À la recherche de l’origine du peuple vietnamien: 2ème partie

Đi tìm nguồn gốc dân tộc Việt (Phần 2)

English version

À la recherche de l’origine du peuple vietnamien 

Cette constatation a été confirmée par ce qu’on avait découvert dans les tombes du site Guiqi de Jiangxi : Les armes trouvées ont porté un caractère symbolique car elles étaient tout en bois. Elles n’ont pas eu une place importante dans leur vie ou leur après -vie. On a été amené à conclure que contrairement à la société des gens du Nord, celle des Yue était plutôt pacifique. C’est pourquoi cela ne leur permit pas de résister mieux à chaque empiétement de leurs voisins du Nord , les Yi qui ne cessèrent pas de grignoter leur territoire et de les refouler un peu plus au sud à chaque confrontation. Les Yi se distinguaient par leur art de fabriquer des arcs et des flèches. Ils étaient des guerriers redoutables et doués pour le tir à l’arc et l’équitation. Endurcis par la rudesse de la nature, ils étaient habitués à lutter contre les animaux sauvages et les autres tribus. Cela leur permit d’avoir au départ dans leur sang le gène d’un conquérant et d’un lutteur.

Ce n’était pas le cas des gens du Sud , les Bai Yue. Le sage Confucius a eu l’occasion de comparer les forces que possédaient respectivement les gens du Nord et du Sud: le courage et la puissance ( Dũng ) pour les premiers et la bienveillance et la générosité ( Nhân từ ) pour les seconds. Déjà le caractère “Yi” qui était à l’origine le dessin d’un homme  portant un arc   nous a donné une idée précise sur la particularité des gens du Nord. Ceux-ci, sous la direction de Houang Di (Hoàng Ðế) , ont réussi à refouler les premières tribus de Baiyue vivant dans le territoire délimité par le fleuve jaune Huang He et le fleuve bleu Yangtsé et dirigées par Chiyou (Xi Bưu) (ou Ðế Lai en vietnamien) en alliance avec le roi Lôc Tục (ou Kinh Dương Vương) régnant au sud du Fleuve Bleu sur le vaste pays des Xích Qủi (Pays des démons rouges). Selon la légende chinoise, cette confrontation a eu lieu à Trác Lộc ( Zhuolu ) dans l’actuelle province de Hebei et a permis aux gens du Nord d’entamer progressivement leur expansion jusqu’au fleuve Bleu. Le décès de Chiyou a marqué la première victoire des gens du Nord sur le peuple Bai Yue il y a eu à peu près 3000 ans avant J.C.

À l’époque des Shang, aucun document historique chinois ou vietnamien ne parla des relations entre les Bai Yue et les Shang à part la légende vietnamienne de “Phù Ðổng Thiên Vương” (ou le héros céleste du village Phù Ðổng) qui a rapporté une confrontation entre les Shang et le royaume de Văn Lang des Luo Yue. Par contre, on nota le contact établi plus tard entre la dynastie des Zhou et le roi des Luo Yue ( Hùng Vương ) . Un faisan argenté ( chim trĩ ) avait été offert même par ce dernier au roi des Zhou selon l’ouvrage Linh Nam Chích Quái. A l’époque des Printemps et Automnes, un état des Yue de l’Est se fit connaître dans les Mémoires Historiques de l’historiographe de l’empire des Han Si Ma Qian (Tư Mã Thiên) . C’était le royaume du seigneur illustre Gou Jian (Câu Tiễn). À la mort de celui-ci, ses descendants ne réussirent pas à maintenir l’hégémonie. Sur le moyen cours du fleuve Bleu, un autre royaume fondé aussi par l’une des tribus de Bai Yue ( Bộc Lão ) et connu sous le nom de Chu ( Sở Quốc ) prit la relève à l’époque des Royaumes Combattants et devint l’ une des sept principautés rivales (Han , Zhao, Wei, Yan, Qi , Qin et Chu). (Hàn, Triệu, Ngụy, Yên, Tề, Tần và Sỡ)

Avant d’être vaincu par la force des armes de l’armée des Qin, le royaume de Chu a apporté indirectement sa contribution indéniable en faveur de la future formation et de l’unité de la nation chinoise que les Yi avaient commencé à mettre en place en éliminant en 332 l’état des Yue de l’Est de Goujian et en commençant à donner une nouvelle impulsion au développement d’un grand état avec les réformes de Wu Qi (Ngô Khởi).

Les Gou Yue (ou les Yue de l’Est) commencèrent à se réfugier dans le sud du territoire des Bai Yue après l’annexion de leur territoire par le royaume de Chou. Selon Léonnard Aurousseau, après leur défaite, les Gou Yue ou les Ðông Âu ( ou Est Âu ) trouvaient asile en grande nombre dans les régions suivantes: Foujian (Phúc Kiến), Guangdong (Quảng Ðông), Guangxi (Quảng Tây) et Jiaozhi (Giao Chỉ) et y devenaient ainsi les Mân Yue (Foujian) , les Nan Yue (Jiangsu, Jiangxi) et les Luo Yue (Guangxi , Jiaozhi). Tous ont été sinisés au fil des siècles sauf les Luo Yue. Ces derniers étaient les descendants légitimes des Gou Yue car ils appartenaient comme les Gou Yue à la branche Âu et ils étaient connus souvent sous le nom Tây Âu (les Xi Ou ou Ouest Âu).

” Il n’y avait plus de doute sur l’origine des Luo Yue” , c’est ce que l’érudit français Léonnard Aurousseau a écrit dans son ouvrage “ Notes sur les origines du peuple annamite (Ghi chép nguồn gốc dân tộc An Nam)” ( BEFEO, T XXIII, 1923 , p 254 ). D’autres Yue, en particulier ceux vivant dans le royaume de Chu ne tardèrent pas à les suivre lors de l’unification de la Chine par Qin Shi Huang Di. Celui-ci n’hésita pas à bannir tous ceux qui avaient osé résister à sa politique d’assimilation, en particulier les Yue et les Miao aux travaux forcés dans la construction de la Muraille de Chine, à brûler non seulement tous les ouvrages des lettrés confucianistes mais aussi ceux des autres peuples insoumis et à maintenir sa politique d’agression contre les Bai Yue jusqu’au Ling Nan ( Linh Nam ). La conquête du territoire des Xi Ou et des Luo Yue (Tây Âu) de Thục An Dương Vương qui a marqué la deuxième confrontation des Chinois avec les Bai Yue, fut achevée en 207 avec la nomination des deux gouverneurs célèbres du territoire conquis: Nhâm Hiếu ( Jen Hiao ) et son adjoint Triệu Ðà. (Zhao Tuo).

