Trần Nhân Tông’s Position in the History of Vietnamese Literature


Lê Mạnh Thát


Trần Nhân Tông’s Position in the History of Vietnamese Literature

 The spoken language of our people must have come into existence quite long ago. It is, however, not until the Hùng dynasty, i.e., around the first centuries of the Common Era and earlier, that this language can leave some trace of its own in a short text entitled the Việt Ca (Song of Việt) and in some linguistic structures of the Buddhist texts Lục Độ Tập Kinh (Collected Teachings of Six Pāramitās) and Tạp Thí Dụ Kinh (A Miscellaneous Collection of Parables). [1] Of these seemingly most ancient works the last two, which may be regarded as the earliest Buddhist texts known to us today, might be in circulation during the first centuries of the Common Era, at least for some time prior to their translation into Chinese by Khương Tăng Hội (?-280). In those days the Vietnamese language was already so richly developed that Shih-she (137-226) is said to have compiled the first Chinese-Vietnamese Lexicon, consisting of two volumes and known today under the title Chỉ Nam Phẩm Vựng. By the end of the fourth century its development was once more marked with the circulation of the Tá Âm and the Tá Âm Tự by Đạo Cao (370-450?) in the form of dictionaries provided with some directions about the method of transcription.[2]

Thereafter the Vietnamese language continued to be widely used as script. It was employed by the common people to confer the title Bố Cái Đại Vương on the hero Phùng Hưng. And when the national independence was restored, it could have been used by imperial courts in issuing administrative ordinances. Such a hypothesis may be unhesitatingly put forward on the grounds of an incident concerning Đinh Củng Viên, a scribe of the Imperial Academy, and Lê Tòng Giáo, an administrative functionary, in 1288, according to which an imperial decree is known to have been announced in both Vietnamese and Chinese. Thus in the middle of the thirteenth century the Vietnamese language as a script was made possible to perform all of its functions. Unfortunately, on account of wars and natural disasters a great number of works composed in the speech of our people, including the earliest text Lục Độ Tập Kinh, some imperial decrees and literary works such as the Tiều Ẩn Quốc Ngữ Thi Tập of Chu Văn An, etc., are lost.

The first verse in Vietnamese, which is known today under the title "Giáo Trò" and was composed for folksong theater, is attributed to Dhyāna Master Đạo Hạnh (?-1117). Some questions as to its authenticity, however, have been posed since, as being a short verse of thirty-two words only, it has not been determined in the bibliographical aspect so far. It is not until the Emperor Nhân Tông’s time when his two verses the “Worldly Life with Joy in the Way” and the “Song of the Realization of the Way,” Huyền Quang’s “A Depiction of the Vân Yên Temple” and Mạc Đỉnh Chi’s “Educating Children” were put into circulation that literature in Vietnamese with its complete works began to be preserved. The influence of the Emperor Nhân Tông in the field of literature, therefore, is extremely great.

Historically considered, it is not by chance that such an honor is ascribed to the Emperor Nhân Tông. In the preceding chapters we have seen how great his career and personality are so that they have had strong impressions on the minds of the Vietnamese people in spite of the wear of time and the enemy’s destruction. It is none other than the people who have undertaken to preserve the afore-said literary works among hundreds or thousands of others that may be known today under their titles alone. Otherwise stated, the Emperor's contributions to our people are so great that his works such as the“Worldly Life with Joy in the Way” and the “Song of the Realization of the Way,” and so on, have been enjoyed and preserved so far.

Yet it is not only because of his own prestige and merit that those two works have been preserved. Indeed, a reason why they have been able to stand so well with the Vietnamese people is their intrinsic values, particularly the“Worldly Life with Joy in the Way.” It may be said that the “Worldly Life with Joy in the Way” is a proclamation with respect to the way of living in accord with the Way that Buddhism in Vietnam set forth and that truly exercised a remarkable influence on millions of Vietnamese Buddhists in the Emperor Nhân Tông’s time and in the centuries that followed. Further, it is one of a few works of Buddhism in Vietnam that was referred to as an authority in Master Chân Nguyên’s presentation of Buddhist problems, which are cited in the Kiến Tánh Thành Phật (Seeing into Nature and Becoming a Buddha), [3] to the Emperor Lê Chính Hòa around 1692. Accordingly, it is the thought of the “Worldly Life with Joy in the Way” that helps partly with the existence of the verse in its course of circulation.

For the past three centuries the“Worldly Life with Joy in the Way” and the“Song of the Realization of the Way” have been published and put into circulation widely. Their earliest edition, which is extant and dated the year 1745, was reprinted by Śrāmaṇerikā Diệu Liên under her master’s instruction, and their printing blocks have been preserved at the LiênHoaTemple in the imperial capital Thăng Long. These verses were printed in addition to the latter part of Master Chân Nguyên's Thiền Tông Bản Hạnh (Fundamental Activities of the Dhyāna School) on pages 47-57. In this edition are also included Huyền Quang’s verse “A Depiction of the Vân Yên Temple” and Chân Nguyên’s gātha “The Conditions of the Realization of the Way.” That the two verses of the Emperor Nhân Tông are printed in addition shows that the texts employed by Bhikṣuṇi Diệu Liên must certainly proceed from a certain edition of Master Chân Nguyên, that is, that of the late 17th century. Before that date we have no information on what happened to the “Worldly Life with Joy in the Way”.

Though no information is given about the circulation of the “Worldly Life with Joy in the Way” and the “Song of the Realization of the Way” prior to the seventeenth century, what may be known about their circulation in the eighteenth century, that is, following the edition by Bhikṣuṇi Diệu Liên, is rather reliable. In the foreword to the 1930 edition of the Thiền Tông Bản Hạnh, Master Thanh Hanh (1840-1936) says that this work was reprinted in Gia Long the Twelfth (1814), in which the “Worldly Life with Joy in the Way” and the “Song of the Realization of the Way” must have been included. Further, when making a list of Buddhist texts published in the first half of the nineteenth century in the Đạo Giáo Nguyên Lưu, An Thiền records a work entitled Trần Triều Thập Hội Lục (Record of the ‘Ten Sections’ in the Trần Dynasty), which obviously refers to the ten sections of the verse “Worldly Life with Joy in the Way”.

