“Hành trình về phương Đông” – that disappointing book of lies

It is disappointing although I haven’t actually read it from beginning to end, and I never will. Here’s why:

Nguyên Phong is a big liar.

For years, his fascinated readers have thought the book was translated into Vietnamese from Life and Teaching of the Masters of the Far East by Baird T. Spalding. In fact, that is spelled out clearly on the cover and in the preface of the Nguyên Phong book. Except that the guy invented the story, and, as far as I’m concerned, plagiarized material from a book I happen to be reading, A Search in Secret India by Paul Brunton. Read the first half of both books and you’ll easily recognize the shocking resemblances between the two. Just read them. I’ll wait for your thoughts. (Caveat: I haven’t finished the Paul Brunton book but I expect to find even more content similar to the Nguyên Phong book. Doesn’t matter if the similarity stops after the first few chapters. A bit of stealing is still stealing.)

Now, some of his readers are quick to defend that it doesn’t matter if the man actually wrote it or translated it, as long as it’s full of thought-provoking wisdom.

Of course it does.

Imagine yourself looking for a spiritual book. You find the book in question. Convinced it tells of true events, you believe all the magical stuff in it. And all of a sudden, you find out what you’ve just read is nothing more than the likes of Journey to the West. How would you feel? Cheated. Stupid. Disillusioned.

I value truthfulness, so I can’t stand it when Nguyên Phong lied to his readers that it was his translation work. I wonder why he didn’t acknowledge his own creation.

Second surprise: even the book by Baird T. Spalding is a work of fiction too. He actually didn’t travel to India with a team of scientists!

Congrats, Nguyên Phong! You’re now blacklisted. I’ll go and finish the Paul Brunton book.



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