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160 Confucius Quotes That Show His Timeless Wisdom

160 Confucius Quotes That Show His Timeless Wisdom

Enjoy the wisdom of Confucius quotes (get your pens and papers ready to write down some remarkable thoughts)!

My Favorite Confucius Quotes

1. “Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.” ― Confucious

Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it

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

3. “The funniest people are the saddest ones” ― Confucius

4. “Respect yourself and others will respect you.” ― Confucius, The Sayings of Confucius

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

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

7. “If what one has to say is not better than silence, then one should keep silent.” ― Confucius 

8. “Hold faithfulness and sincerity as first principles.” ― Confucius, The Analects

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

10. “To see what is right and not do it is the worst cowardice.” ― Confucius

Inspirational Confucius Quotes

1. “The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.” ― Confucius, Confucius: The Analects

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

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

3. “The gem cannot be polished without friction, nor man perfected without trials.” ― Confucius

4. “The way out is through the door. Why is it that no one will use this method?” ― Confucius

5. “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

6. “Don’t do unto others what you don’t want done unto you.” ― Confucius

7. “If your plan is for one year, plant rice. If your plan is for ten years, plant trees. If your plan is for one hundred years,  educate children. ” ― Confucius

8. “Learning without thought is labor lost; thought without learning is perilous.” ― Confucius, The Sayings of Confucius

9. “Without knowing the force of words, it is impossible to know more.” ― Confucius

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

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

12. “Never give a sword to a man who can’t dance.” ― Confucius, The Analects

13.  “If there is righteousness in the heart, there will be beauty in the character.

If there is beauty in the character, there will be harmony in the home.

If there is harmony in the home, there will be order in the nations.

When there is order in the nations, there will be peace in the world.” ― Confucius

14. “Those who know the TRUTH are not equal to those who love it.” ― Confucius

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

16. “When the wind blows,the grass bends.” ― Confucius, The Analects

17. “The green reed which bends in the wind is stronger than the mighty oak which breaks in a storm.” ― Confucius

18. “No lake so still but it has its wave.

No circle so perfect but that it has its blur.

I would change things for you if I could; As I can’t you must take them as they are.” ― Confucius

19. “One joy dispels a hundred cares.” ― Confucius

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

21. “Coarse rice to eat, water to drink, my bended arm for a pillow – therein is happiness. Wealth and rank attained through immoral means are nothing but drifting clouds.” ― Confucius, The Analects

22. “To be poor without murmuring is difficult. To be rich without being proud is easy.” ― Confucius, The Analects of Confucius

23. “Faithfulness and sincerity are the highest things.” ― Confucius

24. “Where words lose their meaning, people lose their lives.” ― Confucius

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

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

27. “If your desire is for good, the people will be good.” ― Confucius

28. “Things have their roots and branches. Affairs have their beginnings and their ends. To know what is first and what is last will lead one near the Way.” ― Confucius, The Great Learning

29. “Care not for want of place; care for thy readiness to fill one. Care not for being unknown, but seek to be worthy of note.” ― Confucius, The Sayings of Confucius

30. “Tell me and I will forget, show me and I may remember; involve me and I will understand.” ― Confucius

See also: 140 Epictetus Quotes That Really Are Epic

Motivational Confucius Quotes

1. “It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.” ― Confucius

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

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

3. “Attack the evil that is within yourself, rather than attacking the evil that is in others.” ― Confucius

4. “Forget injuries, never forget kindnesses.” ― Confucius

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

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

7. “Education breeds confidence. Confidence breeds hope. Hope breeds peace.” ― Confucius

8. “Consideration for others is the basis of a good life, a good society.” ― Confucius

9. “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

10. “The Man who says he can, and the man who says he can not.. Are both correct” ― Confucius

11. “The way of the superior person is threefold; virtuous, they are free from anxieties; wise they are free from perplexities; and bold they are free from fear.” ― Confucius

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

13. “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, Confucian Analects, The Great Learning & The Doctrine of the Mean

14. “A youth is to be regarded with respect. How do we know that his future will not be equal to our present?” ― Confucius, The Life and Wisdom of Confucius

15. “Be strict with yourself but least reproachful of others and complaint is kept afar.” ― Confucius, The Analects

16. “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

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

18. “People with virtue must speak out; People who speak are not all virtuous.” ― Confucius

19. “I used to trust a man’s deeds after having listened to his words. Now having listened to a man’s words I go on to observe his deeds.” ― Confucius, The Analects

20. “It is when those who are not strong enough have made some moderate amount of progress that they fail and give up…” ― Confucius, The Wisdom of Confucius

21. “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

22. “When everyone hates a person, you should investigate thoroughly, and when everyone loves a person, you should also investigate thoroughly.” ― Confucius, The Analects

23. “If either wealth or poverty are come by honesty, there is no shame.” ― Confucius

