List of Chinese Philosophical Proverbs

~ Mansions in the Mountain by Tung Yuan

  1. Present to the eye, present to the mind.
  2. Misfortune comes to all men and most women.
  3. Misfortune is not that which can be avoided, but that which cannot.
  4. Poor by condition, rich by ambition.
  5. When a man is angry, he cannot be in the right.
  6. Sin is the root of sorrow.
  7. Pretty face, poor fate.
  8. Shame fades in the morning, but debts remain from day to day.
  9. Preserve the old, but know the new.
  10. When you go to buy, don’t show your silver.
  11. Keep company with good men, and good men you’ll imitate; keep company with beggars, and sleep outside some gate.
  12. Never be boastful; someone may pass who knew you as a child.
  13. Men whose consciences are clear, of a knock at midnight have no fear.
  14. Though stone were changed to gold, the heart of man would not be satisfied.
  15. Vast chasms can be filled, but the heart of man never.
  16. He that is afraid to shake the dice will never throw a six.
  17. If you do not enter a tiger’s den, you cannot get his cubs.
  18. Look upon death as a going home.
  19. Words are mere bubbles of water, but deeds are drops of gold.
  20. One good deed atones for a thousand bad ones.
  21. To see a man do a good deed is to forget all his faults.
  22. Slander cannot make a good man bad; when the water recedes the stone is still there.
  23. The slanderer kills a thousand times, the assassin but once.
  24. The wise forget insults, as the ungrateful kindness.
  25. Drunkenness does not produce faults, it discovers them.
  26. Wine does not intoxicate men: men intoxicate themselves.
  27. The best cure for drunkenness is while sober to see a drunken man.
  28. There are pictures in poems and poems in pictures.
  29. Whom Heaven at his birth has endowed as a fool, ‘tis a waste of instruction to teach.
  30. Forethought is easy, repentance hard.
  31. Riches adorn the dwelling; virtue adorns the person.
  32. There is no poverty where there is virtue, no riches where virtue is not.
  33. There are two good men: one dead, the other unborn.
  34. Good men suffer much.
  35. What is told in the ear of a man is often heard a hundred miles away.
  36. Whispered words are heard afar.
  37. Do not forget little kindnesses and do not remember small faults.
  38. When you drink from the stream, remember the spring.
  39. A truly great man never puts away the simplicity of a child.
  40. He who leaves his house in search of happiness pursues a shadow.
  41. With happiness comes intelligence to the heart.
  42. One joy scatters a hundred griefs.
  43. Happiness is not a horse, you cannot harness it.
  44. A hasty man drinks his tea with a fork.
  45. A constant guest is never welcome.
  46. Long visits bring short compliments.
  47. A hungry man is glad to get boiled wheat.
  48. If you want to see black-hearted people, look among those who never miss their prayers.
  49. Ignorance is the night of the mind.
  50. Learning is a treasure which accompanies its owner everywhere.
  51. Poverty is the common fate of scholars.
  52. Lending is like throwing away; being paid is like finding something.
  53. Man’s life is like a candle in the wind, or hoar-frost on the tiles.
  54. When the wagon of fortune goes well, spite and envy hang on to the wheels.
  55. Of the myriad of vices lust is the worst.
  56. A wife is sought for her virtue, a concubine for her beauty.
  57. An ugly wife and a lean piece of ground protect the house.
  58. A mind enlightened is like heaven; a mind in darkness is like hell.
  59. It is good to be neither too high nor too low.
  60. Man dies and leaves a name; the tiger dies and leaves a skin.
  61. It is better to have no son than one who is a soldier.
  62. When the sun sets, the moon rises; when the moon sets, the sun rises.
  63. The old oyster produces a pearl.
  64. Patience is the knot which secures the seam of victory.
  65. With patience the mulberry leaf becomes a silk gown.
  66. A little impatience will spoil great plans.
  67. A bird in the soup is better than an eagle’s nest in the desert.
  68. The poorer one is, the more devils one meet.
  69. The rich spends his money, the poor man his strength.
  70. The sorrows of the rich are not real sorrows; the comforts of the poor are not real comforts.
  71. Be patient in poverty and you may become rich.
  72. Repentance is the loveliest of virtues.
  73. Even the Son of Heaven has his poor relations.
  74. Heaven and hell are within the heart.
  75. Adapt the remedy to the disease.
  76. Every task is easy to a resolute man
  77. When one falls, it is not one’s foot that is to blame.
  78. When the king makes a mistake, all the people suffer.
  79. Plan the whole year in the spring.
  80. Who know himself knows others.
  81. Silence is of the Gods.
  82. When troubles are few, dreams are few.
  83. Sorrow is born of excessive joy.
  84. An inch of gold will not buy an inch of time.
  85. For the busy man time passes quickly.
  86. This morning know not this evening’s happening.
  87. Though the left hand conquers the right, no advantage is gained.
  88. Riches take away more pleasures than they give.
  89. Wealth infatuates as much as beauty.
  90. To bow the body is easy, to bow the will is hard.
  91. Wise is the man who has two loaves, and sells one to buy a lily.
  92. You cannot open a book without learning something.
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  1. […] LIST OF CHINESE PHILOSOPHICAL PROVERBS […]

  2. […] many thoughts and ideas that are central to the Chinese way of living. Chinese proverbs like, ‘It is good to be neither too high nor too low’ comes from the Taoist believe of avoiding extremes (in case of […]



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