Monday, March 29, 2010

"Confucius Says..." - Ancient Wisdom for Personal Strength in Our Time

I have this memory from my youth of a black-and-white movie in which a little old Chinese man earnestly advises the hero. "Confucius says...."

I don't remember what the old man said. But it must have been wise, because the hero took it to heart and rose to the occasion. I remember wondering, "Who is this guy Confucius?" Did he have that name because the things he said were confusing?

But I grew up respecting the wisdom attributed to Confucius. I particularly liked the way it sounded like common sense, and it seemed pointed at helping me be a better, stronger person. So over the years I've collected quite a few of his sayings.

Confucius was a Chinese thinker and philosopher who flourished about 500 years before Christ. His teachings had a profound effect on Asia. They express a kind of Chinese humanism, although Confucius didn't intend to establish a system or religion. He wanted people to think for themselves. Still, many Chinese follow "Confucianism" as a religion.

The fragments of his thought that have survived are enough for me, and I have dozens of them in my quote collection. Here are a few of my favorites...

On AWARENESS - "Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.'

On CHARACTER - "The gem cannot be polished without friction, nor man perfected without trials."

On COMPASSION - "There is one word which may serve as a rule of practice for all one's life - reciprocity."

On COMPOSURE - "When anger arises, think of the consequences.'

On COURAGE - "To know what is right and not to do it is the worst cowardice."

On FLEXIBILITY - "As the water shapes itself to the vessel that contains it, so a wise man adapts himself to circumstances."

On HUMILITY - "The superior man is modest in his speech, but exceeds in his actions."

On INTEGRITY - "A man who lacks reliability is utterly useless."

On PASSION - "Wheresoever you go, go with all your heart."

On PERSEVERANCE - "Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall."

Every day a little better, a little stronger...

Post by Dennis E. Coates, Ph.D., , Copyright 2010. Building Personal Strength .


Ryan said...

I enjoyed this read Denny. I heard so much about Confucius as a child but much of his quoting was done in jest. It wasn't until I became interested in personal development that I realized that the people mocking him weren't too developed ;)

Mandar Shinde said...

Thanks for the Confucius quotes. To me, Confucius is someone who could see and spell logic behind all human actions and reactions, without tagging them as good or bad.

William J. Kelleher, Ph.D. said...

Hi Denny! Did Confucius say anything about politics repressing individuals with personal integrity? That is happening here in the US. Check it out, at
Bill Kelleher

Nora Boekelman said...

The story on Confusius is always an interesting one as the 'average' persons don't question it; and it's usually presented in jokes. Your work is extensive and I admire all your works...My thanks to you:)

Kabolobari said...

I first came across Confucius when I was self-training in Classics during my early university years.

I was more interested in the old-world and its line up to early American literature and misconstrued Confucius to be un-God and didn't quite give him any attention.

I could never have known he said so much truth of the human mind.

I'm grateful you have shared it, Dr Coates, and shall visit him.

As always, thanks.