Confucius Quotes: 88 Quotes In 9 Categories
Confucius lived and taught over 2,000 years ago, yet his works still fascinate us today. The Chinese philosopher has left traces that live on in his famous quotes. Here you will find the wisest and most beautiful sayings of Confucius and interesting facts about his life.
Because of their teachings, Confucius lived around 550 BC and is thus older than Plato, Aristotle and many other philosophers who are still world-famous today.
Thanks to preserved writings, we still know much about his life and work and have numerous surviving quotes and sayings.
Be inspired by his wisdom and use the quotes, for example, as a new motto for life or send them to family and friends on given occasions.
Famous Confucius Quotes and Sayings
The Chinese philosopher dealt with various topics – from love to life and its goals to death.
He taught over 3,000 students, who passed on his wisdom. Below you will find all the essential and famous quotes from Confucius sorted by category.
You can send them via WhatsApp, share them on your social media channels or keep them in mind as a new motto for life.
What Confucius Says about Love
Whether love is between couples, friendships or family, it is the strongest bond between people. Use one of the following sayings to please a loved one or to express your feelings in Confucius’s words.
- What you love, set free. If it comes back, it’s yours – forever.
- Love knows no reward. Love is there for the sake of love.
- Love is the spice of life, it can sweeten it, but it can also salt it.
- Wherever you go, go with your whole heart.
- Immature love says, "I love you because I need you." Mature love says, "I need you because I love you."
Funny Quotes from Confucius
Surprised I put “funny” and “Confucius” in the same sentence? Don’t be — these funny quotes from Confucius have nothing to do with the natural philosopher. They tackle all topics except real-life Confucius’s favorites like morality and justice.
But why are they called Confucius jokes? Confucius’ sayings are famous for being short and to the point. Also, plenty of his sayings rely on multiple meanings of certain words. These quotes follow that same pattern.
“Confucius says,” jokes are a great way to make myself laugh when I feel down. So, We’ve selected some of the best funny Confucius jokes to make you crack up.
- Man with one chopstick go hungry.
- Man who cut self while shaving, lose face.
- He who has a sharp tongue, cuts own throat.
- A bird in hand makes hard to blow nose.
- Man who walk with nose in air very easy to hook.
- Man who sneezes without tissue takes matters in his own hands.
- If something happen but nobody post it on Facebook, did it really happen?
- Man who fall in vat of molten glass make spectacle of self.
- With great power comes great electricity bill.
- Crowded elevator smell different to midget.
- Man who put on itchy sweater start every day from scratch.
- Man who does very little makes very few mistakes.
Confucius Quotes about Life Goals and Walking on Paths
Every day we face the challenges of life anew. In doing so, we sometimes lack the courage to continue following our goals and dreams and not to lose hope.
Draw new strength with these quotes from Confucius about following your personal path. They are also suitable for friends or family who aspire to a great journey or embark on a new path in life.
- He who knows the goal can decide; he who decides finds peace; he who finds peace is sure; he who is sure can consider; he who considers can improve.
- It doesn’t matter how slowly you walk, as long as you don’t stop.
- The path is the goal.
- A path is created when you walk it.
- Shooting beyond the target is just as bad as not reaching the target.
- The higher man resembles the clever shooter. If he misses his target, he turns away and looks for the cause of his miss within himself.
Motivational and Uplifting Sayings from Confucius
Confucius dealt a lot with personal development and the aspirations of man. His quotes can be natural motivational boosters and encourage you in your plans.
The following words of wisdom are especially suitable as an uplifting motto for life or an incentive for new challenges so as not to lose heart. You can also choose one of the sayings to give someone close new hope and give them new strength for an upcoming project.
You can also choose one of the sayings to give someone close to you new hope and give them new strength for an upcoming endeavor.
- If you have the intention to renew yourself, do it every day.
- Whoever plants a tree will gain heaven.
- Everything has its inherent beauty, but not everyone notices it.
- The man who removed the mountain was the same who began to carry away small stones.
- All the darkness in the world cannot extinguish the light of a single candle.
- He who asks is a fool for a minute. He who does not ask is a fool all his life.
- Choose a job you love – and you won’t have to work a day in your life.
- It is better to light one small light than to curse the darkness.
- If you want to be happy all the time, you have to change often.
- Joy is everywhere. It is only a matter of discovering it.
- Respect yourself and others will respect you.
- If you have the intention to renew yourself, do it every day.
Quotes about Knowledge, Stupidity and Lifelong Learning
Confucius was primarily concerned with knowledge and learning. His quotations are therefore often about wisdom and stupidity – and what matters most in life.
You can use these sayings as your motivation or send them to someone who is about to take an exam or is embarking on a new path in life.
For Confucius, knowledge was one of the most essential tools at man’s disposal. Wisdom opens new doors for him, whereas rash actions can close many doors.
- Be aware of what you know. On the other hand, admit what you don’t know. That is the right relationship to knowledge.
- Knowing what you know and knowing what you do is knowledge.
- Man has three ways to act wisely. First, by thinking: this is the noblest. Second, by imitation: This is the easiest. Third, by experience: this is the most bitter.
- Only the wisest and the stupidest cannot change.
- Stupidity is not "knowing little", nor "wanting to know little", stupidity is "believing to know enough."
