Mencius: Are you benevolent?

He who seeks to be rich will not be benevolent.

He who wishes to be benevolent wil not be rich.


Mencius or Mengzi (372–289 BC or 385–303 or 302 BC) was a Chinese Confucian philosopher who has often been described as the "second Sage", that is after only Confucius himself. Living during the Warring States period, he is said to have spent much of his life travelling around China offering counsel to different rulers. Conversations with these rulers form the basis of the Mencius, which would later be canonised as a Confucian classic.

A key belief of his was that humans are innately good, but that this quality requires cultivation and the right environment to flourish. He also taught that rulers must justify their position of power by acting benevolently towards their subjects, and in this sense they are subordinate to the masses.