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180 Best Confucius Quotes

Confucius Statue

Confucius (551 – 479 BC) was one of China’s most famous philosopher, teacher and political theorist whose teachings and ideas still deeply influenced resonate today. Confucius gave great importance to education, he wanted to make education available to anyone willing to learn.

Confucius’s principles had a basis in common Chinese tradition and belief. His philosophy emphasized morality, fidelity of social relationships, justice, and sincerity. Developed from Confucius’ teachings, Confucianism is a philosophy often followed as a religion by the Chinese, with particular emphasis on the importance of the family and social harmony Confucius established a moral code of conduct based on human principles of mutual respect, good conduct, and familial ties. It took many years after Confucius’ death for his philosophies to be appreciated and revered, but today, Confucianism is an ethical school of thought adopted by many thinkers around the world.

Here are 180 famous Confucius quotes and sayings on life, love, family, education and more. that will increase your thirst for knowledge and help you see things from a more realistic perspective.

180 Famous Confucius Quotes

1

“The firm, the enduring, the simple, and the modest are near to virtue.” – Confucius

2

“Our greatest glory is not in never falling but in rising every time we fall.” – Confucius

3

“Death and life have their determined appointments; riches and honors depend upon heaven.” – Confucius

4

“Looking at small advantages prevents great affairs from being accomplished.” – Confucius

5

“The real fault is to have faults and not amend them.” – Confucius

6

“When I walk along with two others, from at least one I will be able to learn.” – Confucius

7

“He who speaks without modesty will find it difficult to make his words good.” – Confucius

8

“Act with kindness, but do not expect gratitude.” – Confucius

9

“Things that are done, it is needless to speak about…things that are past, it is needless to blame.” – Confucius

10

“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.” – Confucius

11

“We should feel sorrow, but not sink under its oppression.” – Confucius

12

“If you are the smartest person in the room, then you are in the wrong room.” – Confucius

13

“Worry not that no one knows of you; seek to be worth knowing.” – Confucius

14

“The cautious seldom err.” – Confucius

15

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

16

“To love a thing means wanting it to live.” – Confucius

17

“A man who does not plan long ahead will find trouble right at his door.” – Confucius

18

“Without feelings of respect, what is there to distinguish men from beasts?” – Confucius

19

“Review the old and deducing the new makes a teacher.” – Confucius

20

“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.” – Confucius

21

“To put the world in order, we must first put the nation in order; to put the nation in order, we must put the family in order; to put the family in order, we must cultivate our personal life; and to cultivate our personal life, we must first set our hearts right.” – Confucius

22

“It is not possible for one to teach others who cannot teach his own family.He who excels in study can follow an official career.” – Confucius

23

“Be not ashamed of mistakes and thus make them crimes.” – Confucius

24

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

25

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

26

“You cannot open a book without learning something.” – Confucius

27

“Never do to others what you would not like them to do to you.” – Confucius

28

“Faced with what is right, to leave it undone shows a lack of courage.” – Confucius

29

“The funniest people are the saddest ones.” – Confucius

30

“Those who cannot forgive others break the bridge over which they themselves must pass.” – Confucius

31

“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.” – Confucius

32

“They must change who would be constant in happiness and wisdom.” – Confucius

33

“Anyone can find the switch after the lights are on.” – Confucius

34

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

35

“There are three things to beware of through life: when a man is young, let him beware of his appetites; when he is middle-aged, of his passions; and when old, of covetousness, especially.” – Confucius

36

“The wheel of fortune turns round incessantly, and who can say to himself, I shall today be uppermost.” – Confucius

37

“Isn’t it a pleasure to study and practice what you have learned?” – Confucius

38

“When you see a worthy person, endeavor to emulate him. When you see an unworthy person, then examine your inner self.” – Confucius

39

“A common man marvels at uncommon things. A wise man marvels at the commonplace.” – Confucius

40

“Without knowing the force of words, it is impossible to know men.” – Confucius

41

“It is only the wisest and the stupidest that cannot change.” – Confucius

42

“The object of the superior man is truth.” – Confucius

43

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

44

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

45

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

46

“Your life is what your thoughts make it.” – Confucius

47

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

48

“Learn advidly. Question it repeatedly. Analyze it carefully. Then put what you have learned into practice intelligently.” – Confucius

