Read quotations by Mo-tzu

Mo-tzu aphorisms



If bitterness accumulates in the hearts of the people, and slanderers and corrupters are around the ruler, good counsel will not be able to overcome the obstacles to the ruler, and the kingdom will be in danger.

Though there are no people lacking a peaceful home, I do not soothe my heart. Though there are no people lacking in riches, yet my

my heart feels no satisfaction.

If, in ruling a kingdom, one does not take care of the servants, the country will be lost. To meet a wise man, to hasten to take his advice, is the carelessness of a ruler. If one rejects the wise, does not express a need to use their advice, and rejects the servants, the ruler will have no one to consult in matters of state.

If the ruler solves the difficult affairs of the country, he can have confidence in himself, he will surely achieve what he strives for. But we have not heard of anyone who has achieved what he desired and escaped calamity by oppressing loyal servants, destroying noble men, corrupting the lower classes, and harming the upper classes.

If you collect all the wealth of the country, it does not equal the value of the wise and approachable servants.

A noble man takes all the burdens on himself and leaves the easy things to others, while people of the crowd take the easy things for themselves and leave the hard ones to others. The noble man, striving forward, does not lose his aim.

If one tries to refute my reasoning with the words of other schools, it would be like trying to break a stone with an egg. Even if all the eggs in the Celestial Empire are broken, the stone will remain the same, it will not break.

A noble ruler must have diligent, upright servants. Tops must have subordinates who speak the truth to their eyes. When the opinions of the ruler and his advisers differ in lengthy discussions, the ruler must listen respectfully when the truth is told to the eye. It is in this case that the ruler will live long

and preserve the country.

The master will use the sharpness - but before the sharpness is blunted, than the master's art is diminished. The value of knives is in the sharpness. But it is the sharpness that will blunt first. A shallow well will run dry first, a tall tree will be cut down first, a large deer and a tortoise will be caught first, and a large snake will be dried up.

There are few among men who would not die because of their too prominent merits. For what is available in abundance is difficult to preserve.

Great and mean rivers do not shy away from taking brooks and mountain streams to fill themselves up and be great.

What is a mess? It is that the son loves himself but does not love his father, so in the name of his gain he injures his father; the younger brother loves only himself and does not love his older brother, so he injures his brother to provide gain for himself.

A good bow is hard to draw, but an arrow sent from it flies high and plunges deep. A good horse is hard to ride, but he can carry a heavy load far.

a heavy load. A fine talent is hard to find, but a wise one can advise a ruler and appreciate the virtues.

Although the father has parental love, he still does not love the son of a slacker.

Humanity cannot be considered a role model. Neither the father and mother, nor the teachers and rulers, can be seen as role models for governing the country.

Just as a great earth is not sparkling, a great water is not transparent, a great fire is not bright, the virtue of a ruler is not majestic, though he is the best of a thousand. His straightness is like an arrow, he is impartial like a sharpening stone, but this alone is not enough to dominate

all things.

Heaven germinates and nurtures and benefits all things, it germinates and nurtures all things, just as a hair grows out of the root. There is none that is not made by Heaven. And people take it all and are enriched by it. So we can say that Heaven's grace is great. However, only Heaven does not

receives the reward.

Heaven does not distinguish between the small and the great, the noble and the vile; all men are servants of Heaven, and there is no one to whom He does not raise buffalo and goats, feed pigs and wild boars, give wine, and grain in abundance, so that men will respectfully serve Heaven.

The most skillful craftsman of all crafts also has a method. Master craftsmen of all trades, to make a square, use an angle gauge; to draw a circle,

use a compass; to make a straight line, they use a bailing cord; to set an object upright, they use a plumb line. The skilled craftsman and the simple craftsman all use these four things as a method in their work. The skilled craftsman masters these methods to perfection, and the artisan who is not so skilled, though he cannot completely master the method of work, yet, by imitating the pattern, he improves his skill more and more. All crafts, therefore, have their

method for measuring.

As you prepare to act, you must match your actions with Heaven's desire. What Heaven desires, do it, and what Heaven does not desire, forbid it.

Heaven necessarily desires that people mutually love each other and benefit each other, but Heaven is unpleasant if people wish each other evil, deceive each other.

