Tag Archives: Min Ziqian

Analects of Confucius Book 11: Confucius and Min Ziqian

Confucius and Min Ziqian

Confucius shows his great admiration of Min Ziqian, one of his lesser known followers, in Book 11 of the Analects. He praises Ziqian to the skies in 11.5 as a “model of filial devotion” because he lives up to the reputation that he built up as a young man when he begged his father not to throw his evil stepmother and stepbrothers out of the house after they had treated abominably.

In 11.14, Confucius goes on to commend Ziqian for his political astuteness when his follower suggests that it would be better if the leadership of the state of Lu repaired the existing structure of the Long Treasury rather than go to the time and expense of demolishing and rebuilding it. In contrast to the voluble Zilu, for example, Ziqian “rarely speaks, but when he does he hits the mark.” Continue reading Analects of Confucius Book 11: Confucius and Min Ziqian

Leadership lessons from Confucius: a bright shiny object

bright shiny object

魯人為長府。閔子騫曰:「仍舊貫,如之何?何必改作!」子曰:「夫人不言,言必有中。」
The leadership of Lu was planning to demolish the Long Treasury and rebuild it. Min Ziqian said: “Why not just repair the old structure? Why build a new one?” Confucius said: “This man rarely speaks, but when he does he hits the mark.” (1)

It’s always much more exciting to work on a new project than on maintaining or upgrading an existing one – not to mention more beneficial to your career because of the increased exposure it will give you. After all, who has time to pay attention to the poor suckers beavering away in the background when there’s a brand-new bright shiny object to gawp at? Continue reading Leadership lessons from Confucius: a bright shiny object

Leadership lessons from Confucius: close to the edge

close to the edge

閔子侍側,誾誾如也;子路,行行如也;冉有、子貢,侃侃如也。子樂。若由也,不得其死然。
When at Confucius’s side, Min Ziqian was straightforward but respectful; Zilu was bold and intense; Ran Qiu and Zigong were frank but amiable. Confucius was happy but said: “A man like Zilu won’t die a natural death.”

How well do you know your colleagues? Not just how good they are at their work, but their personal strengths, weaknesses, and character traits. Continue reading Leadership lessons from Confucius: close to the edge

Leadership lessons from Confucius: stick to your values

stick to your values

子曰:「孝哉閔子騫,人不間於其父母昆弟之言。」
Confucius said: “Min Ziqian is a model of filial devotion! Nobody doubts the praise given to him by his parents and brothers.” (1)

Stick to your values no matter how much it may cost you in the short term. The heavier the pressure you are put under, the stronger you will become in the long term. Those who had the greatest doubts about you will ultimately become your most ardent supporters. Continue reading Leadership lessons from Confucius: stick to your values

Leadership lessons from Confucius: don’t sell your soul

sell your soul

季氏使閔子騫為費宰。閔子騫曰:「善為我辭焉!如有復我者,則吾必在汶上矣。」
When the head of the Ji Family sent an invitation to Min Ziqian to become governor of the town of Bi, he replied to the messenger: “Please convey my regrets. If anyone comes with a second invitation, I will be obliged to go and live on the other side of the River Wen.” (1)

Money and status aren’t everything. Even if a company makes you an offer that you can’t refuse, don’t feel that you have to sell your soul if its activities or ethics don’t accord with your personal values. Other opportunities will come along. No need to plunge into something you’ll come to regret later. Continue reading Leadership lessons from Confucius: don’t sell your soul

Followers of Confucius: Min Ziqian

Min Ziqian (閔子騫), also known by the formal name of Min Sun (閔損), was another of Confucius’s compatriots from the state of Lu and widely renowned as a model of filial devotion.

After the untimely death of his own mother, he suffered terrible abuse from his father’s second wife, almost dying of cold on one occasion after she had lined his clothes with reed catkins instead of the warm cotton she used for the garments of her own two sons. Continue reading Followers of Confucius: Min Ziqian

Political intrigue

魯人為長府。閔子騫曰:「仍舊貫,如之何?何必改作!」子曰:「夫人不言,言必有中。」
Certain people in Lu were planning to demolish the Long Treasury and rebuild it. Min Ziqian said: “Why not just repair the old structure? Why build a new one?” Confucius said: “This man rarely speaks, but when he does he hits the mark.”

The political intrigue hots up in the state of Lu, with one faction (probably the Ji family) hatching plans to undermine the largely symbolic authority of the Duke of Lu by knocking down his Long Treasury building and replacing it with a new one. Continue reading Political intrigue

An unnatural death

閔子侍側,誾誾如也;子路,行行如也;冉有、子貢,侃侃如也。子樂。若由也,不得其死然。
When at Confucius’s side, Min Ziqian looked respectful; Zilu looked feisty; Ran Qiu and Zigong looked relaxed. Confucius joked. “A man like Zilu will not die a natural death.”

Some succinct pen portraits that neatly crystalize the characters of four of Confucius’s closest disciples. Continue reading An unnatural death

A filial son!

子曰:「孝哉閔子騫,人不間於其父母昆弟之言。」
Confucius said: “Min Ziqian is such a filial son! Nobody differs from his parents and brothers in their praise of him.”

One of Confucius’s favorite disciples, Min Ziqian was renowned for the filial piety he is said to have shown during his miserable childhood. After the untimely death of his own mother, he suffered terrible abuse from his father’s second wife, almost dying of cold on one occasion after she had lined his clothes with weeds rather than warm cotton. Continue reading A filial son!