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Chinese proverbs, quotes, and sayings about love and life

Nothing lost in translation here, you must read these Chinese proverbs ASAP!

Published on October 17, 2019 6:15 AM EST
Chinese proverbs, quotes, and sayings about love and life

If you’re looking for words of encouragement to help keep you on your path, these Chinese proverbs are exactly what you didn’t know you needed. Our collection of wise Chinese sayings about love and life are still as powerful today as they were in ancient times.

Chinese proverbs can be taken from literary works, social expressions, as well as sayings from both famous people and common folk.

Chinese proverbs, quotes, and sayings about love and life

It can be difficult to translate them, as most can seem funny or nonsensical at first (e.g. “The friendship of a gentleman is insipid as water.”).

But once you understand their true meaning, they can convey plenty of truth and wisdom.

We hope these Chinese proverbs and quotes help motivate you through some of life’s most demanding times.

Great Chinese proverbs about life and patience

1. “To believe in one’s dreams is to spend all of one’s life asleep.” – Chinese Proverb

Chinese proverbs, quotes, and sayings

2. “He who asks is a fool for five minutes, but he who does not ask remains a fool forever.” – Chinese Proverb

Chinese proverbs, quotes, and sayings

3. “If you are planning for a year, sow rice; if you are planning for a decade, plant trees; if you are planning for a lifetime, educate people.” – Chinese Proverb

Chinese proverbs, quotes, and sayings

4. “If your strength is small, don’t carry heavy burdens. If your words are worthless, don’t give advice.” – Chinese Proverb

Chinese proverbs, quotes, and sayings

5. “If you are patient in one moment of anger, you will escape a hundred days of sorrow.” – Chinese Proverb

Chinese proverbs, quotes, and sayings

6. “Man’s schemes are inferior to those made by heaven.” – Chinese Proverb

Chinese proverbs, quotes, and sayings

7. “A wise man makes his own decisions; an ignorant man follows the public opinion.” – Chinese Proverb

Chinese proverbs, quotes, and sayings

8. “Parents who are afraid to put their foot down usually have children who step on their toes.” – Chinese Proverb

Chinese proverbs, quotes, and sayings

9. “A diamond with a flaw is better than a common stone that is perfect.” – Chinese Proverb

Chinese proverbs, quotes, and sayings

10. “If you must play, decide upon three things at the start: the rules of the game, the stakes, and the quitting time.” – Chinese Proverb

Chinese proverbs, quotes, and sayings

Inspiring Chinese proverbs on learning and education

11. “A bird does not sing because it has an answer. It sings because it has a song.” – Chinese Proverb

Chinese proverbs on learning and education

12. “A bit of fragrance clings to the hand that gives flowers.” – Chinese Proverb

Chinese proverbs on learning and education

13. “A book holds a house of gold.” – Chinese Proverb

Chinese proverbs on learning and education

14. “A book is like a garden carried in the pocket.” – Chinese Proverb

Chinese proverbs on learning and education

15. “A child’s life is like a piece of paper on which every person leaves a mark.” – Chinese Proverb

Chinese proverbs on learning and education

16. “A filthy mouth will not utter decent language.” – Chinese Proverb

Chinese proverbs on learning and education

17. “A fool judges people by the presents they give him.” – Chinese Proverb

Chinese proverbs on learning and education

18. “A gem is not polished without rubbing, nor a man perfected without trials.” – Chinese Proverb

Chinese proverbs on learning and education

19. “A nation’s treasure is in its scholars.” – Chinese Proverb

Chinese proverbs on learning and education

20. “Be not afraid of growing slowly, be afraid only of standing still.” – Chinese Proverb

Chinese proverbs on learning and education

Chinese proverbs about friendship

21. “A man should choose a friend who is better than himself. There are plenty of acquaintances in the world; but very few real friends.” – Chinese Proverb

Chinese proverbs about friendship

22. “If you want happiness for an hour – take a nap. 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.” – Chinese Proverb

Chinese proverbs about friendship

23. “Do not confine your children to your own learning, for they were born in another time.” – Chinese Proverb

Chinese proverbs about friendship

24. “Pearls don’t lie on the seashore. If you want one, you must dive for it.” – Chinese Proverb

Chinese proverbs about friendship

25. “Teachers open the door but you must walk through it yourself.” – Chinese Proverb

Chinese proverbs about friendship

26. “The journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.” – Chinese Proverb

Chinese proverbs about friendship

27. “With true friends…even water drunk together is sweet enough.” – Chinese Proverb

Chinese proverbs about friendship

28. “If you stand straight, do not fear a crooked shadow.” – Chinese Proverb

Chinese proverbs about friendship

29. “Learning is a treasure that will follow its owner everywhere.” – Chinese Proverb

Chinese proverbs about learning

30. “Insanity is doing the same thing in the same way and expecting a different outcome.” – Chinese Proverb

Chinese proverbs about friendship

Famous Chinese proverbs about love

31. “Love is not about possession, it’s all about appreciation.” – Chinese Proverb

Famous Chinese proverbs about love

32. “After you’ is good manners.” – Chinese Proverb

Famous Chinese proverbs about love

33. “A friend to everybody is a friend to nobody. – Chinese Proverb

Famous Chinese proverbs about love

34. “Love at first sight. It’s generally used for people, but you can also use it for other physical objects.” – Chinese Proverb               

