Confucianism Refers to Generosity and Kindness that Teaches Individuals to Be Selfless

According to Molloy 2013, Ren refers to generosity and kindness that teaches individuals to be selfless, thoughtful and caring meaning love for one another is essential.

Yi: Is one of the important ideal ethic in Confucianism often translated as “righteousness. It is the ethic that says when others are in troubles, we should help them out of the problems.

Li: Is one of the important ideal ethic in Confucianism often translated as “ritual” which means to properly participate in everyday rituals. Li is the action which has been deemed appropriate by society. Li is the outward expression of Confucian ideals

Zhi: Is one of the important ideal ethic in Confucianism indicating wise person, that deliberate and understand daily life.

Xin: Is one of the important ideal ethic in Confucianism that connotes belief, trust and blamelessness

Ren discipline is one of the important ideal ethic in Confucianism, meaning kindness, love and generosity, that teaches people to be caring, thoughtful and selfless. This is an early Chinese philosophy that has been described or interpreted by various scholars as Benevolence or kindness towards others, co-humanity, clan-based nobleness, goodness, and so on. Although the etymon of Ren has been challenged by various scholars over the years, however, the various interpretation seems to overlap and yet connote an important trait that is vital in human co-existence. As a foundational virtue in Confucianism, ren is considered by a Confucian as a typical or model behavior that human being should displays in order to encourage a healthy human community (Alexus McLeod,2012).

Disciples of Confucianism believe that ren is something that people are born with therefore, it is not something to be learned. A typical Confucian view ren as a concept that manifest itself when an individual treat other with humaneness. The concept of ren is deemed to depend on the relationships between two people, that signifies an inner progress towards an unselfish goal. Confucius defined it by the ordinary Chinese word for love, meaning to love others. It is considered a virtue that a leader or ruler must display so that his subjects can behave humanely. It is something that everyone needs for a peaceful co-existence as a member of a family, and as a community. Ren is of tremendous importance such that it was once described as “a communal property” (Alexus McLeod,2012). It is, therefore, a virtue that is necessary to build and uphold social harmony.


Alexus McLeod ,2012: Ren as a Communal Property in the Analects: Article in Philosophy East and West 62(4):505-528 ·

Molloy, M. (2013). Experiencing the world’s religions (6th ed.). New York City, NY: McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.