The Criterion for Gauging Spiritual Growth
Spoken by Supreme Master Ching Hai, Long Beach, CA, USA,
December 29, 1996 (originally in English) Videotape No. 571
I'd like to know if the things that happen in our life have meaning:
good things, bad things, natural disasters and so on. And is it good
to be aware of the hidden significance behind these events?
Well, they happen for our spiritual growth even though sometimes
during a crisis or event we might not be able to understand it. But
everything has some purpose. If you can be aware of the hidden
meaning, it's fine. If you can't, just let it be. Things happen; it
doesn't matter how they happen. It's not what happens but how we
react to the event that's important. The event is there so that we
can reflect on ourselves and our growth. Then we know how far we've
grown up, to what height.
I'll give an example so it's easier for you to understand. Some
journalists write some things about us that aren't true. Some people
get upset, and they tell me. They cry and all that, thinking that
because of the journalists, I get my name blackened, and they're
upset for me. But I say there's no need. The journalists write what
they write. I am what I am. How I react to them is what's important,
not what they write about me.
If they write something good about me, if I'm proud or very
excited, happy and feel very arrogant, then that's bad for me. So
it's not that writing good things about me is good, but whether my
attitude toward it is good or bad. It's for me alone. And then if
they write bad things about me and I get really upset, I feel bad
for a long time, I hate them or I want to make revenge, and that's
also no good for me. It means I'm not truly so developed as to have
my peace at every moment, in every situation. So, if you look at the
situation like this, then how you feel, how you react and how you
solve a problem, that's the lesson. That's the tool to help us
remember who we are, how great we are, how tolerant, how loving and
I also feel upset sometimes for a very short while because the
situation should not have happened that way. It should have happened
in a more beautiful way. That's just my expectation. But I'm not
upset because of bad people who write bad things about me, nor do I
expect them to write good things about me. They write bad things
because they don't know me. Even you don't know me so how can
outside people know me? That's a very obvious reason; they don't
know me. And I'm not going to go out into the world and tell all the
journalists how good I am. Even if I tell them, whether they believe
me or not is another question. Why should they believe me?
Even you, so-called disciples, came here by yourself voluntarily,
and you really love God so much that you can even humble yourself to
ask questions and learn from me. But sometimes you doubt me. You
think bad things about me. You look at my appearance and my actions
in a distorted way and then criticize me and leave the path. You
look at my personality instead of my teachings. I was born the way I
am. God made me the way I am. I can't 'wig-wag' myself to please
everyone the way you think. I am what I am and I'm perfect:
finished. You're also perfect: finished. If you don't know you're
perfect, then you have to know.
You have to learn how to accept yourself as perfect. Anything
that's not perfect according to your opinion you can change if you
want. I think I'm perfect. (Applause) I don't mean that sometimes I
don't make a mistake according to your opinion, but that's all
right. I accept my mistake, too, as long as I don't stick there all
the time thinking it's good. But maybe it is good! (Master laughs)
Maybe my mistake is necessary for someone else. It looks like a
mistake, but it might not be. It might not be a mistake.
Say for example, there's a man who's crying in distress and
emotion. Maybe he looks handsome and good-looking. And I might hug
him or comfort him. In your opinion, maybe I shouldn't do that.
Maybe I should refrain from hugging him because I'm a woman and he's
such a good-looking young guy. But I care not about what you think.
So maybe in that instance, you think I make a mistake. But maybe my
mistake was necessary for that man. He needed my mistake. Maybe I
shouldn't have done it in order to keep my reputation more flawless
and to keep your respect. But I don't care. Why should I care about
everyone's opinion? His or her opinion might not always be correct.
I just do what I feel is correct at that moment according to my
understanding. And I always stand for what I believe in and what I
feel at that moment only. For anything else, I'm not responsible.
That's the way it is. (Applause)
So that's one thing. If all the newspapers or people outside talk
bad about me and I feel very hateful toward them, it means I don't
understand. It means that I still have to practice harder, I have to
control myself and try to look into the situation better, with more
intelligence. That's my job. Their job is to write what they want.
They're responsible for their actions and I have to be responsible
for my actions. So I look at it this way: They don't know me. They
can't understand me and that's fine. They write according to their
beliefs, their understanding and their opinions. And that's all
right with me. If I can, I'll explain it to them. If I can't, then I
just forget it.
I have to tell you that even though we're spiritual
practitioners, we don't always immediately have understanding about
every situation that we encounter in our lives. We may not always
understand, but at least because we practice, after a few minutes of
anger and immediate reaction, we reflect and say, "What is this
So don't blame yourself if in some moment of natural reaction if
you feel angry or you feel you want revenge. But afterwards, after
it subsides, you think, 'This is not the way I should react to this
situation. How should I react? What should I do in this situation
that's the most beneficial for me and for the opponent?' And that's
the way it is. It's not that you don't get angry sometimes, but that
you don't overdo it. You don't overdo it and you don't let the anger
override you for a long time so as to affect your health, your
spirit and your situation. It's not that you don't get angry
sometimes. It's good to be angry sometimes. It's healthy. But what
you do with the anger, that's another thing. Don't let it destroy
you. So for any event that happens in our life, it's up to us to
measure how we've grown already in our spiritual growth. If you can
look at it that way, it's fine. And try to know how to react to it
in the best way for yourself.