Tag Archives: Historical Figures in the Analects of Confucius

Historical figures in the Analects of Confucius: Ziwen

Ziwen (子文) was chief minister of the state of Chu (楚), taking office for the first time in 663 BCE. He was famous for his integrity and loyalty to the state, despite being dismissed from the position of chief minister on three occasions.

According to legend, Ziwen was the love child of a noble from Chu and was looked after by a tigress after he was left in a swamp after his birth. Subsequently, he was discovered by a man from another noble family who brought him up as if he was his son. Later on, he was welcomed back to his own family and made its heir.
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Analects of Confucius Book 5: new English translation

Read this new English translation of the Analects of Confucius Book 5 to learn more about the teachings of China’s most famous philosopher. It provides colorful insights into the characters and abilities of many of Confucius’s followers as well as other contemporary and historical figures.

Chapter 1
子謂公冶長,「可妻也。雖在縲絏之中,非其罪也。」以其子妻之。
Confucius said of Gongye Chang: “He would make a good husband. Although he has spent time in prison, he was innocent.” He gave him his daughter’s hand in marriage.
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Leadership lessons from Confucius: appearances can be deceptive

appearances can be deceptive

子曰:「甯武子,邦有道則知,邦無道則愚。其知可及也,其愚不可及也。」
Confucius said: “When the way prevailed in his state, Ning Wuzi acted wise. When his state lost the way, Ning Wuzi acted dumb. Others may match his wisdom but not his dumbness.”

Appearances can be deceptive. Just because someone acts differently than the other members of your team, it doesn’t mean that they are any less effective. Perhaps they simply prefer to work alone or do their best thinking away from the noise of the office. Judge them by the results they achieve, not by how they fit in. The most gregarious people are not necessarily the best performers. Continue reading Leadership lessons from Confucius: appearances can be deceptive

Historical figures in the Analects of Confucius: Guan Zhong

Guan Zhong (管仲) was the chief minister of the state of Qi (齊) during the seventh century BCE. He was born in c. 720 BCE and died in c. 645 BCE, just over a hundred years before Confucius was born. Continue reading Historical figures in the Analects of Confucius: Guan Zhong

Historical figures in the Analects of Confucius: Weisheng Gao

Weisheng Gao (微生高) was the subject of a famous story in the Zhuangzi (莊子) that depending on how you view it was either a tragic tale of unrequited love or a warning about the dangers of excessive rectitude.

According to the Zhuangzi, Weisheng arranged an assignation with a fair maiden under a bridge and promised to wait for her until she arrived. Even when it started pouring with rain and the floodwaters began rising, he stubbornly held on to one of the pillars of the bridge in the vain hope that she would arrive until he was swept away by the torrent and drowned. Continue reading Historical figures in the Analects of Confucius: Weisheng Gao