Quotes by Confucius

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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.

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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.
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.
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."