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Aulacese (Vietnamese) Modern Folk Opera: Filial Loquat-Leaf Medicine (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.

“Filial Loquat-Leaf Medicine” extols the greatly pious Dương Cẩn, a dedicated son to his elderly mother. Willing to undertake any sacrifice for his beloved parent, Dương Cẩn moved Heaven and touched the hearts of many by his righteous and filial devotion. Thus, he was helped and blessed.

We now invite you to enjoy part 1 of the modern folk opera “Filial Loquat-Leaf Medicine,” written by playwright Bửu Truyện. This opera will be presented in four episodes, with performances by Kim Tử Long as Dương Cẩn, Tài Linh as Hồng Cúc, Linh Tâm as District Chief, Út Bạch Lan as Trần Thái, Bửu Truyện as Diệp Thiên Sĩ, Trinh Trinh as Tiểu Thúy, Phước Sang as Cam Thảo, Bạch Long as Táo Tàu, Xuân Yến as Thục Địa, Công Minh as Fortune Teller, Hồng Thắm as the Mother, Thành Phương as Herbalist Nhẫn Nhục, and other artists.

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

A mother waits heart-weary at the door The child in hunger cries for its softened rice I feed your mother, serving as her son, and like a father teach our child to read.

Pitying her fatherless child, her heartbroken tears shed through the night. For years, her son devoted to his studies. Without a word of lament, she’d endured all hardships, hoping that her young son would achieve academic success. The Dương family now had someone to burn incense for the ancestors.

Mother, you’ve walked me a long way already. Please return in peace.

I still feel fine. It’s all right to walk a few more miles.

Mother!

You’ve seen him off for a long distance already. I’m afraid that you’re feeble and may collapse on the way.

As a man, I’m weighed down with the three main duties.

You’ve waited years to repay the favor of upbringing.

Every night, I pray to the high Heaven that your name will be on the honored list. I’ll greet you with my embrace upon your return in glory. O son, grow up quickly to help the world like your father did.

You and Mother have walked me far enough. Take Mom home before it rains.

It’s all right. I still feel fine. When the ferry comes to take you across the river, I’ll go back at ease.

The weather has changed these few days. I worry that you’ll fall ill, partly due to your longing for me on a thousand-mile journey to the far capital city. Whom can you rely on for news of your son? You’ll be waiting one full moon after another. I feel tormented thinking of your plight.

O Cẩn, although it pains my heart, I must see you off to the capital, in hope that you’ll achieve academic success.

How I pity that you’re restlessly anxious! Tears of sorrow keep rolling down. Your longing for him is indescribable.

I’m concerned about your long-distance journey all alone. I’m not knowledgeable about the situation at the examination.

I pity you for being concerned about everything.

I pray that my son attains his dream. Love and respect your father always.

How I love you, Mother! You’ve braved all kinds of hardships to provide for my study. When food was scarce, you gave up your meal for me, regardless of your languishing form. You saved every grain of rice and every sweet potato for simple meals to pass the day. I’ve always been by your side to care for you, winters and summers. Now that I must leave you, I’m tearful.

It rends my heart to hear your words of deep affection. Try hard to score highest on your exam. Heaven wouldn’t betray the righteous.

May your name be on the roll of honor. Your return in glory will bring joy to the villagers.

Please protect my aged mother from the elements in my stead.

Don’t over-worry; be at ease. I only ask that you forget not the village, the river, the bamboo grove, and small boats.

Now that I must part with you, my sorrow is indescribable. I long for the day of our reunion.

O Mother, even the Great Mountain is incomparable to a father’s love. Even the Long River isn’t equal to a mother’s kindness. Such is a lonely feeling to be away from my homeland, but images of our village’s rice fields are deeply imprinted in my mind.

Ma’am, the boat has arrived!

Really? Hand your master his belongings! (Yes.) Dương Cẩn. (Yes.) Have a safe journey, son.

I bow to you and depart now. Cam Thảo, dear! My aged mother’s life is full of hardships. I rely on you to take good care of her.

I’ll keep in mind what you said.

Mother!

