There are people who are good at whatever they do and write well. I am always amazed at such people. They always seem to show a very new world, which ordinary people like me can’t easily see even if they look at it. Do Hong Ngoc is such a person.
Do Hong Ngoc is a doctor; Of course everyone knows, because he is more famous than many other doctors, and is interviewed frequently by the press. But he was also famous for writing good poetry from his student days. His poetry covers many topics, including Vu Lan poems, poems for mothers, love poems, poems for newborn babies, poems for pregnant women, and so on. While I read, enjoy, and admire his wonderful poems, but ultimately, I still enjoy reading Do Hong Ngoc writing about Buddhist scriptures. It is in this field that the Do surname is good at writing anything, writing short is good, writing long is good, writing about Zen breathing is also good, writing about the five aggregates of the emptiness of the Heart Sutra is also good, and writing about the Sutra’s mindlessness is also good. Kim Cang is also good, writing about the Lotus Sutra is also good, writing about the Vimalakirti Sutra is also good. And I believe, many generations to come will remember a Do Hong Ngoc writing about this field, that is what he has read, understood, lived and wrote down on the pages of his entire Buddhist study.
Many future generations will not remember a doctor Do Hong Ngoc, and no wonder his specialty is otolaryngology or pediatrics, or internal medicine. Just as we now only vaguely imagine a doctor Le Dinh Tham, but it is easy to remember a layman Tam Minh Le Dinh Tham who translated the Surangama Sutra, Mahayana Khoi Tin Luan, etc. who founded the Buddha Hoa Pho Family, the forerunner of the Buddhist Family. Yes, the next life will surely remember Do Hong Ngoc with the collection I Study Buddhism, a collection of many previously printed works: Thinking From the Heart (about the Heart Sutra), The Precious Sword Giving Hands (about the Heart Sutra) The Diamond Sutra), The Thousand Blue Lotus Petals (about the Lotus Sutra), The Buddha Realm Far Away (about the Vimalakirti Sutra), The Words of the Sutra, The Lotus Scent, the Meditation Practice…
The precious sword in hand or the story of the power of the Diamond Sutra
How did Do Hong Ngoc write so well? Blessings, a lifetime’s learning is not enough. It must be many lifetimes. I thought about that question when I read “I study Buddhism – version 2” by Do Hong Ngoc. Version 2, a 780-page PDF, is the edition that the Do family edited on the occasion of staying at home when the whole country fell into the epidemic season, as he explained in an email on August 7, 2021 when sending the PDF to share. shared among close Buddhist students:
“Almost 3 months now at home. The Covid situation in Saigon is very stressful as Hai knows. During this time, I only did one thing, which was to “edit” the entire book I Study Buddhism, mainly as a way of self-review. Now that I have completed this manuscript, I will print a few to commemorate. The cover is “stranged” by myself, inspired by the special magazine Lieu Quan (Hue), with my “romantic” “romantic” character…”
It should also be noted that, no version has been widely released (except, printed out a few to commemorate, as the author said), because the PDF version of “I study Buddhism – Version I” (1) circulated. online since early 2020, which also coincides with the start of the global coronavirus pandemic. At that time, many countries in the world were struggling with the epidemic, including in the United States; Vietnam alone at that time was peaceful and prevented in time. But by the summer of 2021, the pandemic has overwhelmed many provinces and cities in Vietnam. Tragically is right in the city of Saigon, where author Do Hong Ngoc resides. That’s why the writer, and a doctor with the surname Do, recently edited and supplemented it to compose “I study Buddhism – Version 2.”
Do Hong Ngoc explained about the opportunity to study Buddhism after 6 decades around, quoted: “When I was a student in Saigon, I also read Bat Nha, Suzuki, Krishnamurti…but read only to read. At the age of almost 60, after a life-threatening illness, I saw things differently. I read the Heart Sutra and found it not difficult anymore. Like broken. And with the Heart Sutra, I find it only takes one word to learn. The word no. Since then, there is no standing, no knowledge, no attainment…” (I Study Buddha II, PDF version, page 15)
That is the great opportunity of the author surname Do. Because there are people who recite the Heart Sutra all their lives, but don’t understand it. Just like there are people who read the commentary on the Heart Sutra from many teachers, but cannot enter. Some people, after many years of not understanding, doubt the Heart Sutra. Then there are those who choose the attitude of reverence, telling each other that they should find something simpler, more suitable for life, and mistakenly say that the Heart Sutra is just a sutra to be recited in the temple. Obviously a hundred turns. Probably by chance.