49

“The superior man acts before he speaks, and afterwards speaks according to his action.” – Confucius

50

“Roads were made for journeys not destinations.” – Confucius

51

“The journey with a 1000 miles begins with one step.” – Confucius

52

“We take greater pains to persuade others that we are happy than in endeavoring to think so ourselves.” – Confucius

53

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

54

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

55

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

56

“A man who has committed a mistake and doesn’t correct it is committing another mistake.” – Confucius

57

“Ignorance is the night of the mind, but a night without moon and star.” – Confucius

58

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

59

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” – Confucius

60

“When anger rises, think of the consequences.” – Confucius

61

“He who excels in study can follow an official career.” – Confucius

62

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

63

“The superior man thinks always of virtue; the common man thinks of comfort.” – Confucius

64

“When we see men of a contrary character, we should turn inwards and examine ourselves.” – Confucius

65

“Do not do to others what you do not want done to yourself.” – Confucius

66

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

67

“When a person should be spoken with, and you don’t speak with them, you lose them. When a person shouldn’t be spoken with and you speak to them, you waste your breath. The wise do not lose people, nor do they waste their breath.” – Confucius

68

“Real knowledge is to know the extent of one’s ignorance.” – Confucius

69

“Fine words and an insinuating appearance are seldom associated with true virtue.” – Confucius

70

“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.” – Confucius

71

“Men’s natures are alike, it is their habits that carry them far apart.” – Confucius

72

“The parents age must be remembered, both for joy and anxiety.” – Confucius

73

“In a country well-governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of.” – Confucius

74

“He who acts with a constant view to his own advantage will be much murmured against.” – Confucius

75

“The father who does not teach his son his duties is equally guilty with the son who neglects them.” – Confucius

76

“A lion chased me up a tree, and I greatly enjoyed the view from the top.” – Confucius

77

“To be able to practice five things everywhere under heaven constitutes perfect virtue…They are gravity, generosity of soul, sincerity, earnestness, and kindness.” – Confucius

78

“All people are the same; only their habits differ.” – Confucius

79

“When you have faults, do not fear to abandon them.” – Confucius

80

“I want you to be everything that’s you, deep at the center of your being.” – Confucius

81

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

82

“One joy dispels a hundred cares.” – Confucius

83

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

84

“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.” – Confucius

85

“It does not matter how slowly you go, so long as you do not stop.” – Confucius

86

“If we don’t know life, how can we know death?” – Confucius

87

“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.” – Confucius

88

“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.” – Confucius

89

“Hold faithfulness and sincerity as first principles.” – Confucius

90

“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.” – Confucius

91

“We have two lives, and the second begins when we realize we only have one.” – Confucius

92

“Wealth and rank are what people desire, but unless they be obtained in the right way they may not be possessed.” – Confucius

93

“Wisdom, compassion, and courage are the three universally recognized moral qualities of men.” – Confucius

94

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

95

“Isn’t it also great when friends visit from distant places? If one remains not annoyed when he is not understood by people around him, isn’t he a sage?” – Confucius

96

“Recompense injury with justice, and recompense kindness with kindness.” – Confucius

97

“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.” – Confucius

98

“Learn as if you were not reaching your goal and as though you were scared of missing it.” – Confucius

99

“The perfecting of one’s self is the fundamental base of all progress and all moral development.” – Confucius

100

“The man who says he can, and the man who says he can’t are both correct.” – Confucius

101

“The nobler sort of man emphasizes the good qualities in others, and does not accentuate the bad. The inferior does.” – Confucius

102

“Silence is the true friend that never betrays.” – Confucius

103

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

104

“To see the right and not to do it is cowardice.” – Confucius

105

“Boldness, without the rules of propriety, becomes insubordination.” – Confucius

106

“A superior man is modest in his speech, but exceeds in his actions.” – Confucius

107

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

108

“Be strict with yourself but least reproachful of others and complaint is kept afar.” – Confucius

109

“Do not worry about holding high position; worry rather about playing your proper role.” – Confucius

110

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

111

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

112

“Sincerity and truth are the basis of every virtue.” – Confucius

113

“To see and listen to the wicked is already the beginning of wickedness.” – Confucius

