Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Mencius, born Meng Ke or Ko NULL

Chinese Philosopher, most famous Confucian after Confucius himself

"A great man is he who has not lost the heart of a child."

"Calamity and happiness in all cases are men's own seeking."

"Do not seek a remedy in others, but only in yourself."

"He who loves others is constantly loved by them. He who respects others is constantly respected by them."

"Benevolence is the distinguishing characteristic of man. As embodied in man's conduct, it is called the path of duty."

"A superior man is ashamed of a reputation beyond his merits."

"Sincerity is the way of heaven; to think how to be sincere is the way of man."

"He who attends to his greater self becomes a great man and he who attends to his smaller self becomes a small man."

"He who respects others is respected by them."

"The evil of men is that they like to be teachers of others."

"Listen to a man's words and look at the pupil of his eye. How can a man conceal his character?"

"The great end of learning is nothing else but to seek for the lost mind."

"The great man does not think beforehand of his words that they may be sincere, nor of his actions that they may be resolute. He simply speaks and does what is right."

"The path of duty lies in what is near and men seek for it in what is remote. The work of duty lies in what is easy, and men seek for it in what is difficult."

"The tendency of man's nature to good is like the tendency of water to flow downwards."

"The wise man questions himself, the fool others."

"The way of truth is like a great road. It is not difficult to know it. The evil is only that men will not seek it. Do you go home and search for it?"

"When one subdues men by force, they do not submit to him in heart, but because they are not strong enough to resist. When one subdues men by virtue, they are pleased to the heart's core, and sincerely submit."

"A man may have wisdom and discernment, but that is not like embracing the favorable opportunity."

"To feed men and not to love them is to treat them as if they were barnyard cattle. To love them and not to respect them is to treat them as if they were household pets."

"To nourish the heart there is nothing better than to make the desires few."

"It is true that water will flow indifferently to east and west, but will it flow equally well up and down? Human nature is disposed toward goodness, just as water tends to flow downwards. There is no water but flows downwards, and no man but shows his tendency to be good. Now, by striking water hard, you may splash it higher than your forehead, an by damming it, you may make it go uphill. But, is that the nature of water? It is external force that causes it to do so. Likewise, if a man is made to do what is not good, his nature is being similarly forced."

"All things are complete within ourselves."

"Words which are simple, while their meaning is far-reaching, are good words."

"Love is the high nobility of heaven, the peaceful home of man. To lack love, when nothing hinders us, is to lack wisdom."

"Friendship with a man is friendship with his virtue, and does not admit of assumptions of superiority."

"No person is without sense of compassion, or a sense of shame, or a sense of courtesy, or a sense of right and wrong. The sense of compassion is the beginning of humanity; the sense of shame is the beginning of righteousness; the sense of courtesy is the beginning of decorum [li]; the sense of right and wrong is the beginning of wisdom. Every person has within him these four beginnings; just as he has four limbs."

"Men must be decided on what they will not do, and then they are able to act with vigor in what they ought to do."

"Some labor with their minds and some labor with their strength. Those who labor with their minds govern others; those who labor with their strength are governed by others. Those who are governed by others support them; those who govern them are supported by them. This is a universal principal."

"The foundation of the world lies in the state, the foundation of the state lies in the family, and the foundation of the family lies in the individual."

"The great man is one who never loses his child’s heart."

"There is no greater robber in this world than he who robs us of our liberty of thought."

"The poor attend to their own virtue in solitude."

"To feed a person without loving him is to treat him like a pig. To love without respecting him is to treat him like a domestic pet."

"Try your best to treat others as you wish to be treated yourself, and you will find that this is the shortest way to benevolence."

"To act without clear understanding, to form habits without investigation, to follow a path all one's life without knowing where it really leads - such is the behavior of the multitude."

"There is no greater delight than to be conscious of sincerity on self-examination."

"To act without clear understanding, to form habits without investigation, to follow a path all one’s life without knowing where it really leads – such is the behavior of the multitude."

"When our senses of sight and hearing are distracted by the things outside, without the participation of thought, then the material things act upon the material senses and lead them astray. That is the explanation. The function of the mind is thinking: when you think, you keep your mind, and when you don’t think, you lose your mind. This is what heaven has given to us. One who cultivates his higher self will find that his lower self follows in accord. That is how a man becomes a great man."

"Great is the man who has not lost his childlike heart."

"Friendship is one mind in two bodies."

"Evil exists to glorify the good. Evil is negative good. It is a relative term. Evil can be transmuted into good. What is evil to one at one time, becomes good at another time to somebody else."

"Kindly words do not enter so deeply into men as a reputation for kindness."

"Truth uttered before its time is always dangerous."

"If the king loves music, there is little wrong in the land."

"Kindly words do not enter so deeply into men as a reputation for kindness"

"We live, not as we wish to, but as we can."

"It is not difficult to govern. All one has to do is not to offend the noble families."

"Human nature is good, just as water seeks low ground. There is no man who is not good, just as there is no water that does not flow downward.."

"Let men decide firmly what they will not do, and they will be free to do vigorously what they ought to do."