Quotes by Confucius

Share Your Quotes Join Us Inspire & Move Your Friends

How do you feel today?    I feel ...

Confucius (September 28, 551 – 479 BC) was a famous Chinese thinker and social philosopher, whose teachings and philosophy have deeply influenced East Asian life and thought.

Add to my favourites Get these quotes on a PDF
Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.

Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.
A man who has committed a mistake and doesn't correct it is committing another mistake.
Silence is the true friend that never betrays.
Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves.
To love a thing means wanting it to live.
Chose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.
To know is to know that you know nothing. That is the meaning of true knowledge.
I want you to be everything that's you, deep at the center of your being.
He who conquers himself is the mightiest warrior.
What you do not want others to do to you, do not do to others.
To be wronged is nothing unless you continue to remember it.
Life is really simple, but men insist on making it complicated.
The perfecting of one's self is the fundamental base of all progress and all moral development.
Faithfulness and sincerity are the highest things.
It is better to light one small candle than to curse the darkness.
He who wishes to secure the good of others has already secured his own.
The strength of a nation derives from the integrity of the home.
The superior man is modest in his speech but exceeds in his actions.
The superior man acts before he speaks, and afterwards speaks according to his action.
Learn as though you would never be able to master it; hold it as though you would be in fear of losing it.
I am not concerned that I am not known, I seek to be worthy to be known.
The expectations of life depend upon diligence; the mechanic that would perfect his work must first sharpen his tools.
The real fault is to have faults and not amend them.
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.
When anger rises, think of the consequences.
It is not possible for one to teach others who cannot teach his own family.
To go too far is as bad as to fall short.
Only the wisest and the stupidest of men never change.
Mankind differs from the animals only by a little and most people throw that away.
Have no friends not equal to yourself.
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.
Worry not that no one knows of you; seek to be worth knowing.
Ignorance is the night of the mind, but a night without moon or star.
The father who does not teach his son his duties is equally guilty with the son who neglects them.
Can there be a love which does not make demands on its object?
To see what is right, and not do it, is want of courage, or of principle.
A man who does not think and plan long ahead will find trouble right at his door.
When prosperity comes, do not use all of it.
The superior man understands what is right; the inferior man understands what will sell.
The more man meditates upon good thoughts, the better will be his world and the world at large.
The essence of knowledge is, having it, to apply it; not having it, to confess your ignorance.
Man who stand on hill with mouth open will wait long time for roast duck to drop in.
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.
When we see men of a contrary character, we should turn inwards and examine ourselves.
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.
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.
We take greater pains to persuade others we are happy than in trying to think so ourselves.
A fool despises good counsel, but a wise man takes it to heart.
To know what is right and not do it is the worst cowardice.
It is man that makes truth great, not truth that makes man great.
Consideration for others is the basic of a good life, a good society.
Without feelings of respect, what is there to distinguish men from beasts?
If you lead the people with correctness, who will dare not be correct?
Love thy neighbor as thyself: Do not to others what thou wouldn't not wish be done to thyself: Forgive injuries. Forgive thy enemy, be reconciled to him, give him assistance, invoke God in his behalf.
Learning without thought is labor lost. Thought without learning is perilous.
In a country well governed poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed wealth is something to be ashamed of.
What the superior person seeks is in themselves. What the mean person seeks is in others.
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.
Recompense injury with justice, and recompense kindness with kindness.
Think no vice so small that you may commit it, and no virtue so small that you may over look it.
Study the past if you would divine the future.
Sincerity and truth are the basis of every virtue.
We should feel sorrow, but not sink under its oppression.
Acquire new knowledge whilst thinking over the old, and you may become a teacher of others.
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.
When you have faults, do not fear to abandon them.
The parents age must be remembered, both for joy and anxiety.
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.
To see and listen to the wicked is already the beginning of wickedness.
When you see a worthy person, endeavor to emulate him. When you see an unworthy person, then examine your inner self.
Death and life have their determined appointments; riches and honors depend upon heaven.
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.
They must change who would be constant in happiness and wisdom.
If you look into your own heart, you find nothing wrong there, what is there to fear?
Don't complain about the snow on your neighbor's roof when your own doorstep is unclean.
The superior man thinks always of virtue; the common man thinks of comfort.
When nature exceeds culture, we have the rustic. When culture exceeds nature then we the pedant.
The wheel of fortune turns round incessantly, and who can say to himself, I shall today be uppermost.
Wisdom, compassion, and courage are the three universally recognized moral qualities of men.
To be with God.
I have never seen a man as fond of virtue as of women.
Do not worry about holding high position; worry rather about playing your proper role.
Humility is the solid foundation of all the virtues.
Life is a puzzle
Boldness, without the rules of propriety, becomes insubordination.
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. He who knows these three things
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.
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.
Without knowing the force of words, it is impossible to know men.
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.
The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.
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.
Virtue is not left to stand alone. He who practices it will have neighbors.
The superior man is firm in the right way, and not merely firm.
Not to alter one's faults is to be faulty indeed.
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.
To see what is right and not to do it is want of courage.
The Master said, "At fifteen I set my heart on learning; at thirty I took my stand; at forty I came to be free from doubts; at fifty I understood the Decree of Heaven; at sixty my ear was attuned; at seventy I followed my heart's desire without overstepping the line."
The Master said: "Observe what a man has in mind to do when his father is living, and then observe what he does when his father is dead. If, for three years, he makes no changes to his father's ways, he can be said to be a good son."
Lao said, "The Master said, 'I have never been proved in office. That is why I am a Jack of all trades.'"
There are three things the gentleman should guard against. In youth when the blood and ch'i are still unsettled he should guard against the attraction of feminine beauty. In the prime of life when the blood and ch'i have become unyielding, he should guard against bellicosity. In old age when the blood and ch'i have declined, he should guard against acquisitiveness.
The Master said, "Do not worry because you have no official position. Worry about your qualifications. Do not worry because no one appreciates your abilities. Seek to be worthy of appreciation."
Tzu-yu said, "When mourning gives full expression to grief nothing more can be required."