In our practice of self cultivation it is useful to consider the five virtues: appropriateness, wisdom, kindness, orderliness and faithfulness. To develop complete virtue we work to balance all five of the aspects of virtue. When we are successful we embody complete virtue and self mastery.
Appropriateness relates to the element metal. When we are appropriate we are artfully correct, full of tact – everything we do is suitable.
Wisdom relates to the element of water. Wisdom is less about knowledge and more about ‘knowing’ – the kind that comes from seeing things as they really are, especially internally.
Kindness relates to the element of wood. Kindness is caring, loving and protecting and is the most important of the virtues.
Orderliness relates to the element of fire. Order helps civilise society and ourself. Wolf packs survive in the harshest environments with orderliness.
Faithfulness relates to the element of Earth. Faith is a sense of trusting that things work out – especially faith in oneself to continue to grow.
The five virtues support each other in the sequence shown in the picture. Kindness supports orderliness which supports faith..etc.
This understanding of the five virtues comes from Master Ni Hua-Ching’s amazing book – The Path of Constructive Life.