A la mort de Nhâm Hiếu, profitant des troubles consécutifs à la chute de l’empire des Qin en 207, Triệu Ðà. (Zhao Tuo) s’allia avec d’autres Yue pour déclarer l’indépendance du royaume de Nan Yue pour lequel il conquit les anciennes commanderies de Guilin et Xiang puis il attaqua en 184 avant J.C. la région de Chang Sha (Hunan (Hồ Nam)). Ce royaume resta éphémère et retomba dans le giron des gens du Nord, les Hán en 111 avant J.C. malgré la résistance héroïque du premier ministre Lục Gia. Cette confrontation, la troisième avec le peuple Bai Yue fit perdre à ce dernier non seulement son territoire mais aussi son identité culturelle. La sinisation commença à battre son plein sur le territoire conquis (Foujian (Phúc Kiến), Guizhou (Qúi Châu), Guangdong (Quảng Ðông), Guangxi (Quảng Tây) , Yunnan (Vân Nam), Tonkin (Giao Chỉ). Beaucoup de révoltes et d’insurrections ont éclaté durant cette longue période de domination chinoise. Mais la révolte la plus éclatante resta celle menée héroïquement par les deux sœurs Trưng Trắc, Trưng Nhị . A l’appel de ces dernières en 39 après J.C. , les Yue vivant dans le Sud de la Chine et dans la grande partie du Tonkin les joignirent. Cela leur permit de tenir tête à l’armée des Hán jusqu’en 43 après J.C. Mais elles furent battues finalement par un grand maréchal chinois de l’époque Ma Yuan (Mã Viện)(Phục Ba Tướng quân). Celui-ci, envoyé par l’empereur Guang Wu (Quang Võ) des Hán, décida de détruire tous les tambours en bronze trouvés sur le sol des Luo Yue car il sut reconnaître lors de la confrontation que ces objets ont eu la valeur d’un emblème de pouvoir pour ces derniers. Selon l’on-dit, pour reculer la frontière jusqu’au portail Nam Quan, il n’hésita pas à édifier un pilier haut de plusieurs mètres, fabriqué avec du bronze récupéré de ces tambours et portant l’écriteau suivant:

Ðồng trụ triệt , Giao Chỉ diệt
Ðồng trụ ngã, Giao Chỉ bị diệt.
Le Giao Chỉ disparaîtrait pour toujours avec la chute de ce pilier

Mais cela n’émoussa pas la volonté et l’ardeur indépendantiste des Luo Yue ( les Việt ). Ceux-ci décidèrent de le consolider en jetant, à chaque passage, un morceau de terre autour de cette colonne colossale, ce qui permit d’édifier progressivement un monticule faisant disparaître ainsi ce pilier mythique. Pour parer à toute éventualité de révolte, il y a eu même un édit de l’impératrice Kao (Lữ hậu) en 179 avant J.C. stipulant qu’il était interdit de livrer non seulement aux barbares et aux Yue des instruments aratoires et en métal mais aussi des chevaux, des bœufs et des moutons. Ce fait a été rapporté par E. Gaspardone dans son ouvrage intitulé ” Matériaux pour servir à l’histoire de l’Annam” (BEFEO, 1929). A cause de cette politique, il n’est pas étonnant de découvrir récemment un grand nombre de tambours en bronze enterrés au Vietnam et dans les régions avoisinantes (Yunnan, Huna ). La civilisation dongsonnienne prit fin durant l’occupation chinoise

L’enrôlement forcé des Yue dans l’armée des conquérants et le contact qu’ils ont eu au fil des années avec les Chinois leur permit de connaître mieux les techniques de guerre (Sunzi (Tôn Tử) par exemple ) et de perfectionner leurs armes dans leur lutte contre les envahisseurs dans les années à venir. En revanche, les Chinois se sont appropriés tout ce qui leur appartenait durant leur longue occupation. Ces Yue continuaient à être traités comme des peuples barbares malgré leur contribution indéniable au rayonnement de la culture chinoise. Ces gens du Nord pouvaient prétendre être désormais les détenteurs légitimes de l’Ecrit de Luo , de la théorie de Yin -Yang et de 5 éléments (Âm Dương ngũ hành) bien qu’un grand nombre d’incohérences fussent trouvées dans leur affabulation mythique.  © Đặng Anh Tuấn

Modèle reconstitué et retrouvé sur le site du Banpo.

Ils remodelaient le dragon, l’animal aquatique mythique préféré des Bai Yue, qui avait au départ une tête d’alligator et un corps de serpent, à leur tempérament de guerrier et à leur goût en lui donnant des ailes et un tronc de cheval et l’adoptaient définitivement comme leur animal symbolique bien qu’ils eussent le tigre blanc dans leurs traditions turco-mongoles. Leur maison de forme ronde dont le modèle a été reconstitué et retrouvé sur le site du Banpo a été remplacée par la maison spacieuse au toit largement ensellé et débordant en auvent, celle des Bai Yue. Dans les tourbillons de l’histoire, il n’y avait plus de place pour les Bai Yue.

© Đặng Anh Tuấn

Exceptés les Luo Yue, les autres peuples de Bai Yue continuaient à être sinisés de manière qu’à la fin du Xème siècle, sur leur territoire, il ne resta que deux peuples face à face, un peuple conquérant ( les Hán ) et un peuple insoumis (Les Luo Yue ou les Vietnamiens) en quête d’indépendance. Les états des Gou Yue, des Nan Yue, des Man Yue etc .. firent partie désormais de la Chine du Sud. Profitant de la dislocation de l’empire des Tang (nhà Đường), les Luo Yue déclarèrent leur indépendance avec Ngô Quyền.

La nation vietnamienne commença à voir le jour. Il ne faut pourtant pas croire que tout se passe réellement dans la douceur et dans l’harmonie. Il faut tant de sacrifices pour que les gens du Nord acceptent cette réalité. C’est ainsi que la page de l’histoire des Bai Yue était confondue désormais avec celle des Luo Yue .

Les découvertes scientifiques récentes ont changé radicalement la vision qu’on a des gens de Bai Yue et particulièrement de leur histoire.? Elles ont remis en cause l’idée d’un diffusionnisme culturel originaire du Nord. Des vestiges plus anciens encore que ceux de Hemudu ont été découverts récemment dans le moyen fleuve Bleu à Pentoushan ( Hunan ). Peux-t-on continuer à considérer les Miao, les Bai Yue comme des gens “barbares” ? Pourtant le caractère Miao ( ou Miêu en vietnamien ) qui porte à l’origine le dessin d’une rizière ( Ðiền )  au dessus duquel est ajouté le pictogramme “Thảo” (cỏ)  (herbe) montre à l’évidence la façon des Chinois de s’adresser à des gens sachant faire la riziculture avec leur langage. Peux-t-on continuer à maintenir une version traditionnelle et obsolète écrite par les conquérants au détriment de la recherche de vérité historique? Il s’avère indispensable de remettre le train de l’histoire sur les rails tout en sachant que la civilisation chinoise n’a pas besoin de ces affabulations car elle a mérité de figurer depuis longtemps parmi les grandes civilisations de l’humanité. Ce sont les ancêtres des Luo Yue qui ont appris aux gens du Nord la culture du riz mais non pas inversement comme cela a été écrit dans un grand nombre de documents historiques chinois et vietnamiens. Il est temps de rendre hommage à nos ancêtres, les Yue, qui à cause de leur tempérament pacifique, étaient obligés de s’effacer devant l’usage de la force dans les tourbillons de l’histoire.