He who has universal love for people, who does them good, Heaven is sure to make them happy. But whoever does evil to people, who deceives people, He will surely punish.

Nowadays, if a mother, holding her son behind her back, draws water and drops her son into a well, she will certainly rush to fetch him. But if there is a bad harvest year, starving people and dying of hunger along the roads seems to be a greater grief than when the son drowns in the well. The reason is what kind of year it is. If the year is a good harvest, people become humane and kind.

If the year is bad, people become inhumane and wicked.

If the noble and wise rule the foolish and low, order reigns. If the foolish and lowly govern the noble and wise, there will be turmoil.

It will not be that among the people the hungry will not receive food, the naked and the cold will not receive clothing, the tired will not have rest, the one who is at a crossroads will not receive instruction.

In order to bring order to a country, one must know the cause of disorder. If you know the cause of unrest, you will lead the country to prosperity and tranquility by eliminating that cause; but if you do not know the cause of unrest, you cannot bring order to the country.

He who is greedy for power cannot divide the affairs of government among the people; he who is greedy for wealth will not give salaries to the people. In this case the deeds

are not done, and wages are not distributed.

In ancient times, when men first appeared, there were no punishments and at the same time everyone had his own understanding of justice. One had one, two had two, ten had ten understandings of justice. The more people were born, the more different ideas of justice became. Each one considered his own view to be right and rejected the views of the others, and as a result there was great animosity among the people.

The penalties must be right, the deeds must be effectual, it is necessary that the penalties and the deeds be in harmony, and also that they correspond to austerity in expenditure.

On the basis of the past we know the future, on the basis of the clear we know the hidden.

For the countless deaths of commoners, the serious troubles that affect both the higher and the lower, the attacking kingdom receives vacant lands for which there are no people to inhabit. Thus, they lose what they lacked and additionally gain what they already have in excess.

Trying to solve political disputes between nations through war, trying to achieve power and glory is like making all people drink the same medicine to cure different diseases, for only four or five people might benefit from it.

He who does good should be glorified; he who does evil should be punished.Disregarding wisdom, appointing the incompetent to office, and the result is chaos in the country.

If utterances can pass into deeds, such utterances should be preserved. If utterances cannot be translated into deeds, they should not be preserved.

should not be preserved.

Every utterance must conform to the three rules. What are three rules? They are: there must be a basis, there must be a source, there must be

there must be applicability.

Happiness cannot be asked for, misfortune cannot be avoided if one has acted badly, if one has not worked hard. Honoring fate makes no sense. If one neglects fate, there will be no misfortune.

The good from antiquity must be followed, but the modern good must also be created.

If I do for Heaven what it loves, Heaven also does for me what I love. What do I love and what do I hate? I love happiness and prosperity and I hate unhappiness.

How is a wall built? He who can lay bricks does; he who can bring the clay mixture does; he who can measure does the measuring. And so the wall will be built. The realization of justice is like this. He who is able to reason and converse let him reason and converse, he who is able to expound historical books let him expound historical books, he who is able to do service let him do service; thus, following justice, all things shall be done.

Statements must be translated into the actions of man, become a rule, then they become permanent knowledge; if statements are not followed by their translation into the actions of man, what is not translated into the actions of man is idle talk.

If the wise are not rewarded and the cruel punished, it neither encourages the wise nor hinders the cruel.

The common people have three calamities: the hungry have no food, the frozen have no clothes, the tired have no rest.

A fisherman's deferential posture and concentrated look when catching fish does not bode well for the fish, just as poisoned bait when catching mice does notdoes not mean love for mice.

Whoever relies on effort to work lives, and whoever does not rely on effort to work does not live.

If the peasants weaken their diligence, they will be poor. And poverty is the root of disorder in government.

All the words, all the actions that are good for Heaven, the spirits, and the people, are things to be done. All words, all actions that are harmful to Heaven, the spirits, and the people, are things to be discarded.

A blind man can say and know the words "white marble," "black coal," but he cannot choose them by color, so the blind man does not know what white marble and black coal are, not because he does not know the names of these things, but because he cannot point and distinguish these objects.

If only one gate out of a hundred is closed, can it be assumed on this basis that there is no place for a robber to enter?

Demanding that people learn, and claiming that there is a destiny, is like ordering a man to put his hair up and immediately knocking his hat off.


Mo D.