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Modern Folk Opera: The Heavenly Lamp P3/4 (In Aulacese)    
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Today’s Enlightening Entertainment will be presented in Aulacese (Vietnamese), with subtitles in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Malay, Mongolian, Persian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, and Thai.

In Aulacese (Vietnamese) culture, cải lương (modern folk opera) is a popular theater art that dates back about three centuries, when the flourishing South was a new land. Among those who settled in the South at that time were musicians from the royal palace in the ancient capital Huế. Since then, the kind of ceremonial music often heard in the palace became more widely known among the populace.

Eventually, new songs were composed. Many amateur musical groups were formed, adopting music and song as a form of elegant entertainment. From about 1912 to 1915, the artists of these musical groups began to combine gestures to their songs. Since then, a new genre called ca ra bộ was born. Performers conversed; sometimes a song would be used as dialogue. Ca ra bộ continued to develop to create the theatrical art that is now called modern folk opera.

The orchestra for Aulacese modern folk opera usually consists of the six-string guitar, the moon lute, the pear-shaped lute, two-string fiddle, sixteen-string zither, and monochord zither. The themes of Aulacese modern folk opera highlight humanitarian and moral values. The dialogues are profound, the song lyrics and tunes are rhythmic and rich in melody. These are some of the reasons cải lương (modern folk opera) has an enduring place in the hearts of the Aulacese people.

In the Lunar New Year 2007, during an outdoor gathering with our Association members in Formosa (Taiwan), Supreme Master Ching Hai was moved to spontaneously sing a folk opera song “Spiritual Practice is a Source of Blessing” written by Mr. Viễn Châu, which she knew by heart since her youth. We now invite you to listen to an excerpt of this folk opera song through the voice of Supreme Master Ching Hai.

Kneeling down, she sobs in the main hall of worship
As the temple bell sounds the hour of prayer
O young devotee, why do you wish to be a nun?
Finding comfort in the scriptures, and acquainting yourself with spiritual practice?
But how can you achieve enlightenment when earthly traces are still evident on your seasoned countenance?
Are you rid of worldly debt or are still entangled?
Did you renounce the world because glory and fame have lost their appeal and life seems like an abyss?
Or was it because of a fleeting moment of jealousy and distress that you intend to hide yourself behind the temple’s gate to bury your grief and forget your sorrow?

On Enlightening Entertainment, Supreme Master Television is pleased to introduce different forms of arts from Âu Lạc (Vietnam), as well as from other countries in the world, in order to share the beauty and cultures of the peoples on our planet.

The modern folk opera “The Heavenly Lamp” recounts the tale of the fairy Bạch Giáng Tiên who was chastened for transgressing divine laws. Only when those who loved Bạch Giáng Tiên could help her find the light of wisdom would she be liberated from the regressive bindings that she herself created.

We now invite you to enjoy part 3 of the modern folk opera “The Heavenly Lamp,” written by playwright Bạch Mai
with performances by Vũ Linh as Hữu Lương the student, Ngọc Huyền as Bạch Giáng Tiên the Fairy and Hữu Nhân, Thanh Thanh Tâm as Liên Hoa Fairy, Chí Linh as Deity Dương Tiễn, Đức Lợi as Hữu Sinh, Minh Long as King, Linh Châu as Ten Great Monks, Tào Thành as Prime Minister, Minh Thâu as Pampered Young Nobleman, Trung Quang as Giant Heavenly Dog, Đức Vinh as District Chief, Hồng Nhung as Mẫu Đơn Fairy, Vân Hà as Hồng Nương Fairy, Bạch Mai as Fabric Seller, Bạch Thu as Hồng Loan a village young woman, Bạch Lan as Hữu Phùng, and other artists.

