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Wise confucius quotes
September 27, 2018 Anniversary Wishes No comments

We've compiled a list of top 100 famous Confucius quotes and sayings on life, . The wise do not lose people, nor do they waste their breath.”.

Born in 551 BC, Confucius was a Chinese teacher and philosopher whose principles can still be applied to Chinese beliefs and traditions today, as well as philosophy across the globe. Take a look at twelve of the most famous quotes attributed to Confucius below, pick your favourite, and then vote in our poll. The quotes have been taken from various different translated sources.


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"Isn't it a pleasure to study and practice what you have learned? Isn't it also great when friends visit from distant places? If one remains not annoyed when he is not understood by people around him, isn't he a sage?"


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"At home, a young man should be a good son, when outside he should treat others like his brothers, his behaviour should be one of trustworthy and proper, and should love the multitude at large and keep himself close to people of benevolence and morality. If after all these activities, he has any energy to spare, he should read widely to stay cultivated."


Marco Klapper under CC-BY-SA licence. Text added on top by The Open University. under Creative-Commons license

"I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand."


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"He who excels in study can follow an official career.”


 “Education breeds confidence. Confidence breeds hope. Hope breeds peace.”


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"A man who has committed a mistake and doesn't correct it is committing another mistake."


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"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."


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"It is not possible for one to teach others who cannot teach his own family."


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"When you see a worthy person, endeavor to emulate him. When you see an unworthy person, then examine your inner self."


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"The essence of knowledge is, having it, to apply it; not having it, to confess your ignorance."


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"Acquire new knowledge whilst thinking over the old, and you may become a teacher of others."


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"When I walk along with two others, from at least one I will be able to learn." 

What's your favourite quote? Vote in our poll

Which Confucius quote speaks volumes to you? Choose one quote from the list and vote! 

Want to learn more about Chinese language and culture? Try these: 

What's your favourite Confucius quote from the list above?
1: "Isn't it a pleasure to study and practice what..."
2: "At home, a young man should be a good son..."
3: "I hear and I forget. I see and I remember..."
4: "He who excels in study can follow an official...”
5: “Education breeds confidence. Confidence breeds..."
6: "A man who has committed a mistake and..."
7: "By three methods we may learn wisdom..."
8: "It is not possible for one to teach others..."
9: "When you see a worthy person, endeavor..."
10: "The essence of knowledge is, having it..."
11: "Acquire new knowledge whilst thinking..."
12: "When I walk along with two others..."

These Confucius quotes are incredible! world and still linger in today's society. Hopefully these quotes will inspire some change in your life!.

20 Wise Quotes from Confucius

wise confucius quotes


Best Quotes and Sayings by Confucius

The philosophy of Confucius is a must-read. His role in Western thought is underestimated and generally caricatured. Indeed, Confucius is probably the equivalent of Plato in Asia. Similarly, Confucius is reduced to the old wise man who gives pompous advices, but in fact Confucius has actually developed a sophisticated ethical system, in which the subjectivity is modest and should treat others with kindness: the confucius system can be described as humanistic.

His major work is titled Interviews. Here are few quotes which summarise his thought :

Confucius and Others:

– “Act with kindness, but do not expect recognition”

– “Do onto others as you would have them do unto you”

– “This is not a misfortune to be misunderstood men, but it is a misfortune to ignore”

– “He who is not afraid to promise great things is difficult to execute”

– “If you meet a good man, trying to be like him. If you meet a man poor, seeking flaws in yourself”

– “The good man asks for nothing but himself, the man of little demand, while the other”

Confucius sayings on the Wisdom:

– “Have sufficient command over himself to judge others by comparison with us, and act towards them as we would like you act towards ourselves, is what might be called the doctrine of humanity, there is nothing beyond ”

– “He who seeks only business in its own interest excites much discontent”

– “He who is not progressing every day, every day back”

– “He who does not know what it is that life, how does he know what it is like death?”

