King Tran Nhan Tong was honored as King-Monk when he ceded his throne to lead a religious life and became the founder of Vietnamese Zen Buddhism.
A Cai Luong or reformed theatre play dedicated to King-Monk Tran Nhan Tong is expected to debut in December this year to commemorate the 707th anniversary of his attainment of Nirvana.
The play, entitled “Buddhist King” and performed by the Vietnam Cai Luong Theatre revisits the most glorious historical period in Vietnam. During this period, Vietnamese people under the leadership of the Tran Kings in the 13th and 14th century, defeated Mongolian invaders 3 times, gaining national peace.
Script-writer Bui Huu Duoc, who has spent decades learning about Buddhism, wrote the script for the “Buddhist King” play. He said the play features King Monk Tran Nhan Tong as a clear-sighted King as well as a religious figure.
Dr. Bui Huu Duoc noted, “During his reign, King Tran Nhan Tong led the Dai Viet people to defeat Mongol invaders twice. He became religious at a very young age. Though he was a King, he had the heart, mind, and views of a monk”.
In the play, the King’s personality, intelligence and dignity are depicted in different daily life stories.
The Meritorious Artist Trieu Trung Kien, who directed the play said, “The play includes simple but very expressive stories about King-Monk Tran Nhan Tong. We told the stories with great admiration for the King. Different art forms such as fine arts, dancing, music and narrating are used in the play”.
The play also depicts the brutality, and great loss of war, and the struggles of a nation that constantly faced foreign invaders.
Young actors and actresses give a breath of fresh air to the play. The play also includes performances of martial arts and fencing.
Artist Quang Khai acted in the role of King Monk Tran Nhan Tong. He shared, “I must try my best to reflect the emotions, mind and spirit of the King Monk Tran Nhan Tong. The King has many good characteristics, so I will do my best to highlight them”.
After 700 years since King Tran Nhan Tong’s attainment of Nirvana, his dignity and morality remain a model of good behavior. The play Buddhist King revives Vietnam’s history and evokes people’s pride in the glorious history of the nation.