Here at the ferry, the sun is overlooking your shoulder. Seeing you off, I long for the day you attain academic honors.

I look forward to the ferry back on the Long River. My return in glory will make up for your time of waiting. Now, I bid farewell, Mother! Let not your form languish in longing for me. Wait for my returning day.

Be determined to overcome all hardships, and your future will be very bright. We’ll reunite in happiness upon your return.

I’ll pray to high Heaven every night that you have a safe journey.

As a man, I aspire high, hoping to attain rank and fame to repay my parents the favor of raising me. Farewell, Mom!

Summer sun passes, comes autumn rain. Longing for my son, I’m tired and restless. My heart is weeping tears of sorrow. Pitying my son in a faraway land makes me uneasy.

Ma’am, please try to sit up to take this bowl of medicine, so you may recover quickly. Take it, please.

I feel so sorry for you. You’ve endured hardships because of me.

How do you feel? If you love me, please don’t let your health deteriorate. Young master will be heartbroken to see you in this condition upon his return.

Rain drips, wind blows through the leaves. I miss you so much, Dương Cẩn. Where are you, son? Who’d expect our family to go through topsy-turvy time? Time works great changes so swiftly.

O Ma’am, our homeland and village of old, alas!

I feel tormented thinking of my son’s wandering life in the far land.

When night herons call, you gaze at the distant sky, yearning for the faraway son.

The sky is obscured by rainstorms, know you not how I feel?

O Ma’am!

Do you not hear your mother’s loving words, Dương Cẩn?

Villagers welcome the new mandarin Dương in his homecoming. Relatives on both sides offer him their congratulations. Villagers welcome the new mandarin Dương in his homecoming. Relatives on both sides offer him their congratulations. Who’d expect that the world changed in this manner? One now has both rank and wealth, yet his mother languished from tearful longing for her son.

Congratulations, First Laureate, on your glorious return. May I welcome you to my palace.

I appreciate your offer. But I’d like to return to Thùy Dương Hamlet to inquire on my gentle mother’s well-being.

If so, allow me to send people back to the palace to prepare a banquet in advance for you.

Thank you. Guards! Head to Thùy Dương Hamlet now!

Order obeyed!

Everyone stops here; let me go in to present myself to my mother.

Order obeyed!

Mom, your son is back now! O Thảo, where are you? Where is my mother? Oh God! What has happened to my mother? Thảo! Mom! My heart is broken. Know you not, O high Heaven? Who devised this separation of mother and son? O Mom, where are you? Oh, so dispirited, I feel chilled all over. I didn’t covet rank to leave you in loneliness. You saw me off, expecting my return. A homecoming in glory would honor my family and please my kind mother. Now that I don a mandarin’s cape, you lead a wandering life. What good is it to live and be scorned by the world?

First Laureate, please lessen your grief. You should summon all village elders to find out what happened in detail.

Please help me, District Chief.

Just give your order, I’ll do everything. Servants? (Yes.)

Summon all elders here right away!

We, villagers, wish to congratulate First Laureate.

Be at ease! Please stand up, Elders!

Respected Elders, please explain clearly, so His Excellency understands everything. Where does Mrs. Trần Thái dwell now? And why is this house...

Your Excellency, this house was sold long ago.

Who bought it?

Mr. Tương Tào who lives 10 houses away from here.

Summon him here!

I’ve been here all this time. I paid money to buy this house.

Please clarify the situation.

I bought it to help her when she was racked by her illness. She ran out of money for a herbalist. So she had to sell the house for her medical treatment. I felt sorry for her facing a threatening situation.

And then?

Your Excellency, she handed over her house and land. Cam Thảo helped her walk about the village.

Oh God! I’m a mandarin who let my mother wander about! How could Heaven forgive the sin of filial impiety?

First Laureate.

Mother, where are you now? The mandarin robe will be tarnished with bad reputation. What a disgrace! I fail to fulfill my filial duty.

I’ve sent people out to try to find her everywhere. Please try to suppress your grief.

