The Great 50 Quotes and Sayings of Confucius

Confucius (Kung Fu Tzu) was a famous Chinese great philosopher, political figure and teacher. He is widely considered as one of the most influential thinkers in Chinese history.

Confucius was born on 551 BC in Zuo, Lu State, China. His teachings about thought and life greatly influenced many nations.

He then founded the Confucianism, the cornerstone of traditional Chinese culture whose main core is the humanism - the belief that human beings are teachable.

Confucius died on 479 BC in Qufo, Shandong Province, China.

But his words and teachings forever lives in the heart of the people.



The Great 50 Quotes and Sayings of Confucius


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

2. When anger rises, think of the consequences.

3. Do not impose on others what you yourself do not desire.

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

5. No matter how busy you may think you are, you must find time for reading, or surrender yourself to self-chosen ignorance.

6. Our greatest glory is in never falling but in rising every time we fall.

7. Without feelings of respect, what is there to distinguish men from beasts?

8. Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.

9. Study the past if you would define the future.

10. What the superior man seeks is in himself; what the small man seeks is in others.

11. Wheresoever you go, go with all your heart.

12. When we see men of a contrary character, we should turn inwards and examine ourselves.

13. It is not the failure of others to appreciate your abilities that should trouble you, but rather your failure to appreciate theirs.

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

15. He who speaks without modesty will find it difficult to make his words good.

16. Fine words and an insinuating appearance are seldom associated with true virtue.

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

18. Recompense injury with justice, and recompense kindness with kindness.

19. Hold faithfulness and sincerity as first principles.

20. The superior man cannot be known in little matters, but he may be entrusted with great concerns. The small man may not be entrusted with great concerns, but he may be known in little matters.

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

22. Silence is a true friend who never betrays.

23. Things that are done, it is needless to speak about…things that are past, it is needless to blame.

24. By nature, men are nearly alike; by practice, they get to be wide apart.

25. When we see persons of worth, we should think of equaling them; when we see persons of a contrary character, we should turn inwards and examine ourselves.

26. Respect yourself and others will respect you.

27. Go before the people with your example, and be laborious in their affairs.

28. The superior man is modest in his speech, but exceeds in his actions.

29. To be able to practice five things everywhere under heaven constitutes perfect virtue... gravity, generosity of soul, sincerity, earnestness, and kindness.

30. Death and life have their determined appointments; riches and honors depend upon heaven.

31. He who will not economize will have to agonize.

32. To see what is right and not to do it is want of courage.

33. Without an acquaintance with the rules of propriety, it is impossible for the character to be established.

34. The father who does not teach his son his duties is equally guilty with the son who neglects them.

35. The faults of a superior person are like the sun and moon. They have their faults, and everyone sees them; they change and everyone looks up to them.

36. The firm, the enduring, the simple, and the modest are near to virtue.

37. He that would perfect his work must first sharpen his tools.

38. 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.

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

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

41. If a man takes no thought about what is distant, he will find sorrow near at hand.

42. He, who learns but does not think, is lost! He who thinks but does not learn is in great danger.

43. The more man meditates upon good thoughts; the better will be his world and the world at large.

44. Learning without thought is labor lost; thought without learning is perilous.

45. Virtue is not left to stand alone. He who practices it will have neighbors.

46. When you know a thing, to hold that you know it; and when you do not know a thing, to allow that you do not know it – this is knowledge.

47. I am not one who was born in the possession of knowledge; I am one who is fond of antiquity, and earnest in seeking it there.

48. He who wishes to secure the good of others has already secured his own.

49. Faced with what is right, to leave it undone shows a lack of courage.

50. 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.


These quotes and sayings were written in the fourth century BC. But you see, until now, these words are still alive and it influenced us on our everyday lives. Sometimes, all we need is a little motivation to help us move on.

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Comments 34 comments

tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 4 years ago from New York

God Bless Confucius for thinking all humans are teachable ;) Seriously, a very wise man and a nice collection of some of his sayings. Your photos are lovely as well.

Voted up, useful, and interesting.


suzettenaples profile image

suzettenaples 4 years ago from Taos, NM

I have always loved the simple words of wisdom by Confucius. In fact, when I taught, I had several of his quotes hanging in my classroom. The east seems to have a quiet sense of peace, tranquility and wisdom that does not exist in the west. We can learn much from our eastern friends. Wonderful hub and well presented!


unknown spy profile image

unknown spy 4 years ago from Neverland - where children never grow up. Author

Hi Mary! Thanks for the votes and comment..i took those photos in Chinese Garden Park here. thank you so much for the kind words :)


unknown spy profile image

unknown spy 4 years ago from Neverland - where children never grow up. Author

Thank youuu so much Suzette! Glad you stopped by. Our classroom adores his sayings too. great and wise man.


epigramman profile image

epigramman 4 years ago

I try to install the work of Confucius into some of my writing - another great one is Aesop of Aesop's fables.

Thank you for this wonderful compilation of his quotes and they are timeless and live on to this very day in their meaning ......

just like your hubs - sending you warm wishes from lake erie time 10:00am

p.s. - just curious , do you happen to go by another hub name too by any chance like Hattie Mattie ......?


shiningirisheyes profile image

shiningirisheyes 4 years ago from Upstate, New York

"Study the past if you would define the future." Just one of my many favorites from this awesome list of quotes.

