A Man of Insight Must Be Moral and Resolute

Origin of the idiom 任重道遠 - rèn zhòng dào yuǎn

By Wang Guanming
Epoch Times Staff
Created: February 5, 2013 Last Updated: February 6, 2013
Related articles: China » Culture
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These days, schools are teaching more technical knowledge but less morality. However, it is believed that a person who does not have a strong will and a high standard of morality will be unable to reach a higher attainment, no matter how intelligent he is.

People who are broad-minded and self-disciplined are more likely to bear the heavy responsibilities that benefit the whole society. 

The Importance of Morality

Zeng Zi was a sage in ancient China. He once remarked that a man of insight must be equipped with a high level of morality. Such a person must be compassionate, have lofty goals, and be resolute and steadfast in order to undertake major social responsibilities.

Without obtaining a high level of morality, it is impossible for him to fulfill these responsibilities. He would likely withdraw half-way and might give up his obligations when encountering hardship. 

Zeng Zi’s famous remark later manifested another idiom: Every man has a responsibility for his nation’s rise or fall   (天下興亡,匹夫有責。tiān xià xīng wáng, pǐ fū yǒu zé)

In Chinese culture, it means that one must cultivate his virtue and maintain the well-being of society when he is poor and lowly, while one must look after and contribute to the society when he is wealthy and in the upper class. 

The idiom later became a moral principle that has greatly influenced the Chinese people throughout history.

Hardship Before Comfort

During ancient times in China, many sages followed this principle no matter if they were rich and highly-educated or poor and lowly. They always placed the matters of their nation as paramount over their personal concerns. These sages were always the first ones to bear the hardships and the last ones to enjoy the comforts.

In Chinese history, there are many stories about how sages were more concerned for the welfare of the nation, even when some of them were still living in hardship. Many sages selflessly made the greatest contributions toward the prosperity of society.

Thus, a nation can become developed and be saved from any disasters.

Read the original Chinese article.

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