101 Confucius Quotes on Education and Learning

Confucius, born in 551 BCE in the state of Lu, was a significant Chinese philosopher, teacher and political theorist during the Spring and Autumn Period (770-481 BCE).

His teachings, noted for emphasizing moral values, social order and respect for authority, were compiled in the Analects, offering insights into his conversations with disciples.

He encouraged individuals to pursue moral cultivation and virtue, shaping Chinese culture and society profoundly.

As such, Confucius is celebrated as a model of Chinese sages. His philosophy, centering on the importance of familial respect and honor, has remained integral to Chinese philosophy’s history.


Notably, the oldest known portrait of Confucius was discovered in the tomb of the Han dynasty ruler, Marquis of Haihun.

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Despite his humble beginnings with menial jobs, Confucius’s transformative ideas continue to resonate and inspire learning and education today.

Here are the best quotes from Confucius.

Top Confucius Quotes on Education

1. “The man who thinks he can and the man who thinks he can’t are both right.” ~ (Confucius).

2. “It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.” ~ (Confucius).

3. “The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.” ~ (Confucius).

4. “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” ~ (Confucius).


5. “Wherever you go, go with all your heart.” ~ (Confucius).

6. “Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” ~ (Confucius).

7. “Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.” ~ (Confucius).

8. “Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.” ~ (Confucius).

9. “No matter how busy you may think you are, you must find time for reading, or surrender yourself to self-chosen ignorance.” ~ (Confucius).

10. “Respect yourself and others will respect you.” ~ (Confucius).

Powerful Confucius Quotes

11. “If you make a mistake and do not correct it, this is called a mistake.” ~ (Confucius).

12. “Education breeds confidence. Confidence breeds hope. Hope breeds peace.” ~ (Confucius).

13. “I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.” ~ (Confucius).

14. “The gem cannot be polished without friction, nor man perfected without trials.” ~ (Confucius).

15. “He who knows all the answers has not been asked all the questions.” ~ (Confucius).

16. “What the superior man seeks is in himself; what the small man seeks is in others.” ~ (Confucius).

17. “You cannot open a book without learning something.” ~ (Confucius).

18. “Music produces a kind of pleasure which human nature cannot do without.” ~ (Confucius).

19. “Forget injuries, never forget kindnesses.” ~ (Confucius).

20. “It is not the failure of others to appreciate your abilities that should trouble you, but rather your failure to appreciate theirs.” ~ (Confucius).

21. “The man who asks a question is a fool for a minute, the man who does not ask is a fool for life.” ~ (Confucius).

22. “Ability will never catch up with the demand for it.” ~ (Confucius).

23. “The will to win, the desire to succeed, the urge to reach your full potential… these are the keys that will unlock the door to personal excellence.”

24. “Knowledge without practice is useless. Practice without knowledge is dangerous.” ~ (Confucius).

25. “Silence is a true friend who never betrays.” ~ (Confucius).

Best Confucius Quotes

26. “Study the past if you want to define the future.” ~ (Confucius).

27. “When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don’t adjust the goals, adjust the action steps.” ~ (Confucius).

28. “Success depends upon previous preparation, and without such preparation, there is sure to be a failure.” ~ (Confucius).

29. “He who chases two rabbits, catches none.” ~ (Confucius).

30. “Real knowledge is to know the extent of one’s ignorance.” ~ (Confucius).

31. “If your plan is for one year, plant rice. If your plan is for ten years, plant trees. If your plan is for one hundred years, educate children.” ~ (Confucius).

32. “A superior man is modest in his speech, but exceeds in his actions.” ~ (Confucius).

33. “When anger rises, think of the consequences.” ~ (Confucius).

34. “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.” ~ (Confucius).

35. “Give a bowl of rice to a man and you will feed him for a day. Teach him how to grow his own rice and you will save his life.” ~ (Confucius).

36. “Everything has its beauty, but not everyone sees it.” ~ (Confucius).

37. “It is better to light one small candle of gratitude than to curse the darkness.” ~ (Confucius).