 Héritant d’un passé glorieux, empêtré successivement dans des guerres fratricides et coloniales et plongé dans la corruption, le Vietnam des Luo Yue a besoin de se ressaisir car il ne mérite pas de faire partie des pays les plus pauvres du monde. Il est temps pour lui de suivre la voie tracée par ses ancêtres et de faire mieux qu’eux……

Joyaux de la nation (Bảo vật Quốc Gia)

English version

Etant la terre des civilisations, le Vietnam recèle au bout d’un siècle de fouilles archéologiques entamées d’abord par les archéologues français puis par ceux du Vietnam, un grand nombre de trouvailles dont certaines se distinguent par leur beauté incommensurable et par leur originalité exceptionnelle. Certains spécimens deviennent les joyaux de la nation et représentent l’une des trois civilisations découvertes au Vietnam. On peut les admirer dans les musées de l’histoire du Vietnam (Hànội, Đà Nẵng, Sàigon, An Giang). Parmi ces objets exhumés, on peut citer le célèbre tambour de bronze Ngọc Lũ, symbole de la civilisation dongsonienne. Il est suivi ensuite par

1°) Le lampadaire de la tombe n°3 de Lạch Trương, Đồng Sơn, Bronze, Hauteur: 0,33m. Musée de Hànội

2°) La situle Đào Thịnh de Yên Bái, Đồng Sơn, Bronze, Hauteur: 81cm. Musée de Hànội. Cette situle évoque le culte de la fertilité. (Văn hóa phồn thực)

3°) Le vase en céramique (gốm) à décor de paysage peint en couleur “bleu et blanc” provenant de l’épave de l’île Cù Lao Chàm (Quảng Nam). On y trouve à travers le motif du cygne les traits de l’âme vietnamienne. Musée de Hànội.

4°) La statue de la bodhisattva Tara (culture chame), bronze inscruté d’or, d’argent et de pierres semi-précieuses. Hauteur: 1,15m. Style Đông Dương (Milieu du du IXème siècle). Musée de Đà Nẵng.

5°) Statue de bouddha, Đồng Dương, Quảng Nam (VIIIe-IXè siècle) . Bronze H:119cm, L:38cm. Cette statue en bronze, fondue à cire perdue a été retrouvée presque intacte au moment de sa découverte. Son style reste énigmatique. Musée de l’histoire (Saigon).

 6°) La statue du Bouddha assis dans la position de la prise de la terre à témoin (bắt ấn địa xúc) (bhūmisparśa-mudrā). Civilisation Óc Eo. Musée de An Giang.

Galerie des photos

Bảo vật Quốc Gia

English version

During a century of archaeological excavations initially started  by French archaeologists and then by those of Vietnam, the land of civizilations Vietnam holds   a large number of archeological finds, some of which are distinguished by their incommensurable beauty and their  exceptional originality. Some specimens become the jewels of the nation and represent one of the three civilizations discovered in Vietnam. One can admire them in the history museums of Vietnam (Hànội, Đà Nẵng, Sàigon, An Giang). Among these objects exhumed, one can cite the famous bronze drum Ngọc Lũ, symbol of Đồng Sơn civilization. It is followed by

1°) The floor lamp found in the tomb n°3 of Lạch Trương, Đồng Sơn, Bronze, Heigth: 0,33m. Museum of Hànội

2°) The situla Đào Thịnh of Yên Bái, Đồng Sơn, Bronze, Heigth: 81cm. Museum of Hànội. This situla evoke the cult of fertility. (Văn hóa phồn thực)

3°) The ceramic vase (gốm) with an attractive decoration of landscape painted in color “blue and white” . It was retrieved from the wreck of Cù Lao Chàm island (Quảng Nam). Thanks to the  swan motif, one discovers the traits of Vietnamese soul. History museum of Hànội.

4°) The statue of  Tara bodhisattva (Cham culture), in bronze overlaid with or, silver and semi-precious stones. Heigth: 1,15m. Đông Dương style (Middle of 9th century). Museum of Đà Nẵng.

5°) Buddha statue, Đồng Dương, Quảng Nam (8th-9th century) . Bronze H:119cm, L:38cm. This bronze statue in molten wax was found almost intact at the discovery  time. Its style remains enigmatic. History museum of Saigon.

6°) The statue of Buddha making the mudra of taking the earth as witness with the right hand (bắt ấn địa xúc) (bhūmisparśa-mudrā) . Óc Eo civilization. Museum of An Giang.

Dâu pagoda (Chùa Dâu)

Version française

Version vietnamienne

Pagode Dâu,Vietnamese buddhism cradle

 

 Dâu pagoda  visible from its porch

 
  About 30 kilometers from Hanoï, Dâu pagoda is the most religious building in Vietnam because it was constructed in early Christian times in Dâu region known frequently during this period under the name “Luy Lâu”. In Chinese times, Luy Lâu was considered as the capital of Giao Châu (Giao Chi) from 111 B.C. until 106 B.C. At that time, according to Vietnamese researcher Hà Văn Tấn , the buddhist influence coming from India was accepted very early until the 5th century. Chinese governor Si Xie ( Sĩ Nhiếp in vietnamese) (177-266) also was accompagnied   in town by clerics coming from India (người Hồi) or Central asia (Trung Á) for each trip. At the end of the second century, Luy Lâu becames the first vietnamese buddhist centre  with 5 old pagodas: Dâu pagoda devoted to cloud genius  Pháp Vân (“thần mây”), pagoda Đậu to rain genius Pháp Vũ ( “thần mưa”), Tướng pagoda to thunder genius Pháp Lôi  (“thần sấm”),   Dàn pagoda to thunderbold genius Pháp Điện ( “thần chớp”) and main pagoda belonging to the mother  Man Nương of  that 4 geniuses (or Tứ Pháp in vietnamese). The Sino-Vietnamese words Dâu, Đậu, Tướng, Dàn  were preferred by the Vietnamese instead of using the names  Mây, Mưa, Sấm , Chớp (Cloud, rain, thunder and thunderbold) in close relation with the natural force found in the agricultural environment. The system based on that 4 geniuses evokes the subtle association between the buddhism  and popular beliefs coming from a  primitive society in Vietnam.

Accordingly, a lot of  Indian and foreign religious such as  Ksudra (Khâu Đà Là), Ma Ha Kỳ Vực (Mahajivaca), Kang-Sen-Houci (Khương Tăng Hội), Dan Tian did not wait long to stay at Luy Lâu and to preach the Buddhist teaching. The number of monks is so important that Luy Lâu becames in just a few years later the translation centre for sutras among which was found the famous sutra Saddharmasamadhi (Pháp Hoa Tam Muội) translated by kouchan monk Cương Lương Lâu Chi (Kalasivi) in the  3th century. According to  zen  monk  Thích Nhất Hạnh, one had the tendency to believe by mistake in the past that   Indian monk Vinitaruci introduced the Vietnamese Dhyana buddhism (Thiền) at the end of 6th century. During its passage to Luy Lâu in 580, he lived in the Pháp Vân monastery belonging to the dhyana school. It was during this time that  dhyana monk Quán Duyên  was beginning to teach here  the dhyana. 

