Yao

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

Contemporary figures in the Analects of Confucius: Zhu Tuo

Zhu Tuo (祝鮀) was a minister of the state of Wei responsible for the administration of its ancestral temple and other ritual matters. Confucius probably met him when he visited Wei after leaving his home state of Lu for exile in 496 BCE. 

Although Confucius voices his suspicion of of Zhu Tuo’s “smooth tongue” in Chapter 16 of Book 6 of the Analects, he does go on to commend him in Chapter 19 of Book 14 of for the vital role he played along with two other ministers in keeping Wei functioning while it was under the capricious rule of rule of the louche Duke Ling of Wei (衛靈公) and his scheming consort Nanzi (南子). Continue reading Contemporary figures in the Analects of Confucius: Zhu Tuo

Followers 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 into a poor family either in the state of Song (宋) or state of Lu (魯) in around 515 BCE, 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 Yuan for going too far. In Chapter 5 of Book 6, the sage tells him that he shouldn’t decline the salary that goes with the job of steward that he offers him. Continue reading Followers of Confucius: Yuan Xian

Historical figures in the Analects of Confucius: Sage King Shun

Shun (舜) was one of the five legendary sage kings of ancient China in the 23rd or 22nd century BCE. He reportedly ruled for nearly fifty years after the previous ruler Yao (堯) had abdicated in favor of him because of his higher virtue. Prior to his death, reputedly at the age of 100, he is said to have relinquished his throne to his successor, Yu (禹), who went on to establish the first recorded dynasty in China’s history, the Xia Dynasty (夏朝). Continue reading Historical figures in the Analects of Confucius: Sage King Shun

Historical figures in the Analects of Confucius: Guan Zhong

Guan Zhong (管仲) was the chief minister of the state of Qi (齊) during the seventh century BC. He was born in c. 720 BCE and died in c. 645 BCE, just over a hundred years before Confucius was born. Continue reading Historical figures in the Analects of Confucius: Guan Zhong

Contemporary figures in the Analects of Confucius: Ji Kangzi

Ji Kangzi (季康子) is the posthumous title given to Jisun Fei (季孫肥), the chief minister of Lu between 491 and 468 BCE and head of the Jisun (季孫) clan, one of the notorious Three Families that ran the state. Although Confucius criticized him heavily for disrespecting ritual ceremonies and introducing a field tax, Ji Kangzi invited him to return to Lu from his long exile at the request of his counselor Ran Qiu (冉求), who was also a follower of the sage. Continue reading Contemporary figures in the Analects of Confucius: Ji Kangzi