38. “He who learns but does not think, is lost. He who thinks but does not learn is in great danger.” ~ (Confucius).

39. “Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves.” ~ (Confucius).

40. “Attack the evil that is within yourself, rather than attacking the evil that is in others.” ~ (Confucius).

Famous Confucius Quotes

41. “The hardest thing of all is to find a black cat in a dark room, especially if there is no cat.” ~ (Confucius).

42. “Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without.” ~ (Confucius).

43. “A lion chased me up a tree, and I greatly enjoyed the view from the top.” ~ (Confucius).


44. “To see what is right and not do it is the worst cowardice.” ~ (Confucius).

45. “To know that we know what we know, and that we do not know what we do not know, that is true knowledge.” ~ (Confucius).

46. “If you look into your own heart, and you find nothing wrong there, what is there to worry about? What is there to fear?” ~ (Confucius).

47. “And remember, no matter where you go, there you are.” ~ (Confucius).

48. “If what one has to say is not better than silence, then one should keep silent.” ~ (Confucius).

49. “A fool despises good counsel, but a wise man takes it to heart.” ~ (Confucius).

50. “The superior man always thinks of virtue; the common man thinks of comfort.” ~ (Confucius).

51. “To put the world in order, we must first put the nation in order; to put the nation in order, we must first put the family in order; to put the family in order; we must first cultivate our personal life; we must first set our hearts right.” ~ (Confucius).

52. “Only the wisest and stupidest of men never change.” ~ (Confucius).

53. “Charity, like the sun, brightens every object on which it shines.” ~ (Confucius).

54. “Don’t complain about the snow on your neighbor’s roof when your own doorstep is unclean.” ~ (Confucius).

55. “What you do not wish upon yourself, extend not to others.” ~ (Confucius).

56. “When a wise man points at the moon the imbecile examines the finger.” ~ (Confucius).

57. “Learning without thought is labor lost; thought without learning is perilous.” ~ (Confucius).

58. “To be wronged is nothing, unless you continue to remember it.” ~ (Confucius).

59. “In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of.” ~ (Confucius).

60. “The superior man is slow in his words and earnest in his conduct.” ~ (Confucius).

61. “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.” ~ (Confucius).

62. “Faced with what is right, to leave it undone shows a lack of courage.” ~ (Confucius).

63. “Have no friends not equal to yourself.” ~ (Confucius).

64. “The superior man understands what is right; the inferior man understands what will sell.” ~ (Confucius).

65. “It is easy to hate and it is difficult to love. This is how the whole scheme of things works. All good things are difficult to achieve; and bad things are very easy to get.” ~ (Confucius).

66. “Behind every smile there’s teeth.” ~ (Confucius).

67. “Consideration for others is the basis of a good life, a good society.” ~ (Confucius).

68. “He who requires much from himself and little from others, will keep himself from being the object of resentment.” ~ (Confucius).

69. “Riches and honor are what everyone desires, but if they can be gained only by doing evil, they must not be held. Don’t worry about not being in office, worry about qualifying yourself for office. Don’t worry that no one knows you, but seek to be worthy of being known.” ~ (Confucius).

70. “The noble-minded are calm and steady. Little people are forever fussing and fretting.” ~ (Confucius).

71. “The scholar does not consider gold and jade to be precious treasures, but loyalty and good faith.” ~ (Confucius).

72. “Time flows away like the water in the river.” ~ (Confucius).

73. “True goodness springs from a man’s own heart. All men are born good.” ~ (Confucius).

74. “The Essence of Knowledge is, having it, to use it.” ~ (Confucius).

75. “The funniest people are the saddest once.” ~ (Confucius).


76. “Hold faithfulness and sincerity as first principles.” ~ (Confucius).

77. “By nature, men are nearly alike; by practice, they get to be wide apart.” ~ (Confucius).

78. “A common man marvels at uncommon things. A wise man marvels at the commonplace.” ~ (Confucius).

79. “Shall I teach you what knowledge? When you know a thing, say that you know it; when you do not know a thing, admit that you do not know it. That is knowledge.” ~ (Confucius).

