- I once tried thinking for an entire day, but I found it less valuable than one moment of study. I once tried standing up on my toes to see far out in the distance, but I found that I could see much farther by climbing to a high place.
- When you locate good in yourself, approve of it with determination. When you locate evil in yourself, despise it as something detestable.
- Mencius said that human nature is good. I disagree with that.
- If what the heart approves conforms to proper patterns, then even if one's desires are many, what harm would they be to good order?
- Human nature is evil, and goodness is caused by intentional activity. A person is born with a liking for profit. If he gives way to this, it will lead him to quarrels and conflicts, and any [acquired] sense of courtesy and humility will be abandoned. 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 [acquired] sense of loyalty and good faith will be abandoned. A person is born with desires of the eyes and ears, and a liking for beautiful sights and sounds. If he gives way to them, they will lead him to immorality and lack of restriction, and any [acquired] ritual principles and propriety will be abandoned. Thus, anybody who follows this nature and gives way its states will be led into quarrels and conflicts, and go against the conventions and rules of society, and will end up a criminal. Therefore, a person should first be changed by a teacher's instructions, and guided by principles of ritual. Only then can he observe the rules of courtesy and humility, obey the conventions and rules of society, and achieve order.
- Music is a fantastic peacekeeper of the world, it is integral to harmony, and it is a required fundamental of human emotion.