wéi rén yóu jǐ 为仁由己
Readily Practice Benevolence and Virtue
When explaining benevolence and virtue to his disciples, Confucius (551-479 BC) put forward the concept that “one should readily practice benevolence and virtue.” He stressed that the accomplishment of benevolence and virtue was not driven by external norms. Rather, one should restrain himself and follow the right conduct. This means one should believe in benevolence and virtue and willingly act in compliance with them.
Yan Yuan asked about benevolence. Confucius said, “To restrain yourself and practice propriety is benevolence. When you restrain yourself and practice propriety, people will all praise you for your benevolence. But you must practice benevolence yourself; how can others practice it for you?” (The Analects)