Xun Zi Quotes (38 Quotes)


    Human nature refers to what is in people but which they cannot study or work at achieving.

    Music is a fantastic peacekeeper of the world, it is integral to harmony, and it is a required fundamental of human emotion.

    If what the heart approves conforms to proper patterns, then even if one's desires are many, what harm would they be to good order?

    There are successful scholars, public-spirited scholars, upright scholars, cautious scholars, and those who are merely petty men.

    When you locate good in yourself, approve of it with determination. When you locate evil in yourself, despise it as something detestable.


    Sacrifices are concerned with the feelings of devotion and longing.

    If the impulse to daring and bravery is too fierce and violent, stay it with guidance and instruction.

    The rigid cause themselves to be broken; the pliable cause themselves to be bound.

    Since the nature of people is bad, to become corrected they must be taught by teachers and to be orderly they must acquire ritual and moral principles.

    When you concentrate on agriculture and industry and are frugal in expenditures, Heaven cannot impoverish your state.

    When a man sees something desirable, he must reflect on the fact that with time it could come to involve what is detestable. When he sees something that is beneficial, he should reflect that sooner or later it, too, could come to involve harm.

    The person attempting to travel two roads at once will get nowhere.

    Pride and excess bring disaster for man.

    In order to properly understand the big picture, everyone should fear becoming mentally clouded and obsessed with one small section of truth.

    If the blood humor is too strong and robust, calm it with balance and harmony.

    Thus, anybody who follows this nature and gives way its states will be led into quarrels and conflicts, and go against the conventions and rules of society, and will end up a criminal.

    Mencius said that human nature is good. I disagree with that.

    Human nature is evil, and goodness is caused by intentional activity.

    In antiquity the sage kings recognized that men's nature is bad and that their tendencies were not being corrected and their lawlessness controlled.

    The petty man is eager to make boasts, yet desires that others should believe in him. He enthusiastically engages in deception, yet wants others to have affection for him. He conducts himself like an animal, yet wants others to think well of him.

    The coming of honor or disgrace must be a reflection of one's inner power.

    Those whose character is mean and vicious will rouse others to animosity against them.

    Whether the gentleman is capable or not, he is loved all the same; conversely the petty man is loathed all the same.

    Human nature is what Heaven supplies.

    If knowledge and foresight are too penetrating and deep, unify them with ease and sincerity.

    I once tried thinking for an entire day, but I found it less valuable than one moment of study.

    When people lack teachers, their tendencies are not corrected; when they do not have ritual and moral principles, then their lawlessness is not controlled.

    Now it is human nature to want to eat to ones fill when hungry, to want to warm up when cold, to want to rest when tired. These all are a part of people's emotional nature.

    Quarreling over food and drink, having neither scruples nor shame, not knowing right from wrong, not trying to avoid death or injury, not fearful of greater strength or of greater numbers, greedily aware only of food and drink - such is the bravery of the dog and boar.

    Thus, that one can find no place to walk through the breadth of the earth is not because the earth is not tranquil but because the danger to every step of the traveler lies generally with words.


    More Xun Zi Quotations (Based on Topics)


    Nature - Man - People - Education - Crime - Emotions - Custom & Convention - Courage - Society & Civilization - Principle - Harmony - Hospitality - Sense & Perception - Hatred - Power - Contemplation - Food - Obedience - Animals - View All Xun Zi Quotations

    Related Authors


    Lao Tzu - Jean-Paul Sartre - Heraclitus - Friedrich Nietzsche - Confucius - Mencius - John Dewey - Guru Nanak - Democritus - Blaise Pascal


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