Analects of Confucius Book 4: Confucius’s approach to learning

Confucius on learning

Confucius can certainly never be accused of sugarcoating the difficulties that any would-be student would face if he chose to follow his path. He promises no seven-step plan to guaranteed success or shortcut to fame and fortune with his approach to learning. Continue reading Analects of Confucius Book 4: Confucius’s approach to learning

Notes from the field: Happy Lunar New Year of the Rat!

Happy Lunar New Year of the Rat

Happy Lunar New Year of the Rat! Let’s hope it improves quickly after such an inauspicious start in China.

Our Lunar New Year’s Eve celebrations were low-key, mainly I suspect because all our kids have grown up so there was none of the previous excitement that accompanied the distribution of red envelopes filled with shiny new notes. The food, on the other hand, was great. That’s one tradition that never changes no matter who is present. Continue reading Notes from the field: Happy Lunar New Year of the Rat!

Analects of Confucius Book 4: Confucius on leadership qualities

Junzi

The ability to assess a given situation objectively and take the most appropriate action based on the facts of it is one of the key leadership qualities that Confucius highlights in Book 4 of the Analects. Continue reading Analects of Confucius Book 4: Confucius on leadership qualities

Analects of Confucius Book 4: by numbers

Analects of Confucius Book 4: by numbers

As in Book 2 and Book 3, Confucius dominates Book 4 of the Analects with the curious exceptions of Chapter 15, in which his younger follower Zengzi steps in to clarify the meaning of his words, and Chapter 26, where his follower Ziyou takes the reins. The only plausible explanation for these two anomalies is that they were slipped in by unscrupulous or careless editors.  Continue reading Analects of Confucius Book 4: by numbers

Analects of Confucius Book 4: overview

The Analects of Confucius Book 4 begins with an exploration of the meaning of goodness. Only people who practice it constantly in their daily lives without a desire for personal profit are able to enjoy true satisfaction and contentment.

Even though Confucius claims that he has never seen “anyone whose strength is insufficient” to devote themselves to goodness for a single day, he despairs that he hasn’t ever seen anyone who “truly loves goodness and truly detests evil” either. The path to goodness that he urges everyone to follow is indeed a lonely and difficult one! Continue reading Analects of Confucius Book 4: overview

Notes from the field: transitioning to the vehicle safety market

5:00am at the Days Inn in Fremont, California. I always get terrible jetlag flying this way over the Pacific no matter how late I stay up on the evening I arrive. At least I’ll only be here a couple of days before flying back to Taiwan for the Lunar New Year holiday.

A couple of intense days, that is, as we finalize our plans for the US market this year. Transitioning to the vehicle safety market promises to be a huge (but fun) challenge. Having the right technologies and products in place is just the first step in a long process of learning about the needs and culture of this new market. Continue reading Notes from the field: transitioning to the vehicle safety market

Analects of Confucius Book 11: Confucius in danger in the borderlands

Confucius in danger

Book 11 of the Analects highlights two dangerous scrapes that Confucius got himself and his followers into during his period of exile from the state of Lu from 496 BCE to 483 BCE.

In 11.23, Confucius and Yan Hui are reunited in the rough border town of Kuang, where the sage and his band of merry men had been detained by the locals for five days after being mistaken for Yang Huo (楊貨), a notorious outlaw from the state of Lu nicknamed Tiger Yang who had previously ransacked the town. Continue reading Analects of Confucius Book 11: Confucius in danger in the borderlands

Notes from the field: bustling Taipei street markets

Taipei street markets

There’s been a bustling air pervading Taipei’s street markets this weekend as people flock to get their provisions in preparation for the forthcoming Lunar New Year celebrations. Forget the city’s luxury shopping malls; the streets where the real action is: the cut and thrust of the haggling over prices and the excited voices and smiling faces of vendors and shoppers alike who both think they’ve got the best of the bargaining.

Will people still go out on the streets to shop when they can order everything they could possibly want or need using their smart phones and have it delivered to their doorstep – or perhaps even neatly placed in their refrigerator or closets? A lot of investors and entrepreneurs are betting that this will be the case by pouring billions into last-mile on-demand grocery and meal services. Continue reading Notes from the field: bustling Taipei street markets

Analects of Confucius Book 11: Confucius and Ran Qiu

Confucius and Ran Qiu

Even though Confucius is critical of several of his most loyal followers in Book 11, most notably Zilu, he reserves his most virulent scorn for Ran Qiu. In 11.17 he famously rips into him for helping the Lu strongman Ji Kangzi to levy yet more taxes on the common people by loudly declaring: “He’s no longer my follower. You may beat the drum and attack him, my young friends.”

While Confucius is justifiably upset at Ran Qiu for ignoring his advice not to impose any more unnecessary burdens onto the impoverished peasantry, he never uses such violent language towards Zilu and other followers who also helped the corrupt and venal Ji Family enrich themselves at the expense of the downtrodden Lu population. Indeed, even though Confucius often chides Zilu for his indiscretions and impetuousness, he generally adopts a much more indulgent tone towards him than Ran Qiu. Continue reading Analects of Confucius Book 11: Confucius and Ran Qiu

Notes from the field: an invigorating hike to clear the mind

invigorating hike

There’s nothing like a long and invigorating hike to clear the mind and take stock of the week. This morning I walked from my usual starting point at the Four Beasts Scenic Area (四獸山市民森林碑) behind the Houshanpi MRT station to the Beixingbao Temple (北星寶宮). From there I took the Xiangshan Circular Trail down to Elephant Mountain and back into the city.

The views of Taipei and the surrounding mountains were spectacular. The temples along the way also provided myriad visual treats. I feel so grateful to live in this wonderful place where the peace and tranquility of nature are less than half-an-hour away. Continue reading Notes from the field: an invigorating hike to clear the mind