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“Ren (仁)”, what is it?

Benevolence? Good natured?

The Master said, ‘Soothing words and pleasant face; there can hardly be any ethical integrity.’
子曰:「巧言令色,鮮矣仁!」 (學而, 1.3)

The Master said, ‘Soothing words, pleasant face and lots of politeness. Zuo Qiu Ming regarded them as shameful. I (Qiu) also regard them as shameful. To hide grievance and pretend to be friend with the person. Zuo Qiu Ming regarded it as shameful. I also regard it as shameful.’
巧言、令色、足恭,左丘明恥之,丘亦恥之。匿怨而友其人,左丘明恥之,丘亦恥之 (논어 5.25)
듣기 좋은 말이나 하고, 좋은 낯으로 대하고, 졸라 공손하게 행동하는 것을 쭈오치우밍은 쪽팔려 했어. 나도 그래. 원한을 감추고 친구처럼 좋게 대하는 짓을 쭈오치우밍은 부끄러워 했어. 나도 그래.

Stiff? Firm?

Hard, unswerving, uncouth, terse. These are closer to ethical integrity.
剛毅木訥,近仁 (子路, 13.27)

The Master said, ‘Only a man of ethical integrity can truly love a person and truly hate a person.’
唯仁者, 能好人 能惡人 (里仁, 4.3)

Zi Gong said, "Does a noble man also has hatred?" The Master said, "Of course. He hates those who speak ill of others. He hates those who live a lowly life and slander their superiors. He hates those who have courage and yet fails to abide by Li. He hates those who are bold and yet has a closed mind." The Master then said, "Ci, do you also have hatred?" Zi Gong replied, "I hate those who beat around the bush and treat it as wisdom. I hate those who are rude and think that they have courage. I hate those who rat on others and think that they are honest."
子貢曰:「君子亦有惡乎?」子曰:「有惡:惡稱人之惡者,惡居下流而訕上者,惡勇而無禮者,惡果敢而窒者。」曰:「賜也亦有惡乎?」「惡徼以為知者,惡不孫以為勇者,惡訐以為直者。」 (陽貨, 17.24)

A man of ethical integrity is bound to have courage. A man of courage is not necessarily a man of ethical resolve.
仁者,必有勇。勇者,不必有仁。(憲問, 14.4)

The Master said, ‘If you are indeed a man of ethical integrity, you would not give way to your teacher/an army of 2500 soldiers.’
子曰:「當仁不讓於師。」 (衛靈公, 15.36)

說文》二千五百人爲師。《周禮·地官》五旅爲師。《註》二千五百人。《疏》春秋之時,雖累萬之衆,皆稱師。詩之六師,謂六軍之師。

Ethical standard

The Master said, ‘Wealth and honour are what people desire. But if you did not get them through the proper Way, do not dwell there. Poverty and low status are what people loathe. But if the Way did not prevail and you happened to have them, do not flee from them. If a noble man abandons ethical integrity, loathsome indeed is his reputation as a noble man! A noble man does not go against ethical integrity even while eating. Even in extreme haste, even in extreme peril, he will always abide by ethical integrity.’
子曰:「富與貴是人之所欲也,不以其道得之,不處也;貧與賤是人之所惡也,不以其道得之,不去也。君子去仁,惡乎成名?君子無終食之間違仁,造次(extreme haste)必於是,顛沛(extreme peril)必於是。」 (里仁, 4.5)

Difficult to assess

Someone said, ‘Yong is a man of ethical integrity; he does not have a silky tongue.’ The Master said, ‘What is the point of having a silky tongue? If you manipulate people with smooth talk, you will often be hated. I do not know about Yong’s ethical integrity, but what is the point of having a silky tongue?’
或曰:「雍也,仁而不佞(영)。」子曰:「焉用佞?禦人以口給,屢憎於人。不知其仁,焉用佞?」 (公冶長, 5.5)

