Mengpi (孟皮), the elder step-brother of Confucius, was the son of the first wife of their father Shuliang He (叔梁纥) and had nine sisters. Although he was the only son of the couple, Mengpi had a handicapped foot that meant he wasn’t considered eligible to carry on the family name. Desperate for an heir, Shuliang took Confucius’s mother Yan Zhengzai (颜徵在) as his concubine or second wife while in his early sixties to preserve the family line.
Shuliang died only three years after Confucius’s birth in 548 BCE, leaving Zhengzai and Confucius poor and of uncertain social status because of the cloudy circumstances of their marriage. Unable or unwilling to live with Shuliang’s first wife and daughters, Zhengzai is said to have returned to her father’s home together with her son and Mengpi – who was presumably regarded as a burden by his birth mother. Continue reading Biography of Mengpi: the elder step-brother of Confucius
The wife of Confucius was a woman from his ancestral state of Song with the family name of Qiguan (亓官). Her first name isn’t known. She is often referred to as Qiguan Shi (亓官氏) or Lady Qiguan.
Confucius married her in 533 BCE at the age of 19. A year later, Qiguan bore the couple’s only son Boyu (伯魚). She and Confucius are believed to have had two daughters as well, both of whose names are unknown. One of them probably died at an early age, while the other was married off by Confucius to a convicted criminal called Gongye Chang (公冶長), who he deemed “would make a good husband” and be declared “innocent” of his alleged crime. There are no records of whether Confucius consulted his wife or daughter about this decision. Presumably, given the prevailing customs of the time, the answer is negative. Continue reading Biography of Qiguan Shi: the wife of Confucius
Confucius said: “I wasn’t born with innate knowledge. I simply love the past and am assiduous in seeking it there.” (1) (2) (3) (4)
Even if you have all the talent in the world, it isn’t worth anything unless you’re willing to put your nose to the grindstone and set to work. Of course, it helps to have family members around to encourage and guide you, as Confucius’s mother and grandfather are reputed to have done after his father died when Confucius was just three years old, but that can only take you so far. In the end, it’s up to you to put in the time and effort required to be successful. Continue reading Leadership lessons from Confucius: innate knowledge
The father of Confucius was called Shuliang He (叔梁纥) and is also referred to as Kong He (孔紇). He was born in 619 BCE and died in 548 BCE.
Shuliang was an officer in the army of the state of Lu and a member of a minor aristocratic family whose lineage, according to some accounts, could be traced back to members of the original royal family of the Shang dynasty (1600-1046 BCE). When the Shang dynasty was overthrown by the Zhou, the family moved to the state of Song, where it stayed for around four hundred years until Shuliang’s grandfather was forced to flee to the state of Lu to escape from domestic political turmoil. Continue reading Biography of Shuliang He: the father of Confucius