ài rén wéi dà 爱人为大
Caring for Others Is the Top Priority.
Being friendly and caring for others is most important. Ancient Chinese believed that human beings are most precious things in the world, so benevolent people care for others. When it comes to governing a country, a ruler’s love for others should be transformed into love for the people. People are the most fundamental components of a state whose stability and security depend on its people. Therefore, a ruler should consider it his top priority to have love for his people, to be considerate to his people, to always make things easier for his people and follow his people’s will. Policies should be made in the interest of the people, and so should laws and institutions. This is not only what a benevolent government that Confucianism advocates is all about, it is also the basic concept on which ancient legalists made policies and laws for running a country. It epitomizes Chinese people’s humanitarian sentiments.
If you want others to care about you, you must first care about others; if you want others to comply with you, you must first comply with others. (Discourses on Governance of the States)
Men of virtue are different from ordinary people because they think differently. They have benevolence and propriety on their mind. Benevolent people care for others, and courteous people show respect for others. Those who care about others can always be cared about by others; those who show respect for others will always be respected by others. (Mencius)
Caring for the people was the most important part of running a country in ancient times. (The Book of Rites)