Meng Wu Bo asked whether Zi Lu (由) was a man of ethical integrity. The Master said, ‘I don’t know.’ He asked again. The Master said, ‘You (由) could control the army in a country of thousand chariots. But I don’t know about his ethical integrity.’ ‘What about Qiu (求)?’ The Master said, ‘Qiu could serve as an administrator in a town of thousand houses or in a household of hundred chariots. But I don’t know about his ethical integrity.’ ‘What about Chi (赤)?’ The Master said, ‘Chi could, donning himself with a robe, be in attendence in court and entertain guests. But I don’t know about his ethical integrity.’
孟武伯問:「子路仁乎?」子曰:「不知也。」又問。子曰:「由也,千乘之國,可使治其賦(세금)也,不知其仁也。」 「求也何如?」子曰:「求也,千室之邑,百乘之家,可使為之宰也,不知其仁也。」 「赤也何如?」子曰:「赤也,束帶立於朝,可使與賓客言也,不知其仁也。」 (公冶長, 5.8)

Zi Zhang asked, ‘Governor Zi Wen had the governor’s post three times. But he did not appear to be pleased. He lost the post three time. But he did not appear to be displeased. He informed the details of his administration to his successors. How’s that?’ The Master said, ‘He is loyal.’ ‘Was he a man of ethical integrity?’ asked Zi Zhang. The Master said, ‘I don’t know. Was he?’ ‘Lord Zui assasinated the prince of Qi. Chen Wen had enough horses to equip ten chariots. He abandoned them and left. He arrived in another country. But he said, “You guys are all like Lord Zui of my country.” And he left. He went to another country. But he again said, “You guys are all like Lord Zui of my country.” And he left. How’s that?’ asked Zi Zhang. The Master said, ‘He is clean.’ ‘Was he a man of ethical integrity?’ asked Zi Zhang. The Master said, ‘I don’t know. Was he?’
子張問曰:「令尹子文三仕為令尹,無喜色;三已之,無慍色。舊令尹之政,必以告新令尹。何如?」子曰:「忠矣。」曰:「仁矣乎?」曰:「未知,焉得仁?」「崔子弒齊君,陳文子有馬十乘,棄而違之。至於他邦,則曰:『猶吾大夫崔子也。』違之。之一邦,則又曰:『猶吾大夫崔子也。』違之。何如?」子曰:「清矣。」曰:「仁矣乎?」曰:「未知。焉得仁?」 (公冶長, 5.19)

Xian asked what was shameful. The Master said, ‘When the Way prevails in a country, to think about salary, when the country is going down the drain, to think about salary, that is shameful.’ ‘How about refraining from love of superiority, boasting, resentments, and covetousness? Can we say that it is ethical integrity? The Master said, ‘That would be achieving something which is difficult to achieve. But I do not know whether that is ethical integrity.’
憲問恥。子曰:「邦有道,穀;邦無道,穀,恥也。」 「克(승벽)、伐(자랑하다; 矜)、怨、欲 不行焉,可以為仁矣?」子曰:「可以為難矣,仁則吾不知也。」 (憲問, 14.1)

Easy explanations

Fan Chi asked … about ethical integrity. The Master said, ‘A man of ethical integrity would tackle the difficult things first and leave the spoils to be considered afterwards. You can call it ethical integrity.’
樊遲 … 問仁。曰:「仁者先難而後獲,可謂仁矣。」 (雍也, 6.22)

Zi Gong said, ‘How about broadly looking after people and thus bringing all living beings to their fulfilment? Can it be called ethical integrity?’ The Master said, ‘How can it merely be ethical integrity? It must be Sainthood! Even Yao and Shun fell short of this. Ethical integrity means no more than this: As I want to stand so I help others to stand too; as I want to succeed so I help others to succeed too. Being able to derive lessons from what is near and to apply them to similar situations; this can be called the method of practising ethical integity.’
子貢曰:「如有博施於民而能濟眾,何如?可謂仁乎?」子曰:「何事於仁,必也聖乎!堯舜其猶病諸!夫仁者,己欲立而立人,己欲達而達人。能近取譬,可謂仁之方也已。」 (雍也, 6.30)

Fan Chi asked about ethical integrity. The Master said, ‘It means to love people’. He asked about knowledge. The Master said, ‘It means to know people’. Fan Chi didn’t get it.
樊遲問仁。子曰:「愛人。」 問知。子曰:「知人。」 樊遲未達 (顏淵, 12.22)

