During the 10 centuries of Vietnamese feudalism, there were few kings who led the country, fought against foreign invaders, and left a great cultural legacy like King Tran Nhan Tong.
Recognizing and honoring the dedication of King Tran Nhan Tong, recently, the Prime Minister has just issued Decision No. 1717/QD-TTg dated September 1, 2016 on the establishment of Tran Nhan Tong Institute under Hanoi National University. Noi, to study the heritage, cultural values and career of Tran Nhan Tong, cultural values, ideas of the Tran Dynasty and related issues.
The bright king – Tran Nhan Tong
King Tran Nhan Tong was born when the first war of Dai Viet army and people against the Nguyen Mong army had just ended (1258). By the time King Tran Nhan Tong ascended the throne at the age of 20 (in 1278), the Tran dynasty had passed two dynasties to build a career, the country entered a period of prosperity, agriculture developed, and the law on examination and education was regulated. . However, the calamity of foreign invasion came again. The Nguyen Dynasty destroyed the Song Dynasty, and began to look at Dai Viet. Within four years there were two fierce invasions. Once in 1285 and the next time in 1287 – 1288. Just hearing the strong sound of the enemy, many generals of the Tran family were terrified to surrender. The Mongol army was invincible, illustrious in Asia and Europe, with all kinds of “warriors” of water, land and especially elite cavalry. At that historical time, the invading army each time was about 30,000 – 50,000 troops, it was a terrible number.
Although there was Crown Prince Tran Thanh Tong by his side to shoulder the burden, the main responsibility of directing the resistance against foreign invaders still fell on the shoulders of the young king Tran Nhan Tong. History also clearly states that, in August of the year of Nham Ngo (1282), when it was reported that 50,000 Toa Do troops used the scheme of “pretending to punish Quac”, using the pretext of borrowing the road to attack Champa to annex our country, King Tran Nhan Tong took the initiative to organize Binh Than conference. This is the meeting of the princes and generals of the Tran Dynasty to discuss strategies to fight the enemy. The venue for Binh Than was in the middle of Thien Duc River, near Luc Dau Giang, far from the capital to avoid the eyes and ears of the enemy.
At the Binh Than conference, he was a young king, but King Tran Nhan Tong’s demeanor was very poise and far-reaching. Talking about the talent of using people, the generous tolerance of the young king Tran Nhan Tong cannot help but mention the respect for Tran Hung Dao. At that time, between the eldest lineage of Tran Hung Dao and the second lineage of the King, there was not animosity. Tran Hung Dao is the son of Tran Lieu (the brother of the king’s grandfather), that is, the patriarch was not allowed to be a king but in many cases was “forced”, and once rebelled. However, King Tran Nhan Tong took great advantage and entrusted Quoc Tuan with the responsibility of the National Duke to moderate the entire army. In response to the king’s grace, Tran Hung Dao, a restrained sovereign, cheated on his own love and dedicated his military genius to the country. And also at the Binh Than conference, only a glimpse of the boat of Tran Khanh Du – a talented general with many disabilities, sentenced to make a living by selling coal, passed the place where the Binh Than conference was held, but King Tran Nhan Tong immediately left. immediately ordered to pardon Tran Khanh Du and then called to the meeting, then assigned to the position of Vice Admiral…
History also records the glorious event of the open democratic spirit of King Tran Nhan Tong and Supreme Emperor Tran Thanh Tong when holding the Dien Hong conference. This can be considered as the germ of the act of “referendum” on an important event of the country, when Thoo Hoan was about to send his main army to attack Dai Viet. How beautiful is the image of Hoai Van, the Marquis Tran Quoc Toan, squeezing an orange on the sidelines of the Binh Than conference and thousands of people like one chanting “hit” at the Dien Hong conference. It was the heart of my king, generals, army and people as one that made Tran Hung Dao’s poise when answering King Tran Nhan Tong’s question about the situation of the impending war in the first war against the Mongols. Third: “This year, we will fight the enemy at leisure”. As for the young king Tran Nhan Tong, in the face of a strong enemy, attacking on both sides from the north and south from Champa, the Khau Level – Noi Bang front was broken and the Tran army had to retreat to Van Kiep. On the boat that ran to Hai Dong to avoid the enemy’s attack, many generals lost the battle and surrendered to the enemy, but the young king was still confident. He is the soul of the society in the midst of the hour of climbing on the edge of the abyss. This is the verse of King Tran Nhan Tong handwritten on the side of the boat:
Former military monk and monastic Coi Ke,
Hoan, Dien due to the survival of tens of thousands of soldiers.
(Cike old things you should remember,
Hoan Dien has another ten thousand troops.)
Borrowing the remaining thousand troops on Coi Ke mountain of Viet Vuong, Cau Tien defeated the Ngo army in the Warring States period, and at the same time, King Tran Nhan Tong also encouraged the generals that the Thanh – Nghe rear area had not yet been defeated. would be ready to defeat the Mongol army.
