Friday, November 20, 2009

Fire in the wood

In A.D. 1011, the Vietnamese Buddhist Khuông Viêt (匡越) spoke a verse to Da Bao:

木中原有火

有火火還生 

若謂木無火 

鑽遂何由萌

The fire was already there in the wood,
Fire was there, then it came to life again.
If you say there is no fire in wood,
How could flames spring up when we drill for fire?

Having spoken, Khuông Viêt died, seated in the lotus position.

Translation in Cuong Tu Nguyen, Zen in medieval Vietnam: a study and translation of the Thiền uyển tập anh, Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press, 1997, p. 113.