Chinese characters


Chinese Gentleman

gentlemanThe two Chinese characters on the left are jun1 zi3 (junzi). It can be roughly translated into 'gentleman' or 'man of honor'. Junzi is a very important idea in Chinese culture and one of the most prominent terms in Confucius's Analects (Lun Yu). In one word, to become a junzi (gentleman) is one's ideal in Chinese culture. Now the question is how and what to do to become a gentleman? The answers are in Confucius's Analects.

There are many discussions about junzi in Analects. Here are some of them below or get a printable copy in both Chinese and English.

Confucius said: 'A gentleman needs to have three basic characters, which I have not lived up to. Be benevolent with no worry; be wise with no bepuzzlement; be courageous with no fear.'

This is to say if one has a heart with virtue and lenience, he will has peace in his heart and no worry. If one has wisdom and knowledge, he will be decisive. If one has courage, he will has no fear. Keep in mind that the three things are an integrated part for a gentleman.

Confucius said: 'A gentleman is unlike an implement.'

This implies that an implement can only be used to do one thing and does not make any changes with situations. A gentleman should be versatile and improve oneself with time.

Confucius said: 'A gentleman should be harmonious, but can have different opinions and should not just follow blindly.'

Confucius said: 'For a gentleman, action takes precedence over words.' 'A gentleman should speak carefully, but act quickly.' 'A gentleman is ashamed if his words outshine his actions.'

Confucius said: 'A gentleman encompasses all and is not partial.'

Confucius said: 'A gentleman is at peace and ease, but not arrogant.'

Confucius said: 'A gentleman help others to fulfill good, not vice.'

Confucius said: 'With righteousness as the essence, a gentleman should act according to the rites, express himself with modesty, and achieve it with faithfulness.'

Confucius said: 'A gentleman should be dignified, but not disputative; should be social, but not form a clique.'

A Printable Copy of Confucius's Sayings about Gentleman in both Chinese and English

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Four Books and Five Classics by Kunlun Publishing (2001)
Lun Yu by Confucius Publishing