Hữu Lương was a poor student who excelled in both literary and martial arts skills but faced misfortune in passing royal court’s examinations. On the way home from the capital, he met fairy Bạch Giáng Tiên at the Seven Fairies ancient shrine. Upon discovering that she had fallen deeply in love on Earth, Bạch Giáng Tiên’s eldest brother, Deity Dương Tiễn, together with heavenly soldiers, compelled her to return.

Since his separation from fairy Bạch Giáng Tiên, Hữu Lương, in pining for her, fell seriously ill. Determined to care for his father, Hữu Nhân went out to demonstrate his martial arts skill to earn some money for medicine.

However, while defending a helpless person, he harmed the Prime Minister’s eldest son and was subsequently pursued by soldiers. In this urgent situation, Hữu Lương disclosed about Hữu Nhân’s kind mother’s origin in Heaven, hoping to send Hữu Nhân off to search for his mother and escape danger.

Thank you for joining us on today’s Enlightening Entertainment. Please stay tuned to Supreme Master Television. Words of Wisdom is coming up. We’ll see you next time.

By all means, find the key to the place of the Ten Great Monks.

Father, I’m determined to search for it despite all obstacles and perils.

Son! (Dad!) Son! Leave now! Quickly, son, before the soldiers get here. Go, son! Hữu Nhân, take care! (Father!)

As I bow to bid farewell, my heart aches. In separation, I’m full of tears.

Seeing my son off to escape danger, my heart is torn apart.

Please take care of his comfort every night for me. Filial duty I haven’t yet fulfilled. I let my aged father sorrow because of me.

Why is high Heaven so heartless as to devise such a tragedy? I feel pity for an innocent child in his arduous journey all alone.

I’m taking leave now, Father.

Hữu Nhân, my son!

Respected mandarin, there is no one else in the house, except these 3 people.

Did you search carefully?

Yes, sir, we’ve searched very thoroughly, omitting not a single place.

Hữu Lương, where is your son? Where’s the murderer?

The rudder should bear responsibility for the wrongly steered bow. Just perform your duty.

Fine. Soldiers! Take him away!

Master! Master!

Where is this place? What? An ancient shrine! Who inscribed this poem here?

“A love vow of a hundred years. The wind wafts in fragrance of a youthful love. A soul in a beautiful dream, dazed, awakened at dawn, I feel melancholy.” Oh? It was signed by Hữu Lương. So this is where mom and dad met. How am I to reach the fairy palace to save Mother? Alas! Deep gratitude is hard to forget. I feel bitter and painfully sad. Tears flow unceasingly. O Heaven, why am I being tormented? Who’d realize my grief?

Oh my! Why do I feel so pained and restless? My four limbs are burnt with anxiety as if my kin is being torn to pieces.

Beloved Aunt Liên Hoa, how could you remain indifferent? That screaming voice is mine.

Your face resembles that of Giáng Tiên, my gentle younger sister!

That’s right. O Auntie, this is Hữu Nhân.

I left the earthly world of sorrow, seeking eternal convalescence to practice spiritually. Unexpectedly, my spirit is troubled with woes. What am I to do to help resolve this? Seeing my nephew suffer, I can’t be at ease.

If you ignore me, my life will be so lonely, and I can’t hope to save my parents. I’d rather sacrifice and end my tragic lot for good. I’ll risk my life to fulfill my filial duty.

I’m moved hearing your lament. Your golden vow shows your commitment. (Auntie Liên Hoa.) You’re not familiar with this place.

I’m happy now with you by my side. O Auntie, it’s Hữu Nhân!

Hữu Nhân, child!

O Auntie, where’s my mother? Please let me see her.

Hữu Nhân, child!

I yearn to meet a long- separated loved one. Thinking of my father’s tragic life, I shed more tears. So I had to drag my feet despite all obstacles to search for a loved one from whom I’ve been separated. Have pity and help me meet my mother.

Your mother has been banished to the Thunder Wind Tower. Since the Fairy Palace is under strict supervision, I don’t know how to help you two reunite?