The fact that the “Worldly Life with Joy in the Way” and the“Song of the Realization of the Way” have been reprinted many times during the past three hundred years proves that the thought of the former verse has continued to be studied and spread though Buddhism and the country have undergone many important changes. The value of reasoning of the verse, therefore, still has its strong influence, particularly in relation with military achievements of Tây Sơn troops and civilians in the battles of Ngọc Hồi and Đống Đa by the end of the eighteenth century, among whom some prominent figures such as Master Hải Lượng, Master Hải Âu, and so on, professed themselves to be inheritors of the Trúc Lâm tradition.

For the past more than three hundred years the“Worldly Life with Joy in the Way” and the “Song of the Realization of the Way” have been appreciated, studied and preserved as such; so it may be supposedly known that in the more than three hundred years earlier they must have received the same admiration from our people. For, without such an admiration these two works might be burned down together with other works of our people prior to the Lý and Trần dynasties during the nearly twenty years’ occupation by Ming invaders from China. Furthermore, Buddhism under the reigns of Early Lê and Mạc was strongly revived during the movement of cultural nationalization, the greatest achievements of which were the translation of Buddhist texts into Vietnamese such as the Đại Báo Phụ Mẫu Ân Trọng Kinh by Master Viên Thái, the reprinting of some history books of Buddhism such as the Nam Tông Tự Pháp Đồ (Chart of Dharma-Successors of the Southern School) of the Honors Graduate Lương Thế Vinh, the Recorded Sayings of the Saints of Master Chân Nguyên, and especially the foundation and encouragement of the usage of the Vietnamese language by Master Pháp Tính in the Chỉ Nam Ngọc Âm Giải Nghĩa.

In a period full of such influential and enthusiastic activities of Buddhism, the study and application of the two works of the Emperor Nhân Tông mentioned above must have been carried on. The sole regret is that we have not yet acquired any information on their circulation of the time. In spite of this, they had surely been somehow spread so that they could eventually be cited in Master Chân Nguyên’s Kiến Tánh Thành Phật by the end of the seventeenth century. Otherwise stated, they were ever present in the main course of literature and thought that was successfully implemented in terms of our people's own script. Therefore, as has been said above, it is actually an honor for our people's literature in the mother language to have been initiated with the pen of such a national hero of glorious military achievements as the Emperor Nhân Tông and with the works that have exercised such a deep influence not only on Buddhism but further on the national tradition as the“Worldly Life with Joy in the Way” and the “Song of the Realization of the Way.”

These works are of the type of argumentative literature; that is to say, they are the texts of political reasoning consisting in presenting questions of thought and logic, in which the Vietnamese language has been employed to formulate abstract ideas in a skillful and intelligible manner. As a consequence, the Vietnamese language has since then grown into a language that is capable of conveying any of various thoughts in its most colorful style. It is due to those linguistic characteristics that the two works did not only attract contemporaries’ attention but also had an interesting impact upon the subsequent generations. The Vietnamese language itself has become a literary language. And this is, so to speak, one of the great achievements that the two works of the Emperor Nhân Tông’s could bring about for Vietnamese literature.

For these works to have been composed in such a colorfully literary style by the end of the thirteenth century, the Vietnamese language had to be employed for many generations, that is, for more than a thousand years, as a language of literature. No doubt, it could inherit the achievements and essentials of age-long national literature so that, when we read these verses today, we still feel their beauty, intimacy, and intelligibility in quite a different manner from what we have in contact with a great deal of puzzling and unnatural sentences recorded by foreigners just about three hundred years ago. In effect, to produce a style of reasoning as exposed in the “Worldly Life with Joy in the Way” and the “Song of the Realization of the Way,” the Vietnamese language has doubtlessly undergone thousands of years’ trial and usage, not merely in the time of the Emperor Nhân Tông.

Indeed, if the Vietnamese language had not survived those more than a thousand years to stand opposite to the Han language of China and thus to become one of the ramparts obstructing the plot of Hanization resolutely carried out by the contemporary Chinese, the Vietnamese people could not have existed so far, much less their own language and national independence. In this connection, it may be said that the “Worldly Life with Joy in the Way” and the “Song of the Realization of the Way” truly represent a combination of our people’s extraordinarily painstaking efforts in their tragic struggles for the country’s territory and ownership. Consequently, the literary value of these two works may be doubly increased.

It is due to some combination of such a kind that no language of the world has been able to jump all of a sudden onto the arena of literature to become a literary language. Even some great languages like Chinese, Sanskrit, Greek, etc., with their age-old texts have had to undergo a process of combination such that they can step by step grow from the rude texts of divination or simple folk songs into the well-known languages in the world. So has the Vietnamese language. For colorfully literary works like the “Worldly Life with Joy in the Way” and the “Song of the Realization of the Way” to have been composed, the Vietnamese language, too, has to go through a long process of combination--from the earliest text known as the Việt Ca, the short stories in the Lục Độ Tập Kinh and the Tạp Thí Dụ Kinh to the Giáo Trò of Master Đạo Hạnh. As a consequence, it is the whole process of using the Vietnamese language in a skillful and fluent manner that has actually given the opportunity for the appearance of the two works mentioned above.

Thus the appearance of Vietnamese as a language of literature proceeds from a series of struggles full of hardship and uncertainty. Yet, it is through those struggles in blood and tear that the Vietnamese language has proved its superiority, its ability to serve as the premise for the appearance of the “Worldly Life with Joy in the Way” and the “Song of the Realization of the Way.” Without such a process, any works like them can hardly be produced. This is the point that all researchers in Vietnamese literature have never paid their attention to. Instead, they often occupy themselves with seeking after the origin of the Nôm script in the amount of stone inscriptions preserved from the Lý and Trần dynasties, and thence shifting the birth-date of it to between the eighth and the thirteenth centuries. They forget that for such works as the “Worldly Life with Joy in the Way” and the “Song of the Realization of the Way” to have been produced by the end of the thirteenth century the Vietnamese language, both spoken and written, must have come into being between five and seven hundred years earlier at least. It is an objective, indispensable process not merely for the Vietnamese language but also for any other languages. In this connection, to study these two works is nothing other than to study its process of combination.

Nowadays, we cannot know accurately when the Emperor Nhân Tông worked on these two works. From its content, however, the “Song of the Realization of the Way” had to be composed in the period when he was settling on Mount Yên Tử, that is, after the 8th month of Kỷ Hợi (1299), which the Complete History refers to as the time when “from the Thiên Trường Prefecture the Emperor-Father returned to Mount Yên Tử for ascetic practice.” For the verse mentions the fact that

Content with life in poverty,

I have sought a place for training.

Secluded in the high mountains,

Hiding in the wilderness,

Where gibbons alone are pleased

To make friends with me.

