was one of the disciples of Confucius
Sima Qian has Confucius saying: The disciples who received my instructions, and could themselves comprehend them, were seventy-seven individuals. They were all scholars of extraordinary ability. The common saying is, that the disciples of the sage were three thousand, while among them there were...
Yan Hui was a native of State of Lu, the favorite of his master
Confucius , literally "Master Kong", was a Chinese thinker and social philosopher of the Spring and Autumn Period....
, whose junior he was by thirty years, and whose disciple he became when he was quite a youth. After I got Yan Hui,
Confucius remarked, the disciples came closer to me.
We are told that once, when he found himself on the Nang hill with Yan Hui, Zi-lu, and Zi-gong, Confucius asked them to tell him their different aims, and he would choose between them. Zi-lu began, and when he had done, the master said, It marks your bravery.
Zi-gong followed, on whose words the judgment was, They show your discriminating eloquence.
At last came Yan Hui, who said, I should like to find an intelligent king and sage ruler whom I might assist. I would diffuse among the people instructions on the five great points, and lead them on by the rules of propriety and music, so that they should not care to fortify their cities by walls and moats, but would fuse their sword
A sword is a bladed weapon used primarily for cutting or thrusting. The precise definition of the term varies with the historical epoch or the geographical region under consideration...
s and spears into implements of agriculture. They should send forth their flocks without fear into the plains and forests. There should be no sunderings of families, no widows or widowers. For a thousand years there would be no calamity of war. Yu would have no opportunity to display his bravery, or Ts'ze to display his oratory. The master pronounced, How admirable is this virtue!
When Yan Hui was twenty-nine, his hair was all white, and at the age of 32 he died.
After the death of Yan Hui, Confucius lamented, "Heaven has bereft me! Heaven has bereft me!". When told by other students that he is showing "excessive grief", the old philosopher replied: "Am I showing excessive grief? Well, for whom would
I show excessive grief if not for this man?". Even years later, Confucius would say that no other student could take Yan Hui's place, so gifted and dedicated Yan Hui had been.
Yan Hui, along with Confucius himself, was venerated by the first emperor of the Han dynasty. The title which he now has in the sacrificial Canon, -- Continuator of the Sage
-- was conferred in the ninth year of the Jiajing
The Jiajing Emperor was the 11th Ming Dynasty Emperor of China who ruled from 1521 to 1567. Born Zhu Houcong, he was the former Zhengde Emperor's cousin...
era, A.D. 1530. Almost all the present sacrificial titles of the worthies in the temple
A Temple of Confucius or Confucian temple is a temple devoted to the memory of Confucius and the sages and philosophers of Confucianism.- History :...
were fixed at that time. Hui's place is the first of the four Assessors, on the east of the sage.
Yan Hui is venerated at the Temple of Yan Hui
The Temple of Yan Hui, more commonly known as simply the Temple of Yan or the Yan Temple , is a temple in Qufu, China, dedicated to the memory of Yan Hui , the favorite disciple of Confucius.-Location and layout:...
, which is located in Qufu's walled city, a few blocks north of the Temple of Confucius
The Temple of Confucius in Qufu, Shandong Province of China, is the "original", largest and most famous of the temples of Confucius in China and East Asia....
Yan Hui's tomb is now surrounded by hundreds of tombs of his descendants, forming the Yan Family Cemetry ("Yan Forest"). A stele was installed at his tomb during the Jin (Jurchen) Dynasty, and re-erected during the Ming Dynasty
The Ming Dynasty, also Empire of the Great Ming, was the ruling dynasty of China from 1368 to 1644, following the collapse of the Mongol-led Yuan Dynasty. The Ming, "one of the greatest eras of orderly government and social stability in human history", was the last dynasty in China ruled by ethnic...
. The tomb is well preserved.