Posted on: July 13, 2022 Posted by: admin Comments: 0

The flexible selection and use of words with Buddhist roots in Chinese poetry in particular and Nguyen Du’s compositions in general tell us many things.


Buddhism has a great influence on the life and literary career of poet Nguyen Du, which has been acknowledged by many people. Therefore, “writing about Nguyen Du but we don’t talk about Buddhism is an important omission, because most of his literary and poetic career comes from this point so that he can convey his feelings to him.” leave it for posterity” [1].

Nguyen Du himself also acknowledged the predestined relationship between him and Buddhism. Searching in the poet’s way of writing, we will meet many times Nguyen Du expressing his close relationship with Buddhism. In Self-Confession 2, the poet expressed his wish to go to the forest hermitage:

何能 落髮 歸林 去

卧聽松風響 半雲

Ha ability to develop the past,

Crouching listen to the semi-vanilla style.

(I wish I could cut my hair and go to the forest to become a monk – Lying down and listening to the sound of the pines ringing in the middle of the clouds) [2].

In the poem De Nhi Thanh, the poet affirms his attachment to Zen Buddhism:

此 心 常 不 離禪

Test your mind often without detachment from Zen.

(This heart is often concentrated, never leaving Zen.)

In particular, in the article Luong Chieu Minh, the Prince divided the sutras when Nguyen Du arrived in front of the stone monument where Prince Luong Chieu Minh divided the sutras, the author revealed:

我 讀 金剛 千遍零

The Diamond Diamond is a natural transformation.

(I read the Diamond Sutra more than a thousand times).

Nguyen Du’s works are imbued with the spirit of Buddhism. In the art of using words, poets often choose a class of words of Buddhist origin.

According to many researchers, Nguyen Du came to Buddhism when he was quite young. “The time when Nguyen Du began to have the desire to stay away from life to cut her hair into a hermitage was the end of the years from 1786 to 1795, at this time she was almost 30 years old and the time she lived without leaving meditation. […] was in the years 1802-1804 which is about 36 or 37 years old. Thus, it is quite early to turn to Buddhism and it is not an exaggeration to say that he has practiced and recited the Diamond Sutra thousands of times.” [3].

Thus, from being a Confucian, Nguyen Du soon came to Buddhism and was deeply influenced by Buddhism. Along with the national cultural tradition, Buddhism is the source of thought that made genius Nguyen Du, as assessed by many researchers: “Isn’t the philosophical foundation of Buddhism and the culture of wisdom and civilization thousands of years old? The life of the nation, the truth of cause and effect, no-self, and impermanence have merged to form the core of his humanity and erudition.” [4]. Nguyen Du’s works are imbued with the spirit of Buddhism. In the art of using words, poets often choose a class of words of Buddhist origin. This is the aspect that shows that Buddhism is one of the basic ideological foundations, which deeply influences To Nhu’s compositions.


In his compositions, Nguyen Du often uses Buddhist words as deliberate artistic means. In Tales of Kieu, this class of words appears many times, for example: Having brought karma into the body; In the past life was clumsy practice / This life is not lest to compensate new down; The monk said: But it doesn’t matter / Karma is considered to be much more; Whisper that: Unfinished cause and effect…

In the Literature of the Ten Kinds of Beings, the work is considered by many to be the Buddhist scriptures of the Vietnamese, this class of words is used with very high frequency, such as: Shame on the ten kinds of sentient beings; The first term is to set up the liberating band/Pure water is sprinkled with seeds of yang chi/ I want to ask for mercy from the Buddha/Resolve wrongdoing to save suffering in the West; Or rely on Divine Words, Buddha’s self; Thanks to the Buddha’s birth in the Pure Land / Turning the Dharma Wheel of the Three Realms of the Ten Directions; Namo Buddha, Namo Dharma, Namo Sangha/Namo necessarily ascend to the upper stage…

42-1 (1)

Even in the Sacrifice of Truong Luu Nhi Van, a work of satirical nature, Nguyen Du also used many Buddhist words and phrases, such as: Pho Cuu Pagoda helps the wind to set the thought of a day for a hundred years; Letting go of the misty curtain half a moonlit wing, turning the iron to pull the string of cause and effect; The Son of the pagoda swept the banyan leaves again, leaving the house to fly impossible; Go to Giang pagoda to practice with monk Vien, shake off the grubs, buy a hat and a patch…

In Chinese poetry, besides words of Confucian and Lao origin, words of Buddhist origin are also used in relatively large numbers. Surveying 250 poems in three volumes: Thanh Hien Thi Tap, Nam Trung Tam Dip and Bac Hanh Tap Luc, we counted more than 53 times Nguyen Du used Buddhist words. Moreover, this class of words is quite diverse, used flexibly, bringing many unique aesthetic values.

In Nguyen Du’s Chinese poetry, the class of Buddhist words includes the following main groups:

– Groups of words and phrases indicating the names of the Buddhas: Great Master, Buddha, Immeasurable Buddha, World Honored One, Golden Body, Guan Yin, …

– Groups of words and phrases referring to/related to Buddhist places: Linh Son, Hang Ha sa number,…

Groups of words and phrases indicating the space of worship: Tu, Son Tu, Ancient Tu, Thien Thai Tu, Thuong Son Tu, Xuan Quan, etc.

