Wonderful Story : Wisdom 3 x 8 = 23

This is one of my favorite story about Wisdom. This story happened on Zhou Dynasty in China, when Confucius live. Confucius was a thinker and social philosopher, whose teachings and philosophy have deeply influenced Asian people thought and way of life. In this story, we can learn that wisdom doesn’t mean that we have to be correct all the time. As we can see together, almost all trouble in this world happen when everyone argue each other which one is right and which one is wrong. Sometimes, we forget what the most important is… Let’s learn from this story what called wisdom.

Yan Hui was Confucius’s favorite disciple who love learning, he also have a good personality.

One day when Yan Hui was on duty, he saw a fabric store was surrounded by many people. He approached and found a buyer and seller of fabric is being debated.

Buyer shouted: “3 X 8 = 23, why did you say 24?”

Yan Hui fabric buyers approached and said: “My friend, 3 X 8 = 24, no longer debatable.”

Fabric buyers are not happy and pointed nose and Yan Hui said: “Who asked your opinion? If want to ask for an opinion we have to ask to Confucius. True or false entitled as Confucius said. “

Yan Hui: “Well, if Confucius says you’re wrong, how?”

Fabric buyers: “If Confucius says I’m wrong, i will cut my head. If you are wrong, how? “

Yan Hui: “If I’m wrong, my position for you.”

Both agreed to a bet, then went looking for Confucius.

After Confucius know about the problem , Confucius laughing and said to Yan Hui, “3 × 8 = 23. Yan Hui, you lose. Give your position to him. “

Yan Hui forever will not argue with the teacher.

When Yan Hui heard Confucius say he is wrong, then he lowered his hat to give to buyers of cloth. The man took his hat and went satisfied.

Although Yan Hui received a rating Confucius but his heart did not agree. He felt that Confucius was old and senile, so he no longer wished to learn from him. Yan Hui asked for leave of absence by reason of family problem.

Confucius knew Yan Hui’s heart and gave him leave. Before Yan Hui departure, Confucius asked him goodbye and quickly returned after the business was complete, and Hui Yan gave two advice: “When the heavy rains, do not take shelter under a tree. And do not kill. “

Yan Hui said, “Okay,” and went home.

On the way suddenly strong winds accompanied by lightning occurs, seems to have come down with heavy rain. Yan Hui want to take shelter under a tree and then suddenly remember the advice of Confucius and his heart thought to obey what his teacher said once again. He left the tree. Not long ago he went, lightning strikes and trees were destroyed.

Yan Hui was surprised, the first teacher’s advice has been proven. Then he remember the second advice.

Am I going to kill people?

Yan Hui arrived at his house when it was getting late and did not want to disturb his wife’s sleep. He uses his sword to open the room. Arriving in front of the bed, he felt and found there is someone on the left side of the bed and there is someone else on the right side. He was very angry, and willing drew his sword. At the time of going to slash his sword, he remembered advice of Confucius, do not kill.

He then lit the candles and looked to the bed and discovered that someone beside his wife was the sister of his wife.

The next day, back to Confucius, Yan Hui, knelt and said: “Teacher, how do teachers know what will happen?”

Confucius said: “Yesterday was very hot days, is expected to rain lightning, so the teacher remind you to not take shelter under a tree. You went yesterday with anger and carrying a sword, so  i warn you not to kill “.

Yan Hui said: “Teacher, your estimation is great, students are very impressed.”

Confucius replied:

“I know you go on leave not because of family matters. You do not want to learn more from me. Just try to think. Yesterday the teacher told me 3 × 8 = 23 is correct, you lose and lose your position. But if the teacher said 3 × 8 = 24 is correct, the fabric buyer lose and that it means going to sacrifice one’s life. Do you think your position is more important or losing one’s life more important? “

Yan Hui aware of the mistake and said: “Teachers are more concerned with the major, students actually think teachers are old and senile. Pupils really embarrassed. “

Since then, wherever Yan Hui, Confucius went always followed

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  1. Greetings Vendy,

    This story is very inspirational.
    I would like to use it in my blog too.
    May I know where you got it from?

    Best regards,

    Marcus C. S. Tan

  2. hello, marcus.

    yes. you can share this story on your blog.
    i wrote it by myself. I translated directly from an indonesian book.

  3. Pingback: Help Empire | Confucius' Wisdom

  4. Confucius lived in the warring state period at the end of Zhou dynasty not in Tang dynasty.