I'm so overwhelmed by your love and the welcome program. I was very tired after my journey and also many days of sleeplessness. But I feel very, very blessed and joyful to join your congregation tonight. I am sure we will know each other as we have known each other. And there is nothing new to all of us tonight, but let's just remind each other of what we might have forgotten or what we have placed in some very remote corner of our soul and didn't have the opportunity to reopen it. That is the enlightenment, enlightening nature of our great selves. I'm overwhelmed not only because of your love, but because of the realization that I am sitting before the Buddhas and God's manifestation, and that brought tears of joy into my heart.
It's not always that I am blessed with such realization while sitting with a multitude of people. It's just tonight it happened, and it is beautiful, especially when sometimes I was also kind of discouraged. In the last few days, I was thinking whether what I am doing is truly worthwhile. But tonight, because of your love and your very highly developed spiritual wisdom, I feel I will continue. I know I will continue. (Applause) And if in the near future during my tour, if I have any success in bringing people happiness and God realization, I will remember Washington D.C.'s people. Thank you so much. (Applause) I really need it tonight. It's very good. (Applause)
Enlightenment Is Already There Waiting For A Master To Open It
You see, enlightenment is already within us, therefore whatever our fellow initiate credited to me, I should not accept because it's all yours. Whatever greatness, whatever blessing you receive during the course of development in your spiritual training or rediscovery, it is all yours. But because humility is the nature of a highly developed spiritual brotherhood, they always credited all the miraculous power, all the blessings to the master, whoever that master may be that happened to be experienced in the path and show them to rediscover it themselves. If you were not already enlightened, if your nature were not Buddha, I would never be able to make you a Buddha. If God is not already within yourselves, I would never be able to show you God inside you. I cannot make a stone into a diamond however long I polish it, you understand!
So with all my humbleness, I just would like to tell you that you are very great. You are the Supreme Masters, and we are all one. There is nothing I should teach you except to point to you your precious jewel that you have placed in your pocket and you have forgotten. Because you are too busy looking elsewhere for it. Many a time you do that. You put things in your pocket, your eye glasses or money or whatever important things, and you forgot. It's so near to you. (Master laughs.) You keep looking and search the whole house, every corner; you never find it; and so you thought seeking for your own treasure is so difficult. Actually it is not true. Because we just don't know where to look for it, and that is all. And some friends stand around and just say, " Hey, it's in your pocket." That is the job of the Master, so-called Master. Therefore the Masters since ancient time, if they are called by the name, by the title "Master," by the disciples, actually they are just like one of us. They should be very humble and they have all the human qualities that we have and they do not know that they are the Masters. But because of the experiences of the disciples, people credited that is a Master. Just like we say, " By your fruit shall you be known." So anyhow, "Master" or "not Master," it is not important. The important thing is that experienced friend which we call Master can show us where our greatness is. Then we make use of it.
The Difference Between The Enlightened And Non-enlightened
There is so much vast difference between an enlightened person and a non-enlightened person, even though both of them are exactly the same in quality, have exactly the same wisdom, and possess the same greatness. I just could not tell you how different. I just know it is different; and many of our disciples know that after initiation. Right? (Audience: "Yes.") Some of you would know. And then after that, you talk to other people who are not yet initiated, have not yet rediscovered their, the partial quality of their wisdom, they will see a vast difference between them. Even though in the outlook, there's no distinction. Enlightenment can be lightened onto someone who already step inside the house; doesn't matter how near he is to the door, and how far he has already advanced into the depth of the house in order to discover how much treasure there is inside. Once he steps inside the house, he is out of the cold, out of the danger of the wolves, the tigers and all other natural disasters should they come by.
There is a very big difference. Once we are in the house, we know what is inside. If we are near the door, we know at least the inner interior design. And if we step further into different rooms of our house, we will discover the treasures, and all the furniture, all the precious things that are within the house. And we may go back outside and tell the people what's inside, And the people outside of the house may listen to the story and may repeat it again to someone else that something's there, such and such are in the house. But there is a difference between repeating and seeing and enjoying; and also, deriving the benefit from the safety of being inside the house.
Some people ask me, "It's okay! I don't need enlightenment, what for?" "Is that okay not to be enlightened?" I said," Yes, yes, okay." (Master laughs.) There is no choice anyhow. But when we are outside the house, sometimes it is safe, sometimes it is sunny, but sometimes it is raining, sometimes it is typhoon, a lot of things happen. And once we know we have a house, we can even step out sometimes. But whenever we want or it is necessary, we step inside. There are such things, wonderful things inside the chamber of our soul that no worldly treasures could equal, And nothing of this world can bring such happiness to us as when we discover our true greatness.
Everyone Has A Share Of This Wisdom
By knowing this wisdom, we do not forsake the world. We will not lack of the enjoyment of the world. But actually we enjoy the world more when the opportunity is there, and even when the opportunity is not there, we will be happy all the same. And that's the difference. That is the only difference because if we do not know our enlightened nature, we always crave for some things that will bring us happiness, or we think that will bring us happiness. Therefore we become sometimes ambitious, seeking fame and name, seeking properties, seeking beauty, seeking ephemeral love, etc., thinking these will bring us happiness, until we realize that these only breed sorrow most of the time.
Only when we are truly enlightened, then we can enjoy anything. Whatever comes, we enjoy. The good things come, then we take it as a gift from God and we enjoy whole-heartedly without any guilt, without any reservation, without any obstacles whatsoever in our heart or in our thinking. Because the nature of the enlightened person is very free, very carefree, very easy, just like a child. If you give him something good, he accepts it. He will not think that you want to trick him, or whether he deserves it or not. He just accepts. And when the circumstance does not allow that we have comfort or richness in life then we are also happy carry on that way. We have no desire for material greatness, but that doesn't mean that we do not strive to work for the society, and that we do not try our best to fulfill our obligations as a citizen of the world. We do, we do all the same. We do more effectively and with all willingness to contribute our part to the whole world. The difference is that we do without desire for reward, without desire for praise. And should we fail, or should even people misunderstand us of our goodwill, we still can bear it. We will not have any suffering in our heart. Many of my disciples have told me, I mean our fellow practitioners, that after enlightenment they are much different than before. They know, they know more than before. They understand many things that they never understood before. And they are so different from what they were before. Because I have forgotten what it's like to be before or to be after enlightenment, so sometimes it's difficult for me to know what they were talking about. (Master laughs.) But then sometimes I happen to meet and talk, or stay and integrate with some of the non-initiate people, then I realize what they were talking about; then I know what's the difference between an enlightened person and a not enlightened person. That is no discrimination, no, no. It's just a statement of what it is of the reality . Therfore it's not a proud statement, it's just a realization of the difference between a person who steps inside the house and the person outside.
The Greatest Way Of A Gentleman Is Enlightenment
If I have not the opportunity to truly have a very deep understanding with the non-initiated people sometimes, I would have forgotten, because most often I see people as myself, I forgot whether I am enlightened or they are not enlightened. I have never remembered these things when I meet people. And that's why sometimes apart from feeling some kind of discouraged during my mission, I also felt in my heart that there is no need to teach anyone. There's no need to run around the world, no need to answer the invitation of my disciples worldwide and tire myself out on the airplane, smoking airplane, and crowded airport and all that, and hectic schedule. Because I thought there's no need to do it, because I don't see any necessity. But then just when I think like that, sometimes the almighty power would remind me that it is necessary. Because there is a big difference between knowing you have a treasure and making use of it and just knowing you have a treasure but do not know where and how to use it. There is a big difference. Therefore, if I continue to travel around the world according to the sincere request of the disciples, it is because of these instances that I know some people do not know that they are great, and they long to know.
Not because we want to be proud of our greatness, but it is a duty to know our heritage. We cannot just be born into this world, live a few decades of hectic schooling, working, sweating, earning money, struggling with children and family problems, and then "kaput," finished, (laughter) and nothing more to that, nothing more to life, nothing more to the great meaning of human life. And worse still, at the time of leaving this world, we suffer. We suffer because of the attachment with our family members, we suffer because we do not know where we are going, we suffer because of the fear of the unknown. And the whole family members or the beloved ones just standing around helpless, seeing us suffering.
Therefore the great way of a gentleman is enlightenment. We must know where we come from and where we are going, very clearly, very decisively, because we are great human beings. We live a life of a hero. We walk the life of God on earth. We should not live like slaves to our money, to our possessions, to our whatever desires that the world has labored, found a way to stick it onto our mind. We were not born with desires, we were not born with hatred, we were not born with race discrimination. We were born from innocence and beauty so we should remain like that. And we should even be wiser, apart from being innocent. That's the way of a gentleman, that's the way of the great beings.
