Pointing The Way

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Three Patriarchs of Truc Lam Dyana Buddhism

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Pointing The Way
        Van Hanh  ?-1018

The body's like lightning
        a flash then gone,
Ten thousand trees
        in spring glory
                wither in fall.
Resign yourself to fate
        no need to fear,
Ups and downs
        like dew on grass
                so it unfolds.

Shì Dìzǐ
Wàn Xíng ?-1018

Shen rú diàn yǐng yòu hái wú,
Wàn mù chūn róng qiū yòu kū.
Rènyùn chéng zhōng wú bùwèi,
Shèng shuāi rú lù cǎo tóu pū.
Translator: Dongbo 東波

Zen master Van Hanh was born Nguyen Van Hanh in Co Phap village, Bac Giang province. He studied Confucianism, Daoism and Buddhism and at the age of 21 entered the Luc To Temple and became a 12th generation Vo Ngon Thong School Master (Wall Meditation School). He was an advisor to King Le Dai Hanh and assisted in the founding of the Ly Dynasty. King Ly Thai To 1010-1028 appointede him National Teacher. Van Hanh, like many Vietnamese Buddhists, was active in politics and nation building. Only five of his poems survive today.

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