In the quiet forests and mountains,

I let go of mind and body.

And

I would seclude myself

In the quiet mountains

To concentrate all my mind on practice,

However poor life therein might be.

These lines are most similar to what Huyền Quang depicts of the VânYênTemple and Nhân Tông’s life there:

Looking like a painting,

The landscape is peaceful.

It is so fantastically created by the Holy Heaven

That the Buddha-King cultivates the Way there.

Taking flowers in their beaks, the birds offer;

Embracing their young by the door, the gibbons listen to sūtras.

In the serene temple, the Buddha manifests compassion.

In the light breeze and thin clouds,

The master sits meditating by the window.

The bright moon, the blue mountains

And

Wearing kṣaya, lying behind the paper curtain,

Not concerned with stores full of jades, cases full of pearls.

Forgetting delicious food, giving up sweet wine,

Only a pot of egg-fruit and a jar of soy.

And

Practicing earlier, the master has attained Buddhahood;

Just initiated in the Way, the disciple is still a Bhikṣu.

As to the “Worldly Life with Joy in the Way” it is really difficult to determine in what phase of his life the Emperor Nhân Tông wrote it. Some have hold that it might be written before his ordination to be a Buddhist monk, that is, before 1299. No doubt, in so saying their hypothesis is based on the first two lines of the verse:

Though settling in the city,

The way of living I take is of forest and mountain.

Accordingly, they have come to a conclusion that the Emperor then was settling in the capital Thăng Long and his mind was perfectly cleansed of defilement of all kinds. Yet some lines of Section 5 of the same verse read,

With five phrases from Dhyāna teaching I can lie in Ho-yu leisurely;

With three recitations of sūtra I can sit in Hsin-lo at ease.

To comprehend the Buddhist teaching, to penetrate into its essentials,

One has to go through patriarchal gates and dharma-halls.

To rid oneself of praise and blame, to detach oneself from sound and form,

One has to cease seeking pleasures in recreation of all kinds.

The compassionate Buddha,

May I be with Him in many lives!

Out of the King’s favor,

May people be exempted from hard labor!

Whether robes and blankets are patched or tattered,

They help me survive the cold of winter.

Whether rice and gruel are plain or somewhat rotten,

They help me overcome everyday hunger.

Being so described, it is obviously not of life in the city but in the mountains. For that reason, it is really difficult to determine the date of the verse in terms of its content alone. A definite point, however, is that it had to be composed after the Emperor had more or less concerned himself with the Yên Tử Mountain. It is well known that Yên Tử occupied a central position in Buddhist activities under the Trần dynasty. For his grandfather, the Emperor Trần Thái Tông, ever arrived there, and in his youth the Emperor Nhân Tông himself had the desire to settle there. Whatever happened, the thought of the “Worldly Life with Joy in the Way,” which was formally confirmed by Tuệ Trung Trần Quốc Tung to have been realized by the Emperor Nhân Tông in 1287, became more and more manifest. In other words, the “Worldly Life with Joy in the Way” could hardly be composed until 1287 when the enemy had been completely swept out of our country and our people were making great efforts to build the Fatherland.

The glossary of the “Worldly Life with Joy in the Way” contains 1688 terms, including those of the verse-title and section-subtitles as well as the concluding quatrain in Chinese. In the entire sections proper there are 1623 terms, some Vietnamese words of which are employed rather frequently such as lòng, mind or heart (18 times), cho, give (13 times), chẳng, never (13 times), mới, just (11 or 12 times), Bụt, Buddha (10 times), etc. Of these 1623 if proper terms, specific terms, and terms of transliteration are separately listed, the number is reduced to approximately 1400 terms.

For example, the number of terms like Thích ca (Śākya), Di Đà (Amitābha), Di Lặc (Maitreya), bát nhã (prajñā), chiêm bặc (campaka), chiên đàn (candana), bồ đề (bodhi), bồ tát (bodhisattva), đàn việt (dānapati), ưu đàm (udumbara), Câu Chi (Koṭi), Diễn Nhã Đạt Đa (Yajñadatta), which number 26 as transliterated from Sanskrit, remains 12 when classified. So are specific terms bát phong (eight kinds of wind),  bát thức (eight consciousnesses), Cực lạc (the Land of Bliss), đại thừa (mahāyāna), tiểu thừa (hīnayāna), hữu lậu (āsrava), kim cương (vajra, diamond), vô lậu (anāsrava), lục căn (six faculties), lục tặc (six enemies), tam độc (three poisons), tam thân (three bodies), tam tạng (tripiṭaka), tam huyền (three unfathomable things), tam yếu (three essentials), tam nghiệp (three actions of mind, speech and body), Tịnh độ (the Pure Land), thái bình (peace), thượng sỹ (superior man), trí tuệ (wisdom), tri âm (bosom friend), tri thức (knowledge), tri kiến (view), tri cơ (knowledge of capability), trượng phu (great man), trưởng lão (the elders), viên giác (perfect enlightenment), vô thường (impermanent), vô minh (avidyā, ignorance), vô sinh (non-arising), vô tâm (no-mind), vô vi (the Uncomposed). If classified by their respective items, there remain 32 instead of 64 terms. So are proper names Cánh Diều, Yên Tử, Hà Hữu (Ho-yu), Hùng Nhĩ (Hsiung-erh), Tân la (Hsin-lo), Thiên trúc (T’ien-chu), Thiếu lâm (Shao-lin), Tào Khê (Ts'ao-ch'i), Thiếu Thất (Shao-shih), Lư lăng (Lo-leng), Phá Táo (P'o-t'sao), Thạch Đầu (Shih-tou), Lâm tế (Lin-chi), Bí Ma (Pi-ma), Thuyền Tử (Ch’an-szu), Đạo ngô (Tao-wu), Thiều dương (Shao-yang), Triệu Lão, Thiên cang (T’ien-kang), Thái Bạch (Thai-pai).

With the amount of approximately 1400 terms the “Worldly Life with Joy in the Way” may be considered to be a relatively sufficient glossary for us to make a study of the Vietnamese language in the reign of the Emperor Nhân Tông. And they are just terms included in the “Worldly Life with Joy in the Way” alone. If combined with the terms used in the “Song of the Realization of the Way,” in which the number of 238 terms is obtained from the classification of its 336 terms according to their respective items, the total amount may make up a glossary of nearly 2000 terms, that is, equal to a small-sized dictionary, which may supply us with a rather perfect knowledge of the Vietnamese language in the Emperor Nhân Tông’s time, that is, nearly seven hundred years ago.