80. “The man of wisdom is never of two minds; the man of benevolence never worries; the man of courage is never afraid.” ~ (Confucius).

81. “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.” ~ (Confucius).

82. “The nobler sort of man emphasizes the good qualities in others, and does not accentuate the bad. The inferior does.” ~ (Confucius).

83. “It is more shameful to distrust our friends than to be deceived by them.” ~ (Confucius).

84. “Never give a sword to a man who can’t dance.” ~ (Confucius).

Inspiring Confucius Quotes

85. “The way of the superior person is threefold; virtuous, they are free from anxieties; wise they are free from perplexities; and bold they are free from fear.” ~ (Confucius).

86. “To be wealthy and honored in an unjust society is a disgrace.” ~ (Confucius).

87. “Knowledge is merely brilliance in organization of ideas and not wisdom. The truly wise person goes beyond knowledge.” ~ (Confucius).

88. “The strength of a nation derives from the integrity of the home.” ~ (Confucius).

89. “If a man takes no thought about what is distant, he will find sorrow near at hand.” ~ (Confucius).

90. “One joy dispels a hundred cares.” ~ (Confucius).

91. “Fix your mind on truth, hold firm to virtue, rely on loving kindness, and find your recreation in the Arts.” ~ (Confucius).

92. “If there were one word that could act as a standard of conduct for one’s entire life, perhaps it would be ’thoughtfulness.” ~ (Confucius).

93. “Ignorance is the night of the mind, but a night without moon or star.” ~ (Confucius).

94. “Without knowing the force of words, it is impossible to know more.” ~ (Confucius).

95. “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 this person is not endangered, and his States and all their clans are preserved.” ~ (Confucius).

96. “They must often change who would remain constant in happiness and wisdom.” ~ (Confucius).

97. “Virtuous people often revenge themselves for the constraints to which they submit by the boredom which they inspire.” ~ (Confucius).

98. “A youth is to be regarded with respect. How do we know that his future will not be equal to our present?” ~ (Confucius).

99. “No lake so still but it has its wave. No circle so perfect, but that it has its blur. I would change things for you if I could; As I can’t, you must take them as they are.” ~ (Confucius).

100. “We take greater pains to persuade others that we are happy than in endeavoring to think so ourselves.” ~ (Confucius).

101. “Settle one difficulty, and you keep a hundred away.” ~ (Confucius).

So these are some of the famous Confucius Quotes on Education, Learning, Life & Success.

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Short Biography of Confucius

Confucius, a revered Chinese philosopher from the Spring and Autumn period, emphasized ethics in personal conduct and governance.

Source: National Geographic

His teachings, known as Confucianism, stress morality, proper social relationships, justice, and sincerity.

He viewed himself as a preserver of ancient values and advocated for strong family ties and respect within households.

Full Name Kong Qiu (Kong Fuzi)
Born c. 551 BCE Zou, Lu (now Qufu, Shandong)
Died c. 479 BCE (aged 71–72) Si River, Lu
Resting place Cemetery of Confucius, Lu
Region Chinese philosophy
School Confucianism
Notable students Yan Hui, Zengzi
Main interests Ethics, Education, Music, Political Philosophy, Social Philosophy

Confucius also promoted the Silver Rule, which teaches avoiding actions toward others that one would not want for oneself.

His influence persists in East Asian culture today.

