Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Confucius, aka Kong Qiu, Zhongni, K'ung Fu-tzu or Kong Fuzi NULL

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

"When you have faults, do not fear to abandon them."

"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]."

"Virtue never dwells alone; it always has neighbors."

"What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others."

"To see and listen to the wicked is already the beginning of wickedness."

"To rank the effort above the prize - is not this the way to exalt virtue?"

"To have faults and not reform them - that may indeed be called having faults."

"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 is slow in his words and earnest in his conduct."

"The superior man is satisfied and composed; the man is always full of distress."

"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 thinks of his character, the inferior of his position."

"The superior man makes the difficulty to be over come his first interest; success comes only later."

"The superior man is intelligently, not blindly, faithful."

"The superior man is concerned with what is right, the inferior man with what will pay."

"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 calm and serene, the inferior man is worried an anxious."

"The superior man is anxious lest he should not get truth; he is not anxious lest poverty should come upon him."

"The superior man develops upwards, the inferior man develops downwards."

"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 nature of man is always the same; it is their habits that separate them."

"The Master said: "I will not grieve that men do not know me: I will grieve that I do not know men.""

"The real fault is to have faults and not to amend them."

"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 aim of the superior man is truth."

"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."

"Specious words confound virtue, and impatience in small matters may confound great plans."

"Sincerity and truth are the basis of every virtue."

"Only the very wisest and the very stupidest (of men) never change."

"Men of principle are always bold, but those who are bold are not always men of principle."

"Respect yourself and others will respect you."

"Men's faults are characteristic. It is by observing a man's faults that one may come to know his virtues."

"It is only the truly virtuous man who can love or hate others."

"It is harder to be poor without murmuring, than to be rich without arrogance."

"Love of candour without the will to learn casts the shadow called rudeness."

"If I am virtuous and worthy, for whom should I not maintain a proper concern?"

"It is hard to find a man who has studied for three years without making some progress in virtue."

"If a man put duty first and success after, will not that improve his character?"

"Humility is the foundation of all virtues."

"If a man attack his own failings instead of those of others, will he not remedy his personal faults?"