What Jesus And Buddha Could do, We can do, too
If we worship Jesus, if we adore Buddha, if we long to worship, to bow to the sages of the Himalayas of the ancient time, then we should know that we could be one of them. There is no difference between a sage and ourselves. Only one hair apart, very thin. (Master laughs.) And when we traverse that, we are there in the circle of sainthood. And if we stay behind, just one hair apart, we are ignorant beings bowing down to all pressures of the world, fearing all kind of things, persons and beings, knowing not what we are before and after our life. Even we have eyes, but we are just like the blind. We have ears but we are just like being deaf. Because heavenly teachings we do not hear. Heavenly kingdom we do not see; our greatness we cannot perceive. It is a pity if we continue our life like that.
We want so much to help the world. We want so much to bring peace into our earth, to make it into heaven, but how do we do it if we don't have wisdom? How do we do it if we are not above average? How can our head keep from being wet if we are not above water? So enlightenment is the tool for everything in this life and the life after. We'll travel far and wide into the galaxies of the universe, we'll know things by which even the most brilliant scientists in this world are dumbfounded. That is the ability of a human being. A true human being is not flesh and bones only. It's not the outer appearances of beauty and charm, but it is the great storage of wisdom, of almighty power that could move mountains, and do all kinds of marvel. Whatever Jesus had done is child's play. Whatever Buddha had cared to demonstrate while he was on earth is just a joke, because what he can, what Jesus can, what Buddha can, is above all that even. It's billion, trillion times greater than that; and we can. That's what I discovered and that's what I would like to remind you. As soon as we pray, we draw our attention inside, and don't care much for the material comforts and possessions - it doesn't mean we leave them. We stay in the same house, eat the food that we can afford, wear the clothes that we think fit for the occasions, but our attention is not there anymore; that's the important thing. Not the things in themselves are the obstacles to our sainthood, it is our attention that's the obstacle. Therefore, the attention we should withdraw inwards and then we know everything that Jesus knows, that Buddha knows, and all the sages of old and future will know. Because our nature is like that.
Just like you put the diamond in your pocket and if you look all over, even if you look all over the world, you'll never find it. Not only your house. You search the whole world, you will never find the diamond. You don't know where it is. (Master laughs.) Meanwhile, all the while it's in your pocket. The world should not be in the state that it is right now if all of us are enlightened, or at least half of us are enlightened, and better still, the majority of us are enlightened. And then no need to talk about peace, peace will come. No need to want anything because we have wisdom. "Wisdom is the Lord. The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want." The Lord is within ourselves, that is our almighty power which stays there dormant, and anytime we can awaken it and make use of it, at least to our own contentment.
Enlightenment Brings Happy Lives
The enlightened persons never know uncontentment, never know want, never know unhappiness; at least not for long, just probably in the beginning of the practice when we are not yet stable in our habits, and the mind still has the upper hand. So sometimes we might think we want this and that, but then immediately we realize our mistake. Not like before enlightenment, we don't even realize that we have desire, let alone stopping it. Therefore the difference is very obvious.
All these I tell you from my experiences. It doesn't mean after enlightenment you sit pretty, cross legged somewhere in the sofa and all things become heaven. No. We still have to undergo a little bit of give and take of the karma, the law of cause and retribution, while we are on earth. But we have great power behind backing us up, that doesn't matter what kind of rain or typhoon, we are very stable, safe, secure, contented. Because we know nothing can happen to life eternal. Something may happen to our body but not the real self. If we want another body, we create one. And that is a very, very definite feeling of the enlightened person. The enlightened person does many things, but never feels he is doing anything. Even physically, gives away many things but he never feels that he is a giver, endures many things but he never feels that he has patience. He might show his temperament now and again, but he never feels guilty because it is fit for the occasion. Therefore the way of the enlightened person is free, is happy, and is wise. That is the life that all of us should remember because that is our self.
It's not the life that we think we are now, full of worry about every little thing, about electric bill and about telephone check, and every little thing makes us trouble. After enlightenment we still have all these bills coming, (Master and all laugh) no doubt. God will not take them away because it's yours. (Master laughs.) But the attitude and the means to overcome these are entirely different. We'll find life more relaxed, more easy to meet with all demands from all sides. If we truly, truly, truly sincerely seek for our wisdom, that's what I can promise because I have learned to know this myself. It's not from books. It is not from any teacher. It is from my own experience.
Therefore, whatever I share with you is absolutely true, private, and no cost, because it's from me. I don't borrow it from the bank, no need for interest. (Master and all laugh.) And then you will come to realize all these and more for yourselves according to the capacity of your demand, and of your work, and of the way the universal brotherhood sees fit to give you because of your mission in life, your position in this world. You see sometimes when the masters reach mastership, they are equal. Even that, but you see slight differences between masters and masters. You can see that through their discourses or through the progress of their disciples or through the way he expresses his understanding about the inner realization. Therefore there is a slight difference between masters even. Why? Not because they are different in the quality, it's just because of the different back-ground or positions. Such a master could make use of so much, so he has that much or he draws that much from within himself to give out. And the other masters in different circumstances, in different generations, different nations, will need more or less of different kinds of quality, of speech, of explanation. Therefore we have many of the so-called religious doctrines. And many different names or different religions which point to the same truth.
After enlightenment we will know that very definitely. We will know the underlying principle of all religions is the same. We will know what they taught when they were alive, the founders of these religions. We will know Buddha and Jesus taught just Quan Yin Method. We will know what Lao-tzu talked in the Tao Te Ching is about Quan Yin Method, about the light and the sound of heaven which lift us up above mundane ideals, above all the pettiness of our computer mind in order that we meet with the higher level of consciousness, and then we know ourselves. Then we know God. I am just so happy today, I don't know what I'm saying is suitable for you or not. I just blab, blab on. (Master laughs and audience applauds) I think I just stop by now and then you might ask me questions and I have the opportunity to explain further. Is that Okay? Yeah? Thank you so much. (Applause)
Q: Jesus is no longer on this planet earth. Does he have power to reach to those who believe in Him now? Can we have two masters at the same time? A master who left this earth and a master who is still on this planet earth and will leave this earth?
M: Yeah. We can. We can. Fortunate are those who meet the masters who are still living but who also are the inner master at the same time. But also while you meet the living master, you can also meet the ascended master if you reach up to the level where Jesus resides at this moment, you can see Him. Many of our disciples saw Jesus and many of our disciples saw Buddhas. Isn't that so? Are there any disciples here...? Is that not true? Yeah? (Fellow initiates say : Yes!) Oh, they say "Yes". Anyhow, sometimes the Buddhists will see Jesus or Mother Mary and sometimes Christians will see Buddhas or Mohammed.
Q: How can I go down suppressing my ambitions which have been burdening and obsessing and bothering me so much?
M: It is because we are not enlightened and the nature of our ambition is the urge for enlightenment, actually. It's nothing else; nothing of a very base nature. It is because we know in our subconscious that we are something greater than that, we used to be the boss, we used to be the 'President of the universe.' Therefore it is difficult to remain lowly while we are on earth. That's why we have greed, we have ambition. So after enlightenment, you will know how to handle your ambition for the good use of your life as well as the world. Nothing bad about ambition. Just the way we handle it. If we handle it wisely with wisdom, it will be very good use.
Q: What is happiness and how long can it last?
M: (Master laughs). All of you know that the worldly happiness is ephemeral. It lasts how long is according to person and circumstances. But the true happiness which derives from our true nature is everlasting. That's what we would like to introduce to you which is already within you.
Quan Yin Method Takes You To The Source Of All Beings
Q: What are the steps to enlightenment and what level of enlightenment does this technique take you to?
M: It will take you to the source of all beings, where you came from and where all beings will return. Between this earthly level and that absolute level, there are five levels of consciousness or different planes of existence, and if we, through the practice of the heavenly light and sound and the guidance of the experienced teacher, pass through these five levels, then we arrive there, at the house of the masters where all masters came from and return after the mission, and where we also will come from in order to help other beings should we desire to return to Earth or any other planet in the universe. So the first step is to get initiation and then everything else will come.
Q: Is the only way to go to God through initiation in the light and sound?
M: Yeah, that's the last part of the journey. You have many other ways also, but if you don't reach there, then you are not there. Just like the door of the house. Doesn't matter from which road you travel, if you do not pass through that gate, you do not enter the house, yeah? So, we start from there because we are more fortunate.
Q: Is there more than one initiation?
M: No, no. Only one physically but many inwardly, inside. See, it depends on the individual. For example, at the time of initiation the master or the representative of the master gives the same verbal instructions, but the initiation doesn't come from these instructions. The initiation comes from within, from the awakening of your own nature. And even then the levels are different. Therefore two persons sitting in the same place or next to each other will have entirely different levels. And therefore, also, the master will from inside teach individually different, and only he knows. Only he inside knows what the master teaches him, and his experience is different from his wife or his kids or his father or brothers, etc. So you can call that different initiations if you wish, but I would say that it is the continuation of learning from different individuals.
Q: Master Ching Hai, I have a time, a strong desire to become non-existent. Please share your thoughts, if there is any, on this desire.