Pictures gallery

Other monks went in China for preaching the Buddhist law before the arrival of  famous monk  Bodhidharma known as  the partriach of  dhyana  school  and Chinese martial art.  By now, it is known that Kang-Sen-Houci (Khương Tăng Hội) monk coming from Sogdiana, had the merit of introducing the dhyana buddhism in Vietnam.  The Buddhism began to implant itself at Luy Lâu via  Man Nương history  and encountered no reluctance from the Vietnamese because it accepted the  tolerance and the traditional paganism. Thích Quang Phật and and Man Nương Phật Mẫu legends attested the easyness to aggregate  popular beliefs with  the buddhism.  One can say the marriage is successful between   buddhism and popular beliefs (Mây, Mưa, Sấm, Chớp) found in the corner.  The Buddha’s birthday also was  that of 4 geniuses who became Buddhas. The mother Man Nương of these 4 geniuses was also venerated   as Avalokiteśvara. One did not hesitate to install the Buddha altar in places where these 4 geniuses have been venerated. From now on, the buddhism began to propagate longer in other regions of Tonkin.  The Vietnamese buddhism was the Mahayana and took two ways in its propagation: seaway from South Vietnam (Funan and Champa) and land way from North Vietnam via Yunan.

 

 

Vietnamese buddhism (Phật giáo Vietnam)

French version
We do not know exactly the date Buddhism was introduced into Vietnam but on the other hand, we are however certain that this new faith has come to Vietnam by maritime way by the strait of Malacca. Vietnamese Buddhism is above all Mayahana BuddhismGreat Vehicle or Ðài Thừa in Vietnamese ). It is less pure, often blended with philosophical concepts of Confucianism and TaoismAs Vietnam is situated on the big road of pilgrimage between China and India, the most part of Vietnamese scholars at that time were only Buddhist monks who knew Chinese and Sanskrit perfectly well.

When Vietnam was established as an independent state in 939 at the fall of the Tang dynasty, it was the Buddhist monks who, being the sole true holders of knowledge, helped the first dynasties to consolidate their power. Many among them held important political posts, such as Ngô Chấn Lưu and Ðặng Huyền Quang.

They also provided the first poets and prose writers of Vietnam. One can say that under the earlier Le and Ly dynasties, Vietnamese literature was constituted a great deal of learned poetry and of Buddhist inspiration composed by monks among whom were Lạc Thuận and Vạn Hạnh. Lạc Thuận was assigned by king Lê Ðại Hành to greet Chinese ambassador Li Jiao ( or Lý Giác ). To take the latter across the river, monk Lạc Thuận disguised himself as a sampan rower. When seeing two wild geese playing on the water crests, Li Jiao began to sing:

Ngỗng ngỗng hai con ngỗng
Ngữa mặt nhìn trời xa
Wild geese, look at the two wild geese!
They raise their heads and turn toward the horizon!

Monk Lac Thuân did not hesitate to finish the quatrain on the same rhymes while continuing to row:

Nước biếc phô lông trắng
Chèo hồng sóng xanh khua
Their white feathers stretch out on the blue-green water
Their pink feet, like rows, split the blue waves.

The parallelism of ideas and terms and especially the speed of improvisation of monk Lac Thuan struck the admiration of the Chinese ambassador. As for the second monk, Van Hanh helped king Lý Công Uẩn to get rid of the Ðinh decadents and found the Ly’ dynasty (1009-1225) that transferred the capital to Thăng Long (presently Hanôi). Van Hanh was not only a talented politician, he was also a poet. The Ly dynasty owed it rise to the influence and counsel of this monk, which explained the preeminence of Buddhism since that date. It thus became the state religion with a church run by a spiritual master of the kingdom (or Quốc Sự). Many of the sovereigns of this dynasty belonged to the sects Thiền (or Zen in Japanese or Tchan in Chinese).

Pictures gallery

They granted great favors to Buddhism, in particular Lý Thái Tôn, who, in 1031, after his victory over Champa, had over one hundred fifty monasteries built, not to include the construction of the famous one-pillar pagoda (Chùa Một Cột) following a dream. In spite of the beneficial influence of Buddhism, for the needs of a methodical organization and an effective administration of the country, the Ly dynasty had to adopt the Chinese model at all echelons of administration: the reshuffle of the hierarchy of functionaries (1089), the creation of exams (1075), the establishment of a imperial college (1076) (or Quốc Tự Giám) intended to teaching the children of the nobles, the creation of the Imperial Academy (1086) etc…Thanks to the development of lay education, the learned men began to replace the monks. Likewise, the diffusion of knowlege allowed the opening of a more varied and rich literature.

Buddhism declined and yielded to Confucianism only at the end of 13th century. This was due to several reasons: the struggle against the Mongols gave birth to a new leading class more Confucian than Buddhist lead by general Hung Ðạo Vương Trần Quốc Tuấn, the appearance of a new bureaucracy constituted of scholars and that of historical works to the detriment of Buddhist collections.

The Proclamation to The Troops ( or Hịch Tướng Sĩ ) by Hưng Ðạo Vương Trần Quốc Tuấn or the Grand Victory of Chương Dương celebrated by his lieutenant Trần Quang Khải by means of the following four verses:

Chương Dương cướp giáo giặc,
Hàm tử bắt quân thù
Thái bình nên gắng sức,
Non nước ấy nghìn thu. 

We have taken aggressors’ spears at the port of  Chuong Duong,
And captured enemies at the dock of Ham Tu.
May peace be the object of our supreme effort
And this land last forever.

witnessed  the opening of a literature richer, more national and historical. One continued to see the decline of Buddhism until 1963, the year when monk Thích Quảng Ðức immolated himself by fire to protest the regime of  president Ngô Ðình Diệm of South Vietnam.vehicule

This sacrifice did not turn out to be useless because it permitted the hastening of the fall of Diệm four months later and showed the whole nation that Buddhism, in spite of its spirit of tolerance and non-violence, could constitute a notable counterbalance to combat any forms of dictatorship and totalitarianism whose aim is to undermine moral foundations and conceptions of truth and solidarity found in Vietnamese civilization.

Vietnamese Buddhism thus regains for some decades not only its political role but also the dominating place it has lost for so long.

Papyrus vietnamien (Giấy dó)

 

English version

Papier dó

Celles-ci sont proposées souvent dans les kiosques réservés aux touristes étrangers. Le papier dó (papier de rhamnomeuron) est utilisé dans l’impression de ces imageries. Selon certains chercheurs vietnamiens, ce papier fut apparu vers le IIIème siècle et connût son apogée du VIIIème au XIVème siècles. Hồ Qúi Ly s’en servit à la fin du XIVème  siècle pour l’impression des monnaies fiduciaires.