I am a huge quote lover and feel we can learn a lot from many of them. Your's is a perfect choice.

I am truly a fan of how your brain works, my friend!

Voting up


billybuc profile image

billybuc 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

What wonderful quotes from one of my favorite philosophers. Thank you for compiling these, Myz; it's a wonderful collection.


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

The words of Confucius have remained profoundly meaningful for centuries and will continue to be. Interesting, wise and most useful for us to keep these words within, to remember, ponder and utilize in our daily life..........Thank for this lovely poem of the wisdom and love of a great scholar.............UP+++


btrbell profile image

btrbell 4 years ago from Mesa, AZ

Thank you for compiling these always great and timely quotes in one comprehensive hub!


Eiddwen profile image

Eiddwen 4 years ago from Wales

Learning without thought is labor lost; thought without learning is perilous.

Great quotes and this is one of my favourites.

Eddy.


aviannovice profile image

aviannovice 4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

Such wonderful sayings which are timeless and hold through today, tomorrow and forever.


kashmir56 profile image

kashmir56 4 years ago from Massachusetts

Hi my friend M. Love reading all these great quotes of Confucius .

Vote up and more !!! SHARING !


ignugent17 profile image

ignugent17 4 years ago

Thanks Mycee for compiling these wonderful quotes. I agree with you that the words are still alive. He is really a man of wisdom.

Voted up and more! :-)


b. Malin profile image

b. Malin 4 years ago

So ahead of his time...I Love #6,8,9, and the rest are pretty Impressive too! I'm Voting this Hub UP & Interesting and Awesome!


Kimberly Vaughn profile image

Kimberly Vaughn 4 years ago from Midwest

Wow! Great hub! I knew some of these quotes but had no idea that Confucuis said them. Thanks for sharing!


Mhatter99 profile image

Mhatter99 4 years ago from San Francisco

Thank you for sharing


unknown spy profile image

unknown spy 4 years ago from Neverland - where children never grow up. Author

Hello Epi, Beckie, Billy, FPherj48, Btrbell, Eddy, Deb, Tom, Meldz, B.Malin, Kimberly, Mhatter:

Thank you so much guys for liking this hub and appreciate your comments very much. God bless!


Genna East profile image

Genna East 4 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

Wonderful hub! There were so many great quotations from the wonderful Confucius, it’s hard to pick one favorite; I managed to pick out two:

“No matter how busy you may think you are, you must find time for reading, or surrender yourself to self-chosen ignorance.”

“It is not the failure of others to appreciate your abilities that should trouble you, but rather your failure to appreciate theirs.”

I always enjoy your hubs, and this one is no exception. Thank you!


agusfanani profile image

agusfanani 4 years ago from Indonesia

They are beautiful, wisdom-teaching sayings. I like

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


rajan jolly profile image

rajan jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

Pearls of wisdom from the great philosopher. These gems have stood the test of time. Thanks for sharing.


unknown spy profile image

unknown spy 4 years ago from Neverland - where children never grow up. Author

@Genna, Agusfanami, Rajan, thank you so much for the kind read.


Quoteslover profile image

Quoteslover 4 years ago

And my favorite quote is "The more man meditates upon good thoughts; the better will be his world and the world at large."


Olde Cashmere profile image

Olde Cashmere 4 years ago from Michigan, United States

I loved this article M. I Enjoyed these quotes and the wisdom within the words is timeless. Excellent read. Voting up, sharing, and rating useful, interesting, and awesome :)


DON BALDERAS profile image

DON BALDERAS 4 years ago

I am so happy to have read these words of wisdom which I can simply use for my talks with people especially in my field of work. Thank you for sharing these very valuable thoughts. I will try to do something about my life and my living values so can make myself better than I was yesterday.


Vellur profile image

Vellur 4 years ago from Dubai

Great selection of quotes. Enjoyed reading.


girishpuri profile image

girishpuri 4 years ago from NCR , INDIA

Basics would remain the same, yesterday, today or tomorrow... great share.


Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

Gypsy Rose Lee 4 years ago from Riga, Latvia

Voted up and interesting. Thanks for sharing. Much enjoyed reading these quotes. Passing this on.


unknown spy profile image

unknown spy 4 years ago from Neverland - where children never grow up. Author

Thank you for the comments/messages. God bless you all :) appreciate it much.

@quoteslover, james, don, vellur, girishpuri, gyspsy :)


dwachira profile image

dwachira 4 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya

Hi unknown spy,

I like quote #5 [No matter how busy you may think you are, you must find time for reading, or surrender yourself to self-chosen ignorance] It probably explains my presence here on Hubpages. Voted up and more...


Lipnancy profile image

Lipnancy 4 years ago from Hamburg, New York

I think I will bookmark this article and use these quotes for tweets. Really enjoyed.


unknown spy profile image

unknown spy 4 years ago from Neverland - where children never grow up. Author

hellot here dwachira and nancy. thanks for your time to read this great quotes!


Sueswan 4 years ago

Hi Myz

Confucious was a wise man. "The superior man is modest in his speech, but exceeds in his actions. "Very true. Actions speak louder than words.

Voted up and awesome

Take care :-)


unknown spy profile image

unknown spy 4 years ago from Neverland - where children never grow up. Author

Sue, thank you a lot!


CrazedNovelist profile image

CrazedNovelist 3 years ago from Hampton, GA

Thanks for sharing this, Myz! I love reading influential quotes!

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