“When in Good Health” by Viá»…n Chiếu (990 -1091)

When in Good Health—Viễn Chiếu (990-1091)

Remember how the body decays like an old wall. Facing death, it is natural to be afraid, but when you are filled with emptiness, you will see that the separateness of the ten thousand things turns out to be nothing but another delusion & you will be able to allow the law of change that governs everything—visible & invisible--to run its course.

[Translated by Joseph Duemer]

Author: jd

Joseph Duemer is Professor of Literature Emeritus at Clarkson University in northern New York state. His most recent book of poems is Magical Thinking from Ohio State University Press. Since the mid-1990s he has spent a good deal of time in Vietnam, mostly Hanoi. He lives with his wife Carole & five terriers (four Jack Russells & one Patterdale) on the stony bank of the Raquette River in South Colton.

5 thoughts on ““When in Good Health” by Viá»…n Chiếu (990 -1091)”

  1. But who is the “you that will see” and “will be able to allow”, if one is filled with emptiness? Unless by “emptiness” is meant ‘spirit’, which, of course, looks like emptiness to us here.


    1. “Spirit” is just one more of the ten-thousand things; it is without special status. Same goes for emptiness, actually.

      1. Whether or not spirit and emptiness are one of the ten-thousand things (every thing having equal status, I suppose) or not, you didn’t answer the question of who is the you, after death/”when you are filled with emptiness”, who “will see” and the “you who will be able to allow”, etc. If there is no consciousness after death to so perceive the difference, then what is he really saying here?

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