At the foot of the great "fool"


"The human being is a crumb of knowledge at the mercy of birth and death. Before the Tao, infinitely big and full of mysteries, he is only a great fool! " "The human being is a crumb of knowledge at the mercy of birth and death. Before the Tao, infinitely big and full of mysteries, he is only a great fool! " 

Grand Master Nguyen Minh 

I cast my eyes, for the last time, over the little brick wall speckled with greenish lichens. The big house, with its ancient architecture dating back to the last century, is set back behind the beautiful Chinese garden. Everything seems to be asleep in the suffocating heat of this October afternoon.I hesitate for a long time before pressing strongly on the small bell because it is already the seventh time that I come back to this place. The barking and the noise of the aggressive running of the two huge guard dogs are so familiar to me that I can distinguish between the male and the female.

I wait patiently, imagining the servant of the house, with a cold face and unwelcoming tone, coming once again to announce dryly "the master is not here! ". After six months of intense research, I finally found the true home of the millionaire named Hoang-Tuong-Fong, an old businessman working in the importation and exportation of various products.

The two big doors squeak heavily on their rusty hinges. - It's you again, young man!

I clearly distinguish a difference in his voice today. - I would like to see the master of this house and bring him good-bad news!

The septuagenarian, still very alert in his movements, retains the ferocious beast who rushes in showing sharp fangs. Gripping the leather collar securely attached to the neck of the mastiff, he lifts it practically off the ground. His unusually large hands betray a very advanced level in the martial arts. Looking mystical and using a solemn tone, he says these words to me:
- You are lucky, because my Master, observing your perseverance, asks me to come and tell you:
"Ordinary people often want to see the immortals, meet the Buddha and they strongly believe that only by prayers and pleas will they come to their aid. The knowledgeable is different: where he thinks he feels the presence of these higher beings, he goes immediately looking for them. The all-knowing is not looking anywhere, knowing that the Buddha is omnipresent and resides even in himself.

"Instantly I grab the message. Advancing a step, I ask him:
- Please show me the way!

With great respect, the old servant gives way to me ...

- What is the essence of life and death?
- Live to help humanity and die to glorify the Way.
- What does it mean to be a great hero?
- To know oneself is to be a great one and to conquer oneself is to be a hero!
- What does it mean to abandon what others take over and seize what they forsake?
- Nowadays, people argue for any personal profit and people are killing each other for political theories and doctrines, while leaving the good life and good morals, thus deviating from the Great Way. On the other hand, the knowledgeable would act according to good morals, leaving aside his own profit and choosing the Great Way instead of the political doctrines.

Sitting positively in his perfumed wooden chair, carved in the eastern style with arms ending in heads of dragons, the old man, with the good-natured face of a wealthy Buddha, burst out laughing in the middle of the great, richly decorated room. His laughter was so strong that time seemed to stop and all the space sank into an abyss of strange silence. Distraught, the two German shepherds hid behind the gates of the main entrance, moaning dismally, and yet no sound reached my ears.

- Finally! The sacred medley of Confucius is alive and well! So, you are his man of confidence!

He stops for a long time, looking thoughtful:
- Well! in this time of decline of the Way, what is the point of coming for me? What do you want from me?
- Indeed, and precisely, Grand Master! I came to ask you to help me build a raft!

He leaned forward, looking surprised:
- Do you really think you can cross the storm in the ocean on a raft?
- No, Grand Master! I would seek a refuge on an island and I would wait for the coming of "The Feast of Dragons and Flowers" (2).

The old man in question is the Grand Master Nguyen Minh, the person to whom I have to tell a "little story" to introduce myself. He exclaims with glee:
- Good, good and very good! Approach, young man, so that I can look at you closely.

I uphold his inquisitive look that seems to penetrate the bottom of my mind and calmly push back this powerful magnetic discharge. Suddenly, he gets up and calls his old servant:
- Little fool! Accompany the young man to the door.

