Posted on: September 20, 2021 Posted by: admin Comments: 0


The crystallization of the Northern pagoda in Hoang Cam’s poetry helps us to be more aware of the eternal problems of human life and the beauty that literature should always aim for.

Poet Tran Dang Khoa talks about Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh

Icons in Hoang Cam’s poetry is not only an objective category of “thing in itself”, but also as a reserve of sublimated value in the poet’s artistic vision. The nature of the symbol is very rich, complex and profound, because there is an interlacing, meeting between the floating area of ​​consciousness and the obscured, deeply obscured area of ​​the unconscious, subconscious mind, but can concatenated into strings. Because when Hoang Cam uses symbols to recreate the world model, it also removes the phenomenon of brokers and intermediaries according to the “logical principle”, making the symbol ambiguous and uncertain. Due to the ambivalent nature of culture, the meaning of the symbol is difficult to fully grasp. But in Hoang Cam’s own close and familiar look, it is easy for readers to recognize a cultural space of Kinh Bac spreading on many sides of mountains, rivers, pagodas and ancient Vietnamese villages; performing activities, cult festivals, ways of communicating and having fun; how to “eat”, how to “dress” in accordance with the situation. The nature of the symbol is “to reveal but conceal”. In this article, we focus on deciphering the chain of pagoda symbols in Hoang Cam’s poetry in order to contribute to clarifying some aspects of the values, behavior and cultural identity of the Vietnamese people in the Red River Delta.

Poet Hoang Cam.

We can confirm, Kinh Bac pagoda Hoang Cam’s poetry is a crystallization of the “democratic outlook”, with delicate, beautiful and harmonious lines in the spirit of yin and yang philosophy such as: dragon and phoenix, moon, sun, clouds, rain, etc. grass, Guan Yin statue, dharma feet, Diem King’s cross, harem roof… In the context of existence, readers will understand why Hoang Cam likens the image of a temple bell to a beautiful lip: Afternoon of Kinh Bac / Temple bells dyed with lipstick (Gift to mother). This simile symbolizes beauty with vivid colors, femininity, always belonging to people. And readers will also understand why Hoang Cam is always eager to listen and dialogue with the ancients: The king follows the matrilineal line / Listening to the temple bell tinged with son (According to the matrilineal line). Because culture is the value that people inherit and create with the hope of “surviving” in the language.

On the other hand, Kinh Bac pagoda is also a Hoang Cam canal that can communicate with the ancients through old stories, is a way to be good, clean and clear, towards peace and relaxation in the soul. The pagoda is associated with the idyllic life in the village, so its image is very close and familiar in the people’s thoughts. The temple of the North does not create a great distance, does not cause the feeling of “fanatical extreme power” (Pham Duc Duong’s words). Therefore, the images of falling banyan leaves and gentle statues in the village space do not bring a sense of anxiety and fear, but crystallize into a culture of behavior, contributing to nurturing, fostering, making enrich the spiritual life of Kinh Bac residents.

Vietnamese pagodas: An overview

Finding out about the world of village temples, Hoang Cam is partly bathed in a holy, sacred and sublime breath. Especially, in the years of war, the existence of temple bells in memory seems to echo a peaceful time: The temple bells are ringing, where are you now / The girls who bite their lips are only brushing betel nut / The old people spread their white hair / The children rustle their brown pants / Where are they going now (Across the Duong River). Is it possible that every time the sound of the temple bell comes out from the chaos of life, it shows people the way to save sentient beings once. At the same time, fostering in personal thoughts a calm awareness, deep understanding of the tradition of respecting and loving children and elderly mothers in the midst of turmoil. The sound of the temple bells “resounding” like resounding memories, reminding people to share and empathize. Higher still, that sound awakens sleeping souls to awareness of their own presence for a brief moment of existence.

Historically, the temple of the North is a place associated with the names of enlightened monks such as Vien Chieu, Khong Lo, Van Hanh, Huyen Quang… The basic spirit of Buddhism is to help sentient beings realize the cause of their suffering, and at the same time to show them the path of cultivation to liberation. The policy of Buddhism is to go out into the world to kill sex, extinguish the fire of desire, and conquer the demands of the body by cultivating the mind to practice virtue, opening up wisdom, attaining enlightenment, transcendence and peace of mind to the realm of nirvana. Because the root of Buddhism is goodness, when it was introduced to the land of Luy Lau, Thuan Thanh, Bac Ninh, Zen studies integrated with Vietnamese indigenous beliefs, patriotic tradition, and aspiration to build build the homeland, a prosperous and peaceful country. On the basis of Buddhist humanity, Hoang Cam realized the vision of a king “founding the country”. There, whether people like it or not, one cannot deny the stature and personality of a child raised by love and the warmth of the temple. That is the reason for Ly Cong Uan’s commitment to reign, towards right and belief, contributing to building a glorious era in history. Hoang Cam is proud of the feat of expanding the country, but also mourns the loss and decline that closes the historical mission of a dynasty: Cong Uan picked up the Tieu pagoda/Dong Ly dynasty of brocade flowers/For the last time to be empty/The night of Chieu Hoang, the moon set (Confession portrait)).

