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.

Âu Lạc (Vietnam) is a nation that has a long-standing traditional culture. Aulacese music is very rich; since ancient times, there have been many musical instruments that move the soul with a wide variety of sounds like those of the copper drum, gong, lithophone, bamboo xylophone, cymbals and panpipe.

In 2003, Elegant Music, a form of Huế royal music, was recognized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as an intangible cultural heritage of the world. Âu Lạc’s music represents the unique features of each region, for example, Quan Họ folksongs in the North, Huế tunes in the Central, and cải lương (modern folk opera) in the South.

In addition, there are many other forms of music, including hò (work songs), lý (village songs), ceremonial songs, Aulacese classical opera, chèo traditional opera, Hồ Quảng opera, and so on. Indeed, music has been deeply instilled in the hearts of people in this beautiful country, and has been cultivated until this day.

Northern Âu Lạc has a folk art called xẩm singing that is very popular in the northern plains and midland. This genre, in the old time, was performed by minstrel bands.

In a gathering with a small group of our Association members some years past, Supreme Master Ching Hai was inspired to spontaneously compose and sing in the xẩm style a poem she had written in her late 20s in Germany. The poem was originally written in English which the poet herself translated into Aulacese.

We now invite you to enjoy an excerpt of the xẩm singing “We Don't Live More Than One Hundred Years!” composed and sung by Supreme Master Ching Hai.

I mean tonight I was nuts! But so what: Aren’t the rest of us!... Otherwise how could we carry on living, For life isn’t worth a thing!?

You know that I am still in love with you! But that has nothing to do... I cannot please everybody, So I will please me! That doesn’t mean you are not right; We all have only one life!

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.

Chèo traditional opera is a folk theater art which originated from the regions near the mountains and from the plains of northern Âu Lạc. There are varied opinions about the beginning of chèo traditional opera: the earliest time is believed to be in 4th century BCE and the most recent is 14th century, at the end of the Trần dynasty. Chèo is a narrative genre of folk theater, recounting stories through a combination of music, singing and dance.

One of the unique features of chèo is a skillful portrayal of subtle gestures and movements. During festivals, people in the plains of northern Âu Lạc often look forward to watching chèo traditional opera. The lyrics are infused with folk poetry and proverbs; tragedies are usually counter-balanced with satires. Chèo is replete with the pure simplicity of the common folk, yet equally profound in meaning.

The chèo traditional opera “The King Who Plowed” is based on an Aulacese legend, praising the virtues of a wise king who loved his people and encouraged them to build lives of prosperity and happiness with their own hands and minds. At the same time, it extols the beauty of the country’s traditional professions.

We now invite you to enjoy the conclusion of the chèo traditional opera “The King Who Plowed,” written by playwright Bùi Vũ Minh, with performances by Thanh Tú as King, Trang Nhung as Hương Sen, Mạnh Hùng as Sấm, Mạnh Thắng as Attendant Nhỡ, Bích Việt as Miss Mai, Tuyết Lan as Hương Sen’s mother, Quang Sáng as Village Mayor Cửu, Duy Khương as Village Chief Quých, and other artists.

The King traveled incognito to learn more about his people and their living conditions. His Majesty arrived in a village well-known for its skills in making drums, farming, and weaving plant-based silk. Due to flood-induced crop losses, villagers had to borrow money from the Village Chief with a high interest. Sấm and Sen were a talented couple.

The best drum in the village made by Sấm to offer to the King and the beautiful silk woven by Sen were all confiscated by the Village Chief in lieu of payment for their debts. Faced with this oppressive circumstance, Sấm decided to leave to earn a living in another place. Sen stayed back in the village to care for her elderly mother, but was forced by the Village Chief to become his concubine.

Thank you for watching today’s Enlightening Entertainment. Coming up is Words of Wisdom. Please tune in on Supreme Master Television next Thursday for the Aulacese film entitled “ATiger that Leaves the Mountain Faces Disadvantage” by the Venerable Thích Chân Tính. So long for now.

Supreme Master Ching Hai caringly sent gifts to the artists and professionals who contributed to the opera “The King Who Plowed,” broadcast on Supreme Master Television. They shared their thoughts and expressed gratitude toward Master.