What good is rank and honor, if one fails to fulfill his moral duty and becomes a mockery for life. O Mother, I have no desire for wealth when you wander in hardship and poverty. I just wish to care for my kind mother until her last day. My mother isn’t any different than a withering tree with bare branches amidst a snowy winter evening. Though rivers and seas are vast, I can’t be like a bird freely soaring with the wind. I have no right to abandon an old tree and dream a life of my own.

Autumn passed, winter comes. Why must Heaven send much bitterness and misery to the poor?

Have some porridge in place of rice to alleviate hunger. Try to swallow it or else your health will deteriorate.

Last night, I saw the angel of death; I chased him away from here. You should take this bowl of medicine; Try to wait for my master who will come back sooner or later.

O Dương Cẩn, where are you now?

Where is my mother? Rank and honor are but illusion. Without you, Mother, my life will be miserable. O wind, don’t blow and chill my heart. O leaves, why fall to sadden the ground? O Mother!

Your Excellency, there’s a country girl who claims to know Lady Trần’s whereabout.

Where is that person? Let me see her right away!

Guards? (Yes.) Summon that young lady here!

I’m Tiểu Thúy. I bow to congratulate Your Excellency.

No need for protocol. Where is my mother now? Tell me quickly!

She dwells behind Bửu Sơn Temple in Ân Thọ Village.

Bửu Sơn Temple in Ân Thọ Village? Follow me there, everyone! Mom, I’m coming to you. O Mom! I’m back, Mom.

Oh God! It’s young master’s voice. Master!

Where is my mother?

She’s bedridden. Come in, master.

Mom! Oh God! What’s happened to my mom? Mom, I let you suffer for an entire long year. How brazen-faced I am to carry on living? Please forgive me, Mom.

Who is it?

It’s your son, Mother.

Oh God! My dear son!

I let you suffer for nearly a year. While I lived in luxury, you led a destitute life. Laden with sin, I don’t even come close to the trees and plants.

I have never blamed you. It’s all fated by Heaven. If I can see you today, it’s thanks to Cam Thảo’s complete devotion.

O Thảo, because of me, you’ve endured hardship for nearly a year, taking care of my aged mother in her late years.

O young master, I’m like someone who has just had a nightmare. I cherish life greatly. Though poor, I vow to repay the favor of my upbringing. How had I the heart to abandon your aged mother?

Oh, such sincere and noble words! I vow to remember your kindness for life.

You get to see your mother already, why are you still sad?

I bow to you, Mom, as I’ve failed to fulfill my filial duty.

I’m so happy to see you again. Your return in glory and brocade robe honors your parents. I’m fortunate to have this young lady to help me with my illness. I’m deeply indebted to her.

I’m grateful to you. I’ll never forget this favor.

Never mind! Loving others is loving yourself. There is saying: “The whole leaves protect the torn ones.”

By loving me, she got herself into trouble. Her father scolded her repeatedly without pity.

In love, one is willing to cross the mountain, river, and pass.

It’s touching to see how this young couple bonds in love. Feeling sorry for myself, I was sleepless many nights.

With your blessing, the cinnamon and japonica tree thrive lush.

If it is so, I’m satisfied.

Be at ease, Mom, I will take care. Now, please go with me to the palace.

This is a token of my love and esteem for you. Please drink this cup of affection. Soon, I’ll have to return to the capital city. Please be so kind as I’ll rely on your help for everything.

Please have no concern. I promise to help wholeheartedly.

Please!

Please!

Only 3 more days and I must return to the capital city. I’m due to be back at the court and so must part with my loved one. I feel uneasy to be away from my mother, but I dare not neglect national affairs. I’m in agony, not being able to care for my mother as a son. Please have pity and help me during this time of distress.

There’s nothing to worry, younger brother Mandarin. Once I promised, I will always remember. I’ll take good care of your mother back here. Hasten back to the capital in peace of mind.

It’s trouble, O master!

What happened?

Her lady... she... she...

What’s the matter with my mother?

She’s having breathing difficulty.