Here, it is naturally necessary for us to make an intensive study on these two works. However, it should be kept in mind that the Emperor's literary career is not confined in the works composed in Vietnamese. Also he is the author of thirty poems and stanzas, twenty-two letters written to Yüan emperors and their officials, and two discourses delivered at the SùngNghiêmTemple and at the Kỳ Lân Institute. In these discourses there are also some poems and stanzas, given as his answers to some questions posed by his students, which have not yet been included in the amount of Nhân Tông’s poems and stanzas. That is to say, the works Nhân Tông has left for us are not of small number though most of them are written in Chinese.

In regard to his literary works in Chinese, most of Vietnamese researchers in the past and the present alike have agreed on considering him to be an outstanding author in this field. Indeed, reading his poems written in Chinese none of us can fail to form in mind various beautiful pictures of the country. The following poem, for instance, is a depiction of a serene evening in a village close to the imperial residence at the ThiênTrườngPrefecture in the delta of the Red River:

村 後 村 前 淡 似 煙

半 無 半 有 夕 陽 邊

牧 童 笛 裏 牛 歸 盡

白 鷺 雙 雙 飛 下 田

The front and rear of the hamlet are covered in mist like a dream.

In the evening sunshine it appears both existent and non-existent.

The buffalos are turning back in the sound of the herdsman’s flute.

And on the rice-fields the pairs of herons are flying down.

And a temple in Lạng Châu in the highlands of northern Vietnam:

古 寺 淒 涼 秋 靄 外

漁 船 蕭 瑟 暮 鐘 初

水 明 山 静 白 鷗 過

風 定 雲 閑 紅 樹 疏

The old temple looks gloomy in the mist of autumn.

A fishing-boat is floating lonely in the first sounds of the evening bell.

Over the clear water and quiet mountains the white sea-gulls are flying.

The wind subsides, the clouds are moving leisurely over a few trees of red leaves.

Even in everyday life, the moonlight in the evening, the sound of dew-drops falling on leaves in the yard and the sound of washing clothes from a certain village could touch the poet’s heart slightly and help him recognize the beauty of the country at peace.

半 窗 燈 影 滿 床 書

露 滴 秋 庭 夜 氣 虚

睡 起 砧 聲 無 覓 處

木 樨 花 上 月 來 初

On the bed full of books I sat under the lamp by the window,

Knowing not where the sound of washing clothes came.

In the yard the transparent air was permeated with the mist of autumn,

And on the cassia-flowers began to come the first moonlight.

Unlike some emperors who were born, grew up and then enjoyed a country already at peace, the date Nhân Tông was born was the very time when the Emperor Thái Tông had just smashed the Mongol-Yüan Army in their first invasion of our country under the command of the notoriously brutal General Wu-liang-ho-thai (Uryangqadai). And during the twenty years that followed was a hard struggle for him on the diplomatic front so as to maintain the country’s ownership, bring about peace for the people and prepare national strength for fighting against the enemy’s coming invasions.

Upon ascending the throne in the 10th month of Mậu Dần (1278), Nhân Tông had to confront the messengers who “sticked out their 'barn-owl' tongues to disregard our imperial court, exposed their 'goat-dog' bodies to show pride before the Emperor.” as in Trần Hưng Đạo’s account. Accordingly, the whole people started a movement of killing the enemy to save the country. Though the war of Đinh Tỵ (1257) had ended long before, its impressive atmosphere seemed to remain somewhere when he paid a visit to his grandfather’s tomb on a Spring day before the war of 1285.

貔 虎 千 門 肅

衣 冠 七 品 通

白 頭 軍 士 在

往 往 説 元 豐

Solemnly at the thousand gates are brave guards,

Together with officials of all the seven ranks.

There remain the soldiers whose hair already turned white,

Occasionally recounting the victory of Nguyên Phong.

And the most remarkable thing is that the Emperor himself ever commanded an army to advance on the battle-fields. In reality, he fought in some violent battles, beside his officers and soldiers so that he could deeply feel great sympathy for those wives whose husbands were fighting on a certain front of the fatherland.

睡 起 钩 簾 看 墜 紅

黄 鸝 不 語 怨 東 風

無 端 落 日 西 樓 外

花 影 枝 頭 盡 向 東

Raising the blind and watching falling flowers after getting up;

Being angry at the spring wind, the orioles cease singing.

Beyond the western pavilion the sun is indifferently setting.

The flowers and branches are all throwing their shadows to the east.

In a war of resistance where invading forces were far more powerful than his people, the Emperor could have such sorrowful feelings, much more in the campaigns to overcome threats of security caused by some smaller powers in the remote borderland. In a poem written in a campaign to put down havocs in Laos in the spring of Canh Dần (1290), the Emperor expressed his sorrows:

錦 帆 輕 趁 浪 華 開

蓬 底 厭 厭 首 不 抬

三 峽 暮 雲 無 雁 到

九 灘 明 月 有 龍 來

淒 涼 行 色 添 宮 夢

撩 亂 閑 愁 到 酒 杯

漢 武 翻 招 窮 黷 謗

男 兒 汲 汲 若 爲 哉

With brocaded sails the ship is riding the waves lightly;

In the bow I am too depressed to raise my head.

No wild geese comes in the evening clouds over the mountains;

There appears only a dragon in the moonlight on the falls.

How gloomy the journey is with frequent dreams of the Citadel.

There remain the glass of wine and my deep sorrow.

Were the Emperor Wu of Han ever blamed for his warlike actions,

There is, then, no need for hurry at the present time.

This is a war waged by the Emperor himself for the welfare of the people as is recorded in the Complete History: “Learning that the King himself is about to command the fighting expedition to Laos, the courtiers say, ‘How can we mobilize the Army when the losses caused by the Yüan enemy have not yet been made up?’ ‘This is the most favorable time for mobilizing the Army. For, after the enemy’s retreat, the three regions, thinking that our troops and horses and supplies are all lost, certainly disregard us. So, we must have our Great Army mobilized to show them our strength,’ said the Emperor. The courtiers, however, all said, ‘The people are all exhausted; why does His Majesty not take care of them but concern himself with [fighting only]?’ So said the courtiers because they could not think so deeply as the sages.”[4]

Thus, the fact that our Army marched into Laos under the Emperor’s command was aimed at nothing but proving to them that our armed forces were still strong after many years of war and that they should not wreak havoc on our country’s borderland. Indeed, less than four years later, i.e., in the 8th month of Giáp Ngọ (1294), having handed over the throne to Anh Tông, the Emperor himself marched an army into Laos once more together with the Generals Phạm Ngũ Lão, Trung Thành Vương. Accordingly, it is obvious that the threat of Laos on the frontier of Đại Việt was truly existent, and such a military action performed by the Emperor was quite necessary for the country’s security. In spite of this, the just-cited poem, which was written in the Laotian campaign of 1290 or 1294, explicitly revealed the author’s strong dislike for war, that which is usually termed “destructive actions”; that is to say, war in essence is after all a manifestation of a leader’s personal ambitions.