M: Oh, I also like that. (Master laughs.) I also like to be non-existent so that I don't have to travel and I don't have to be such a great "Master" and all this and that and others. But since we are already in this existence, we stay. We stay and see what happens next. Meanwhile we get enlightenment so we can be in the existence level and the non-existence level at the same time. But that non-existence level is by no means empty, by no means nothingness, It is a life full of richness, full of splendor, full of glory, full of happiness, full of creative energy. We will enjoy that life more than the so-called existing life which we know as a human life here. But we can have both at the same time. It's very wonderful. Very wonderful.
Q: My children are very important to me. After initiation will I be able to continue to love them?... And not merely share an existence with them? What changes will occur in that regard?
M: Oh, my God. (Laughter) You have become like a child. Do all my disciples throw away their children or what do they do with them? What did you do with all your children after initiation? Can you love them? (Audience: "Love them more.") They said they love them more than before, so you are safe, okay? Keep your children. Don't worry. I don't want any. (Master laughs and audience applauds).
Q: Is there such a phenomenon as soul-mates in this world? If so, what is the spiritual significance of this for people involved?
M: Soul-mates are someone that when you meet him or her, you feel a very great attraction to each other and that you both will be able to complement each other in life and especially in spiritual process. That is what's called soul-mates. But in the world of non-duality, there's no soul, no mates. So, it's just the talk of this world. So whoever you feel that is very attractive to you and very helpful to your daily life activities as well as spiritual endeavor, then that is your soul-mate, ... while we are here, if we need a mate at all. Alright?
True Master Awakens Your True Inner Self
Q: How can we tell true masters from false masters?
M: Oh, that I don't know. I haven't met any false one. I've met only true masters. False or true, it's up to you. There are many ways to discern a true master. When the so-called master just clings to one part of the truth and forsakes the rest and then teaches the disciples only one part of that from the whole truth and then we call him a false master. But actually the name is not very correct. Maybe he is a kind of "partial master." "Part-time master" (Master and all laugh), but not false. And when a master teaches you the whole truth that is within yourself and awakens that which already exists within yourself, that is the true master because he awakens the true master within yourself. That is the true master. And what is your true nature? What is the true master within yourself? That is God! That is the holy spirit which dwells within your church, your temple. (body) And when that God manifests, we can hear the teaching through the heavenly music. We can see him through visions, through abundant illumination like thousands of suns sometimes. That is our true nature when it is awakened. So if any master can awaken these heavenly wisdom, vibration and heavenly light within you which is your self nature, which is your self mastership, then that is a true master. It takes one to know one.
Q: Regarding the five requirements you must follow in order to be initiated, what would happen if you don't follow them?
M: When you don't follow them, what happens is that you don't follow! What else can I do? Then try again. Okay? If you think that it's good for you and good for others and it's a kind of protective fence around our spiritual sublimity then we keep them, okay, and don't make damage to your just-grown sublimity. But otherwise no one is there to condemn you or do anything to you except your own conscience. So try to live up to that and whenever you fall, stand up; try again.
Q: What is the easiest and safest path to self-realization and god-realization?
M: This method. Did they say it? "Immediate Enlightenment" "Quan Yin Method". That's the best, the easiest and the quickest. You get enlightened immediately without any preparation, without any cost, without any condition today after the lecture. Okay? And if you don't get enlightenment immediately, money-back guarantee. (Laughter & applause) Oh, by the way... by the way, there's no money-back guarantee because we don't charge a penny. (Laughter and applause.)
Q: How should we protect ourselves from the violence of nature and the violence of men?
M: We don't need to protect ourselves. What do we have that we should protect? Before you were born, what do you have? After you die, what do you possess? What is it that's so valuable that we should protect? Throw everything away. Let it be. Whatever comes will come. If your body dies, your body decays, you have thousands, billions more. Don't worry about anything. If the possession should be yours, you can't even get rid of it. If that girl should be your fiance, no one can snatch her away. If that job is to be yours, ordained by heaven, no one can replace it. Don't worry about it, just relax. Get enlightenment. (Applause) All these fears keep us from living a happy, present moment. Therefore all guilt, all conflict, all hypocrisism arise out of this fear of the self, of the ego self. That I have this, I have that, I have fame, I can't lose face, I can't do that because I am in this position. I can't scold people because I am the master, I am supposed to be very graceful, very soft spoken, very gentle, etc. Just throw everything away and be at the moment. Whatever requires at that moment, do it wholeheartedly with faith in God and with faith in the whole plan of the universal project. Understand? (Audience: Yes.)
Q: Christianity teaches us we are all sinners; are we still sinners when enlightened? If so, does it ever end, our being sinners?
M: Yes, we are sinners, because we believe we are. Because we have no way to raise ourselves above the sinful level, above the mud. If you are in the mud, of course you look muddy, no? If you rise up, what the mud has to do with you, whether it's there or not, understand? So rise up; be enlightened. (Applause)
Q: How can an enlightened human being who is living in the society which is in conflict help to remove the conflicts in their society?
M: Very difficult. We can only remove the conflict within ourselves. If everyone does that, there is no conflict to remove. Therefore even Jesus was so great, Buddha was so grand, but they couldn't remove the conflict within their own borders. And even sometimes the disasters will also affect their lives. It is because the majority of the people of the world were not at peace, were not enlightened; therefore enlightenment is the only requirement for any illness of this world, for any wars, for any conflict. Nothing else is necessary.
True Nature Is Without Anything, No Dust Can Cling To It
Q: I've heard of many people who said that when you are enlightened, you are supposed to shave your hair and wear no make-up. (Laughter) What do you think of this saying and comment.
M: What do you think, is that correct? (Audience: No!) No, they say " No! " (Laughter & applause) I'll give you one "A" for you. (Master and all laugh.) Beautiful, beautiful, I love that. It's very beautiful; you are very open, very enlightened; at least to some degree. If you still cling your attention to anything of this world, whether it's there or not there, you obstruct yourself, right? Your nature is without anything. No dust can cling to your nature, okay? No make-up can cover your Buddha nature; no lipstick can blur away the light of heaven. If you have Eye, you'll see I am radiating light now. Even if I put the whole charcoal boxes on my face, make myself black, I am still very white and bright. (Applause) So if you shave your head, then you are enlightened? Is that right? So why don't you do it? It's so easy. (Laughter) All of you do it. Steve, your hair is too long for the enlightenment. (Laughter & applause) God doesn't care whether your hair is long or short. Stupid. (Laughter) Otherwise all the beautiful Miss Universes can not get enlightenment, or what? (Master laughs.) And if we say that, all the barber shops, all the beauty salons will close. We create unemployment even more. (Laughter) Is that the life of an enlightened person? (Applause) Oh, oh, if I preach like that, Mr. Clinton will not be happy. (Laughter) He will not give me permission to preach in America.
Q: The ego is a strong force, how does one overcome the ego?
M: By being enlightened. Ego is the clinging attention to a small self, which is like, "Oh! I am a doctor. I am a scientist. I am a teacher. I am such and such intelligent and high position person." That is the ego. But when we know our greater self, that loses inside. Because we are not only the doctor, we are God, or at least God's children; we are Buddha, okay? That's the only way to melt the ego within the greater frame of the self.
Q: What is the source of the world?
M: Hum. (Master laughs.) It takes too long to research, yeah? Why don't you just live today, get enlightenment and then we'll see for ourselves? Because if I tell you, it takes a long time. You know our world, at least geographically speaking, has been in existence for trillions of years. And if you want to make a research about it, I'll never have time for lecture. Is that not so? But the truth about the world in existence lies within ourselves. We have a library inside, and when we get to the second level, we can look at it, and then we know everything. Not only about this world but about many worlds in the universe.
Q: If one is initiated by you, Supreme Master Ching Hai, do you remain your disciples forever? What is the job of a disciple?
M: The job of our disciples is to become a master. (Laughter) Therefore you don't need to be my disciple forever. You don't even need to be my disciple. You are already a master, just you don't know it, so I tell you how to recognize yourself again. That's all, yeah? There is no disciple actually. It is just a name that we call ourselves in this physical world.
Q: Could you please explain to me what the mind is?
M: The mind is nothing but a bundle of attached thinking and ideas and information that we gather in our daily relationship with other beings. And that we call "me" or the "mind" and then we cling to all that, and say : " Oh, I am like that. I brush my teeth three times a day. That's me," "I never apologize even when I am wrong. It's me. I don't fear anything. It's me," etc., etc. But all these are what? That's just collective information. Before you were born, you didn't brush your teeth; you have no teeth. (Laughter) For example. You understand? Therefore mind is nothing, and we would be very unwise to listen to this kind of so-called mind. It's just a collected habit, information from others, from societies and from our own inter-relationships and then we think we are like that. "Oh, I have to eat this, I have to drink coffee, because it's me, my way of life, it's me." But who is that me? Who drinks the coffee before you were born? Coffee wasn't even there hundreds of years ago. Therefore these things are very unreliable and very nonsensical. They are not you, and that is what most of us call "me." That is the mind.
Q: Once you become enlightened, can you lose consciousness of your enlightenment?
