Confucius
(552-479 B.C.)

Confucius worked for the revitalization of culture in its role as a means of cultivating human
feelings and maintaining the integrity and well-being of a people.  He envisioned a social
order guided by reasonable, humane, and just sensibilities, not by the passions of
individuals arbitrarily empowered by hereditary status, and warned of the social
consequences if men in positions of power considered personal profit and advantage over
public humanity and justice.  Confucius believed in the regeneration of public and private
conscience through education and the influence of unifying cultural ideals.

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Wherever you go, go with all your heart.

      
Confucius said, "Cultivated people have nine thoughts.
When they look, they think of how to see clearly.
When they listen, they think of how to hear keenly.
In regard to their appearance, they think of how to be warm.
In their demeanor, they think of how to be respectful.
In their speech, they think of how to be truthful.
In their work, they think of how to be serious.
When in doubt, they think of how to pose questions.
When angry, they think of trouble.
When they see gain to be had, they think of justice."
  

Someone asked Confucius about humaneness.  Confucius replied, "Be respectful at home, serious at work, faithful in human relations. Even if you go to uncivilized areas, these virtues are not to be abandoned."

   

Confucius said to Zichan, a famous prime minister of the state of Zheng, "The way of exemplary people is fourfold.  They are deferential in their own conduct, respectful in their service of employers, generous in taking care of people, and just in employing people."



Confucius said, "Don't worry about having no position; worry about that whereby you may effectively become established.  Don't worry that no one recognizes you; seek to be worthy of recognition."

A certain pupil asked Confucius about government:
"What qualifies one to participate in government?" 

Confucius said, "Honor five refinements, and get rid of four evils.
Then you can participate in government."

The pupil asked, "What are the five refinements?" 

Confucius said, "Good people are generous without being wasteful;
they are hard-working without being resentful; they desire without being greedy;
they are at ease without being haughty; they are dignified without being fierce."

The pupil asked, "What are the four evils?" 

Confucius replied, "To execute without having admonished; this is called cruelty.
To examine accomplishments without having instructed; this is called brutality.
To be lax in direction yet make deadlines; this is called viciousness.
To be stingy in giving what is due to others; this is called being bureaucratic."

 

 

Confucius said, "Exemplary people concern themselves with virtue,
small people concern themselves with territory. The ruling class
thinks of punishment, the lower classes hope for benevolence."

   

Confucius said, "Three kinds of friends are beneficial, and three are harmful.
When friends are honest, sincere, or knowledgeable, they are beneficial.
When friends are pretentious, fawning, or opportunistic, they are harmful."

 

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Confucius said, "Those who have virtue have something to say,
but those who have something to say do not necessarily have virtue.
Humanitarians are courageous, but the courageous are not necessarily humane."

 

Confucius said, "Wealth and rank are desired by people, but they do not stay
if they are not gotten in the right way.  Poverty and lowliness are disliked by people,
but they do not leave if this is not accomplished in the right way.  If exemplary people
departed from humaneness, how could they be worthy of the name?  Ideal people
do not deviate from humaneness at any time; they are at it even when in a rush,
they are at it even in the midst of turmoil."

   

Confucius said, "If you like humaneness but don't like learning,
it degenerates into folly. If you like knowledge but don't like learning,
it degenerates into looseness. If you like trust but don't like learning,
it degenerates into depredation. If you like honesty but don't like learning,
it degenerates into stricture. If you like bravery but don't like learning,
it degenerates into disorder. If you like strength but don't like learning,
it degenerates into wildness."

  
Confucius said,  "If you associate with those who are not centered
in their actions, you will become either too uninhibited or too inhibited. 
Those who are too uninhibited are too aggressive,
while those who are too inhibited are too passive." 
 

Confucius said of his foremost disciple, "He is wise indeed!
He subsists on bare essentials and lives in a poor neighborhood;
for other people this would mean intolerable anxiety,
but he is consistently happy.  Wise indeed is he!"

 

Confucius said, "To be guided by loyalty and faithfulness to what is right
is to honor virtue. People wish for the life of those they love while wishing
for the death of those they hate; once you wish for life, to also wish for death is confusion."

 

 

Once when two disciples were standing by Confucius,
the teacher asked each one to express his ambition.

One disciple said, "I would like a carriage and clothes like those
of my companions, and not to worry about them wearing out." 

The other disciple said, "I would like to avoid taking pride
in good and passing on toil to others."

One of the disciples then asked Confucius his wish.
The teacher said, "To comfort the elderly, deal faithfully
with friends, and care for the young."

 

Confucius said, "If your words are truthful and your actions are in earnest,
they will be effective even in foreign countries.  If your words are not truthful
and your actions not in earnest, do you think they would be effective even
in your homeland? When you stand, see truthfulness and seriousness assembled
before you; when you are in a carriage, see them leaning on the harness.
After that you act effectively"

   

Confucius said, "I will have nothing to do with those
who are free but not honest, childlike but not sincere,
straightforward but not trustworthy."

  

Youths are to be regarded with respect.
How do you know that their future will not be equal to our present?

  

To be able to practice five things everywhere
under heaven constitutes perfect virtue.
They are gravity, generosity of soul, sincerity, earnestness and kindness.

  

If I am walking with two other men, each of them will serve
as my teacher. I will pick out the good points of the one
and imitate them, and the bad points of the other
and correct them in myself.

   
I do not want a friend who smiles when I smile,
who weeps when I weep; for my shadow
in the pool can do better than that.
  

Forget injuries; never forget kindness.

  

I do not see how a person without sincerity can be good for anything.
How can a cart or carriage be made to go without yoke or crossbar?

    

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Life leads the thoughtful person on a path of many windings.
Now the course is checked, now it runs straight again.
Here winged thoughts may pour freely forth in words,
There the heavy burden of knowledge must be shut away in silence.
But when two people are at one in the inmost hearts,
They shatter even the strength of iron or of bronze.
And when two people understand each other in their inmost hearts,
Their words are sweet and strong, like the fragrance of orchids.
    
   
When you see a good person, try to emulate his or her example,
and when you see a bad person, search yourself for his or her faults.
   

Confucius said, "The young people should be good sons and daughters
at home, polite and respectful in society; they should be careful in their
conduct and faithful, love the people, and associate themselves with the
kind people.  If after learning all this, they still have the energy left,
let them read books.

   

Confucius said, "To know what you know and know what you don't know
is the characteristic of one who knows."

   




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