In his lifetime the Emperor Nhân Tông suffered two violent wars. So he could understand much more deeply than anyone that suffering would fall on both sides and that the usage of war against war was by all means a temporary solution. For that reason, it seems hard for him to conceal his dissatisfaction in such fighting expeditions. Indeed, all of this actually originated from his own view of the common characters and qualities of human beings. Although they were present on different front lines, the warriors of all ranks had the same sensations, reflections and expectations. For the past more than five hundred years, few Vietnamese people have been able to suppress their emotions at the picture of the Emperor Nhân Tông’s act of taking off his military robe to cover So-tu’s corpse in the war of 1285.

It is from such strong hate for war that the Emperor mustered up all his strength to make a long-termed peace not only for his people but further for the neighboring ones, particularly the Chinese people. As soon as the image of fire and smoke of the 1288 war ceased arising in all the battlefields of the country, the Emperor, in his reception of a Chinese delegation coming by Kublai Khan’s order to request the release of their generals and soldiers captured by our Army, expressed openly in his following lines

The peaceful atmosphere permeates all the quarters of earth,

The dust of war is all cleaned by water from the heavenly river

that he resolutely did his best to maintain the peace of Đại Việt. It may be said that this is a characteristic feature of his literary works, exposing all of his abiding aspiration for peace. It is rather surprising for us that a man who ever took part in fighting and gained glorious victories over the enemy as Nhân Tông was capable of demonstrating publicly his earnest wishes for life at peace. Undoubtedly, it once more proves that in his innermost the Emperor hardly regarded war as a ladder for him to mount to the peak of fame and glory. During his lifetime, even when he became a Buddhist monk, that is, the one who is generally considered to renounce the world for some peaceful deliverance of his own, the Emperor did not abandon his noble vow to work for the benefit of all sentient beings, for the welfare of his people and country.

Formerly, it has been generally believed by many people that after the Emperor Nhân Tông officially entered into monastic life it would be time for him to retreat from society, as what is falsely expressed in the following statement “the more [he] practiced [Buddhist teaching], the farther [he was separated] from social actualities, from the Buddha’s ideal of saving the world.” Yet it is factually in the period of his living as a Buddhist monk that the boundary of Đại Việt was extended more than two hundred kilometers southward and the Viet-Cham peace was kept for dozens of years, laying the foundation for the common cause of advancing southward of the people.

Reading the two lines written by him

Following the fallen morning flowers, ideas of praise and blame perished,

Together with the cold night rains, desires for fame and interest ended,

some people, who fail to put them on the logical grounds of Nhân Tông’s thought, have hurried to comment superficially that they are “the lines of extreme pessimism,” representing “the thought of absolute nihilism that originates from within Buddhism…within the regime of ‘field-and-farm,’ within the excessive prosperity of monasteries, and from all of its decadence.” In such a comment, they have forgotten that the Emperor Nhân Tông is one of the “most celebrated authors” of Vietnamese literature in the Trần dynasty. And these outstanding authors “all exposed their firm confidence, their invincible spirit and their unshakeable volition through a series of long-standing verses.” For whatever purposes such comments as just cited have been made, and in whatever degrees they have been used to distort the history of Vietnam in the past, the Emperor Nhân Tông’s career, and the contributions of his own and of his reign to the Vietnamese people will never be denied. For they have actually constituted a period worthy of pride and gratitude in the history of the Vietnamese people.

Through the thought of Nhân Tông we have discovered his view of a type of ‘one-way’ time; that is to say, from his view a day that has passed away will never come back as in the words of Tuệ Trung Thượng Sỹ Trần Quốc Tung:

It is hard to recover our shadows

When the moon has set in the west.

Similarly, how can a river raise its waves again

When it has already flowed into the sea?

Therefore, in his own as well as others’ lives in society time has become extremely precious. Human life is so short for some deed to be fulfilled:

Time passes by easily;

Man’s lifetime does not remain.

For that reason, life becomes valuable. If one cannot find again a day that has already passed, one must devote one’s whole time to affairs that are helpful to one’s own and others’ lives. In this connection, we can imagine how hurriedly and busily our people lived at that time. Indeed, they did live a busy and hurried life not because they wanted to enjoy as much as possible in return for their numerous losses in war but because they did not want to waste any moment in their efforts to rebuild their country and struggle for the protection of their country. It may be said that the people as a whole at the time were filled with wholesome emotions proceeding from their love of life, of their country, of their people. It was due to their optimistic views that they could conceive that time might be easily lost and life would pass day after day without returning, as what the Emperor Nhân Tông ever reminded them:

The cuckoos sing away in the bright moonlight;

Let not the spring pass wastefully.

For so long it has been generally thought that time is conceived in the East to be likened to a cycle; that is to say, such phenomena as prosperity and decadence or fortune and misfortune or wealth and poverty revolve one after another along a repeated circle just like the operation of four seasons year after year. Yet, in addition to this concept, there is another one, that is, the one-way time. Accordingly, a day that has passed will never return just as the sun once sets in the west, there will not be its own appearance in the sky of the same day. Our ancestors did have a concept of time rather similar to that of our modern age. It has sometimes been graphically described as the movement of a bicycle. Just like the one-way time, the bicycle always moves forward. But, in order to move forward, it must have its wheels. Similarly, the one-way time passes forward; but its passing must rest upon the cycles, that is, spring, summer, autumn, winter or prosperity and decadence, fortune and misfortune.

It is from such a concept of time that in war-time the people of Đại Việt were capable of gaining glorious achievements in many different battle-fields at Chương Dương, Hàm Tử, Tây Kết, Bạch Đằng. And within only a few years after war, they could rebuild a prosperous Đại Việt with fruitful rice-fields, vast mulberry-fields verdant all year round, great achievements in economy, handicraft, trade, and so on, which actually made the Yüan messenger Ch’ên-fu admire and respect. Indeed, the people of Đại Việt in both war and peace led their living according to what the Emperor Nhân Tông set forth in the “Worldly Life with Joy in the Way”:

Making bridges and ferries, building temples and stūpas,

That is to cultivate the teaching on the ornamentation of form.

