Quotes from Confucius about work, education, government

Wise Quotes from Confucius (100 Quotes)

Confucius is an ancient thinker and philosopher of China. His teachings had a profound influence on life in China and East Asia, becoming the basis of the philosophical system known as Confucianism. Confucius founded the first university and brought into system the chronicles compiled in different principalities. The teachings of Confucius on the rules of behavior of princes, officials, warriors and peasants spread in China as widely as the teachings of Buddha in India. The real name is Kun Qiu, but in literature it is often called Kun Tzu, Kung Fu Tzu or simply Tzu - “Teacher”. Already at the age of just over 20 years, he became famous as the first professional teacher in the Celestial Empire. Before the victory of Legalism, the school of Confucius was only one of many trends in the intellectual life of the Warring States, in the period known as the Hundred Schools. And only after the fall of Qin, the revived Confucianism achieved the status of state ideology, which remained until the beginning of the 20th century, only temporarily giving way to Buddhism and Taoism. This led to the exaltation of the figure of Confucius and his inclusion in the religious pantheon. Wise quotes from Confucius are presented in this collection.

Three paths lead to knowledge: the path of reflection is the noblest path, the path of imitation is the easiest path, and the path of experience is the most bitter path.

Even in the company of two people, I will certainly find something to learn from them. I will try to imitate their virtues, and I myself will learn from their shortcomings.

If you hate, it means you have been defeated.

Only the wisest and the stupidest are not teachable.

In a country where there is order, be bold in both actions and speeches. In a country where there is no order, be bold in your actions, but careful in your speech.

Anyone who, turning to the old, is able to discover new things, is worthy of being a teacher.

Before you take revenge, dig two graves.

He who cannot instruct his family to goodness cannot learn himself.

Give instructions only to those who seek knowledge after discovering their ignorance.

To study and, when the time comes, to apply what you have learned to your work - isn’t it wonderful!

Happiness is when you are understood, great happiness is when you are loved, real happiness is when you love.

It is not easy to meet a person who, having devoted three years of his life to teaching, would not dream of occupying a high position.

In fact, life is simple, but we persistently complicate it.

At the age of fifteen I turned my thoughts to study. At thirty I became independent. At the age of forty I got rid of doubts. At the age of fifty I learned the will of heaven. At the age of sixty I learned to distinguish truth from falsehood. At seventy years old, I began to follow the desires of my heart.

Intemperance in small things will ruin a great cause.

Forget grievances. But never forget kindness.

Only when the cold weather arrives does it become clear that pines and cypresses are the last to lose their decoration.

A happy person is very easy to recognize. He seems to radiate an aura of calm and warmth, moves slowly, but manages to get everywhere, speaks calmly, but everyone understands him. The secret of happy people is simple - the absence of tension.

People in ancient times did not like to talk much. They considered it a shame for themselves not to keep up with their own words.

If you want to succeed, avoid the six vices: sleepiness, laziness, fear, anger, idleness and indecisiveness.

We take advice in drops, but we give it out in buckets.

Where patience ends, endurance begins.

A gemstone cannot be polished without friction. Likewise, a person cannot become successful without enough hard attempts.

Beware of those who want to make you feel guilty, for they crave power over you.

A noble man makes demands on himself, a low man makes demands on others.

Sometimes it's worth making a mistake, if only to know why you shouldn't have made it.

You can only overcome bad habits today, not tomorrow.

The person at the very top of the mountain did not fall there from the sky.

Three things never come back - time, word, opportunity. Therefore: do not waste time, choose your words, do not miss the opportunity.

To respect every person as ourselves, and to treat him as we wish to be treated—there is nothing higher than this.

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

If you don't have bad thoughts, you won't have bad actions.

I don’t get upset if people don’t understand me, I get upset if I don’t understand people.

A worthy person does not follow in the footsteps of other people.

Try to be at least a little kinder, and you will see that you will not be able to commit a bad act.

Visiting and listening to evil people is already the beginning of an evil deed.

In ancient times, people studied in order to improve themselves. Nowadays people study in order to surprise others.

Silence is a great friend that will never change.

You can curse the darkness all your life, or you can light a small candle.

A noble man blames himself, a small man blames others.

Misfortune came - man gave birth to him, happiness came - man raised him.

An angry person is always full of poison.

There is beauty in everything, but not everyone can see it.

A respectful son is one who upsets his father and mother only with his illness.

A noble person is serene at heart. A low person is always preoccupied.

Only a truly humane person is capable of both loving and hating.

If they spit in your back, it means you are ahead.

A noble man knows only duty, a low man knows only benefit.

He is not great who has never fallen, but he is great who has fallen and gotten up.

Pay for evil with sincerity, and pay for good with goodness.