We sincerely thank the playwrights, directors, artists and professionals who contributed your talents and efforts to bring about valuable chèo traditional operas. Thank you for your endeavors to preserve chèo, a performing art in Aulacese traditional culture. We wish you and your families all the goodness, upliftment, and happiness in life.

O God!

O Mom, I will not marry that cruel person.

What should we do now, child?

I’ve already got the money to pay off the debt, Mom.

You have money? (Yes.) Where is it from?

A few days ago, in the market, I sold a man a silk piece and he placed an order for another one.

Why didn’t you tell me to use this money to pay off our debt?

This money is for your medicine. That’s what I promised the silk buyer. And for the money to pay off the debt, I rely on the upcoming silk piece.

So how did he want it done? Will you be able to make it?

I’m not sure. But I will have to do it, Mom. Oh, the lotus flowers, the specks of flames.

It flickers like a flame It stirs like a green young breeze It reflects magnificent, sacred mountains It lifts the sky high. That’s right! I’ve got it, Mom. I already know what to do.

You’ve got it now?

Yes. Please call my friends over to help me weave. O Mom!

I’ll help you. O children! (Yes.) Come to give my Sen a hand. (Yes.)

Here in this silk piece are myriad bright flowers. A colorful and beautiful piece of silk. Strong threads weave deep love. Let’s quickly embroider the leaves and flowers. My hands draw and weave a silk piece of the rural village. Emerald silk evokes emerald rippling water. Egrets tilt their wings in the sunlight. My hands weave colors and images. Human love is as beautiful as a painting.

O Nhỡ, that vast field is without a single rice plant or mulberry. No wonder my people are starving. It’s only by coming here that I find my people still suffer greatly. Like the case of Sấm: Just because he had no money to buy wood, his precious drum ended up in other people’s hands. Alas! Such a talented man to live with debt for his whole life!

Your Majesty, you have to take care of national matters. Why concern yourself with the rice paddies?

I was originally from a humble background and an orphan since my childhood. I’ve achieved great accomplishments in life now. Though sitting on high, my heart is still with the fields. I long for the sunset with rising smoke from the thatched roof, egrets flying at the far horizon, and moonlit nights with cool breeze and a carefree heart. I long to listen to tender songs that express affection. Whose shadow is falling?

Melodious is the sound of the flowing stream. Green prairie stretches to the open horizon. Lo, a nation embroidered with flowery brocade! I walk on lush mountains. Mountains are deep green, the moon bright. It’s like a fairy grotto with drifting clouds and swirling wind. What kind of wind it is that blows into my heart? I find happiness in dreams and hopes. A thousand songs exalt love for the country. People live in comfort and peace.

Nhỡ! How long has it been since we left home?

Your Majesty, just one more day to make it fifty days.

Really? Do you remember, Nhỡ? In the market that day, I promised Sen that I would return in 10 days to pick up the silk. I’ve failed to keep my promise. No wonder I feel restless like sitting on fire.

Yes, I also feel like a blazing fire.

Let’s sit here to rest for now. O Nhỡ! Though occupied with national affairs, I somehow long for a white egret, a person. Autumn comes with delicate sunlight. Whenever I remember, my heart brims with love. Affection and longing fill my soul.

I know whom you are missing. I too miss Mai at that far away place. As an ordinary man, marriage relies on my luck. If you pine for Miss Sen, all you need is to send a palanquin to bring her home. Who wouldn’t feel elated to be married to a King? Why bother to miss her?

What you said also makes sense. Yet that’s not love but rather relying on power to force a woman to be your concubine. For Hương Sen, I feel different. I love her for her skillful hands.

It’s very difficult! That’s what you think. How do you know she loves you for your eyes, nose, hands, legs or your heart? People probably love you for your glittering throne.

Your words have awakened me! But, a king isn’t allowed to fall in love?

Love as you wish, but make it uncomplicated somewhat. Just go to her and ask once. If she nods her head, we’ll go back to prepare the palanquin and canopy. If she shakes her head, just forget it quickly.

