with your example, and be laborious in their affairs. –  Confucius

Good is no hermit. It has ever neighbors. –  Confucius

Good people strengthen themselves ceaselessly. –  Confucius

Gravity is only the bark of wisdom’s tree, but it preserves it. –  Confucius

Great is the man who can overcome the
world, but greater still is the man who can
overcome himself, for he will have the world
spinning on the palm of his hand. –  Confucius

Grieve not that men do not know you;
grieve that you do not know men. –  Confucius

Guide the people by law, subdue them by punishment; they may shun crime, but will be void of shame. Guide them by example, subdue them by courtesy; they will learn shame, and come to be good. –  Confucius

Guide them by edicts, keep them in line with punishments, and the common people will stay out of trouble but will have no sense of shame. Guide them by virtue, keep them in line with the rites, and they will, besides having a sense of shame, reform themselves. –  Confucius

Have no friends not equal to yourself. –  Confucius

He is marriageable. Although he was once imprisoned and branded as a criminal, he was in fact innocent of any crime. The Master gave him his daughter in marriage. –  Confucius (Analects 5.1)

He is the sort of man who forgets to eat when he tries to solve a problem that has been driving him to distraction, who is so of full of joy that he forgets his worries and who does not notice the onset of old age. – Confucius

He is the truly courageous man who never desponds. –  Confucius

He that would perfect his work must first sharpen his tools. –  Confucius

He wanted to make education available to anyone willing to learn. After mastering ancient arts, Confucius became a brilliant teacher who passed on his knowledge to improve society. A typical idea of the Confucian heritage is that human beings are malleable; they can always improve and perfect themselves if they try hard enough. –  Confucius

He who acts with a constant view to his own advantage will be much murmured against. –  Confucius

He who cannot describe the problem will never find the solution to that problem. –  Confucius

He who chases two rabbits, catches none. –  Confucius

He who conquers himself is the mightiest warrior. –  Confucius

He who crosses the ocean twice without washing is a dirty double crosser. –  Confucius

He who excels in study can follow an official career. –  Confucius

He who exercises government by means of his virtue may be compared to the north polar star, which keeps its place and all the stars turn towards it. –  Confucius

He who fails to prepare, prepares to fail. –  Confucius

He who flatters a man is his enemy. he who tells him of his faults is his maker. –  Confucius

He who is harmony with Nature hits the mark without effort and apprehends the truth without thinking. –  Confucius

He who is really good can never be unhappy. He who is really wise can never be perplexed. He who is really brave is never afraid. –  Confucius

He who is really kind, can never be unhappy. –  Confucius

He who keeps danger in mind will rest safely in his seat. –  Confucius

He who keeps danger in mind, is he who will rest safe in his seat; he who keeps ruin in mind, is he who will preserve his interests secure. –  Confucius

He who kisses girl on hillside is not level. –  Confucius

He who knows all the answers has not been asked all the questions. –  Confucius

He Who Knows And Knows That He Knows Is A Wise Man – Follow Him; He Who Knows Not And Knows Not That He Knows Not Is A Fool – Shun Him –  Confucius

He Who Knows And Knows That He Knows Is A Wise Man – Follow Him;
He Who Knows Not And Knows Not That He Knows Not Is A Fool – Shun Him. –  Confucius

He who knows right principles is not equal to him who loves them. –  Confucius

He who learns but does not think, is lost! He who thinks but does not learn is in great danger… Men of superior mind busy themselves first getting at the root of things; when they succeed, the right course is open to them. –  Confucius

He who merely knows right principles is not equal to him who loves them. –  Confucius

He who needs only coarse food, water and drink, and as pillow his folded arms will find happiness without further search. –  Confucius

He who remembers from day to day what he has yet to learn, and from month to month what he has learned already, may be said to have a love of learning. –  Confucius

He who requires much from himself and little from others, will keep himself from being the object of resentment. –  Confucius

He who rules by moral force is like the pole star, which remains in place while all the lesser stars do homage to it. –  Confucius

He who searches for evil, must first look at his own reflection. –  Confucius

He who sling mud, lose ground. –  Confucius

He who take cookie to bed have crummy night ahead. –  Confucius

He who will not economize will agonize –  Confucius

He who will not economize will have to agonize. –  Confucius

He who wished to secure the good of others, has already secured his own. –  Confucius

He who works for his own interests will arouse much animosity. –  Confucius

He with whom neither slander that gradually soaks into the mind, nor statements that startle like a wound in the flesh, are successful may be called intelligent indeed. –  Confucius

Heaven begat Virtue in me; what can man do unto me? –  Confucius

Heaven gives long life to the just and the intelligent. –  Confucius

Heaven is author of the virtue that is in me –  Confucius

Heaven means to be one with God. –  Confucius

Heaven sends down its good and evil symbols and wise men act accordingly. –  Confucius

Heaven, in the production of things, is sure to be bountiful to them, according to their qualities. Hence the tree that is flourishing, it nourishes, while that which is ready to fall, it overthrows. –  Confucius

Here is an example of sayings: It does not matter how slowly you go so long as you do not stop. In a few words, teaches us about patience, perseverance, discipline, and hard work. But if you probe further, you will see more layers. ‘ philosophies have significantly influenced spiritual and social thought. His views bear insight and depth of wisdom. You can apply his teachings in every sphere of life. ‘ profound teachings are based on humanism. –  Confucius

His only anxiety is lest he should fail to recognize theirs. –  Confucius

Hold faithfulness and sincerity as first principles. –  Confucius

How abundantly do spiritual beings display the powers that belong to them! We look for them, but do not see them; we listen to, but do not hear them; yet they enter into all things, and there is nothing without them. –  Confucius

How abundantly do spiritual beings display the powers that belong to them! –  Confucius

How should I know anything about another world when I know so little of this? –  Confucius

How to play music may be known. At the commencement of the piece, all the parts should sound together. As it proceeds, they should be in harmony while severally distinct and flowing without break, and thus on to the conclusion. –  Confucius

How transcendent is the virtue of the middle conduct! Rare for a long time has been its practice among the people. –  Confucius

Humankind differs from the animals only by a little, and most people throw that away. –  Confucius

I am not bothered by the fact that I am not understood. I am bothered when I do not know others. –  Confucius

I am not concerned that I am not known, I seek to be worthy to be known. –  Confucius

I could see peace instead of this. –  Confucius

I daily examine myself on three points: In planning for others, have I failed in conscientiousness? In intercourse with friends, have I been insincere? And have I failed to practice what I have been taught? –  Confucius

I do and I understand. –  Confucius

I do not enlighten those who are not eager to learn, nor arouse those who are not anxious to give an explanation themselves. If I have presented one corner of the square and they cannot come back to me with the other three, I should not go over the points again. –  Confucius

I followed my heart without breaking any rules. –  Confucius

I have never seen a man as fond of virtue as of women. –  Confucius

I have never seen one who really loves goodness or one who really hates wickedness. One who really loves goodness will not place anything above it. One who really hates wickedness will practice goodness in such a way that wickedness will have no chance to get at him. Is there anyone who has devoted his whole strength to doing good for even as long as a single day? I have not seen anyone give up such an attempt because he had not the strength to go on. Perhaps there is such a case, but I have never seen it. –  Confucius

I have not seen one who loves virtue as he loves beauty. –  Confucius

I have yet to meet a man as fond of high moral conduct as he is of outward appearances. –  Confucius

I hear and I forget. –  Confucius

I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand. –  Confucius

I hear, I know. I see, I remember. I do, I understand. –  Confucius

I know how the birds fly, how the fishes swim, how animals run. But there is the Dragon. I cannot tell how it mounts on the winds through the clouds and flies through heaven. Today I have seen the Dragon. –  Confucius

I never really said all those things I said –  Confucius

I saw some piglets suckling their dead mother. After a short while they shuddered and went away. They had sensed that she could no longer see them and that she wasn’t like them any more. What they loved in their mother wasn’t her body, but whatever it was that made her body live. –  Confucius

I see and I believe. –  Confucius

I set my heart on the Way, base myself on virtue, lean upon benevolence for support and take my recreation in the arts. –  Confucius

I transmit but do not create. I place my trust in the teachings of antiquity. –  Confucius

I used to listen to what others said, and expect them to act accordingly. But nowadays, I listen to what they say, and then observe what they do. –  Confucius

I used to take on trust a man’s deeds after having listened to his words. Now having listened to a man’s words I go on to observe his deeds. –  Confucius

I was complaining that I had no shoes till I met a man who had no feet. –  Confucius

I’d rather die for speaking out, than to live and be silent. –  Confucius

If a man in the morning hear the right way, he may die in the evening without regret. –  Confucius

If a man is not good, what has he to do with the rules of propriety? If he is not good, what has he to do with music? –  Confucius

If a man is respectful he will not be treated with insolence. If he is tolerant he will win the multitude. If he is trustworthy in word his fellow men will entrust him with responsibility. If he is quick he will achieve results. –  Confucius

If a man keeps cherishing his old knowledge so as continually to be acquiring new, he may be a teacher of others. –  Confucius

If a man remembers what is right at the sign of profit, is ready to lay down his life in the face of danger, and does not forget sentiments he has repeated all his life when he has been in straitened circumstances for a long time, he may be said to be a complete man. –  Confucius

If a man sets his heart on benevolence he will be free from evil. –  Confucius

If a superior man abandon virtue, how can he fulfil the requirements of that name? –  Confucius

If an urn lacks the characteristics of an urn, how can we call it an urn? –  Confucius

If doing what ought to be done be made the first business and success a secondary consideration–is not this the way to exalt virtue? –  Confucius

If either wealth or poverty are come by honesty, there is no shame. –  Confucius

If I am building a mountain and stop before the last basketful of earth is placed on the summit, I have failed. –  Confucius

If I am virtuous and worthy, for whom should I not maintain a proper concern? –  Confucius

If I am walking with two other men, each of them will serve as my teacher. I will pick out the good points of the one and imitate them, and the bad points of the other and correct them in myself. –  Confucius

If I cannot get men who steer a middle course to associate with, I would far rather have the impetuous and hasty. For the impetuous at any rate assert themselves. –  Confucius

If I do not participate in the sacrifice, it is as if I did not sacrifice at all. –  Confucius

If I give a student one-fourth of what he should know, I expect him to get the other three-fourths himself, otherwise I do not want him as a student. –  Confucius

If I hold up one corner of a square and the student cannot workout the other three for himself, I won’t go any further. –  Confucius

If I were travelling with two partners, one virtuous and one dishonest, both would be useful as teachers. I would perceive what’s good of the first one and I would imitate him whereas I would try to correct in me the defects I may see in the second one. –  Confucius

If language is not correct, then what is said is not what is meant; if what is said is not what is meant, then what must be done remains undone; if this remains undone, morals and art will deteriorate; if justice goes astray, the people will stand about in helpless confusion. Hence there must be no arbitrariness in what is said. This matters above everything. –  Confucius

If Language is not correct, then what is said is not what is meant. If what is said is not what is meant, then what ought to be done, remains undone. –  Confucius

If language is not rectified, words do not correspond to meaning, and if words do not correspond to meaning, our deeds cannot be accomplished. –  Confucius

If my mind be not engaged in worship, it is as though I worshipped not. –  Confucius

If my soul is not engaged in worship, it is even as though I worshipped not. –  Confucius

If one is guided by profit in one’s actions, one will incur much ill will. –  Confucius

If one leads them with administrative measures and uses punishments to make them conform, the people will be evasive, but if one leads them with virtue, they will come up to expectations. –  Confucius

If one learns from others but does not think, one is still at a loss. If, on the other hand, one thinks but does not learn from others, one is in peril. –  Confucius

If one learns from others, but does not think, one will be bewildered. If, on the other hand, one thinks but does not learn from others, one will be in peril. –  Confucius

If one should desire to know whether a kingdom is well governed, if its morals are good or bad, the quality of its music will furnish the answer. –  Confucius

If out of the three hundred songs I had to take one phrase to cover all my teachings, I would say ‘Let there be no evil in your thoughts. –  Confucius

If proper in their own conduct, what difficulty would they have in governing? But if not able to be proper in their own conduct, how can they demand such conduct from others? –  Confucius

If some years were added to my life, I would give fifty to the study of the Yi, and then I might come to be without great faults. –  Confucius

If the great man be not grave, he will not be revered. –  Confucius

If the people are governed by laws and punishment is used to maintain order, they will try to avoid the punishment but have no sense of shame. If they are governed by virtue and rules of propriety are used to maintain order, they will have a sense of shame and will become good as well. –  Confucius

If the people be led by laws, and uniformity sought to be given them by punishments, they will try to avoid the punishment, but have no sense of shame. –  Confucius

If there is harmony in the home, there will be order in the nations. –  Confucius

If there were an honorable way to get rich, I’d do it, even if it meant being a stooge standing around with a whip. But there isn’t an honorable way, so I just do what I like. –  Confucius

If there were one word that could act as a standard of conduct for one’s entire life, perhaps it would be ‘thoughtfulness. –  Confucius

If what one has to say is not better than silence, then one should keep silent. –  Confucius

If you are the smartest person in the room, then you are in the wrong room. –  Confucius

If you chase two rabbits, you catch none. –  Confucius

If you did not do so for the sake of riches, You must have done so for the sake of novelty. –  Confucius

If you don’t want to do something, don’t impose on others. –  Confucius

If you don’t know how to live, why wonder about death? –  Confucius

If you don’t know how to serve men, why worry about serving the gods? –  Confucius

If you don’t know the life yet, how could be possible for you to know the death? –  Confucius

If you don’t want to do something, don’t impose on others –  Confucius

If you know, say you know. If you don’t know, say you don’t know. –  Confucius

If you lead the people with correctness, who will dare not be correct? –  Confucius

If you make a mistake and do not correct it, this is called a mistake. –  Confucius

If you reflect within yourself and find nothing to be ashamed of, how could you have anxiety or fear. –  Confucius

If you see what is right and fail to act on it, you lack courage. –  Confucius

If you shoot for the stars and hit the moon, it’s OK. But you’ve got to shoot for something. A lot of people don’t even shoot. –  Confucius

If you try to do too much, you will not achieve anything. –  Confucius

If you want a man to succeed in the reform of his affairs which are in a deadlock and mess, you must self-evidently first of all tell him how to reform the instrument with which he has to carry out that reform–the instrument, viz, the man himself. –  Confucius

If you would govern a state of a thousand chariots (a small-to-middle-size state), you must pay strict attention to business, be true to your word, be economical in expenditure and love the people. –  Confucius

If you would one day renovate yourself, do so from day to day. –  Confucius

If you yourself desire establishment, then help others to get establishment; if you yourself want success, then help others to attain success. –  Confucius

If your conduct is determined solely by considerations of profit you will arouse great resentment. –  Confucius

If your desire is for good, the people will be good. –  Confucius

If your plan is for one year – plant rice. If your plan is for ten years – plant trees. If your plan is for one hundred years – educate children. –  Confucius

If your plan is for one year plant rice. If your plan is for 10 years plant trees. If your plan is for 100 years educate children. –  Confucius

If your plan is for one year plant rice. If your plan is for ten years plant trees. If your plan is for one hundred years educate children. –  Confucius

Ignorance is the night of the mind, but a night without moon or star. –  Confucius

