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38 Wise Chinese Proverbs

Updated on November 6, 2015

Chinese sayings are simple, short and witty but they give a direct message that will reach the heart and mind of the readers, they are condensed truth that are evident in our daily life. Chinese proverbs has always been profound and universal.

Dragon dance -Sydney Chinese New Year Parade.
Dragon dance -Sydney Chinese New Year Parade. | Source
  • A person without a smiling face should not open a shop.
  • Clumsy birds have need of early flight.
  • An old broom has its value.
  • In a crisis people grow wisdom.
  • Intelligence is endowed, but wisdom learned.
  • Spilt water cannot be retrieved.
  • One foot cannot stand on two boats
  • Beware the person with a Buddha's mouth and a snake's heart.
  • Good medicine is bitter to the taste.
  • Good heart, good reward.

Chinese Garden of Friendship - Darling Harbour - Sydney
Chinese Garden of Friendship - Darling Harbour - Sydney | Source
  • Solitude is enjoyed only when one is at peace with oneself.
  • One merits should not be a hindrance to one's progress
  • Review past lessons to discover anew.
  • Without experience we will not gain full knowledge.
  • To accommodate all things, enlarge your heart
  • One who does not like to read is equal to one who cannot read.
  • A night without moon or stars is like an ignorant mind.
  • Common sense goes further than a lot of learning.
  • A great general need not blow his own trumpet.
  • Better to make a net than to yearn for fish at the edge of a pond.

Chinese Garden of Friendship - Darling Harbour - Sydney
Chinese Garden of Friendship - Darling Harbour - Sydney | Source
  • Ants can move even a mighty mountain.
  • What is scare is valued, what is plentiful is not.
  • Patience is the wisdom of waiting.
  • Rats know the way of rats.
  • If there are no clouds, there will be no rain
  • Patience is a tree with bitter roots that bears sweet fruits
  • Genuine gold fears no fire.
  • Order moves slowly but surely disorder always in a hurry.
  • What is good for the hive is good for the bee.
  • Unless there is opposing wind, a kite cannot rise.

Chinese Wishing Tree
Chinese Wishing Tree | Source
  • Be not afraid of growing slowly, be afraid only of standing still.
  • To open a shop is easy, to keep it open is an art.
  • Men in the game are blind, men outside see clearly.
  • To read a book for the first time is to make an acquaintance with a new friend; to read it for a second time, is to meet an old one.
  • Over a long distance, you learn about the strength of your horse; over a long time, you learn about the character of your friend.
  • Tell me, I'll forget, show me and I may remember; involve me and I'll understand
  • A gem is not polished without rubbing, nor a man perfected without trials.
  • Experience is the mother of wisdom.

More Chinese Sayings and Proverbs

  • Witty and Wise Chinese Proverbs - A delightful collection of Chinese proverbs which gives us a fascinating glimpse into the lives of the Chinese people. A collection of Chinese Proverbs for the young and the old.



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    • profile image


      6 years ago

      "Rats know the way of rats. "

      This is so true.

      Here is another one:

      "When the cat leaves, the rats come out to play"

    • profile image

      Ochala Odol Ochala 

      6 years ago

      wonderful, I like Chinese wise sayings they are inspiring and future promising

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      A person without a smiling face should not open a shop. its very funny and I love it... so please always smile.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      The wisdom of the Chinese is inspiring. I am a South African and I find Chinese wisdom great; it compares to the Zulu wisdom of my proud Zulu heritage. I admire the wisdom of Confucius and Chairman Mao Tse Tung

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      is there a chinese proverb wishing good luck with studies?

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Not not to be nit picking, but the picture you posted of a parade are not dragons, they are Qilin (mandarin) or Keilun (cantonese).

    • Zubyre profile image

      Zubyre Parvez 

      9 years ago from East London

      Sweet. Quotes with pictures, interesting combination!

      One's achievements should not be a hindrance to one's progress - feeling that one. Sometimes we affirm what we've done to the expense of what still needs to be done!

    • profile image

      proverbs man 

      10 years ago

      very nice. i want to thank you for posting these great quotes. i'm a collector of chinese quotes too, and you have good ones

    • beth811 profile image

      Beth Arch 

      10 years ago from Pearl of the Orient Seas

      Great hub! I really love Chinese sayings, in fact, I have a collection of them and had memorized some of them.

      Thanks for sharing.

    • profile image

      Nancy's Niche 

      11 years ago

      Great site and full of wisdom in short phrases…My favorites; Rats know the way of rats, solitude is enjoyed only when one is at peace with oneself, and Intelligence is endowed, but wisdom learned.


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