Notes from the field: exploring multiple pathways

multiple pathways

One of the great delights of hiking around the Four Beasts Scenic Area (四獸山) is that there are lots of smaller pathways to follow that take you away from the main trails deeper into the lush vegetation covering the mountainside.

This morning I happened along this delightful little shrine when I took a different route down the mountain before arriving at a nearby temple. There are in fact, a lot of temples in the Four Beasts dedicated to an eclectic array of Buddhist, Daoist, and other Chinese deities. One day, I keep telling myself, I’ll be able to identify all of them… Continue reading Notes from the field: exploring multiple pathways

Leadership lessons from Confucius: a special case?

special case

顏淵死,顏路請子之車以為之 。子曰:「才不才,亦各言其子也。鯉也死,有棺而無 ;吾不徒行,以為之 ,以吾從大夫之後,不可徒行也。」
When Yan Hui died, his father Yan Lu asked Confucius if he could sell his carriage so that he could pay for an outer coffin for his son. Confucius said: “Talented or not, a son is a son. When my son Li died, he was buried in an inner coffin but there was no outer coffin. I wouldn’t go on foot in order to give him one because it wasn’t proper for me as a former minister to go on foot.” (1) (2) (3)

If you fail to follow the rules and conventions of your organization, how can you expect others to observe them? If you allow yourself some wriggling room by treating a sensitive or contentious case as an exception, why can’t everyone else do the same? Continue reading Leadership lessons from Confucius: a special case?

Followers of Confucius: Yan Lu

Yan Lu (顏路) was one of the earliest followers of Confucius and the father of the sage’s favorite follower and protégé Yan Hui (顏回).

Otherwise known as Yan Wuyou (顏無繇), he was born in the state of Lu six years after Confucius in 545 BCE and led a humble existence. He was so poor that when Yan Hui died he had to ask Confucius to sell his carriage to buy an exterior coffin for his son’s burial. Confucius had to refuse the request because Yan Hui achieved sufficient status to merit such an honor. In addition, as a former minister it would have been a serious breach of ritual propriety for Confucius to participate in a funeral procession on foot. Continue reading Followers of Confucius: Yan Lu

Leadership lessons from Confucius: rose-tinted glasses

rose-tinted glasses

季康子問:「弟子孰為好學?」孔子對曰:「有顏回者好學,不幸短命死矣!今也則亡。」(1)
Ji Kangzi asked: “Which of your followers love learning?” Confucius replied: “There was Yan Hui who loved learning. Sadly, his life was cut short and he died. Now there’s nobody.” (1)

There’s nothing wrong with indulging in the occasional bout of nostalgia. Just be mindful that the good old days were never quite as wonderful as you imagine them to have been. In most instances they weren’t by any measurable criterion better either – just different. Continue reading Leadership lessons from Confucius: rose-tinted glasses

Biography of Mengpi: the elder step-brother of Confucius

step-brother of Confucius

Mengpi (孟皮), the elder step-brother of Confucius, was the son of the first wife of their father Shuliang He (叔梁纥) and had nine sisters. Although he was the only son of the couple, Mengpi had a handicapped foot that meant he wasn’t considered eligible to carry on the family name. Desperate for an heir, Shuliang took Confucius’s mother Yan Zhengzai (颜徵在) as his concubine or second wife while in his early sixties to preserve the family line.

Shuliang died only three years after Confucius’s birth in 548 BCE, leaving Zhengzai and Confucius poor and of uncertain social status because of the cloudy circumstances of their marriage. Unable or unwilling to live with Shuliang’s first wife and daughters, Zhengzai is said to have returned to her father’s home together with her son and Mengpi – who was presumably regarded as a burden by his birth mother. Continue reading Biography of Mengpi: the elder step-brother of Confucius

Biography of Qiguan Shi: the wife of Confucius

wife of Confucius

The wife of Confucius was a woman from his ancestral state of Song with the family name of Qiguan (亓官). Her first name isn’t known. She is often referred to as Qiguan Shi (亓官氏) or Lady Qiguan.

Confucius married her in 533 BCE at the age of 19.  A year later, Qiguan bore the couple’s only son Boyu (伯魚). She and Confucius are believed to have had two daughters as well, both of whose names are unknown. One of them probably died at an early age, while the other was married off by Confucius to a convicted criminal called Gongye Chang (公冶長), who he deemed “would make a good husband” and be declared “innocent” of his alleged crime. There are no records of whether Confucius consulted his wife or daughter about this decision. Presumably, given the prevailing customs of the time, the answer is negative. Continue reading Biography of Qiguan Shi: the wife of Confucius

Leadership lessons from Confucius: stick to your values

stick to your values

子曰:「孝哉閔子騫,人不間於其父母昆弟之言。」
Confucius said: “Min Ziqian is a model of filial devotion! Nobody doubts the praise given to him by his parents and brothers.” (1)

Stick to your values no matter how much it may cost you in the short term. The heavier the pressure you are put under, the stronger you will become in the long term. Those who had the greatest doubts about you will ultimately become your most ardent supporters. Continue reading Leadership lessons from Confucius: stick to your values

Biography of Boyu: the only son of Confucius

Boyu (伯魚) was the only son of Confucius and his wife Qiguan Shi (亓官氏), and was born in around 530 BCE, about a year of his parents’ marriage when Confucius was twenty. When Duke Zhao, the ruler of the state of Lu, sent him a prize carp to congratulate him on the birth of his son, Confucius gave the infant the formal name of Kong Li (孔鯉), which literally means “Kong-Carp.” He also gave his son the more informal name of Boyu, which literally means “Oldest-Son-Fish.”

Little is known about the details of Boyu’s childhood except that he had two younger sisters, one of whom is believed to have died at an early age. It appears, however, that the relationship between him and Confucius was a distant one, perhaps because his intellectual powers nowhere near matched those of his father. Continue reading Biography of Boyu: the only son of Confucius

Leadership lessons from Confucius: before opening your mouth

before opening your mouth

南容三復白圭,孔子以其兄之子妻之。
Nan Rong constantly repeated a refrain from the poem White Jade Scepter. Confucius gave him his elder brother’s daughter in marriage. (1)

Pause and take a deep breath before opening your mouth or tapping the publish or send key on your smartphone screen. Once you’ve said or written something you may come to regret, it’s impossible to take it back. No matter how much you apologize later on, the memory of it will always linger somewhere deep in the recipient’s mind together with the feelings of hurt and anger that it may have caused. Continue reading Leadership lessons from Confucius: before opening your mouth

Notes from the field: VIA Mobile360 D700 AI Dash Cam conquers Monza

Earlier this month, VIA put the VIA Mobile360 D700 AI Dash Cam through its paces at the “Temple of Speed” at Monza in Italy together with the E20 Project Motorsport team – giving a group of local journalists the opportunity to experience the thrill of a test drive in a Fiat Abarth 124 sports car equipped with the device around this world-famous racing circuit.

After an hour of driving instruction with an expert from the E20 Project Motorsport driving school, the journalists were able to see the device perform in considerably more demanding conditions in terms of vibration stress than on a motorway. Continue reading Notes from the field: VIA Mobile360 D700 AI Dash Cam conquers Monza