I can’t live peacefully as long as we’re far apart. I beg you to take pity on me.

Stay calm and wait. I’ll see what to do.

My father said to ask you to take me to the Five Cloud Cavern where I’ll be able to find a way to meet my mother.

All right. I’ll take you to my palace to hide there, then I’ll go check out the Five Cloud Cavern. If you don’t hide in my palace, brother Dương’s Heavenly Dog will scent you, and you’ll have little hope of saving your mother.

Yes, I bow to you to help me.

Follow me quickly.

Heavenly Dog! (Yes.) How is fairy Bạch Giáng Tiên in the Thunder Wind Tower?

Respected Deity, she’s crying her heart out in sorrow, while murmuring the names of her husband and her son. Her face is tearful; her jade form languishes.

I also felt tormented when severing their love, but it was out of sympathy for my younger sister. Her arduous effort in spiritual practice all this time can’t be let adrift like the water-fern floating aimlessly on the vast river.

But she’s already had a son with her husband. When that child grows up, he won’t easily give up. He’ll find his way here.

As an earthling, how can he reach the Celestial Palace?

I’m afraid Liên Hoa will wholeheartedly help bring mother and son together.

If he relies on Liên Hoa’s magical power, he won’t be able to unite with his mother because it’s impossible to meet the ten Great Monks.

Respected Deity, who are the ten Great Monks? Kindly explain to me.

They’re the ten spiritual practitioners detained in the Golden Tower. It takes someone who is very righteous and filial with extraordinary talent and virtue to save them and free fairy Bạch Giáng Tiên.

According to what you said, mother and son will never see each other.

And Bạch Giáng Tiên will escape worldly bindings.

Hữu Nhân, son! Come with me to the Golden Tower to fetch the Heavenly Lamp and save the ten Great Monks immediately.

How happy I am! I bow to thank you for your love in helping me unite with my mother. I’m deeply touched.

Have courage to overcome the many dangers awaiting us.

Anxious to see my mother, I won’t be deterred even if I must endure physical torture. Don’t worry, Auntie. Hold back your grief.

You and I must set out quickly gliding on the clouds to find the Golden Tower.

O Mother, I vow not to waver. I hope to rescue you for our reunion.

O High Heaven, witness my prayer: let not mother and son be divided. Why must one be forever separated from his dearest kin? Oh, I cry and plead in anguish! Hear my lament, O happy and contented fairy land!

O Father, know you not the countless hardships I’ve been through. How could I find peace? My tears flow in distress. I feel sorry for you, Fairy Auntie, for accepting to endure troubles with me.

O Heaven knows not, I vow to save my younger sister.

Help me, anyone!

Wait, Auntie! I think I heard someone crying for help.

You’re right. That’s from the ten Great Monks who have been locked up at the base of the Golden Tower for their wrongdoing. O ten Great Monks, how can we rescue you?

In order to rescue us, it takes a valiant person who is willing to sacrifice himself by cutting his hand to sprinkle his blood on the tower’s amulet. The chains will then shatter and we’ll be released. But it takes the courage of a filial person whose talent and virtue are like the brilliant sun and moon without a trace of obscuring cloud. A man of bravery though he is only 15. His miraculous red blood will save me.

Don’t worry, Venerable. The one you’re waiting for is here. Hữu Nhân, cut your hand to save the lives of the virtuous! With immense merit, your wish will be fulfilled.

Your order, I dare not decline. I’ll cut my hand and let my blood spill.

Sprinkle it on the amulet, then come stand by my side.

I’ll obey you to save the many lives in distress.

Amitabha Buddha be praised! We’re deeply grateful to you two for compassionately coming to our rescue.

It’s all right. Please don’t over thank us. It’s my courageous young nephew who set you free.

Pitying the spiritual practitioners, I can’t turn a blind eye. You’re free now. Hurry back to the temple to continue your spiritual practice.

