Confucius Quotes

Confucius was a Chinese teacher, editor, politician, and philosopher who lived from 551 to 479 BC.

Morality, social integrity, justice, and sincerity were all important aspects of his ideology. Following the fall of Qin, his ideas were given official legitimacy and proceeded to be developed into a system known as Confucianism in the West.

Confucius’ principles were based on popular Chinese religion and tradition. He promoted strong family loyalty and respect for elders by children, as well as regard for husbands and wives, and he advocated filial piety as the foundation for ideal government.

Confucius Quotes About Life to Help Inspire You

The firm, the enduring, the simple, and the modest are near to virtue.

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

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

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.

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

Have no friends not equal to yourself.

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

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.

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

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

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

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

Faithfulness and sincerity are the highest things.

Study the past if you would divine the future.

If you look into your own heart, you find nothing wrong there, what is there to fear?

Virtue is not left to stand alone. He who practices it will have neighbors.

Think no vice so small that you may commit it, and no virtue so small that you may over look it.

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

Do not impose on others what you yourself do not desire.

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

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

Review the old and deducing the new makes a teacher.

Act with kindness, but do not expect gratitude.

Sincerity and truth are the basis of every virtue.

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

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

Ability will never catch up with the demand for it.

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

He who conquers himself is the mightiest warrior.

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

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

Fix your mind on truth, hold firm to virtue, rely on loving kindness, and find your recreation in the Arts.

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

Boldness, without the rules of propriety, becomes insubordination.

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.

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.

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

Silence is the true friend that never betrays.

When anger rises, think of the consequences.

Humility is the solid foundation of all the virtues.

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.

Study the past if you would define the future.

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

Wheresoever you go, go with all your heart.

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

The scholar who cherishes the love of comfort is not fit to be deemed a scholar.

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

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

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.

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

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.

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

He who will not economize will have to agonize.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

When prosperity comes, do not use all of it.

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

Respect yourself and others will respect you.

Ignorance is the night of the mind, but a night without moon and star.

Do not use a cannon to kill a mosquito.

They must often change who would be constant in happiness or wisdom.

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.

The more man meditates upon good thoughts, the better will be his world and the world at large.

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.

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

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

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.

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

If a man takes no thought about what is distant, he will find sorrow near at hand.

To be able to practice five things everywhere under heaven constitutes perfect virtue…They are gravity, generosity of soul, sincerity, earnestness, and kindness.

Behave toward everyone as if receiving a great guest.

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

Real knowledge is to know the extent of one’s ignorance.

He who speaks without modesty will find it difficult to make his words good.

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

Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.

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.

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

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

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.

Be not ashamed of mistakes and thus make them crimes.

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?

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

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

Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.

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

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.

Recompense injury with justice, and recompense kindness with kindness.

Forget injuries, never forget kindnesses.

What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others.

We should feel sorrow, but not sink under its oppression.

Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without.

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

To love a thing means wanting it to live.

To go beyond is as wrong as to fall short.

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

Things that are done, it is needless to speak about…things that are past, it is needless to blame.

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.

Learn as though you would never be able to master it; hold it as though you would be in fear of losing it.

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.

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

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

When you have faults, do not fear to abandon them.

The superior man is modest in his speech, but excels in his actions.

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

The object of the superior man is truth.

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

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

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