Chinese Moral Teacher, Philosopher, Thinker, Political Figure, Educator, and Founder of the Ru School of Chinese thought, his teachings preserved in the collection of aphorisms known as Lunyu or Analects
"Wisdom, compassion and courage - these are three universally recognized moral qualities of man. It matters not in what way men come to the exercise of these moral qualities, the result is one and the same. When a man understands the nature and use of these three moral qualities, he will then understand how to put in order his personal conduct and character; he will understand how to govern men."
"When you see a good man, think of emulating him; when you see a bad man, examine your own heart [innerself]."
"The way of a superior man is threefold. Virtuous, he is free from anxieties; wise, he is free from perplexities; bold, he is free from fear."
"To be able under all circumstances to practice five things constitutes perfect virtue; these five are gravity, generosity of soul, sincerity, earnestness, and kindness."
"The superior man... does not set his mind either for or against anything; he will pursue whatever is right."
"To acknowledge our faults when we are blamed, is modesty; to discover them to one's friends, in ingenuousness, is confidence; but to proclaim them to the world, if one does not take care, is pride."
"There is no place in the highest heavens above nor in the deepest waters below where the moral law does not reign."
"The superior man will watch over himself when he is alone. He examines his heart that there may be nothing wrong there, and that he may have not cause of dissatisfaction with himself."
"The superior man makes the difficulty to be over come his first interest; success comes only later."
"The superior man is friendly but not familiar; the inferior man is familiar but not friendly."
"The superior man is broad-minded and unprejudiced; the inferior man is prejudiced and not broad-minded."
"The superior man is anxious lest he should not get truth; he is not anxious lest poverty should come upon him."
"The relation between superiors and inferiors is like that between the wind and the grass. The grass must bend when the wind blows over it."
"The superior man develops his personality by means of his wealth, the inferior man develops wealth at the expense of his personality."
"The rule of life is to be found within yourself. Ask yourself constantly, "What is the right thing to do?" Beware of ever doing that which you are likely, sooner or later, to repent of having done. It is better to live in peace than in bitterness and strife. It is better to believe in your neighbors than to fear and distrust them. The superior man does not wrangle. He is firm but not quarrelsome. He is sociable but not clannish. The superior man sets a good example to his neighbors. He is considerate of their feelings and property. Consideration for others is the basis of a good life, and a good society. Feel kindly toward everyone. Be friendly and pleasant among yourselves. Be generous and fair."
"The Master said: "I will not grieve that men do not know me: I will grieve that I do not know men.""
"The heart of the wise, like a mirror, should reflect all objects, without being sullied by any."
"The Master said... 'Have no friends not equal to yourself'....The Master said, 'The superior man thinks of virtue; the small man thinks of comfort'... The Master said, 'It is only the wisest and the very stupidest who cannot change.'... Being true to oneself is the law of God. To try to be true to oneself is the law of man."
"The determined scholar and the man of virtue will not seek to live at the expense of injuring their virtue. They will even sacrifice their lives to preserve their virtue."
"Superior men, and yet not always virtuous, there have been; but there never has been a mean man, and at the same time virtuous."
"Men's faults are characteristic. It is by observing a man's faults that one may come to know his virtues."
"It is hard to find a man who has studied for three years without making some progress in virtue."