24. “The man who chases two rabbits, catches neither.” ― Confucius

25. “You can force the people to obey; you cannot force them to understand.” ― Confucius

26. “To study and constantly, is this not a pleasure? To have friends come from far away places, is this not a joy? If people do not recognize your worth, but this does not worry you, are you not a true gentleman?” ― Confucius

27. “There are some with whom we may study in common, but we shall find them unable to go along with us to principles. Perhaps we may go on with them to principles, but we shall find them unable to get established in those along with us. Or if we may get so established along with them, we shall find them unable to weigh occurring events along with us.” ― Confucius, The Analects of Confucius

28. “The superior man acts before he speaks, and afterwards speaks according to his actions.” ― Confucius

29. “No matter how busy you make think you are you must find time for reading, or surrender yourself to self-chosen ignorance” ― Confucius, Confucius: In Life and Legend

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

See also: 150 Lao Tzu Quotes To Spread The Wisdom Of The Old Master

Famous Confucius Quotes

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

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

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

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

5. “The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their proper name.” ― Confucius

6. “The hardest thing of all is to find a black cat in a dark room, especially if there is no cat.” ― Confucius

7. “Music produces a kind of pleasure which human nature cannot do without.” ― Confucius, The Book of Rites

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

9. “When a wise man points at the moon the imbecile examines the finger.” ― Confucius

10. “The superior man always thinks of virtue; the common man thinks of comfort.” ― Confucious

11. “The noble-minded are calm and steady. Little people are forever fussing and fretting.” ― Confucius, Analects of Confucius (Chinese Sages)

12. “The Master said, “If your conduct is determined solely by considerations of profit you will arouse great resentment.” ― Confucius

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

14. “Behind every smile there’s teeth.” ― Confucius

15. “He who knows and knows that he knows is a wise man – follow him;

he who knows not and knows not that he knows not is a fool – shun him” ― Confucius, The Analects

16. “If one should desire to know whether a kingdom is well governed, if its morals are good or bad, the quality of its music will furnish the answer.” ― Confucius

17. “Ignorance is the night of the mind, but a night without moon or star.” ― Confucious

18. “You will never know how sharp a sword is unless it’s drawn from its sheath” ― Confucius

19. “If there were an honorable way to get rich, I’d do it, even if it meant being a stooge standing around with a whip. But there isn’t an honorable way, so I just do what I like.” ― Confucius, Analects of Confucius (Chinese Sages)

20. “Act with kindness but do not expect gratitude.” ― Confucius

21. “The demands that good people make are upon themselves;

Those that bad people make are upon others.” ― Confucius

22. “The scholar who cherishes the love of comfort is not fit to be deemed a scholar.” ― Confucius, The Analects of Confucius

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

24. “Humankind differs from the animals only by a little and most people throw that away.” ― Confucius

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

26. “Not to discuss with a man worthy of conversation is to waste the man. To discuss with a man not worthy of conversation is to waste words. The wise waste neither men nor words.” ― Confucius, The Analects

27. “Tsze-Kung asked, “Is there one word with which to act in accordance throughout a lifetime?” The Master said, “Is not reciprocity such a word? What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others.” ― Confucius, The Analects

28. “For this reason the gentleman will employ a man on a distant mission and observe his degree of loyalty, will employ him close at hand and observe his degree of respect. He will hand him troublesome affairs and observe how well he manages them, will suddenly ask his advice and observe how wisely he answers. He will exact some difficult promise from him and see how well he keeps it, turn over funds to him and see with what benevolence he dispenses them, inform him of the danger he is in and note how faithful he is to his duties. He will get him drunk with wine and observe how well he handles himself, place him in mixed company and see what effect beauty has upon him. By applying these nine tests, you may determine who is the unworthy man.” ― Confucius

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

30. “As the water shapes itself to the vessel that contains it, so a wise man adapts himself to circumstances.” ― Confucius

See also: 110 Amazing Albert Einstein Quotes To Think About

Confucius Quotes About Life

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

2. “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

3. “Silence is a true friend who never betrays.” ― Confucius

4. “And remember, no matter where you go, there you are.” ― Confucius

5. “Don’t complain about the snow on your neighbor’s roof when your own doorstep is not clean.” ― Confucius

6. “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

7. “The Master said, “A true gentleman is one who has set his heart upon the Way. A fellow who is ashamed merely of shabby clothing or modest meals is not even worth conversing with. (Analects 4.9)” ― Confucius

8. “Tzu Chang asked Confucius about jen. Confucius said, “If you can practice these five things with all the people, you can be called jen.”

Tzu Chang asked what they were.

Confucius said, “Courtesy, generosity, honesty, persistence, and kindness.

If you are courteous, you will not be disrespected;

If you are generous, you will gain everything.

If you are honest, people will rely on you.

If you are persistent you will get results.

