Friday, April 9

Chinese Proverbs & Chinese Sayings

Chinese Proverbs

A lot of people have been asking me why I haven't posted ancient Chinese proverbs lately, especailly after posting about the journey of a thousand miles . So here are some of my favorite Chinese proverbs.

A bird does not sing because it has an answer; but because it has a song

My thoughts on it can be answered with the not-so-popular,

Not everything that's doable is worth doing; but whatever is done must be done well

Actually, I made up this and other nice proverbs from other Chinese proverbs. Nevertheless, let us not forget that,

He who cannot but does is better than he who can but won't

At the beginning of a new phase in my life, I take comfort in knowing that,

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

It was pointed out last week that because a journey of a thousand miles does begin with the first step, we must watch our step! Remember also that

When ten hours is given you to cut down a tree, spend the first eight sharpening your ax.

Again, not from real Chinese Proverbs, but a good thought nontheless. On a more realistic note, since this collection of Chinese Proverbs is so popular, let me post a few legit Chinese Proverbs:
  • When you drink the water, remember the spring

  • Keep your broken arm inside your sleeve

  • He who strikes the first blow admits he's lost the argument

  • Do not remove a fly from your friend's forehead with a hatchet

  • If you don't want anyone to know, don't do it

  • An ant may well destroy a whole dam

  • Don't use a cannon to kill a mosquito

  • Dismantle the bridge shortly after crossing it

  • Dream different dreams while on the same bed

  • Do not employ handsome servants

  • Crows everywhere are equally black

  • To believe in one's dreams is to spend all of one's life asleep

  • He who treads softly goes far

The journey is the reward

In sharing Chinese Proverbs I like the philosophy they help us keep in perspective. A wise student of Chinese proverbs ponders them but remembers them. Here are a few that I've heard around the office this week:
  • Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime

  • A wise man makes his own decisions, an ignorant man follows the public opinion

  • Learning is a treasure that will follow its owner everywhere

  • A hundred men may make an encampment, but it takes a woman to make a home

  • A truly great man never puts away the simplicity of a child

  • One step at a time is good walking

  • To be uncertain is to be uncomfortable, but to be certain is to be ridiculous

  • Have a mouth as sharp as a dagger but a heart as soft as tofu

  • Once on a tiger's back, it is hard to alight

  • Shed no tears until seeing the coffin

  • Waiting for a rabbit to hit upon a tree and be killed in order to catch it

  • Only when all contribute their firewood can they build up a strong fire

Chinese Pagoda


  1. I really like your new face... i'm impressed

  2. That's what we wanna hear... Like the old Chinese Proverbs say, "If your designer friend never says he's impressed by your designs, pay him to tell you he is." Gotta love those profound chinese proverbs...

  3. Here's a good Chinese Proverb: He who watches Lost is cool...

  4. nice post, very useful, i want copy it and repost with active link of post on this blog, thanks much