謙虛禮讓 Modesty and Comity
As traditional virtues of the Chinese nation, modesty and comity are mainly composed of the following elements: first, to know oneself accurately and see one's own limitations, and never become complacent; second, to detect others' strong points, tolerate others' weaknesses, and respect others; third, to correctly treat personal interests, give each other precedence, and not to claim credit oneself, or to scramble for fame and gain. Ancient men distilled the relationship between modesty and success into one sentence ——"omplacency spells loss, while modesty brings benefit."
In the Spring and Autumn Period (770-476 BC), Confucius once went to visit Lao Zi. Although Lao Zi was older and more knowledgeable, he drew a cart in person to welcome Confucius to his home. Confucius asked Lao Zi modestly for advice and Lao Zi explained various points patiently one by one. When they parted, Lao Zi said that a virtuous person should be sincere and honest, and not be proud and greedy or have vain hope. These words left a deep impression on Confucius. He later said, "if there are three men walking together, one of them is bound to be good enough to be my teacher."The words and deeds of Lao Zi and Confucius had great influence on later generations.
In the Warring States Period (475-221 BC), Lin Xiangru of the State of Zhao was given a title of senior official for having rendered outstanding service to the state, but General Lian Po claimed the credit for the work, and always tried to embarrass him. Lin Xiangru never argued with him. Once, Lin Xiangru met the general in the street and the latter deliberately blocked the way. Lin Xiangru withdrew and let Lian Po go first. His subordinates were angry, considering Lian Po had behaved impolitely. But Lin Xiangru told them that officials and officers should be modest and polite, give each other precedence and strengthen unity, and in this way the country could prosper. Later Lian Po got to know this, and, feeling ashamed, he went to Lin Xiangru's house to apologize. Lin Xiangru was also deeply moved that the general was brave enough to correct his mistakes. From then on, the two acted in concert to manage the State of Zhao.
When Kong Rong of the Han Dynasty (206 BC -220 AD) was four years old, one day his father bought some pears and Kong Rong chose the smallest one. His father asked him why; he said that he was the youngest and should eat the smallest and leave the bigger ones for his elder brothers. Every household in China knows the story of "Kong Rong yielding the bigger pears to his elder brothers" and parents often instruct their children through this story to learn comity.