Exactly! I’ll go back today. But, don’t you remember? (Yes.) I still have an important job to take care of. Tonight, I must enter the Mayor’s residence. I want to know his real character so as not to make a wrong judgment. There may be some goodness in him still.

A person who craves for bribery can’t possibly be good.

Everyone! (Yes.) Wait for me here! Let me and Nhỡ enter the Mayor’s home.

We can’t do that.

Why not?

Your Majesty, to prevent any mishap, we dare not stay half a step away from you.

That’s right.

There seems to be someone.

Be quiet! Stand hidden in there to see what’s going on.

O Sấm, I can’t go with you.

My mother is ill. I must stay to earn money by weaving to take care of her.

O Sen, though happiness is not realized or though severed from its root, the lotus blossom still lingers on.

O Sấm, there’s no other way. Swallow this disgrace.

That’s right! All the miseries of the common folks are brought about by the village’s corrupted officials. There’s no doubt about it! Tonight, I’m going to interrogate the Mayor.

Catch him alive for me.

Don’t be wordy! Catch me if you can.

My turn now!

Go ahead, please!

My God! It looks like Sấm! That’s right! It’s Sấm. O Sấm, don’t you recognize me?

Yes. You’re the one who offered to buy my drum the other day.

Correct! I’m the one who offered to buy the drum and I’m also the king of this land.

You don’t kneel down to ask for pardon and still stand there staring?

Your Majesty! You’re so gentle, yet your martial art skill is unsurpassed. I’m at fault for not recognizing Your Majesty.

Stand up, Sấm! Let me ask you. Why did you climb the wall into people’s house at night?

Your Majesty, only with your permission shall I speak about it.

Go ahead!

Your Majesty, I find that all my miseries are due to the corrupted officials in the village. So I decided to take revenge, starting with the Mayor.

And turn yourself into criminal.

Your Majesty, do I have other choices?

The unlawful way never helps one escape poverty anyhow.

Your Majesty, it wouldn’t help if I act alone, but I will call upon the miserable people to rise up and rob from the rich to share with the poor and bring justice to all.

Sure, we must bring justice to all, but that is not your job. Your job is to continue making the drums. The drums that motivate people to defend their country when there’s a risk of invasion. Drums that voice the injustice when people have grievances. Drums that resound joyfully at festivals commencing a plowing season. Do you understand what I meant?

Your Majesty, as an empty-handed homeless person, how can I possibly do that?

O Sấm, I know that you’re not only a drummaker but also a skilled farmer. But let me ask you. Why is that field left fallow? Why isn’t a farmer fond of the rice field?

Your Majesty, the land is precious because it nourishes people, how can we let it go wasted? But we’d rather abandon the fields than let corrupt officials exploit our labor.

So it all boils down to the corrupt officials?

Your Majesty, it’s exactly so.

The corrupt officials, I’ll punish them. But let me ask you. If I come here to till the land, will you compete with me in plowing?

Your Majesty, to compete with you in plowing? This person, born in a farming place, has been used to farming for hire since childhood. That vast paddy took me and other young men only one morning to complete plowing.

Wonderful! I’ll be back here in 10 days to hold a plowing contest with Sấm.

I’m grateful to Your Majesty.

Nhỡ! (Yes.)

And for this gold, take it to recruit all the talented people to continue the making of the precious drums.

Yes. Your Majesty!

Brother Village Chief, how is the practice of your village’s singing group to perform for the King on the drum-offering day?

Answer him!

Your Honorable, they’re doing better now.

How about the performers’ appearance?


Your Honorable, they’re still pretty rugged. It’s hard to recruit dancers and singers nowadays. Due to poverty, no one dare go anywhere.

Just show it to me, let me review it. (Yes.) Chief! An official shouldn’t lead a debauched life. It spoils you.

No need to teach me.

Help me up! Where are the performers? Let them in.

Let them in.

Yes. Come in! Left! Right! Stop!

Let them perform.

Now? (Yes.) Dance and sing as well.


Raising the cup, we welcome a noble gentleman. Our affection is fully reserved for the precious guest. This cup is for a long-lasting friendship.

Hurry up! Goodness!

Help him up! Ouch! How come I’m so miserable!

