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Quotes by Confucius

  • Chinese philosopher
  • Born 551 BC
  • Died 479 BC

Confucius ( kən-FEW-shəs; 551–479 BC) was a Chinese teacher, editor, politician, and philosopher of the Spring and Autumn period of Chinese history. The philosophy of Confucius, also known as Confucianism, emphasized personal and governmental morality, correctness of social relationships, justice and sincerity. His followers competed successfully with many other schools during the Hundred Schools of Thought era only to be suppressed in favor of the Legalists during the Qin Dynasty. Following the victory of Han over Chu after the collapse of Qin, Confucius's thoughts received official sanction and were further developed into a system known in the West as Neo-Confucianism, and later New Confucianism (Modern Neo-Confucianism).


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




Heaven means to be one with God.




Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.


He who learns but does not think, is lost! He who thinks but does not learn is in great danger.




Without feelings of respect, what is there to distinguish men from beasts?




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




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




The superior man does not, even for the space of a single meal, act contrary to virtue. In moments of haste, he cleaves to it. In seasons of danger, he cleaves to it.




I will not be concerned at other men's not knowing me; I will be concerned at my own want of ability.




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




Ability will never catch up with the demand for it.




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




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




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




When anger rises, think of the consequences.


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




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.




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.




Wherever you go, go with all your heart.




The expectations of life depend upon diligence; the mechanic that would perfect his work must first sharpen his tools.




How to play music may be known. At the commencement of the piece, all the parts should sound together. As it proceeds, they should be in harmony while severally distinct and flowing without break, and thus on to the conclusion.




Virtuous people often revenge themselves for the constraints to which they submit by the boredom which they inspire.




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


The object of the superior man is truth.




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.




If you look into your own heart, and you find nothing wrong there, what is there to worry about? What is there to fear?




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




The superior man makes the difficulty to be overcome his first interest; success only comes later.




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.




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



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