Contemporary figures in the Analects of Confucius: Prince Jing of Wei

As a minister of the state of Wei and a son of the ruling duke, Prince Jing (衛公子荊) had ample opportunities to profit from his position and family connections. In 13.8, the prince’s only appearance in the Analects, Confucius praises him for leading a (relatively) plain and simple life and refusing to indulge in the excessive pleasures and unbridled greed and corruption that so many men of similar status succumbed to.

Confucius also applauds the prince for his sensible management of the fief bestowed on him by his father and his genuine appreciation of the wealth that he accrued from it. With his fulsome commendation of the prince, the sage is probably taking a few jabs at more dissolute members of the noble ruling families who took advantage of their positions to indulge in lives of dissolute luxury.

Appearances in the Analects of Confucius
Book 13, Chapter 8

Book 13
Chapter 8
子謂衛公子荊善居室:「始有,曰『苟合矣』;少有,曰『苟完矣』;富有,曰『苟美矣。』」
Confucius commented that Prince Jing of Wei knew how to manage the finances of his household well: “When he began to accumulate some wealth, he said ‘this is truly an ideal fit.’ As his wealth increased, he said ‘this is truly complete.’ When his wealth became considerable, he said ‘this is truly beautiful.’”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *