Will and Guy have continued their research into Chinese proverbs. It
is a worthwhile task and we have learned that the Chinese people use
proverbs, old and new to carry out specific functions within the
culture. This, in itself, is not unusual and many ancient cultures from
the Egyptians, Greeks and Romans up to the present day utilise myths,
proverbs and legends to educate. For example:
The ancient Chinese used proverbs to teach their children good
manners and to help them learn the proper way of doing things.
Proverbs were also used to encourage people to think about
things in the right way, which was very Taoist.
Proverbs were also used to help each person become the best
person they could be.
Layered Chinese Proverbs
Chinese proverbs are "layered". The superficial message becomes
apparent immediately. But as one re-reads, one discovers deeper meaning. Our examples may help to explain why Chinese philosophers are seen as a
source of great wisdom.
A book is like a garden carried in the pocket.
An ant may well destroy a whole dam.
Be not afraid of growing slowly, be afraid only of standing
Behind an able man there are always other able men.
Better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.
A book holds a house of gold.
A clear conscience never fears midnight knocking.
A closed mind is like a closed book; just a block of wood.
Do not want others to know what you have done? Better not have
done it anyways.
A bird does not sing because it has an answer. It sings because
it has a song.
A dog won't forsake his master because of his poverty; a son
never deserts his mother for her homely appearance.
Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without one.
Ten Further Examples of the Best Chinese Proverbs - With Their Meaning Included:
Perspective - The participant's perspectives are clouded while
the bystander's views are clear.
Patience - Pluck the flower when it is ready to be picked.
Courage - If you don't go into the cave of the tiger, how are
you going to get its cub?
Tradition - Follow the local custom when you go to a foreign
Nature - It is impossible to change your basic characteristics.
Wisdom - Once bitten by a snake, you are even frightened by a
rope that resembles a snake.
Perspective - Your neighbour's wife looks prettier than your
Life - When you go up to the mountain too often, you will
eventually encounter the tiger.
Nature - Elephant tusks cannot grow out of a dog's mouth.
Nature - When the tiger comes down from the mountain to the
plains, it is bullied by the dogs.
Chinese Names for China
A common Mandarin name for China is Zhonghua, which means central
state; you may also see China refered to as, Jiuzhou Huaxia, or
Shenzhou. Some people say that china, with a small 'c', means toilet.
Will and Guy's Top Ten
Quotations from Confucius [551-479 BC]
We like these sayings, not only because they were meaningful in
ancient times, but because they still have significance for us all today.
Here are our best ancient Chinese proverbs:
Study without reflection is a waste of time.
study is dangerous.
A man who has committed a mistake, and doesn't correct it, is
committing another mistake.
When anger arises, think of the consequences.
Words are the voice of the heart.
Silence is a true friend who never betrays.
Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every
time we fall.
When prosperity comes, do not use all of it.
He that would perfect his work must first sharpen his tools.
To know what is right and not to do it is the worst cowardice.
Everything has beauty but not everyone sees it.
Rude and Funny Chinese Proverbs
Many of the earlier proverbs to be found on this page are serious and
have deeper meanings. In this short section we supply a number of silly,
occasionally rude, funny, amusing and downright stupid "Chinese" sayings
which you might laugh at. Our true reason for publishing these crude proverbs is to stimulate
discussion; Will and Guy seek to get an insight into the best of Chinese humour.
English humour has its fair share of rude and crude humour, yet as this
site demonstrates, English also has the capacity for humour based on
puns featuring words with similar sounds but different meanings.
An another rich source of English humour comes from our willingness to
laugh at ourselves through understatement, satire or irony. Does Chinese humour centre around bodily functions? Or are
there also deeper more subtle elements that have got lost in the
translations that we see in "Chinese Proverbs"? We hope that even though our Auntie
disapproves, that you our readers are not offended by these Chinese
Man who run behind car get exhausted.
Man who run in front of car get tired.
Man who walk through airport turnstile sideways going to
Man with one chopstick go hungry.
Man who scratch bottom should not bite fingernails.
Man who eat many prunes get good run for money.
