Huston Smith sums up Confucian ideals under five key terms:
The first term is jen, which “involves simultaneously a feeling of humanity toward others and respect for oneself, an indivisible sense of the dignity of human life wherever it appears…In private life it is expressed in courtesy, unselfishness, and empathy, the capacity to ‘measure the feelings of others by one’s own’…
The second is chun tzu “Fully adequate, poised, the chun tzu has toward life as a whole approach of an ideal hostess who is so at home in her surroundings that she is completely relaxed, and being so, can turn full attention to putting others at their ease. The chun tzu carries these qualities of the ideal host with him through life generally…Only as those who make up society are transformed into chun tzus can the world move toward peace…
The third concept, li, has two meanings. Its first meaning is propriety, the way things should be done. It is comme il faut. It is wary of excess and it guards the Five Constant Relationships, “those between parent and child, husband and wife, elder sibling and junior sibling, elder friend and junior friend, and ruler and subject. It is vital to the health of society that these key relationships be rightly constituted.
The fourth pivotal concept, Te, means literally, “power, specifically the power by which men are ruled.”..No state, Confucius, was convinced, can constrain all its citizens all the time, nor even any large fraction of them a large part of the time. It must depend on widespread acceptance of its will, which in turn requires a certain positive fund of faith in its total character…Real Te, therefore, lies in the power of moral example…”
The final concept, Wen, refers to the ‘arts of peace’ as contrasted to the ‘arts of war’; to music, art, poetry, the sum of culture in its esthetic mode. Confucius contended that the ultimate vitory goes to the state that develops the highest Wen, the most exalted culture…For in the end it is these things that elicity the spontaneous admiration of men and women everywhere.
— Huston Smith, The Religions of Man, pp. 159-166