You’re a very good child. Buddha be praised! Where were you two going that you ended up in the Golden Tower? Please let me know. If I could be of any help, I wouldn’t refuse.

I’m Liên Hoa Fairy in the High Heaven. And he...

I’m Hữu Nhân, Fairy Bạch Giáng Tiên’s son.

From Earth, he came to Heaven to fulfill his filial duty. Wishing to save his gentle mother, he risked his life to arrive at the celestial realm.

Fifteen years of separation torment my heart and agonize my soul. Please help set my mother free from the Thunder Wind Tower so that mother and son may reunite.

The Thunder Wind Tower is a place stringently guarded under Deity Dương Tiễn’s governance. He is well staffed with heavenly generals and soldiers and the Heavenly Dog too. So how can you reach the fairy palace to rescue your kind mother? Only one sacred treasure can help you accomplish everything.

What is that sacred treasure? Please show me where it is. If my mother is saved, your immense favor I will deeply remember.

The Magic Hammer, if you possess it, will spare you the hard work. Its magical power will help you successfully fight your way to the fairy palace.

Where is that Magic Hammer? Please show us.

It’s in the Golden Tower, right next to you.

In the Golden Tower and right next to me? I don’t see it at all. Please show us. Don’t tease us, Great Monk.

I beg you; have pity for a young soul and help us. My father is languishing in misery longing to see his loved ones.

Be at ease. I’ll requite your deep favor. I’ll help you acquire the Magic Hammer so you may fulfill your filial duty. Listen to my humble advice. Use the Heavenly Lamp from the Golden Tower to ignite a high flame in the midst of the Fairy Well. We, humble monks, will jump in to self-immolate. As a dutiful son, you should try to sustain the fairy flame. The Magic Hammer will appear to you in a short while.

No. We can’t accept the sacrifice of ten monks who will destroy their own bodies because of us.

I’d rather ruin my own life to save my mother. But I can’t sit watching you burn yourselves to death miserably.

You and the little one don’t look at things in perspective. Life or death is determined by the law of cause and effect. I sacrifice myself to requite an immense favor. Wouldn’t I be carefree in Nirvana? Listen to me: Ignite the flame! Come on! Let my next life be finished with all karmic retribution.

Oh, no, Great Monk! Do not act recklessly and torment me further. You need peace of mind to pursue your spiritual practice.

My life would have been over if it hadn’t been for your help. How can I turn a blind eye to my benefactor’s pitiful plight? Listen to me, hand me the Fairy Lamp. As the flame sparks, my wish is fulfilled. Giáng Tiên is longing for her son. (No.)

Hữu Nhân, son! (Auntie!)

Set the fire quickly!

I’ll be forever indebted to your compassionate favor. The merit of a Zen master shines forth.

Make it blazing hot for my heart to feel warm, for me to repay a favor. My spirit goes to the Western Buddha Land now. I bid farewell. Come in, my fellow monks.

Oh, I grieve for the Zen master who is willing to sacrifice himself.

Monks, offer yourself!

Great Monk!

No, Great Monk!

Great Monk!

Great Monk!

Great Monk!

Great Monk!

O fire, I treasure the great favor.

Listen to me: don’t immolate yourself!

Be an example of diligence for the earthlings. Amitabha Buddha be praised!

Ten Great Monks!

O Venerables! You let your forms be destroyed out of gratitude. And I, I’ll fulfill my filial duty as your wish for me.

Hữu Nhân, son! Listen, don’t be distracted from your task. Your filial piety is witnessed by the high Heaven.

Your words are the illuminating moon that I’ll inscribe in my heart. I’ll cultivate diligently so that my mother be saved and my wish come true: Our family will be reunited, speaking words of deep affection.

Try harder and be sincere, child. I’ll be on the watch while waiting for you. Things wear with time, but a steadfast heart perseveres in its goal.