And

Faithfully serving one's lord, respectfully obeying one's father,

That is a Superior Man of loyalty and filial piety.

In reality, that our people could make enthusiastic efforts in fighting and building does not proceed from any aspiration for reputation and interest or praise and admiration, but from life itself. From their view life is not long; so they thought they had to live in such a manner as to be worth their short and precious time. The Emperor himself once formulated in the “Worldly Life with Joy in the Way” that “some desires for fame and affection are truly of ordinary people.” Therefore, it is not surprising at all that, when living alone in a meditation room on the mountain, he had enough inspiration to write the poem:

Following the fallen morning flowers, ideas of praise and blame perished.

Together with the cold night rains, desires for fame and interest ended.

The flowers all falling, the rain stopping, the mountain was serene.

The sound of a bird echoed and the spring was gone.

Though he got rid of ideas of fame, interest, praise or blame, the author did not forget the spring. And then at the sound of a bird early in the morning when flowers had all fallen in the cold rain during the night he was surprised, being aware that the spring was gone. Time passes so fast. The previous year had recently left room for the new one; but, now, the spring in turn no longer existed. This concept of time took control of every thought and activity of the Emperor himself. In the “Worldly Life with Joy in the Way,” he ever said:

Already for half a day I have let go of mind and body.

Yet, mundane affairs went on to emerge endlessly. Even when he was living in a secluded place where it is usually thought that there would never be any shadow of secular disturbance, worldly affairs did not cease occurring. The Complete History tells us that “Nguyễn Quốc Phụ, who was working as a nội thư chính chưởng, was a close courtier of the Emperor Nhân Tông. In the years of Hưng Long (1293-1324), since the position of an executive official had not been occupied, the Emperor-Father (i.e., Trần Anh Tông) came to consult Nhân Tông at the Sùng Nghiêm Temple. At the latter’s suggestion that Quốc Phụ could undertake that position, the Emperor-Father said, ‘if based upon his present position, it is possible; but, he is fond of drinking only.’ Thereupon, Nhân Tông spoke nothing more. After all, [Quốc Phụ was] not appointed.” [5]   And as been said before, before his journey to Champa as a messenger in the 10th month of Kỷ Mão (1303), Đoàn Nhữ Hài also came to see Nhân Tông at this temple.

Such a life always fraught with work is obviously not spent for personal benefits, much less for some fame. Nothing could be considered to be of interest or fame when he himself was “wearing kṣaya, lying behind the paper curtain” and storing for himself nothing but “a pot of egg-fruit, a jar of soy.” The idea of benefit has not been able to arise, much less that of fame; for, benefit and fame always follow each other. Nevertheless, such a view of conventional values does not imply an attitude of giving up all the responsibilities for life. The essential point is that the so-called secular achievements should not be aimed at as the only objective of life. The central objective that Nhân Tông’s and the Đại Việt people’s lives aimed at is to “let go of mind and body,” and their “being calmed.” If expressed in modern language, that is to pursue happiness. But, what happiness is must be answered by each individual. Whether Nhân Tông was settling on Mount Yên Tử as a Buddhist monk or he was commanding a certain fighting in the battlefield in Tây Kết, he was undoubtedly the one who always lived in his state of being free of fetters and defilements. No one can bind us unless it is ourselves who are doing as such. No one can hinder us from leading a free life unless we ourselves refuse such a way of living. One must transform oneself and the world so as to have a life at peace and in freedom. This is the very message Nhân Tông’s verses and writings convey to us today as well as many preceding generations:

Nothing can bind us such that we must seek deliverance.

Nor should we seek the Immortals if we have transcended the world.

The gibbons resting, the horses exhausted, men must be old.

There remains a meditation bed in a hermitage covered in cloud.

It is through the Emperor Nhân Tông’s life that we may visualize how peacefully and pleasantly the whole people of Đại Việt lived and worked at the time. They earnestly worked for their living and fought for the protection of it. They did not seek after another world where they would be freed from passions and defilements of this world. Life is too short for them to form such deluded ideas in their mind. They had to make their great efforts to live and work in that short lifespan without wasting any moment. It may be said that it is the picture of the dishes of cuốn cakes that were prepared by the Emperor’s order in a banquet for the Chinese messenger Chang Li-tao at the time the enemy had just been driven out of the country:

柘 枝 舞 罷 試 春 衫

況 値 今 朝 三 月 三

紅 玉 堆 盤 春 菜 餅

從 來 風 俗 舊 安 南

After the dance of “giá chi”, let us try the robes of spring.

Particularly, today is the Thanh Minh festival.

The trays are full of “cuốn” cakes like rubies;

That is the ancient custom of the Vietnamese.

Or more simple, it is only the image of the remote mountains contemplated from the balcony of some pavilion in the evening:

楊 柳 花 深 鳥 語 遲

畫 堂 簷 影 暮 雲 飛

客 來 不 問 人 間 事

共 倚 欄 杆 看 翠 微

Deep in the blossoming willows the birds sang leisurely.

Beneath the eaves were floating the shadows of evening clouds.

Not concerned with worldly affairs,

The guest,  leaning on the balcony, watched the verdant landscape lonely.

The Emperor Nhân Tông’s poetry and writing are capable of representing “a skillful crystalization of philosophical senses and feelings for life and the world in an optimistic and generous spirit of a great personality as well as intrinsic inspiration and aspiration for freedom of an artist,” but not to convey the “extremely pessimistic” ideas as some have imagined. Consequently, his position in the history of Vietnamese literature is very great. With the “Worldly Life with Joy in the Way” and the “Song of the Realization of the Way,” he initiated a new period in the history of Vietnamese literature, where the national language played a major role. Furthermore, through his verses in Chinese and abstruse writings, he can provide us with new perceptions of human beings’ eternal problems such as time and life.

Until now, we have just mentioned some Vietnamese writings and Chinese poems of Nhân Tông. There remain some of his Chinese writings that have not yet been published and satisfactorily studied. They are twenty-two letters written by Nhân Tông to Yüan emperors and officials in his political and diplomatic struggles against them for protecting the country’s ownership and thereby gaining enough time to strengthen and develop his armed forces for the wars imposed by the enemy. Of these letters some are completely preserved but some remain only fragments. And the most considerable point is that they are all preserved in Chinese documents alone, that is, the Yüan-shih, the T’ien-nan Hsin-chi, the Ch’ên Kang-chung shi-chi, and the Annan chi-lüeh. None of them has been preserved in our country’s historical documents; if any, they are merely some extracts from the works just cited.