Quick Facts about Confucius

  • Confucius, originally named Kong Fuzi, was a Chinese philosopher and politician.
  • He was born in 551 BC, in Zou district, now Qufu City, China.
  • Confucius passed away at the age of 73 in 479 BC.
  • He lived during China’s Spring and Autumn period (770-476 BC).
  • Confucius was raised by his mother after his father, a military officer, died when he was three.
  • He got married at 19 and had three children, but sadly one of his daughters died in childhood.
  • The Kong family, to which Confucius belonged, has the longest documented lineage in the world with 83 generations.
  • Approximately 3 million people claim descent from Confucius, though only about 2 million are registered.
  • One of Confucius’s descendants, H.H. Kung, was a prominent political figure in the Republic of China during the 1930s and 1940s.
  • No images or sculptures from Confucius’s lifetime survive; all portraits are posthumous representations.
  • Initially, Confucius worked as a bookkeeper and livestock guardian before turning to teaching at the age of 30.
  • He entered politics in 501 BC, becoming governor in his hometown and later the Minister of Crime.
  • Disappointed with political strife, Confucius left his position at 56 and traveled for 12 years seeking a leader who would adopt his ideas.
  • Confucius’s philosophical journey made him enemies, leading to a period of exile between 497 BC and 484 BC.
  • He taught over 3000 students, with 72 becoming recognized as wise men.
  • Confucianism, which stems from his teachings, is more a social system and ethical philosophy than a religion.
  • The Jesuits coined the term ‘Confucianism’ during their visits to China, not Confucius himself.
  • Confucianism’s symbol features elements like the Chinese characters for water and scholar, and the Yin Yang symbol.
  • His teachings promote living harmoniously in accordance with the “Way of Heaven.”
  • Confucianism’s six pillars include virtues like benevolence, honesty, righteousness, proper conduct, familial love, and loyalty.
  • Confucianism rituals cover life events from birth through death, each with specific practices and beliefs.
  • The philosophy spread to Japan, Korea, and Vietnam, influencing East Asia significantly.
  • Unlike monotheistic religions, Confucius focused on social redemption through personal virtue rather than personal redemption.
  • Confucian teachings historically imposed rigid roles for women, advocating obedience to male authority.
  • Communists in China once banned Confucian ceremonies, seeing his teachings as promoting social inequality.
  • Confucianism originated during the ‘Hundred Schools of Thought’ era, a golden age of Chinese philosophy.
  • The Temple of Confucius in Qufu is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the largest of its kind.
  • Confucius’s ideas were first introduced to Europeans in the 17th century by Jesuit missionaries.
  • Confucius was skeptical of democracy, doubting the common people’s capacity to choose effective leaders.
  • The oldest known Confucius painting was found in a Han dynasty tomb, 420 years after his death.

Top Questions about Confucius

Q: What principle did Confucius promote regarding the treatment of others?

A: Confucius championed the Silver Rule, which advises, “Do not do unto others what you do not want done to yourself.”

Q: What role did Confucius envision for the family unit in government?

A: Confucius believed a robust family unit was essential as the cornerstone for an ideal government, emphasizing filial piety and strong family loyalty.

Q: During which Chinese dynasties did Confucianism evolve into Neo-Confucianism and later into New Confucianism?

A: Confucianism developed into Neo-Confucianism during the Tang and Song dynasties and later evolved into New Confucianism.

Q: What major career position did Confucius hold in the state of Lu, and what did it signify?

A: Confucius served as the Minister of Crime in the state of Lu, marking a significant position where he could apply his principles of justice and proper conduct.

Q: How did Confucius contribute to the literary heritage of China?

A: Traditionally, Confucius is credited with having authored or edited many ancient texts, including all of the Five Classics, though modern scholars are cautious about attributing these texts directly to him.

Q: Why did Confucius leave the state of Lu in 497 BCE?

A: Confucius left Lu following his unsuccessful attempts to dismantle the fortified city walls of powerful families, leading to powerful opposition and necessitating his departure.

Q: What event caused Confucius to decide to leave Lu, despite previous provocations finally?

A: Confucius decided to leave Lu when the duke neglected to send him a portion of the sacrificial meat, a lesser slight that he used as a pretext to leave without embarrassing the duke publicly.

Q: Where is Confucius buried, and what unique features does his tomb possess?

A: Confucius is buried in Kong Lin cemetery in Qufu, Shandong. His tomb originally had the shape of an axe and features a raised brick platform for offerings.

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Chandan Negi
Chandan Negi

I’m the Founder of Internet Pillar - I love sharing quotes and motivational content to inspire and motivate people - #quotes #motivation #internetpillar