Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Book of Li, aka Book of Rites or Record of Rites or Classic Rites NULL

Chinese Pre-Confucian Writings on Proper Comportment and Ritual, “Rules of Propriety”

"Always in everything let there be reverence; with the deportment grave as when one is thinking (deeply), and with speech composed and definite. This will make the people tranquil. Pride should not be allowed to grow; the desires should not be indulged; the will should not be gratified to the full; pleasure should not be carried to excess."

"When you find wealth within your reach, do not try to get it by improper means; when you meet with calamity, do not (try to) escape from it by improper means. Do not seek for victory in small contentions; do not seek for more than your proper share. Do not positively affirm what you have doubts about; and (when you have no doubts) do not let what you say appear (simply) as your own view."

"One should not (seek to) please others in an improper way, not be lavish of his words... To cultivate one’s person and fulfill one’s word is called good conduct. When the conduct is (thus) ordered, and the words are accordant with the (right) course, we have the substance of the rules of propriety... The course (of duty), virtue, benevolence, and righteousness cannot be fully carried out without the rules of propriety... nor can the clearing up of quarrels and discriminating in disputes be accomplished."

"The way to final freedom is within thy SELF."

"Pride should not be allowed to grow; the desires should not be indulged; the will."

"Sacrifice is not a thing coming to a man from without; it issues from within him. and has its birth in his heart. When the heart is deeply moved, expression is given to it by ceremonies; and hence, only men of ability and virtue can give complete exhibition to the idea of sacrifice "