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Confucius Quotes

Virtue, Character, Success, Achievement, Learning, Relationships, Governance

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Confucius is a Chinese philosopher, moralist, and reformer (B.C. 551 - 479).

Since Confucius' teachings and philosophy was so advanced, it was the education for China and the World for 2,000 years. It is called Confucianism.

Confucius did not put into writing the principles of his philosophy; these were handed down only through his disciples.

 

Virtue

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.

Wisdom, compassion, and courage are the three universally recognized moral qualities of men.

He who exercises government by means of his virtue may be compared to the north polar star, which keeps its place and all the stars turn towards it.

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

Is virtue a thing remote? I wish to be virtuous, and lo! Virtue is at hand.

If a man remembers what is right at the sign of profit, is ready to lay down his life in the face of danger, and does not forget sentiments he has repeated all his life when he has been in straitened circumstances for a long time, he may be said to be a complete man.

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

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

I have not seen a person who loved virtue, or one who hated what was not virtuous. He who loved virtue would esteem nothing above it.

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.

If a man withdraws his mind from the love of beauty, and applies it as sincerely to the love of the virtuous; if, in serving his parents, he can exert his utmost strength; if, in serving his prince, he can devote his life; if in his intercourse with his friends, his words are sincere – although men say that he has not learned, I will certainly say that he has.

  

 

Character & Personality

By nature, men are nearly alike; by practice, they get to be wide apart.

The superior man is firm in the right way, and not merely firm.

The superior man thinks always of virtue; the common man thinks of comfort.

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.

Hold faithfulness and sincerity as first principles.

Everything has its beauty but not everyone sees it.

The superior man is satisfied and composed; the mean man is always full of distress.

The superior man...does not set his mind either for anything, or against anything; what is right he will follow.

There are three things which the superior man guards against. In youth...lust. When he is strong...quarrelsomeness. When he is old...covetousness.

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

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

In his errors a man is true to type. Observe the errors and you will know the man.

When we see men of worth, we should think of equaling them; when we see men of a contrary character, we should turn inwards and examine ourselves.

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.

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.

 

Success, Failure

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

Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without.

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

The man of virtue makes the difficulty to be overcome his first business, and success only a subsequent consideration.

Be not ashamed of mistakes and thus make them crimes.

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

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

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

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

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

The cautious seldom err.

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.

He who will not economize will have to agonize.

Achievement

Wheresoever you go, go with all your heart.

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

If you shoot for the stars and hit the moon, it's OK. But you've got to shoot for something. A lot of people don't even shoot.

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

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

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

To go beyond is as wrong as to fall short.

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

The man of wisdom is never in two minds about right and wrong; the man of benevolence never worries about the future; the man of courage is never afraid.

The superior man is distressed by the limitations of his ability; he is not distressed by the fact that men do not recognize the ability that he has.

The Three Armies can be deprived of their commanding officer, but even a common man cannot be deprived of his purpose.

The superior man, when resting in safety, does not forget that danger may come. When in a state of security he does not forget the possibility of ruin. When all is orderly, he does not forget that disorder may come. Thus his person is not endangered, and his States and all their clans are preserved.

The superior man cannot be known in little matters, but he may be entrusted with great concerns. The small man may not be entrusted with great concerns, but he may be known in little matters.

There is one single thread binding my way together...the way of the Master consists in doing one’s best...that is all.

It is easy to hate and it is difficult to love. This is how the whole scheme of things works. All good things are difficult to achieve; and bad things are very easy to get.

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.

Knowledge, Learning

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

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.

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

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

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

Study the past if you would divine the future.

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

In a hamlet of ten households, there are bound to be those who are my equal in doing their best for others and in being trustworthy in what they say, but they are unlikely to be as eager to learn as I am.

He who merely knows right principles is not equal to him who loves them.

Learning without thought is labor lost; thought without learning is perilous.

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

He who learns but does not think Download PowerPoint presentation, pdf e-book, is lost! He who thinks but does not learn is in great danger.

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

Even when walking in the company of two other men, I am bound to be able to learn from them. The good points of the one I copy; the bad points of the other I correct in myself.

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

Those who do not study are only cattle dressed up in men’s clothes.

The determined scholar and the man of virtue will not seek to live at the expense of injuring their virtue. They will even sacrifice their lives to preserve their virtue complete.

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.

Look at the means which a man employs, consider his motives, observe his pleasures. A man simply cannot conceal himself!

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

While you are not able to serve men, how can you serve spirits?...While you do not know life, how can you know about death?

Relationships

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

Forget injuries, never forget kindnesses.

Respect yourself and others will respect you.

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

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

When anger rises, think of the consequences.

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

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."

Recompense injury with justice, and recompense kindness with kindness.

Have no friends not equal to yourself.

Never give a sword to a man who can't dance.

It is only the benevolent man who is capable of liking or disliking other men.

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

 

Communication

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

The superior man acts before he speaks, and afterwards speaks according to his actions.

Speak the truth, do not yield to anger; give, if thou art asked for little; by these three steps thou wilt go near the gods.

If language is not correct, then what is said is not what is meant; if what is said is not what is meant, then what must be done remains undone; if this remains undone, morals and art will deteriorate; if justice goes astray, the people will stand about in helpless confusion. Hence there must be no arbitrariness in what is said. This matters above everything.

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

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

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

Silence is a true friend who never betrays.

Governance

To govern is to be correct. If you set an example by being correct, who would dare remain incorrect?

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

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

He who exercises government by means of his virtue may be compared to the north polar star, which keeps its place and all the stars turn towards it.

An oppressive government is more to be feared than a tiger.