Reading these letters, the first impression on the part of readers is that the Emperor Nhân Tông always held a consistent attitude toward the enemy. He bluntly rejected any ideas of surrendering to them and resolutely protected the country’s ownership in spite of any requests made by them that he should open up a road for them to attack Champa or he himself had to go for audience at their court. Though Kublai Khan made use of various cunning measures, from the delicate diplomatic ones of promising noble titles to the Emperor to the cunning m0ilitary ones of ordering invasions carried out, he was finally defeated by the fighting strength of the Đại Việt people under the Emperor Nhân Tông’s leadership.

In addition, the Emperor helped discover the hypocritical words that Kublai Khan ostensibly suggested. The latter, for instance, boasted that he had always welcomed those who came to his court for audience and treated them as his “children” whom he had the responsibility to “take care of”. All the messengers sent by his order to our country always spoke of his tolerance so enormous as sky and sea. The most often phrase they liked to make use of is “universal humaneness,” that is, his humane sympathy for all people. In face of such arguments, the Emperor Nhân Tông pointed out that had Kublai Khan truly possessed such an enormous amount of humanity, he should not have forced him to go for audience. What would happen if he had died en route for the Yüan court? We will see that these two reasons were frequently set forth by the Emperor for his refusal.

More than anyone else, the Emperor understood that presenting himself at the Yüan court for some audience would be to give up himself to the enemy, to hand over the national ownership to them. Therefore, he resolutely accepted no concessions in relation to the enemy’s request. In effect, through his letters Kublai Khan might show some hope of overwhelming the Emperor’s firm resolution. At the same time, however, he knew obviously that however persuasive those letters might be they could not change the Emperor’s resolution. Consequently, following those letters he carried out the two consecutive invasions of our country with a staff of experienced generals and tens of thousands of troops and ships.

Equally impressive are the letters written by the Emperor to Yüan functionaries, particularly to the delegation headed by Liang-tseng to our country in 1293. These letters are of both tender and resolute style aimed at condemning Kublai Khan’s hypocritical policy just mentioned and simultaneously pointing out his evil plot to invade our country behind his apparently righteous statements. On the other hand, these letters may reveal some contemptuous attitude of our court to the representatives of the so-called “Heavenly Court” and our challenges to their endurance. In the Annan chi-shih of Ch’ên Kang-chung shih-chi, Ch’ên-fu wrote down the fact that no sooner had his mission entered our country than they received the order of our court to follow the roads just opened up such that they all felt frightened: “Our messengers arrived in that country not by the former roads but by the new ones just opened up and winding very perilously right in the mountains. Their intention was to show us that the way to their country was far and dangerous.”[6] In spite of this, they had to follow our court’s indications without a word of protest.

Then, having reached the capital Thăng Long, they had to struggle many times for an entrance into the citadel through the Dương Minh Gate, that is, the South Gate of the citadel, instead of the Vân Hội Gate or the Nhật Tân Gate as our court proposed. In the words of the Liang-tseng chuan in the Yüan Shih: “In the 1st month of Chih Yüan 30 (1293) [our mission] arrived in Annan. That country [i.e., that capital] has three gates. The middle gate is called Dương Minh; the left is Nhật Tân and the right Vân Hội. Their officials received us outside the citadel and intended to lead us through the Nhật Tân gate. Very angrily, Tseng said, ‘If the decree were not received through the central gate, it would mean that I were indirectly causing the King’s order to be disregarded,’ and decided to go back to the House of Messengers. They then opened the Vân Hội gate for us to enter, which was again refused by Tseng. After all, they had to receive our decree through the Dương Minh gate. Tseng blamed Nhật Tôn not to go out to receive the decree.”[7]

It may be said that it was a warning of our court to the mission from the Heavenly Court. The same warning was formerly given to Ch’ai-ch’ung by the Emperor Nhân Tông when he ordered a banquet in honor of the former held in a corridor. At that time Ch’ai Ch’ung also got angry and refused the invitation until the Emperor ordered the banquet to be moved to the TậpHiềnPalace, as in the words of the Anna Chuan in the Yüan Shih: “As usual, Nhật Huyên had the banquet held in the corridor. Ch’ung and his companions refused to come. After they returned to the House of Messengers, Phạm Minh Tự came with a letter of apology by Nhật Huyên’s order, saying that the banquet was to be held at the Tập Hiền Palace.”[8]

In 1291 Chang Li-tao’s mission also underwent such a warning though they were later welcomed by the Emperor Nhân Tông as what was written down by the former in the Chang-shang-shu hsin-lu and later cited by the Vietnamese traitor Lê Sực in his Annan chih-lüeh 3, pp.45-47.

The twenty-two letters written by the Emperor Nhân Tông to the Yüan emperors and officials, therefore, should be read by all of us so as to see how hard and tactfully our court’s struggles against the enemy on the diplomatic front occurred. They represent the firm resolution not only of the Emperor but also of our people as a whole to protect the country’s ownership, to refuse any concessions to the enemy in any forms. Consequently, they may be considered to have initiated a style of literature employed as an effective device in our court’s political and military struggles, which Nguyễn Trãi, in the name of Lê Lợi, would later represent in the Quân Trung Từ Mệnh Tập.

This style has its own characteristics; that is to say, the wording must be characterized by both flexible gracefulness and sharp resoluteness. It must consist of various arguments to overcome the enemy in the ideological aspect, attacking precisely and destroying completely any assumptions that have ever been considered by them to be eternal truths and supposedly never to be rejected. Indeed, whereas Kublai Khan argued that no one in the world could avoid death and that there would be no place where one would be immortal, the Emperor Nhân Tông pointed out to him that it was not important that one would die or not but that one’s death would be beneficial or harmful to others. If Kublai Khan was always proud of his alleged tolerance, which was incessantly praised by his courtiers, the Emperor Nhân Tông put up the question as to why the former always forced him to go for audience. Although the Emperor, in response to Kublai Khan’s reasoning that to come for audience would be fully rewarded and bestowed, stated that in addition to his desire of being fully rewarded he also wanted to see for himself the landscape of China, he was afraid that he would die on the way. And such a death would bring about nothing beneficial for himself as well as for Kublai Khan, let alone some possible hurts to the latter’s “kind-heartedness”.