La production de ce papier nécessite une préparation minutieuse. Il est fabriqué avec l’écorce de l’arbre do. Après la récolte de celle-ci entre les 8è et 10è mois lunaires, on a besoin de l’immerger dans l’eau pendant un ou deux jours. On la traite ensuite en la macérant dans une solution de chaux condensée durant 5 heures. Puis on la fait bouillir

L’enfant et le coq

durant une vingtaine d’heures avant de la piler pendant 5 heures. La farine obtenue par le pilage est diluée dans une bassine remplie d’un mélange d’eau et de résine de la plante mò ( clerodendron ). Le papier est obtenu grâce à un moule après avoir été pressé et séché.

Papyrus vietnamien

Galerie des photos

Pour cent kilos d’écorce, on obtient seulement 5 ou 6 kilos de papier. Cela explique la raison pour laquelle le marché est très limité. De plus le papyrus vietnamien do ne pousse que dans les hautes régions au Nord. Connus pour la fabrication des imageries populaires sur papier do, les villageois de Dương Ô et de Ðông Hồ ont subi le même sort. Le prix de revient  dans  la production du papier recyclé est supérieur à celui de vente  du papier dó. C’est pourquoi peu de gens continuent à s’intéresser encore à ce métier ancestral qui se perd au fil des années.

Version anglaise

Those are often proposed in the kiosks reserved to  foreign tourists. Paper dó (rhamnomeuron paper) is used in the printing of these images. According to certain Vietnamese researchers, this paper had appeared around the 3rd century and knews its apogee from the 8th to the 14th century. Hồ Qúi Ly made use of it at the end of  14th century for the printing of  fiduciary currencies. The production of this paper requires a meticulous preparation.

It is manufactured with the bark of the tree dó. After the harvest of this one between the 8th and 10th lunar months, one needs to immerse it in water during one or two days. After one treats it by macerating it in a lime solution condensed during 5 hours. Then one makes it by boiling  during about twenty hours before crushing it during 5 hours. The flour obtained by crushing is diluted in a basin filled with a mixture of water and resin of the plant mò (clerodendron). Paper is obtained thanks to a mould after being pressed and  dried.

For two hundred kilos of bark, one  gets only 5 or 6 kilos of paper. That explains why the market is very limited. In addition, the Vietnamese papyrus dó grows only in the northern  highlands. Known for making popular imagery on paper dó,  villagers of Dương Ô and Đông Hồ suffered the same fate. The cost price in the production of recycled paper is higher than the selling  price  of dó paper. That is why a few people still continue to be interesting to this ancient craft that is lost over the years.

Funan kingdom (Vương quốc Phù Nam)

founan

French version

Funan kingdom

Until the dawn of the 20th century, the information was received about this old Hinduized kingdom in some Chinese texts. It was mentioned during the Three Warring States period of Chinese history (Tam Quốc )(220-265) in Chinese writings since the establisment of diplomatic relations between  the Wu state (Đông Ngô) and foreign countries. In this report, it is noted that the governor of Guandong and Tonkin provinces, Lu-Tai sent representatives (congshi) in the south of his kingdom. The kings, beyond the borders of his kingdom (Funan, LinYi (future Chămpa) and Tang Ming (country identified in the northern Tchenla at the time of Tang dynasty) sent each other an ambassador to pay him their tribute. Then Funan was also quoted in the dynastic annals from the Tsin dynasty (nhà Tấn) until the Tang dynasty (Nhà Ðường).

Even the name of Funan is the phonetic transcription of the old khmer word bhnam (mountain) in Chinese characters. It still gives rise to reservations and reluctances in the interpretation of Funan by “mountain” for some experts. These one find the justification of the name “Funan” in the best sense of “hillock” because, until quite recently, in the ethnographical studies [Martin 1991; Porée-Maspero 1962-69] , the Khmer were used to practising ceremonies around the artificial hillocks. Being affected by this custom that they did not know, the Chinese have made reference to this mode of practice for designating this kingdom. Thanks to archaeological excavations which took place in 1944 at Óc Eo with French Louis Malleret in An Giang province located into the south of present-day Vietnam, the existence and prosperity of this Indianised kingdom have not been in doubt. The results of these excavations had been written in his doctoral thesis, then published in an entitled work “Archaeology of the Mekong delta” representing 6 volumes.

© Đặng Anh Tuấn

This allows to confirm the Chinese informations and to make them a little more precise in the confinement and localization of this kingdom. Because of the abundance of  tin archaeological finds, French archaeologist Louis Malleret did not hesitate to borrow the name Óc Eo for designating this tin civilization. We begin to have now a deep light on this kingdom as well as its external relations during the resumption of excavations undertaken both by Vietnamese teams (Đào Linh Côn, Võ Sĩ Khải, Lê Xuân Diêm) and French-Vietnamese team led by Pierre-Yves Manguin between 1998 and 2002 in An Giang, Ðồng Tháp and Long An provinces where a large number of sites of Óc Eo culture are located.

We know that Óc Eo was a major port of this kingdom and was a transit hub in trade exhanges between the Malaysian peninsula and India on one hand and between the Mekong and China on other one. As the boats of the region could not cover long distances and had to follow the coast, Óc Eo thus became a mandatory stop and a important strategic step during the 7 centuries of blooming and prosperity for Funan kingdom.

Óc Eo civilization

Pictures gallery 

This one occupied a quadrangle included between the gulf of Thailand and Transbassac (western plains of Mekong delta or miền tây in Vietnamese) in the South of Vietnam. It was bounded in the northwest by the Cambodian border and in the southeast by Trà Vinh and Sóc Trăng cities. Aerial photos taken by the French people in the 1920s revealed that Funan was a maritime empire (or a thalassocracy).

The Chinese authors tell us that immense city states, encircled by successive lines of earthen ramparts and ditches formely filled by crocodiles, were divided into districts by the ramification of canals and arteries. We can imagine houses and stores on piles, bordered by ships as in Venice or in the Hanseatic cities. We discover in this surprising network constituted by stars of rectilinear canals arranged according to the northeast / southwest frame (from Bassac towards the sea) and all communicating with each other, its important role for evacuating Bassac floodwaters towards the sea. This allows to wash the soil with alum, repulse headways of brackish water during Bassac floods, favor the floating rice, ensure especially the provisioning inside the kingdom by cargoes of coastal navigation coming from China, Malaysia, India and even from Mediterranean circumference.

The discovery of gold coins bearing Antonin le Pieux (in 152 A.D.) or Marc Aurèle’s effigies and low-reliefs carvings of Persian kings testifies to the important role of this kingdom in trade exchanges at the beginning of the Christian era. There is even a grand canal allowing to connect the port city Óc Eo on one hand with the sea and on the other hand with the Mekong and the ancient city of Angkor Borei, located 90 km upstream in the Cambodian territory. This one would be presumably the capital of Funan in its decline.

