Disciples of Confucius: Zijian

Zijian (子賤), also known by his formal name of Fu Buji (宓不齊), was born in 521 BCE in the state of Lu. After studying under Confucius, he served as the chief magistrate (宰/zǎi) of Danfu (單父) in Shandong province and achieved such a good reputation that Confucius describes him as a true leader in Chapter III of Book 5 of the Analects.

Zijian was said to have taken quite a relaxed approach to his position, preferring to spend his time playing music on the qin rather than in his office. When his successor Wuma Qi (巫馬期) asked him how he had been so successful without having to work too hard, he replied that people who rely on strength labor hard but those who rely on other people can relax.

Appearances in the Analects of Confucius
Book 5, Chapter III

Book 5
Chapter III
Confucius said of Zijian: “He is a true leader! If there were indeed no leaders in the state of Lu, how would he have reached this level?”

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