Confucius Quotes 1–30 of 153 Quotes

Confucius (traditionally 28 September 551 B.C. – 479 B.C.) was a Chinese social philosopher, whose teachings deeply influenced East Asian life and thought. "Confucius" is a latinization of the Chinese 孔夫子, Kong Fu Zi or K'ung-fu-tzu, literally "Master Kong", but he is usually referred to in China with a simpler version of this honorific as 孔子, Kongzi, or Kǒng Zǐ.

Below are 30 of 153 sourced Confucius quotes. Sources and related information appear under each quote. Use the 'Cite this quote' link to get citation references.

“學而時習之、不亦說乎。有朋自遠方來、不亦樂乎。人不知而不慍、不亦君子乎。”

— Confucius

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Quote source:  • The opening of the Analects and thus the first phrase of Chapter I after which the Chinese title of this book is named 學而.

“巧言令色、鮮矣仁。”

— Confucius

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Source: The Analects: The Analects on Wikisource, Chapter I: 學而篇

“不患人之不己知,患不知人也。”

— Confucius

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Source: The Analects: The Analects on Wikisource, Chapter I: 學而篇

“主忠信。毋友不如己者。過,則勿憚改。”

— Confucius

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Source: The Analects: The Analects on Wikisource, Chapter I: 學而篇

“道千乘之國,敬事而信,節用而愛人,使民以時。”

— Confucius

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Source: The Analects: The Analects on Wikisource, Chapter I: 學而篇

“君子食無求飽,居無求安,敏於事而慎於言,就有道而正焉,可謂好學也已。”

— Confucius

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Source: The Analects: The Analects on Wikisource, Chapter I: 學而篇

“【第一章】子曰、爲政以德、譬如北辰、居其所、而眾星共之。”

— Confucius

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Source: The Analects: The Analects on Wikisource, Chapter II: 為政篇

“吾十有五而志於學,三十而立,四十而不惑,五十而知天命,六十而耳順,七十而从心所欲,不逾矩。”

— Confucius

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Quote source:  • Retrospection of his own life. From this phrase, alternative names for each decades of human life are derived in Chinese.

“溫故而知新,可以為師矣。”

— Confucius

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Source: The Analects: The Analects on Wikisource, Chapter II: 為政篇

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“學而不思則罔,思而不學則殆。”

— Confucius

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Source: The Analects: The Analects on Wikisource, Chapter II: 為政篇

“攻乎異端,斯害也己。”

— Confucius

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Quote source:  • Note: The word translated "strange teachings" means literally another end [of textile]. There are two different understandings about "strange teachings" or heretical. One possible understanding is "strange from the authentic teaching", another understanding is simply different subjects, just as two authors or two scholastic fields literature and politics.

“由,誨女知之乎,知之為知之,不知為不知,是知也。”

— Confucius

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Source: The Analects: The Analects on Wikisource, Chapter II: 為政篇

“視其所以,觀其所由,察其所安。人焉叟哉?人焉叟哉?”

— Confucius

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Quote source:  • See a person's “being”, observe his motive, notice his result. How can a person conceal his character? [by 朱冀平]

“多聞闕疑,慎言其餘,則寡尤。多見闕殆,慎行其餘,則寡悔。言寡無,行寡悔,祿在其中矣。”

— Confucius

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Source: The Analects: The Analects on Wikisource, Chapter II: 為政篇

“非其鬼而祭之,諂也。見義不為,無勇也。”

— Confucius

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Source: The Analects: The Analects on Wikisource, Chapter II: 為政篇

“人而不仁、如禮何。人而不仁、如樂何。”

— Confucius

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Source: The Analects: The Analects on Wikisource, Chapter III: 八佾篇

“君子無所爭、必也射乎、揖譲而升下、而飲、其爭也君子。”

— Confucius

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Quote source:  • Note: Bowing is a courtesy for the host who invites him as well drinking a cup.

“殷因於夏禮,所損益,可知也;周因於殷禮,所損益,可知也。其或繼周者,雖百世,可知也。”

— Confucius

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Source: The Analects: The Analects on Wikisource, Chapter III: 八佾篇

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“朝聞道、夕死可矣。”

— Confucius

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Source: The Analects: The Analects on Wikisource, Chapter IV: 里仁篇

“見賢思齊焉;見不賢而內自省也。”

— Confucius

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More on this quote:   • James Legge, translation (1893)
When you meet someone better than yourself, turn your thoughts to becoming his equal. When you meet someone not as good as you are, look within and examine your own self.
 • Dim Cheuk Lau translation (1979)
When you see a good person, think of becoming like her/him. When you see someone not so good, reflect on your own weak points.
 • As quoted in Liberating Faith : Religious Voices for Justice, Peace, and Ecological Wisdom (2003) by Roger S. Gottlieb, p. 24

“父在,觀其志;父殁,觀其行;三年无改於父之道,可謂孝矣。”

— Confucius

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Source: The Analects: The Analects on Wikisource, Chapter IV: 里仁篇

“以約失之者,鮮矣。”

— Confucius

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Source: The Analects: The Analects on Wikisource, Chapter IV: 里仁篇

“君子欲訥於言而敏於行。”

— Confucius

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More on this quote:   • James Legge translation.
• Variant translations: The superior man acts before he speaks, and afterwards speaks according to his actions.
The greater man does not boast of himself, But does what he must do.
A good man does not give orders, but leads by example.

“德不孤,必有鄰。”

— Confucius

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Source: The Analects: The Analects on Wikisource, Chapter IV: 里仁篇

“君子喻於義,小人喻於利。”

— Confucius

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More on this quote:   • James Legge, translation (1893)
The Superior Man is aware of Righteousness, the inferior man is aware of advantage.
• The virtuous man is driven by responsibility, the non-virtuous man is driven by profit. [by 朱冀平]

“I am not concerned that I have no place; I am concerned how I may fit myself for one. I am not concerned that I am not known; I seek to be worthy to be known.”

— Confucius

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Quote source: The Analects: The Analects on Wikisource, Chapter IV: 里仁篇 IV, xiv. Quoted from Will Durant, Our Oriental Heritage.

“季文子三思而後行。子聞之曰、再、斯可矣。”

— Confucius

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Source: The Analects: The Analects on Wikisource, Chapter V

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