Tag Archives: Zigong

Analects Book 1: Confucius on governance

Governance

Even though Confucius is best known today as a teacher and philosopher, he could just as easily be described as a politician and policy wonk. Through his teachings his aim was to unite the weak and divided states that were vying for supremacy during his lifetime into a single prosperous country that was governed according to the same principles and practices that his hero, the Duke of Zhou, had implemented when laying the foundations for the growth of the Zhou dynasty five hundred years before his birth. Continue reading Analects Book 1: Confucius on governance

Analects Book 1: Confucius on learning

BJCT-05-L

Although this may come as a surprise to people who have experienced or even just heard about the rigors of China’s so-called “Confucian” education system, Confucius himself believed that learning should involve much more than simply imbibing and regurgitating the ancient classics. Rather, it should be focused on the practical application of the timeless principles found in the texts to your daily life so that you can make a positive contribution to your family, your community, and ultimately the whole society you live in. Continue reading Analects Book 1: Confucius on learning

Leadership Lessons from Confucius: like carving and polishing stones

like carving and polishing stones

子貢曰:「貧而無諂,富而無驕,何如?」子曰:「可也,未若貧而樂,富而好禮者也。」子貢曰:「詩云:『如切如磋,如琢如磨』,其斯之謂與?」子曰:「賜也,始可與言詩已矣,告諸往而知來者。」
Zigong said: “’Poor but not subservient; wealthy but not arrogant.’ What do you think of that?” The Master said: “Not bad, but this would be better still: ‘Poor but content; wealthy but loves the rites.’” Zigong said: “In the Book of Songs it is said: ‘Like carving and polishing stones, like cutting and grinding gems.’ Is this not the same idea?” Confucius said: “Wonderful, Zigong! At last I can discuss the Book of Songs with you! Based on what I’ve already said, you can work out what’s coming next!”

“Like carving and polishing stones, like cutting and grinding gems.” This line from the ancient Book of Songs (1) that Zigong (2) quotes to Confucius during their bout of poetic banter provides the perfect metaphor for the process of self-cultivation. The modern-day equivalent would be, I suppose, “sharpening the saw.” Continue reading Leadership Lessons from Confucius: like carving and polishing stones

Leadership Lessons from Confucius: the way of listening

listening

子禽問於子貢曰:「夫子至於是邦也,必聞其政,求之與?抑與之與?子貢曰:「夫子溫良恭儉讓以得之,夫子之求之也,其諸異乎人之求之與?」
Ziqin asked Zigong: “When the Master arrives in another state and needs to find out about the affairs of its government, does he have to ask for this information or do people give him it of their own accord?” Zigong replied: “The Master obtains it by being warm, kind, courteous, unassuming, and deferential. He uses a different method for seeking out information than other people, doesn’t he?” (1)

Treating people respectfully is a much more effective way of finding out what is happening than questioning them aggressively. The more interest you show in listening to what somebody has to say, the more likely they are to reveal what is really going on. Warmth, kindness, and courtesy go a long way.

Continue reading Leadership Lessons from Confucius: the way of listening

Kong Forest

Kong Forest, Qufu
Kong Forest, Qufu

The Kong Forest provides a much richer and more evocative symbol of the enduring prestige of the Kong family than the Kong Mansion. In addition to the graves of Confucius, his son, and grandson, it is home to the tombs, burial mounds, and memorial tablets and arches of over 3,000 other members of the family in beautiful wooded grounds that cover over 200 hectares. Continue reading Kong Forest

Kong Wenzi

Kong Wenzi (孔文子) was the posthumous name given to Kong Yu (孔圉) a minister of the state of Wei (魏)) who died in about 480 BC. It literally means Kong-the-Cultured, which was rather ironic given that Kong was said to have been rather an unsavory character notorious for his disloyalty and dissoluteness. No wonder Zigong was so befuddled by the news that the old rogue had been given such an honor – even if Confucius chose to remind him that Kong also had his good points. Continue reading Kong Wenzi