The Analects of Confucius is a collection of brief quotations, conversation, and anecdotes from the life of Confucius. It represents many beliefs and principles of Confucius. Among these beliefs and moral philosophy, I decide to look into one of the important concepts from the Analects, ‘ren‘.
‘Ren‘ can be seen as the core value of the Analects. In the Analects, Confucius has mentioned “Ren” for 110 times. It is the fundamental conception. However, when people translate ‘ren’ into English, people regarded it as ‘goodness’ or ‘humanity’. Without a doubt, these are some of the meaning of ‘ren’, but I think these word can not fully represent the meaning of it. Although ren has been described as one of the moral standards for people, ‘ren’ can be related to people closely. Confucius explained the meanings of ‘ren’ to his disciples and he has different explanations in the Analects. Basically, ‘ren’ was described in three levels. The first level of ren is that people realness of people. If people change their core value, they become just a part of the world and society, then every system and etiquette lost their meaning. This level of ‘run’ seems to be easy to achieve, Confucius believe this is the basic element to create a good society. The second level of ‘ren’ is the direction of people. In order to achieve the second level of ‘ren’, people has to choose the right direction. It is the standard for Confucius to teach and guide his disciples too. According to the quality of his disciples, Confucius give them different advice. The third level of ‘ren’, it is the final stage of achieving ren. It is a level of pursuing perfect personality. During this process, people cannot only care about themselves, they also need to care about others. And it is the most difficult process to achieve ‘ren’. So Confucius saw ‘ren’ as the moral standard and target for people to obtain.
‘Ren’ as a fundamental concept of the Analetic, it run through the whole book and also the Confucius’s belief system, As it involves so many aspect, the analysis of ‘ren’ is a good way to understand Analetic.