Confucius was one of the most popular Chinese philosophers, politician, editor and teacher during the spring and autumn period. The philosophies of Confucius were largely based on justice and sincerity, perfectness of social relationships, government and personal morality. The credit for writing several ancient Chinese texts including the Five Classics goes to Confucius. The true meaning of all his teachings have been compiled in a book called Analects and this was studied by his followers in detail after his death.
The basic attribute in most principles advocated by Confucius have been based upon Chinese beliefs and tradition. He strongly advocated ancestor worship, family loyalty, respect for husbands from their wives and elders from their children.
While there have been several popular Confucius quotes that have been compiled across several ancient Chinese books, a few of them have been mentioned here along with their meanings.
1. “If you look into your own heart, and you find nothing wrong there, what is there to worry about? What is there to fear?”
Meaning: This quote from Confucius clearly suggests looking within oneself and discovering what we really are. There is no point in looking elsewhere, especially when the solution is within us.
2. “Real knowledge is to know the extent of one’s ignorance.”
Meaning: If you are able to keep ignorance within you at bay, then there are chances that you will improve your knowledge considerably. If you wish to be an intelligent or a knowledgeable person, the first thing you need to do is get rid of ignorance within you.
3. “The superior man is aware of righteousness, the inferior man is aware of advantage.”
Meaning: A person who is pure at heart will not compromise on integrity and values in life. However, a person who is not pure at heart will compromise on integrity and will seek unfair advantage to get through most things in life.
4. “Never impose on others what you would not choose for yourself.”
Meaning: This Confucius quote is also referred to as the “Golden Rule” and indicates the real compassion within us. When we talk about compassion we are not merely referring to our tendencies to show pity over others or not looking down upon someone else. Instead, compassion means considering others to be in equal terms with you.
5.“Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.”
Meaning: This quote asks us to drop our inner mask and to stop evaluating the outside world according to our beliefs and wants. In other words, we should see all things in front of us as they are.
6. “I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.”
Meaning: When we experience certain things in our life, we understand its essence to the core. When we hear something it might be interesting to us. Similarly, when we see something it might look beautiful to us. However, to truly understand what we are seeing or listening, we must first experience it ourselves.
7. “He that would perfect his work must first sharpen his tools.”
Meaning: This quote suggests us to plan and prepare everything. In fact, if we want to be successful at something then we need to sharpen our skills that are required for it.