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Xun Kuang Quotes


Xun Kuang Xun Kuang was one of the great Chinese ancient philosophers whose interpretation of Confucianism is still as read and respected today as it was more than two millennia ago. His lifes work has been compiled into a series of books collectively known as The Xunzi and many people actually refer to him by name as Xunzi. The concept of his philosophy is known as 'The Way' and although it is often described as a path or a road it is actually more of a life philosophy detailing the way to do things or the way to live or the right way for a person to act regardless of what adversity is being faced. He lived in a period of war and unrest that saw the fall of the Zhou dynasty and the constant friction of both political and physical war led him to believe that human nature when left unchecked by balanced rationality is capable of evil deeds to further their own ambitions. His thinking rationalised nature by taking god or heaven out of the equation, he is quoted in Xunzi as saying; "You pray for rain and it rains. Why? For no particular reason, I say. It is just as though you had not prayed for rain and it rained anyway". It's meaning is that when it rains after you pray for rain, it is just like when it rains when you didn't pray for it, however government officials must still encourage praying for rain during a drought because of the psychological effect it has on the people, hope still has to be fuelled by something. The famous quotation "Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn" is often attributed to Benjamin Franklin but depending upon the translation to English its first recorded use was in The Xunzi by Xun Kuang. His philosophy was all about moral guidance and ritual, it was to train people to constantly practice good habits because they will eventually yield good results. Great ancient philosophers are my favourites for quotes because of the eternal wisdom they propagate so here is my compilation of 15 of the best Xun Kuang quotes.
  • Mini Bio
  • Name: Kuang Xun
  • Born: 310bc, State of Zhao, China
  • Died: 220bc, State of Chu, China
  • Alma mater: Hundred Schools of Thought, Qi state
  • Occupation: Confucian philosopher and government administrator
  • Famous for: His collection of books known as Xunzi
  • Controversy: His diametric opposing view to the Mencius school of thought that believed human nature is good as Xun Kuang believed that human nature is inherently bad if not guided to follow the right Way
  • Influenced by: Confucius
  • Trivia: In 240bc he accepted the role of magistrate of Lanling after being appointed by Lord Chunshen who was a great believer in his teachings. Two years later Lord Chunshen was assassinated and Xun Kuang lost his position meaning he was unable to see the results of the changes he was making

"The person attempting to travel two roads at once will get nowhere"

Xun Kuang

"A person is born with feelings of envy and hate. If he gives way to them, they will lead him to violence and crime, and any sense of loyalty and good faith will be abandoned"

Xun Kuang

"In order to properly understand the big picture, everyone should fear becoming mentally clouded and obsessed with one small section of truth"

Xun Kuang

"Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn"

Xun Kuang

"Music is a fantastic peacekeeper of the world, it is integral to harmony, and it is a required fundamental of human emotion"

Xun Kuang

"If there is no dull and determined effort, there will be no brilliant achievement"

Xun Kuang

"If you want to have a better life, educate yourself and think carefully about the consequences of your actions"

Xun Kuang

"Man's nature is evil; Goodness is the result of conscious activity"

Xun Kuang

"The coming of honour or disgrace must be a reflection of one's inner power"

Xun Kuang

"The rigid cause themselves to be broken; The pliable cause themselves to be bound"

Xun Kuang

"If you act wisely, good things tend to happen. Act like fool and bad things tend to happen"

Xun Kuang

"The gentleman makes things his servants. The petty man is servant to things"

Xun Kuang

"If an action.... involves little profit but much righteousness, do it"

Xun Kuang

"If the blood humour is too strong and robust, calm it with balance and harmony"

Xun Kuang

"Don’t thank or curse heaven – it’s just the natural result of your own actions"

Xun Kuang

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