International Vegetarian Union (IVU)
IVU logo

Quotations and Poetry - Good/Evil

By whomever no evil is done in deed, or word, or thought, him I call a brahmin who is guarded in these three.
Dhammapada (Buddhist)

Full of love for all things in the world, practising virtue, in order to benefit others, this man alone is happy.
Dhammapada (Buddhist)

Good men extend their pity, even unto the most despicable animals. The moon doth not withhold the light, even from the cottage of a Chandala (outcast).
Hitopadesa (Hindu)

To be doing good deeds is man's most glorious task.
Sophocles (B.C. 495-406)

The only good is knowledge and the only evil is ignorance.
Socrates (B.C.469-399)

Evil events from evil causes spring.
Aristophanes (B.C. 448-380)

Every evil in the bud is easily crushed: as it grows older, it becomes stronger.
Cicero (B.C. 106-43)

What has this unfeeling age of ours left untried, what wickedness has it shunned?
Horace (B.C. 65-8)

The best known evil is the most tolerable.
Livy (BC 59 -17 AD)

There are a thousand forms of evil; there will be a thousand remedies.
Ovid (B.C. 43-18 A.D.)

The sun shines even on the wicked.
Seneca (B.C. 5-65 A.D.)

No one ever reached the worst of a vice at one leap.
Juvenal (40-125 A.D.)

To overcome evil with good is good, to resist evil by evil is evil.
Mohammed (570-632 A.D.)

The greatest evils, are from within us; and from ourselves also we must look for the greatest good.
Jeremy Taylor (1613-1667)

When our vices leave us, we flatter ourselves that we have left them.
La Rouchefoucauld (1613-1680)

No man is clever enough to know all the evil he does.
La Rochefoucauld (1613-1680)

Wickedness may prosper for awhile, but in the long run, he that sets all the knaves at work will pay them.
L'Estrange (1616-1704)

Let no man be sorry he has done good, because others have done evil! If a man has acted right, he has done well, though alone; if wrong, the sanction of all mankind will not justify him.
Henry Fielding (1707-1754)

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. Edmund Burke (1729-1797)

The lives of the best of us are spent in choosing between evils.
Junius (1740-1818)

The doing evil to avoid an evil cannot be good.
Samuel Coleridge (1772-1834)

This is the course of every evil deed, that, propagating still it brings forth evil.
Samuel Coleridge (1772-1834)

Evils in the journey of life are like the hills which alarm travelers on their road. - Both appear great at a distance, but when we approach them we find they are far less insurmountable than we had conceived.
Colton (1780-1832)

If evil is inevitable, how are the wicked accountable? Nay, why do we call men wicked at all? Evil is inevitable, but is also remediable.
Horace Mann (1796-1859)

Evil has no substance of its own, but is only the defect, excess, perversion, or corruption of that which has substance.
John Henry Newman (1801-1890)

Preventives of evil are far better than remedies; cheaper and easier of application, and surer in result.
Tryon Edwards (1809-1894)

Between two evils, choose neither; between two goods, choose both.
Tryon Edwards (1809-1894)

The true rule in determining to embrace or reject anything is not whether it have any evil in it, but whether it have more of evil than of good. There are few things wholly evil or wholly good.
Lincoln (1809-1865)

Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction.
Pacal (1817-1862)

There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root.
Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)

It is some compensation for great evils that they enforce great lessons.
Bovee (1820-1904)

It is a proof of our natural bias to evil, that in all things good, gain is harder and slower than loss; but in all things bad or evil, getting is quicker and easier than getting rid of them.
Hare & Charles (c. 1830)

What is evil? - Whatever springs from weakness.
Nietzsche (1844-1900)

It is almost impossible systematically to constitute a natural moral law. Nature has no principles. She furnishes us with no reason to believe that human life is to be respected. Nature, in her indifference, makes no distinction between good and evil.
Anatole France (1844-1924)

The belief in a supernatural source of evil is not necessary, men alone are quite capable of every wickedness.
Joseph Conrad (1857-1934)

Non-cooperation with evil is as much a duty as is cooperation with good.
Mohandas Gandhi (1869-1948)

One may say that evil does not exist for subjective man at all, that there exist only different conceptions of good. Nobody ever does anything deliberately in the interests of evil, for the sake of evil. Everybody acts in the interests of good, as he understands it. But everybody understands it in a different way. Consequently men drown, slay, and kill one another in the interests of good.
Gurdjieff (1873-1949)

The quiet conscience is an invention of the devil.
Dr.Albert Schweitzer (1875-1965)

It is easier to denature plutonium than to denature the evil spirit of man.
Albert Einstein (1879-1955)

Sin is hoping for another life and eluding the implacable grandeur of this life.
Albert Camus (1913-1960)

True human goodness, in all its purity and freedom, can come to the fore only when its recipient has no power. Mankind's true moral test, its fundamental test (which lies deeply buried from view), consists of its attitude towards those who are at its mercy: animals. And in this respect mankind has suffered a fundamental debacle, a debacle so fundamental that all others stem from it.
Milan Kundera (1929 - )

To talk goodness is not good...Only to do it is.
Chinese Proverb


To buy Books, CDs or Videos, with commission to vegetarianism, go to:

in the USA
in the UK


Update these lists - fill in the form!

Famous VegetariansBack to the Famous Vegetarians Index