What? Summon all the doctors immediately. What to do? How can I save my mom? I feel tormented, looking at you, Mom. Your eyes are motionless, your breath weakens. I have no heart to let you pass away. O high Heaven, please understand a son’s plight. I have yet to requite a mother’s favor. Oh high Heaven, how have I the heart to leave my mother? Mother, what should I do?

Gentle brother, you need to stay calm! Don’t act hastily.

It’s heart-breaking to look at my mother.

O brother, who wouldn’t feel painful at the time of separation?

What is the meaning of my life if you’re gone? What am I to do, Mom?

O high Heaven! Can you understand the feeling of a loving son?

What can I say? It’s heart-breaking to look at her.

Alas, what can I do when the lamp is dry and its wick dying out? How I cherish my aged mother!

What can we do to help her escape death?

Mother!

You need to live to take care of her till her ripe old age.

It’s hard for my gentle mother to escape.

Ah! I remember now. There is a very good doctor called Nhẫn Nhục in Hoài Âm Village. Who knows? He may have a skilful hand.

Then go there right away, Miss. Servants? (Yes!) Take her there quickly.

Respected doctor, please tell me clearly my mother’s condition.

She’s gravely ill, partly because of wrong treatments, so her condition becomes more serious every day. It’s hopeless. It’s all right. Prepare this prescription for her. But this will just prolong her life; it’s not a cure.

All right! While there is life, there is hope. Prepare the medicine quickly, Thảo!
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.

“Filial Loquat-Leaf Medicine” extols the greatly pious Dương Cẩn, a dedicated son to his elderly mother. Willing to undertake any sacrifice for his beloved parent, Dương Cẩn moved Heaven and touched the hearts of many by his righteous and filial devotion. Thus, he was helped and blessed.

We now invite you to enjoy part 2 of the modern folk opera “Filial Loquat-Leaf Medicine,” written by playwright Bửu Truyện, with performances by Kim Tử Long as Dương Cẩn, Tài Linh as Hồng Cúc, Linh Tâm as District Chief, Út Bạch Lan as Trần Thái, Bửu Truyện as Diệp Thiên Sĩ, Trinh Trinh as Tiểu Thúy, Phước Sang as Cam Thảo, Bạch Long as Táo Tàu, Xuân Yến as Thục Địa, Công Minh as Fortune Teller, Hồng Thắm as the Mother, Thành Phương as Herbalist Nhẫn Nhục, and other artists.

Dương Cẩn bid farewell to his mother to go to the capital city for the royal exam. Upon becoming the First Laureate, he returned to his ancestral homeland in glory but discovered that his mother had been seriously ill. He tried to find ways to cure her but all the physicians in the area were unable to treat her terminal condition. Fortunately, a herbalist by the name of Nhẫn Nhục gave some medicine to help maintain her life a little while longer.

Thank you for joining us on today’s Enlightening Entertainment. Please stay tuned to Supreme Master Television. Words of Wisdom is coming up. Farewell for now.

The nightwatch drum beats steadily. Night herons cry in the misty night. The crescent moon casts aslant its light. I weep the night long, pitying my mother. My tears flow as I think of my ill fate. How heartless Heaven is to separate us! Mom’s back bends further as she ages. I have yet to fulfill my filial duty. The favor of my upbringing is as immense as the East Sea. I would die for you if I could.

Such an agonizing pain I feel! If Heaven grants it, I’ll die for Mother.

I’m also heart-broken seeing your plight. Don’t you have pity, O Heaven?

O big brother! The wind rustles among the trees. Is it my mother’s whispering a lullaby to send me into sleep? Drifting white clouds are afloat, as if my gray-haired mother is coming back from the other world. She endured all kinds of hardships to raise her son. Her eye lids darkened from many sleepless nights, sewing clothes for her young child. She quickly swallowed her bowl of cold rice at late night upon hearing the wild rooster’s crow. How I feel sorry for my mother who became a widow at a young age!

Bless the good people, O Heaven. I vow to die in her place.

I’m forever grateful to you for taking care of her during my absence.

O Heaven far-off, hear you not the lament of the virtuous? Why sow sorrow upon the honest and loyal, causing tears of grief to shed from separation with loved ones?