If we look at the atmosphere of Buddhist studies in the Western world, specifically in the United States, England, France, Australia… We can see two major trends. Firstly, the tendency to secularize Buddhism, to make Buddhism a daily application, to turn the Buddhadharma into a simple mindfulness practice for relaxation, for healing, for therapy in a hospital corner, even to make a complementary awakening practice for other religions. Second, the tendency to go out into the world, to study Buddhism to walk on the path of liberation of Buddhism, here is divided into three major sects: Southern Buddhism, Northern Buddhism, Vajrayana (Tibetan Buddhism).
The great thing about Do Hong Ngoc is that if sentient beings want to hear something, he can talk about it. Wanting to hear about worldly application, the surname Do became a doctor analyzing the health of body and mind. Wanting to hear the story of liberation, the Do family immediately became a narrator of Buddhist learning experiences that anyone could follow and realize themselves.
For example, Do Hong Ngoc, as a doctor, wrote about healing in I Study Buddha: “…especially the method of “mindful breathing” – which the Buddha taught from his first lessons after enlightenment. – I find that it can be effective in the prevention and treatment of some modern diseases, which are not contagious, but very dangerous, causing suffering and disability for many people that the World Health Organization (WHO) has always warned in recent years, reducing people’s quality of life, mainly due to stressful and unsafe lifestyles and environments…” (THP 2, page 30)
That is very practical, any religious believer can apply. The mindfulness meditation method used in schools and hospitals in the United States today also relies heavily on mindful breathing. When the Dharma is applied to schools and hospitals, all elements of belief and religion must be removed.
On the other hand, when talking about emancipation, Do Hong Ngoc pointed out ways to touch deeply into the dharma seals: no-self, impermanence, suffering, emptiness. We can remember that the ancestors of the past took out the chariot to explain the no-self, to say that there was no such thing as a car in the chariot, the chassis, the wheel… And very modernized, Do Hong Ngoc took out a watch to explain the principle of no-self:
“Being confined, obscured, covered by prejudice, gradually we become dependent, held, we keep the margins, to be “worthy of me”, with the role we play and our ego will grow bigger and bigger. thickening is the source of suffering. What has “I” in it creates suffering. my house, mine, my children, my lover, and my body… But that self, from the perspective of the Heart Sutra, is just a combination of factors that come together, interact, and co-exist. , compatible, this is due to the other, intertwined with each other – like the components that make up a clock including hands, wheels, pendulums… and produces the “ticking” sound. “Ticket” is inherently absent, does not exist, due to the combination of individual elements. remove the elements to find the ticking sound (the self) will not be found anymore! Reassemble yes. The ticking, no and no, yes and no, emptiness and fullness is the wonderful working of the clock. “Vacuum” is also “wonderful”. to stop at “no” simply, as an abolition, denial, nihilism is a fatal mistake.” (THP 2, pages 70-71)
It can be believed that what author Do Hong Ngoc writes about studying Buddhism will keep for a long time in the Buddhist literature of his home country, because the full text is fragmented, with many topics, but it is still a collection of treatises throughout. to comment on Buddhist scriptures. The very difference between Do Hong Ngoc and many of his predecessors is that from being very ignorant for 6 decades, rather than entering the temple to study Buddhism from childhood, his style is a mixed dharma world of a Buddhist scholar. writer, a poet, and a scientist. This is also a unique place not only for him, but for many people from a generation studying Buddhism at the same time. That is, Saigon was already a great sea, a meeting place of rivers of thought. From these cool waters, a generation (and then many) bathed, drank, learned and then picked up a pen to make the rivers of thought flow more and more throughout the homeland.
There, in order to transform the human world into Buddhism, a generation of Buddhist students from many countries made an appointment to come to Vietnam, to study, to practice, to translate, to teach and to write – including layman Tam Minh Le. Dinh Tham, Master Minh Chau, Master Nhat Hanh, Master Thanh Tu, Master Tue Sy, Professor Le Manh That, Nun Tri Hai, Nun Hai Trieu Am… And on the other hand, to transform the world full of pain In order to point out the Emperor’s sufferings in order to serve as a premise for the Dao Emperor to manifest, a generation of writers and artists made an appointment to come to Vietnam to live and write on extraordinary poetic realms, including Bui Giang and Pham Thien. Thu, Do Hong Ngoc, Thich Tanh Tue, Nguyen Luong Vy…
According to Tibetan Buddhism, they are reincarnated beings. Of course, the author Do Hong Ngoc disagrees with this comment. Since the last name Do will immediately point out that he does not see anything called “I, mine” in the body of the five aggregates, how much more can he say that there was a guy named Do who made an appointment to come to Vietnam to write poetry, to write texts, to comment on Buddhist scriptures:
“In that ’emptiness’, all is Void, or in other words, all is non-existent! No form, no form; there is no feeling – no perception, no action, no consciousness at all. In short, it is selfless. There is no real self but only a temporary, bubbly self, what we are eating, talking, boasting,…