If you are kind, you can employ people.” ― Confucius

See also: 180 Greatest Honesty Quotes To Inspire Authentic Living

9. “Roads were made for journeys not destinations” ― Confucius

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

11. “Settle one difficulty, and you keep a hundred away.” ― Confucius

12. “Some are born with knowledge, some derive it from study, and some acquire it only after a painful realization of their ignorance.

But the knowledge being possessed, it comes to the same thing.

Some study with a natural ease, some from a desire for advantages, and some by strenuous effort.

But the achievement being made, it comes to the same thing.” ― Kung Fu-Tze (Confucius)

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

14. “If there were one word that could act as a standard of conduct for one’s entire life, perhaps it would be ‘thoughtfulness.” ― Confucius

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

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

17. “he who will not economize will have to agonize” ― Confucius

18. “At fifteen I set my heart upon learning.

At thirty, I had planted my feet firm upon the ground.

At forty, I no longer suffered from perplexities.

At fifty, I knew what were the biddings of Heaven.

At sixty, I heard them with docile ear.

At seventy, I could follow the dictates of my own heart; for what I desired no longer overstepped the boundaries of right.” ― Confucius

19. “Lead the people with administrative injunctions and put them in their place with penal law, and they will avoid punishments but will be without a sense of shame. Lead them with excellence and put them in their place through roles and ritual practices, and in addition to developing a sense of shame, they will order themselves harmoniously” ― Confucius, The Analects

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

21. “A man without a mustache is a man without a soul.” ― Confucius

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

Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated” ― Confucius

23. “When you have faults, do not fear to abandon them.” ― Confucius, The Sayings of Confucius

24. “A man of humanity is one who, in seeking to establish himself, finds a foothold for others and who, in desiring attaining himself, helps others to attain.” ― Confucius

25. “Your life is what your thoughts make it.” ― Confucious

26. “Virtue is never left to stand alone. He who has it will have neighbors.” ― Confucius

27. “Never tire to study. And to teach to others” ― Confucius

28. “He who flatters a man is his enemy. He who tells him of his faults is his maker.” ― Confucius

29. “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

30. “I followed my heart without breaking any rules.” ― Confucius

See also: 60 Genghis Khan Quotes For All The Feared Leaders

Chinese Philosophical Confucius Quotes

1. “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.” ― Confucious

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

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

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

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

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

7. “To be wealthy and honored in an unjust society is a disgrace.” ― Confucius, The Analects

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

9. “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

10. “The man of wisdom is never of two minds;

the man of benevolence never worries;

the man of courage is never afraid.” ― Confucius

11. “Time flows away like the water in the river. ” ― Confucius

See also: 120 How Time Flies Quotes To Seize Life’s Fleeting Beauty

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

13. “The Master said, “A true teacher is one who, keeping the past alive, is also able to understand the present. (Analects 2.11)” ― Confucius

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

15. “The strength of a nation derives from the integrity of the home.” ― Confucious

16. “Knowledge is merely brilliance in organization of ideas and not wisdom. The truly wise person goes beyond knowledge.” ― Confucius

17. “Fix your mind on truth, hold firm to virtue, rely on loving kindness, and find your recreation in the Arts.” ― Confucius, The Analects

18. “The scholar does not consider gold and jade to be precious treasures, but loyalty and good faith.” ― Confucius, The Ethics of Confucius

See also: 130 Loyalty Quotes On A Virtue Worth More Than Gold

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

20. “We should keep the dead before our eyes, and honor them as though still living” ― Confucius

21. “Don’t use cannons to kill mosquitoes.” ― Confucius

22. “He who searches for evil, must first look at his own reflection.” ― Confucious

23. “Signs and symbols rule the world, not words nor laws.” ― Confucius

24. “He who speaks without modesty will find it difficult to make his words good.” ― Confucius, The Sayings of Confucius

25. “Speak the truth, do not yield to anger; give, if thou art asked for little; by these three steps thou will go near the gods.” ― Confucius

26. “I am not concerned that I am not known; I seek to be worthy to be known.” ― Confucius

27. “The superior man has a dignified ease without pride. The mean man has pride without a dignified ease.” ― Confucius, The Analects of Confucius

28. “The journey of 1000 miles begins with one step.” ― Confucius

29. “Learning without thinking is useless. Thinking without learning is dangerous.” ― Confucius, The Analects

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

Final Word

As we reflect on the guiding principles of ethics, morality, and personal growth, it becomes clear that these ancient teachings continue to hold transformative power in our modern lives. 

Incorporating these timeless Confucious quotes into our daily routines offers a unique opportunity for self-discovery and positive change.

I hope that you have found the right Confucius quotes that lifted you up. May the spirit of Confucius continue to guide us on the path to a more enlightened and harmonious existence!

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160 Confucius Quotes That Show His Timeless Wisdom