Zen master Man Giac (1052 – 1096), is considered a famous Zen master of the Vo Ngon Thong sect. He was famous for his intelligence and literary talent. Up to now, many people know him through the verse “Reporting the Disability of the People”.
According to the document, Master Man Giac’s customary name was Nguyen Truong (after Ly Truong 李長), his father Hoai To worked as a Chinese poet, Vien foreigner. In his youth, Ly Nhan Tong often invited the children of famous families to serve on both sides, Nguyen Tuong thanks to listening a lot, remembering well to study both Confucianism and Thich, so he was recruited. After times of mandarin work, Nguyen Tuong often focused on Zen studies.
When the king ascended the throne, because he was very fond of it, King Ly Nhan Tong gave Nguyen Truong the title Hoai Tin. After that, Hoai Tin submitted a petition to ordained, studied with Zen Master Quang Tri and traveled everywhere. He was a dharma leader for a time, greatly respected by King Ly Nhan Tong and his queen, and built Giao Nguyen pagoda to invite him to be the abbot.
Information from vietsciences.org, adds that Man’s father, Ly Hoai To, worked as a foreign secretary under the two dynasties Ly Thanh Tong (1051-1072) and Ly Nhan Tong (1072-1128). and must be very understanding of words, because he was appointed as Chief of Mission by the Court in the Vietnamese mission to China in 1073 to announce the death of Ly Thanh Tong. However, despite coming from such a family, and although the boy Ly Truong was greatly favored by King Ly Nhan Tong, sent to the palace to study from a young age, he named him Hoai Tin, Ly Truong still did not follow in his father’s footsteps. He did not become a courtier of the king, but chose the path he liked: cultivating his knowledge of Buddhism and Confucianism to the point of erudition, then inheriting the seal of Zen Master Quang Tri at Quan Dinh pagoda, mountain. Khong Lo, traveling everywhere, became a famous Zen master, had many students, was respected as the representative of the eighth generation, the Quan Bich Zen line.
Patriarch Nguyen Thieu with his life and poetry books
During his monastic life, Man Giac left only one work, but it is also a unique work of Ly dynasty literature remaining to this day. It is a testamentary poem written to remind students before their death, a poem that has caused many generations of readers over the past nine centuries to have conflicting emotions, and up to now, the debate. is not finished yet.
The stanza is as follows:
Spring and past flowers,
Spring flowers bloom.
The money label too much,
The old man bowed his head.
Spring flowers to your Mac remains optimistic take,
Most families cherish spending money tomorrow!
Here is our translation:
Every year when spring passes, a hundred flowers fall,
But every year spring comes and a hundred flowers bloom.
Things chased each other past before our eyes,
The old rush to the head,
However, don’t say that spring fades and flowers fall,
Just last night, in front of the yard, an apricot branch bloomed again.
It can be said that no one is without a strong impression, a flutter with all spirituality, when reading the poem. But how to explain that anxiety is different for each person. It is said that the reader is captivated by the poem of Manchukuo because with the experimental consciousness that each person still has, we can perceive in that poem the author’s subtle discoveries about the evolutionary law of life. Life goes on continuously, it also makes sense. But it is said that the reader is moved only by being deceived by the poet’s artistic structure, because the author skillfully visualizes time and human life with two very poetic quantities, spring and flowers, and cleverly places them in The relationship is both positive and seems to be opposite, but the explanation of the evolution of life in the poem itself has not gone beyond the cyclical point of view, nor does it seem to be wrong.
So what is the poem like?
Surely we all agree: this is an explanatory work of birth and death. Birth and death are common, human life has birth, aging, and death, it is also common. The first four sentences clearly convey that idea, which also makes the reader understand and sympathize with the author, when the author is on the hospital bed, at the end of his present life. This understanding must, of course, be based on the Buddhist cyclical philosophy. This universe is cyclical, is eternally biochemically born according to the law of cause and effect, and the world person – the form body that each person carries, which is transformed by the karma of the previous life, is just one of the forms of manifestation. The cyclical manifestation of the universe, it is the inevitable and non-excluding destruction of things in this world:
Spring, hundreds of flowers fall,
Spring comes, hundreds of flowers smile.
