These are the last words/sayings/message from Zen Master Quảng Nghiêm (1121 – 1190) in a poetry form:
Leaving the dead/immobile meaning of Nirvana, ( I) then said that It had passed through
Existing in “Non-existent” state, then (I ) will speak on No Birth *
Being a man with bold spirit,
I am not going the Buddha’s way. * *
( trans. by Chân Huyền)
Ly tịch phương ngôn tịch diệt khứ, Sanh vô sanh hậu thuyết vô sanh. Nam nhi tự hữu xung thiên chí, Hưu hướng Như Lai hành xứ hành.
離寂方言寂滅去， 生無生后說無生。 男兒自有衝天志， 休向如來行處行。
* Here Vietnamese Zen Master Quảng Nghiêm speaks of Zen realization on the meaning of “No Birth” through meditation, meditative contemplation, cultivation of the wisdom from the Prajnaparamita Hrdaya sutra. He says: (I was) enlightened the day I understood thoroughly the meaning of the idea: There is nothing arising; therefore, there is nothing disappearing-annihilating. And so, No Birth , and No Death.
That is the true essence of what was taught in the Prajnaparamita Hrdaya Sutra below on “what is born and what gets annihilated”
amala avimala, anuna aparipurnah. ( in Prajnaparamita Hrdaya Sutra)
( Here, O Sariputra, all phenomena of existence are characterized by voidness: neither born nor annihilated, neither blemished nor immaculate, neither deficient nor overfilled. )
In Thiền ( Zen) tradition, at moment of death , a teacher normally would utter some saying, his last word to give a message to his students to “summarize” his main enlightenment point, moment, essential “catch of the enlightened spirit”, or view on dharmas to help them continue their ways.
This message at Quảng Nghiêm’s moment of death reflects his own experience he had with Master Trí Thiền on the meaning of No Birth, on the occasion they exchanged Zen thoughts, experience, and “ingredient/event/circumstance” leading to Satori. The event was on the day Trí Thiền taught lessons in Tuyết Đậu Ngữ Lục (雪竇石奇禪師語錄= Xue Dou Records) on the matter of Life and Death.
* * Some interpret it as Master Quảng Nghiêm would not teach Buddhism the way the Buddha taught which often represented Theravada tradition with different levels of understanding Buddhism, different wordings and practices. Being a Zen master with very strong will, he would follow his own course in teaching the essence, the true meaning of Buddhism of the Mahayana tradition and Thiền’s (Zen’s) way.