The Yen Clan Ancestral Hall of Benyuanliao in Greater Tainan’s Annan District has a rarely seen sculpture of Yen Hui, one of the original disciples of Confucius. The figure holds a book in one hand and a brush for writing calligraphy in the other. The god has been worshipped there for 20 years. After doing a survey throughout Taiwan, the Greater Tainan Yen Clan Association discovered that Yen Hui is only worshipped in Tainan and Keelung. In celebrating its 20th anniversary, the hall expanded its ancestor worship activities and included a celebration of the birth of Matsu, goddess of the sea.
Yen Guo-tsai, president of the Greater Tainan Yen Clan Association, says that Confucius’ disciple Yen Hui is an ancestor of the Yen clan, and that the Yen Clan Ancestral Hall of Benyuanliao, the Yen Clan Shrine in Greater Tainan’s Hsinying District, as well as the Yen Clan Association in Greater Kaohsiung’s Cieding District, all belong to the same clan. The Benyuanliao branch of the Yen clan has been around for more than 10 generations. Yen Guo-tsai is a ninth-generation Yen.
Yen says the hall was built in 1992 and there are three gods worshipped in all — Yen Hui, Matsu and the bodhisattva Ksitigarbha. When venerable elders were first preparing to build the ancestral hall, they were initially going to carve a sculpture of Yen Hui themselves, but eventually procured one and brought it back to the hall after discovering it, the last one available at a shop selling Buddhist religious objects at the time.
(Liberty Times, Translated by Kyle Jeffcoat)
1. disciple n.
門徒 (men2 tu2)
例: The 12 disciples traditionally thought to have followed Jesus could represent the 12 tribes of Israel.
2. expand v.
擴大 (kuo4 da4)
例: We would like to expand the scope of our operation by involving more people from outside our own group.
3. bodhisattva n.
菩薩 (pu2 sa4)
例: Avalokiteshvara is one of the most revered bodhisattvas in Mahayana Buddhism.