For French archaeologist Georges Coedès, there is no question that the Angkor Borei site corresponds exactly to that of Na-fou-na, described in Chinese texts as the city where kings of Funan wildrew after their eviction from the ancient capital of Funan, Tö-mu, identified as the city Vyàdhapura located in the Bà Phnom region of the Cambodian territory by Georges Coedès [BEFEO, XXVIII, p. 127]. The wealth of this archeological site and the variety of archeological remains originating from it, confirm his affirmation.

Thanks to archeological finds that have been recovered during all series of excavations on the complex of Óc Eo sites, we can say that this kingdom knew three important periods during its existence:

The first period which extends from the 1st to about 3th century, distinguishes itself by terra-cottas (ceramic potteries, bricks, tiles), glassware (pearls and necklaces), silverware (rings, earrings), stones sculptures (seals, signet rings, cabochons), copper, iron, bronze and especially tin objects.

We attend the first human activity on hillocks in the Óc Eo plain and on low slopes of Ba Thê mountain. The habitat is on piles and wood. The common jar grave in the South-East Asia is still practised. The process of the Indianisation is not yet started by the absence of statuaries and religious relics. But there is, all the same, a regular contact between this kingdom and India.

The commercial exchange is strengthened by local alliances and Indian teachers arrival. These one, retained longer for their stays in this kingdom because of the season of monsoons, continued to practise their religions (Brahmanism, Buddhism). They began to make emulators among the natives and to help the latter in the implementation of a hydraulic network allowing to drain the flooded plain, until now, hostile and to make it “useful” for the habitat, cultivation and development of their kingdom. The Indians were known to realize advisedly the works of agricultural hydraulics and cultivation. It is what we have seen in the country of the Tamils during the Pallava period for example.

The floating rice cultivation is attested by the traces of use of this graminaceous plant as degreasing agent for pottery. For French researcher of CNRS, J.N. Népote, specialist of the Indo-Chinese peninsula, Funan kingdom received most of its revenues from the agricultural sector in the technique of floating rice.

It was not necessary to cultivate the soil nor to sow and even less to plant rice seedlings in this time when the coastal fringe of Funan was an flooded zone of polders. The rice grew alone at the same time as the water level, this one being able to reach three metres in height. The rice was later harvested by boats. For the floating rice, the only constraint to be required was the distribution and regulation of floods by the digging of canals in order to be better able to manage the irrigation water and facilitate the means of communication.

The second period of the Funan history (4th- 7th centuries) is marked by the discovery of a large number of Vishnouist and Buddhist religious monuments on the hillocks of Oc Eo plain and on the slopes of Mount Ba Thê. The emblematic figures of the Indian pantheon (Shiva, Vishnu, Brahma, Nanin, Ganesha and Buddha) were exposed. It is also the period when the piled wooden housing moves from hillocks towards flooded plain and low slopes of Ba Thê mountain.

The indianisation of the kingdom was underway when we saw around 357 an Indian of Chinese name Tchou Tchan-t’an, being perhaps of Scythian origin and Kanishka descent, to reign in Funan kingdom [Founan: Paul Pelliot, p 269], which could explain the success of the Surya cult and its iconography in the Funan art. Another Brahman of Chinese name (Kiao-Tchen-Jou) (or Kaundinga-Jayavarma) will succeed him and will reign in Funan kingdom between 478 and 514. It is the period quite known thanks to local inscriptions in sanskrit.

Even the myth of the kingdom’s foundation comes from India: a Brahman named Kaundinya, guided by a dream, get a magic bow in a temple and navigates towards these banks where he manages to beat the girl named Soma of the native sovereign presented as Naga king (a fabulous snake) then he marries her to govern this country. We can say that during this period, the Funan kingdom knew its peak and maintained close relations with China.

The magnitude of its trade was indisputable by the discovery of a large number of objects other than that of India found on Funan banks: fragments of bronze mirrors dating from the Han anterior period, Buddhist bronze statuettes attributed to Wei dynasty, a group of purely Roman objects, statuettes of Hellenistic style in particular a bronze representation of Poseidon. These objects were probably exchanged for goods because Funan people only knew the barter. For the purchase of valuable products, they used golden and silver ingots, pearls and perfumes. They were known as excellent jewelers. The gold was finely worked with numerous Brahmanic symbols. Jewels (golden earrings with the delicate clasp, admirable golden filigrees, glass pearls, intaglios etc.) exposed in the museums of Đồng Tháp, Long An and An Giang testifies not only of their know-how and their talent but also the admiration of the Chinese in their narratives during their contact with Funan people.

The last period corresponds to the decline and end of Funan kingdom. A important change was indicated during period tcheng-kouan (627-649) to Funan kingdom in the Chinese annals. The kingdom of Tchen-la (Chân Lập) (future Cambodia) situated in the southwest of Lin Yi ( uture Champa) and country vassal of Funan took over the latter and subjugated it. This fact was not only reported in the new history of Tang (618-907) of Chinese historian Ouyang Xiu but also on a new inscription of Sambor-Prei Kuk in which king of Tchen La, Içanavarman was congratulated for having increased the territory of his parents. One thus bear witness to the abandonment of habitat and religious sites in the plain Óc Eo because the centre of gravity of the new political formation coming from the North leaves the coast to gradually approach the site of the future capital of Khmer empire, Angkor.

For French researcher J. Népote, the Khmers come from the North by Laos appear as Germanic bands against the Roman empire, try to establish inside lands a unitarian kingdom under the name of Chen La. They have no interest to keep the technique of the floating rice because they live far from the coast. They try to combine their own mastery of water storage with the contributions of Indian hydraulic science (barays) to finalize through multiple experimentations an irrigation better adjusted to the hinterland ecology and local varieties of irrigated rice.

In spite of the recent discoveries confirming the existence of this kingdom, many questions have remained unanswered. We do not know who were the indigenous people populating this kingdom. One thing is for sure: they were not Vietnamese who had arrived only in the Mekong delta in the 17th century. Were they ancestors of the Khmers? Some had this conviction when Louis Malleret began excavations in the 1940s because the toponymy of the region was totally Khmer. At the time of Funan, it was yet not clear what this is. However, thanks to the study of osseous remains of Cent-Rues (in the peninsula of Cà Mau), we are dealing with a population very close to Indonesians (or Austro-Asiatic ) (Nam Á).

A Mon-Khmer contribution in the North of this kingdom can be possible to give to Funan the juxtaposition and the fusion of two strata which are not far away from each other before becoming the race of Funan people. In this hypothesis frequently accepted, the Funan people were the proto-Khmers or the cousins of the Khmers. The absorption of a city of Malaysian peninsula (known under the name Dunsun in the Chinese sources reporting this fact ) in the 3th century by Funan in an area where the Mon-Khmer influence is undeniable, is one of the determining elements in favour of this hypothesis.

