The founder of Vietnamese Zen Buddhism is Zen Master Khuong Tang Hoi – the first patriarch of the Vietnamese Zen sect, who has contributed to building the foundation of operation for the Second Buddhist Center in the Northeast region to develop. developed from the second to the eleventh century.
His parents are from the country of Khuong Cu (Sogdiane) residing in Giao Chi to trade. Mr. Tang Hoi was certainly born on the land of Giao Chi; His father and mother died when he was ten years old. Don’t know who raised him after his parents died, only know that when he grew up, he left home and studied very diligently (Cao Tang Truyen). I also do not know who his teacher was, and whether any of the ten monks who ordained him were foreign monks. I only know that he is good at both Sanskrit and Chinese characters. Among his works is Ne Hoan Pham Boi, a collection of poems on the topic of nirvana, translated from Sanskrit chants. His Luc Do Book Kinh was elegantly written, proving that his Chinese literature was not inferior to the Chinese at that time. Of course, being born in Giao Chi, he must speak our language very well.
With a deep good root from many lifetimes planted in the Buddhadharma, motivated the young boy to act wisely like an adult enthusiastically protecting the path. Indeed, he gave all his parents’ possessions to the Luy Lau Sutra Translation Center. And more than that, at the same time as discharging his love of talent, he left home to study in Luy Lau (now Bac Ninh). As a sublime person, soon Khuong Tang Hoi’s talents and virtues became famous everywhere. At that time, Giao Chi was subordinate to Dong Ngo. Ngo Ton Quyen saw that his reputation was illustrious and was respected by the people. He was afraid that he would win hearts and gather heroes to rebel against Dong Ngo. In the year of Ngo Xich O, at the beginning of the 10th year AD 248, Ngo Ton Quyen quickly sent an envoy to Giao Chi to invite him to Dong Ngo. He gave the seemingly good reason that Khuong Tang Hoi was a high monk with profound knowledge of Buddhism, so he invited him to teach and propagate the religion in Ngo country. Indeed, it was a means to force Him out of the place of prestige and isolate Him in a faraway land, unable to contact His followers.
When he first arrived, Ngo Ton Quyen treated him very condescendingly, aiming to humiliate and even kill him by bringing up very difficult problems; If they can’t solve it, they will use that excuse to execute. One of the plots to kill him, if the Buddha’s teachings are effective, he should show that the epiphany. If he cannot prove it, he must be charged with death.
Among them, the most prominent is jade Relics of Buddha. Only the gods can bring the relics and the high Sangha can keep them. The relics must emit aura of 5 colors and break without breaking. If you practice the precepts within 7 days, the gods will bring the jade relics into the vase and the vase will emit light. When Ton Quyen heard that hard work, he was very happy and said: “If you can bring the relics here and see with my own eyes, I will build pagodas and towers. But if it is false, false, use fake objects to measure it. cheat, I will use the law of the country to treat sins.” The disciples all trembled before this difficult challenge. As for him, he calmly entered the private room, brought a bronze vase, placed it on the altar, burned incense and worshiped and asked for relics.
Seven days passed, and there was still nothing in the jar. Khuong Tang Hoi asked for 7 more days. Ton Quyen agrees. Seven days later passed again, with no results. Ton Quyen ordered: “Experience something, clearly deceive people. Soldiers, quickly take him away”. Khuong Tang Hoi said: “Wait, Your Majesty, perhaps among my disciples, there are people who are afraid of the majesty of the great king, so their mind is not pure. If the mind is not pure, prayer cannot achieve results. Hopefully. Your Majesty is lenient, for another 7 days. If it fails this time, it is up to you to handle it.” Sun Quan approves, in the conviction that no matter what happens Khuong Tang Hoi.
As the cold time passed, the public became more and more afraid. Before their eyes, the light of the relics was completely obscured, showing only the light of the blade. Because everyone waited from early morning to noon, noon to evening, but the copper pot was still empty. As for their master, still sitting quietly, his expression did not change. It wasn’t until the next five days that the jar suddenly made a noise. Khuong Tang Hoi saw light in the vase. The crowd rejoiced, tears pouring down like rain. Khuong Tang Hoi entered the court and placed a bronze vase on the court. The vase suddenly emitted a five-color light, scaring everyone. Ton Quyen immediately picked up the vase and poured the relics onto a bronze plate. Strangely, the plate immediately broke. Ton Quyen said: “This is a rare good omen”.
Khuong Tang Hoi said again: “Your Majesty, the divine power of the relics is very extraordinary. Apart from the light and color, the relics cannot be burned, nor can the vajra be destroyed”.
Sun Quan was surprised: “Really! Try it again for me!”