M: Oh, yes, possible. Yes, when you sleep. Sometimes when you meditate, and then you sleep, the light comes, the enlightenment comes but you are not aware of it . And when you are not asleep, then you are aware of it, okay?
Q: How do we quickly give peace to our previously made enemies?
M: Hug him and kiss him; give him a candy. (Laughter & applause) That's what I did this morning because some people cannot be enlightened by words or by explanation or by initiation even. Some people need that just direct love. Physical as well as mental, as well as emotional.
Q: How do I escape away from my flesh and lose desire toward the opposite sex?
M: Oh, don't get away from it. (Laughter) Otherwise we have no more children. (Master laughs.) Just stay cool; have one partner only, okay? If you have a soul mate that you found that's good for you, and three dimensional love, physical, emotional and mental, it's fine . And then the so-called fleshly desire will lose some of its strong hold on you after we regulated with a stable relationship or within marriage. You understand? So don't worry, it's just a beginning. And afterwards it will die down, it will lose its attraction. So just stay cool. Therefore have one partner, it would be enough. (Applause)
Q: How to be best help to someone who is experiencing serious illness?
M: The car has troubles sometimes . The car sometimes burns out, sometimes the tire blows out, sometimes the outskirts is scratched or something. What do you do with the car? Try to repair it . So the same with the body. And if, sometimes the car is irreparable, it costs more to repair than to buy a new one, then buy a new one, is that not so? The same with the body. Whatever you can do with the car, this car - the body, do it. If you can not, just leave it and God will give you a new car . New body. (Laughter & applause) That's why most people pay so much attention to this car, and they have all kinds of fear and troubles because of this car. Kill each other for survival just also because of this car. Hate each other just because of this car. Do many things that are against our own conscience just because of this car. Therefore we have to realize it is only an instrument, just like a car that you buy.
Q: If a person has a desire to get liberation or go beyond the three worlds, is this desire different than ordinary desire?
M: Yes, it is different because by having that desire alone, all other desires die down. Otherwise we have too many desires, you see? And then we have troubles because we are pulled from different directions. Whereas if we have only one upward desire, we are pulled up, and then we will be happy. We reach our high nature.
Q: Is love intoxicating, and if so, must we refrain from it according Precept Number Five?
M: Oh, no, no, no! Intoxication means drugs, alcohol, and all the things that make you become an addict, make you a slave into, make a slave out of you, also blur your vision, and damage your brain cells and impair your ability to think, to see and to do things clearly. These are drugs. These are intoxicants.
Q: In what way can we get energy from meditation?
M: The effortless way. The energy from meditation is already within ourselves by the power at the time of initiation through a Master, it is awakened. Therefore when we do the meditation in our so-called method which has no method at all, we get the direct energy without doing anything. It's a very effortless effort. That is the best way ,the natural way because we get what we have. We don't borrow. We don't try. We don't steal, we don't force things to happen, but things coming and happening because it's already there.
Q: Is enlightenment another term for Zen Buddhism?
M: Yes ,if you need that title so much.
Q: How likely is it that the few enlightened humans on this earth now can affect the awakening of the sleeping or distracted masses?
M: Yes, yes. They will have some impact, yes. But of course it's best when the majority of the people are all awakened.
Immediate Enlightenment After Initiation
Q: Would you please address the issue of karma and how we dissolve our previous karmic debts and how that relates to enlightenment?
M: How to resolve the previous debts, right? Karma is the Sanskrit term for the law of "As you sow, so shall you reap," which is the law of the lower universe . And when the Master gives you initiation, he pulls you up further. Therefore, the Karma downstairs can be burnt and doesn't affect you. Just leave a little bit for you to carry on this life, which is already smoothed out and lubricated by the Master's power. Therefore after initiation you have no more stored karma so you don't have to be reborn again if you don't want to. If you want to be reborn again, it's very easy. We can create karma or we can borrow it (Master laughs) from many other sentient beings in order to come down . So initiation is the destroying of all karmas in the past. So leave no more opportunity for the beings to come back in the future.
Q: What do you mean by "Immediate Enlightenment" after initiation?
M: I mean "Immediate" Enlightenment. "Instant," like that, okay? (Master snaps her fingers.) If I show you something which is in your pocket, can you immediately take it out or not? (Audience: "Yes.") That is what it is. Because you have it within you. I just pointed to you where it is and so you get it.
Q: Master, there are billions of people alive today who would pass from this life without being initiated into your program. Does this mean that they can not reach enlightenment in this lifetime by any other means?
M: Yes, they can, they can; but the degree is different, you see? And sometimes in deep prayer, they have a glimpse of enlightenment, but that is flickering and sometimes it's gone again. And they don't know; again they are back into ignorance. But initiation means permanent. You know definitely where the switch is, and you switch it on any time you want. And you are inside the circle of light . But enlightenment from other ways, it is not always permanent and sometimes it's dangerous because people do not know how to handle the newly discovered energy. Therefore some people become mentally disturbed and all kinds of queer things, or abusing of the magical power which is from a lower level and become anything, you know, magician, healers, any kind without reaching the highest level of consciousness. Because without the guidance of the Master, we do not know where we are heading to, and then we stumble around and we play around with all kinds of things, and sometimes it's dangerous.
Because the path of enlightenment is also full of tricks and pitfalls which we should avoid. And with an experienced guide, it's easier, faster, safer. But what can we do? The world is like that; that's why it is the world. If the worldly people are all enlightened, we don't call this earth "world," we call it "heaven," understand? And the atmosphere around us will be different, Everything will be different. And then we don't even need to work for food, we don't even need to want anything. All things will be there just like in heaven because our merit will be different, will be many folds, thousand folds. Up to now just a few millions of people are enlightened, The merit is not enough to cover the whole earth population, understand? Therefore we still have disasters, we still have wars even though it's less than before. And all the politicalisms already lessen in its intensity, and the threat of the fourth war, fourth world war or fifth world war is far away now, understand? Because the majority of the people have a higher awareness at the present century, due to the mass media, the broadcasting system of Master's enlightening message around the world, and due to the large numbers of people who join into the enlightened circle of the sage. Therefore our world is better.
Q: Jesus spoke not just such wonderful ideas as peace, love and eternal life, but also about the scary idea of eternal punishment. Do you believe that God will ever condemn someone to eternal punishment?
M: No. He condemns himself. If he refuses light, then he stays in darkness. And as long as he refuses it, as long he will stay in darkness . He can stay eternally, if he refuses the light eternally. So it's up to the individual, huh? (Applause)
Q: Someone by the name of Princess would like to thank you for a very uplifting birthday.
M: Oh! Happy birthday.
Q: As human beings on earth, we have to fulfill earthly obligations such as food, clothing, a roof over our heads, make enough to pay the internal revenue service. (Laughter) How could we break away from these and start nurturing your spiritual needs?
M: You still keep the roof above your head. Don't take the roof away. (Master and all laugh.) Just get enlightenment. Don't worry! I stay in a tent, and I'm still alright . Sometimes the tent blows away, no roof is there, but I'm still okay. We had a meditation hall, very large, accomodating about seven thousand people. But last year, some people talked something and then it's pulled down. Okay, we let it get pulled down. We did not protest. We did not complain. We did not explain our, how it says, ungrounded accusation. We didn't bother . And then we plan to take, to bring a rain coat when it rains, and bring an umbrella when it shines. Just to sit there and meditate, all the same. But when we are enlightened, all the things will be okay also. Jesus has promised, "Seek you first the kingdom of God, and all the things shall be added unto you." I promise you the same . (Applause)
Q: Is it true that if a woman doesn't have a child of her own, she doesn't have a complete life?
M: He wants a nonsensical answer or what? Do you agree? (Audience: "No!") They say, "No!" Okay! If God doesn't ordain you to go through the terrible labor pain, then you should be grateful for His blessing, (applause) right? We have enough children in the world .
Q: My mind is hard to quiet for meditation, it's like a monkey who wants to run and play but not sit quietly. How does your meditation help quiet the mind to realize the true self?
M: I just put the mind to sleep (laughter) by the light and the sound. The music will nurse him to sleep. The light will comfort him, and then he is fast asleep. Only the soul is awakened. But nevertheless, continue with your meditation if you don't want to join us and you will get used to it a little bit more. But the thing is, if you sit in meditation, you use all your effort, concentrate on the breath, on the heart chakra, or whatever chakra, all over chakra, and you get nothing in return; then of course the mind would get bored. He will say, "Hey, what you're doing? You make me sit here for what? I want to see cinema. It's even better than this. I want to go and drink coffee and talk with friends. It's better." You see what I mean? I had a fellow practitioner, she is pretty old, about sixty. Oh, no, fifty something . And before she met me, she had many other masters and they taught her many methods -- continue with the breath, sit in Zen for fifteen hours a day, and all that. Eat one meal. And she said she sat and sat until she can't sit no more and she can get nothing. Therefore she can't bear it. And after she got enlightenment, she said, "Oh, sometimes she sat for four hours." And she was so happy, tremendously happy. Because of her happiness, her whole family of eight members are all happy, and they told me this. Even though they were not initiated. And they tell me how beneficial it is, my work. So they encourage me to continue. The non-initiates.
