Chinese Proverbs

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Annotation And Connotations
Would rather be betrayed by others than betraying them.
(Chinese original: 宁可负我,切莫负人;Chinese Pinyin: Audio Nìngkě fù wǒ, qiè mò fù rén
Would rather be a chicken's head than a phoenix's tail.
(Chinese original: 宁做鸡头,不当凤尾 ; Chinese Pinyin: Audio Nìng zuò jītóu, bù dāng fèngwěi.)
A head is a head and a tail is a tail. There are situations where you would rather be somebody in a small institution than a small potato of a large one. There is a similar English saying that is "Big fish in a small pond; small fish in a big pond."
A clay idol of bodhisattva fording a river can hardly save itself, let alone anyone else.
(Chinese original: 泥菩萨过河—自身难保;Chinese Pinyin: Audio Ní púsà guò hé—zìshēn nán bǎo.)
Bodhisattva is believed to be an enlightened Buddhist god (goddess in Chinese beliefs) who, out of compassion, forgoes nirvana in order to save others. However, such a savior made in clay could save nobody on the other side of a river as the water would soak and dissolve it. When one is in serious trouble, he may not be able to save his own tail, let alone others'.
A clay figure fears rain; a lie fears truth.
(Chinese original: 泥人怕雨,谎言怕理;Chinese Pinyin: Audio Nírén pà yǔ, huǎngyán pà lǐ.)


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Last updated: October 13, 2014