Zengzi said: “I examine myself three times every day. Have I been true to other people’s interests when acting on their behalf? Have I been sincere in my interactions with friends? Have I practiced what I have been taught?”
Although he was only twenty-six years of age when Confucius died in 479 BC, Zengzi (曾子) quickly rose to prominence as one of the leading proponents of the sage’s teaching and is said to have written or edited at least ten books, including the rip-roaring Classic of Filial Piety (孝經/xiàojīng).
Zengzi also set up his own school in Confucius’s home state of Lu (魯國) and, as was the case with Youzi, his enthusiastic disciples made sure that he was extensively featured in the Analects. In fact, he is quoted a total of 14 times.
Zengzi lived from 505 to 436 BC, and traced his ancestry over a thousand years to a king from the Xia (夏) dynasty. His father Zeng Dian (曾點) was a friend of Confucius and sent him to study with the sage at the age of sixteen. His given name was Zeng Shen (曾參), and he was also called Zeng Ziyu (曾子輿) or simply Ziyu (子輿/子與).