Zisang Bozi

There is a lot of speculation surrounding the identity of Zisang Bozi (桑伯子). The most popular theory is that he was an itinerant Daoist sage whom Confucius was said to have once met while walking around the countryside and found to be robust and straightforward but lacking in sophistication and refinement. This would fit with the overriding message of Chapter II of Book 6, the only passage in which he is mentioned in the Analects, though of course it doesn’t mean that this theory is correct.

Appearances in the Analects of Confucius
Book 6, Chapter II

Chapter II
仲弓問子桑伯子。子曰:「可也簡。」仲弓曰:「居敬而行簡,以臨其民,不亦可乎?居簡而行簡,無乃大簡乎?」子曰:「雍之言然。」
Ran Yong asked about Zisang Bozi. Confucius said: “He has a simple approach. That makes him acceptable.” Ran Yong said: “Taking a sophisticated approach to your duties while implementing simple measures: is this not the right spirit in which to govern the people? But taking a simple approach to your duties while implementing simple measures: isn’t this going too far?” Confucius said: “That is correct.”

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