Contemporary figures in the Analects of Confucius: Yuan Rang

Yuan Rang (原壤) was either a young acquaintance of Confucius whom he rapped on the shin for his rudeness or an eccentric old friend of the sage whom he indulgently chided for his casualness.

According to a famous story in the Book of Ritual, the latter persona of Yuan Rang was such a free spirit that he jumped on his mother’s coffin and sang before her funeral while Confucius walked away pretending not to have heard him. Probably this is an entirely fictional incident.

Appearances in the Analects of Confucius
Book 14, Chapter 43

Book 14
Chapter 43
原壤夷俟。子曰:「幼而不孫弟,長而無述焉,老而不死是為賊。」以杖叩其脛。
Yuan Rang sat with his legs stretched out waiting for Confucius. Confucius said: “A person who is disrespectful to their elders when they’re young, achieves nothing of note when they grow up, and lacks the grace to die when they’re old is nothing but a thief.” He then gave him a rap on the shin with his staff.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.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