Imagination is more important than knowledge. –  Confucius

In a country well governed poverty is something to be ashamed of. –  Confucius

In a country well-governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of. –  Confucius

In a district of ten families, there must be someone as honorable and sincere as I, but none as fond of learning. –  Confucius

In a hamlet of ten households, there are bound to be those who are my equal in doing their best for others and in being trustworthy in what they say, but they are unlikely to be as eager to learn as I am. –  Confucius

In a State, pecuniary gain is not to be considered to be prosperity, but its prosperity will be found in righteousness. –  Confucius

In ancient times, those who wished to illuminate the world with virtue first brought order to their nations. Wishing to order well their nations, they first harmonized their families. Wishing to harmonize their families, they first cultivated themselves. Wishing to cultivate themselves, they first rectified their minds. Those who wished to rectify their minds first made their intentions sincere. –  Confucius

In antiquity men studied for their own sake; nowadays men study for the sake of impressing others. –  Confucius

In dealing with the dead, if we treat them as if they were entirely dead, that would show a want of affection and should not be done; or, if we treat them as if they were entirely alive, that would show a want of wisdom and should not be done. –  Confucius

In his dealings with the world, the gentleman is not invariably for or against anything. He is on the side of what is moral. –  Confucius

In his errors a man is true to type. Observe the errors and you will know the man. –  Confucius, Analects, IV.7

In language clarity is everything. –  Confucius

In old days men studied for the sake of self-improvement; nowadays men study in order to impress other people. –  Confucius

In speaking, it is best to be clear and say just enough to convey the meaning. –  Confucius

In teaching there should be no distinction of classes. –  Confucius

In vain I have looked for a single man capable of seeing his own faults and bringing the charge home against himself. –  Confucius

In your promises cleave to what is right, And you will be able to fulfill your word. –  Confucius

Instead of being concerned that you have no office, be concerned to think how you may fit yourself for office. Instead of being concerned that you are not known, seek to be worthy of being known. –  Confucius

Instead of being concerned that you have no office, be concerned to think how you may fit yourself for office. Instead of being concerned that you are not known, see to the (be?) worthy of being known. –  Confucius

Is any one able for one day to apply his strength to virtue? I have not seen the case in which his strength would be sufficient. –  Confucius

Is there any one maxim which ought to be acted upon throughout one’s whole life? Surely the maxim of loving kindness is such: Do not unto others what you would not they should do unto you. –  Confucius

Isn’t it a pleasure to study and practice what you have learned? –  Confucius

Isn’t it also great when friends visit from distant places? If one remains not annoyed when he is not understood by people around him, isn’t he a sage? –  Confucius

Isn’t it a pleasure to study and practice what you have learned? –  Confucius

Isn’t it a pleasure to study and practice what you have learned? Isn’t it also great when friends visit from distant places? If one remains not annoyed when he is not understood by people around him, isn’t he a sage? –  Confucius

It cannot be when the root is neglected that what springs from it will be well ordered. –  Confucius

It does not matter how slowly you go, so long as you do not stop. –  Confucius

It doesn’t make a difference how gradually you go so long as you don’t stop. –  Confucius

It is better not to proceed at all than to proceed without purpose. –  Confucius

It is better to light one small candle of gratitude than to curse the darkness. –  Confucius

It is better to light one small candle than to curse the darkness. –  Confucius

It is better to live in peace than in bitterness and strife –  Confucius

It is better to play than do nothing. –  Confucius

It is goodness that gives to a neighborhood its beauty. One who is free to choose, yet does not prefer to dwell among the good – how can he be accorded the name of wise? –  Confucius

It is moral cowardice to leave undone what one perceives to be right to do. –  Confucius

It is not possible for one to teach others who cannot teach his own family. He who excels in study can follow an official career. –  Confucius

It is not possible for one to teach others who cannot teach his own family. –  Confucius

It is only the benevolent man who is capable of liking or disliking other men. –  Confucius

It is only the very wisest and the very stupidest who never change. –  Confucius

It is only the wisest and the stupidest that cannot change. –  Confucius

It is social good feeling that gives charm to a neighborhood. And where is the wisdom of those who choose an abode where it does not abide? –  Confucius

It is the law of nature that woman should be held under the dominance of man. –  Confucius

It is the obligation of the ruler to continually renew himself in order to renew the people by his example. –  Confucius

It is the way of the superior man to prefer the concealment of his virtue, while it daily becomes more illustrious, and it is the way of the mean man to seek notoriety, while he daily goes more and more to ruin. –  Confucius

It is true that we shall not be able to reach perfection, but in our struggle toward it we shall strengthen our characters and give stability to our ideas, so that, whilst ever advancing calmly in the same direction, we shall be rendered capable of applying the faculties with which we have been gifted to the best possible account. –  Confucius

It is when those who are not strong enough have made some moderate amount of progress that they fail and give up. –  Confucius

It’s only in winter that the pine and cypress are known to be evergreens. –  Confucius

Just as lavishness leads easily to presumption, so does frugality to meanness. But meanness is a far less serious fault than presumption. –  Confucius

Justice for All in the World. –  Confucius

Justice is like the north star, which is fixed, and all the rest revolve about it. –  Confucius

Keep it simple and focus on what matters. Don’t let yourself be overwhelmed. –  Confucius

Kong Qiu, or Master Kong as he was known, did not live to see his days of glory. During his lifetime, his views were received with scorn. But that was about two thousand five hundred years ago. A handful of his dedicated followers passed on ‘ teachings to future generations. –  Confucius

Labor, but slight not meditation; meditate, but slight not labor. –  Confucius

Lead the people with administrative injunctions and put them in their place with penal law, and they will avoid punishments but will be without a sense of shame. Lead them with excellence and put them in their place through roles and ritual practices, and in addition to developing a sense of shame, they will order themselves harmoniously –  Confucius

Let a man be stimulated by poetry, established by the rules of propriety, and perfected by music. –  Confucius

Let a ruler base his government upon virtuous principles, and he will be like the pole-star, which remains steadfast in its place, while all the host of stars turn towards it –  Confucius

Let every man consider virtue as what devolves on himself. He may not yield the performance of it even to his teacher. –  Confucius

Let mourning stop when one’s grief is fully expressed. –  Confucius

Let our reason, and not our senses, be the rule of our conduct; for reason will teach us to think wisely, to speak prudently, and to behave worthily. –  Confucius

Let the states of equilibrium and harmony exist in perfection, and a happy order will prevail throughout heaven and earth, and all things will be nourished and flourish. –  Confucius

Let there be three men walking together: from that number I should be sure to find my instructors; for what is good in them I should choose out and follow, and what is not good I should modify. –  Confucius

Listen widely to remove your doubts and be careful when speaking about the rest and your mistakes will be few. See much and get rid of what is dangerous and be careful in acting on the rest and your causes for regret will be few. Speaking without fault, acting without causing regret: ‘upgrading’ consists in this. –  Confucius

Look closely into his aims, observe the means by which he pursues them, discover what brings him content – and can the man’s real worth remain hidden from you? –  Confucius

Look for an occupation that you like, and you will not need to labor for a single day in your life. –  Confucius

Look not at what is contrary to propriety; listen not to what is contrary to propriety; speak not what is contrary to propriety; make no movement which is contrary to propriety. –  Confucius

Looking at small advantages prevents great affairs from being accomplished. –  Confucius

Love thy neighbor as thyself: Do not do to others what thou wouldst not wish be done to thyself: Forgive injuries. Forgive thy enemy, be reconciled to him, give him assistance, invoke God in his behalf. –  Confucius

Make fair agreements and stick to them. –  Confucius

Make faithfulness and truth thy masters: have no friends unlike thyself: be not ashamed to mend thy faults. –  Confucius

Man is born for uprightness. If a man lose his uprightness and yet live, his escape from death is mere good fortune. –  Confucius

Man is born with uprightness. If one loses it, he will be lucky if he escapes with his life. –  Confucius

Man shoot at nothing, sure to hit it. –  Confucius

Man who eat many prunes get good run for money. –  Confucius

Man who stand on hill with mouth open will wait long time for roast duck to drop in. –  Confucius

Man who want pretty nurse, must be patient. –  Confucius

Mankind differs from the animals only by a little and most people throw that away. –  Confucius

Mark a man’s motives. –  Confucius

Men do not stumble over mountains, but over mole hills. –  Confucius

Men of loftier mind manifest themselves in their equitable dealings; small-minded men in their going after gain. –  Confucius

Men of principle are sure to be bold,
but those who are bold may not always be men of principle. –  Confucius

Men’s natures are alike, it is their habits that carry them far apart. –  Confucius

Men’s natures are alike; it is their habits that separate them. –  Confucius

Music is the one thing in which there is no use trying to deceive others or make false pretenses. –  Confucius

Music produces a kind of pleasure which human nature cannot do without. –  Confucius

Neglect of what is good in me; want of thoroughness in study; failure to do the right when told me; lack of strength to overcome faults, these are my sorrows. –  Confucius

Never do to others what you would not like them to do to you. –  Confucius

Never hesitate to ask a lesser person. –  Confucius

Never overlook wallflower at dance; may be dandelion in grass. –  Confucius

Never seek illicit wealth. –  Confucius

Never tire to study. And to teach to others. –  Confucius

No lake so still but it has its wave. No circle so perfect but that it has its blur. I would change things for you if I could; As I can’t you must take them as they are. –  Confucius

No matter how busy you make think you are you must find time for reading, or surrender yourself to self-chosen ignorance. –  Confucius

No matter where you go – there you are –  Confucius

Not easily found is the man who, after three years’ study, has failed to come upon some fruit of his toil. –  Confucius

Not feeling compassion for a stranger is like not feeling when one’s foot has caught fire –  Confucius

Not knowing life, how can we know death? Why talk of spirits when you do not understand men? –  Confucius

Not to alter one’s faults is to be faulty indeed. –  Confucius

Not to converse with a man worthy of conversation is to waste the man. To converse with a man not worthy of conversation is to waste words. The wise waste neither men nor words. –  Confucius

Not to discuss with a man worthy of conversation is to waste the man. To discuss with a man not worthy of conversation is to waste words. The wise waste neither men nor words. –  Confucius

Not to mend one’s ways when one has erred is to err indeed. –  Confucius

Not too isolated, not too many relationships, the middle, that’s wisdom. –  Confucius

Of all that Heaven produces and nourishes, there is none so great as man. –  Confucius

Of course you want to be rich and famous. It’s natural. Wealth and fame are what every man desires. The question is: What are you willing to trade for it? –  Confucius

Of neighborhoods, benevolence is the most beautiful. How can the man be considered wise who when he had the choice does not settle in benevolence. –  Confucius

On matters beyond his ken a gentleman speaks with caution. If names are not right, words are misused. When words are misused, affairs go wrong. When affairs go wrong, courtesy and music droop, law and justice fail. And when law and justice fail them, a people can move neither hand nor foot. So a gentleman must be ready to put names in speech, to put words into deeds. A gentleman is nowise careless of words. –  Confucius

One dedicated worker is worth a thousand slaves. –  Confucius

One hundred women are not worth a single testicle. –  Confucius

One joy dispels a hundred cares. –  Confucius

One who can move mountains start with the little stones. –  Confucius

One who has accumulated virtue will certainly also possess eloquence; but he who has eloquence doe not necessarily possess virtue. –  Confucius

One who is by nature daring and is suffering from poverty will not long be law-abiding. Indeed, any men, save those that are truly good, if their sufferings are very great, will be likely to rebel. –  Confucius

One who will study for three years. Without thought of reward. Would be hard indeed to find. –  Confucius

Only after Winter comes do we know that the pine and the cypress are the last to fade. –  Confucius

Only by perfect virtue can the perfect path, in all its courses, be made a fact. –  Confucius

Only one who bursts with enthusiasm do I instruct; Only one who bubbles with excitement do I enlighten. If I hold up one corner and you do not come back to me with the other three, I do not continue the lesson. –  Confucius

Only the supremely wise and the ignorant do not alter. –  Confucius

Our greatest glory is not in never falling but in rising every time we fall. –  Confucius

Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in getting up every time we do. –  Confucius

Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall. –  Confucius

Our headstrong passions shut the door of our souls against God. –  Confucius

Past scholars studied to improve themselves; Today’s scholars study to impress others. –  Confucius

People with virtue must speak out; People who speak are not all virtuous. –  Confucius

Place where man laughs, sings, picks flowers, chases butterflies and pets birds, makes love with maidens, and plays with children. Here he spontaneously reveals his nature, the base as well as the noble. Here also he buries his sorrows and difficulties and cherishes his ideals and hopes. It is in the garden that men discover themselves. Indeed one discovers not only his real self but also his ideal self?he returns to his youth. Inevitably the garden is made the scene of man’s merriment, escapades, romantic abandonment, spiritual awakening or the perfection of his finer self. –  Confucius

Plan ahead or find trouble on the doorstep. –  Confucius

Possessed of courage but devoid of morality, a superior man will make trouble while a small man will be a brigand. –  Confucius

Quietly to store up knowledge in my mind, to learn without flagging, to teach without growing weary, these present me with no difficulties. –  Confucius

Rarely do we meet with the right feeling due from one man to another where there is fine speech and studied mien. –  Confucius

Rate the task above the prize; will not the mind be raised? Fight thine own faults, not the faults of others; will not evil be mended? –  Confucius

Rather than caring about whether or not you are known, strive to be worth knowing. –  Confucius

Reading without thinking will confuse you.Thinking without reading will place you in danger. –  Confucius

Remember even when alone, that the divine is everywhere. –  Confucius

Respect the gods and the devils but keep them at a distance –  Confucius

Respect the gods, but have as little to do with them as possible. –  Confucius

Return good for good; return evil with justice. –  Confucius

Review the old and deducing the new makes a teacher. –  Confucius

Reviewing the day’s lessons. Isn’t it joyful? Friends come from far. Isn’t it delightful? One has never been angry at other’s misunderstanding. Isn’t he a respectable man? –  Confucius

Riches and honor are what everyone desires, but if they can be gained only by doing evil, they must not be held. Don’t worry about not being in office, worry about qualifying yourself for office. Don’t worry that no one knows you, but seek to be worthy of being known. –  Confucius

Riches and honor are what men desire; but if they arrive at them by improper ways, they should not continue to hold them. Poverty and low estate are what men dislike; but if they arrive at such a condition by improper ways, they should not refuse it. –  Confucius

Roads were made for journeys not destinations. –  Confucius

See much and get rid of what is dangerous and be careful in acting on the rest and your causes for regret will be few. –  Confucius

Seek Not Every Quality In One Individual. –  Confucius

Settle one difficulty, and you keep a hundred away. –  Confucius

Shall I teach you what knowledge? When you know a thing, say that you know it; when you do not know a thing, admit that you do not know it. That is knowledge. –  Confucius

Shall I tell you what knowledge is? It is to know both what one knows and what one does not know. –  Confucius

She who is born with beauty is born with a sorrow for many a man. –  Confucius

Signs and symbols rule the world, not words nor laws. –  Confucius

Sincerity becomes apparent. From being apparent, it becomes manifest. From being manifest, it becomes brilliant. Brilliant, it affects others. Affecting others, they are changed by it. Changed by it, they are transformed. It is only he who is possessed of the most complete sincerity that can exist under heaven, who can transform. – Confucius

Sir, in carrying on your government, why should you use killing at all? Let your evinced desires be for what is good, and the people will be good. The relation between superiors and inferiors is like that between the wind and the grass. The grass must bend, when the wind blows across it.

Slater soaks into the mind as water into low and marshy places, where it becomes stagnant and offensive.

Some are born with knowledge, some derive it from study, and some acquire it only after a painful realization of their ignorance. But the knowledge being possessed, it comes to the same thing. Some study with a natural ease, some from a desire for advantages, and some by strenuous effort. But the achievement being made, it comes to the same thing. –  Confucius

Some may study side by side, and yet be asunder when they come to the logic of things. –  Confucius

Stars are holes in the sky from which the light of the infinite shines. –  Confucius

Straight-forwardness, without the rules of propriety, becomes rudeness. –  Confucius

Study as if you have not reached your goal – hold it as if you were afraid of losing what you have. –  Confucius

Study as though you cannot catch up to it, and as though you fear you are going to lose it. –  Confucius

Study the past if you want to define the future. –  Confucius

Study the past if you would define the future. I am not one who was born in the possession of knowledge; I am one who is fond of antiquity, and earnest in seeking it there. Learning without thought is labor lost; thought without learning is perilous. –  Confucius

Study without reflection is a waste of time, reflection without study is dangerous. –  Confucius

Surely it is the maxim of loving-kindness: Do not unto others that you would not have them do unto you. –  Confucius

Take an illustration from the making of a hill. A simple basketful is wanting to complete it, and the work stops. So I stop short. –  Confucius

Tea tempers the spirits and harmonizes the mind, dispels lassitude and relieves fatigue, awakens thought and prevents drowsiness, lightens or refreshes the body, and clears the perceptive faculties. –  Confucius

Teachers open the door … you enter by yourself. –  Confucius

Tell people – and they may forget…
show them – they may remember…
but involve them and they will understand. –  Confucius

That a man lives is because he is straight. That a man who dupes others survives is because he has been fortunate enough to be spared. –  Confucius

The book salesman should be honored because he brings to our attention, as a rule, the very books we need most and neglect most. –  Confucius

The case is like that of someone raising a mound. If he stops working, the fact that it perhaps needed only one more basketful makes no difference; I stay where I am. Whereas even if he has not got beyond leveling the ground, but is still at work, the fact that he has only tilted one basketful of earth makes no difference. I go to help him. –  Confucius

The chase of gain is rich in hate –  Confucius

The commander of the forces of a large State may be carried off, but the will of even a common man cannot be taken from him. –  Confucius

The contrived language and the flattering attitude rarely come with the virtue. –  Confucius

The demands that a great man makes are on himself; those of a petty man are upon others. –  Confucius

The demands that good people make are upon themselves. –  Confucius

The demands that good people make are upon themselves; Those that bad people make are upon others. –  Confucius

The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that little extra. The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me you don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step the man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones. –  Confucius

The end of the day is near when small men make long shadows. –  Confucius

The essence of knowledge is, having it, to apply it not having it, to confess your ignorance. –  Confucius

The essence of knowledge is, having it, to use it. –  Confucius

The father who does not teach his son his duties is equally guilty with the son who neglects them. –  Confucius

The faults of a superior person are like the sun and moon. They have their faults, and everyone sees them; they change and everyone looks up to them. –  Confucius

The funniest people are the saddest once –  Confucius

The funniest people are the saddest one’s. –  Confucius

The gem cannot be polished without friction nor man without trials. –  Confucius

The gem cannot be polished without friction, nor man perfected without trial. –  Confucius

The gem cannot be polished without friction, nor man perfected without trials. –  Confucius

The general of a large army may be defeated, but you cannot defeat the determined mind of a peasant. –  Confucius

The gentleman desires to be halting in speech but quick in action. –  Confucius

The gentleman has nine cares. In seeing he is careful to see clearly; in hearing he is careful to hear distinctly; in his looks he is careful to be kind, in his manner to be respectful, in his words to be sincere, in his work to be diligent. When in doubt he is careful to ask for information; when angry he has a care for the consequences; and when he sees a chance for gain, he thinks carefully whether the pursuits of it would be right. –  Confucius

The gentleman holds justice to be of highest importance. If a gentleman has courage but neglects justice, he becomes insurgent. If an inferior man has courage but neglects justice, he becomes a thief. –  Confucius

The gentleman is calm and at ease. The gentleman is dignified but not proud; the small man is proud but not dignified. –  Confucius

The gentleman prefers to be slow in word but diligent in action. –  Confucius

The gentleman sees what is right while the small man sees what is profitable. –  Confucius

The gentleman understands what is right, whereas the petty man understands profit. –  Confucius, (Analects 4.16)

The Gods cannot help those who do not seize opportunities. –  Confucius

The gods should certainly be revered, but kept at a distance… . The way is not beyond man; he who creates a way outside of man cannot make it a true way. A good man is content with changing man, and that is enough for him. –  Confucius

The good man does not grieve
that other people do not recognize his merits.
His only anxiety is lest he should fail to recognize theirs. –  Confucius

The grass must bend when the wind blows across it. –  Confucius

The great man is many-minded, and not one-sided. The common man is the reverse. –  Confucius

The great man is sparing in words but prodigal in deeds. –  Confucius

The great mountain must collapse, the mighty beam must break and the wise man wither like a plant. –  Confucius

The green reed which bends in the wind is stronger than the mighty oak which breaks in a storm. –  Confucius

The hardest thing of all is to find a black cat in a dark room, especially if there is no cat. –  Confucius

The higher type of man clings to virtue, the lower type of man clings to material comfort. The higher type of man cherishes justice, the lower type of man cherishes the hope of favors to be received. –  Confucius

The highest kind of man is the one who does before talking and practices what he professes. –  Confucius

The ideal teacher guides his students but does not pull them along; he urges them to go forward and does not suppress them; he opens the way but does not take them to the place. –  Confucius

The injury of prodigality leads to this, that he who will not economize will have to agonize. –  Confucius

The inner nature of man is the province of music. –  Confucius

The journey of a thousand miles begins with but a single step. –  Confucius

The journey with a 1000 miles begins with one step. –  Confucius

The main object of conciliation lies in reaching a solution to a case based upon morals and with a warm heart. –  Confucius

The man of humanity delights in mountains. –  Confucius

The man of noble mind seeks to achieve the good in others and not their evil. The little-minded man is the reverse of this. –  Confucius

The man of upright life is obeyed before he speaks. –  Confucius

The man of wisdom is never of two minds; the man of benevolence never worries; the man of courage is never afraid. –  Confucius

The man who asks a question is a fool for a minute, the man who does not ask is a fool for life. –  Confucius

The man who is master of himself drinks gravely and wisely. –  Confucius

The man who loves his job never works a day in his life. –  Confucius

The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones. –  Confucius

The man who says he can, and the man who says he can not… Are both correct. –  Confucius

The man who says he can, and the man who says he can’t are both correct. –  Confucius

The Master said, To study, and then in a timely fashion to practice what you have learned – is this not satisfying? To have companions arrive from afar – is this not a joy? To remain unrecognized by others and yet remain free of resentment – is this not the mark of the gentleman? –  Confucius

The Master was entirely free from four things: prejudice, foregone conclusions, obstinacy, and egoism. –  Confucius

The mechanic that would perfect his work must first sharpen his tools. –  Confucius

The mirror reflects all objects without being sullied –  Confucius

The more people know, the more they forgive. –  Confucius

The more you know yourself, the more you forgive yourself. –  Confucius

The most beautiful sight in the world is a little child going confidently down the road of life after you have shown him the way. –  Confucius

The noble-minded are calm and steady. Little people are forever fussing and fretting. –  Confucius

The nobler sort of man emphasizes the good qualities in others, and does not accentuate the bad. The inferior does the reverse. . . . The nobler sort of man pays special attention to nine points. He is anxious to see clearly, to hear distinctly, to be kindly in his looks, respectful in his demeanor, conscientious in his speech, earnest in his affairs. When in doubt, he is careful to inquire; when in anger, he thinks of the consequences; when offered an opportunity for gain, he thinks only of his duty. –  Confucius

The nobler sort of man emphasizes the good qualities in others, and does not accentuate the bad. The inferior does. –  Confucius

The one who was born a genius can’t win against the one who tries, and the one who tries can’t win against the one who enjoys. –  Confucius

The only people who cannot change are the most wise and the most stupid. –  Confucius

The parents age must be remembered, both for joy and anxiety. –  Confucius

The path may not be left for an instant. If it could be left, it would not be the path. –  Confucius

The people may be made to follow a path of action, but they may not be made to understand it. –  Confucius

The people may be put into the way they should go, though they may not be put into the way of understanding it. –  Confucius

The perfecting of one’s self is the fundamental base of all progress and all moral development. –  Confucius

The person of benevolence never worries. –  Confucius

The person who is not strong enough gives up at the halfway point – but you are limiting yourself before even starting. –  Confucius

The proper man understands equity, the small man profits. –  Confucius

The real fault is to have faults and not amend them. –  Confucius

The really faithful lover of learning holds fast to the Good Way till death. –  Confucius

The requisites of government are that there be sufficiency of food, sufficiency of military equipment, and the confidence of the people in their ruler. –  Confucius

The rich fool is like a pig that is choked by its own fat. –  Confucius

The scholar does not consider gold and jade to be precious treasures, but loyalty and good faith. –  Confucius

The shortest distance between any two points on a golf course is a straight line that passes directly through the center of a very large tree. –  Confucius

The silent treasuring up of knowledge; learning without satiety; and instructing others without being wearied: which one of these things belongs to me? –  Confucius

The small man is biased and can see a question only from one side. –  Confucius

The small man thinks that small acts of goodness are of no benefit, and does not do them; and that small deeds of evil do no harm, and does not refrain from them. Hence, his wickedness becomes so great that it cannot be concealed, and his guilt so great that it cannot be pardoned. –  Confucius

The strength of a nation derives from the integrity of the home. –  Confucius

The strongest memory is not as strong as the weakest ink. –  Confucius

The sun and moon shine on all without partiality. –  Confucius

The Three Armies can be deprived of their commanding officer, but even a common man cannot be deprived of his purpose. –  Confucius

The tongue must be heavy indeed, because so few people can hold it –  Confucius

The true gentleman does not preach what he practices till he has practiced what he preaches. –  Confucius

The vices come as passengers, visit us as guest and stay as masters. –  Confucius

The virtuous will be sure to speak uprightly; but those whose speech is upright may not be virtuous. –  Confucius

The Way is not for, but from, man; if we take the Way as something superhuman, beyond man, this is not the real Way. –  Confucius

The way of a superior man is threefold: Virtuous, he is free from anxieties; wise, he is free from perplexities; bold, he is free from fear. –  Confucius

The way of Heaven and Earth may be completely declared in one sentence: They are without any doubleness, and so they produce things in a manner that is unfathomable. – Confucius

The way of the superior person is threefold; virtuous, they are free from anxieties; wise they are free from perplexities; and bold they are free from fear. –  Confucius

The way out is through the door. Why is it that no one will use this method? –  Confucius

The way out is through the door.
Why is it that no one will use this method? –  Confucius

The way to do is to be. –  Confucius

The way which the superior man pursues, reaches wide and far, and yet is secret. Common men and women, however ignorant, may intermeddle with the knowledge of it; yet in its utmost reaches, there is that which even the sage does not know. –  Confucius

The way you cut your meat reflects the way you live. –  Confucius

The wheel of fortune turns round incessantly, and who can say to himself, I shall today be uppermost. –  Confucius

The whole end of speech is to be understood. –  Confucius

The wise are free from perplexities; the virtuous from anxiety; and the bold from fear. –  Confucius

The wise are free from perplexity, the virtuous are free from anxiety, the bold are free from fear. –  Confucius

The wise do not grieve that men do not know him, he grieves not know men –  Confucius

The wise escape doubt; the good-hearted, trouble; the bold, apprehension. –  Confucius

The wise man admires water, the kind man admires mountains. The wise man moves, the kind man rests. The wise man is happy, the kind man is firm. –  Confucius

The wise man delights in water, the Good man delights in mountains. For the wise move; but the Good stay still. The wise are happy; but the good secure. –  Confucius

The wise men of antiquity, when they wished to make the whole world peaceful and happy, first put their own States into proper order. Before putting their States into proper order, they regulated their own families. Before regulating their families, they regulated themselves. Before regulating themselves, they tried to be sincere in their thoughts. Before being sincere in their thoughts, they tried to see things exactly as they really were. –  Confucius

The young should be dutiful at home, modest abroad, careful and true, overflowing in kindness for all, but in brotherhood with love. And if they have strength to spare they should spend it on the arts. –  Confucius

There are 1,000 lessons in defeat. But only one in victory. –  Confucius

There are 3 elements essential in the matters of the State, Food, Military equipment, and Confidence of the people in the ruler. Of these 3, Military Equipment is the least important, Food being the 2nd important, and Confidence of the people being the MOST important. All men rather die of starvation than in war, but nevertheless all men do die of old age. Lacking in Confidence from the people, a state cannot survive. –  Confucius

There are cases in which the blade springs, but the plant does not go on to flower. There are cases where it flowers, but no fruit is subsequently produced. –  Confucius

There are not the weeds the ones that drown the good seed, but the negligence of the peasant. –  Confucius

There are some with whom we may study in common, but we shall find them unable to go along with us to principles. Perhaps we may go on with them to principles, but we shall find them unable to get established in those along with us. Or if we may get so established along with them, we shall find them unable to weigh occurring events along with us. –  Confucius

There are those men who say to repay evil with kindness. But I say, how then are we to repay kindness? Repay kindness with kindness, but repay evil with justice. –  Confucius

There are three degrees of filial piety. The highest is being a credit to our parents, the second is not disgracing them; the lowest is being able simply to support them. –  Confucius

There are three marks of a superior man: being virtuous, he is free from anxiety; being wise, he is free from perplexity; being brave, he is free from fear. –  Confucius

There are three sorts of pleasures which are advantageous, and three which are injurious. Finding pleasure in the discriminating study of ceremonies and music, finding pleasure in discussing the good points in the conduct of others, and finding pleasure in having many wise friends, these are advantageous. But finding pleasure in profligate enjoyments, finding pleasure in idle gadding about, and finding pleasure in feasting, these are injurious. –  Confucius

There are three things against which the wise man guards: lust when young, quarrels when strong, and covetousness when old. –  Confucius

There are three things to beware of through life: when a man is young, let him beware of his appetites; when he is middle-aged, of his passions; and when old, of covetousness, especially. –  Confucius

There has never been a man mean and at the same time virtuous. –  Confucius

There is a growing interest in Confucianism in China and other parts of the world. More and more followers of Confucianism are advocating a deeper study of his philosophies. ‘ ideals stand true even today. His philosophy on how to be a Junzi or the perfect gentleman is based on the simple ideology of love and tolerance. –  Confucius

There is good government when those who are near are made happy, and when those who are afar are attracted. –  Confucius

There is nobody but eats and drinks. But they are few who can distinguish flavors. –  Confucius

There is nothing impossible in all the world except that the heart of man is wanting in resolution. –  Confucius

There is nothing more visible than what is secret, and nothing more manifest than what is minute. –  Confucius

There is one single thread binding my way together…the way of the Master consists in doing one’s best…that is all. –  Confucius