They sing so enthusiastically. But Chief... (Yes.) The dance movements are not uniform. (Yes.) A dance should be uniformly performed. It doesn’t look good when one goes this way, the other that way. Our village girls aren’t good dancers. (No.) That girl! What is her name?

Look! He asked what’s your name.

What’s your name?

Your Honorable, it’s her first time to serve you, so she’s still nervous.

What’s there to be afraid of? I don’t eat you right away that you should be fearful. But Chief, since we’re at home, just address me as nephew for closeness. Don’t call me Honorable this, Honorable that. (Yes.) So what’s her name?

Miss! He asked what’s your name.

Your Honorable, my name is Mai.


Her name is Mai

Her name is ...


Mai? (Yes.) How come Mai [meaning apricot flower] blooms in midsummer?

There is no Sen [lotus]? Where is Sen?

Which Sen is it?

I heard that there’ a eye-pleasing Sen [lotus] flower in your village. You didn’t bring her here.

Your Honorable, that girl is dark-skinned and ailing right now.

She’s ill? What illness is it? You hide her to keep her for yourself, right?

There is only Mai [apricot] in midsummer, no Sen [lotus]. If you can’t use her, I’ll take her home. Girls! Go home!

Go home!

Wait! What do you mean going home? Stay here. All right. O Mai! Come here to me. I love you. Come here. Bring yourself here. Don’t be afraid! I’m not eating you that you should be scared. Come. Sit here. Bring yourself here. O Mai! Now let me set the tune for you to sing. Drum!




Brother Xã! (Yes.) I’m going to beat the drum, and you play the lute. (Yes.) Goodness! How can one sing with that slow beat?

Is it too slow?

Yes. This chèo company only costs money.

Which chèo company doesn’t cost money to hire?

All right. O Mai! Apricot flower of the summer. Come to me. Sit down here, dear. Now I’ll set the tune, all right?

Why do you keep spinning like that?

A mandarin must spin when he sings.

Then it should be called “song spinner,” not songstress.

Song spinner or songstress is fine. But Chief... (Yes.) Whatever it is, it should stay within this house, all right? (Yes.) Don’t be foolish to bring it to the province. O Mai, sit down here. Now it’s your turn to sing, dear.

Your Honorable, please let me sing different lyrics.

Sing any lyrics you wish.

What causes our people to be miserable?

Pitiful is the unfortunate people who fall into a destitute situation. What causes hunger and poverty?

Wait! How come your singing sounds like mourning? He hasn’t died yet. Why are you weeping?

Chief! (Yes.) What are you talking about? All right, you and your people have done your job. You all can leave now.

Come on! Let me have fun with you.


Let me join you to have fun.

How can it be? This thing can’t be shared. Leave!

Let’s go back.


I’m going back.

Let’s go.

It’s a very good song, but so sad. How come?

Oh, here comes the wealthy visitor! Come in! I was hoping to see you. Sit down here.

Mr. Mayor! (What?) I heard that our village is preparing to offer a precious drum to the King. Is that right?

Correct! I’m reviewing the performance for the King to see.

Miss Mai!

O Nhỡ!

Nhỡ! So this is... (Yes.) It’s such a lovely song, but how come your singing sounds so dismal?

O noble man, there is nothing happy to sing about.

Just sing, you’ll feel happy, Mai. There are many great folk songs in our land. They uplift people’s spirit, making this life more beautiful. We should preserve that valuable asset. Come on, Nhỡ! (Yes.) Come out to sing with Miss Mai.

There is a blue cloud in the sky, a white horse running around Heaven’s gate. Oh, true are your love and mine! We wish to join in a happy marriage.

Enough! No more singing! Guards! Tie this man up for me!

His Majesty has arrived!

The King? Where is he? O God!

Everyone, hear my indictment of the Mayor!


Mayor! (Yes.) You’ve slighted the country’s law, not taking care of the innocent people. You disgrace them and covet bribery. I hereby strip off your title and have you sent to the dark cell. Execute the order.


I bow to Your Majesty a thousand times to plead for reconsideration. Your Majesty, O heavenly light, please reexamine my case.

Take him away.

The silk is woven with criss-crossed threads, just like my heart with a thousand knots.

