These 37 Quotes from Confucius Will Help You Better Understand Chinese Philosophy – EWAO

Hailed after his death as ‘The Uncrowned King’, Confucius (551-479 BC) was an influential Chinese philosopher, political figure and teacher throughout the Spring and Autumn period of Chinese history. His beliefs were adopted as an unofficial handbook for the Chinese government and a standard to which personal morality could be compared for thousands of years.

Confucius, philosophy, philosopher

Little is known about Confucius’ life. Records of the Historian, written by Ssu-ma Chi’en (145-86 BC) claims that he was born into a royal family of the Chou Dynasty. Other sources claim that he was born into poverty. While historians are unable to validate any evidence clarifying his childhood, what is known is that he existed in China during a time of great ideological crisis. It was in this crisis that he left his legacy.

Following the collapse of the Qin Dynasty, Confucius’s thoughts were officially sanctioned, and, in turn, developed into their own system known as Confucianism. These beliefs emphasized personal and governmental morality, justice, sincerity and the correctness of social relationships. These beliefs were developed with a foundation in common Chinese traditions and beliefs.

Among Confucius’s beliefs were the concept of family as a basis for the ideal government, creating a society in which children respected their elders, wives respected their husbands, and one held their ancestors in only the highest regard.

For a better understanding of his beliefs, meditate on these 37 quotes:

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

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

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

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

“It is more shameful to distrust our friends than to be deceived by them.”

“And remember, not matter where you go, there you are.”

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

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

“Attack the evil that is within yourself, rather than attacking the evil that is in others.”

Confucius, philosophy, philosopher

“Hold faithfulness and sincerity as first principles.”

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

“Respect yourself and others will respect you.”

“You cannot open a book without learning something.”

“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.”

“Silence is a true friend who never betrays.”

“The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.”

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

“Only the wisest and stupidest of men never change.”

Confucius, philosophy, philosopher

“Study the past if you would define the future.”

“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”

“Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without.”

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

“The gem cannot be polished without friction, nor man perfected without trials.”

“Wherever you go, go with all your heart.”

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

“The funniest people are the saddest ones.”

“Wheresoever you go, go with all your heart.”

Confucius, philosophy, philosopher

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

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

“Forget injuries, never forget kindnesses.”

“He who knows all the answers has not been asked all the questions.”

“It is not the failure of others to appreciate your abilities that should trouble you, appreciate theirs.”

“If you make a mistake and do not correct it, this is called a mistake.”

“Real knowledge is to know the extend of one’s ignorance.”

“It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.”

“Everything has its beauty but not everyone sees it.”

“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.”


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