Lin Fang was from Lu, the home state of Confucius. Aside from his interest in ritual matters, there is no concrete information about him. Apparently, he was known for being rather slow-witted. Perhaps that’s the reason why he only appears twice in the Analects. Continue reading Followers of Confucius: Lin Fang
Ran Qiu (冉求) is also known and Ziyou (子有) and Ran You (冉有). Born in 522 BCE, he grew up in a poor household, which probably led to his strong interest in money and financial affairs. Indeed, he looked after Confucius’s own finances for a period of time, and when Meng Wubo (孟武伯) asked the sage about Ran Qiu’s qualities, Confucius praised his administrative abilities by saying: “He could be the mayor of a small city or the manager of a large estate.” Continue reading Followers of Confucius: Ran Qiu
Zilu (子路) [542-480 BCE], whose given name was Zhong You (仲由), was also known as Zhong Zilu 仲子路 or Jilu (季路).
Zilu was an honest, courageous, and impetuous individual who wasn’t afraid of speaking his mind to Confucius. On one occasion, he even criticized the sage for going to see Nanzi (南子), the concubine of Duke Ling of the state of Wei (衛靈公). He was also of a generous disposition, telling Confucius that his personal wish “is to share my carriages, horses, clothes, and furs with my friends without getting upset if they damage them.” Continue reading Followers of Confucius: Zilu
Yan Hui (顏回), otherwise known as Ziyuan (子淵) or Yan Yuan (顏淵), was Confucius’s favorite disciple and protégé. Born in 521 BCE in Confucius’s home state of Lu, he was thirty years younger than the sage and became one of his followers at an early age, no doubt under the influence of his father Yan Wuyao (顏無繇), who was one of the first followers of Confucius. Continue reading Followers of Confucius: Yan Hui
Ziyou (子游), whose given name was Yan Yan (言偃), was also known as Yan Ziyou (言子游), Yan You (言游), Yanzi (言子), and Shu Shi (叔氏).
Born in the state of Wu in around 506 BCE, Ziyou became a follower of the sage when Confucius was already an old man. Confucius had a high regard for his literary knowledge and skills, and subsequently praised Ziyou for the work that he did in educating the local people in the rites and music after he was appointed as an official in Wucheng (武城), modern-day Feixian (費縣) in Shandong. Continue reading Followers of Confucius: Ziyou
Fan Chi (樊遲) was also known by the courtesy name of Zichi (子遲) and the given name of Fan Xu (樊須). Born in the state Qi or Lu in around 505 BCE, Fan is said to have distinguished himself as a military commander when young, serving in the armies of the Ji Family. The first time he appears in the Analects he is pictured as the driver of Confucius’s chariot. Continue reading Followers of Confucius: Fan Chi
So little is known about Ziqin (子禽) that it is unclear whether he was an actual disciple of Confucius. He appears three times in The Analects. His given name is Chen Ziqin (陳子禽), and he is also referred to as Chen Gang (陳亢). Continue reading Followers of Confucius: Ziqin
Zigong (子貢) was known by a variety of different names, including Duanmu Ci (端木賜), Duanmu Zigong (端木子貢), Duanmu Zigan (端木子贛), and Wei Ci (衛賜).
Born in 520 BCE, Zigong was a native of the state of Wei and had already established himself as a successful and wealthy businessman in the states of Cao and Lu by the time he met Confucius. Continue reading Followers of Confucius: Zigong
Zixia (子夏) was born in 507 BCE, probably in the state of Wei, and is said to have lived to an extremely advanced age. He reportedly served at the court of Prince Wan of Wei in 406 BCE when he would have been ninety-nine. He was also known by the courtesy name of Bu Shang (卜商) and the given name of Bu Zixia (卜子夏). Continue reading Followers of Confucius: Zixia
Youzi (有子), or Zi Ruo (子若) or You Ruo (有若) to use his courtesy and given names, was regarded for a short period after the death of Confucius as his spiritual heir – mainly, it seems, because he bore a remarkable physical resemblance to the sage. Continue reading Followers of Confucius: Youzi