I feel sorry for my master’s ceaseless longing for his gentle father. Now, your mother is about to pass away from her serious illness.

It’s said that everything is fated by Heaven.

May God and Buddha witness the sincere prayer of a filial son.

O mister! Wake up!

Water! Give me some water.

Water? Wait just a moment. Here it is. Here is the water. Drink it, mister.

Thank you very much.

Mister, do you need anything else?

I haven’t had a grain of rice for many days.

Where are your wife and children?

I’m a wanderer who relies on alms to live. I couldn’t even take care of myself, how can I be married?

All right. Wait for me just a moment. I’ll bring you some food. Here is some rice.

Tiểu Thúy! Quickly roll out the sedge mat and prepare a tray of food for him. Be quick!

Yes, master.

Please follow me, Elder. Please come in to have your meal, and here are two silver bars. Please take it for your traveling expenses.

Auspicious sign! He’s indeed a filial son.

May I ask if you’ve finished your meal, so that I can clean it up?

It’s truly a humble offering by a generous heart to help the one in need. To love others isn’t any different than to love yourself.

Don’t worry. Please take it. It’s just “the whole leaf covering for the torn ones.”

You’re also a very kind-hearted person.

As humans, we should love one another.

Giving up a bowl of porridge...

Why should I regret it?

Your mother taught...

A child should be filial.

A kind person like her must live very long.

She is about to pass away, ironically!

What illness that is so serious?

I also have no idea either.

Then invite a doctor.

We did. My master invited so many doctors. She keeps taking medicine, but doesn’t get better.

Can you go ask to let this old man check her pulse?

It’s not possible, mister. Never mind, all the doctors have given up. And you?

What are you staring at? Who knows? It could be a patient’s merit or my luck, right?

Why don’t you practice medicine, but became a beggar instead?

I only beg for charity, not for materials or food.

But, isn’t this tray of food not...

Look! Take another look at it. All the food is left untouched. I only smelled it, not eating; so the food is still there. Look at it!

Strange! How odd! It was all gone before. Could it be...

All right! Don’t waste time. Go quickly tell him! Hurry up!

Respected Doctor, my gentle younger brother just told me.

Please have compassion and save her. You’re like a beacon of light, leading the way for the desperate. I feel sorry for my emaciated mother who fell ill from longing for her son.

I must praise your being a gentleman of complete loyalty and filial piety. This is also fated.

I pray that my mother will overcome all mishaps in life. I’d sacrifice this physical body if needed.

There’s a saying, “With good affinity, people will meet even thousands of miles apart.” Don’t worry. Let me feel her pulse. Here! Tie this red thread around the patient’s wrist. Do it quickly! When the mind is restless, stamina is unstable. Speech is unintelligible. She often speaks gibberish when dreaming at night. Swollen lungs and infected intestine cause pain. Water stored in the body obstructs blood flow. O God! Many side effects appear depleting energy. A disordered chi (energy flow) causes disharmony. It’s hopeless.

How is my mother, respected Doctor?

When she was young, she strained herself mentally and physically. Plus all the physicians diagnosed incorrectly, so her conditions became worse everyday. Your Excellency, if not skillfully treated, she will not make it.

O God! If my mother couldn’t make it because of her fate, I’d like to follow to care for her in the other world. What for to live without motherly love? Mother!

I beg you not to grieve. Let’s find a way to cure her.

O God! Please let me die in place of my aged mother. The Creator has arranged such a miserable fate! Filial duty unfulfilled is a man’s disgrace.

Your tears may fill up the Yellow River, yet can’t stop the working of the Creator. I advise you to not feel distressed as this is the law for human beings. All the anger, hatred, sorrow and love, all the crying and laugher are but transient and illusive events of worldly life. The law of cause and effect follows us like form and its shadow. This world is a vast sea of misery. The boat of filial piety staggers at the hidden rocks in swirling waters. Any challenge to you will be like a trap. I’m only afraid you’re not sincere at heart.

