孔門十哲 The Ten Disciples of Confucius
冉求 Ran Qiu
Ran Qiu (522 BC – ?), also known as Ziyou and Ran You, hailed from the State of Lu, located in present-day Qufu, Shandong province, during the Eastern Zhou Dynasty in ancient China. He was one of Confucius’ disciples and was 29 years younger than him. Ran Qiu was related to Ran Boniu and Ran Zhonggong, and he was a versatile and modest individual with exceptional political skills. He excelled in politics and was included in the “Ten Accomplished Disciples” of Confucius under the political category.
Ran Qiu was born in the 20th year of Lu Zhao Gong’s reign (522 BC). During Confucius’ service in Lu, he served as one of his attendants. When Confucius left Lu and traveled to other states, Ran Qiu followed him. During the reign of Ai Gong, Ran Qiu returned to Lu and became an attendant of Ji Kang Zi. In the 11th year of Lu Ai Gong’s reign (484 BC), Ran Qiu was instrumental in bringing Confucius back to Lu from the state of Wei. In Confucius’ later years when he retired to Lu, Ran Qiu continued to make significant contributions.
In “The Analects of Confucius,” it is recorded that Ran Qiu was once criticized by Confucius for collecting taxes for the wealthy Ji family, who were even richer than the lords in the Zhou dynasty. Confucius said, “He is not one of my disciples. You may beat the drum and attack him.” In another chapter, titled “Zilu, Zeng Xi, Ran You, and Gongxi Hua Sat Together,” Ran Qiu expressed his desire to govern a small state with a radius of 60 to 70 li (a traditional Chinese unit of distance) and ensure that the people are satisfied and prosperous.
孔子：「若臧武仲之知，公綽之不欲，卞莊子之勇，冉求之藝，文之以禮樂，亦可以為成人矣。」Confucius praised Ran Qiu’s talent and said that he was capable of managing a large household or serving as a general in charge of a thousand households;
Confucius said, “The so-called great ministers should be able to serve the monarch in a way that conforms to the principle of benevolence. If this is not possible, they would rather not do it. Now, these two people, Yu and Qiu, can only be regarded as courtiers who are there in name only.”
Zilu asked Confucius what makes a perfect person. Confucius replied, “A perfect person should possess wisdom like Zang Wu Zhong, be free from greed like Meng Gong Chuo, be courageous like Bian Zhuang Zi, be talented like Ran Qiu, and refine his manners and tastes with the practice of ritual and music.”
歷代追封 Posthumous titles throughout history
唐贈徐侯，宋封彭城翁，後封徐公。Tang dynasty conferred the title of Xu Hou, while Song dynasty enfeoffed him as Peng Cheng Weng and later as Xu gong.