35 Ancient Chinese Proverbs and Quotes on Love, Life, Wisdom, Knowledge and Success

Updated: June 13, 2021 / Home » Quotes [ Lesson for Life ]

Known as the only surviving ancient civilization, the Chinese society is the only surviving culture from the ancient times unlike her peers such as Egyptian and Romans, where modern Egyptian and Roman no longer speak or follow their ancient customs and language. As the saying goes, wisdom does not come with age. Simply being the oldest and only surviving civilization does not mean a thriving civilization now and forever. Ironically, it is the newer civilization or countries such as England, America, Germany, Israel and others that are leading the world in language, culture, technology and science.

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Having said that, all civilizations contributed something to today’s modern world. Some more, some less. No such thing as if it wasn’t for the contribution of X civilization, today’s modern world would not have existed, it is a collective effort by all civilizations. Without further ado, here are 35 Chinese proverbs, quotes and sayings.

Your teacher can open the door, but you must enter by yourself.
Your teacher can open the door, but you must enter by yourself.

Better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.
Better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.

Distance tests a horse's strength. Time reveals a person's character.
Distance tests a horse’s strength. Time reveals a person’s character.

Give me a fish and I eat for a day. Teach me to fish and I eat for a lifetime.
Give me a fish and I will eat for a day. Teach me to fish and I eat for a lifetime.

If you plan for one year, plant rice. If you plan for ten years, plant trees, If you  plan for 100 years, educate mankind.
If you plan for one year, plant rice. If you plan for ten years, plant trees, If you plan for 100 years, educate mankind.

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A single conversation with a wise man is worth a month's study of books.
A single conversation with a wise man is worth a month’s study of books.

When you say one thing, the clever person understands three.
When you say one thing, the clever person understands three.

The temptation to quit will be greatest just before you are about to succeed.
The temptation to quit will be greatest just before you are about to succeed.

Silence is a source of great strength.
Silence is a source of great strength.

If you survived a storm, you won't be bothered by the rain.
If you survived a storm, you won’t be bothered by the rain.

When anger arises, think of the consequences.
When anger arises, think of the consequences.

The glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time you fall.
The glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time you fall.

Do not impose others what yourself do not desire.
Do not impose others what yourself do not desire.

Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life.
Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life.

A wise man makes his own decisions. An ignorant man follows public opinion.
A wise man makes his own decisions. An ignorant man follows public opinion.

Do not afraid of moving slowly. Be afraid of standing still.
Do not afraid of moving slowly. Be afraid of standing still.

Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are.
Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are.

The best fighter is never angry.
The best fighter is never angry.

Giving your son a skill is better than giving him one thousand pieces of gold.
Giving your son a skill is better than giving him one thousand pieces of gold.

If your mind is strong, all difficult things will become easy. If your mind is weak, all easy things will become difficult.
If your mind is strong, all difficult things will become easy. If your mind is weak, all easy things will become difficult.

A journey of a thousand miles begin with a single step.
A journey of a thousand miles begin with a single step.

Tell me and I'll forget. Show me and I may remember. Involves me and I'll understand.
Tell me and I’ll forget. Show me and I may remember. Involves me and I’ll understand.

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The person who removes a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.
The person who removes a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.

The person who says something is impossible should not interrupt the person who is doing it.
The person who says something is impossible should not interrupt the person who is doing it.

The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.
The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.

When the winds of change blows, some people build walls and others build windmills.
When the winds of change blows, some people build walls and others build windmills.

he who asks is a fool for 5 minutes, but he who does not ask remains a fool forever.
he who asks is a fool for 5 minutes, but he who does not ask remains a fool forever.

Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.
Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.

A man who chases two rabbits catches neither.
A man who chases two rabbits catches neither.

He will win who knows when to fight and when not to fight.
He will win who knows when to fight and when not to fight.

Don't fear the enemy that attacks you, but the fake friend that hugs you.
Don’t fear the enemy that attacks you, but the fake friend that hugs you.

he who returns from a journey is not the same as he who left.
he who returns from a journey is not the same as he who left.

Opportunities don't just happen, you create them.
Opportunities don’t just happen, you create them.

Failure is not falling down but refusing to get up.
Failure is not falling down but refusing to get up.

You discover who you are by acting naturally.
You discover who you are by acting naturally.

12 Comments

  1. Gravatar
    YiJiun [ Reply ]

    As the saying goes, wisdom does not come with age. Neither does it come with arrogance. :)

    There’s this Chinese saying, “学好三年,学坏三天”, meaning that it takes 3 years of good harvests to fill granaries but just 3 days of downpour to flood them. As the Chinese goes, “If you survived a Storm, you won’t be bothered by the Rain.”

    Why has the Chinese Civilization been relatively versatile:
    “The Glory is NOT in NEVER FALLING, but in Rising EVERYTIME you FALL.”
    “Failure is NOT FALLING DOWN, but REFUSING to Get UP.”

    In Darwinian Theory of Evolution, “Survival of the FITTEST” is translated into Chinese as “Survival of the ADAPTABLE”.

    To quote Isaac Newton, the icon of the Renaissance Age, knew all too well: “If I have seen Further than others, it is by standing upon the Shoulders of GIANTS.” :)

  2. Gravatar
    YiJiun [ Reply ]

    Meaningful quotes with nicely designed backgrounds though I would like to point out a minor area for improvement: “Tell me and I’ll forget. Show me and I may remember. me and I’ll understand.” :)

  3. Gravatar
    Sabastine Anieke [ Reply ]

    if u want to understand the importance of Confucius in Chinese history, The Emperor’s Tomb can provide a little answer

  4. Gravatar
    hussein paul [ Reply ]

    it wonderful going through this quotes

  5. Gravatar
    CMA Subhash A. Karmarkar, India [ Reply ]

    Superb universal wisdom through Chinese quotes.

    Loved the nice selection of quotes & their beautiful artistic presentation

    Thank you for the quality efforts put in.

  6. Gravatar

    The wise will understand the meaning of each and every quote, the deep meaning behind every line.

  7. Gravatar

    Love the font that you’re using. What is the font?

  8. Gravatar
    bassam [ Reply ]

    I didn’t know that Israel was a leading country in science.

  9. Gravatar
    Vimal Dixit [ Reply ]

    Great Insights as seen in Indian proverbs.

  10. Gravatar
    meshva patel [ Reply ]

    wonderful quotes just loved it AMAZING

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