Yao (堯) was one of the five legendary sage kings who unified ancient China and served as future role models for building a stable and benevolent system of government. Yao is believed to have lived in the 23rd or 22nd century BC, and is said to assumed power at the age of 20 and voluntarily relinquished it to his successor, Shun (舜), to whom he gave his two daughters in marriage, after seventy years on the throne. According to some sources, he went on live for a further thirty years following his abdication. Continue reading Yao

Meng Zhifan

Meng Zhifan (孟之反) was a minister of the state of Lu. According to an account in the Chronicle of Zuo (左傳/ Zuǒzhuán), he led an army that was soundly defeated by a force from the state of Qi in a battle that took place near to Qufu, the capital of modern-day Shandong province, in 485 BC. During the retreat he showed great valor by fighting off the enemy in an effective rearguard action that allowed his surviving soldiers to escape. Continue reading Meng Zhifan

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

Disciples of Confucius: Yuan Xian

Yuan Xian (原憲) was also known by the courtesy name of Zisi (子思) and the name of Yuan Si (原思). Born in either in the state of Song (宋) or state of Lu (魯) in around 586 BC, he was over thirty years younger than Confucius and was noted for the excessive, some might say ostentatious, zeal with which pursuing a path of fastidious purity. Even Confucius was moved to criticize him for going too far, telling him that he shouldn’t decline the salary he was offered for an official position in Chapter V of Book 6. Continue reading Disciples of Confucius: Yuan Xian