– Group of words and phrases for cultivators: Sangha, Son Sang, Sangha, Old Load, True Body (Human body of a practitioner attaining enlightenment),…

– Groups of words and phrases indicating Buddhist scriptures and objects: Sutra, Diamond, Dharma Flower, Chung (bell), Chung Co (drum bell), sandalwood, etc.

– Groups of words and phrases indicating spiritual activities: Permanent concentration, mindfulness, teaching the Dharma, human salvation, happiness (hair loss), …

– Group of words and phrases for Buddhist teachings: Emptiness, form, form, obstruction, pre-obstacle birth, karma, wisdom karma, condition, anger, delusion, enlightenment, mindfulness, enlightenment, conversion, self-satisfaction, Bodhi, meditation, unintentional, endless [5]…

Nguyen Du’s kanji poetry is not Zen poetry. However, the poet uses many words of Buddhist origin. This class of words is not only used in many articles, with a relatively large number, but also rich in content and topics. So, by actively using Buddhist words as special art codes, what aesthetic values ​​has Nguyen Du created for his Chinese writings?

The Aesthetic Value Of The Class From The Buddhist Language

In the process of artistic work, writers have the right to choose words that are specific materials to create literary works. Nguyen Du in his compositions is completely free in the use of verbal materials. It is not difficult to recognize, the Buddhist word is one of the prominent selection trends in his works, including poetry in Chinese. Using a class of words of Buddhist origin in Chinese poetry is an artistic intention of Nguyen Du. It is this artistic intention that brings many unique aesthetic effects.

43-1 (1)

First of all, the word “Buddhist” is used by Nguyen Du as an effective means to generalize Buddhist philosophies or express his own reflections on those philosophies. In Chinese poetry, Nguyen Du often uses images with familiar materials to express many Buddhist ideas. For example, he often used the words feng shui, consonant, opulent, and vanity to express the thought that life is suffering, life is impermanent. Or like, the touching story of the people who ran away from the enemy in the article Returning the army, the mother and the beggar in the Department of Construction, the old horse abandoned under the shadow of the castle in the Citadel of Ha Tinh, etc., are vivid images for the thought. the idea of ​​”compassion and charity”. However, in many cases, poets directly use Buddhist terms. For example, in the lesson De Nhi Thanh dynamic, he uses the terms “emptiness”, “signature” to refer directly to the Buddhist philosophy of “form emptiness”:

滿境 皆 空 有 相

Manic stage does not have a general?

(All realms are “empty”, why are there “generals”?).

In the article Luong Chieu Minh, Prince of Thach Dai, a series of Buddhist words are mobilized by the author to express his contemplations about Buddhism, when people think about the story of Prince Luong Chieu Minh “a young and passionate man”. immersed in literature” (Prince was a teenager and a teenager), so he forced himself to make a complicated story of “dividing the scriptures” (Forcing the author to solve the division). [6]. In this poem, Nguyen Du again uses the words no, form as well as two verses of the Sixth Patriarch Hue Neng [7] To reflect on the philosophy of “form emptiness”, the profound Buddhist “all-things-space” mentality:

佛本 是 空 不 著物

何有乎經安用分 […]

色空 境界 茫不悟 […]

明鏡 亦 非 臺

菩提本 無 樹

The Buddha-nature is not indifferent to things,

Ha Huu economic use of manure? […]

Color does not have the realm of unhappiness. […]

Minh Kinh heron flight deck,

Bodhi is in vain.

(Buddha is inherently emptiness, has nothing to do with everything – Does it have anything to do with the sutras that must be divided? – Between “form” and “no” is vaguely unrecognizable – There is also no radio “Minh Kinh” – Capital is not there is a Bodhi tree).

Also in Prince Luong Chieu Minh’s analysis of Thach Dai sutras, a series of Buddhist words such as The Ton, Linh Son, preaching the Dharma, saving humanity, Hang Ha sa number, self-determination, etc., were used by the author to contemplate the path. practice, “correction” for others and “relief” for oneself:

吾聞世尊 在 靈山

說法渡人 如 恆河 沙數

人 了 此 心人 自渡

靈山 只 在 汝心頭

Ngo Van The Ton at Linh Son,

The theory of human beings like Hang Ha sa number.

Human will test human self-esteem,

Linh Son is only at the head center.

(I heard that the World-Honored One was in Linh Son – Teaching the Dharma to “save” people, the number of people is as many as the sand in the Ganges River – People know that cultivating the mind is “saving” oneself already – Linh Son is only in people’s hearts).

It can be seen that in the above verses, the use of Buddhist words is the optimal choice. Nguyen Du is good at Chinese characters. He can choose words, poetry, other expressions. However, the poet actively used Buddhist words. This is not only to ensure the generality, succinctness and accuracy of the issue, but also to match the mood of a person who is discussing the Buddhadharma, expressing his own contemplations on the standing Buddhists. in front of a relic associated with the famous story of the division of sutras in the history of Chinese Buddhism.

The word Buddhist is also used by author Nguyen Du to convey Buddhist ideas to explain phenomena in life. For example, in the post of the Central Epidemic,…


Leave a Comment