Kong Qiu (551 BC – 479 BC) known as Confucius, the Chinese social philosopher, and his teachings on morality, social relationship, justice and sincerity
His teachings may be found in the Analects of Confucius, a collection of “brief aphoristic fragments”, which was compiled many years after his death. His ideas have been developed as a system of philosophy that has come to be known as Confucianism.
Confucius was 23 when his mother died. He was impacted by this event and spent the next three years in solitude studying philosophy. He explored the meaning of morality, its source, how it impacts the lives of common man, and began teaching and demonstrating those virtues in his own life.
In celebration of the human spirit, here are some inspiring thoughts from Confucius,
The Confucian Analects and other quotes:
A man who has committed a mistake and doesn’t correct it, is committing another mistake.
A youth is to be regarded with respect. How do you know that his future will not be equal to our present?
Be not ashamed of mistakes and thus make them crimes.
Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves.
Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without.
By nature, men are nearly alike; by practice, they get to be wide apart.
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.
Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.
Do not be desirous of having things done quickly. Do not look at small advantages. Desire to have things done quickly prevents their being done thoroughly. Looking at small advantages prevents great affairs from being accomplished.
Do not impose on others what you yourself do not desire.
Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.
Fine words and an insinuating appearance are seldom associated with true virtue.
Forget injuries, never forget kindnesses.
Have no friends not equal to yourself.
He who exercises government by means of his virtue may be compared to the north polar star, which keeps its place and all the stars turn towards it.
He who learns but does not think, is lost! He who thinks but does not learn is in great danger.
He who merely knows right principles is not equal to him who loves them.
He who will not economize will have to agonize.
Hold faithfulness and sincerity as first principles.
Humankind differs from the animals only by a little, and most people throw that away.
I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.
If a man remembers what is right at the sign of profit, is ready to lay down his life in the face of danger, and does not forget sentiments he has repeated all his life when he has been in straitened circumstances for a long time, he may be said to be a complete man.
If a man take no thought about what is distant, he will find sorrow near at hand.
If a man withdraws his mind from the love of beauty, and applies it as sincerely to the love of the virtuous; if, in serving his parents, he can exert his utmost strength; if, in serving his prince, he can devote his life; if in his intercourse with his friends, his words are sincere – although men say that he has not learned, I will certainly say that he has.
If language is not correct, then what is said is not what is meant; if what is said is not what is meant, then what must be done remains undone; if this remains undone, morals and art will deteriorate; if justice goes astray, the people will stand about in helpless confusion. Hence there must be no arbitrariness in what is said. This matters above everything.
Ignorance is the night of the mind, but a night without moon and star.
In his errors a man is true to type. Observe the errors and you will know the man.
It does not matter how slowly you go so long as you do not stop.
It is not possible for one to teach others who cannot teach his own family.
It is only the benevolent man who is capable of liking or disliking other men.
It is only the wisest and the stupidest that cannot change.
Men’s natures are alike, it is their habits that carry them far apart.
Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in getting up every time we do.
Real knowledge is to know the extent of one’s ignorance.
Respect yourself and others will respect you.
Study the past if you would define the future.
The essence of knowledge is, having it, to apply it; not having it, to confess your ignorance.
The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.
The superior man acts before he speaks, and afterwards speaks according to his action.
There are three things which the superior man guards against. In youth…lust. When he is strong…quarrelsomeness. When he is old…covetousness.
They must often change who would be constant in happiness or wisdom.
To be able to practice five things everywhere under heaven constitutes perfect virtue…[They are] gravity, generosity of soul, sincerity, earnestness, and kindness.
To govern is to correct. If you set an example by being correct, who would dare remain incorrect?
To see what is right, and not to do it, is want of courage or of principle.
Tsze-Kung asked, saying, ‘Is there one word which may serve as a rule of practice for all one’s life?” The Master said, “Is not Reciprocity such a word? What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others.”
Virtue is more to man than either water or fire. I have seen men die from treading on water and fire, but I have never seen a man die from treading the course of virtue.
What the superior man seeks is in himself; what the small man seeks is in others.
When anger rises, think of the consequences.
When we see men of a contrary character, we should turn inwards and examine ourselves.
When you have faults, do not fear to abandon them.
When you see a good man, try to emulate his example, and when you see a bad man, search yourself for his faults.
Wheresoever you go, go with all your heart.
While the gentleman cherishes benign rule, the small man cherishes his native land. While the gentleman cherishes a respect for the law, the small man cherishes generous treatment.
While you are not able to serve men, how can you serve spirits [of the dead]?…While you do not know life, how can you know about death?
Without an acquaintance with the rules of propriety, it is impossible for the character to be established.
Meditation calms the mind and allows us to get more in touch with the source of good conduct, bliss consciousness. Continue your practice daily to spontaneously develop those cherished qualities.