– “He who knows how to obey will then order”

– “Experience is a candle that illuminates the wearer”

– “The life of man depends on his will, no will, she would be left to chance”

– “The wise do not grieve that men do not know him, he grieves not know men”

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Top 10 Confucius Quotes

wise confucius quotes

Confucius, whose name literally means “Master Kong”, lived 551-479 BCE. He was a Chinese thinker and philosopher, whose teachings have deeply influenced not only Asian thought and life. He presented himself as a “transmitter who invented nothing” and he really pointed out the importance of learning, which is one reason he is seen by Chinese people as “The Greatest Master”.

One of the best known sources of Confucius are The Analects, a collection of his teachings, which was compiled many years after his death. A fountain of extremely mindful quotes springs from these ancient descriptions.

Many of them are universal and timeless in their beautiful and simple truth and they are as valid today as on the day they left Confucius’ mouth. Here we take a look at 10 of the most inspiring quotes by Confucius.

Confucius says …

1. “Never impose on others what you would not choose for yourself.”

It’s the “Golden Rule” and the essence of real compassion . Not compassion as in looking down on someone and have pity for another, this is no real compassion. Compassion means seeing another person 100% equal to yourself (in value, not in differentials on the surface which ultimately do not matter). In fact it is seeing yourself in every other person. And therefore you cannot harm anyone without also harming yourself.

It doesn’t mean to lose individuality or self-worth, on the contrary – but the other person earns the same gift.

2. “Real knowledge is to know the extent of one’s ignorance.”

That’s my personal favorite quote since it expresses something very profound which also is very useful to know: Ignorance is a willful neglect or refusal to acquire knowledge. It is not widen one’s own perspective in order to see a broader truth. As an example it would be to have racist thoughts and not realizing that all men are equal.

The ultimate truth therefore is where there is absolutely no ignorance, meaning where the perspective or consciousness has become one with all that there is. In Buddhism ignorance (Avidyā) is seen as the primary cause of suffering. Liberation is Enlightenment. Another quote by Confucius here is “Ignorance is the night of the mind, but a night without moon and star.”

3. “I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.”

Those quotes are just perfect. What he is expressing here is that we have to experience something ourselves in order to really understand it. If we are hearing something it might be interesting. If we are seeing something it might be beautiful. But only if we feel in happening to ourselves we can really know how it is.

Picture something nice as winning an Olympic gold medal or picture something terrifying as the loss of a loved one. Can you know this by hearing it or by seeing it? Or do you have to do it and experience it yourself to really know it?

Along with this realization comes the awareness that you cannot understand someone or his actions from hearing or seeing it from the outside. You have to feel empathic compassion for him to really know what it is like. To know and not to do is really not to know. Only by applying our knowledge we can validate it’s harmony with reality, it’s truth.

4. “Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.”

Amazing. It calls for dropping the inner mask through which we constantly see and evaluate the world, distorted by our wants and belief-systems. Here we have to look at things as they are. Just like a newborn child would look at things. Then we are able to really see again, without instant labeling of what we see and therefore only really seeing our label. If we become able to do this – just for a second without judgment, we can see that everything in nature is as it should be. And in this natural perfection lies beauty.

5. “The Superior Man is aware of Righteousness, the inferior man is aware of advantage.”

Another quote is “The object of the superior man is truth.” It is the value of integrity: Do we act to our best knowledge of truth or do we bend ourselves and violate our integrity in order to gain an advantage? Do we play fair game or use perfidious tactics?

To be truthful to ourselves is also important to the development of (good) character. And it is the only straight way to liberation.

6. “Wheresoever you go, go with all your heart.”

Whatever you do and whatever you commit to, do it fully, give your all – one hundred percent. It is the essence of Carpe Diem – Seizing the day and it’s surely the best way to be satisfied with what we do and get the best results.

7. “Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in getting up every time we do.”

There is no failure, there are only valuable learning experiences. Or as Thomas Edison about inventing the light bulb said: “I have not failed, I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” The important thing is not giving up, but learning and then improving by using this feedback to get better and ultimately succeed.

A quote expressing the same principle is “A man who has committed a mistake and doesn’t correct it, is committing another mistake.”