Perhaps, the fact that the “parents” of all nations in the past chose for themselves a spiritual path after the passage was not a way to escape from the world, but rather a wise choice of the saint who “remained in the world and lost his way.” , a way of “entering the world”, a journey to follow the footsteps of the Buddha, to help people and save all beings. The symbol of the pagoda in the ancient land of Kinh Bac is therefore a cultural and spiritual feature in the Vietnamese soul. Although not explicitly stated, we see that Hoang Cam borrowed the Buddhist cultural categories to generalize the poetry series of Rhythm One: Vows (in the book About Kinh Bac), or used as titles for poems. Incense lamp 1, Incense lamp 2, Praying for Buddha, Hieu birth, Repentance or Tu. The Buddhist language that Hoang Cam chose reveals hidden feelings, worries, and reflections on the eternal problems of personal and human status in history.

Next, in Hoang Cam’s view, the Northern pagoda is both a deep domain of nothingness and a channel to help the poet realize the necessities of life: Phat Tich Pagoda stretched in white silk / Statue of Quan Am with red cheeks / The evening bell takes off the bib / Early bell wears a scarf / Ten-finger bamboo shoots economic sentence (Dem Thuy). In the pure space of light, Guan Yin statuePhat Tich Pagoda is not only an architectural work with a profound religious sense, but also a vivid and fresh image of the breath, skin, and movement of youth in the mortal world. In Hoang Cam’s opinion, the village temple is a cultural environment that harmonizes between humans and gods, so it is also a desire to live, a desire for love, but the dark color of the monk’s shirt cannot cover the whole life. Born on the human body: Litao claps the squishy chamomile flowers/Spring silk choking on the buds of youth (Dem Thuy). In Hoang Cam’s view, the pagoda is the gateway to help people return to the folklore consciousness, to the joys and peace of everyday life. It’s a far cry from the crude, rigid understanding of the cessation of lust that someone later explained. Returning to the symbol of Kinh Bac pagoda, readers have both discovered a new movement direction of people and things in the inherently quiet survival space in the countryside, while understanding more about the relationship between religion and love. love, as well as the inspiration of enlightenment, the effort to break out of the narrow confines of the samsara.

However, returning to the pagoda is not only about love, but also to Hoang Cam, it is also a profound awareness of the eternal problems of life such as birth, old age, illness, and death. For example, when listening to the sound of the rain inadvertently, it is not very pleasant to overwhelm the temple bells, but evokes a lot of sadness and calm in the heart: Rain of temple bells / Back to Trai wharf (Thuan Thanh Rain). Or the image of an ancient temple, even though it has a human silhouette, but is still sad, pitiful and lonely: Who says that’s the case / Temple of a hundred orphaned doors (No way). Kinh Bac Pagoda is also a context of existence, so all the different dimensions of human life are revealed very clearly. People in the temple environment seem to be obsessed, fighting between two dimensions: life and death, present and past, nirvana and mundane, nothingness and everyday life. There, people both try to escape, rely on the Buddha’s door to wash away the dust, while searching for an absolute truth, but still can’t overcome “the world”, keep entangled in the middle of the world. , sorrow: Indifference to the tangle of nirvana/ Floating to pray to the queen…/ Far away… (Indifferent). More interestingly, there are temples that are not located in the Kinh Bac area like Huong Pagoda, but when placed in the Vietnamese culture of gratitude, this symbol partly speaks to the injustice and disadvantage of children. people in history: I went to Perfume Pagoda on the side of justice / The Buddha’s eyes were narrow and narrow / Right, the princess and daughter of King Ly / Closed the shirt of a few cave doors / (…) I went to the Huong pagoda on the pity side / Ben Trong wharf dividing the road / Thien Tru suddenly listens to the purple bell / Suddenly I see you lying covered in smoke (Perfume Pagoda). And if sentient beings reflect on the truth of life when they come to the temple, rely on the Bodhi gate to ask for more blessings, then going to the temple festival in Hoang Cam’s mind keeps throbbing with “mercy” sympathy. sad. Obviously, his poetry has no true religious inspiration, no religious concepts that govern poetry, but from the perspective of existence, we can perceive moral and aesthetic values. beauty in human eyes…

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