The behavior of Mr. Tran Nhan Tong through Woodblocks of the Nguyen Dynasty
And proudly with the victory verse when the King saw the stone horse at his grandfather’s tomb:
Social occupants, Lao Thach Ma,
Son Ha Thien ancient power Kim Au.
(Two phen bon horse and stone commune,
The river is stable for thousands of years.
The rare compassion of King Tran Nhan Tong and Emperor Tran Thanh Tong also rarely did not pursue those who were hesitant to write letters to surrender to the enemy.
After the war, King Tran Nhan Tong abdicated the throne and became Thai Thuong Hoang. In March 1301, Tran Nhan Tong went to Champa and stayed here for nearly a year. The diplomacy linking the two peoples, stabilizing the South to prevent the invasion of the Nguyen Dynasty was carried out by the Supreme Emperor Tran Nhan Tong by a clever action: marrying Princess Huyen Tran to King Chiem, Che. Man in 1306. In response, Che Man ceded two continents O and Ly to Dai Viet and changed them to Thuan and Hoa.
Zen poet Tran Nhan Tong
Due to the parallel living conditions, there are two subjects: the king and the monk Tran Nhan Tong’s poetic poetry also brings two different types of inspiration: secular inspiration and meditation inspiration. These two inspirations are twisted and difficult to separate. Legend has it that King Tran Nhan Tong was the author of the following poetry collections and books: Thien Lam Thiet Thuy Luu (Ngu Luc about the poison ivy plant in the Zen forest); Sangha trouble (trivial stories of monks); Thach That My Language (Speech in the stone house); Dai Huong Hai An Thiet (The Book of Poetry Imprints of the Great Sea of Fragrant Water); Tran Nhan Tong’s poetry collection (Tran Nhan Tong’s poetry collection); Trung Hung Thuc Luc (2 volumes): recording the average invasion of Nguyen. However, up to now, all of the above works have been lost, only 32 poems and stanzas are left in Thanh Dang Luc Luc, Zen Tong Ban Hanh, An Nam Chi Chet, Nam Ong Mong Luc, Viet Yin Thi Tape, and Toan Viet thi Luc, and three passages in Dai Viet’s history of toan thu and An Nam Chi comb. Through the remaining poems, it is enough to see the stature of an illustrious poet of the Ly and Tran dynasties. Many poems express the thought and soul of a Zen monk. The color, not blurred in the middle of the peaceful Thien Truong countryside:
The front and back villages are like smoke in a cage,
The evening shadow seems to come again
All the buffalo herdsmen returned home,
A pair of white storks are thrown into the field.
And here is a picture of a king,
The Zen master in the middle of the palace, the vermilion tower,
The beautiful woman’s palace still has a place reserved for her:
Half the lights are on, the bed is full of books,
Cold night, the yard is full of dew
Waking up to the sound of the pestle, I don’t know,
On the tree branch, the moonlight is king.
Emperor Tran Nhan Tong – People and times
From a young age, Tran Nhan Tong wanted to become a monk. He respected Tue Trung Sergeant as his teacher. He wanted to give the throne to his brother to become a monk, but he couldn’t. At one time, he was so engrossed in keeping the precepts that his martial face was thin, and when he saw this, he had to remind him: “I’m old now, and I can only rely on you. If you are like that, what will be the great inheritance of the ancestors? Therefore, he was interested in holding the throne and ruling the country.
The country is peaceful, ceding the throne to my son to become a monk but Tran Nhan Tong it’s still painful. When King Tran Anh Tong was drunk and neglected political affairs, he also summoned his courtiers to Thien Truong to discuss the overthrow (in 1299).
The thought of meditation on entering the world is a prominent feature of the Truc Lam Zen lineage. Is that also the thought of Zen Master Phap Thuan who once advised King Le Dai Hanh: “Vi Vi on the guardhouse – A place to turn off swords”. The idea of ”remaining on the wrong path” was clearly stated by Buddha Emperor Tran Nhan Tong: “In a happy life, let’s follow the conditions; If you’re hungry, eat and sleep when you’re full; Treasures in the house stop searching; Mindless before asking what Zen.” What Ngu Giac Hoang built for Truc Lam Zen sect was a philosophical basis, the foundation of the cosmological and human outlook of society in the Tran dynasty. He persisted in building a unified Buddhist sect in the whole country, both in terms of organization, doctrine, training and transmission methods, and advocated separating religious activities from political activities, open to the public. Buddhism is a free and open spiritual space in the mountains and forests, not dominated by state power, taking the whole Yen Sinh – Yen Tu area as a gathering place…
A bright king wholeheartedly for the country, a devoted ancestor dedicated to spreading the Buddhadharma, a poet full of inspiration, love, and Dharma. Beautiful and glorious for our country when all that magnificence is combined in one outstanding person – Buddha Emperor Tran Nhan Tong.