Favourites on Friday - Eastern Philosophy Quotes: Mencius

Following on from the great Confucius, we have one of the principal interpreters of Confucianism, Mencius, who is also known by his birth name, Meng Ke (or Meng Ko).  

A Chinese philosopher and sage, he travelled China, like Confucius before him, offering advice to rulers in the hopes they would reform.  Unlike Confucius, Mencius focussed more on human nature, especially the inherent goodness of the individual; he believed a person was not born with bad moral character, but developed it because of society’s failure to provide a positive cultivating influence.

‘Kindly words do not enter so deeply into men as a reputation for kindness’

‘The way of learning is none other than finding the lost mind’

Oct 2009 - Tank Museum

‘Friends are the siblings God never gave us’

‘He who exerts his mind to the utmost knows his nature’

Oct 2009 - Tank Museum

‘Let men decide firmly what they will not do, and they will be free to do vigorously what they ought to do’

‘The root of the kingdom is in the state.  The root of the state is in the family.  The root of the family is in the person of its head’

‘The people are the most important element in a nation; the spirits of the land and grain are the next; the sovereign is the least’

‘Let not a man do what his sense of right bids him not to do, nor desire what it forbids him to desire.  This is sufficient.  The skilful artist will not alter his measures for the sake of a stupid workman’

‘Evil exists to glorify the good.  Evil is negative good.  It is a relative term.  Evil can be transmuted into good.  What is evil to one at one time, becomes good at another time to somebody else’

‘… I like life, and I also like righteousness.  If I cannot keep the two together, I will let life go, and choose righteousness’