Ran Boniu (冉百牛), also known as Ran Geng (冉耕), was a native of the state of Lu like Confucius and was born about seven years after him in 554 BC. Boniu, whose name literally meant “elder ox”, was also the father of another of Confucius’s disciples Ran Yong (冉雍), also known as Zhonggong (冉仲弓). Continue reading Disciples of Confucius: Ran Boniu
Confucius attracted quite a following during his lifetime as a result of his reputation as a great teacher. It is traditionally believed he had as many as three thousand students, though only seventy-two were said to have truly mastered his teachings. In Sima Qian’s Records of the Grand Historian (史記/shǐjì) Confucius himself is quoted as saying that he had seventy-seven “scholars of extraordinary ability” who were able to understand his “instructions”. Continue reading Young pretenders and old companions: the disciples of Confucius in Book 1 of the Analects
Gongye Chang (公冶長), also known as Zichang (子長), Zizhi (子之), or Gongye Zhi (公冶芝), was born either in the state of Lu or the state of Qi. Despite having been imprisoned as a criminal, Confucius believed he was innocent and gave his daughter to him in marriage.
Nothing else is known about him, unless you count some fantastical tales of his amazing supernatural abilities based on his ability to understand the language of birds and other animals. Continue reading Disciples of Confucius: Gongye Chang
Very little is known about Shen Cheng (申棖). He is said to have come from Confucius’s home state of Lu and may possibly have been the disciple called Shen Dang in the Records of the Grand Historian by Sima Qian. Continue reading Disciples of Confucius: Shen Cheng
Gongxi Chi (公西赤), also known as Gongxi Hua (公西華) and Zihua (子華), was famous for his expertise in ritual etiquette. So much so that in Chapter 8 of Book 5 of the Analects, Confucius comments: “standing resplendent with his sash, he could entertain distinguished guests.” Continue reading Disciples of Confucius: Gongxi Chi
Although Qidiao Kai (漆雕開) only makes a single appearance in the Analects, he was a highly influential disciple who went to establish his own school, which became one of the eight branches of Confucianism identified by the philosopher Han Fei (韓非) in the 3rd century BC. Continue reading Disciples of Confucius: Qidiao Kai
The identity of Nan Rong (南容) is uncertain, though Confucius thought highly enough of him to arrange a marriage with his niece. Continue reading Disciples of Confucius: Nan Rong