Tag Archives: Zengzi

Analects Book 1: on loyalty


Loyalty (忠/zhōng) is one of what some commentators classify as the secondary virtues and is often mentioned together with trustworthiness (信/xìn). The first instance of this pairing can be found in Chapter VIII of Book 1 in which Confucius advised that a leader (君子) should, “Hold loyalty and trustworthiness as your highest principles.” Continue reading Analects Book 1: on loyalty

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. Continue reading Disciples of Confucius: Tantai Mieming

Analects Book 1: on learning


Although this may come as a surprise to people who have experienced or even just heard about the rigors of China’s so-called “Confucian” education system, Confucius himself believed that learning should involve much more than simply imbibing and regurgitating the ancient classics. Rather, it should be focused on the practical application of the timeless principles found in them to your daily life so that you can make a positive contribution to your family, your community, and ultimately the whole society you live in. Continue reading Analects Book 1: on learning

Zengzi takes his final bow

The Meng Family appointed Yang Fu as a judge. Yang Fu asked for advice from Zengzi. Zengzi said: “The authorities have lost the Way; the common people have been left to their own devices for too long. When you succeed in getting the true facts of a case, respond with compassion but never take any pleasure from it.”

Zengzi takes his final bow in the Analects with his call for his disciple Yang Fu to show compassion when dispensing justice. Rather than seeing the successful conclusion of a case as triumph, Zengzi cautions, Yang should regard it as a reflection of the failure of the government to set the right example to the common people and inculcate the proper values in them. Continue reading Zengzi takes his final bow

Zengzi on filial piety

Zengzi said: “I heard this from the Master: If a man ever reveals his true nature, it’s when he mourns his parents.”

Zengzi said: “I heard this from the Master: The one facet of Meng Zhuangzi’s filial piety that others couldn’t match was that he retained his father’s officials and continued his father’s policies.”

Zengzi is reiterating Confucius’s comments in Chapter XI of Book 1 and Chapter XX of Book 4 of the Analects that the true test of a son’s filial piety is whether he observes the three-year mourning period after the death of his parents: Continue reading Zengzi on filial piety

Zizhang gets a kicking

Ziyou said: “My friend Zizhang is a man of great ability, but he has not yet achieved goodness.”

Zengzi said: “Zizhang is so full of himself that it is difficult to cultivate goodness by his side.”

I presume that it wasn’t an editorial accident that these two put-downs of Zizhang are paired together. Continue reading Zizhang gets a kicking