Q: Why is being a vegetarian so important to enlightenment?
M: It is important to you, hum? You can get enlightenment also without being a vegetarian because I don't require you to be vegetarian before initiation but after only. You get enlightened all the same through the grace of the Master. But we have to keep a loving attitude towards all beings, because they are ourselves. If you eat all your body's members, afterwards you realize you have nothing left, understand, yeah? And also we should not be so sinking into the material taste, but to be emerged in the bliss of heaven. Every being deserves life. Therefore we grant them the happiness of survival. (Applause)
Q: I believe I could achieve closer relationship to God, if I could erase the idea of God in the sense of being a person. Will Quan Yin help me in this regard?
M: Oh, yes, yes, yes. That is what it is for. We erase completely the separation, the individual self, and then we don't do but God does through us.
Q: I can not believe that intelligence exists on this planet alone. Do you?
M: Yes, true. It doesn't. It does exist in all planets . More or less degree different to the location; it depends on the location. There are some other planets more intelligent than us. There are some other planets less intelligent than us.
Q: How am I to know my mission in life?
M: Oh, I suggest you get enlightened first and then you can see better.
Q: Do you work with the white brotherhood or the universal brotherhood?
M: Yes, I also work with the "black" brotherhood. (Laughter & applause) We don't discriminate. Of course he meant the white brotherhood. It is the title for those enlightened beings who help the whole universe. It was just a joke only. There was no black or white over there. (Master and all laugh.)
Q: When one becomes a Master, will he or she ever have fear, doubt or anger? We call Jesus a Master, however, according to the Bible, Jesus was frightened the night before he was crucified. And before his death, Jesus cried, "Why God deserted me?" Please explain, if Jesus had fear and doubt, how can we have no fear and doubt?
M: Yeah, they probably would have fear and doubt, but that fear and doubt is not deep rooted like us, you understand? If Jesus had no fear of the crucifixion, then his sacrifice was not so great. He had fear, but he accepted, understand? Whereby we have fear and we run away and we try to blame it on others or we try to escape, we try to put that cross on someone else. That is the difference. We might have fear. We might have emotion, but we can withdraw it anytime or we can make use of the fear or emotion to the benefit of other beings. After enlightenment, all the feelings, all the emotions are still there, because we are made to have these in order to use them to understand other brothers and sisters. If you have no feeling, no emotion, how can you understand human beings? How can you help them; understand? But the fears of the Master are different. The fears of the Master sometimes are also affected by the fear of the disciples. He takes the fear from the disciples so the disciples are fearless but the Master will take some degree of that fear. But that is only very shallow and not deep rooted. It's only illusionary. And the Master on one hand has the fear but on the other hand definitely has no fear, you understand what I mean? He knows he has to have fear but he doesn't fear the fear. (Applause)
Q: What does Quan Yin really mean? Please explain.
M: Quan Yin in our group means the observation of the inner word, inner teaching, inner music, heavenly music.
Q: Can love be truly unconditional? If God loves those who don't sin and loves and forgives those who do, why are we spending our life trying to avoid sin?
M: Because it hurts us, not because it hurts God. Whenever we do something that we know is sinful or not correct, we hurt ourselves. Our conscience will scold us, make us trouble. (Master and all laugh.) Therefore we try to avoid it . God loves all alike. Therefore the sun shines on all. The rain doesn't detest those poor or sick or sinful . It's just we ourselves are responsible for the feeling of separation between us and God if we do something unrighteous. Therefore we should avoid it. Also it is a duty of ourselves when we live within this world. We have interrelationship between each other; we have to keep an orderly society, okay?
Q: The beings that live on other planets or those that come in UFO's, do they share the same fate as human beings, the same vulnerability to suffering, the same need to reach enlightenment?
M: Yes, some, to some degree. But less so, less than our earthly earthians because they are more advanced. They are more close to the Father, they have more light, more wisdom.
Q: Once one becomes initiated, does one need to denounce one's religion?
M: No, no, no. Please not. We say that within initiation, you don't need to change your profession, you don't need to change your way of life, you don't have to change your religion, No problem, don't change anything. Just eat vegetarian, that's all.
Q: Will we meet our beloved pets and animal friends in heaven after our life's journey is over?
M: Yes, if you want them. (Master and all laugh.) If you want them and if you are enlightened, you can take them along . But if you are not, you have no force to bring them. You have no power. You couldn't even bring you yourself to where you want, let alone your pets .
Q: What's the purpose of epidemic diseases such as malaria, AIDS, etc. Are humans interfering with the natural process by trying to find cures for these diseases?
M: You find some of this and other disease will breed itself out. Only when man realizes that he should surrender to God, to the Almighty power which is within ourselves. Only when man realizes that in him there is a great healing power of all diseases and he should rely on that power alone, then all the diseases will cease. All these are warnings, warnings to tell that we should return to God.
Q: How long does it take to become enlightened to reach the highest level or God realization?
M: It depends on you. How diligent you are, how much you want it, and also it depends on the Master. Is the Master powerful enough to take you through these levels of consciousness and lead you to where you want to be ?
Q: How many kinds of Samadhi levels are there?
M: Wow... Many, many. There are many levels of consciousness, hence also many levels of samadhi. But the last one is the non-Samadhi Samadhi. It means you carry on working in the world just like an ordinary person, but at the same time, you are always in Samadhi, and that doesn't smell, (Master and all laugh) doesn't give out any odor that you can smell, the person is in Samadhi. That is the highest Samadhi.
Q: Can one separate religions and science successfully and believe in both? I mean by this, can I believe in God and evolution at the same time?
M: Sure, sure, sure. The evolutionary theory supports the spiritual progress of mankind. It is the same; very similar in science and religious theories. The only difference is that sometimes science reaches only a certain height and stops there and religion is further and broader. (Applause)
My brothers and sisters, I am very happy and honored to be with you tonight at this very old, respected and famous University of America and of the world. I have long admired and heard of the name of Harvard University. So, I am feeling very honored to be here tonight. This is due to the generosity of the administration of the college and also to the help of Mr. Tavanty and many others. When I saw you, I saw your glittering faces and shining purity from your hearts, I feel happy. So, I hope that this meeting, which started very well, will end splendidly; that I may serve you something within two hours' or three hours' lecture; that I may satisfy some of your inmost longing for God or Buddha nature or the Tao, or that you may have a little memory of who you are or where you have come from.
Now, this section of this university is the law. People here study the law of the nation, or nations, mainly study the American law, no? The law of American country. Is that right? (Audience: Yes.) So every country has different laws, but mainly to protect human's rights, to protect the order of the society, and that people are living harmoniously together. That is the purpose of the law of every nation. Now, the law of every nation, of course, depends on the character, the traditions and the wishes of the majority of the people in that country. They may agree together to bring such and such laws into practice in order to protect the lives of the people at large. Now when we look at our human stand-point, the laws are made by humans. But when we look from a transcendental view which is above human capacity, then we see sometimes, even though laws are made by people, they are governed by some other kind of invisible force. This invisible force we call in Sanskrit "karma." Karma is the Sanskrit name for the law of causes and retributions. Like we say in the Bible, in Christian terminology, "As you sow, so shall you reap." So when some Christian people question me that only the Buddhists believe in karma, I smile and tell them the Christians also believe in karma.
The Universe Is Governed By Universal Laws
Every good and grand religion has to teach people the law of karma. Otherwise, why do they bother to teach people to do good and be good, if we have no retribution later or any at all, or after-life at all ? Why bother to be good, to do good? Because if you are bad, you are kind of naughty and sinful, you still only have this life. So the law of karma and also consequently the law of reincarnation is very, very common. And every religion openly or secretly or I mean not hintingly, teaches this kind of law. It is the same like we have the law in every nation in order to protect the order of the society. The law of the universe is also there to protect the order and the well-being of all beings in the universe.
If we live in a country, we must know a little bit about the law of that country in order to live in harmony, also not to harm ourselves by committing some or transgressing the law. Now, when we think it over, we are not only living in a nation, but we are also living in the universe. And every nation is a kind of a room in a big mansion. So therefore it is an obligation to us, also to have to know a little bit about the universal law. After we study the law of different nations we might notice that sometimes one law in this nation doesn't apply to the other nation. For example, in our country like Au Lac, or maybe America, you can have only one wife and one husband. That is the law. Is it so in America also? (Audience: Yes.) Now if you have a second or a third, your wife or husband can take you to court and make trouble.
In Tibet, it is entirely different. Now a woman can have many husbands. One woman can marry the whole brothers of one family. No, I'm not joking. You may read it yourselves. You know if you read the books by Swami Vivekananda. Have you read any? Some of them, no? He told his experience about this. He said when he was shocked and asked a brother why they are doing such a thing. Why are they married to only one woman, five or six brothers. And the brother said: "In Tibet, it is considered selfish not to share any good thing with your brothers." So then he keeps pondering about the relativity of law and sometimes morality in this world.
