Chinese Proverbs and Sayings

China takes great pride in her literary heritage. As one of the world's oldest civilizations, it was home to many of the best and most renowned philosophers and poets. These sages left behind wise sayings and aphorisms that helped form the foundation of Chinese thinking. Explore the meanings of these Chinese proverbs and sayings.

"The ability to listen well is as just powerful as the ability to talk well. Each is ineffectual without the other."

"When we see persons of worth, we should think of equaling them; when we see persons of a contrary character, we should turn inwards and examine ourselves."

"A rare gemstone is no more than a worthless stone, until it has been polished and properly engraved."

"If the child is uneducated, the dad is to blame. If the child is spoiled, the mom is to blame."

"As vicious as the tigers, they don't eat their own cubs. No parents should ever mistreat their children."

"You won't catch the cubs without venturing into the tiger's den. You won't gain riches without taking great risks."

"If you know your enemies and know yourself, you will win every battle and achieve every objective. If you only know yourself, you will win some battles and clear some objectives. If you neither know yourself nor your enemies, you will always lose."

"Wealth tends to pass through three generations. The first generation creates the wealth; the second lives off it; the third squanders it."

"Do the difficult things while they are easy and do the great things while they are small. A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step."

"When planning for a year, plant corn. When planning for a decade, plant trees. When planning for life, train and educate people. We should start training and educating people right away!"

"You hear and you will forget; you see and you will remember; you do and you will understand."

"When you are in the same boat, the only way to cross the river is to work cooperatively."

"Ten thousand lives will likely be lost before a war general achieves his fame."