There is one word which may serve as a rule of practice for all one’s life -reciprocity. –  Confucius

There is only one thing in life which never changes, and it is change. –  Confucius

There is the love of knowing without the love of learning; the beclouding here leads to dissipation of mind. –  Confucius

There may be men who act without understanding why. I do not. To listen much, pick out the good and follow it; to see much and ponder it: this comes next to understanding. –  Confucius

Therefore only through education does one come to be dissatisfied with his own knowledge, and only through teaching others does one come to realize the uncomfortable inadequacy of his knowledge. Being dissatisfied with his own knowledge, one then realizes that the trouble lies with himself, and realizing the uncomfortable inadequacy of his knowledger. –  Confucius

Therefore the superior man is watchful over himself, when he is alone. –  Confucius

These are the four abuses: desire to succeed in order to make oneself famous; taking credit for the labors of others; refusal to correct one’s errors despite advice; refusal to change one’s ideas despite warnings. –  Confucius

They must change who would be constant in happiness and wisdom. –  Confucius

They must often change who would remain constant in happiness and wisdom. –  Confucius

Things being investigated, knowledge became complete. Their knowledge being complete, their thoughts were sincere. Their thoughts being sincere, their hearts were then rectified. Their hearts being rectified, their persons were cultivated. Their persons being cultivated, their families were regulated. Their families being regulated, their States were rightly governed. Their States being rightly governed, the whole kingdom was made tranquil and happy. –  Confucius

Things have their roots and branches. Affairs have their beginnings and their ends. To know what is first and what is last will lead one near the Way. –  Confucius

Think of tomorrow, the past can’t be mended. –  Confucius

This equilibrium is the great root from which grow all the human actings in the world, and this harmony is the universal path which they all should pursue. –  Confucius

Those people who develop the ability to continuously acquire new and better forms of knowledge that they can apply to their work and to their lives will be the movers and shakers in our society for the indefinite future. –  Confucius

Those that bad people make are upon others. –  Confucius

Those who break down the dikes will themselves be drowned in the inundation. –  Confucius

Those who cannot forgive others break the bridge over which they themselves must pass. –  Confucius

Those who do not study are only cattle dressed up in men’s clothes. –  Confucius

those who understands is not better than those who appreciates, those who appreciates is not better than those who enjoys. –  Confucius

Those whose courses are different cannot lay plans for one another. –  Confucius

Those whose humanity is large, while their exhibition of righteousness is slight, are loved and not honoured. Those whose righteousness is large and their humanity slight are honoured and not loved. –  Confucius

Though served the Duke of Lu, a Chinese state, he made many enemies with the nobles of the land. His views antagonized the powerful nobles, who wanted the Duke to be a puppet in their hands. was exiled from the State of Lu for more than two decades. He lived in the countryside, spreading his teachings. –  Confucius

Thought, unassisted by learning, is dangerous. –  Confucius

Time flows away like the water in the river. –  Confucius

To acknowledge our faults when we are blamed, is modesty; to discover them to one’s friends in ingenuousness, is confidence; but to preach them to all the world, if one does not take care, is pride. –  Confucius

To be able under all circumstances to practice five things constitutes perfect virtue; these five things are gravity, generosity of soul, sincerity, earnestness and kindness. –  Confucius

To be excellent when engaged in administration is to be like the North Star. As it remains in its one position, all the other stars surround it. –  Confucius

To be fond of learning is near to wisdom. –  Confucius

To be fond of learning is near to wisdom; to practice with vigor is near to benevolence; and to be conscious of shame is near to fortitude. –  Confucius

To be in one’s own heart in kindly sympathy with all things; this is the nature of righteousness –  Confucius

To be poor without murmuring is difficult. To be rich without being proud is easy. –  Confucius

To be truly happy and contented, you must let go of what it means to be happy or content. –  Confucius

To be wealthy and honored in an unjust society is a disgrace. –  Confucius

To be with God. –  Confucius

To become a leader, you must first become a human being –  Confucius

To err and not reform, this may indeed be called error. –  Confucius

To find the Tao, there is nowhere you need to search. If it is not inside you, it is not the Tao. –  Confucius

To give oneself earnestly to securing righteousness and justice among the people, and while respecting the gods and demons, to keep aloof from them, that may be called wisdom. –  Confucius

To go beyond is as wrong as to fall short. –  Confucius

To go too far is as bad as to fall short. –  Confucius

To govern is to correct. If you set an example by being correct, who would dare to remain incorrect? –  Confucius

To govern is to correct. If you set an example by being correct, who would dare remain incorrect?

To know and not do, is to not yet know. –  Confucius

To know everything is to know nothing, but to know nothing is to know everything. –  Confucius

To know is to know that you know nothing. That is the meaning of true knowledge. –  Confucius

To know it is not as good as to love it, and to love it is not as good as to take delight in it. –  Confucius

To know that one knows what one knows, and to know that one doesn’t know what one doesn’t know, there lies true wisdom. –  Confucius

To know what is right and not do it is the worst cowardice. –  Confucius

To know what is the right thing to do and not do it is the greatest cowardice. –  Confucius

To know what you know and what you do not know, that is true knowledge. –  Confucius

To know your faults and be able to change is the greatest virtue. –  Confucius

To lead uninstructed people to war is to throw them away. –  Confucius

To learn and from time to time to apply what one has learned – isn’t that a pleasure? –  Confucius

To learn and practise what is learned from time to time is pleasure, is it not? To have friends from afar is happiness, is it not? To be unperturbed when not appreciated by others is a gentleman, is it not? –  Confucius

To learn without thinking is labour in vain, to think without learning is desolation. –  Confucius

To love a thing means wanting it to live. –  Confucius

To prefer it is better than to only know it. To delight in it is better than merely to prefer it. –  Confucius

To put the world in order, we must first put the nation in order; to put the nation in order, we must put the family in order; to put the family in order, we must cultivate our personal life; and to cultivate our personal life, we must first set our hearts right. –  Confucius

To put the world right in order, we must first put the nation in order; to put the nation in order, we must first put the family in order; to put the family in order, we must first cultivate our personal life; we must first set our hearts right. –  Confucius

To rein a kingdom efficiently it is necessary, before all, to put into good order the family. It’s impossible for a man who doesn’t know how to lead his own family to know how to lead a country. –  Confucius

To rule a country of a thousand chariots, there must be reverent attention to business, and sincerity; economy in expenditure, and love for men; and the employment of the people at the proper seasons. –  Confucius

To see and listen to the wicked is already the beginning of wickedness. –  Confucius

To see the right and not to do it is cowardice. –  Confucius

To see what is right, and not do it, is want of courage, or of principle. –  Confucius

To see what is right, and not do it, is want of courage. –  Confucius

To see what is right, and not to do it, is want of courage or of principle. –  Confucius

To study and at times practice what one has learned, is this not a pleasure? –  Confucius

To study and constantly, is this not a pleasure? To have friends come from far away places, is this not a joy? If people do not recognize your worth, but this does not worry you, are you not a true gentleman? –  Confucius

To take what you know for what you know, and what you do not know for what you do not know, that is knowledge indeed. –  Confucius

To the average man, and those above average, it is possible to discourse on higher subjects; to those from the average downwards, it is not possible. –  Confucius

To think twice is quite enough. –  Confucius

To those whose talents are above mediocrity, the highest subjects may be announced. To those who are below mediocrity, the highest subjects may not be announced. –  Confucius

To throw oneself into strange teachings is quite dangerous. –  Confucius

To understand yourself is the key to wisdom. –  Confucius

Transport a handful of earth everyday and you will make a mountain. –  Confucius

True goodness springs from a man’s own heart. All men are born good. –  Confucius

True knowledge is when one knows the limitations of one’s knowledge. –  Confucius

Trying to satisfy one’s desires with possessions is like putting out a fire with straw. –  Confucius

Tsze-Kung asked, saying,
     “Is there one word which may serve as a rule of practice for all one’s life?”
The Master said,
     “Is not Reciprocity such a word? What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others.” –  Confucius

Tzu Chang asked about jen. said,
     “If you can practice these five things with all the people, you can be called jen.”
Tzu Chang asked
     “what they were.”
said,
     “Courtesy, generosity, honesty, persistence, and kindness. If you are courteous, you will not be disrespected; if you are generous, you will gain everything. If you are honest, people will rely on you. If you are persistent you will get results. If you are kind, you can employ people.” –  Confucius

Unify your attention. Do not listen with your ears, but with your mind. Do not listen with your mind but with your essence. –  Confucius

Unruly when young, unmentioned as a man, undying when old, spells good-for-nothing! –  Confucius

Waste begets self-will; thrift begets meanness: but better be mean than self-willed. –  Confucius

Watch their actions, observe their motives, examine wherein they dwell content; won’t you know what kind of person they are? –  Confucius

We are so busy doing the urgent that we don’t have time to do the important. –  Confucius

We can know a person by observing his behaviour, understanding the reasons for his actions and ascertaining his intentions. If we do this, how can we not know him? –  Confucius

We have two lives, and the second begins when we realize we only have one. –  Confucius

We hope you enjoyed this ancient Chinese wisdom and that it helps you to explore tai chi from a different perspective. –  Confucius

We should feel sorrow, but not sink under its oppression; the heart of a wise man should resemble a mirror, which reflects every object without being sullied by any

We should keep the dead before our eyes, and honor them as though still living –  Confucius

We should not be too familiar with the lower orders or with women. –  Confucius

We should worship as though the deity were present. –  Confucius

We take greater pains to persuade others that we are happy than in endeavoring to think so ourselves –  Confucius

We take greater pains to persuade others we are happy than in trying to think so ourselves. –  Confucius

Wealth and honor are things that all people desire, and yet unless they are acquired in the proper way I will not abide them. Poverty and disgrace are things that all people hate, and yet unless they are avoided in the proper way I will not despise them. If the gentleman abandons ren, how can he be worthy of that name? The gentleman does not violate ren even for the amount of time required to eat a meal. Even in times of urgency or distress, he does not depart from it. –  Confucius

Wealth and rank are what men desire, but unless they be obtained in the right way they may not be possessed. Poverty and obscurity are what men detest; but unless prosperity be brought about in the right way, they are not to be abandoned. –  Confucius

Wealth and rank are what people desire, but unless they be obtained in the right way they may not be possessed. –  Confucius

What a worthy man was Yan Hui! Living in a narrow alley, subsisting upon meager bits of rice and water—other people could not have borne such hardship, and yet it never spoiled Hui’s joy. What a worthy man was Hui! –  Confucius (Analects 6.11)

What can a man do with music who is not benevolent? –  Confucius

What Heaven has conferred is called The Nature; an accordance with this nature is called The Path of duty; the regulation of this path is called Instruction. The path may not be left for an instant. If it could be left, it would not be the path. –  Confucius

What is God-given is called nature; to follow nature is called Tao (the Way); to cultivate the way is called culture. Before joy, anger, sadness and happiness are expressed, they are called the inner self; when they are expressed to the proper degree, they are called harmony. The inner self is the correct foundation of the world, and the harmony is the illustrious Way. When a man has achieved the inner self and harmony, the heaven and earth are orderly and the myriad of things are nourished and grow thereby. –  Confucius

What is most needed for learning is a humble mind. –  Confucius

What is necessary is to rectify names. –  Confucius

What is the sound of one hand clapping? –  Confucius

What the superior person seeks is in themselves. What the mean person seeks is in others. –  Confucius

What the wise seek is in themselves. –  Confucius

What you dislike in your superiors, avoid doing to your inferiors. What you dislike in your inferiors, avoid doing when working for your superiors. What you hate in those who are in front of you, do not do to those behind you. –  Confucius

What you do not want others to do to you, do not do to others. –  Confucius

What you do not wish upon yourself, extend not to others. –  Confucius

Whatever heaven ordains is best. –  Confucius

When a country is well governed, poverty and a mean condition are something to be ashamed of. When a country is ill governed, riches and honors are something to be ashamed of. –  Confucius

When a man comes to me, I accept him at his best, not at his worst. Why make so much ado? When a man washes his hands before paying a visit, and you receive him in that clean state, you do not thereby stand surety for his always having been clean in the past. –  Confucius

When a man feels the difficulty of doing, can he be other than cautious and slow in speaking? –  Confucius

When a man is guided by the principles of reciprocity and consciousness, he is not far from the moral law. Whatever you don’t wish for yourself don’t do unto others. –  Confucius

When a nation or family is about to flourish, there are sure to be happy omens; and when it is about to perish, there are sure to be unlucky omens. –  Confucius

When a person should be spoken with, and you don’t speak with them, you lose them. When a person shouldn’t be spoken with and you speak to them, you waste your breath. The wise do not lose people, nor do they waste their breath. –  Confucius

When a wise man points at the moon the imbecile examines the finger. –  Confucius

When abroad, behave to everyone as if interviewing an honored guest; in directing the people, act as if you were assisting at a great sacrifice; DO NOT DO TO OTHERS AS YOU WOULD NOT LIKE DONE TO YOURSELF: so there will be no murmuring against you in the country, and none in the family; your public life will arouse no ill-will nor your private life any resentment. –  Confucius

When admins have faults, they do not fear to ignore them. –  Confucius

When frying small fish, disturb them little. –  Confucius

When I am with others, they are my teachers. I can select their good points and follow them, and select their bad points and avoid them. –  Confucius

When I walk along with two others, from at least one I will be able to learn. –  Confucius

When in a state of security he does not forget the possibility of ruin. When all is orderly, he does not forget that disorder may come. Thus his person is not endangered, and his States and all their clans are preserved. – Confucius

When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don’t adjust the goals, adjust the action steps. – Confucius

When music and courtesy are better understood and appreciated, there will be no war. –  Confucius

When nature exceeds culture, we have the rustic. When culture exceeds nature, we have the pedant. –  Confucius

When one cultivates to the utmost the principles of his nature, and exercises them on the principle of reciprocity, he is not far from the path. What you do not like when done to yourself, do not do to others. –  Confucius

When people are educated, the distinction between classes disappears. –  Confucius

When prosperity comes, do not use all of it. –  Confucius

When strict with oneself, one rarely fails. –  Confucius

When superiors are fond of showing their humanity, inferiors try to outstrip one another in their practice of it. –  Confucius

When the multitude detests a man, inquiry is necessary; when the multitude likes a man, inquiry is equally necessary. –  Confucius

When the perfect order prevails, the world is like a home shared by all. Leaders are capable and virtuous. Everyone loves and respects their own parents and children as well as the parents and children of others. The old are cared for, adults have jobs, children are nourished and educated. There is a means of support for all those who are disabled or find themselves alone in the world. Everyone has an appropriate role to play in the family and society. Devotion to public duty leaves no place for idleness. Scheming for ill gain is unknown. Sharing displaces selfishness and materialism. –  Confucius

When the wind blows,the grass bends. –  Confucius

When there are duties to perform [true] servants and sons serve their labors. –  Confucius

When three persons work together, each can be the teacher in some aspects –  Confucius

When wealth is centralized, the people are dispersed. When wealth is distributed, the people are brought together. –  Confucius

When words lose their meaning, people lose their liberty. –  Confucius

When you are ignorant about something, to know that you are ignorant about it – that is knowledge. –  Confucius

When you breathe, you inspire, and when you do not breathe, you expire. –  Confucius