114

“What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others.” – Confucius

115

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

116

“Mankind differs from the animals only by a little and most people throw that away.” – Confucius

117

“If your plan is for one year plant rice. If your plan is for 10 years plant trees. If your plan is for 100 years educate children.” – Confucius

118

“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.” – Confucius

119

“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.” – Confucius

120

“Never give a sword to a man who can’t dance.” – Confucius

121

“Think no vice so small that you may commit it, and no virtue so small that you may over look it.” – Confucius

122

“Education breeds confidence. Confidence breeds hope. Hope breeds peace.” – Confucius

123

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

124

“To go beyond is as wrong as to fall short.” – Confucius

125

“I slept and dreamt life is beauty, I woke and found life is duty.” – Confucius

126

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

127

“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.” – Confucius

128

“It is better to light one small candle than to curse the darkness.” – Confucius

129

“A gentleman would be ashamed should his deeds not match his words.” – Confucius

130

“Faithfulness and sincerity are the highest things.” – Confucius

131

“The faults of a superior person are like the sun and moon. They have their faults, and everyone sees them; they change and everyone looks up to them.” – Confucius

132

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

133

“When you are laboring for others let it be with the same zeal as if it were for yourself.” – Confucius

134

“He who conquers himself is the mightiest warrior.” – Confucius

135

“The gem cannot be polished without friction, nor man perfected without trial.” – Confucius

136

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

137

“He who will not economize will have to agonize.” – Confucius

138

“Learning without thought is labor lost; thought without learning is perilous.” – Confucius

139

“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.” – Confucius

140

“They must often change who would remain constant in happiness and wisdom.” – Confucius

141

“Don’t complain about the snow on your neighbor’s roof when your own doorstep is unclean.” – Confucius

142

“Think of tomorrow, the past can’t be mended.” – Confucius

143

“Forget injuries, never forget kindnesses.” – Confucius

144

“Behave toward everyone as if receiving a great guest.” – Confucius

145

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

146

“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.” – Confucius

147

“The superior man understands what is right; the inferior man understands what will sell.” – Confucius

148

“The essence of knowledge is, having it, to apply it not having it, to confess your ignorance.” – Confucius

149

“You are what you think.” – Confucius

150

“I am not concerned that I am not known, I seek to be worthy to be known.” – Confucius

151

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

152

“Those who know the truth are not equal to those who love it.” – Confucius

153

“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.” – Confucius

154

“Respect yourself and others will respect you.” – Confucius

155

“Never contract friendship with a man that is not better than thyself.” – Confucius

156

“The strength of a nation derives from the integrity of the home.” – Confucius

157

“Humility is the solid foundation of all the virtues.” – Confucius

158

“Do not impose on others what you yourself do not desire.” – Confucius

159

“The superior man is modest in his speech, but exceeds in his actions.” – Confucius

160

“Acquire new knowledge whilst thinking over the old, and you may become a teacher of others.” – Confucius

161

“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.” – Confucius

162

“When prosperity comes, do not use all of it.” – Confucius

163

“He that would perfect his work must first sharpen his tools.” – Confucius

164

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

165

“He who learns but does not think is lost! He who thinks but does not learn is in great danger.” – Confucius

166

“Ability will never catch up with the demand for it.” – Confucius

167

“To know what you know and what you do not know, that is true knowledge.” – Confucius

168

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

169

“Go before the people with your example, and be laborious in their affairs.” – Confucius

170

“Have no friends not equal to yourself.” – Confucius

171

“Virtue is not left to stand alone. He who practices it will have neighbors.” – Confucius

172

“Imagination is more important than knowledge.” – Confucius

173

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

174

“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.” – Confucius

175

“When we see persons of worth, we should think of equaling them; when we see persons of a contrary character, we should turn inwards and examine ourselves.” – Confucius

176

“No matter how busy you make think you are you must find time for reading, or surrender yourself to self-chosen ignorance.” – Confucius

177

“If you don’t want to do something, don’t impose on others.” – Confucius

178

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

179

“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.” – Confucius

180

“If I am walking with two other men, each of them will serve as my teacher. I will pick out the good points of the one and imitate them, and the bad points of the other and correct them in myself.” – Confucius

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