The noble man will take away this silk piece, but he can’t take away Sấm’s image. A tender figure in tattered clothes, on a small lane by the gentle river in the evening. How I long for him to come back to me though life is bitter here! The bamboo hedge and water well still remember our vow.

Sen, my child!


O my child, the day you finish the silk piece is the day Chief Quých will come to demand his debt payment. Why hasn’t the nobleman come with money for your silk?

Mom, please don’t worry. He will surely come.

I only worry that you believe in a vague promise and keep waiting.


Now where do we find the money to pay off the debt?

O Mom, please be at ease. He will come sooner or later.

But on your father’s death anniversary, the altar is without incense.

I’ll light up an incense from my sincere heart in his memory. I think Dad will not reproach us. He understands and he will love us who suffer a lot in this world.

No, dear! Chief Quých is about to come over to collect his debt. Where can we hide? Or you will accept...

No. O Mom! Must a water fern entrust its life in cruel hands? I’d rather die an early death than do that.

O God! You sound so thoughtlessly reckless.


What for do I live on if you die? O husband, if your spirit is sacred, come back to take me with you.


My child’s pitiful fate rends my heart.

O Mom! “Father’s favor is as high as the tallest mountain. Mother’s kindness is like the water flowing from the source.” You’re now a lonely shadow. O Mom, you’re now like the waning moon!

I’m now like the waning moon, clouded in a chilly night. O child, I’m miserable and sorrowful.


O child! What are we to do now?

Greetings, Elder! Greetings, Miss Sen. I forget. Greetings, young mistress.

What are you people flocking here for?

Respected Elder, my master has to go to bring the King here to plow the field. So he told us to bring the wedding gifts here in advance. This is the offering to your ancestors and your late husband. And this is the wedding dress for Miss Sen, young mistress.

You people, get out of here!

O child!

Here’s the scarf! Here’s the dress!

O child!

This girl is insolent! Guard, where are you? (Yes.) If she’s like that, no need for any wedding ritual. Tie her up for me! Take her home right away. (Yes.)

O Mom!

Stop it! O Auntie! Sen!


O Sấm! O son!

Don’t worry, Auntie. They won’t be able to do anything to us!


So, it’s Sấm! A frog wants to jump up the ancestors’ altar. If you want to die, I will please you. Guard? (Yes.) Tie him up! Beat him dead for me. (Yes.)


His Majesty has arrived!



It’s no King! It’s just the visitor who bought my drum the other day.

Chief Quých, you have eyes, but you’re like a blind man.

Look here!

O God!

A thousand bows to Your Majesty!

Please judge me with heavenly light, Your Majesty. I’m so misunderstood!

Village Chief Quých! (Yes.) It’s you who committed the crime. You rely on your title to oppress innocent people. Not only did you not take care of people, you’ve bled them dry. You robbed Sấm of his drum. Now you even want to rob him of Miss Sen. Your offense is unforgivable! You two men! (Yes.) Take him away!

O God! It’s unjust for me. O boys!

Tie me gently or it will hurt me. How miserable !

Those two men! (Yes.) Go to Chief Quých’s residence to bring the drum back for the village. (Yes.)


Sấm! (Yes.) I know now the story between you and Miss Sen. I believe that you will keep your promise to me. Hương Sen!

O child!


Did you finish the silk piece I asked of you?

I’ve finished it and wish to present it to Your Majesty.

Please bring it out here. Very beautiful! It’s a vast pond of lotuses. The lotuses carry red flaming buds, lotuses in the image of ripening hearts. In the lofty breeze, the scent of lotus flowers pervades.

Your Majesty, that is the meaning of your poem.

Hương Sen, have you given this silk a name?

Why this humble subject? Shouldn’t it be Your Majesty to give it a name?

Oh, yes. Lotus Scent! Only the lotus scent can lift the sky.

I will name this silk piece “Lotus Scent.” Do you agree?

Yes. I’m grateful to Your Majesty.

You may stand up. I believe that this silk piece can empower the most skilled plowman in the contest. Now, Nhỡ! (Yes.) Go and announce that the King is selecting skilled plowmen.

