Proverbs, The Three Teachings Illustration

Ancient Chinese Proverbs
The Three Teachings
Ancient China for Kids

Confucianism: The ancient Chinese used proverbs to teach their children good manners and to help them learn the proper way of doing things. Excerpt from The Analects of Confucius, c.400 BCE:

  • Do not do unto others, what you would not want others to do to you

  • If you make a mistake and do not correct it, this is called a mistake

Taoism: Proverbs were used to encourage people to think about things in the right way, which was very Taoist. Here are two Taoist proverbs:

  • There is more to knowing than just being correct.

  • A clever mind is not a heart.

Buddhism: Proverbs were also used to help each person become the best person they could be. Ancient Buddhist text:

  • As a solid rock is not shaken by the wind, even so the wise are not ruffled by praise or blame.


In ancient China, proverbs were used to teach. So were fables! Click here to read two ancient Chinese fables, told over 1500 years ago. Can you guess what they were trying to teach?