The relics were immediately placed on an iron anvil and sent a great athlete to strike down with a mace. A moment later, the mace was broken, and the relics were deeply recessed into the iron anvil, but there was no damage. Ton Quyen immediately ordered the construction of Kien So pagoda to teach the teachers and students of Khuong Tang Hoi. It was the first temple in Jiangdong. Some of the remaining works of Mr. Khuong Tang Hoi are as follows: An Ban Thu Y, Phap Canh Kinh, Dao Tho Kinh, Luc Do Luong Muc, Ne Hoan Pham Boi, Ngo Pham (Dao Hanh Bodhisattva), and Luc Do Book Sutra. .
The magical baggage of Zen Master Khuong Tang Hoi
The notes of Khuong Tang Hoi in the three Sutras An Ban Thu Y, Dharma Realm and Dao Tho are no longer present; so is the title of the Tao Te Ching; Only the two prefaces of the An Ban Thu Y Sutra and the Phap Canh Sutra remain. The An Ban Thu Y Sutra teaches the method of counting the breath and focusing on meditation; Although it is a sutra belonging to the Hinayana, Khuong Sang Hoi has expounded it in the spirit of the Mahayana. In the preface to this sutra, Khuong Sang Hoi wrote: “An Ban is the great vehicle of the Buddhas to save sentient beings who are wandering through birth and death”.
And “The Book of the Sixth Sutras” is a very special work. Considering the text and content, we know for sure that this is not a work of translation from Sanskrit but an edited research work in which there are many passages translated from many scriptures and there are passages completely written by the author. Khuong Tang Hoi wrote, for example, a passage about meditation. There are eight rights in all, talking about the six degrees (degrees ie crossing the shore, the word paramia): generosity, morality, patience, meditation, and enlightenment. Wisdom here is wisdom. The first three books are about almsgiving, and the following books, each about one of the remaining degrees.
About each degree, there are many translated excerpts in the sutras. For example, in almsgiving, there are excerpts and translations of the sutras of the King of Praises, the King of Sat, the King, the Tu Dai Noa, the Buddha Theory of the Four Natures…
The thought of Zen Buddhism for Mr. Khuong Tang Hoi is not only religious practice methods but also a philosophical basis of psychology. In the preface to the An Ban Thu Yijing, His Holiness said: “In the span of a finger snap, our mind can go through 960 thoughts: in the span of a day and a night, we can go through 13 million thoughts. Using the method of counting the breath… we can get rid of those 13 impure thoughts.”
An Ban means Anapana (An Na Ba Na), which means breath, Thu Y is the recollection and concentration of the mind. An Ban Thu Y means using the breath control method to tame the mind. There are six dharmas called the six magical doors:
First, the Book of the Gate: tame the body, count the breath from one to ten, focus on the counting to eliminate the disorder of the mind, and enter concentration.
Second, Sui Mon: monitor the breath, be aware of every second of the in and out of the breath. Leave the number and follow the breath.
Third, only the door: to give up the observation of the breath in order to practice stillness (only)
Fourth, Quan Mon: although it is in concentration, wisdom has not yet been discovered. Must contemplate about the mind, about the five warms and false points such as self, ego… to open up wisdom.
Fifth, Hoan Kiem: Turn to self-contemplation to destroy the dualistic view of the subject, observe the object, and destroy the ego-clinging.
Zen Master Khuong Tang Hoi: The First Patriarch of Zen Buddhism in Vietnam
Sixth, Pure Gate: The state of non-discrimination between subject and object is still not realization, one should not get attached to it. This state must be transcended in order for the true wisdom to fully manifest.
He thought the mind was “without shape, without sound, without before, without after, profound, subtle, without hairs of form: Brahma, God, and saints cannot be seen clearly; the particles are not visible. The resemblance of the mind is sometimes hidden and sometimes manifests, which transforms into that, which cannot be seen by ordinary people; that is called warmth. Sentient beings wander because that mind is dragged along with the six senses and thirteen impure thoughts. The six states include the label, the ear, the billion, the truth, the body, the mind (mind), called the interior; and form, sound, smell, taste, activity (contact) and wrong thoughts (dhamma) are adultery. The evil actions of the continent are as many as the waters of rivers flowing to the sea, endless, so the method of “An Ban Thu Y” is to deal with the entanglements and prevent evil deeds. He continued, “If a practitioner has attained An Ban, his mind is bright, using that light to reflect, there is nothing dark that cannot be seen…” (title of An Ban Thu Y Sutra).
The most important is the passage he wrote in the Six Doctrines of Meditation on Zen. He talked about the four stages of meditation (four jhānas) as the method for “righteous mind, one-pointedness, concentration of the good to maintain in the mind, awareness of dirty thoughts to eliminate”:
The practice method of One Zen: eliminating craving, the five loves and evils, such as when the eyes see beauty, the mind produces lust, eliminating the sounds, tastes, and touches that often cause harm. Those who have a will to practice religion must avoid them. The five hindrances must also be eliminated: lust, anger, sleeplessness, lust, and remorse and doubt. Having attained the first jhāna is like a person with the ten kinds of enmity who is separated from familiarity, alone in the mountains, no one knows…