War does not determine who is right, war determine who is left.
Wife who put husband in doghouse, soon find him in cat house.
Man who fight with wife all day get no piece at night.
Man who drive like hell, bound to get there.
Man who stand on toilet is high on pot.
Man who live in glass house should change clothes in basement.
Man who pass wind in church sit in own pew.
Crowded elevator smell different to midget.
Section of Intresting Chinese Proverbs
Chinese Proverbs: Family
A family in harmony will prosper in everything.
A good husband
makes a good wife.
A good wife and health are man's best wealth.
family with an old person has a living treasure of gold.
couples who love each other tell each other a thousand things without
With a good wife, the husband won't get in trouble; a bad
wife is worse than a dog.
The parental love for children is lengthy
like the stream, but the children only think of the parents like the
wind on the edge of a tree.
Chinese Proverbs: Friendship
Friendship is not just an experience but a responsibility.
You can hardly make a friend in a year, but you can easily
offend one in an hour.
It is much easier to earn a lot of money than to find a bosom
A hedge between keeps friendship green.
A joke never gains
an enemy but loses a friend.
A friend is easier lost than found.
friend is never known till a man has need.
A life without a friend is
a life without sun.
Friendship is like wine - the older the better.
At home one relies on parents; away from home one relies on friends.
Friendship multiplies joys, and divides sorrow
With clothes the new
are best; with friends the old are best.
A thousand cups of wine do
not suffice when true friends meet, but half a sentence is too much when
there is no meeting of minds.
Do not remove a fly from your friend's
forehead with a hatchet.
Chinese Proverbs for Business
Many Chinese proverbs relate to people's business and career. In Helping Others You Help Yourself If you want happiness for a
day - go fishing.
If you want happiness for a month - get married. If you
want happiness for a year - inherit a fortune.
If you want happiness for
a lifetime - help someone else. In every crisis, there is opportunity. (Classic Chinese idea) Most entrepreneurial ventures arise from solving a problem. If you are
faced with a problem, craft a solution and sell that solution to others. Sow a thought, reap an action; sow an action, reap a habit; sow a habit,
reap a character; sow a character, reap a destiny. You craft your
destiny with your actions, habits and character. You make your destiny,
it doesn't make you. A fly before his own eye is bigger than an
elephant in the next field When you focus only on the opportunities
that are right in front of you, you might miss the larger ones that take
effort to find. Failing to plan is planning to fail Easy to run
downhill, much puffing to run up. It's easy to run a business when the
going is good, but the true test of an entrepreneur is how he or she
behaves when faced with challenges. To open a shop is easy, to keep
it open is an art.
Chinese Proverbs Love
Love is said to be a virtue representing
all of human kindness, compassion, and affection.
A life with love is
happy; a life for love is foolish.
Happiness is something to do,
something to love, something to hope for.
Love and attention make all
Love for a person must extend to the crows on his roof.
Love itself is calm; turbulence arrives from individuals.
dinner of herbs where love is, than a stalled ox and hatred therewith.
A flower cannot blossom without sunshine nor a garden without love.
Love is an eye that doesn't see anything.
Love has its tides; before
ebb tide you must take advantage of the flood.
Love is of all
passions the strongest, for it attacks simultaneously the head, the
heart and the senses.
An old man in love is like a flower in winter.
Lover's hearts are linked together and always beat as one.
Chinese Proverbs Happiness
Happiness is what we are always looking for. Without happiness
everything else has no use.
If you are not a fish, how can you know
if the fish are happy?
Happy people never count hours as they pass.
Happy is the man who knows he's happy.
Happiness is like a sunbeam,
which the least shadow intercepts, while adversity is often as the rain
in the spring.
One happiness scatters a thousand sorrows.
able to curse once a day improves happiness and lengthens life.
can never be happy at the expense of the happiness of others.
are patient in one moment of anger, you will escape a hundred days of
Make happy those who are near, and those who are far will
Footnote Please send us funny Chinese proverbs.
We are also interested in other aspects of Chinese humour.
See More About the Chinese New Year Calendar, also Jokes and