If nature overshadows education in a person, the result is a savage, and if education overshadows nature, the result is a scholar of the scriptures. Only one in whom nature and education are in balance can be considered a worthy husband.

Sending people to war untrained means betraying them.

How can we know what death is when we do not yet know what life is?

Evaluating worldly affairs, a noble man neither rejects nor approves of anything, but measures everything with justice.

A wise man does not do to others what he does not want done to him.

When you don’t know words, there’s no way to get to know people.

Don't worry about not being known. Worry about whether you are worthy of being known.

Rule the people with dignity and the people will be respectful. Treat people kindly and people will work hard. Exalt the virtuous and instruct the unlearned, and people will trust you.

Not talking to a person who is worthy of talking means losing a person. And talking to a person who is not worthy of conversation means losing words. The wise man loses neither people nor words.

Not talking to a person who is worthy of talking means losing a person. And talking to a person who is not worthy of conversation means losing words. The wise man loses neither people nor words.

Sometimes we see a lot, but we don’t notice the main thing.

A wise man is ashamed of his shortcomings, but is not ashamed to correct them.

I don't understand how you can deal with a person you can't trust? If a cart doesn't have an axle, how can you ride it?

Do not have friends who are inferior to you in moral terms.

Study as if you constantly feel the lack of your knowledge, and as if you are constantly afraid of losing your knowledge.

If a person is firm, decisive, simple and quiet, then he is already close to humanity.

When, having made a mistake, you do not correct it, this is called making a mistake.

It is wonderful where mercy resides. Is it possible to achieve wisdom if you do not live in its region?

Learning without reflection is useless, but reflection without learning is also dangerous.

When the paths are not the same, they do not make plans together.

He is not great who has never fallen, but he is great who has fallen and gotten up.

Young people should not be looked down upon. It is very possible that, having matured, they will become outstanding men. Only those who have achieved nothing, having lived to be forty or fifty years old, do not deserve respect.

In fact, life is simple, but we persistently complicate it.

When your father and mother are cold, admonish them as gently as possible. If your advice does not work, remain respectful and humble. Even if you are annoyed in your heart, do not express your dissatisfaction.

Happiness is when you are understood, great happiness is when you are loved, real happiness is when you love.

Those who do not think about distant difficulties will certainly face near-term troubles.

If you hate, it means you have been defeated.

People want wealth and fame for themselves; if both cannot be obtained honestly, they should be avoided.

It doesn't matter how slowly you walk as long as you don't stop.

When they proceed only from profit, they multiply anger.

Never make friends with a person who is no better than yourself.

If he himself is direct, then everything will be done without orders. And if they themselves are not straight, they will not obey, even if they are ordered.

When you are angry, think about the consequences.

If you are overly zealous in your service, you will lose the favor of the sovereign. If you are overly cordial in your friendship, you will lose the favor of your friends.

If it is obvious that the goals cannot be achieved, do not adjust the goals, adjust the actions.

A noble husband knows his superiority, but avoids competition. He gets along with everyone, but does not collude with anyone.

Whatever you do in life, do it with all your heart.

Having learned the truth in the morning, you can die in the evening.

Observe a person’s behavior, delve into the reasons for his actions, look closely at him during leisure hours. Will he then remain a mystery to you?

Beautiful speeches harm morality. When there is no desire to do small things, it harms big plans.

Noble people live in harmony with other people, but do not follow other people; lowly people follow other people, but do not live in harmony with them.

He who is full of mercy certainly has courage.

Blessed is the one who knows nothing: he does not risk being misunderstood.

When it is clear what morality is, then everything else will be clear.

When away from home, behave as if you are receiving honored guests. When using the services of people, behave as if you were performing a solemn ceremony. Don't do to others what you wouldn't want for yourself. Then there will be no discontent either in the state or in the family.

The bird chooses a tree. How can a tree choose a bird?

We trust our eyes - but they cannot be trusted; we rely on our heart - but we shouldn’t rely on it either. Remember, students: it is truly not easy to know a person!

The wise man knows no worries, the humane man knows no worries, the brave man knows no fear.

When you meet a worthy person, think about how to become equal to him. When dating a low person, take a closer look at yourself and judge yourself.

A noble husband is straightforward and firm, but not stubborn.

The Long Road to Wisdom

Sometimes they shout to a person with special mental abilities: “You’re just Confucius!” The sayings of the Chinese sage make you touch the origins of his wisdom and reread his aphoristic sayings. Is there some centuries-old secret of Eastern wisdom, is it different from the usual Western one? In the course of our analysis of the sayings of Confucius, this will become clear to you.

