I'm learning some of Confucius' sayings, and I've had trouble with this one: 己所不欲，勿施于人. I looked on a dictionary online, and it said both "do not do to others what you would not have them do to you" and "doing is better than saying". Which one is it?
I have a poor English expression level, so I can give you answers in Chinese:
For example, there is something annoying me, I should not shove it on my friend or other people, treat friends in the way treat myself....
己所(things that one self)不欲(don't want)，
'you yourself don't want to be insulted, therefore you don't insult others'
You have to know being insulted hurt to not want to be insulted; if you know being insulted hurt and still do it to others, then you are a horrible person. The phrase 己所不欲，勿施于人 is a Confucius teaching giving a guild line for people to be decent and moral-- ' if you don't know either you should or should not do something to other people, simply ask yourself if you want the same thing to be done to you, if the answer is 'no' then it is most likely wrong to do it to other people.
This phrase simply translates to: if you yourself do not want something/wish to do something, you should not push it onto others.
A simple example would be: I have a bag that I do not desire. I think it is horrendous and ugly. Therefore, I decided to just give it to one of my friends. Here someone can use this phrase. 己所不欲勿施于人。 If I myself think that the bag is ugly and undesirable, how can I think of giving it to one of my friends. If I think it's ugly, why would I give it to my friend? He/She could feel the same. Hence, it is wrong and I should not do that.
This is just an example of a physical item, it can also be an action and the way you treat another person.
Another example would be: Someone appointed me to be a leader of a project. I think it is a tiring and difficult job. I do not want to be burdened to do it. In turn, I decided to recommend (push) my friend to do it instead of me. This is when you can once again use the phrase. 己所不欲勿施于人。If I myself think it is an undesirable position, how selfish am I to push it onto my friend when he/she could have felt exactly the way I did. Thus, again it is wrong and I should not do that.
hope this helps :)