- Call no one wise, before he has not proved that he can judge a thing from at least eight sides.
- Learning without thinking is vain, thinking without learning is dangerous.
- The wisdom of life consists in eliminating the unessential things.
- If one is bent on small advantages, one does not produce a great work.
- He who believes everything he reads had better stop reading.
- Know the eternal, and you are wise.
- The knower is not yet as far as the researcher; the researcher is not yet as far as the indifferent cognizer.
- Education creates confidence. Trust creates hope. Hope creates peace.
- You cannot open a book without learning something.
Confucius Quotes about Happiness
Happiness has preoccupied people for thousands of years.
Confucius, too, often dealt throughout his life with the question of what really makes us happy and what we wrongly interpret as happiness.
Often we are alone, and our thoughts are responsible for how happy we feel.
You can use these happiness quotes to remind someone close to you of their true happiness or remind yourself of what really matters in life.
- Man lives by straightness. Without it, he lives only by lucky circumstances and timely evasion.
- Whether it is bad luck for a black cat to cross your path depends solely on whether you are a human or a mouse.
- He who is truly kind can never be unhappy, he who is truly wise can never be confused, he who is truly brave never fears.
- If you want to be happy all the time, you often have to change.
- Happiness is the only thing that doubles when you share it.
- Happiness never comes in pairs. Misfortune never comes alone.
- Life is a thorny rosebush and happiness is the blossom.
- Contentment brings happiness even in poverty; discontent is poverty, even in happiness.
Confucius’ Wisdoms about Life and Death
Life doesn’t always play into your cards, but our history is usually in our own hands.
Below you will find wise sayings from Confucius about life and its many facets. You will also find wise sayings about death and what it teaches us, humans.
- The real traveler is always a tramp, with joys and temptations and the spirit of adventure.
- If you are poor but healthy, you are half rich.
- You have to cut a stick when you’re young so you can walk on it when you’re old.
- Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.
- When I was fifteen, my whole will was focused on learning. At thirty, I was standing firm in life. At forty, I was no longer confused. At fifty, I had come to know the will of Heaven. At sixty, everything sounded pleasant to my ear. At seventy, I followed the desires of my heart without breaking the rules.
- All good things are hard to achieve; and bad things are very easy to get.
- Just as a people venerate their dead, so their soul reveals itself before you.
- We do not know life, how can we know death?
- Those who steal our dreams give us death.
Confucius Say: Quotes about Doing the Right Thing
The Chinese scholar Confucius often addressed the question of what characterizes correct action.
It is in our nature that we humans make mistakes or are imperfect. How we deal with them, however, shows our character.
The following sayings address courageous action, how we treat our fellow man, and the things that make us better people.
- To see what is right and not do it against one’s insight is lack of courage.
- Attack the evil that is in you instead of attacking the evil that is in others.
- It is more shameful to distrust our friends than to be deceived by them.
- Those who have made one mistake and do not correct it, commit a second one.
- Before you go on the journey of revenge, dig two graves.
- Silence is a true friend who never betrays.
- Meet people with the same courtesy with which you receive an expensive guest.
- Demand a lot from yourself and expect little from others. That way you will be spared trouble.
- Don’t doubt others if you can’t do something yourself. Do not be haughty against others when you can do something yourself.
- The truly superior man does not preach what he does until he has done what he preaches.
Confucius Wisdoms and Quotes about Character
Confucius dealt particularly intensively with the question of a noble character.
The following wisdoms and character quotes therefore contain above all the human personality and what distinguishes a good person as such.
- In a noble horse, one appreciates not its strength, but its character.
- The moral man loves his soul, the ordinary man his property.
- Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without.
- When the wind of renewal blows, some people build walls and others windmills.
- There is no one who does not eat and drink, but few who appreciate the taste.
- By nature, people are almost the same; only habits distance them from each other.
- The superior man is ashamed when his words surpass his deeds.
- In ancient times, people did not treat language so lightly, for they had qualms that they might fall short of their own words.
- You recognize a person’s face in the light, his character in the dark.
- A noble person does not judge anyone by his words alone. In a cultured world, actions flourish; in an uncultured world, words flourish.
- Distrust the smooth-tongued who try to talk their way out of everything.
- Irascible and characterless, stupid and inattentive, ignorant and dishonest – what can you do with such people?
Confucius: His Life
The Chinese scholar Confucius (Kong Qiu) is believed to have been born around 551 BC in what is now the Chinese province of Shandong.
He died in 479 B.C. at 72, which was an old age.
The name "Confucius" means as much as "Teacher Kong" and is, therefore, a mix of his birth name and later social position.
He earned his first money as a shepherd, scribe and later as an accountant. At the age of just 22, he opened his first private school. Throughout his life, he taught more than 3,000 students.
Although Confucius is world-famous today and has reached a great age, success did not come during his lifetime. Only his students, who carried his wisdom and teachings into the world, made him one of the most famous philosophers even more than 2,000 years after his death.
Confucius Philosophical Approach
Confucius noticed his passion for learning and the sciences at an early age.
He studied mathematics, music, history, and classical Chinese literature, among other things.
He believed that education and inner contemplation were the key to virtue and that self-discipline was an important prerequisite for people to live together.