How I love my gentle aunt who has to confront the celestial soldiers at intervals because of me. But what else can I do? O Mother, my heart is so troubled. O Auntie!

Hữu Nhân! Don’t give up, child!

I’m so exhausted, please lend me a hand, Auntie!

This task requires a filial son. How can I help you? Don’t give up, Hữu Nhân!

What can I do, Auntie? I’m now exhausted physically, yet the Magic Hammer is nowhere in sight. Gone is my hope to reunite with my mother.

Hữu Nhân! Where is your sense of righteousness? You’re discouraged and afraid of losing your physical body, so you don’t care to uphold filial piety? I’m just an aunt who loves devotedly, but what can I do to save my younger sister?

O Auntie, I’m just physically exhausted, not that I’m heartless.

You must try hard to pass through the celestial court to rescue your mother. You must forge the Magic Hammer to shatter all chains.

The celestial generals and soldiers are coming! O Auntie Liên Hoa! Pitying a filial child, you’ve extended your help. If I’m too sentimental, I’ll betray your kindness.

Being a man of letters, let not the world scorn you. Let not your father languish in longing. Let family members reunite.

Yes, I’m trying very hard here. Oh look! The Magic Hammer is here! How happy I am! Wait for me, Mother!

Let’s ride the clouds to the Thunder Wind Tower to rescue my gentle sister.

You brat! How dare you come to Heaven to disturb the whole celestial court! Liên Hoa Fairy! You’re in serious trouble for abusing your magical power.

Hữu Nhân, quickly use the Magic Hammer to disrupt the stranglehold.

Woe to you!

Hữu Nhân, Thunder Wind Tower is where your mother is retained.

Mother! We’ve been separated for so long. Mother and child are now reunited. Didn’t you hear, O beloved mother, my heart-rending cry, my tearful lament? Oh, what an agonizing pain!

O Giáng Tiên!

O Mother, I’m so happy I could die right here.

Thanks to the Magic Hammer, my sister is saved. Bạch Giáng Tiên, dear!

Liên Hoa, kind sister!

Mom!

This is your son, Hữu Nhân, whom you have longed to see for the past 15 years.

Hữu Nhân, my son!

Mom!

I think of my innocent child all these 15 years of separation. Heaven takes pity on us, so this reunion is predestined. Missing my son, I feel tormented.

Tears quietly roll down rosy lips. Celestial realm is tinged with melancholy. Torn asunder from your mate, you languish with time. In reunion, your dream is now fulfilled. Giáng Tiên, there your son is.

O Mom, I long for you like a fish in a dry pond longing for water, like a barren field longing for a blessing rain. Meeting you, my wish is fulfilled. Please return with me to the earthly world to find the one you deeply love. My father languishes alone in his longing. He’s undergoing torture in my place. I’m afraid I must live the rest of my life as an orphan.

I felt such a torment when I was separated from you. I violated Heaven’s laws, so I had to accept the consequence. How could I gain brother Dương’s sympathy so that mother and son, husband and wife aren’t divided?

O Mother, my aunt has a noble and compassionate heart. Without her help, I wouldn’t be able to see you.

I bow to my kind sister in gratitude of your lofty spirit. Your favor is mountain- high and sea-deep.

Stand up, Bạch Giáng Tiên, gentle sister! We’ve met again in tears of joy. I thought we’d be separated for thousands of years. The majestic Thunder Wind Tower stands imposingly amidst the celestial realm. It locked up a woman who had to part with her husband and dolefully longed for her son. But it’d be hard to retain our happiness for long as our eldest brother will not tolerate this, neither will the Thunder Deity. I’m so worried as we’re at fault. O Giáng Tiên, how can we find a way out?

There’s no escape because once Deity Dương Tiễn casts the heavenly net, we can’t possibly survive.

The Magic Hammer will help me freely roam the fairy palaces. I’m determined to save my beloved mother despite all oppositions.

Don’t be insolent!

Brother Dương!
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