Read Xu Xuemo Quotes



Disasters caused by floods, fires, and robbers are the first to affect the poor. Disasters caused by vanity and conceit usually afflict the noble and wealthy.

Even the noblest of men in the state receives a humiliating notice once in his life when he is sent away to his native village. Even the most unworthy of commoners is praised once in his life when he returns to the land.

If a man cannot think, even if he reads a mountain of books, he deserves only to be called a bookcase. If a man is not purified in soul, even if he learns the whole Buddhist canon, he will be like a wooden idol.

A man who is secretive and silent cannot be trusted with cherished thoughts. With a man who is wicked and narcissistic, one must keep his mouth shut.

In the afterlife there is no need for clothing or food, but the man lying on his deathbed is still burdened with cares. In the backwoods village, ranks and titles are irrelevant, but the officials who have been dismissed from the service still talk about matters of state.

A man is stronger than a woman, but his hands fall away in front of a grumpy wife. Parents inspire more respect than their children, but before disobedient children they lose their dignity.

The unmerciful are regarded as fools, which is why there are so many cheaters in the world. Unyielding men are everywhere regarded as fools, that's why there are so many flatterers at court.

Artless composition is like a piece of polished sandalwood, which emphasizes the natural qualities of wood. High-flown imitations in literature are like lacquered crockery that glitters brightly but smells bad.

One must exercise oneself in doing good deeds. This is why people become good by themselves. To do evil, one must be in cahoots. That is why a robber always takes an accomplice.

There are times when hunger and need will cause the exalted husband to ask for help, but he does so with dignity. Even the wisest of husbands have died in desperate situations, but they leave an eternal memory of themselves.

When a wife grieves for her husband and her husband grieves with her, her grief will be dispelled. When a wife is angry with her husband and he responds in kind, her anger will be kindled even more.

He who makes himself look menacing is like an adult who frightens a child with the mask of a demon: if he turns away, he is not afraid. The one who plays up modesty is like the singer who refuses food in public, and when she comes home, greedily pounces on food.

Some refuse large gifts, but gladly accept paltry handouts: the field mouse steals according to his appetites. Others at first reject everything, and then take a lot at once: the old tiger catches his prey with a single jump.

If you execute a criminal with one hand and shelter him with the other, another villain will appear in the place of the executed one. If one punishes fornication today and peeps at a fornicating wife tomorrow, one fornicator will suffer punishment and the other will sow debauchery.

Laws that are too strict are like overstretched strings that can still be played. Laws that are too soft are like strings that have been loosened and can no longer be played.

A man loves women like a thirsty traveler reaches for water. Therefore, satisfied with passion, he loses interest in the object of his desires. Woman loves a man as a traveler, languishing heat, seeks coolness. Therefore, even after achieving the desired, she is not satiated with love.

A foolish son is worse than a fugitive son, because he will never change for the better. Mediocrity in public office is worse than a knave, because it drags others down as well.

An over-read man is fooled by books. It is worth asking his advice, and he will answer with borrowed words.

He who changes face at the sight of ten gold pieces cannot even run a small town. He who changes face at the sight of a hundred gold pieces cannot lead an army.

A miser may amass great wealth. But if misfortune befalls him, he will be a mouse squashed in the street. A man with a broad soul can go bankrupt. But even if misfortune befalls him, he will be like a centipede that has lost only a few legs.

He who studies with the thought of career and fame may fool the ignorant, but he will not succeed in fooling the learned society. He who writes poetry out of vanity may be admired by a young man, but will not be praised by a wise old man.

If you meet a man who stares at one point, it means he is damaged in his mind. If you meet a man who is obsessed with one idea, it means he is capable of meanness.

An exuberant temper can hide greed. A yielding disposition may conceal immorality.

A rich man, by maintaining acquaintance with a poor man, may become famous. A poor man, by keeping acquaintance with a rich man, can get rich.

Modesty is a great virtue, but excessive modesty turns into cunning. Taciturnity is a beautiful character trait. But excessive taciturnity betrays guile.

Envy is scarier among the rich than among the poor. Hatred is sometimes stronger among brothers than among strangers.

It is better to praise a man not in his presence; such praise is the dearest for everyone.

Wealth and nobility do not run after the exalted husband, for he himself does not run after them. Good fortune and fame will surely come to men of purpose, because they fight for them like warriors pressed against a river.

It is better to feed people with grain than to indulge them with words.


Xu Xuemo