Apart from the arguments for the purpose of overcoming the enemy’s volition, these letters are aimed at condemning their crimes against the people of Đại Việt. In a letter sent to the Yüan emperor in 1291 and cited by Hsu Ming-shan in his Tien-nan hsin-chi of the Shu-fu, the Emperor Nhân Tông depicted Wu-ma-er’s brutal actions of looting the people, burning their houses, destroying temples and pagodas: “In the winter of Chih-yüan 24 (1827), the Great Army came here, destroying and burning all pagodas and temples across our country, digging our ancestors' graves, killing our innocent countrymen, damaging the common people's properties--none of brutal destructive offenses were not committed by them (...). Taking control over the sea, Wu-ma-er ordered his troops to arrest all the inhabitants along the coast, among whom the old were killed, the young taken captives. The bodies of those who had been hanged, tied, cut, were scattered everywhere.”[9] The letter may be regarded as the first conviction of war crimes committed by those warlike invaders who would have to be severely punished by our people.

The letters sent by the Emperor Nhân Tông to the Yüan emperors, therefore, occupy a definite position in the history of Vietnamese literature. Most particularly, they could initiate a style of literature that the Quân Trung Từ Mệnh Tập inherited later and brought into effect fully in the struggle against the enemy. This is a type of literature serving the strategy of “fighting combined with negotiation.” The weight of statements in the letters of negotiation is to be determined by some victory on the front. In other words, statements must be supported and represented by forceful actions. Accordingly it may be truly hard, particularly in the diplomatic relation between the two countries, for statements of negotiation, whatever righteous content they may have, to bring about some concrete results in the task of protecting a country’s ownership unless they are somehow supported by and accompanied with certain military actions.

In spite of their such great value in various aspects, the role of those letters in the history of Vietnamese literature has not yet precisely evaluated, not to mention some distorted remarks as to them particularly in some textbooks of the History of Vietnamese Literature. For that reason, we insist once more that there should be a new manner of evaluating the Emperor Nhân Tông’s diplomatic correspondence for the purpose of justifying and clarifying his own characteristic contributions to the history of our people’s literature. This is also the reason for us to collect and publicize the whole correspondence sent by the Emperor Nhân Tông to the Yüan court. Until now they have not been sufficiently collected and published in Vietnamese literature, at least within the range of materials known hitherto.

Concerning the Chinese style of the letters themselves, it is interesting for us to discover that they are more or less influenced by the Vietnamese style, particularly as to some structures that have been detected in the Collected Teachings of Six Pāramitās. In the following letter numbered “the Fifth” by us, for instance, there is the sentence “不 能 身 見 末 光 然 中 心 欣 幸 (Though not able to see you personally, [I am] pleased in mind)” where the verbal structure of “中 心 欣 幸” (literally, “pleased in mind”) is of special style. Such a structure in the Chinese language as “中 心 (in mind)” is found first to appear only in the Ching shi and then in Khương Tăng Hội’s translation of the Collected Teachings of Six Pāramitās.[10] Yet, in the thirteenth century it is found again in a letter written by the Emperor Trần Thánh Tông to Kublai Khan in the spring of Chih Yüan 12 (1275), which was recorded in “Annan chuan” in the Yüan Shih,[11] that is, “中 心 喜 悦” (literally, "satisfied in mind"). This points out the influence of the Collected Teachings of Six Pāramitās on our country’s literature in the thirteenth century. Besides, in Tuệ Trung Trần Quốc Tung’s poetry the influence of this text may be clearly recognized, particularly in the “Vật Bất Năng Dung.”[12]

Thus, through these diplomatic documents we further know the influence of Buddhist texts upon writings not only of the Emperor Nhân Tông but also of many other poets and writers in the Trần dynasty. Further, the images used by the Emperor in his letters reveal more or less his view in commenting on Kublai Khan’s personality. Though he modestly addressed himself to be “bề tôi nhỏ bé” (i.e., a little subject) under the latter’s command, the images that he depicted to praise Kublai Khan ironically are in essence only blames figuratively expressed. Many times Kublai Khan was mentioned by him in such phrases as “[your heart is as enormous as] mountain and sea, containing all the dirt” or “[your heart is of the same quantity as] sky and earth encompassing all the waste.” It is evident that in his invasions of our country Kublai Khan’s heart or mind was all the time filled with “so much dirt” literally and figuratively alike.Therefore, the Emperor Nhân Tông’s diplomatic correspondence is worth reading and studying elaborately so that we can see the depth and majesty of a Vietnamese man who ever created a heroic age of our people. He represents a personality of invincible and deep tenderness, full of altruistic tolerance but, simultaneously, fraught with unshakeable resolution to smash the enemy’s plots of invading the nation’s ownership and the country’s territory. It is for such a purpose that we have decided to publicize the whole collection of the Emperor Nhân Tông’s diplomatic correspondence.

Trans. by Đạo Sinh



[1] Lê Mạnh Thát, Lục Độ Tập Kinh Và Lịch Sử Khởi Nguyên Dân Tộc Ta, Tu Thư Đại Học Vạn Hạnh, 1972, pp.254-321; Khương Tăng Hội Toàn Tập I, Tu Thư Đại Học Vạn Hạnh, 1975, pp.172-188. [LMT]

[2] Lê Mạnh Thát, Lịch Sử Phật Giáo Việt Nam, Tập I, Nxb. Thuận Hóa, 1999, pp.474-490. [LMT]

[3] Lê Mạnh Thát, Kiến Tính Thành Phật Lục in Chân Nguyên Thiền Sư Toàn Tập, Tu Thư Đại Học Vạn Hạnh, 1982, p.72. [LMT]

[4] Vol. 5, pp.58b5-59a1.

[5] Vol. 6, p.37a5-9. [LMT]

[6] Vol. 2, p.34a3-4. [LMT]

[7] Vol. 178, p.1b3-6.

[8] Vol.209, p.4a11-12.

[9] Vol.51, p.18b 6-7. [LMT]

[10] Lê Mạnh Thát, Lục Độ Tập Kinh Và Lịch Sử Khởi Nguyên Dân Tộc Ta, Tu Thư Đại Học Vạn Hạnh, 1972, p.264-271. [LMT]

[11] p.3b2-10.

[12] Lê Mạnh Thát, Tuệ Trung Thượng Sỹ Toàn Tập, manuscript, 1979. [LMT]

 




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