When you have become one with the Great Universal, you will have no partiality, and when you are part of the process of transformation, you will have no rigidity. –  Confucius

When you know a thing, to hold that you know it, and when you do not know a thing, to allow that you do not know it – this is knowledge. –  Confucius

When you locate good in yourself, approve of it with determination. When you locate evil in yourself, despise it as something detestable. –  Confucius

When you meet someone better than yourself, turn your thoughts to becoming his equal. –  Confucius

When you see a good man, try to emulate his example, and when you see a bad man, search yourself for his faults. –  Confucius

When you see a good person, think of becoming like her/him. When you see someone not so good, reflect on your own weak points. –  Confucius

When you see a good person, think of becoming like them. When you see someone not so good, reflect on your own weak points. –  Confucius

When you see a worthy person, endeavor to emulate him. When you see an unworthy person, then examine your inner self. –  Confucius

When you serve your mother and father it is okay to try to correct them once in a while. But if you see that they are not going to listen to you, keep your respect for them and don’t distance yourself from them. Work without complaining. –  Confucius

When young, beware of fighting; when strong, beware of sex; and when old, beware of possession. –  Confucius

Wheresoever you go, go with all your heart. –  Confucius

Which demands a lot of himself and some others, will be free from hatred. –  Confucius

While the gentleman cherishes benign rule, the small man cherishes his native land. While the gentleman cherishes a respect for the law, the small man cherishes generous treatment. –  Confucius

While you are not able to serve men, how can you serve spirits [of the dead]?…While you do not know life, how can you know about death? –  Confucius

While you are not able to serve men, how can you serve spirits of the dead…While you do not know life, how can you know about death –  Confucius

Who contains himself goes seldom wrong. –  Confucius

Who expects to be able to go out of a house except by the door? How is it then that no one follows this Way of ours? –  Confucius

Who heeds not the future will find sorrow at hand. –  Confucius

Who keeps the old kindle and adds new knowledge is fitted to be a teacher. –  Confucius

Why should man boast of his strength; is not the horse stronger than he? –  Confucius

With a heavy load and a long journey –  Confucius

With coarse rice to eat, with water to drink, and my bent arm for a pillow – I have still joy in the midst of all these things. –  Confucius

Without goodness a man cannot endure adversity for long, nor can he enjoy prosperity for long. The good man is naturally at ease with goodness. The wise man cultivates goodness for its advantage. –  Confucius

Without knowing the force of words, it is impossible to know men. –  Confucius

Without that innate sense of human worth, a man cannot long endure adversity, nor can he long enjoy prosperity. –  Confucius

Woman is the masterpiece. –  Confucius

Women and people of low birth are very hard to deal with. If you are friendly to them, they get out of hand, and if you keep your distance, they resent it. –  Confucius

Worry not that no one knows of you; seek to be worth knowing. –  Confucius

Worry not that no one knows you; seek to be worth knowing.–  Confucius

Wouldst thou know if a people be well governed, or if its laws be good or bad, examine the music it practices. –  Confucius

Writing cannot express all words, words cannot encompass all ideas. –  Confucius

Yin and yang, male and female, strong and weak, rigid and tender, heaven and earth, light and darkness, thunder and lightning, cold and warmth, good and evil…the interplay of opposite principles constitutes the universe. –  Confucius

You are what you think. –  Confucius

You can cheat an honest man but not make a fool out of him. –  Confucius

You can successfully force people to follow a certain course, but you cannot force them to understand it. –  Confucius

You do not understand even life. How can you understand death? –  Confucius

You judge yourself by what you think you can achieve, others judge you by what have achieved. –  Confucius

You must find time for reading, or surrender yourself to self-chosen ignorance. –  Confucius

You turn the handle the way it goes, not the way it ought to go –  Confucius

You will never know how sharp a sword is unless it’s drawn from its sheath –  Confucius

Your eyes are always bigger than your stomach. –  Confucius

Your life is what your thoughts make it. –  Confucius

Quotes From Confucius

Anger and Blame

If a man be under the influence of anger his conduct will not be correct. – Confucius

It was by music that the ancient kings gave elegant expression to their joy. By their armies and axes they gave the same to their anger. – Confucius

The archer who misses his mark does not blame the target. He stops, corrects himself and shoots again. –  Confucius

To be wronged is nothing unless you continue to remember it. – Confucius

When anger rises, think of the consequences. – Confucius

Character

A person of character takes as much trouble to discover what is right as the lesser men take to discover what will pay. –  Confucius

Act with kindness, but do not expect recognition. – Confucius

Character is the backbone of our human culture. Music is the flowering of character. –  Confucius

Do onto others as you would have them do unto you. – Confucius

Earnest in practicing the ordinary virtues, and careful in speaking about them, if, in his practice, he has anything defective, the superior man dares not but exert himself; and if, in his words, he has any excess, he dares not allow himself such license. – Confucius

Faced with what is right, to leave it undone shows a lack of courage. – Confucius

Forget injuries, never forget kindnesses. – Confucius

Great as heaven and earth are, men still find some things in them with which to be dissatisfied. Thus it is that, were the superior man to speak of his way in all its greatness, nothing in the world would be found able to embrace it, and were he to speak of it in its minuteness, nothing in the world would be found able to split it. – Confucius

He who is not afraid to promise great things is difficult to execute. – Confucius

Hold faithfulness and sincerity as first principles. Then no friends would not be like yourself. – Confucius

I will not be concerned at other men’s not knowing me;I will be concerned at my own want of ability. – Confucius

It is easy to hate and it is difficult to love. This is how the whole scheme of things works. All good things are difficult to achieve; and bad things are very easy to get. – Confucius

Look at the means which a man employs, consider his motives, observe his pleasures. A man simply cannot conceal himself! – Confucius

Never give a sword to a man who can’t dance. – Confucius

Only the wisest and stupidest of men never change. – Confucius

Respect yourself and others will respect you. – Confucius

See a person’s means … Observe his motives. Examine that in which he rests. How can a person conceal his character? –  Confucius

Sincerity is that whereby self-completion is effected, and its way is that by which man must direct himself. – Confucius

The administration of government lies in getting proper men. Such men are to be got by means of the ruler’s own character. That character is to be cultivated by his treading in the ways of duty. And the treading those ways of duty is to be cultivated by the cherishing of benevolence. –  Confucius

The good man asks for nothing but himself, the man of little demand, while the other. – Confucius

The man who in view of gain thinks of righteousness; who in the view of danger is prepared to give up his life; and who does not forget an old agreement however far back it extends – such a man may be reckoned a complete man. – Confucius

The superior man acts before he speaks, and afterwards speaks according to his action. – Confucius

The superior man cannot be known in little matters, but he may be entrusted with great concerns. The small man may not be entrusted with great concerns, but he may be known in little matters. – Confucius

The superior man has nothing to compete for. But if he must compete, he does it in an archery match, wherein he ascends to his position, bowing in deference. Descending, he drinks the ritual cup. – Confucius

The superior man is all-embracing and not partial. The inferior man is partial and not all-embracing. – Confucius

The superior man is aware of Righteousness, the inferior man is aware of advantage. – Confucius

There is nothing more visible than what is secret, and nothing more manifest than what is minute. Therefore the superior man is watchful over himself, when he is alone. – Confucius

This is not a misfortune to be misunderstood men, but it is a misfortune to ignore. – Confucius

To be fond of learning is to draw close to wisdom. To practice with vigor is to draw close to benevolence. To know the sense of shame is to draw close to courage. He who knows these three things knows how to cultivate his own character. Knowing how to cultivate his own character, he knows how to govern other men. Knowing how to govern other men, he knows how to govern the world, its states, and its families. –  Confucius

What the superior man seeks is in himself; what the small man seeks is in others. – Confucius

When we see men of a contrary character, we should turn inwards and examine ourselves. –  Confucius

When we see persons of worth, we should think of equaling them; when we see persons of a contrary character, we should turn inwards and examine ourselves. –  Confucius

Wisdom, compassion, and courage are the three universally recognized moral qualities of men. – Confucius

Without an acquaintance with the rules of propriety, it is impossible for the character to be established. – Confucius

Without feelings of respect, what is there to distinguish men from beasts? – Confucius

Failure, Mistakes, and Flaws

A man who has committed a mistake and doesn’t correct it, is committing another mistake. – Confucius

Be not ashamed of mistakes and thus make them crimes. – Confucius

Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without. – Confucius

First and foremost, be faithful to your superiors, keep all promises, refuse the friendship of all who are not like you; and if you have made a mistake, do not be afraid of admitting the fact and amending your ways. –  Confucius

If the gentleman is not serious, he will not be respected, and his learning will not be on a firm foundation. He considers loyalty and faithfulness to be fundamental, has no friends who are not like him, and when he has made mistakes, he is not afraid of correcting them.

If you make a mistake, do not be afraid to correct it. – Confucius

If you meet a good man, trying to be like him. If you meet a man poor, seeking flaws in yourself. – Confucius

In all things success depends on previous preparation, and without such previous preparation there is sure to be failure. – Confucius

In archery we have something like the way of the superior man. When the archer misses the center of the target, he turns round and seeks for the cause of his failure in himself. – Confucius

It is not the failure of others to appreciate your abilities that should trouble you, but rather your failure to appreciate theirs. –  Confucius

Listen much, keep silent when in doubt, and always take heed of the tongue; thou wilt make few mistakes. See much, beware of pitfalls, and always give heed to thy walk; thou wilt have little to rue. If thy words are seldom wrong, thy deeds leave little to rue, pay will follow. –  Confucius

Listen widely to remove your doubts and be careful when speaking about the rest and your mistakes will be few. –  Confucius

Success depends upon previous preparation, and without such preparation there is sure to be failure. –  Confucius

Table your mistakes, learn from them, then move on. –  Confucius

The cautious seldom err. – Confucius

The faults of a superior man are like the sun and moon. They have their faults, and everyone sees them; they change and everyone looks up to them. – Confucius

There are three unfilial acts: the greatest of these is the failure to produce sons. –  Confucius

Things that are done, it is needless to speak about … things that are past, it is needless to blame. – Confucius

When you have faults, do not fear to abandon them. – Confucius

Friendship

Between friends, frequent reproofs make the friendship distant. –  Confucius

Friendship with the upright, with the truthful and with the well informed is beneficial. Friendship with those who flatter, with those who are meek and who compromise with principles, and with those who talk cleverly is harmful. –  Confucius

I do not want a friend who smiles when I smile, who weeps when I weep, for my shadow in the pool can do better than that. – Confucius

It is more shameful to distrust our friends than to be deceived by them. – Confucius

Never contract friendship with a man that is not better than thyself. – Confucius

Silence is a true friend who never betrays. – Confucius

There are three friendships which are advantageous, and three which are injurious. Friendship with the upright; friendship with the sincere; and friendship with the man of much observation: these are advantageous. Friendship with the man of specious airs; friendship with the insinuatingly soft; and friendship with the glib-tongued: these are injurious. –  Confucius

Happiness

Happiness does not consist in having what you want, but in wanting what you have. –  Confucius

Happiness is not at the top of the mountain, but in how to climb. –  Confucius

If a man has no humaneness what can his propriety be like? If a man has no humaneness what can his happiness be like? – Confucius

If a man takes no thought about what is distant, he will find sorrow near at hand. – Confucius

If you want happiness for a year, inherit a fortune. If you want happiness for a lifetime, help someone else. –  Confucius

Many seek happiness higher than men; others beneath him. But happiness is the same height as man. –  Confucius

Please stop waiting for a better and more appropriate time to become happy and focus on the moment you live in. Happiness is not an arrival, it is the journey itself. Many people seek for happiness above the height of human beings, some below. Yet, happiness is exactly at the exact height of human beings. –  Confucius

The superior man is satisfied and composed; the mean man is always full of distress. – Confucius

The wise find pleasure in water; the virtuous find pleasure in hills. The wise are active; the virtuous are tranquil. The wise are joyful; the virtuous are long-lived. – Confucius

They must often change who would be constant in happiness or wisdom. – Confucius

They must often change, who would be constant in happiness or wisdom. –  Confucius

We should feel sorrow, but not sink under its oppression. – Confucius

With coarse rice to eat, with water to drink, and my bended arm for a pillow – I have still joy in the midst of these things. Riches and honors acquired by unrighteousness are to me as a floating cloud. – Confucius

Without Goodness one cannot enjoy enduring happiness –  Confucius

Heart and Love

A disciple having asked for a definition of charity, the Master said LOVE ONE ANOTHER. –  Confucius

Love is like a spice. It can sweeten your life – however, it can spoil it, too. –  Confucius

Love makes a spot beautiful: who chooses not to dwell in love, has he got wisdom? –  Confucius

Love of goodness without love of learning degenerates into simple-mindedness. Love of knowledge without love of learning degenerates into utter lack of principle. Love of faithfulness without love of learning degenerates into injurious disregard of consequences. Love of uprightness without love of learning degenerates into harshness. Love of courage without love of learning degenerates into insubordination. Love of strong character without love of learning degenerates into mere recklessness. –  Confucius

Love others as you would love yourself, judge others as you would judge yourself, cherish others as you would cherish yourself. When you wish for others as you wish for yourself and when you protect others as you would protect yourself, that’s when you can say it’s true love. –  Confucius

Love should start from people close to us, then be extended to other people, to strangers, and eventually to the world –  Confucius

A good man regards the root; he fixes the root, and ail else flows out of it. The root is filial piety; the fruit brotherly love. –  Confucius

A heart set on love will do no wrong. –  Confucius

A ruthless man extends his ruthlessness from those he does not love to those he loves. –  Confucius

A scholar who loves comfort is not fit to be called a scholar. –  Confucius

At 15 I set my heart on learning; At 30 I firmly took my stand; At 40 I had no delusions; At 50 I knew the Mandate of Heaven; At 60 my ear was attuned; At 70 I followed my heart’s desire without overstepping the boundaries of right. –  Confucius

At seventy, I could follow the dictates of my own heart; for what I desired no longer overstepped the boundaries of right. –  Confucius

Big head, target for enemy; big heart, target for friend. –  Confucius

Can there be a love which does not make demands on its object? – Confucius

If a man withdraws his mind from the love of beauty, and applies it as sincerely to the love of the virtuous; if, in serving his parents, he can exert his utmost strength; if, in serving his prince, he can devote his life; if in his intercourse with his friends, his words are sincere – although men say that he has not learned, I will certainly say that he has. –  Confucius

If the search for riches were sure to be successful, though I should become a groom with a whip in my hand to get them, I will do so. As the search may not be successful, I will follow after that which I love. –  Confucius

If you look into your own heart, and you find nothing wrong there, what is there to worry about? What is there to fear? – Confucius

If you look into your own heart, you find nothing wrong there, what is there to fear? –  Confucius

If you want to change the world, first change your heart. –  Confucius

Recompense injury with justice, and recompense kindness with kindness. – Confucius

The superior man examines his heart, that there may be nothing wrong there, and that he may have no cause for dissatisfaction with himself. That wherein the superior man cannot be equaled is simply this — his work which other men cannot see. – Confucius

When you see a good man, think of emulating him; when you see a bad man, examine your own heart. –  Confucius

