The basic meaning of the term is love for others. Its extended meaning refers to the state of harmony among people, and the unity of all things under heaven. Ren (仁) constitutes the foundation and basis for moral behavior. It is also a consciousness that corresponds to the norms of moral behavior. Roughly put, ren has the following three implications: 1) compassion or conscience; 2) virtue of respect built upon the relationship between fathers and sons and among brothers; and 3) the unity of all things under heaven. Confucianism holds ren as the highest moral principle. Ren is taken as love in the order of first showing filial piety to one’s parents and elder brothers, and then extending love and care to other members of the family, and eventually to everyone else under heaven.
Ren means to restrain one’s self and follow social norms. (The Analects)
Ren is the principle of love and the moral nature of human mind. (Zhu Xi: The Analects Variorum)