Where did the origins of the wisdom of the Chinese genius come from? Let's start a little with the childhood of a teacher from the Kun family or Kung Fu Tzu, as he was called in his homeland in China. The name Confucius is considered to be a Latinized form. The teacher lived from 551 to 479 BC. e. Many of the sayings of Chinese Confucius have survived to this day, thanks to the retellings and recordings of later interpreters and students.

The sage was born in the village of Qufu, in Shandong province. He belongs to an ancient aristocratic, albeit impoverished, family. His father married three times in order to obtain a worthy heir. This is exactly what the future thinker became. And although the father died three years later, the mother gave her son a highly moral upbringing. In many ways, the formation of Confucius’s ideas about an ideal society and a harmonious person is due to the pure spiritual qualities of this highly moral woman.

The absence of his father in the house forced the young man to work early. He educated himself and searched for the truth. He learned to read early and tried to comprehend all the lines he learned. In Confucius's statements about work and life, one can feel the fusion of thoughts of his worthy predecessors. He worked as a caretaker of warehouses and state lands. But this position did not bring him satisfaction. At the age of 22, the young man became a private Chinese teacher. Having already become a sought-after specialist, he began to teach children from different segments of the population, without paying attention to their well-being.

In communication with people, in the wanderings of the sage, Confucius’s wittiest sayings about man were born. This led him to receive the prestigious position of Minister of Justice. Here he had envious people and slanderers who contributed to the expulsion of the minister from his native land. Confucius began to travel and preach. He went on this pilgrimage for 13 years. In all corners of China, wise sayings of Confucius about creativity, family, and relationships between people were heard.

Returning to his native land, the thinker began to engage in teaching activities. By the end of his life he had trained about three thousand people. Philosophy became the basis of his postulates. Biographers even claim that the Teacher knew the date of his death in advance. As soon as he passed away, the Chinese noticed his absence in the country's culture. But Confucianism received many followers and successors. From 136 BC. e. it is an official religious cult in China. Confucius became a deity and temples were named after him. Only in the 20th century, after the Xinhai Revolution, did centuries-old authorities begin to be overthrown.

Disciples of Confucius collected all his wise aphorisms and quotes in the book “Conversations and Judgments.” In European countries it is called “Analects of Confucius”. Analects are quotes, apt sayings, short poems. We worked on this unique collection for half a century. His sayings teach humanity, piety, respect for elders and explain other moral and ethical foundations of society.

How do our contemporaries see Confucius? After the communist denials of the teachings of Confucius, sobering up finally came. In recent years, the Chinese have again become interested in Confucianism and the personality of the Master. Many tourists go to the places of his wanderings and hold memorial events in his honor. The teachings of the philosopher were again included in the educational programs of Chinese schoolchildren and students.

The meaning of experience, truth and human qualities

“One person curses the darkness all his life, and another lights a small candle,” this phrase betrays the moral experience of many generations. Unfortunately, there are many more critics than those who roll up their sleeves and correct something. The classic of Eastern ethics and philosophy accurately noted that hatred speaks of victory over you. He also noted that earlier people studied in order to improve, but now in order to surprise others with their knowledge. Here are some more apt sayings of the sage:

  • If wealth and fame cannot be acquired honestly, then you need to avoid them. If you cannot avoid poverty and obscurity, then you need to accept them.
  • People are brought together by natural inclinations, but separated by habits.
  • In ancient times, verbosity was not accepted. Then it was shameful not to keep up with your words.
  • The closest thing to humanity is a firm, decisive, simple and taciturn husband.
  • Humanity is very close to us, we just have to desire it.
  • A worthy person does not imitate others; he evaluates actions fairly.

Confucianism in China

In modern terms, we can say that Confucius is the main brand of China. After all, the self-identification of a people is associated with the choice of a person who represents them as accurately and vividly as possible. This is actually not such a simple question. On the solid and extensive Chinese foundation of the most ancient historical and philosophical thought of the world rises the figure of Confucius, the wisdom of whose aphorisms and teachings truly deserves veneration.

About myself

The world of amazing sayings and witty observations of the eastern sage is simply amazing! Some of his statements relate to Confucius himself:

  • I need a lot of work to expand my knowledge, not to brag to others, not to feel tired, to teach others and not to be disappointed.
  • I have never met a person who lived in solitude to achieve his goal, who followed what was necessary to realize his truth.
  • Even among two people, I will find something to learn. I will emulate their strengths and learn from their weaknesses.

Each of you can choose from among the many sayings of Confucius a wise guide to life. This will help you cope with difficulties and choose the right path to wisdom.