Wherever you go, go with all your heart. –  Confucius

Words are the voice of the heart. –  Confucius

Life

Life is really simple, but men insist on making it complicated. –  Confucius

Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated. – Confucius

Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever. –  Confucius

A man living without conflicts, as if he never lives at all. –  Confucius

A man who lives a virtuous life and in the pursuit of knowledge, may have great joy with only coarse rice to eat, water to drink, and his bended arm for a pillow. –  Confucius

Although your father and mother are dead, if you propose to yourself any good work, only reflect how it will make their names illustrious, and your purpose will be fixed. – Confucius

At fifteen my heart was set on learning; at thirty I stood firm; at forty I had no more doubts; at fifty I knew the mandate of heaven; at sixty my ear was obedient; at seventy I could follow my heart’s desire without transgressing the norm. – Confucius

Being in humaneness is good. If we select other goodness and thus are far apart from humaneness, how can we be the wise? – Confucius

Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life. –  Confucius

Consideration for others is the basic of a good life, a good society. – Confucius

Death and life have their determined appointments; riches and honors depend upon heaven. – Confucius

Do not impose on others what you yourself do not desire. – Confucius

Give a bowl of rice to a man and you will feed him for a day. Teach him how to grow his own rice and you will save his life. –  Confucius

He who will not economize will have to agonize. – Confucius

How great is the path proper to the Sage! Like overflowing water, it sends forth and nourishes all things, and rises up to the height of heaven. All-complete is its greatness! It embraces the three hundred rules of ceremony, and the three thousand rules of demeanor. It waits for the proper man, and then it is trodden. Hence it is said, ‘Only by perfect virtue can the perfect path, in all its courses, be made a fact.’ – Confucius

I live in a very small house, but my windows look out on a very large world. –  Confucius

I slept and dreamt life is beauty, I woke and found life is duty. –  Confucius

I want you to be everything that’s you, deep at the center of your being. – Confucius

If I understand Change, I shall make no great mistake in Life. –  Confucius

If we don’t know life, how can we know death? – Confucius

If you devote your life to seeking revenge, first dig two graves. –  Confucius

Never mistake knowledge for wisdom. One helps you make a living; the other helps you make a life. –  Confucius

Old age, believe me, is a good and pleasant thing. It is true you are gently shouldered off the stage, but then you are given such a comfortable front stall as spectator. – Confucius

Speak the truth, do not yield to anger; give, if thou art asked for little; by these three steps thou wilt go near the gods. – Confucius

Study the past, if you would define the future. – Confucius

The expectations of life depend upon diligence; the mechanic that would perfect his work must first sharpen his tools. – Confucius

The life of a man is–his rectitude. Life without it–such may you have the good fortune to avoid! –  Confucius

The more man meditates upon good thoughts, the better will be his world and the world at large. – Confucius

The Path is not far from man. When men try to pursue a course, which is far from the common indications of consciousness, this course cannot be considered The Path. – Confucius

The superior man does what is proper to the station in which he is; he does not desire to go beyond this. In a position of wealth and honor, he does what is proper to a position of wealth and honor. In a poor and low position, he does what is proper to a poor and low position. – Confucius

The superior man honors his virtuous nature, and maintains constant inquiry and study, seeking to carry it out to its breadth and greatness, so as to omit none of the more exquisite and minute points which it embraces, and to raise it to its greatest height and brilliancy. – Confucius

The way of the superior man may be compared to what takes place in traveling, when to go to a distance we must first traverse the space that is near, and in ascending a height, when we must begin from the lower ground. – Confucius

There are three things which the superior man guards against. In youth … lust. When he is strong … quarrelsomeness. When he is old … covetousness. – Confucius

What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others. – Confucius

When one cultivates to the utmost the principles of his nature, and exercises them on the principle of reciprocity, he is not far from the path. – Confucius

When the Superior Man eats he does not try to stuff himself; at rest he does not seek perfect comfort; he is diligent in his work and careful in speech. He avails himself to people of the Tao and thereby corrects himself. This is the kind of person of whom you can say, ‘he loves learning.’ – Confucius

When you are laboring for others let it be with the same zeal as if it were for yourself. – Confucius

Humility

Humanity is the equity of the heart. –  Confucius

Humility is the solid foundation of all the virtues. –  Confucius

Humility is the solid foundation of all virtues. –  Confucius

I am not an originator but a transmitter. –  Confucius

A superior man is modest in his speech, but exceeds in his actions. – Confucius

He who speaks without modesty will find it difficult to make his words good. – Confucius

The superior man is distressed by the limitations of his ability; he is not distressed by the fact that men do not recognize the ability that he has. – Confucius

Knowledge and Learning

Know what you know and know that you don’t know what you don’t know — that is the characteristic of one who knows. –  Confucius

Knowing something is not as good as liking it. Liking something is not as good as rejoicing in it. –  Confucius

Knowing what’s correct and not doing it, it’s the worst cowardice. –  Confucius

Knowledge is merely brilliance in organization of ideas and not wisdom. The truly wise person goes beyond knowledge. –  Confucius

Knowledge is recognizing what you know and what you don’t. –  Confucius

Knowledge without practice is useless. Practice without knowledge is dangerous. –  Confucius

He who learns but does not think, is lost! He who thinks but does not learn is in great danger. – Confucius

I am not one who was born in the possession of knowledge; I am one who is fond of antiquity, and earnest in seeking it there. – Confucius

If you think in terms of a year, plant a seed; if in terms of ten years, plant trees; if in terms of 100 years, teach the people. – Confucius

Ignorance is the night of the mind, but a night without moon and star. – Confucius

Learn advidly. Question it repeatedly. Analyze it carefully. Then put what you have learned into practice intelligently. –  Confucius

Learn as if you were not reaching your goal and as though you were scared of missing it. –  Confucius

Learn as though you would never be able to master it; Hold it as though you would be in fear of losing it. – Confucius

Learn, as if never overtaking your object, and yet as if apprehensive of losing it. –  Confucius

Learning without thought is labor lost. –  Confucius

Learning without thought is labor lost; thought without learning is perilous. – Confucius

Learning without thought is labour lost; thought without learning is perilous. –  Confucius

Learning, undigested by thought, is labor lost. –  Confucius

Real knowledge is to know the extent of one’s ignorance. – Confucius

Reviewing what you have learned and learning anew, you are fit to be a teacher. – Confucius

The scholar who cherishes the love of comfort is not fit to be deemed a scholar. – Confucius

Things have their root and their branches. Affairs have their end and their beginning. To know what is first and what is last will lead near to what is taught in the Great Learning. – Confucius

To be fond of learning is to be near to knowledge. To practice with vigor is to be near to magnanimity. To possess the feeling of shame is to be near to energy. – Confucius

To know, is to know that you know nothing. That is the meaning of true knowledge. When you say something, say what you know. When you don’t know something, say you don’t know. That is knowledge. –  Confucius

To study and not think is a waste. To think and not study is dangerous. – Confucius

When things are investigated, then true knowledge is achieved; when true knowledge is achieved, then the will becomes sincere; when the will is sincere, then the heart is set right ; when the heart is set right, then the personal life is cultivated; when the personal life is cultivated, then the family life is regulated; when the family life is regulated, then the national life is orderly; and when the national life is orderly, then there is peace in this world. –  Confucius

When you know a thing, to hold that you know it, and when you do not know a thing, to allow that you do not know it – this is knowledge.

You cannot open a book without learning something. – Confucius

The Superior Man

The superior man * * * in regard to his speech * * * is anxious that it should be sincere. –  Confucius

The superior man accords with the course of the Mean. Though he may be all unknown, unregarded by the world, he feels no regret – It is only the sage who is able for this. –  Confucius

The superior man, when resting in safety, does not forget that danger may come. – Confucius

The superior man acts before he speaks, and afterwards speaks according to his actions. –  Confucius

The superior man does not mind being in office; all he minds about is whether he has qualities that entitle him to office. He does not mind failing to get recognition; he is too busy doing the things that entitle him to recognition. –  Confucius

The superior man does not, even for the space of a single meal, act contrary to virtue. In moments of haste, he cleaves to it. In seasons of danger, he cleaves to it. –  Confucius

The superior man does what is proper to the station in which he is; he does not desire to go beyond this. In a position of wealth and honor, he does what is proper to a position of wealth and honor. In a poor and low position, he does what is proper to a poor and low position. –  Confucius

The superior man does what is proper to the station in which he is; he does not desire to go beyond this. –  Confucius

The superior man does what is proper to the station in which he is; he does not desire to go beyond this. In a position of wealth and honor, he does what is proper to a position of wealth and honor. In a poor and low position, he does what is proper to a poor and low position. Situated among barbarous tribes, he does what is proper to a situation among barbarous tribes. In a position of sorrow and difficulty, he does what is proper to a position of sorrow and difficulty. The superior man can find himself in no situation in which he is not himself. –  Confucius

The superior man governs men, according to their nature, with what is proper to them, and as soon as they change what is wrong, he stops. –  Confucius

The superior man has a dignified ease without pride. The mean man has pride without a dignified ease. –  Confucius

The superior man is anxious lest he should not get the truth; he is not anxious lest poverty should come upon him. –  Confucius

The superior man is distressed by his want (lack) of ability. –  Confucius

The superior man is easy to serve, but difficult to please … The inferior man is difficult to serve, but easy to please. –  Confucius

The superior man is firm in the right way and not merely firm. –  Confucius

The superior man is intelligently, not blindly, faithful. –  Confucius

The superior man is modest in his speech, but exceeds in his actions. –  Confucius

The superior man is modest in his speech, but excels in his actions. –  Confucius

The superior man is quiet and calm, waiting for the appointments of heaven, while the mean man walks in dangerous paths, looking for lucky occurrences. –  Confucius

The superior man is slow in his words and earnest in his conduct. –  Confucius

The superior man is universally minded and no partisan. The inferior man is a partisan and not universal. –  Confucius

The superior man limits his achievements. –  Confucius

The superior man loves his soul; the inferior man loves his property. –  Confucius

The superior man makes the difficulty to be overcome his first interest; success only comes later. –  Confucius

The superior man sets his person at rest before he moves; he composes his mind before he speaks. –  Confucius

The superior man undergoes three changes. Looked at from a distance, he appears stern; when approached, he is mild; when he is heard to speak, his language is firm and decided. –  Confucius

The superior man understands what is right; the inferior man understands what will sell. –  Confucius

The superior man will watch over himself when he is alone. He examines his heart that there may be nothing wrong there, and that he may have no cause of dissatisfaction with himself. –  Confucius

The superior man, extensively studying all learning, and keeping himself under the restraint of the rules of propriety, may thus likewise not overstep what is right. –  Confucius

The superior man, while his parents are alive, reverently nourishes them; and, when they are dead, reverently sacrifices to them. His thought to the end of his life is how not to disgrace them. –  Confucius

The superior man… does not set his mind either for or against anything, he will pursue whatever is right. The superior man thinks of virtue, the common man of comfort. –  Confucius

The superior man…does not set his mind either for anything, or against anything; what is right he will follow. –  Confucius

The superior person gathers his weapons together in order to provide against the unforeseen. –  Confucius

The superior person is calm and composed; the lesser person is continuously worried and distressed. –  Confucius

The superior person is in harmony, but does not follow the crowd. The lesser person follows the crowd, but is not in harmony. –  Confucius

The superior person tries to promote music as a means to the perfection of human culture. When such music prevails, and people’s minds are led towards the right ideals and aspirations, we may see the appearance of a great nation. –  Confucius

The will to win, the desire to succeed, the urge to reach your full potential… these are the keys that will unlock the door to personal excellence. – Confucius

When we see men of worth, we should think of equaling them; when we see men of a contrary character, we should turn inwards and examine ourselves. – Confucius

When you meet someone better than yourself, turn your thoughts to becoming his equal. When you meet someone not as good as you are, look within and examine your own self. – Confucius

Truth

Every truth has four corners: as a teacher I give you one corner, and it is for you to find the other three. –  Confucius

Fix your mind on truth, hold firm to virtue, rely on loving kindness, and find your recreation in the Arts. –  Confucius

If I hear the way of truth in the morning, I am content even to die in the evening. –  Confucius

If names are not correct, then language is not in accord with the truth of things. If language is not in accord with the truth of things, then affairs cannot be carried out successfully. –  Confucius

If names be not correct, language is not in accordance with the truth of things. –  Confucius

It is man that makes truth great, and not truth that makes man great. –  Confucius

It is man that makes truth great, not truth that makes man great. –  Confucius

The object of the superior man is truth. – Confucius

The superior man does not set his mind either for anything, or against anything; what is right he will follow. – Confucius

The superior man, even when he is not moving, has a feeling of reverence, and while he speaks not, he has the feeling of truthfulness. – Confucius

They who know the truth are not equal to those who love it, and they who love it are not equal to those who delight in it. – Confucius

Those who know the TRUTH are not equal to those who love it. –  Confucius

Three things cannot long be hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth. –  Confucius

Without truth I know not how man can live. A cart without a crosspole, a carriage without a harness, how could they be moved? –  Confucius

Virtue

Virtue is more to a man than either water or fire. I have seen men die from treading on water and fire, but I have never seen a man die from treading the course of virtue. –  Confucius

Virtue is more to man than either water or fire. I have seen men die from treading on water and fire, but I have never seen a man die from treading the course of virtue. – Confucius

Virtue is never left to stand alone. He who has it will have neighbors. –  Confucius

Virtue is not left to stand alone. He who practices it will have neighbors. – Confucius

Virtue is not solitary; it is bound to have neighbors –  Confucius

Virtue should be as common in the laborer as in the king. –  Confucius

Virtuous people often revenge themselves for the constraints to which they submit by the boredom which they inspire. – Confucius

Fine words and an insinuating appearance are seldom associated with true virtue. – Confucius

Go before the people with your example, and be laborious in their affairs. – Confucius

I have not seen a person who loved virtue, or one who hated what was not virtuous. He who loved virtue would esteem nothing above it. – Confucius

Is virtue a thing remote? I wish to be virtuous, and lo! Virtue is at hand. – Confucius

Silence is the true friend that never betrays. –  Confucius

Sincerity and truth are the basis of every virtue. –  Confucius

Sincerity is the end and beginning of things; without sincerity there would be nothing. –  Confucius

Sincerity is the way of heaven. –  Confucius

The determined scholar and the man of virtue will not seek to live at the expense of injuring their virtue. They will even sacrifice their lives to preserve their virtue complete. – Confucius

The failure to cultivate virtue, the failure to examine and analyze what I have learned, the inability to move toward righteousness after being shown the way, the inability to correct my faults-these are the causes of my grief. –  Confucius

The firm, the enduring, the simple, and the modest are near to virtue. – Confucius

The man of perfect virtue, wishing to be established himself, seeks also to establish others; wishing to be enlarged himself, he seeks also to enlarge others. –  Confucius

The man of virtue makes the difficulty to be overcome his first business, and success only a subsequent consideration. –  Confucius

The man of virtue makes the difficulty to be overcome his first interest; success only comes later. – Confucius

The superior man thinks always of virtue; the common man thinks of comfort. – Confucius

The virtuous man is driven by responsibility, the non-virtuous man is driven by profit. – Confucius

Think no vice so small that you may commit it, and no virtue so small that you may over look it. –  Confucius

Those who are firm, enduring, simple and unpretentious are the nearest to virtue. –  Confucius

Those who make virtue their profession are the ruin of virtue. –  Confucius

To be able to practice five things everywhere under heaven constitutes perfect virtue…They are gravity, generosity of soul, sincerity, earnestness, and kindness. –  Confucius

To practice five things under all circumstances constitutes perfect virtue; these five are gravity, generosity of soul, sincerity, earnestness, and kindness. – Confucius

What the great learning teaches, is to illustrate illustrious virtue; to renovate the people; and to rest in the highest excellence. – Confucius

When a man’s knowledge is sufficient to attain, and his virtue is not sufficient to enable him to hold, whatever he may have gained, he will lose again. – Confucius

When we have intelligence resulting from sincerity, this condition is to be ascribed to nature; when we have sincerity resulting from intelligence, this condition is to be ascribed to instruction. But given the sincerity, and there shall be the intelligence; given the intelligence, and there shall be the sincerity. – Confucius

Wisdom, humanity & courage, these three are universal virtues. The way by which they are practiced are one. –  Confucius

Wisdom

What you know, you know, what you don’t know, you don’t know. This is true wisdom. –  Confucius

Wisdom delights in water; love delights in hills. Wisdom is stirring; love is quiet. Wisdom is merry; love grows old. –  Confucius

Wisdom is not a product of schooling but of the lifelong attempt to acquire it –  Confucius

Wisdom is rooted in watching with affection the way people grow. –  Confucius

Wisdom is worried for being slow in its speech and expeditious in its actions. –  Confucius

Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools because they have to say something. –  Confucius

A man of wisdom delights in water. –  Confucius

All wisdom is rooted in learning to call things by the right name. When things are properly identified, they fall into natural categories and understanding becomes orderly. –  Confucius

By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest. – Confucius

Experience is a candle that illuminates the wearer.

