Useful Confucian Sayings
There is a little booklet called "A Collection of Confucius's Sayings," and here are some that I think can be very helpful.
- There is a single saying that can govern one's life. It is expressed with the word shu, which means never do to others what you would not want them to do to you.
- He who is able to put five sorts of morals into practice in this world may be called good. The five are courtesy, breadth, good faith, diligence, and clemency.
- The great man understands what is right. The petty man understands what is profitable.
- When you see a good man, think of emulating him. When you see a bad man, examine yourself.
- When honesty overbalances refinement, crudeness results. When refinement overbalances honesty, there is superficiality. Only when refinement and honesty are duly balanced will the great man emerge.
- Set your heart upon the Way, support yourself by virtue, lean upon goodness, and seek distraction in the arts.
- With coarse food to eat, cold water to drink, and the bended arm as a pillow, happiness may still exist.
- The true gentleman is conciliatory but not accommodating. The common man is accommodating but not conciliatory.
- The demands that a great man makes are on himself; those of a petty man are upon others.
- There are nine things of which great men must be mindful: to see when they look; to hear when they listen; to be gentle in appearance; to be respectful in manners; to be faithful in words; to be earnest in service; to inquire when in doubt; to think when in anger; to be just when they have an advantage.