ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Proverbs and sayings from Tibet

Updated on December 18, 2016

The Tibetans spice their daily conversations with proverbs . Tibetan proverbs usually are cast in the form of poetry with rhyme found and probably accidental in those few instances. Tibetan poetry have only balance and rhythm.

I have read a book of proverbs translated in English by Marion H. Duncan, the author of Love Songs and Proverbs of Tibet. Marion Duncan have lived in Tibet for 13 years with the Tibetans in their homes, tent and temple, he have spent much of his working hours to the study of Tibet, its language and its people and its culture and customs. He translated their words of wisdom to share with the rest of the world.

On Appearances

  • Both flowers and jewelry are lovely if just a few. (One should be modest and not wear all of one’s finery at once nor all of the time.)

On Business and Affairs

  • Affairs cannot be handled with a two-pointed mind. Sewing cannot be done with a two pointed needle.
  • Double – minded men cannot handle affairs. With many tasks nothing is ever finished. (Too many irons in the fire)

On Boasting

  • A braggart has no courage, muddy water has no depth.
  • If the hand can not catch the flea.Let not the mouth slay the tiger.
  • Though one’s tongue can talk to other persons.To see oneself there must be a mirror. (One ought not to boast but look at oneself in a mirror.)
  • If one eat much honey, it makes the liver sick.If one talk much, the words are like blowing a goat’s horn.
  • Kill five men, wound ten and capture twenty.

On Comparison

  •  Wood is light on water. And stones seem light on wood.
  • Clouds are the mistress of the sky. Flesh is the softness of the bones.

On Example

  • When the blind escort the blind, both fall into the river.
  • Although the lamp is in his hand, the blind man cannot see his way.

On Evil

  • The evil mouth of men, breaks the rod of iron. (Gossip will kill the best reputation.)
  • Snake fears man. Man fears snake. (Two evil fear each other when they meet).
  • When fire burns over the great mountain, poison is cast in the great sea. (Evil comes to those who spread evil.)

On Food

  •  In the beginning eat your meal, afterwards cut down the fir tree. (Eat first to have strength for the work).

On Glory

  • Nothing more brilliant than sun and moon, nothing more numerous than the stars.

On Friends and Enemies

  • As to friends we like the old; As to clothes we like the new.
  • Brothers may become as enemies. Yet their family ties are golden.
  • The magpie goes east, the raven goes west.
  • A neighbor is one hundred times better, than a relative a long distance off.

On Harmony in Life and Nature

  •   Teeth come in at eight months,crawling is at nine months. (Everything must be in natural order.)
  •   A hoe digs, a broom sweeps. (Everything has its proper use)

On Heaven and Hell

  •  When a man bows, heaven forgives.

On Hypocrisy

  • Like fine satin on the outside, like barley bag on the inside.
  • Empty in the heart, lovely in the mouth.
  • One mouth, two tongues. (Two-faced)
  • After calling a dog, one ought not to beat him.

On Learning

  •  It is easy to do work in a small house, It is easy to deceive those of little mind.

On Master and Servants

  •  The goat sends the kid, the kid sends its tail. (Everyone wants to boss someone else; and each tries to pass the job on down to one of lower rank.)

On Poverty

  • Long arms, short sleeves.(A person has great ambition but is poverty stricken.)

On Quarrelling

  •   When the yak plows, the ox’s neck bends. (Out of sympathy; when two men quarrel others join in)

On Rulers

  • An unclean kingdom is filthier than a great swamp.
  • When a righteous king has crooked ministers. He falls under the rule of his ministers.

On Sincerity

  • If water is clear. The fish can be seen. (We will know in time the truth or falsity of talk.)


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • greatstuff profile image


      5 years ago from Malaysia

      A good collection of quotes that are worth bookmarking. I like their quote on hypocrisy : "One mouth, two tongues"

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Good job

    • Eclairman profile image


      8 years ago

      Beautiful proverbs ^^ I like

    • Kamalesh050 profile image

      Kamalesh Chakraverty 

      9 years ago from Sahaganj, Dist. Hooghly, West Bengal, India

      Very nice hub and interesting. Well done.

      Best Wishes.

    • John Sarkis profile image

      John Sarkis 

      9 years ago from Winter Haven, FL

      Great hub - Love these aphorisms....

    • chspublish profile image


      9 years ago from Ireland

      Great to have these quotes. Well done.

    • Randy Behavior profile image

      Randy Behavior 

      9 years ago from Near the Ocean

      I love quotes and old proverbs, thanks!

    • profile image

      Fay Paxton 

      9 years ago

      An excellent collection of sayings. up and useful.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)