Disciples of Confucius: Tantai Mieming

There is a lot controversy over the exact identity of Tantai Mieming (澹臺滅明). According to the Records of the Historian (not always the most reliable of sources), he was so ugly that the first time Confucius met him, he mistook him for being stupid. It was only later that the sage realized his error and grew to appreciate him for his exemplary moral conduct.

Tantai Mieming, also known by the courtesy name of Ziyu (子羽), obviously forgave him for he went on to become an important disciple of Confucius and to establish his own school to promote the teachings of the sage.

Intriguingly, some scholars speculate that Tantai Mieming was an alternative name for the disciple Zengzi, who hailed from the same home town of Wucheng located in the south of the state of Lu.

Appearances in the Analects of Confucius
Book 6, Chapter XIV

Book 6
Chapter XIV
子游為武城宰。子曰:「女得人焉爾乎?」曰:「有澹臺滅明者,行不由徑,非公事,未嘗至於偃之室也。」
When Ziyou became governor of Wucheng, Confucius asked him: “Have you managed to get hold of the right sort of people there?” He replied: “There is one called Tantai Mieming. He takes no shortcuts and he has never visited me at home, except on official business.”

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