Now in every country, we have to live up to the law of that country in order not to cause problems, heartbreaks to ourselves and to the others. So, we cannot say, "Well, Tibetans are like that, so we Americans learn to do the same." We can not. Because we Americans are Americans. We have our own emotions, our own background of tradition, and our own judgment. We can't just imitate anyone at all. The same like the Au Lac people, the Chinese, or any other country's people. They cannot imitate the other country's tradition. They may respect their laws. But there are other kinds of invisible laws concerning emotions and a way of living that they can not imitate.
The Law Of The Universe Is Ever Abiding
Then now we consider that when we live in every nation, we have to follow that nation's law. So now when we are in the universe, we must also follow our universal law. That law will protect us from degrading into a lower grade of existence. For example, when we are in a country, and we commit some crimes or transgress some law, we will be put in jail or have some kind of fine. No? (Audience: Yes.) Now if we live in this universe and we commit something that is not suitable to the law of the universe, then we also have to be put in some kind of other existence which is not very pleasurable for us. That is what we call karma, the law of retribution, "As you sow, so shall you reap."
Therefore, when we want to live in harmony and do not incur displeasurable situations for ourselves, we should study some universal law. Universal law is not made by man, and is not changeable like human's law. When we see the human's law, it varies from country to country. And even the standard of morality varies from country to country. So it is hard to tell people in one country to accept the other country's law. But the universal law is always and always the same. For example, in the Bible it is stated that, "Thou shall not kill. Thou shall not commit adultery. Thou shall not steal. Thou shall love thy neighbor, love thy enemy, etc...." These will never change.
If we want to know God or our so-called Buddha nature, God or Buddha nature, for me, is the same thing. I have experienced that thing. You may call it God or Buddha nature. I know it is the same thing, just a different way of speaking. Now, if we want to experience our Godly nature or Buddha nature, or what we call the Real Face, we have to follow this law. And to follow this law is not the only thing that we must do. But that is the precondition if we want to know God or we want to know Buddha nature. So in the Bible, it is said, "Verily, I say to you, except you are born again, except you become a child, you can not enter the kingdom of God." In Taoism, Lao Tzu also said that we have to be pure again as a child.
Also in Buddhism, one of our great Patriarchs was Hui Neng. Hui Neng was the sixth Patriarch of Zen Buddhism in China. But he was originally, historically Au Lac born. Now I will not argue about this, because the Chinese wanted to claim him. So we also offer to them. It is all right. He is universal anyhow, but just for your information. Because I have to speak the truth, always speak the truth. If you want to know more about who he is, you can talk to me later. We don't want to discuss about his birth place or birth rights, just a little mentioning. Now, he said like this, "When I meditate, I only look into my own fault, I don't look into the others' fault." That means you become pure, you don't criticize others, you are just like a child. Now, aren't they the same sayings? Yes? (Audience: Yes, they are.)
You are right. Because anyone who is enlightened and who has a glimpse or many glimpses into the true nature of Godhood or Buddhahood will say and express the same opinion. They can not say otherwise. They can only say the truth and nothing but the truth. The truth may be strange, may be unfamiliar to many people. But nevertheless, very familiar to those who have wisdom and who are already feeling acquainted with the truth. We may say to ourselves, "I have never learned anything before"; "I have never been to church"; "I have never been to any Buddhist temple." "I haven't even read any Sutras." But that doesn't mean you do not know the truth. You might have known them or might have known the truth already in your previous life. Now it will take just a little more water for the seed to germinate again.
Exploit The Brain Power To Fully Develop Our Underlying Power
I have just mentioned about Master Hui Neng. He was illiterate. He couldn't read, couldn't write. But he was famous for many centuries and even more famous now, since the Zen Buddhism, or Ch'an or the China Buddhism is making its way to the West. Because the God nature or the kingdom of God is within us, or the Buddha nature is inborn within us. This is what we call "wisdom" in scientific terminology, or what we explain as the 95 percent of the capability that we have not used. Understand that? Because the scientists have proved that we use only 5 percent of our wisdom, of our brain capacity. The one who can use 100 percent of his wisdom or intelligence, that is the Buddha, that is the Christ, that is the Lao-Tze, that is the Krishna or Mohammed, or whoever you believe has the greatest brain power in our world. They are the ones who know the secret of access into the whole kingdom of our intelligence. That is what we call the kingdom of God.
Everything lies within ourselves. The Nirvana is the same thing. Buddhas, Christ are all born out of this kingdom of God. No one has been born without this kingdom of God or without this Buddha nature, just like the waves are born from the ocean. Now, is there any way to gain control over this 100 percent of our intelligence? Yes, there is the way. There are many ways. There are short ways, long ways, big ways, small ways, easy ways and difficult ways. Some people do them with prayers, fasting, austerities or all kinds of effort. These things we have read in the books of ancient wisdom. How people sacrificed everything in order to find God and to find the Buddha nature. But nowadays, if we follow these rigorous paths, it is too hard, too time-consuming. We can't just go into the jungle and leave the society behind.
In the ancient time, people had less desires and less comfort in life. Even though they wanted, they couldn't have it. Nowadays we have more temptation due to more comfort. Sometimes, we don't want this and that. But the neighbor has it, and the wife will not let us rest until she obtained the same, or the husband vice versa. In the olden days, people would be satisfied if they had just a few clothes or a little bit thing to eat. There were no newspapers, communication, no TV, or not such-like. Therefore people were not tempted to want more things. So their time was more in plenty. They could use it to practice on their hobby like to find God.
To Find God Is The Most Pleasurable Hobby
Now, to find God is also a hobby, anyhow. For me, it is a hobby. It is a very pleasurable hobby. Now people have different hobbies, but the greatest hobby, they forget. That is how to find God, how to find the Buddha nature within. It is not as difficult to find God as to earn money, I may tell you. We work very hard, 8-10 hours a day, and even then it be squandered away very fast if we are not careful. And even if we are careful, we can make the ends meet a little bit, and a little bit more for the old age, nothing more. But if we find the kingdom of God, it lasts forever. Whatever intelligence, wisdom, happiness, joy we find, it will always be ours. Never ever will be squandered away. Never ever anyone can steal it from us. And even then our material gain will also be on the way. Therefore in the Bible, it is said, "Seek you first the kingdom of God, and then all the things shall be added unto you."
That is why the ancient people they know where the everlasting happiness is, so they practice a way of life, the Tao, practice the Buddhist way or the Christian way. You see, I was born as a Catholic and a Buddhist, both, so I have to speak for both. I hope you don't mind. Also since Dr. Tavanty already mentioned that we, the Au Lac people have the tradition of open-mindedness, freedom of thought, and freedom of belief. So I have to carry on our tradition to be faithful to our Au Lac tradition. In Au Lac a Catholic husband and a Buddhist wife go hand in hand to the church in the morning and go to the temple in the afternoon. Most of our people do not discriminate or make a big fuss about who is the best one and what is the highest religion. If you are happy with your religion, fine! I'm happy with mine. We may learn from each other some good points.
Anyhow, who are we to judge the Buddha? Who are we to judge Jesus Christ? We weren't even there then. We didn't even know how great they were, what did they do. We can judge from the good laws they left behind for us, from the good preachings, from the outstanding examples of their sacrifices and love. Then we know Jesus was all right. Then we know Buddha was great. We cannot criticize them in any way at all. For what they have done for humanity, neither of them should be criticized. Whoever follows Christ they should be a good Christian. Whoever follow the Buddha they should be a best Buddhist. That's all our duty. Not to criticize or not to compare.
Get Enlightenment And Behold God Immediately
So, therefore in every speech, I wouldn't emphasize people to follow me, to cut their hair to become a nun or to become a Buddhist even. If you are Christian, you remain there. If you are any at all, you remain there. Even if you are an atheist, I also try not to convince you the existence of God. I will only want to show you the existence of God or of the Buddha nature, and then you will believe. Because if we do not see God, if we do not see the Buddha nature within us, it is very difficult to believe, no? So we cannot blame the atheists for not believing in God. It's not everyone that are blessed with not seeing, however believing. So for some who are not believing by not seeing, we offer the opportunity to see God or to see Buddha nature. That is what we call immediate enlightenment.
Knowing your own nature, and knowing the kingdom of God within that we may believe. Because when we are enlightened, whether we are Christians, or Buddhists or Taoists, we find the same stuff, we find the same wisdom, the same kingdom, the same Nirvana. There is no difference. I have been there. I found no difference. It is one place, the same. Actually, to say "a place" is also a way of speaking only. But must not necessarily be a place if you are enlightened. It is a state of mind. It is a higher level of consciousness, of thinking, of knowing, of understanding. That is also called the kingdom of God or the Buddha nature. It is not necessary that you fly to a beautiful place every day.
