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The superior man, when resting in safety, does not forget that danger may come. When in a state of security he does not forget the possibility of ruin. When all is orderly, he does not forget that disorder may come. Thus his person is not endangered, and his States and all their clans are preserved.
I am not one who was born in the possession of knowledge I am one who is fond of antiquity, and earnest in seeking it there.
To be able under all circumstances to practice five things constitutes perfect virtue; these five things are gravity, generosity of soul, sincerity, earnestness and kindness.
Virtue is more to man than either water or fire. I have seen men die from treading on water and fire, but I have never seen a man die from treading the course of virtue.
Do not be desirous of having things done quickly. Do not look at small advantages. Desire to have things done quickly prevents their being done thoroughly. Looking at small advantages prevents great affairs from being accomplished.
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.
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.
Learn as though you would never be able to master it; hold it as though you would be in fear of losing it.
When a man's knowledge is sufficient to attain, and his virtue is not sufficient to enable him to hold, whatever he may have gained, he will lose again.
Without an acquaintance with the rules of propriety, it is impossible for the character to be established.
By three methods we may learn wisdom First, by reflection, which is noblest Second, by imitation, which is easiest and third by experience, which is the bitterest.
If language is not correct, then what is said is not what is meant; if what is said is not what is meant, then what must be done remains undone; if this remains undone, morals and art will deteriorate; if justice goes astray, the people will stand about in helpless confusion. Hence there must be no arbitrariness in what is said. This matters above everything.
There are three things which the superior man guards against. In youth...lust. When he is strong...quarrelsomeness. When he is old...covetousness.
By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.
To know that one knows what one knows, and to know that one doesn't know what one doesn't know, there lies true wisdom.
The superior man cannot be known in little matters, but he may be entrusted with great concerns. The small man may not be entrusted with great concerns, but he may be known in little matters.
Things that are done, it is needless to speak about...things that are past, it is needless to blame.
The wheel of fortune turns round incessantly, and who can say to himself, I shall to-day be uppermost.
When you know a thing, to hold that you know it and when you do not know a thing, to allow that you do not know it - this is knowledge.
I have not seen a person who loved virtue, or one who hated what was not virtuous. He who loved virtue would esteem nothing above it.
With coarse rice to eat, with water to drink, and my bended arm for a pillow - I have still joy in the midst of these things. Riches and honors acquired by unrighteousness are to me as a floating cloud.
The expectations of life depend upon diligence the mechanic that would perfect his work must first sharpen his tools.
If a man withdraws his mind from the love of beauty, and applies it as sincerely to the love of the virtuous if, in serving his parents, he can exert his utmost strength if, in serving his prince, he can devote his life if in his intercourse with his friends, his words are sincere - although men say that he has not learned, I will certainly say that he has.
While you are not able to serve men, how can you serve spirits of the dead...While you do not know life, how can you know about death
If you think in terms of a year, plant a seed; if in terms of ten years, plant trees; if in terms of 100 years, teach the people.
He with whom neither slander that gradually soaks into the mind, nor statements that startle like a wound in the flesh, are successful may be called intelligent indeed.
The faults of a superior person are like the sun and moon. They have their faults, and everyone sees them; they change and everyone looks up to them.
The determined scholar and the man of virtue will not seek to live at the expense of injuring their virtue. They will even sacrifice their lives to preserve their virtue complete.
When we see men of worth, we should think of equaling them when we see men of a contrary character, we should turn inwards and examine ourselves.
To be able to practice five things everywhere under heaven constitutes perfect virtue...They are gravity, generosity of soul, sincerity, earnestness, and kindness.
He who exercises government by means of his virtue may be compared to the north polar star, which keeps its place and all the stars turn towards it.
The man of virtue makes the difficulty to be overcome his first business, and success only a subsequent consideration.
The man who in view of gain thinks of righteousness who in the view of danger is prepared to give up his life and who does not forget an old agreement however far back it extends - such a man may be reckoned a complete man.
The superior man...does not set his mind either for anything, or against anything what is right he will follow.
There are three things to beware of through life: when a man is young, let him beware of his appetites; when he is middle-aged, of his passions; and when old, of covetousness, especially.
We take greater pains to persuade others that we are happy than in endeavoring to think so ourselves.
Wealth and rank are what people desire, but unless they be obtained in the right way they may not be possessed.