In what conditions did Óc Eo disappear? Nevertheless Óc Eo played an economic role in commercial exchanges during seven first ones centuries of the Christian era. The archaeologists continue to look for the causes of the disappearance of this port city: flood, fire, deluge, epidemic etc. …

Is the Funan kingdom a state unified with a strong central power or is it a federation of centers of urbanized and sufficiently autonomous political power on the Indo-Chinese peninsula as on the Malaysian peninsula so that we qualify them as city-states?

P.Y.Manguin has already raised this question during a colloquium organized by Copenhagen Polis centers on the city-states of the coastal South-East Asia in December, 1998. Where is its capital if the central power is strongly emphasized many times by the Chinese in their texts? Angkor Borei, Bà Phnom are they really the former capitals of this kingdom like that has been identified by French Georges Coèdes? For the moment, what has been found does not bring answers but it only redoubles the envy and desire of archaeologists to find them in the coming years because they know that they have the feeling of dealing with brilliant civilization of the Mekong delta.

 


Bibliography references

Georges Coedès: Quelques précisions sur la fin du Founan, BEFEO Tome 43, 1943, pp1-8
Bernard Philippe Groslier: Indochine, Editions Albin Michel, Paris 
Lê Xuân Diêm, Ðào Linh Côn,Võ Sĩ Khai: Văn Hoá Oc eo , những khám phá mới (La culture de Óc Eo: Quelques découvertes récentes) , Hànôi: Viện Khoa Học Xã Hội, Hô Chí Minh Ville,1995 
Manguin,P.Y: Les Cités-Etats de l’Asie du Sud-Est Côtière. De l’ancienneté et la permanence des formes urbaines. 
Nepote J., Guillaume X.: Vietnam, Guides Olizane 
Pierre Rossion: le delta du Mékong, berceau de l’art khmer, Archeologia, 2005, no422, pp. 56-65.

Ceramic (Gốm Vietnam)

French version

gom

 

It is greatly surprising to see that, despite the everlasting domination of China on Viet-Nam, the latter was able to distinguish brilliantly starting from 14th century in the domain of ceramics. It became thus an active participant in the flourishing trade of South-East Asia in this domain with its junks and its compass known since 11th century. Tome Pires in his Suma Oriental (1515) summarized all these exchanges and foot-noted even the existence of a Vietnamese ceramic production intended for sale in China. At that time, there was even the counterfeit of Vietnamese blue and white in the Chinese furnaces of Snatow.

Its success was mainly due to the cobalt blue that blew into Vietnamese ceramic art a spirit which will have lasted for two centuries and enabled it to capture a foreign market as far as even the most remote corners of Asia.

It is the case of large a vase-bottle found at the Topkapi palace of Istanbul, carrying an inscription in Chinese characters, in blue under glaze that one can read in Vietnamese: Painted for pleasure by Pei de Nam Sách in the 8th year of Thái Hoà, or of a dish with blue and white floral decoration at the Treasury of Ardebil (Museum of Teheran)

If the cobalt blue was known in Vietnam for a long time even before the Chinese invasion of Ming, it appears that it was used only around the years 1430-1450. It is from this time that the blue and white definitively replace monochromic ceramics. 

Gốm

Vase (Lê dynasty)

It is thanks to the perfect control of manufacturing, decorating and baking techniques that the Vietnamese potter can improve his imagination. Even though constraints of painting under glaze do not prevent any repentance, there appear on the sandstone not only more and more sophisticated drawings but also a variety of pigments, an eruption of form s and original decorations, which made him an artist. If he does borrow a good number of decorative drawings from China ( peonies, lotus, flowers, foliated scrolls etc..), he has on the other hand the idea to create an autonomous style which is less hieratic and more vivacious than his Chinese homologous by the liveliness of his feature and his spontaneity. He can adapt these decorative elements to the Vietnamese style: the Chinese red fish becomes thus the Cá Bông, a Vietnamese freshwater fish.

It is no longer the case of China since China discovers the perspective starting from the reign of Jiajing (1522-1566). On the other hand, the quality of the central motif found on the plates, is definitely higher than that of the surrounding ones. This proves there is an intervention of several craftsmen in the realization of these plates. Because of the war, Viêt-Nam did not set up a systematic program of archaeological excavations. Few sites were exhumed so far. On the other hand one knows that the areas of Tam Tố north of Thanh Hoá, Nam Sách in the province of Hải Dương, Bát Tràng north of Hanoi to name a few sites, are surely witnesses of the manufacture of these Vietnamese ceramic pieces.

Pictures gallery of Vương Hồn g Sển collection

 

La céramique vietnamienne (Philippe Colomban CNRS)

Des céramiques vietnamiennes chargées d’histoire  (Philippe Colomban CNRS)

 

Art vietnamien (Nghệ thuật)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Being Caodaïst (Tôi là người Cao Đài)

French version

 

We, the Caodaïsts, we must know to perfect ourselves. It is not essential for us to fast and call upon Buddha by prayers or to enter a pagoda in order to be able to attain perfection. We have the possibility of attaining it if we always have in us the three following qualities: Love, Wisdom and Will.

At birth, we already had kindness. This is why, our Ancestors were accustomed to saying:

Nhân chi sơ, tính bản thiện. Mankind is naturally good at birth.

But because of the hazards of life, the unjustified competitions and the immoderate desires which continue to monopolize us sempiternally, we thus became dishonest people, perfidious, egoistic, which makes us lose the kindness that we acquired at birth. All the Wise ones of Antiquity had had these three qualities evoked above.

To have an idea on what the individual has or not in terms of kindness, it is enough for us to observe his behavior towards his close relations. It is by this observation that we are able to know him, which had said the Chinese philosopher Jou Mencius.

Love is a quality necessary to the perfection but it cannot be complete because we need wisdom to distinguish truth from falsehood, right from wrong, good from evil. There are plenty of generous people who, in spite of their gifts offered to the construction of the pagodas in a considerable way, continue to be entangled in an inauspicious behavior because they do not manage to distinguish right from wrong. It happens that they may be badly considered sometimes compared to those who never have the occasion to take part in this generous contribution.

In Vietnam, the Lý dynasty was famous for its irreproachable enthusiasm towards Buddhism by the bias of a great number of constructions of pagodas. That unrelentingly led the people to misery because of the too high taxes and ineluctably caused the popular discontent which was the principal cause of its fall.

Whatever his educational level, man always has in him Wisdom because when we act badly or not, we will know it thanks to our own conscience. For example, when one tries to lie, one feels ashamed towards oneself although the person to whom one lied does not know it. It is the wisdom which helps us make this distinction. The French philosopher Blaise Pascal had the occasion to stress that man is a thinking reed.

To continue to lie or act badly or not, we need Will. It is easy to evoke this quality but it appears difficult for us to have it because we are obliged to go sometimes against our own interests or to be losers at times also. Sometimes it happens to us not to have a safe life. I refer to some Chinese or Vietnamese historical facts with an aim of enabling us to be together to reflect and respectfully admire the people whom I regard as knowing how to perfect themselves because they had the three qualities evoked above. They became famous characters in the history of China and Vietnam.