Famous Chinese proverbs about love

35. “Coming events cast their shadows before them.” – Chinese Proverb

Famous Chinese proverbs about life

36. “All things are difficult before they are easy.” – Chinese Proverb

Famous Chinese proverbs about life

37. “A straight foot is not afraid of a crooked shoe.” – Chinese Proverb

Famous Chinese proverbs about life

38. “A good book is a good friend.” – Chinese Proverb

Famous Chinese proverbs about books

39. “Time is money, and it is difficult for one to use money to get time.” – Chinese Proverb

Famous Chinese proverbs about money

40. “Opportunity knocks at the door only once.” – Chinese Proverb

Famous Chinese proverbs about life

Inspirational Chinese proverbs that will make you think

41. “Tell me and I’ll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I’ll understand.” – Chinese Proverb

inspirational Chinese proverbs that will make you think

42. “To forget one’s ancestors is to be a brook without a source, a tree without root.” – Chinese Proverb

inspirational Chinese proverbs that will make you think

43. “Make happy those who are near, and those who are far will come.” – Chinese Proverb

inspirational Chinese proverbs that will make you think

44. “Outside noisy, inside empty.” – Chinese Proverb

inspirational Chinese proverbs that will make you think

45. “To talk much and arrive nowhere is the same as climbing a tree to catch a fish.” – Chinese Proverb

inspirational Chinese proverbs that will make you think

46. “One generation plants the trees, and another gets the shade.” – Chinese Proverb

inspirational Chinese proverbs that will make you think

47. “There are many paths to the top of the mountain, but the view is always the same.” – Chinese Proverb

inspirational Chinese proverbs that will make you think

48. “He who depends on himself will attain the greatest happiness.” – Chinese Proverb

inspirational Chinese proverbs that will make you think

49. “If you don’t want anyone to know it, don’t do it.” – Chinese Proverb

inspirational Chinese proverbs that will make you think

50. “Be not disturbed at being misunderstood; be disturbed rather at not being understanding.” – Chinese Proverb

inspirational Chinese proverbs that will make you think

Wise Chinese proverbs

51. “A little impatience will spoil great plans.”  – Chinese Proverb

52. “Talk does not cook rice.”  – Chinese Proverb

53. “A man who cannot tolerate small misfortunes can never accomplish great things.” – Chinese Proverb

54. “Better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.” – Chinese Proverb

55. “If you want to find out about the road ahead, then ask about it from those coming back.” – Chinese Proverb

56. “One meal won’t make a fat man.” – Chinese Proverb

57. “Clothing is cherishable when new, but relationship when old.” – Chinese Proverb

58. “He will win who knows when to fight and when not to fight.” – Chinese Proverb

59. “Opportunity knocks at the door only once.” – Chinese Proverb

60. “Do not choose the one you don’t trust and trust the one you chose.” – Chinese Proverb

Other wise Chinese proverbs to inspire and teach

61. “All things change, and we change with them.” – Chinese Proverb

62. “There are two kinds of perfect people: those who are dead, and those who have not been born yet.” – Chinese Proverb

63. “He who cheats the earth will be cheated by the earth.” – Chinese Proverb

64. “A single conversation with a wise man is worth a month’s study of books.”- Chinese Proverb

65. “He who thinks too much about every step he takes will always stay on one leg.” – Chinese Proverb

66. “Listening well is as powerful as talking well, and is also as essential to true conversation.” – Chinese Proverb

67. “Genius can be recognized by its childish simplicity.” – Chinese Proverb

68. “Even a hare will bite when it is cornered.” – Chinese Proverb

69. “Your teacher can open the door, but you must enter by yourself.”- Chinese Proverb

70. “Distant water does not put out a nearby fire.” – Chinese Proverb

71. “A closed mind is like a closed book; just a block of wood.” – Chinese Proverb

72. “Distance tests a horse’s strength. Time reveals a person’s character.” – Chinese Proverb

73. “Better the cottage where one is merry than the palace where one weeps.” – Chinese Proverb

74. “Do not afraid of moving slowly. Be afraid of standing still.”- Chinese Proverb

75. “The temptation to quit will be greatest just before you are about to succeed.”- Chinese Proverb

Did you enjoy these wise Chinese proverbs?

Just because cultures vary, doesn’t mean we can’t learn from one another. The Chinese have centuries of wisdom gleaned from greats, such as Confucius and Sun Yat-sen.

They also have an interesting take on things – and it is this difference in perspective that makes discovering these Chinese proverbs all the more fascinating.

If you liked them, don’t forget to share on social media!

3 Comments
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3 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Nicola

    June 18, 2019 at 12:46 AM

    Is there an equivalent proverb to: “too many chiefs and not enough Indians”
    in Chinese?

  2. Avatar

    Damien Thomas

    January 22, 2019 at 12:36 PM

    These are a great collection of Chinese Proverbs. Thank you Jeffrey.

  3. Avatar

    gopalkrishna bk

    December 24, 2018 at 12:49 PM

    Really chinese proverbs are more impressive and more practical in life.

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