8. “He who learns but does not think, is lost. He who thinks but does not learn is in great danger.”

Confucius explains the connection of learning and reflection. Reflection of that what we learned by thinking or of the results we get by applying the knowledge. “Study without reflection is a waste of time; reflection without study is dangerous” is a similar quote by Confucius. Learning is only useful if we connect the learning within our own minds, with what we already know and what is useful for us. This reflection of any knowledge also saves us from blindly following any knowledge without checking its truthfulness and validity to us.

I think everybody experienced learning when we really want this knowledge and interweave it with what we already know. If there is a need or problem we want to solve, the consume knowledge much more effective than it happens for students in many universities.

9. “He that would perfect his work must first sharpen his tools.”

This quote calls for planning and preparation. This includes getting and improving the personal skills we need to be successful. If we want to hold speeches we have to become good with communication skills. If we want to win a race we have to train for it. If we want to do a big project we need knowledge in project management. Steven Covey calls it Sharpening the saw, read about it here.

10. “If you look into your own heart, and you find nothing wrong there, what is there to worry about? What is there to fear?”

It shows that our primary work lies within ourselves: to work on ourselves and improve will automatically take care of the outside world if we use our abilities then. “When we see men of a contrary character, we should turn inwards and examine ourselves.” The solution to problems is not “out there”. It is the Inside-Out approach: success and happiness can only be found by working on ourselves. It also entails the spiritual message to look inside and to discover ourselves fully.

Source: “Confucius says: The Top 10 Wise Confucius Quotes,” from

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"Confucius" is a latinization of the Chinese 孔夫子, Kong Fu Zi or K'ung-fu-tzu, literally "Master Kong", but he is usually referred to in China with a simpler Quotes[edit] . The wise find pleasure in water; the virtuous find pleasure in hills.

30 Motivational Confucius Quotes That Will Change Your Life

wise confucius quotes

Confucius was one of China’s most famous philosopher, teacher and political theorist, and he believed every individual could benefit from self-cultivation.

He wanted to make education available to anyone willing to learn. After mastering ancient arts, Confucius became a brilliant teacher who passed on his knowledge to improve society. A typical idea of the Confucian heritage is that human beings are malleable; they can always improve and perfect themselves if they try hard enough.

Developed from Confucius’ teachings, Confucianism is a philosophy often followed as a religion by the Chinese, with particular emphasis on the importance of the family and social harmony — it’s a way of life. These ideas inspired East Asian culture and still have a lasting impact on the world.

Driven by his passion, Confucius’ intention was to awaken the people, and he tirelessly tried to do it until the day he died.

Here are 23 Confucius quotes that will increase your thirst for knowledge and help you see things from a more realistic perspective.

The man who asks a question is a fool for a minute, the man who does not ask is a fool for life.

Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.

Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves.

Real knowledge is to know the extent of one’s ignorance.

Do not do to others what you do not want done to yourself.

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.

Respect yourself and others will respect you.

Wheresoever you go, go with all your heart.

If your plan is for one year plant rice. If your plan is for 10 years plant trees. If your plan is for 100 years educate children.

The man who says he can, and the man who says he can’t are both correct.

If you make a mistake and do not correct it, this is called a mistake.

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.

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

Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.

In a country well-governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of.

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

He who knows all the answers has not been asked all the questions.

Don’t complain about the snow on your neighbor’s roof when your own doorstep is unclean.

The funniest people are the saddest ones.

You cannot open a book without learning something.

When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don’t adjust the goals, adjust the action steps.

Education breeds confidence. Confidence breeds hope. Hope breeds peace.

The nobler sort of man emphasizes the good qualities in others, and does not accentuate the bad. The inferior does.





Flavia Medrut

Flavia Medrut is a freelance writer, researcher and part-time psychologist. She believes music, long walks and a good sense of humor are imperative in keeping one’s sanity. Kindness and kittens make her heart melt.

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What's your favourite Confucius quote on education and learning? Look at these examples and let us know what you think by voting in our poll.

wise confucius quotes
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