In the immediate future, going forever,
The old man has come…
Accept the cyclical reason, so as not to have fantasies about personal immortality, not to be tortured by six bandits (six bad qualities in human beings), making the mind become disordered – that is also a A very good method of psychological liberation of Zen people, it helps people to eliminate how much greed, anger, delusion, craving, and shameless desire, not only causing suffering, but also causing suffering to many other fellows. again. Only in that first aspect, the poem also had a big warning effect.
Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh talks about how to meditate
However, the intention of the poem may not be only that. The problem is that if this universe is just a cycle, all phenomena and things have to go through a vicious and repetitive process of movement, will human life become meaningless, and there is no place left for us. cling and believe in the permanence and development of human life? That is a common concern of the world, which cannot be cleared away by reason in an instant. And if the poem can only answer the above-mentioned things, then it is certainly just as new as an imposition, forcing the reader to slide on a well-worn groove in thinking – a kind of cyclical hypothesis. empiricist quality – but cannot cause a sudden, exciting emotion, an aesthetic mutation that has lasting value for many centuries now, as we know through the history of the poem.
Fortunately, the poem has two final lines. And the last two sentences are like an antithesis, turned upside down, making the problem seem to have been completed according to its logic from the beginning, suddenly bursting with unexpected rays. The poet exhorts his disciples to accept the cyclical reason. But knowing that in his lustful heart for human existence, and perhaps even in the depths of his mind, the cyclical explanation was not yet fully convincing. People record it by reason, by faith in the Tao, by the attitude of endurance, not by all living instincts and emotions. And it was from within those entangled contradictions, not self-conscious, that a light of intuition suddenly popped up in the spirit of the Zen master named Ly, making him feel like he was enlightened for a moment. He suddenly said aloud the truth that had just flashed brightly in his heart:
Don’t think that the flowers will fall off in spring,
Last night, the front yard, an apricot branch..
Are not! Circulation is not the law that governs this world of existence! But this world is actually proliferative. Even when so many phenomena seem to be rolling into the cycle of the cycle, there are still certain phenomena that oppose it. And that is the essence of life, the particular is sometimes the expression of a higher level of the universal.
Seriously, what Manh-Enlightenment tells me is nothing beyond the principle of the Tao that he pursues. Because according to Buddhism, this universe, no matter how fragile it appears in forms, its essence is still the same, the eternal mind. Form is impermanent, disappearing in the blink of an eye, but the eternal essence of the universe never changes. So, if a cultivator realizes that, knows to identify his consciousness with the essence of Mind, the unborn and immortal truth of the universe, then what lies in the world of six objects – the bars, color, smell, taste, touch, and dhamma – can disturb his mind, make him fall into the vicious circle of sentient beings, be confused in all worldly sufferings, and be restrained by the cycle of life. ? He will reach a state of stillness of Mind, will be as innocent as grass, will merge himself with the Mind of the universe, and will be with the eternal universe…
For Zen, realizing that truth about immortality does not require a long process of cultivation and precepts, but just a leap in the depth of perception, thanks to the help of Zen. an external phenomenon (a gesture of raising a hand, a shout, etc.) that ordinary reason cannot understand. It can be said that it is a reversal of intuition, where the element of inspiration, the state of ecstasy, plays an important role. Therefore, people are so imbued with Zen that like Man Giac, he did not explain in a long time, but only used the image of an apricot branch suddenly bursting open after a late spring night – when hundreds of flowers had completely fallen off – to represent. symbol of this wondrous enlightenment. And that’s not cyclical anymore. The cycle stops at the threshold of that bloom. The cultivator has reached the truth – he has become a Buddha, that is, eternal with the essence of the universe, in a joyful, ecstatic, ecstatic mood:
Don’t think that the flowers will fall off in spring,
Last night, the front yard, an apricot branch
It is from the perspective of Zen philosophy that approach the poem. But we still have to approach the poem from another angle: the perspective of practical emotions. Most readers have come to the poem from this angle. The plum branch that burst open in just one late spring night proves what-if not the profound evolutionary significance beyond…