Enlightenment manifests itself in many ways. You may see beautiful places, planes of consciousness, planes of existence. Or you may manifest wisdom, and virtues in everyday life in order to serve yourself, your immediate family, your nation, and the whole world. When the famous Indian Master, Sri Ramakrishna was still alive, I expect that you heard his name, no? (Audience: Yes.) W e couldn't say he was a Buddhist, so don't say I advocate Buddhism only. I'm very equal-minded to every great saint.
So when he was alive, of course, he had many visions about God and he had many kinds of Samadhi. His disciples were also very eager to have similar kinds of Samadhi. I expect you know what Samadhi is, no? If you do not know, then I explain. Samadhi means when you are in a kind of higher level of consciousness and you lose outer connection with the world. You are in communion with God. You only see Heavenly Kingdom. You do not see the misery and the pain, and do not experience the misery and the pain of the world or any discomfort of your body and mind. You are in bliss, in ecstasy. That is what we call Samadhi. There are different levels though, but I'm not going into it tonight. If you have any questions later, we can go deeper into the subject.
Love Is An Experience Superior To Samadhi
Now his disciples saw him many times everyday in Samadhi, in a deep, blissful state, in deep Nirvana. They also wanted the same. One of his outstanding disciples was Swami Vivekananda, who is very famous in your country. He asked the Master, "Could I have the same level of attainment like you?" And he ask many times like that, because he had got none. So the Master scolded him, "You fool, there are higher levels than Samadhi." Now what is the higher level than Samadhi? That is of loving, of devotion. Love all creatures as our own selves. Love the enemies as friends. Love the neighbor. Love God above all, and surrender everything to God. That is higher than Samadhi.
But there is a trap here. We the Buddhists can also say that, we love the Buddha, worship the Buddha, and we love our neighbor, we love our friends, our enemies, that is it. But there is a difference between saying and really doing. Most of the human beings are incapable of such a great love, because we are not trained in this way.
Only enlightened people are capable of such a great love, and compassion and tolerance. Therefore we see in many nations in many periods of time, people always fighting over ideas, over territories, over financial benefit. But they always say that it is in the name of love for their nation, love for their religions, love for their groups or their kinsmen. Maybe it is true that they love their country, so they go and fight and invade other countries in order to benefit their own. But that is too small the love, it's too limited.
The love of Buddha and Christ includes the whole universe, no races, no colors, no finances, no status. Therefore, we see the disciples of the Buddha have many social positions, different social position, different in races, different in colors, different in social status, and different nationalities. The disciples of Christ also the same. All kinds of disciples, all kinds of nationalities, all kinds of personalities, all kinds of different beliefs will unite themselves under the wing of an enlightened Master. Because the enlightened Master's love is so great. It encompasses everything, and no one feels excluded. And such enlightened souls would never fight or side with one person or one nation or any sect or any religion but preach universal love, universal truth, and equality to all. Therefore, Jesus said, "All are children of God. Whatever I can do today, you can do even greater tomorrow." He didn't say, "I'm the only son of God." He said, "We are all the children of God. In the house of my Father, there are many mansions and all are welcome." So Buddha also say the same thing, "All of us can become Buddha. I have become Buddha, you will become Buddha. All beings have Buddha nature." These sayings denote similar ideas, understand? That is the equality of mankind in the eyes of God or in the wisdom of the Buddha.
We Can Enter The Kingdom Of God While Still Living On This Earth
I have not started my mission seriously before two years. When was the first initiation? That was in India. Must be in 1983, when I started, forced to start. Now is 1989. Six years, only six years since I started my mission. But I have found that truly everyone inherits the kingdom of God. Everyone has the Buddha nature. And everyone can see the Buddha nature in no time, provided he or she is willing to, is convinced that he and she can see and is willing to let a teacher help to open the door for them. All can see, all can enter into the Kingdom of God. There is no one, rich, poor, small, big, weak, strong, intelligent, stupid, has been refused into the kingdom of God. No one ever, not as far as I know. Therefore, I believe what Christ said is true. We just have to become a child again and then we can enter the Kingdom of God and right now on the earth. Why? Because the Bible says, "Lo and behold, the Kingdom of God is within you!" The Bible didn't say the Kingdom of God is very far away, 20,000 light years distance. (Master & everyone laugh.) No! No! No! It says, "The Kingdom of God is within you." And the Buddha said, "The Buddha is within you." So now both of them saying the same thing. If we want to find the Buddha, if we want to find God, we have to go within.
But how to become a child? It is not easy, we think. Truly it's not easy, if we do it all by ourselves, but if we have the grace of God and the blessings of the living Buddha. The living Buddha is not the body. It is the power of love that flows into one body and to bless the whole world, understand that? So when the Buddha was alive, he said he was Buddha. It doesn't mean he was proud of his own personality, his ego as Buddha. No! No! It means he already destroyed his own ego. He had no longer an ordinary "I," but he was one with the Father, one with the universe, with the creative force. So when Jesus said "I'm the son of God, I and my Father are one," it didn't mean that he was very arrogant and proud of himself as an individual ego-self. But he knows that he had lost himself, and merged into the ocean of consciousness of the great wisdom.
So, how to become a child? It's very easy. We need a so-called cleansing process. First we must vow to follow the Commandments of the Bible or the Buddhist scriptures again. They both say similar things. The first in the Bible is "You shall not kill." In Buddhism, also, you do not kill. And in Hinduism also the same--- ahimsa, no harm to other living beings--- that means ahimsa. From that ahimsa stems the Commandments of the Bible, of the Buddhist Sutras. Christ also had been in India for nineteen years. Buddha also had to learn first from the Vedic scriptures. Then he became Buddha by his own right. So, if we follow the Commandments of the Bible or the Buddhist scriptures and we start to change our way of life, then from that day on, also by the grace of God, we will be cleansed, be purified like a child. And then when we are purified at that moment, we see the light of God, we see the Kingdom of God or so-called Buddha nature.
So when Jesus was alive, he give people baptism, to baptize people. But even he himself had to go through the process of baptism. He said, "Let the law be done." Why did he have to do that? Even though he was already great, and John the Baptist knew he was great. But because he knew that he had to set an example of humility, of believing in grace of God to the rest of humanity. All his whole life is an example of humility. The Buddha Shakyamuni also the same. Shakyamuni was a prince, very rich in all means, very talented. He could have the whole nation, and luxury. But he went around forty nine years, even after his enlightenment, to beg. His begging doesn't mean that he couldn't work or he is unable to work. Just to show many thing, many examples to humanity. The first is to show us the desirelessness for the world's possessions. The second is to show us that we all have to depend on each other in order to live. No one is higher, no one is lower. He was the first one to preach equality, to break down the caste system of the untouchable idea in India. He taught by his own example and humility. He didn't only preach by mouth, by words, but he taught by his life example.
Embody The Great Love Of Christ Into Your Life
Every great Master does that. Jesus also did the same. He walked barefoot. He had nowhere to lay his head. Now in our days, in these modern days of our time, we couldn't follow exactly like Buddha or like Jesus. But we could follow it in our hearts their ways of living. We have to feel a detachment for this world, and that is also renunciation. We live in the world, but we live without the world. We shouldn't crave so much for the material comforts. We have them just to sustain our life, but knowing in our heart truly that the greatest ones like Buddha and Jesus never care for them. We follow Buddha in this way, by detachment, by desirelessness. We follow Christ in this way by detachment, by desirelessness, and also by love for our people.
Now, the American people have shown some of their Christianity love, of the Christ love in some of the world's interactions with other countries. For example, the American country has accepted many refugees from different nations. That is a part of Christ love. That is how we follow Christ. And as for the Au Lac people, I also have to thank the American sisters and brothers who have open their arms and received some of our truly in need refugees from Au Lac. That is also a part of Buddha's compassion. Therefore, I believe that if you are a good Christian, you are also a good Buddhist. There is no difference between a Christian and a Buddhist, as long as we do good to others.
Therefore, I never discriminate between the Buddhist believers and Christian believers. Christian people did good to mankind in many ways, and Buddhist people did good to mankind also in many ways, just maybe different ways of doing and working. Take care that I do not go too far into this political situation. But I cannot help not to express my opinion. Actually because if we cannot make use practically what we learned from Christianity or what we learn from Buddhism, then what is the point? Is that right? So, we show our religious mind through our own actions. Therefore if we say something about the world's situation, and the amnesty, and the compassion of the American people or other countries, that's also very fit! This fits in a religious lecture.
But, what I want to express is something more concrete than just like that, because some people want to know God, not only to serve God in human frame, but also want to know the God, the transcendental God, the transcendental Buddha nature. We see that Buddha became Buddha by what way. We see Christ how he had become so great. There is a reason, there is a way to achieve this greatness. Just like any science. Just like you want to study in university, you have to have such and such condition; you must have some money, some qualifications from high school; you have to pass some exams. Now if we want to become a Buddha or Christ, apart from this great love that we show to other human beings, like in human work, in amnesty work, in social service, we have to know our real nature; we have to know where we come from; we have to know how great we are.
