Analects of Confucius Book 7: Confucius on himself

Analects Book 7 features a wealth of quotes from Confucius on himself that give us a deeper appreciation of his passion for learning and teaching. He was a man who could always see room for improvement no matter how much progress he made along the path of self-cultivation.


“Failure to nurture my virtue, failure to discuss what I have learned, failure to follow what I know to be right, and failure to correct my faults: these are the worries that plague me.”

“I have never refused to teach anyone who has asked me to, even if they were too poor to offer no more than a token offering of a bundle of dried meat for their tuition.”

“I instruct only the passionate. I enlighten only the fervent. If a student cannot return with the other three corners of the square after I have shown them the first one, I will not repeat the lesson.”

“If wealth were worth pursuing, I’d go after it even if it meant working as a lowly official. But since it isn’t, I prefer to pursue what I love.”

“Even if you have only coarse grain to eat, water to drink, and your bent elbow to use as a pillow, you can still find joy in these things. But wealth and honors obtained by improper means are like passing clouds to me.”

“If I were given a few more years, I would devote fifty to the study of the Book of Changes so that I may be free from serious mistakes.”

“I wasn’t born with innate knowledge. I simply love the past and am assiduous in seeking it there.”

“Let me take a stroll with any two people, and I can always be sure of learning something from them. I can take their good points and emulate them, and I can take their bad points and correct them in myself.”

“Although my commitment is as strong as anyone’s when it comes to cultural knowledge and refinement, I haven’t yet hit the target of becoming a true leader in how I conduct myself.”

“How could I possibly dare to claim that I’m a man of great wisdom and goodness? All that can be said of me is that I never grow weary of learning and never get tired of teaching others.”

Book 7, Chapter 3
Book 7, Chapter 7
Book 7, Chapter 8
Book 7, Chapter 11
Book 7, Chapter 15
Book 7, Chapter 16
Book 7, Chapter 19
Book 7, Chapter 21
Book 7, Chapter 32
Book 7, Chapter 33

I took this image at the Beijing Confucius Temple.




I live in Taiwan and am interested in exploring what ancient Chinese philosophy can tell us about technology and the rise of modern China.

Love podcasts or audiobooks? Learn on the go with our new app.

Recommended from Medium

How to Tame Your Inner Critic and Make it Work for You

Who hid your mojo?

What I learnt this week: There’s nothing to fear but fear itself

Motivational Videos — A Daily Dose?

How Covid Changed my life from “Stupidity to Logic”.

I have been studying the power of the mind for the last thirteen years heavily but have been using…


Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Richard Brown

Richard Brown

I live in Taiwan and am interested in exploring what ancient Chinese philosophy can tell us about technology and the rise of modern China.

More from Medium

Analects of Confucius Book 2: resources

Biotech: The Superman of the Fashion Industry

The Root of Us All; Stem Cells

Living in a Third-Culture