Order obeyed. Attention, everyone! Today, the King comes to open a plowing contest. His Majesty now removes his royal mantle and enters the field. Come join the merry festival, O strong young men and all! Attention, everyone!

Listen, everyone! (Yes.) I return here this time to open a plowing contest, to remind us of our ancestors’ land reclaiming tradition.

Long live the King!

Before becoming a king, I was a farmer myself. I still remember the saying “land is more precious than gold.” People must be prosperous for the country to develop and society to be strong. Now, anyone who wants to compete with me, stand in line.

Go out, brother Sấm! Our village men would like to join the plowing contest.


Try harder, O brother Sấm!

Beat the drum to start the plowing contest!

Happy land reclaiming day! Happy nation expanding day. As more land is cultivated, the nation is stronger and people more prosperous.

Plow it! Till it! O the King who plowed! The King transferred the land to the villagers to plow. We held a plowing contest to compete with the King.

Try harder, brother Sấm! The plow is broken!

The King’s plow has broken!

O God! Why let your plow go so deep, Your Majesty? It’s broken now!

O Nhỡ, it’s Heaven’s will then. All right, go announce to everyone that Sấm has won the contest.

Mr. Sấm is the winner. How wonderful!

The contest is over. Mr. Sấm has won this contest.

Respected people! (Yes.) I want our people to have a land reclaiming festival every spring.

Long live the King!

Sấm! Hương Sen! Come here. The land I just plowed, I offer to you both as a wedding gift. Do love each other for the rest of your lives.

Villagers beat the drum and raised the flags. They followed the King to work on the land, bringing comfort to all. O the King who plowed! The King plowed to cultivate the land. The King plowed to develop the country. The King who plowed. Villagers beat the drum and raised the flags. They followed the King to work on the land, bringing comfort to all. O the King who plowed! The King plowed to cultivate the land. The King plowed to develop the country. O the King who plowed!

Team leader of the Chèo Traditional Opera Troupe of Hà Nam Province, Ms. Lương Duyên:

This is an honor and pride for Hà Nam Province, for the Chèo Traditional Opera Troupe in general, and for all writers and artists of Hà Nam Province in particular. We will remember these New Year gifts and we are very grateful for Supreme Master Ching Hai’s compassionate heart as well as her love for the arts, for all writers and artists, which very much motivates and encourages writers and artists of Hà Nam Province.

And via Supreme Master Television which broadcasts to all countries in the world, we’d like to say: We love everyone and also very much desire peace. “The King Who Plowed” was a true story. Now, every year, Hà Nam Province hosts the King’s Plowing Festival on the 6th and 7th of January, to illustrate the merit of a sage king.

On the occasion of the Lunar New Year, the Hà Nam Chèo Traditional Opera Troupe has a gift, a product of our own work, a VCD about “Ðọi Mountain and Châu River,” which includes chèo singing, incantation music, and folk songs from Hà Nam. We respectfully present this gift to Supreme Master Ching Hai.

Playwright Bùi Vũ Minh:

This is really touching! I’d written that opera a long time ago, but your television channel broadcasts it overseas. The story was during springtime, almost 1,000 years ago. King Lê wanted to launch the sowing season, so His Majesty inaugurated the ceremony, and the King himself plowed the field. I am grateful that your channel is promoting Aulacese culture and the best qualities of the Aulacese people for the world to understand.

Director Lê Hùng:

On behalf of the group contributing to the opera “The King Who Plowed,” my greetings to Supreme Master Ching Hai and all viewers. I think your broadcasting of programs about traditional arts is a very beneficial endeavor and ought to continue to develope. The peoples of the world are all brothers and sisters.

It’s due to       We are truly touched to have our work aired on the channel. These works of art will bring us together and build strength so that we can strive for world peace and prosperity for everyone, and put an end to wars and social ills. We artists also hope to contribute our part to Supreme Master Television toward this noble purpose.

Those were words of thanks to Supreme Master Ching Hai from performing artists and other professionals who contributed to opera “The King Who Plowed” that Supreme Master Television has had the opportunity to present in the past. Next week, we will share more thoughts and wishes from additional artists in the genre of chèo traditional opera. Please be sure to tune in.