While I am embarrassed, caught unprepared by this unhospitable and incomprehensible attitude, he chooses a rosy sapwood (1) among the offerings on the majestic altar placed behind and throws it in my direction. Under the impact, the fruit became a gruel flowing between my fingers. Leaving me there, lost in my riddles, clasping his hand, he turns his back to me and leaves towards the large window overlooking the garden of the inner courtyard. Beneath prominent eyebrows, lined with thick silver swords, his eyes wander in the distance. Then he utters a loud exclamation:
- It's a beautiful day!

Indeed, in this month of October, the rosebushes give the most beautiful flowers of the season, with broad petals of velvet and bright red. Thousands of roses, bathed in blood under the bright light of day, awaken in me the instincts already buried in the beyond of consciousness: anger and passion! Behind the big window, pairs of butterflies get drunk with sunlight, losing their way, fluttering here and there. From nowhere or from a non-place rises the tinkle of a piano played in a crescendo-presto that suddenly ends with an imperative sound, like a heavenly call!

1984, seven years later ...

The sharp sounds of the little golden bell, signaling the end of the ritual, fade in the noises of the heavy rain falling furiously outside. From time to time, the whole landscape is illuminated by a bright light, accompanied a few seconds later by a deafening detonation. Since my childhood, I have always felt a very pleasant feeling when staying up at night, behind dripping panes, to contemplate the fulgurating confrontation of Heaven and Earth.

After the three formal prostrations, I kneel at the foot of the Grand Master awaiting his last instructions. The years have passed so fast, like galloping horses, in front of the window. Seven years already and yet I very clearly see his imperturbable face listening to my "little story". Now, in the distant depths of those eyes, which are flashing under the prominent temples, sign of a powerful internal energy, a warm and comforting fire is gradually coming on. How much sweat was poured on the long way to this house? And how many times, in the freezing rain, did I wait in front of this door that opens at midnight ...

- My son, I celebrated the Mountain Descent Ceremony in accordance with the Diamond Temple Rites and the Wing Chun School's ancestral tradition. As it happens, I chose this specific night to invoke the testimony of the invisible world. The Goddess of the rain will soften your fires and the God of the storm will offer you asylum. Listen well, the arcade of social relations of your chart of the sky is located under the door of the thunder. This is confirmed by your coming on a stormy night. As a result, your life will be exposed to harsh trials, filled with terrible torments and marked by great events. On the other hand, it would be in danger that you will find safety, and in storms you will find good weather. Your domain will be in distant horizons, where an icy sun melts on trees with branches of crystal. Remember that the greatest warrior is the one who won without a single battle. Therefore, my wise disciple, look well at the Buddha in you, practice the Pa-na force deeply and you will see through the Five Forms the mysterious nothingness of the five elements that will help you to solve the problem of life. Oh! humans, flesh and blood of Buddha! Know well that forms are not different from the non-form, and non-existence cannot be detached from existence, and so are reception, thought, action, and consciousness!

Outside, the rain has stopped for a while. He gets up and says to me in a neutral tone: - It's time to leave, my son! Now you have sufficient luggage useful for the long way ahead. Never come back here again, because the crossing of our karma, so long awaited, is so much better thus finished. Go! my son! At this moment, beautiful words and grand gestures are no longer necessary!

In recognition ... to the Grand Master Nguyen Minh


Grand Master Nam Anh, 1999


(1) The sapwood gives fruit in October. (2) The Feast of Dragons and Flowers: According to Buddhist religious texts, the Feast of Dragons and Flowers is the space-time in which the superposition of the Sun and the Moon marks the end of an era, the end of our civilization by cataclysms: floods, earthquakes, cyclones, etc. At the same time, it announces the return of the wonderful spring, a magnificent world in its new emergence. The Eastern esotericism foresees the coming, soon, of the Buddha "Di Lac", the one who will find enlightenment under a flowered and perfumed tree, in the shape of a dragon, and who will later become the guide of humanity towards a new era of happiness and peace.

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