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quotes - chinese wisdom



quotes - chinese wisdom


(Translations have been adapted for the modern age where appropriate.)  


"When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be." (attributed to Lao Tsu, aka Lao Zi, legendary Chinese Taoist philosopher, supposed to have lived between 600-400BC)

"There is no greater happiness than freedom from worry, and there is no greater wealth than contentment." (attributed to Lao Tsu, aka Lao Zi, legendary Chinese Taoist philosopher, supposed to have lived between 600-400BC)

"People's tendency towards good is as water's tendency is to flow downhill." (Mencius, Chinese philosopher, c.300BC)

"Eat less, taste more." (traditional Chinese proverb)

"Failure lies not in falling down. Failure lies in not getting up." (traditional Chinese proverb)

"The higher my rank, the more humbly I behave. The greater my power, the less I exercise it. The richer my wealth, the more I give away. Thus I avoid, respectively, envy and spite and misery." (Sun Shu Ao, Chinese minister from the Chu Kingdom, Zhou Dynasty, c.600BC)

"Success under a good leader is the people's success." (attributed to Lao Tsu, aka Lao Zi, legendary Chinese Taoist philosopher, supposed to have lived between 600-400BC)

"Do not worry if others do not understand you. Instead worry if you do not understand others." (Confucius, Chinese philosopher, 551-479 BC)

"Softness overcomes hardness." (Zuo Qiuming, court writer of the State of Lu, and contemporary of Confucius, c.500BC)

"The greatest capability of superior people is that of helping other people to be virtuous." (Mencius, Chinese philosopher, c.300BC)

"A great man is hard on himself; a small man is hard on others." (Confucius, Chinese philosopher, 551-479 BC)

"Failure is the mother of success." (traditional Chinese proverb)

"It is not wise for a blind man, riding a blind horse, to approach the edge of a deep pond." (traditional Chinese proverb)

"I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand." (attributed to Confucius, Chinese philosopher, 551-479 BC, however the origins of this quote are arguably from the writing of the Chinese scholar Xunzi, 340-245 BC, for which clearer evidence seems to exist. The origin of the quote attributed to Confucius is not certain. The Xunzi quote - which is more subtle and complex, and literally translates as: "Not hearing is not as good as hearing, hearing is not as good as seeing, seeing is not as good as mentally knowing, mentally knowing is not as good as acting; true learning continues up to the point that action comes forth [or, only when a thing produces action can it be said to have been truly learned]" - can be traced to an original work, but it seems the Confucius version cannot. It is possible that the Western world simplified and attributed the quote to Confucius, being a popularly quoted source of Chinese wisdom. Thanks K Bennett.)

"He who asks is a fool for five minutes, but he who does not ask is a fool for ever." (traditional Chinese proverb)

"With a strong heart and a ready mind what have I to fear?" (Chu Yuan, aka Qu Yuan, Chinese politician-turned-poet, c.300BC - China's first great poet and considered the father of Chinese poetry, his death by drowning in 278BC is celebrated every year on the Day of Dragon Boat Festival)

"Half an orange tastes as sweet as a whole one." (traditional Chinese proverb)

"The wise man puts himself last and finds himself first." (attributed to Lao Tsu, aka Lao Zi, legendary Chinese Taoist philosopher, supposed to have lived between 600-400BC)

"He knows most who says he knows least." (Confucius, Chinese philosopher, 551-479 BC)





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6 12, 13 04:27

posted by: Kallen


Good translation, Stephen. Chinese ancient wisdom, my own opinion, especially Taoism is also universal wisdom.
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