Have sufficient command over himself to judge others by comparison with us, and act towards them as we would like you act towards ourselves, is what might be called the doctrine of humanity, there is nothing beyond .

He who does not know what it is that life, how does he know what it is like death?.

He who is not progressing every day, every day back.

He who knows how to obey will then order.

He who seeks only business in its own interest excites much discontent.

The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their proper name. –  Confucius

The life of man depends on his will, no will, she would be left to chance.

The love to Wisdom is getting closer to the own bright path. –  Confucius

The wise do not grieve that men do not know him, he grieves not know men.

There are three methods to gaining wisdom. The first is reflection, which is the highest. The second is limitation, which is the easiest. The third is experience, which is the bitterest. –  Confucius

True wisdom is knowing what you don’t know –  Confucius

The Analects

Chapter I

  • 學而時習之、不亦說乎。有朋自遠方來、不亦樂乎。人不知而不慍、不亦君子乎。
    • Isn’t it a pleasure to study and practice what you have learned? Isn’t it also great when friends visit from distant places? If one remains not annoyed when he is not understood by people around him, isn’t he a sage?
    • The opening of the Analects and thus the first phrase of Chapter I after which the Chinese title of this book is named 學而.
  • 巧言令色、鮮矣仁。
    • Fine words and an insinuating appearance are seldom associated with true virtue.
    • Variant: Someone who is a clever speaker and maintains a ‘too-smiley’ face is seldom considered a humane person.
  • 不患人之不己知,患不知人也。
    • I am not bothered by the fact that I am not understood. I am bothered when I do not know others.
  • 主忠信。毋友不如己者。過,則勿憚改。
    • Be loyal and trustworthy. Do not befriend anyone who is lower than yourself in this regard. When making a mistake, do not be afraid to correct it.
  • 道千乘之國,敬事而信,節用而愛人,使民以時。
    • If you would govern a state of a thousand chariots (a small-to-middle-size state), you must pay strict attention to business, be true to your word, be economical in expenditure and love the people. You should use them according to the seasons (i.e. You should not enlist farmers during seeding or harvest time).
  • 君子食無求飽,居無求安,敏於事而慎於言,就有道而正焉,可謂好學也已。
    • When the Superior Man (Junzi) eats he does not try to stuff himself; at rest he does not seek perfect comfort; he is diligent in his work and careful in speech. He avails himself to people of the Tao and thereby corrects himself. This is the kind of person of whom you can say, “he loves learning.”

Chapter II

  • 【第一章】子曰、爲政以德、譬如北辰、居其所、而眾星共之。
    • The Master said, “He who exercises government by means of his virtue may be compared to the north polar star, which keeps its place and all the stars turn towards it.”
  • 吾十有五而志於學,三十而立,四十而不惑,五十而知天命,六十而耳順,七十而从心所欲,不逾矩。
    • At fifteen my heart was set on learning; at thirty I stood firm; at forty I had no more doubts; at fifty I knew the will of heaven; at sixty my ear was obedient; at seventy I could follow my heart’s desire without overstepping the boundaries of what was right.
    • Retrospection of his own life. From this phrase, alternative names for each decades of human life are derived in Chinese.
  • 溫故而知新,可以為師矣。
    • Reviewing what you have learned and learning anew, you are fit to be a teacher.
  • 君子周而不比,小人比而不周。
    • The Superior Man is all-embracing and not partial. The inferior man is partial and not all-embracing.
  • 學而不思則罔,思而不學則殆。
    • To study and not think is a waste. To think and not study is dangerous.
  • 攻乎異端,斯害也己。
    • To throw oneself into strange teachings is quite dangerous.
    • Note: The word translated “strange teachings” means literally another end [of textile]. There are two different understandings about “strange teachings” or heretical. One possible understanding is “strange from the authentic teaching”, another understanding is simply different subjects, just as two authors or two scholastic fields literature and politics.
  • 由,誨女知之乎,知之為知之,不知為不知,是知也。
    • You [a disciple], shall I teach you about knowledge? What you know, you know, what you don’t know, you don’t know. This is true wisdom.
  • 視其所以,觀其所由,察其所安。人焉叟哉?人焉叟哉?
    • See a person’s means (of getting things). Observe his motives. Examine that in which he rests. How can a person conceal his character?
    • See a person’s being, observe his motive, notice his result. How can a person conceal his character? [by 朱冀平]
  • 多聞闕疑,慎言其餘,則寡尤。多見闕殆,慎行其餘,則寡悔。言寡無,行寡悔,祿在其中矣。
    • Listen widely to remove your doubts and be careful when speaking about the rest and your mistakes will be few. See much and get rid of what is dangerous and be careful in acting on the rest and your causes for regret will be few. Speaking without fault, acting without causing regret: ‘upgrading’ consists in this.
  • 非其鬼而祭之,諂也。見義不為,無勇也。
    • To worship to other than one’s own ancestral spirits is brown-nosing. If you see what is right and fail to act on it, you lack courage.
      Variant To see what is right, and not to do it, is want of courage or of principle.

Chapter III

  • 人而不仁、如禮何。人而不仁、如樂何。
    • If a man has no humaneness what can his propriety be like? If a man has no humaneness what can his happiness be like?
  • 君子無所爭、必也射乎、揖譲而升下、而飲、其爭也君子。
    • The Superior Man has nothing to compete for. But if he must compete, he does it in an archery match, wherein he ascends to his position, bowing in deference. Descending, he drinks (or has [the winner] drink) the ritual cup.
    • Note: Bowing is a courtesy for the host who invites him as well drinking a cup.
  • 殷因於夏禮,所損益,可知也;周因於殷禮,所損益,可知也。其或繼周者,雖百世,可知也。
    • The Yin based its propriety on that of the Xia, and what it added and subtracted is knowable. The Zhou has based its propriety on that of the Shang and what it added and subtracted is knowable. In this way, what continues from the Chou, even if 100 generations hence, is knowable.

Chapter IV

  • 里仁為美、擇不處仁、焉得知。
    • Being in humaneness is good. If we select other goodness and thus are far apart from humaneness, how can we be the wise?
    • The opening phrase of this chapter after which the chapter is named in Chinese.
  • 朝聞道、夕死可矣。
    • If I hear the Way [of truth] in the morning, I am content even to die in that evening.
  • 見賢思齊焉;見不賢而內自省也。
    • When we see men of worth, we should think of equaling them; when we see men of a contrary character, we should turn inwards and examine ourselves.
      • James Legge, translation (1893)
    • When you meet someone better than yourself, turn your thoughts to becoming his equal. When you meet someone not as good as you are, look within and examine your own self.
      • Dim Cheuk Lau translation (1979)
    • When you see a good person, think of becoming like her/him. When you see someone not so good, reflect on your own weak points.
      • As quoted in Liberating Faith : Religious Voices for Justice, Peace, and Ecological Wisdom (2003) by Roger S. Gottlieb, p. 24
  • 父在,觀其志;父殁,觀其行;三年无改於父之道,可謂孝矣。
    • When your father is alive, observe his will. When your father is dead observe his former actions. If, for three years [after the death of your father] you do not change from the ways of your father, you can be called a ‘real son (xiào/hsiao)’.
  • 以約失之者,鮮矣。
    • The cautious seldom err.
  • 君子欲訥於言而敏於行。
    • The superior man is modest in his speech, but exceeds in his actions.
      • James Legge translation.
    • Variant translations: The superior man acts before he speaks, and afterwards speaks according to his actions.
      The greater man does not boast of himself, But does what he must do.
      A good man does not give orders, but leads by example.
  • 德不孤,必有鄰。
    • Virtue (or the man of virtue) is not left to stand alone. He who practices it will have neighbors.
  • 君子喻於義,小人喻於利。
    • The superior man thinks of virtue; the small man thinks of comfort. The superior man thinks of the sanctions of law; the small man thinks of favors which he may receive.
      • James Legge, translation (1893)
    • The Superior Man is aware of Righteousness, the inferior man is aware of advantage.
    • The virtuous man is driven by responsibility, the non-virtuous man is driven by profit. [by 朱冀平]

Chapter V

  • 季文子三思而後行。子聞之曰、再、斯可矣。
    • Chi Wan thought thrice, and then acted. When the Master was informed of it, he said, “Twice may do.”

Chapter VI

  • 知之者不如好之者,好之者不如樂之者。
    • They who know the truth are not equal to those who love it, and they who love it are not equal to those who delight in it.
  • 中人以上、可以語上也、中人以下、不可以語上也。
    • To those whose talents are above mediocrity, the highest subjects may be announced. To those who are below mediocrity, the highest subjects may not be announced.
  • 知者樂水,仁者樂山。知者動,仁者静。知者樂,仁者寿。
    • The wise find pleasure in water; the virtuous find pleasure in hills. The wise are active; the virtuous are tranquil. The wise are joyful; the virtuous are long-lived.
  • 務民之義、敬鬼神而遠之。可謂知矣。
    • To give one’s self earnestly to the duties due to men, and, while respecting spiritual beings, to keep aloof from them, may be called wisdom.
  • 君子博學於文、約之以禮、亦可以弗畔矣夫。
    • The superior man, extensively studying all learning, and keeping himself under the restraint of the rules of propriety, may thus likewise not overstep what is right.
  • 仁者先難而後獲,可謂仁矣。
    • The man of virtue makes the difficulty to be overcome his first business, and success only a subsequent consideration: this may be called perfect virtue.
  • To rank the effort above the prize may be called love.
    • § 6.20

Chapter VII

  • I do not open up the truth to one who is not eager to get knowledge, nor help out any one who is not anxious to explain himself. When I have presented one corner of a subject to any one, and he cannot from it learn the other three, I do not repeat my lesson.
    • § 7
  • 三人行,必有我師焉:擇其善者而從之,其不善者而改之。
    • When I walk along with two others, they may serve me as my teachers. I will select their good qualities and follow them, their bad qualities and avoid them.
      • § 21, as translated by James Legge
    • Variant translations:
    • When I walk along with two others, from at least one I will be able to learn.
    • Walking among three people, I find my teacher among them. I choose that which is good in them and follow it, and that which is bad and change it.

Chapter VIII

  • 邦有道貧且賤焉恥也,邦無道富且貴焉恥也。
    • When a country is well governed, poverty and a mean condition are things to be ashamed of. When a country is ill governed, riches and honor are things to be ashamed of.

Chapter XII

  • 四海之内,皆兄弟也。
    • Within the four seas, all men are brothers.

Chapter XIII

  • 名不正,则言不顺
    • If names be not correct, language is not in accordance with the truth of things.
    • Paraphrased as a chinese proverb stating “The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their proper name.”

Other chapters

  • 為政以德,譬如北辰居其所而眾星共之。
    • He who exercises government by means of his virtue may be compared to the north polar star, which keeps its place when all the stars are rotating about it.
  • 君子坦蕩蕩,小人長戚戚。
    • The superior man is satisfied and composed; the mean man is always full of distress.
    • The virtuous is frank and open; the non-virtuous is secretive and worrying. [by 朱冀平]
  • 事父母幾諫,見志不從,又敬不違,勞而不怨。
    • When you serve your mother and father it is okay to try to correct them once in a while. But if you see that they are not going to listen to you, keep your respect for them and don’t distance yourself from them. Work without complaining.
  • 弟子,入則孝,出則弟,謹而信,凡愛眾,而親仁。行有餘力,則以學文。
    • A young man should serve his parents at home and be respectful to elders outside his home. He should be earnest and truthful, loving all, but become intimate with humaneness. After doing this, if he has energy to spare, he can study literature and the arts.
  • 君子不重,則不威。學則不固。主忠信。无友不如己者。過,則勿憚改。
    • If the Superior Man is not serious, then he will not inspire awe in others. If he is not learned, then he will not be on firm ground. He takes loyalty and good faith to be of primary importance, and has no friends who are not of equal (moral) caliber. When he makes a mistake, he doesn’t hesitate to correct it.
  • 默而識之,學而不厭,誨人不倦,何有於我哉?
    • The silent treasuring up of knowledge; learning without satiety; and instructing others without being wearied: which one of these things belongs to me?
    • To keep silently in mind what one has seen and heard, to study hard and never feel contented, to teach others tirelessly; have I done (all of) these things?
  • 德之不修,學之不講,聞義不能徒,不善不能改,是吾憂也。
    • Leaving virtue without proper cultivation; not thoroughly discussing what is learned; not being able to move towards righteousness of which a knowledge is gained; and not being able to change what is not good: — these are the things which occasion me solicitude.
  • 君子安而不忘危,存而不忘亡,治而不忘亂。是以身安而國家可保也。
    • The superior man, when resting in safety, does not forget that danger may come. When in a state of security he does not forget the possibility of ruin. When all is orderly, he does not forget that disorder may come. Thus his person is not endangered, and his States and all their clans are preserved.
  • 己所不欲,勿施於人
    • What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others.
    • Chapter XVː23
  • 以直報怨,以德報德。[1]
    • Recompense hatred with justice, and recompense kindness with kindness. [2]
    • Chapter XIV:36
  • Learning without thought is labor lost; thought without learning is perilous.
    • Book II, Chapter XV.
  • There is the love of knowing without the love of learning; the beclouding here leads to dissipation of mind.
    • Book XVII, Chapter VIII.
  • Of all people, girls and servants are the most difficult to behave to. If you are familiar with them, they lose their humility. If you maintain a reserve towards them, they are discontented.
    • Book XVII, Chapter XXV.
  • A man living without conflicts, as if he never lives at all.
  • A scholar who loves comfort is not worthy of the name.
  • The man of virtue makes the difficulty to be overcome his first business, and success only a subsequent consideration.
  • When you have faults, do not fear to abandon them.
  • The superior man understands what is right; the inferior man understands what will sell.
  • Guide the people by law, subdue them by punishment; they may shun crime, but will be void of shame. Guide them by example, subdue them by courtesy; they will learn shame, and come to be good.
  • Only after Winter comes do we know that the pine and the cypress are the last to fade.
  • It is soft, smooth and shining—like intelligence. Its edges seem sharp but do not cut—like justice. It hangs down to the ground—like humility. When struck, it gives a clear, ringing sound—like music. The strains in it are not hidden and add to its beauty—like truthfulness.’ What imagination!
    • Confucius extolled Jade’s virtues this way. Cited in Awake! magazine 1987, 9/22.