Fan Chi asked about ethical integrity. The Master said, ‘Be polite at home. Be respectful when you do things. Be loyal in your dealings with others. Even if you find yourself among barbarians, you should not forget about this.’
樊遲問仁。子曰:「居處恭,執事敬,與人忠。雖之夷狄,不可棄也。」 (子路, 13.19)

子張問仁於孔子。孔子曰:「能行五者於天下,為仁矣。」請問之。曰:「恭、寬、信、敏、惠。恭則不侮,寬則得眾,信則人任焉,敏則有功,惠則足以使人。」 (陽貨, 17.6)

Do not look for reward!

Zi Gong said, ‘Bo Yi and Shu Qi, what kind of men were they?’ The Master said, ‘They were superior men of the olden days.’ ‘Did they not have grievances?’ said Zi Gong. The Master said, ‘They sought after ethical integrity and they got it. What grievance, then?’
子貢曰:「伯夷、叔齊何人也?」曰:「古之賢人也。」曰:「怨乎?」曰:「求仁而得仁,又何怨。」 (述而, 7.15)

Easy to practice? Tough to practice?

The Master said, ‘Is ethical integrity far from you? If you want it, you will have it.’
子曰:「仁遠乎哉?我欲仁,斯仁至矣。」 (述而, 7.30)

The Master said, ‘Sainthood or ethical integrity, I dare not claim to have. But I endeavour to practice without finding it loathsome and I teach people without being remiss. These are what I can claim to be doing. Gong Xi Hua said, ‘That, precisely, is what we pupils cannot learn.’
子曰:「若聖與仁,則吾豈(기)敢?抑為之不厭,誨(회)人不倦,則可謂云爾已矣。」公西華曰:「正唯弟子不能學也。」 (述而, 7.34)

The Master rarely spoke about profit, heavenly mandate or ethical integrity.
子罕言利,與命,與仁。(子罕, 9.1)

Si Ma Niu asked about ethical integrity. The Master said, ‘The man of ethical integrity does not say much.’ Si Ma Niu said, ‘Does not say much! Is this ethical integrity?’ The Master said, ‘To practice what you say is difficult enough. Should you not be cautious in what you say?’
司馬牛問仁。子曰:「仁者其言也訒(인)。」曰:「其言也訒,斯謂之仁已乎?」子曰:「為之難,言之得無訒乎?」 (顏淵, 12.3)

To cherish ethical integrity and to neglect learning, you end up being stupid; To cherish wisdom and to neglect learning, you end up being undisciplined. To cherish trust and to neglect learning, you end up being a gangster; To cherish honesty and to neglect learning, you end up being caught in a straightjacket; To cherish courage and to neglect learning, you end up being disruptive; To cherish firmness and to neglect learning, you end up being crazy.
好仁不好學,其蔽也愚;好知不好學,其蔽也蕩;好信不好學,其蔽也賊;好直不好學,其蔽也絞;好勇不好學,其蔽也亂;好剛不好學,其蔽也狂 (陽貨, 17.8)

Don’t be a prick!

The Master said, ‘If you cherish courage and hate poverty, you become disruptive. If you see a person lacking in ethical integrity, if you hate him very much, you become disruptive.’
子曰:「好勇疾貧,亂也。人而不仁,疾之已(이)甚,亂也。」 (泰伯, 8.10)

I have not seen a man who cherishes ethical integrity and yet loathes a person lacking in ethical integrity. A man who cherishes ethical integrity does not make a fuss about it. He who loathes a person lacking in ethical integrity is making a virtue of his own loathing. Do not use a person lacking in ethical integrity to aggrandize yourself.
我未見好仁者,惡不仁者。好仁者,無以尚之;惡不仁者,其為仁矣,不使不仁者加乎其身。(里仁, 4.6)

ultimate virtue

The Master said, ‘Determined persons who have ethical integrity will not seek to live undermining ethical integrity. They will even sacrifice their lives to fulfil their ethical integrity.’
子曰:「志士仁人,無求生以害仁,有殺身以成仁。」 (衛靈公, 15.9)

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