Journeying Back To Our Source
Now, we have been great in the past. We have come from the kingdom of God. If we haven't come from God, then where have we come from? God created all things. If we haven't come from this Buddha nature or the Tao, then where have we come from? We must start from there, from that greatest source in the universe. So, therefore we have been great always. It's just that we forgot, that is the Truth that we forgot. Now, there is a way to remember these things again by walking backward to the higher source, where we have come from. Just like you follow the river down to the sea. Now if you want to go back to the source of the river, walk backward. So, the kingdom of God is within us, so walk inward. There is a way to see the kingdom of God within, to see the Buddha within. That is what we call the enlightenment method. Go back to the original. The Buddha had followed this method to become Buddha. Jesus Christ had followed this method to become the son of God.
Now if we say we are all sons of God, we are already Buddha, so why we need to practice? Yes, we are. But we forgot. That is no use for us now. We have to remember again through diligent effort to go back into the past, to our own deep memory. That is what the scientists call 95 percent dormant intelligence. In that 95 percent lays many things. Now, with only 5 percent, we can already go to Mars; we can already go to the moon. We can already make airplanes and rockets and all kinds of comfort to life. What much more if we could use the 95 percent? The kingdom of God is ours, if we know how to use it.
We know we are Buddha. Everybody tells us we are Buddhas, or we are the sons of God, but we don't know where that greatness is. We only know that we are miserable everyday, or not everyday but I mean most of many days. I'm sorry if you are happy, but I see the majority of people. Though they have money, have good family, status, everything is ephemeral. Look at our country, the Au Lac country, it had been glorious, peaceful. We had many things; we were very rich in minerals, in agriculture, in culture. But then suddenly, we have nothing. Suddenly, all is turned upside down, everything destroyed. People had to leave the country, so dangerous on the sea, and they had to fight for survival. Many people who came to your country have been heroes in our country, have been generals, top leaders, millionaires, billionaires in our country. They are not just all poor. They are not just all illiterate. They are not just all useless, helpless people. They have been in the glorious past, they've been the men of wisdom, of social standing, of rich, of culture. It is just the ephemeral life turns sometimes and makes people become nothing that humiliate our people.
Maybe it is good for them, I do not know, that we have to learn sometimes to come down, to be humble, and to know there is a greater force than our own hand and human brain can control. Then we have to turn back to God, to turn back to practice to become Buddha, to rely on this great force of the Buddha nature or Kingdom of God. That is maybe the reason why we have to learn sometimes through disasters to know God. Otherwise we keep having success in our life and being so successful, we are carried away with it, and we forgot where we come from. We forgot that we are greater than just a lawyer. We are greater than just a president, we are greater than just a millionaire. We are God's children; we are Buddhas. So this birthright we have to claim. It doesn't matter through what. Through happiness, through longing, or through disaster.
Life Is Ephemeral, So Practice Before It's Too Late
We have to be awakened through many means. Therefore, I said earlier, there are many ways to find the wisdom within. If we don't long to find it ourselves, sometimes the Creator will send disasters to wake us. So we see that many times, in time of stress and disaster, we pray more honestly, more sincerely to God than when we are well-off, than when we are in happiness, or in stable condition. Is it not so? So, when we have pain, or our family have people died, or some disasters, then we pray. At that time we remember God very clearly. "Please, please, please ...." So many prayers.
Now, we do not need to wait until a disaster befalls us in order to remember to practice to become Buddha again or to be like Christ. We should do it when we have time, at leisure, and good conditions. So that we do not have to have experience disaster. What we call in Au Lac: To prevent is better than to cure. We all know this. Every nation will say the same thing. But we just don't do it. We just don't prevent things. We just do things, and then reap the result and then we cry. Now we have been through life, 30, 40, 50 years now. We should have known a little bit more about this ephemeral nature of life. We should turn back to God now, so that the day we leave this world, God open the kingdom for us, Buddha welcome us. Not the darkness, not the evil plane of existence what we call Satan power, or the Negative power, or the power of Maya.
So I'm here like everywhere else, just to offer you a way to find your own Greatness. With God, well and good. With Buddha, it's also well and good. Without God, without Buddha you still can find your Greatness. Because you are that, you are born from God. You are bound to go back to God, whether you believe or not believe. You are that, you cannot escape anyhow. So I just want to offer you what I have found as a treasure, hidden treasure within myself. And I know that the hidden treasure is within you as well. I would like only to help you to know your greatness, your self-worth. And then you live in the world as king, as saint, as Christ did, as Buddha did. And not having inferiority complex, and not doing your work well, and not sleeping well, having guilty conscience, having sickness, disease body and mind. That is my purpose. Now I will end my lecture. Thank you! (Applause)
Excerpt From "The Light" Monthly Magazine, Arizona, U.S.A. Issue August (Originally in English)
The painting, "Master's Shoes and Fan," hangs in the Hsihu Center in Formosa and depicts the shoes and fan of the artist, Supreme Master Ching Hai. They stand alone in the painting to represent Her sorrow and the profound meaning that She wanted to convey when She created this picture. These objects only represent their owner, who is absent. One must use one's heart to appreciate this painting in order to understand the subtle, implied teachings that it conveys.
The International artist and world spiritual leader, Supreme Master Ching Hai was born in Au Lac. Later in life, She left home in order to find ultimate enlightenment. Supreme Master Ching Hai has never had any formal artistic training; however, because of Her spiritual practice, Her talents have fully bloomed. Her paintings, produced with heavenly skill, have delighted the world and reflect Her feelings about truth, virtue and beauty. Her paintings are created in oil, pastel and pencil. She paints because She enjoys it without any desire for worldly gain or fame. She shares Her art in order to inspire us to rediscover our own inborn creative nature.
Formosa News, Formosa Tuesday, Sep. 5, 1995
Supreme Master Ching Hai International Association Raised A Contribution Of 6,000 Tons Of Rice, Followed By Another 1,000 Tons
Another one thousand tons of rice contributed by Supreme Master Ching Hai International Association, situated at Hsihu of Miaoli Hsien, have been delivered to the No. 25 Warehouse at the Taichung Port. The shipment is scheduled to be conveyed by the Panama vessel S.S. Bright Star on the 8th, so that the contributed rice can reach the disaster victims in Cambodia promptly.
On December 1 last year, Supreme Master Ching Hai arrived at Thailand to give lectures, and then treated the assistant team consisting of fellow practitioners from various countries, with a feast. A Cambodian envoy team visited Supreme Master Ching Hai at that time. Mr. Ni Wen-De, Vice Director of the Emergency Relief Committee described the severe flood disaster that devastated several hundred thousand acres of farmland, which was caused by the heavy torrent of rainfall in Cambodia last July, and led to the flood in the Mekong River last August. On the other hand, other regions in the country were hit by grave drought. Ravaged by two opposite disasters, Cambodia was alarmingly lacking about 300,000 tons of food, and millions of victims were on the brink of starvation. Knowing the news, Supreme Master Ching Hai was extremely sympathetic to the victims, and promised immediately to help the country. In one month, a contribution of 6,000 tons of rice had been raised, and delivered by two shipments to Cambodia in late December last year, and late February this year. That was a full demonstration of the compassionate spirit of "Other's hunger is our hunger!".
At that time, King Sihanouk of Cambodia also joined the relief work personally. Rejoicing the visit of the King, the victims had temporarily forgotten their suffering. They were also consoled by the warmth from a foreign countryman when they saw on the rice sacks the words: "Rice contributed by Supreme Master Ching Hai."
As Cambodia is still desperate for food, Supreme Master Ching Hai International Association has decided to donate another 1,000 tons of rice, packed in 20,000 packets, and are being delivered to the No.25 Warehouse in Taichung Port. The shipment will be conveyed by S.S. Bright Star, which will arrive at Taichung to start the loading work.
However, the International Association mentioned that over four hundred sacks containing the rice were damaged in the last two shipments. Therefore, they asked for help from the Port Service Bureau, wishing they will advise the wharf workers not to use hooks when loading the rice, so as to minimize the damage. The Association stressed that each grain of rice is full of love and blessing from the Buddha. Any loss incurred will affect the victims desperately in need. It is our blessing that we have enough food here, therefore, we should share our blessing and love with more people.
The one thousand tons of rice safely arrived in Cambodia on Sept. 17. Minister Nhim Vanda, First Envoy and Representative of the First and Second Prime Ministers of Cambodia, held a special ceremony to mark the occasion, and to thank Master for Her help rendered to the Cambodian people.
The Commercial News, Phnom Penh, Cambodia August 26, 1995
[Information by our press] On the 18th morning of this month, at Port Sihanouk, the representative of the two Prime Ministers of our Imperial Government, General Nhim Vanda, checked and received the one thousand tons of rice contributed by the Cambodian Branch Center of Supreme Master Ching Hai International Association.
At the ceremony, General Nhim Vanda said that the Imperial Government is very grateful for the aid rendered to Cambodia by international organizations and civilian groups; especially the contributions by Supreme Master Ching Hai International Association, which have to a large extent relieved the food problem of the Cambodian people.