The Doctrine of the Mean

  • What Heaven has conferred is called The Nature; an accordance with this nature is called The Path of duty; the regulation of this path is called Instruction. The path may not be left for an instant. If it could be left, it would not be the path. On this account, the superior man does not wait till he sees things, to be cautious, nor till he hears things, to be apprehensive.
  • There is nothing more visible than what is secret, and nothing more manifest than what is minute. Therefore the superior man is watchful over himself, when he is alone.
  • Let the states of equilibrium and harmony exist in perfection, and a happy order will prevail throughout heaven and earth, and all things will be nourished and flourish.
  • Perfect is the virtue which is according to the Mean! Rare have they long been among the people, who could practice it!
  • I know how it is that the path of the Mean is not walked in — The knowing go beyond it, and the stupid do not come up to it. I know how it is that the path of the Mean is not understood — The men of talents and virtue go beyond it, and the worthless do not come up to it.
  • There is no body but eats and drinks. But they are few who can distinguish flavors.
  • Men all say, “We are wise”; but being driven forward and taken in a net, a trap, or a pitfall, they know not how to escape. Men all say, “We are wise”; but happening to choose the course of the Mean, they are not able to keep it for a round month.
  • The kingdom, its states, and its families, may be perfectly ruled; dignities and emoluments may be declined; naked weapons may be trampled under the feet; but the course of the Mean cannot be attained to.
  • To show forbearance and gentleness in teaching others; and not to revenge unreasonable conduct — this is the energy of southern regions, and the good man makes it his study. To lie under arms; and meet death without regret — this is the energy of northern regions, and the forceful make it their study. Therefore, the superior man cultivates a friendly harmony, without being weak — How firm is he in his energy! He stands erect in the middle, without inclining to either side — How firm is he in his energy! When good principles prevail in the government of his country, he does not change from what he was in retirement. How firm is he in his energy! When bad principles prevail in the country, he maintains his course to death without changing — How firm is he in his energy!
  • The superior man accords with the course of the Mean. Though he may be all unknown, unregarded by the world, he feels no regret — It is only the sage who is able for this.
  • The way which the superior man pursues, reaches wide and far, and yet is secret. Common men and women, however ignorant, may intermeddle with the knowledge of it; yet in its utmost reaches, there is that which even the sage does not know. Common men and women, however much below the ordinary standard of character, can carry it into practice; yet in its utmost reaches, there is that which even the sage is not able to carry into practice. Great as heaven and earth are, men still find some things in them with which to be dissatisfied. Thus it is that, were the superior man to speak of his way in all its greatness, nothing in the world would be found able to embrace it, and were he to speak of it in its minuteness, nothing in the world would be found able to split it.
  • The way of the superior man may be found, in its simple elements, in the intercourse of common men and women; but in its utmost reaches, it shines brightly through Heaven and Earth.
  • The Path is not far from man. When men try to pursue a course, which is far from the common indications of consciousness, this course cannot be considered The Path.
  • The superior man governs men, according to their nature, with what is proper to them, and as soon as they change what is wrong, he stops.
  • When one cultivates to the utmost the principles of his nature, and exercises them on the principle of reciprocity, he is not far from the path. What you do not like when done to yourself, do not do to others.
  • Earnest in practicing the ordinary virtues, and careful in speaking about them, if, in his practice, he has anything defective, the superior man dares not but exert himself; and if, in his words, he has any excess, he dares not allow himself such license. Thus his words have respect to his actions, and his actions have respect to his words; is it not just an entire sincerity which marks the superior man?
  • The superior man does what is proper to the station in which he is; he does not desire to go beyond this. In a position of wealth and honor, he does what is proper to a position of wealth and honor. In a poor and low position, he does what is proper to a poor and low position. Situated among barbarous tribes, he does what is proper to a situation among barbarous tribes. In a position of sorrow and difficulty, he does what is proper to a position of sorrow and difficulty. The superior man can find himself in no situation in which he is not himself. In a high situation, he does not treat with contempt his inferiors. In a low situation, he does not court the favor of his superiors. He rectifies himself, and seeks for nothing from others, so that he has no dissatisfactions. He does not murmur against Heaven, nor grumble against men. Thus it is that the superior man is quiet and calm, waiting for the appointments of Heaven, while the mean man walks in dangerous paths, looking for lucky occurrences.
  • In archery we have something like the way of the superior man. When the archer misses the center of the target, he turns round and seeks for the cause of his failure in himself.
  • The way of the superior man may be compared to what takes place in traveling, when to go to a distance we must first traverse the space that is near, and in ascending a height, when we must begin from the lower ground.
  • How abundantly do spiritual beings display the powers that belong to them! We look for them, but do not see them; we listen to, but do not hear them; yet they enter into all things, and there is nothing without them.
  • Heaven, in the production of things, is sure to be bountiful to them, according to their qualities. Hence the tree that is flourishing, it nourishes, while that which is ready to fall, it overthrows.
  • The administration of government lies in getting proper men. Such men are to be got by means of the ruler’s own character. That character is to be cultivated by his treading in the ways of duty. And the treading those ways of duty is to be cultivated by the cherishing of benevolence.
  • Benevolence is the characteristic element of humanity.
  • To be fond of learning is to be near to knowledge. To practice with vigor is to be near to magnanimity. To possess the feeling of shame is to be near to energy.
  • By the ruler’s cultivation of his own character, the duties of universal obligation are set forth. By honoring men of virtue and talents, he is preserved from errors of judgment.
  • In all things success depends on previous preparation, and without such previous preparation there is sure to be failure. If what is to be spoken be previously determined, there will be no stumbling. If affairs be previously determined, there will be no difficulty with them. If one’s actions have been previously determined, there will be no sorrow in connection with them. If principles of conduct have been previously determined, the practice of them will be inexhaustible.
  • Sincerity is the way of Heaven. The attainment of sincerity is the way of men. He who possesses sincerity is he who, without an effort, hits what is right, and apprehends, without the exercise of thought — he is the sage who naturally and easily embodies the right way. He who attains to sincerity is he who chooses what is good, and firmly holds it fast. To this attainment there are requisite the extensive study of what is good, accurate inquiry about it, careful reflection on it, the clear discrimination of it, and the earnest practice of it.
  • The superior man, while there is anything he has not studied, or while in what he has studied there is anything he cannot understand, Will not intermit his labor. While there is anything he has not inquired about, or anything in what he has inquired about which he does not know, he will not intermit his labor. While there is anything which he has not reflected on, or anything in what he has reflected on which he does not apprehend, he will not intermit his labor. While there is anything which he has not discriminated or his discrimination is not clear, he will not intermit his labor. If there be anything which he has not practiced, or his practice fails in earnestness, he will not intermit his labor. If another man succeed by one effort, he will use a hundred efforts. If another man succeed by ten efforts, he will use a thousand. Let a man proceed in this way, and, though dull, he will surely become intelligent; though weak, he will surely become strong.
  • When we have intelligence resulting from sincerity, this condition is to be ascribed to nature; when we have sincerity resulting from intelligence, this condition is to be ascribed to instruction. But given the sincerity, and there shall be the intelligence; given the intelligence, and there shall be the sincerity.
  • It is only he who is possessed of the most complete sincerity that can exist under heaven, who can give its full development to his nature. Able to give its full development to his own nature, he can do the same to the nature of other men. Able to give its full development to the nature of other men, he can give their full development to the natures of animals and things. Able to give their full development to the natures of creatures and things, he can assist the transforming and nourishing powers of Heaven and Earth. Able to assist the transforming and nourishing powers of Heaven and Earth, he may with Heaven and Earth form a ternion.
  • Sincerity becomes apparent. From being apparent, it becomes manifest. From being manifest, it becomes brilliant. Brilliant, it affects others. Affecting others, they are changed by it. Changed by it, they are transformed. It is only he who is possessed of the most complete sincerity that can exist under heaven, who can transform.
  • It is characteristic of the most entire sincerity to be able to foreknow. When a nation or family is about to flourish, there are sure to be happy omens; and when it is about to perish, there are sure to be unlucky omens.
  • Sincerity is that whereby self-completion is effected, and its way is that by which man must direct himself.
  • Sincerity is the end and beginning of things; without sincerity there would be nothing. On this account, the superior man regards the attainment of sincerity as the most excellent thing.
  • To entire sincerity there belongs ceaselessness. Not ceasing, it continues long. Continuing long, it evidences itself. Evidencing itself, it reaches far. Reaching far, it becomes large and substantial. Large and substantial, it becomes high and brilliant. Large and substantial; this is how it contains all things. High and brilliant; this is how it overspreads all things. Reaching far and continuing long; this is how it perfects all things. So large and substantial, the individual possessing it is the co-equal of Earth. So high and brilliant, it makes him the co-equal of Heaven. So far-reaching and long-continuing, it makes him infinite. Such being its nature, without any display, it becomes manifested; without any movement, it produces changes; and without any effort, it accomplishes its ends.
  • The way of Heaven and Earth may be completely declared in one sentence: They are without any doubleness, and so they produce things in a manner that is unfathomable.
  • How great is the path proper to the Sage! Like overflowing water, it sends forth and nourishes all things, and rises up to the height of heaven. All-complete is its greatness! It embraces the three hundred rules of ceremony, and the three thousand rules of demeanor. It waits for the proper man, and then it is trodden. Hence it is said, “Only by perfect virtue can the perfect path, in all its courses, be made a fact.”
  • The superior man honors his virtuous nature, and maintains constant inquiry and study, seeking to carry it out to its breadth and greatness, so as to omit none of the more exquisite and minute points which it embraces, and to raise it to its greatest height and brilliancy, so as to pursue the course of the Mean. He cherishes his old knowledge, and is continually acquiring new. He exerts an honest, generous earnestness, in the esteem and practice of all propriety. Thus, when occupying a high situation he is not proud, and in a low situation he is not insubordinate. When the kingdom is well governed, he is sure by his words to rise; and when it is ill governed, he is sure by his silence to command forbearance to himself.
  • To no one but the Son of Heaven does it belong to order ceremonies, to fix the measures, and to determine the written characters.
  • The institutions of the Ruler are rooted in his own character and conduct, and sufficient attestation of them is given by the masses of the people. He examines them by comparison with those of the three kings, and finds them without mistake. He sets them up before Heaven and Earth, and finds nothing in them contrary to their mode of operation. He presents himself with them before spiritual beings, and no doubts about them arise. He is prepared to wait for the rise of a sage a hundred ages after, and has no misgivings. His presenting himself with his institutions before spiritual beings, without any doubts arising about them, shows that he knows Heaven. His being prepared, without any misgivings, to wait for the rise of a sage a hundred ages after, shows that he knows men.
  • All things are nourished together without their injuring one another. The courses of the seasons, and of the sun and moon, are pursued without any collision among them. The smaller energies are like river currents; the greater energies are seen in mighty transformations. It is this which makes heaven and earth so great.
  • It is only he, possessed of all sagely qualities that can exist under heaven, who shows himself quick in apprehension, clear in discernment, of far-reaching intelligence, and all-embracing knowledge, fitted to exercise rule; magnanimous, generous, benign, and mild, fitted to exercise forbearance; impulsive, energetic, firm, and enduring, fitted to maintain a firm hold; self-adjusted, grave, never swerving from the Mean, and correct, fitted to command reverence; accomplished, distinctive, concentrative, and searching, fitted to exercise discrimination. All-embracing is he and vast, deep and active as a fountain, sending forth in their due season his virtues. All-embracing and vast, he is like Heaven. Deep and active as a fountain, he is like the abyss. He is seen, and the people all reverence him; he speaks, and the people all believe him; he acts, and the people all are pleased with him.
  • It is only the individual possessed of the most entire sincerity that can exist under Heaven, who can adjust the great invariable relations of mankind, establish the great fundamental virtues of humanity, and know the transforming and nurturing operations of Heaven and Earth; — shall this individual have any being or anything beyond himself on which he depends? Call him man in his ideal, how earnest is he! Call him an abyss, how deep is he! Call him Heaven, how vast is he! Who can know him, but he who is indeed quick in apprehension, clear in discernment, of far-reaching intelligence, and all-embracing knowledge, possessing all Heavenly virtue?
  • It is the way of the superior man to prefer the concealment of his virtue, while it daily becomes more illustrious, and it is the way of the mean man to seek notoriety, while he daily goes more and more to ruin. It is characteristic of the superior man, appearing insipid, yet never to produce satiety; while showing a simple negligence, yet to have his accomplishments recognized; while seemingly plain, yet to be discriminating. He knows how what is distant lies in what is near. He knows where the wind proceeds from. He knows how what is minute becomes manifested. Such a one, we may be sure, will enter into virtue.
  • The superior man examines his heart, that there may be nothing wrong there, and that he may have no cause for dissatisfaction with himself. That wherein the superior man cannot be equaled is simply this — his work which other men cannot see.
  • The superior man, even when he is not moving, has a feeling of reverence, and while he speaks not, he has the feeling of truthfulness.
  • It is said in the Book of Poetry, “In silence is the offering presented, and the spirit approached to; there is not the slightest contention.” Therefore the superior man does not use rewards, and the people are stimulated to virtue. He does not show anger, and the people are awed more than by hatchets and battle-axes.
  • Among the appliances to transform the people, sound and appearances are but trivial influences.

The Great Learning

  • What the great learning teaches, is to illustrate illustrious virtue; to renovate the people; and to rest in the highest excellence.
    The point where to rest being known, the object of pursuit is then determined; and, that being determined, a calm unperturbedness may be attained to.
     To that calmness there will succeed a tranquil repose. In that repose there may be careful deliberation, and that deliberation will be followed by the attainment of the desired end.
  • Things have their root and their branches. Affairs have their end and their beginning. To know what is first and what is last will lead near to what is taught in the Great Learning.
  • The ancients who wished to illustrate illustrious virtue throughout the Kingdom, first ordered well their own states. Wishing to order well their states, they first regulated their families. Wishing to regulate their families, they first cultivated their persons. Wishing to cultivate their persons, they first rectified their hearts. Wishing to rectify their hearts, they first sought to be sincere in their thoughts. Wishing to be sincere in their thoughts, they first extended to the utmost their knowledge. Such extension of knowledge lay in the investigation of things.
    Things being investigated, knowledge became complete. Their knowledge being complete, their thoughts were sincere. Their thoughts being sincere, their hearts were then rectified. Their hearts being rectified, their persons were cultivated. Their persons being cultivated, their families were regulated. Their families being regulated, their states were rightly governed. Their states being rightly governed, the whole kingdom was made tranquil and happy.
    From the Son of Heaven down to the mass of the people, all must consider the cultivation of the person the root of everything besides.

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