Confucius quotes and sayings
If I do not participate in the sacrifice, it is as if I did not sacrifice at all.
When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don't adjust the goals, adjust the action steps.
Just as lavishness leads easily to presumption, so does frugality to meanness. But meanness is a far less serious fault than presumption.
The only people who cannot change are the most wise and the most stupid.
A fool marvels at rare things, but a wise man at common ones.
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 highest kind of man is the one who does before talking and practices what he professes.
It is better to light one small candle of gratitude than to curse the darkness.
There is nothing more visible than what is secret, and nothing more manifest than what is minute.
Don't worry if people don't recognize your merits; worry that you may not recognize theirs.
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.
He who cannot describe the problem will never find the solution to that problem.
To lead an uninstructed people to war is to throw them away.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Worry not that no one knows you; seek to be worth knowing.
To become a leader, you must first become a human being.
If you know, say you know. If you don't know, say you don't know.
What can a man do with music who is not benevolent?
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.
Future generation is the most important thing.
Never do to others what you would not like them to do to you.
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. Confucius' 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.
When a man feels the difficulty of doing, can he be other than cautious and slow in speaking?
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.
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.
The more you know yourself, the more you forgive yourself.
The superior man is satisfied and composed; the mean man is always full of distress.
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.
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.
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.
If your desire is for good, the people will be good.
You can successfully force people to follow a certain course, but you cannot force them to understand it.
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.
A ruthless man extends his ruthlessness from those he does not love to those he loves.
Whatever heaven ordains is best.
Don't worry about being acknowledged by others; worry about failing to acknowledge them.
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.
Give a man a fish, feed home for a day. Teach a man to fish, feed for a lifetime.
All people are the same; only their habits differ.
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.
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.
Return good for good; return evil with justice.
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.
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.
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.
Reading without thinking will confuse you.Thinking without reading will place you in danger.
Fix your mind on truth, hold firm to virtue, rely on loving kindness, and find your recreation in the Arts.
A man who reviews the old so as to find out the new is qualified to teach others.
Keep it simple and focus on what matters. Don't let yourself be overwhelmed.
To be in one's own heart in kindly sympathy with all things; this is the nature of righteousness.
The superior man has a dignified ease without pride. The mean man has pride without a dignified ease.
Signs and symbols rule the world, not words nor laws.
A good man it is not mine to see; could I see a man possessed of constancy, that would satisfy me.
roads were made for journeys not destinations.
He who rules by moral force is like the pole star, which remains in place while all the lesser stars do homage to it.
Be aroused by poetry; structure yourself with propriety, refine yourself with music.
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.
They must often change, who would be constant in happiness or wisdom.
It was either me or Confucius that said the journey of a thousand miles begins with a vicious ass raping at airport security.
An oppressive government is more to be feared than a tiger.
Never give a sword to a man who can't dance.
I am not an originator but a transmitter.
The father who does not teach his son his duties is equally guilty with the son who neglects them.
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.
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 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.
The Way is not for, but from, man; if we take the Way as something superhuman, beyond man, this is not the real Way.
In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of.
Heaven means to be one with God.
The cautious seldom err.
The object of the superior man is truth.
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.
If a man takes no thought about what is distant, he will find sorrow near at hand.
The real fault is to have faults and not to amend them.
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.
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.
Be not ashamed of mistakes and thus make them crimes.
When anger rises, think of the consequences.
Woman is the masterpiece.
Don't let your past determine your destiny.
Better than the one who knows what is right is the one who loves what is right.
Be in harmony, yet be different.
Michel de Montaigne
Seneca the Younger
Jean de la Bruyere
John le Carre
James Howard Kunstler
John of Kronstadt
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