About love, man and woman, parents and children, friends

Confucius has many sayings and aphorisms that describe various relationships: family, friendship, love. After all, friends and our environment often bring us joy, but sometimes disappointment. The philosopher has a lot of advice on this matter. Everyone can find something useful in them:

  • It is difficult to build correct relationships with women and low people. Getting closer to oneself leads to their swagger, and moving away leads to hatred.
  • A respectful son can be called one who brings grief to his parents only through illness.
  • It's better not to deal with a person you don't trust. After all, it is impossible to ride a cart without an axle.
  • Friends need to be helped and taught to do good, but there is no need to put yourself in a humiliating position in front of those who cannot be changed.
  • You should not show excessive cordiality in friendship, this can lead to loss of favor with friends.

Confucius also had sayings about love. He called love the beginning and end of everything that exists. The sage worshiped love and believed that without it there is no life.

Vision of good and evil, virtue and vice

A lot of aphorisms and sayings of Confucius are devoted to thoughts about existence, good and evil. The thinker saw a commonality between the laws of nature and human development. He had confidence in subordinating everything in the world to a single algorithm. The philosopher himself studied well and comprehended all the teachings of his predecessors. Some people today question Christian tenets. For example, not everyone can understand why evil must be answered with good. Many people wonder how to relate to the insults inflicted on us; should we respond in kind?

In the raging ocean of everyday passions, quotes from Confucius can become a reliable compass, sometimes a little paradoxical, a little outside the usual system of values. The Chinese Teacher believed that evil should be punished fairly, and good people should be reciprocated with good. A bit of an unexpected decision compared to Christianity. Confucius placed the measure of justice in the hands of the person himself, acting according to circumstances. He also did not deny that someone is watching people from above and rewarding them for their merits and justice. Here are his most striking statements in this direction:

  • It is important to be strict with yourself and gentle with others, this is how people’s hostility is protected.
  • If you show more kindness, then there will be no place for bad deeds in life.
  • Virtue is not alone, it always has neighbors.
  • If you can show mercy, then do it even without prompting from the teacher.
  • Wisdom can only be achieved by showing mercy.

About complex human vicissitudes

Confucius believed that only true sages and fools cannot be taught. He valued knowledge very much and considered it the highest goal of a self-respecting individual. He studied throughout his life and passed on wisdom to his followers. Today we too can enjoy this bottomless source of wisdom. Here are his sayings on this matter:

  • You need to study as if you constantly lack knowledge or are afraid of losing it.
  • Bravery without knowledge is recklessness, respect without knowledge is self-torture, caution without knowledge is cowardice, straightforwardness without knowledge is rudeness.
  • There are no words to describe a scientist who seeks the truth, but is ashamed of poor clothing and rough food.
  • You can endlessly enjoy a child walking confidently along the path of life after you have shown him the path.
  • Through archery we can learn to seek truth. A missed shooter does not look for blame in others, but only in himself.
  • Anyone who does not think about the future will face unexpected troubles.
  • Anyone who does not teach to show kindness to his family does not learn himself.
  • Anyone who does not reflect on the teaching is always mistaken. A person who thinks but does not want to learn finds himself in difficult situations.
  • It is not common for a wise person to do to another what he would not wish for himself.

Success and achieving happiness

Confucius also did not ignore the issues of achieving goals and success in his sayings. In them he gives advice on how to deal with envious people and find balance. Many are familiar with his famous phrase on this matter: “If they spit in your back, it means you are going ahead.” Here are some more quotes:

  • Man himself gives birth to his own misfortunes, and he himself cultivates happy moments.
  • Happiness can be called understanding of people, great happiness - love from others, real happiness - your love for others.
  • Three things cannot be returned back - time, word, opportunity. Conclusion: don’t waste time, choose your words, don’t miss opportunities.
  • Don't look down on young people; when they grow up, they can become very talented husbands. Only those who have not achieved anything by the age of forty or fifty do not deserve attention.
  • Only with the arrival of cold weather does it become clear that cypresses and pines are the last to shed their trim.

About the nobility of the soul

Many of the sage's sayings are dedicated to nobility. Sometimes they also contradict the point of view of daily experience. Let us give an example of the maxim: “A noble person helps to see only the good in himself, while a lowly person points out the bad.” However, one cannot draw a line between man and life. The paradoxes of Confucius make you think, reflect, and debate. Here, for example, is a controversial statement: “A noble person who lives only in the comforts of home cannot be called such.” Here is another selection of quotes on this topic:

  • The noble ones are characterized by serenity. Low people are always preoccupied with something.
  • A noble person lives in harmony with others, but does not imitate them, and a lowly person imitates others, but does not live in harmony with them.
  • It is not natural for a noble person to deceive, but he immediately notices deception on the part of others.
  • A noble husband gives himself to duty, and a lowly one to luck.
  • The noble one does not see the point in food and wealth, he does things and speaks little. This person is constantly learning and correcting himself.

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