Confucius was a Chinese thinker and social philosopher, whose teachings and philosophy have deeply influenced Chinese, Korean, Japanese, and Vietnamese thought and life. His philosophy emphasized personal and governmental morality, correctness of social relationships, justice and sincerity.
Confucius was born in 551 BC. At the age of three, Confucius' father passed away leaving Confucius and his mother to live in poverty. While just a child, Confucius served as a minor administrative manager for the State of Lu, rising quickly through the ranks to the position of Justice Minister. While in his mid-teens, Confucius deeply disapproved of the Prince's politics and saw no way to improve the government. He left on a twelve year journey around China to seek the truth and try to pursued rulers around the country to his political beliefs, although failing.
At the age of sixty, Confucius returned home and last years of his life spreading his thoughts and wisdom to his growing number of disciples and transmitting his words through a set of books called Five Classics.
A few of the famous quotes of Confucius:
- A man who does not plan long ahead will find trouble right at his door.
- Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.
- 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.
- He does not preach what he practices till he has practiced what he preaches.
- Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without.
- Silence is the true friend that never betrays.
- An oppressive government is more to be feared than a tiger.
- 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.
- Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.
- Do not impose on others what you yourself do not desire.
- Faced with what is right, to leave it undone shows a lack of courage.
- He who learns but does not think, is lost! He who thinks but does not learn is in great danger.
- He who speaks without modesty will find it difficult to make his words good.
- I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.
- If you look into your own heart, and you find nothing wrong there, what is there to worry about? What is there to fear?
- In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of.
- It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.
- 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.
- It is more shameful to distrust our friends than to be deceived by them.
- Learning without thought is labor lost; thought without learning is perilous.
- Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.
- Never contract friendship with a man that is not better than thyself.
- No matter how busy you may think you are, you must find time for reading, or surrender yourself to self-chosen ignorance.
- Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.
- Silence is a true friend who never betrays.
- The cautious seldom err.
- The more man meditates upon good thoughts, the better will be his world and the world at large.
- The superior man acts before he speaks, and afterwards speaks according to his action.
- 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 superior man is modest in his speech, but exceeds in his actions.
- The superior man thinks always of virtue; the common man thinks of comfort.
- The superior man understands what is right; the inferior man understands what will sell.
- 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.
- They must often change, who would be constant in happiness or wisdom.
- To be wronged is nothing unless you continue to remember it.
- To see and listen to the wicked is already the beginning of wickedness.
- We should feel sorrow, but not sink under its oppression.
- What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others.
- When anger rises, think of the consequences.
- When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don't adjust the goals, adjust the action steps.
- Wherever you go, go with all your heart.
- Wisdom, compassion, and courage are the three universally recognized moral qualities of men.
- Without feelings of respect, what is there to distinguish men from beasts?
- You cannot open a book without learning something.
Directions: Confucius' quotes are often found in essays and speeches. Use any of the above quotes in an essay and find and write ten more interesting quotes of Confucius.