65 Chinese Proverbs To Make You Smart


The Chinese are known for having a great culture filled with wisdom of the ages, as well they are known to be one the oldest civilizations on Planet Earth that have maintained a true balance between Heaven and Earth. 

China is said to have more proverbs than anywhere else on Earth. The orgins of some are lost in the mists of time. Others appear to be related to comments by Confucius and other ancient sages. Some also appear elsewhere, such as in the form of Zen sayings extant in Japan. Most of those below are in the rendering of Chinese Proverbs from Olden Times, Peter Pauper Press, Mt. Vernon, N.Y. , 1956. Those marked with stars are proverbs that appear in the above book, but the form given here is my own rendering or a rendering or translation that I have come across elsewhere.
--Victor Daniels, 5-23-05  

  1. The swiftest horse can't overtake a word once spoken*
  2. Before telling secrets on the road, look in the bushes
  3. A bad word whispered echoes a hundred miles*
  4. In a flood of words, surely some mistakes*
  5. A sharp tongue or pen can kill without a knife*
  6. If the first words fail, ten thousand will then not avail
  7. Watching chess games in silence. . .a superior person*
  8. If you want no one to know, don't do it*
  9. If you want your dinner, don't insult the cook*
  10. Honest scales and full measure hurt no one*
  11. Divide an orange--it tastes just as good
  12. If you always give you will always have
  13. Better lean and good than fat and evil
  14. To build it took one hundred years; to destroy it one day
  15. To know the road ahead, ask those returning*
  16. To succeed, consult three old people
  17. If you hurry through long days, you will hurry through short years
  18. The ripest fruit falls by itself*
  19. Simple to open a shop; another thing to keep it open
  20. What you don't see, you don't desire*
  21. Neither fortunes nor flowers last forever*
  22. An inch of gold can't buy an inch of time
  23. Don't waste your hour--the sun sets soon
  24. Nurture the plant one year--ten days of flowers
  25. Slow work--fine work
  26. At birth we bring our nothing; at death we leave with the same*
  27. A king's riches cannot buy an extra year*
  28. Beat the drum inside the house to spare the neighbors
  29. Climb the mountains to see lowlands
  30. Laws control a lesser person; right conduct controls a greater one*
  31. Forget the favors given; remember those received
  32. A careful foot can step anywhere*
  33. Stare at the profit and step in the pitfall
  34. In bed be wife and husband, in the hall each other's honored guest
  35. To stop drinking, study a drunkard while you are sober
  36. If Heaven made someone, earth can find some use for them
  37. Without sorrows no one becomes a saint
  38. The pine stays green in winter. . . wisdom in hardship
  39. Three feet of ice were not frozen in a day*
  40. With virtue you can't be completely poor; without it you can't be truly rich*
  41. Determination tempers the sword of your character*
  42. Stout men, not stout walls, make the stout city
  43. To be heard afar, bang your gong on a hilltop
  44. Great doubts, deep wisdom. . . small doubts, little wisdom
  45. To know others, know yourself first*
  46. His virtues exceed his talents--a superior man *
  47. When the waters drop, the rocks appear*
  48. O eggs, don't fight with rocks*
  49. Easier to rule a nation than a child*
  50. To have principles first have courage
  51. Blame yourself as you blame others; forgive others as you forgive yourself
  52. The wise listens to her mind, the foolish to the mob*
  53. A whitewashed crow soon shows black again
  54. Watch over workers at their labors, not their meals*
  55. Many a good face under a ragged hat
  56. Dogs have no prejudice against the poor
  57. Tile tossed over the wall. . . who knows where it will fall?*
  58. No horse can wear two saddles *
  59. While you are bargaining, conceal your coin
  60. No guests at home, no hosts abroad
  61. "I heard" is good; "I saw" is better
  62. We can study until old age. . . and still not finish
  63. A good teacher. . . better than a barrowful of books
  64. Teachers open the door; you enter by yourself
  65. After the dance, the drums are always too heavy to carry.


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Tags: 65 Chinese Proverbs To Make You Smart, Best Chinese Proverbs, Words Of Wisdom, 65 Advices From The Wise, Chinese Culture, Confucius, Peter Pauper Press

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