Respected Doctor, I vow in the witness of Heaven and Earth: If my mother passes away, I’ll end my life too. Please help me this time. Even if my body is destroyed, I won’t forget your favor.

Her severe illness saddens me greatly. Her age is high; her strength is waning. But high Heaven beholds your sincerity. With a virtuous life, you’ll overcome this. This I offer you to help her temporarily. It also depends on her merit and affinity. Here, quickly mix this pill with water for her to drink before it’s too late.

I’m deeply grateful to you.

O Mom!

Is it you, Dương Cẩn? I’ve caused you all a lot of trouble.

Not at all, Mom. I’m happy that you’ve regained consciousness.

You’ve made me so worried these few days.

I feel much better, son.

Mom, you should lie down for the medicine to work better.

Thảo, bring her the rice porridge. Let me go outside to thank him for saving her life.

Respected Doctor, you’re truly compassionate. Please accept my two bows of gratitude.

Oh! You’re welcome. But that medicine only saves her life for now. To cure completely... It’s very difficult!

Respected Doctor, please have pity to tell me clearly. I’m not afraid of its cost, in all sincerity. As a filial son, I must find a remedy for her illness.

To completely cure her illness is more like searching for the moon in the sea, or finding a pearl in the mountains, which is foolish, or picking the stars in the sky, or locating something a thousand seas away.

Have compassion and show me the way to obtain it to save my kind mother.

This remedy is not for sale, nor is it offered by anyone. To find it is more like finding a needle in the sea bed.

Respected Doctor, please have pity to tell me clearly. I won’t regret even if I must risk my life.

All right! I must praise your filial piety. But you must follow my instructions to find the precious medicine to cure her completely.

Yes, I vow to do everything to save my mother.

All right, listen here! First, you must be vegetarian and recite the Buddha’s name. Second, you must undergo a severe ordeal. Third, you must completely forsake all worldly dust – rank and honor.

Completely forsake all world dust – rank and honor?

So? How do you think?

Respected Doctor, I’ll adhere to what you said.

All right. You must go all the way to the Black Wind Mountain. By all means, find the medicinal loquat plant and bring it back to cure her. But you must keep in mind the following: First, no knife or sword can be used to uproot the plant. You must use your hands. Secondly, expose it to sunlight in day time and dew at night time. Water it every 3 hours. Thirdly, allow no one to touch its trunk, or else, it will lose its effect. Is it clear?

Yes, I’m clear. But how to discern which plant is the medicinal loquat?

That’s not difficult! When your blood penetrates the plant, its trunk will change color. And here is the medicine book, my gift for you. I hope you can save lives and accumulate merits.

I’m very grateful. But what is your name, Master? Master! Master!

Diệp Thiên Sĩ. My sorrow and loneliness all this time Intensified by the mournful rain and wind. If Heaven takes pity on me, let not storms befall our family. I love my mother; your hair is white, skin wrinkled and back bent. You’ve endured hardships because of me. Since childhood, I’ve studied classics and history. Now that I am successful, how can I forget your favor of raising me? Loyalty and filial piety have torn me apart. The King’s merit and country’s debt weigh upon my shoulders.

I now enjoy glory, honor, and wealth. My father’s favor is as high as the Great Mountain. My mother’s hardship during my upbringing, I have yet to requite. How can I enjoy a luxurious life and let you die? O Heaven, please witness my sincerity. I’ll put aside fame and gain to uphold filial piety.

Fame and gain are but dust. As a human, one must realize his filial obligation. Indebted to the King, yet I won’t be able to fulfill a subject’s loyalty. I bow to thank His Majesty. I have no heart to let my mother pass away. Thus, my royal uniform I must send back to the court. Your Majesty, please see to this heart. Please allow me to discharge my filial duty. I mind not countless perils in search for the medicinal herb loquat.

Dương Cẩn! (Yes.)

I’m on my knees, waiting for your instruction.

Dương Cẩn! (Yes.) How can you dare to do that? Doing so is disloyal.

Mom, but I can’t let you...

Be quiet, Dương Cẩn! (Yes.) What I taught you is now like throwing mud into the pond.