Initially, it was the case of Zhuge Liang ( or Gia Cát Lượng in Vietnamese). He was at the same time Prime Minister and adviser to Liu Bei, the last survivor of the Han dynasty ( Lưu Hoài Ðức ) in China. The Barbarians coming from the steppes of the North of China and directed by Manh Hoạch often liked to raid the territory of his kingdom. Zhuge Liang managed to capture Manh Hoạch 7 times but this latter was released immediately on the order of Zhuge Liang at each capture. He was very generous. He was equipped with an extraordinary wisdom because he found that it was necessary to convince Manh Hoach by the means of love and feelings. If Manh Hoạch had been killed, there would be probably another Manh Hoạch. That obliged him to frequently assemble punitive expeditions and did not allow him to have the free hand to restore the Han dynasty and to bring back peace and happiness to its citizens.

It was why he continued to release impassively Manh Hoach at the time of each capture. He had an incommensurable will because he knew that to prevent Manh Hoach from betraying later, he was to waste much time, to forget the personal interests and to give himself many concerns with his rather advanced age. It would be less tiring for him if he decided to kill Manh Hoach because he was not obliged to assemble up to 7 times the punitive expedition. At the time of the last capture, when he was about to usually release Manh Hoach, this latter started to cry and to surrender definitively. Zhuge Liang had these three qualities evoked above. Although he is not a monk, we can affirm that with the three qualities found in him ( Love, Wisdom and Will ), he knew how to perfect himself and he was already regarded as a Wise one at the time of the Three Kingdoms.

In Vietnam, there are also kings whom we can regard as the Wise ones. It is the case of king Lý Thánh Tôn which had these 3 qualities quoted above. This is why he was known in the history of Vietnam as an intelligent king, distinguished, charitable and valiant. The revolt of the king of Champa, Chế Cũ obliged him to assemble a punitive expedition while leaving regency to his concubine Ỷ Lan. Faced with the determination of Chế Cũ, he was not able to capture him after several months of expedition. Disappointed, he was obliged to return to the country. On his return, he learned that his people did not cease praising the talent of his concubine Ỷ Lan in the art of governing the country. He felt ashamed and decided to return to the front. When he succeeded to capture Chế Cũ, he could have killed this one to alleviate his anger but he preferred to let him return to his country.

It was why Viet-Nam knew a period of peace, prosperity and happiness. He was very charitable because he let the one who had humiliated him in front of his people leave. He lost much time in order to be able to capture him. Are we capable of acting as he did if we were in his place? One fine day, during one period when the winter was hard, he addressed his mandarins in the following terms:

By dressing myself in this manner, I continue to be stiff with cold. How do people manage to resist this rigorous cold especially the poor when it is known that they do not have enough money to feed themselves?. It is necessary to give them as of now additional food and clothes.

Another time, while holding company with his daughter, the princess Ðông Thiên, at the time of an audience, he turned to his mandarins in saying to them:

I have a deep love for my people as that which I always have for my daughter. Unfortunately, the people is so little informed that it does not cease to make mistakes. It is for that that I have so much pity for it. I kindly request you to decrease the punishments and the pains inflicted.

His wisdom was incommensurable. To conquer Champa, he knew that it was necessary to convince and calm Chế Cũ although he was humiliated and upset to compare what he had undergone to what his concubine had done, a woman coming from a rural environment, Y? Lan for his people during his absence. He could kill Chế Cũ to alleviate his anger and to wash this momentary insult. But he was a courageous man who could put the interests of his people before his personal interests. He was really the person having the three evoked qualities.

 
Whatever the situation we are in, we, Caodaïsts, we must try to improve ourselves. That sometimes happened to me to want to continue this step. It is necessary to recognize that it is not easy to concretize it. I do not hide either that I had also the daily difficulties but I feel relieved enormously when I succeeded in concretizing it a little. I am delighted because I realize that I start to improve myself even if that appears negligible.

img_9502

A young Caodaïst

That reminds me of the sentence that Ung Giả Vi wrote in the Conversations of Wise Confucius:

Nhân viên hồ tai! Ngã dục nhân, Tư Nhân chi hỷ!
Nhân có xa đâu! Ta muốn nhân thì nhân đến vậy!

The virtue is not far! One will be able to have it if one really wants it.

that enables me to be convinced that GOOD or EVIL exists well in each one of us. I understand that it is not necessary to go to the pagoda or the church to be able to improve oneself. I am able to do it if I do not forget what God in the bible of the Caodaïsts said that I had the occasion to read:

If you want to be a true Caodaïst, it is necessary that you have Love and the moral principle. It is absolutely necessary for you to improve yourself.

You merit to thus wear this white tunic, symbol of purity. You feel more than ever proud to be a Caodaïst.

The Caodaïsm ( Cao Đài Giáo)

French version

 
titre_caodai

Caodaism is the third important religion in Vietnam after Buddhism and Christianity. Cao means “High” and Ðài means “Palace“. Cao Đài is the supreme palace where reigns God. Caodaism is a religion which encompasses, combines and is in harmony with several elements from other principal religions: Buddhism, Confucianism, Catholicism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism and Taoism while taking into account Vietnamese traditions.

The Holy Seat is located at Tây Ninh, 90km northwest of Saigon. The number of its followers amounts to 7 million in Vietnam and 30,000 abroad, in particular in Asia, Australia, Canada, Europe and the United States.

One finds in the history of this religion three important episodes of revelations. The first and second took place in 6th century before our era. During the first manifestation, God appeared under the three forms of Jewish leader in the Middle East, Buddha in India and Fou-Hi symbolizing the cult of humanity in China.

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During the second manifestation, Buddhism reappeared in the form of Sakiamuni, Confucianism in that of Confucius, Christianity in that of Jesus-Christ, Taoism in that of Lao-Tseu and Islam in that of Mohammed.

As for the third manifestation, God has decided to reveal himself. This third manifestation based on Buddhism is often called “Ðại  Ðạo Tam Kỳ Phổ Ðộ“.

All the religions that have preceded the revelation of Caodaism are only the different forms of the same reality of different manner according to the time and the places of revelations.

The philosophy and the profession of faith of Caodaism are of a disconcerting simplicity, closer to morals than to mystical transcendence.

  • Respect of the cult of ancestors.
  • Practice of meditation.
  • Practice of vegetarism.
  • Suppression of violence.
  • Respect of all religious forms.
  • Searching for liberation from reincarnation cycle.
  • Respect of the following five prohibitions:
  • Kill no lives
  • Be not dishonest
  • Drink no alcohol
  • Commit no adultery
  • Use no offensive words
  • Pray at least once a day and practice a vegetarian diet at least 10 days per month. The service is held at the Holy Seat of Tay Ninh everyday and takes place at precise hours:

    6:00 am, 12:00 PM (noon), 6:00 PM and 12:00 AM (midnight)