When Facing an Opportunity to Exercise Benevolence, Do Not Yield.
This phrase means that one should behave ethically and never dodge one’s responsibility. Ren (仁 benevolence) is the highest virtue upheld by Confucius. In general, it refers to everything that is right to do, namely things compatible with moral principles and social justice. The term is similar in meaning to “committing oneself completely out of a sense of duty,” and “feeling morally obliged.” It promotes a positive attitude that takes safeguarding morality and justice as one’s own responsibility and dares to shoulder and execute that responsibility.
- 子曰：“当仁不让于师。” （《论语·卫灵公》）
Confucius said, “When faced with an opportunity to be benevolent, one should not yield even to one’s own teacher.” (The Analects)
- 勇一也而用不同。有勇于气者，有勇于义者。君子勇于义，小人勇于气。 （《二程外书》卷七）
Courage can serve different purposes. Some people show courage at the spur of momentary emotions, while others do so for the sake of a just cause. A man of virtue becomes courageous when moral principles are at stake, whereas a petty man may be courageous in order to show off momentarily in front of others. (More Writings of the Cheng Brothers)