Are you acting against my words? I brought you up, hoping that you attain honor and position. Many years in hardship spent to end up again in a bleak life.

O Mom! You’ve suffered so much all because of me. How could I neglect you to lead a high life?

Ma’am, since your illness is incurable, my master is determined to find the loquat medicinal plant...

You think it’s easy to find? It’s because of me that you commit disloyalty. Why should I live on to cause you trouble?

Mom! I beg you, Mom, please don’t do that. I will do as you said right away.

She’s old now and doesn’t have long to live. How have you the heart to cause her more mental distress? Don’t worry, ma’am. My master will reconsider it.

I order you to return to the capital immediately.

O Mother! But your illness... I can’t leave you, Mom.

I know it’s difficult for you because of my hopeless condition, so you’re determined to set out to find the cure.

Are you all right, Mom?

But, son, one’s fate is destined by Heaven. How many people could live a long life? Don’t forsake all your title and honor because of me and become an unfilial son, a disloyal subject.

Mom!

When you were born, I wished that you grew up quickly and study hard. I longed for the day you promptly leave for the capital.

I’m deeply indebted to my aged mother. I’m heart-broken thinking of our separation. If you depart, my life will be very lonely.

Alas, a mother’s love is so noble. Consider it carefully, master, as not to blight your future. She endured hardships day and night to provide for your years of studies. How could you sadden her to tears seeing her son ruining his entire future? O master, the dream of title and honor is like drifting smoke and clouds, like an inn where people come and go.

Don’t forget the posthumous ill fame. You’ll fail to fulfill both loyalty and filial obligation.

But you’re aged and frail, how has he the heart to watch you wither? You brought him up and cared for him through rain or shine.

Don’t be sad. Has any human lived forever? One can’t change one’s fate. Uphold loyalty to your country, and I won’t feel ashamed with your father in the other world if I happen to pass away.

O master, no one could escape life and death. Who could lengthen his or her stay in the world?

After packing up, I’ll set out on the road. I’ll inform you of my departure date for the capital city. Tiểu Thúy! (Yes.) Go pack up quickly for me! (Yes.) Thảo! (Yes.) Invite the District Chief over. I need to discuss a matter with him.

Yes, I’ll go right away.

Mom!

My son.

O master, the District Chief is here now.

All right, let me receive him. Please go inside to care for her.

Greetings, big brother! The sun hasn’t set over the mountain, yet I already trouble you again.

It’s all right. We’re best friends, so don’t be formal when you need me.

There’s something important I wish to ask for your help. I wonder if you’d accept.

Gentle brother, what is that matter? Tell me right away. As close friends, don’t take precautionary measures. Though we aren’t related by blood, I’ve always respected you for setting a good example of filial piety.

If you have pity for me, please make a trip back to the capital city. I’m at fault with...

But what is your fault?

I wish to fulfill my filial obligation, so I’ve decided to resign as a mandarin.

What? Resigning your post? That’s impossible! Don’t defy the laws. Serious offence will bring death to your three families.

Looking at you, I burst into tears. You’re willing to forsake all title and honor to realize filial duty.

Thank you for your words of true love. But there is a saying: “Money saved for rainy days, children raised to care for the elder.” One brings up a child to depend on later. How have I the heart to let my mother die? I remember when I was in her arms, my mother’s milk was flowing gently into my body. Oh, what a beautiful image!

What a noble spirit! A filial and righteous heart cares not for high- ranking court position.

Please help report to His Majesty, kind brother.

Trust me on this trip to the capital. I’ll help you even if it costs me my life.

Please accept this respectful bow. I now entrust my aged mother to your care while I’m away. I’m intent on finding the medicine to save her from death.

Indeed, there are lofty souls among the coarse in this world. I praise you for discerning the pure water from murky ones. There’s a saying, “Love others as you love yourself.” Worry not while you’re away from home. Your mother now is just like my mother.

I’m very grateful, big brother. But this I hide from my mother. So please keep it a secret for me.

Be at ease while you search for a cure. I firmly believe that Heaven has eyes.

Big brother!

Beloved younger brother!

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