Praying For Human Rights And World Peace
Since the Hong Kong government stood firm with the mandatory repatriation policy after the forcible oppression of refugees, news of suicides constantly and increasing came from the refugee camps. Merciful Master not only grieved for the refugees, She also worried about the retribution that human beings would have to bear. To rescue mankind from a great calamity, fellow initiates around the world especially asked Master to mercifully grant the International 7-day retreat to be held in Taipei, Formosa May 21 ~ 27. The theme of this retreat is "Praying For Human Rights And World Peace". Master wishes the merit of meditation and sincere love from fellow practitioners all over the world could dispel the savage atmosphere that human's inflict upon each other, and help find a home for the refugees.
International Seven-Day Retreat
-- Pray And Clean The Karma Of Mankind
Formosa is lucky to have been chosen as the place of this international retreat, it's a great blessing. The assembly hall is in a five-star hotel in Taipei - the Asiaworld Plaza Hotel. Asiaworld Plaza Hotel is amidst the traffic conjested eastern area, bustling with crowds of people. Outside the hotel are large eye-catching signboards “Pray for Au Lac Refugees” and photos of the Supreme Master Ching Hai. “Benefits of accepting Au Lac refugees for Formosa” and series of reports on aiding the Au Lac refugees were also posted at the sides, to be viewed by all. More than four thousand fellow initiates from Formosa and over twenty countries, as well as influential politicians and reporters assembled in Taipei for the spectacular event. This is a good harvest for the government of Republic of China which is trying to step back onto the international political stage and win international recognition.
On May 21, the fellow practitioners checked in for the 7-day retreat one after another. Suddenly Asiaworld Plaza Hotel was full of people of different languages and races, just like a small United Nations. Having completed well all the necessary arrangements, the retreat started soon after.
Thousands of fellow initiates meditated in the hotel halls that night. After a few hours of meditation, the scattered thinking had died down and a very calm atmosphere prevailed. But there was still one thought in everybody's mind: When will Master arrive? At that moment, the good news was announced: Everyone was to go to the Chiang Kai-Shek Airport to welcome Master back. Suddenly the hall resounded with deafening cheers, and everyone beaming with brilliant smiles.
Touching Scene In Welcoming Master Back
The second day around noon, fellow initiates took dozens of buses to the Chiang Kai-Shek International Airport to greet Master. There were also other initiates who had come from different places, waiting for Master. The airport was jam-packed with fellow initiates inside and outside. Every fellow initiate was waiting cheerfully.
As soon as the scene of Master stepping out of customs appeared on the TV monitor, cheering sounds resounded in unison. Before long, beloved Master appeared spiritedly in front of everyone. It has been a long time. We have been waiting to see You again, Master! It's hard to believe it's true, that Master, whom we've called thousands and millions times in our dreams and have waited for, now stands before our eyes!
Master gave a short talk in the entry hall of the airport first. She said that coming back to Formosa is like coming back home. Master then sat on the golden covered chair lovingly prepared by the fellow initiates so that thousands of fellow initiates could see Her. The chair, being carried by the guards, allowed Master to go around to send Her love to everyone. Fellow initiates were so happy to see their long parted Master, they naturally followed Master's sedan chair. Many fellow initiates burst into joyful tears while meeting Master Mother again after a long separation.
Because it's not convenient to stay long in the airport, the gathering place for Master and disciples was switched to the lawn outside Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall. Master walked around to see everyone and sweetly spoke what was in fellow initiates' minds: "I love You, I love You, I love You." Fellow initiates who participated in the retreat wore bright green or pink hats. Master childishly said: "So beautiful, it's like I am walking in a flowered garden!" Everyone broke into laughter at Master's witty remark.
For the next few days, Master stayed in the same hotel as fellow initiates and held discourses for them everyday. Everybody had a warm feeling as if being held in a mother's arms again.
During the 7-day retreat, kindhearted Master shared with everyone Her priceless treasures, Her art creations, which included paintings, artistic lamps, fairy clothes, painted fans... etc. Guests visiting the exhibition were all astonished and praised Master's excellent talents.
In addition to the fairy clothes that had been displayed at the Chicago 4-day retreat, the cambric knee-length shirts charming and graceful, most recently designed by Master were also displayed, with white scarfs. Master said: "These clothes have a spiritual touch." Master went to see Her creations in the exhibition hall before giving a lecture. Master pointed out to the disciples the imperfections of the arrangements in the hall and spontaneously mentioned the distinctive features of several of the fairy clothes. Besides several white cambric fairy clothes recently designed by Master, the light yellow and orange Arabian dresses were eye-catching to everyone.
Outdoor Meditation To Spread The Buddha's Message
The outstanding feature about this seven-day retreat is the outdoor meditation at different locations in addition to the morning and evening meditations in the hotel. The outdoor meditation took place at several major public places in Taipei, including Chiang Kai-Shek International Airport, Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall, Youth Park, Chinese Stadium, Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall and Palace Museum.
To get to the outdoor meditation places, fellow initiates neatly dressed and wearing the gaily-colored hats with - "Praying For International Human Rights And World Peace" printed on them started off in nearly a hundred buses. The large flags having "The Supreme Master Ching Hai" on them would be raised in rows at the assembly ground for outdoor meditation; the gigantic pieces of cloth having the theme of this activity on them were also displayed beside the road. These arrangements and the scene of thousands of people from different countries meditating together attracted the attention of crowds and media reporters. Many people identified themselves as those who aided the refugees and praised Master's righteous action after curious inquiry.
Master took the hardship of going to the outdoor meditation grounds everyday and expounded on, the way of spiritual practice and the life to fellow initiates. Many smart reporters seized the rare opportunity to interview Master. The reports of Master's praying for refugees and mankind appeared in the newspapers very often during the period of seven-day retreat.
The outdoor meditation not only spread Master's message to more people, but also broadcasted the information of aiding refugees and praying for mankind - to different corners of Formosa as well as all over the world. The media made many of reports about this special activity.
During the seven-day retreat, Master told a story about Shakyamuni Buddha. In one of Buddha's previous life he was a very moral king, who was compassionate to all beings. One day, the Astral god wanted to test the King to see the purpose of his compassion. The Astral god asked his generals to transform into a pigeon and an eagle. The pigeon flew to the King and asked for his protection. The eagle asked the King to hand over the pigeon, and the King told the eagle that he could ask for anything except the pigeon. Therefore the eagle asked the King to cut his own flesh and blood equal to that of the pigeons weight, thus the King agreed. The Astral god used magical power to make the pigeon very heavy so that even when the King cut his own hands, thighs and chest and then all of his flesh, the same weight as the pigeon could not be reached.
At last, the Astral god appeared and asked him: "Why did you do this?" The King replied: "Because I don't think I am so important, my body and possession are nothing. If these can be used to exchange and help others to gain happiness, I am willing to give them away." This Astral god was touched, so he used his magical power to heal the King's body. Then he asked the King: "What do you want to be? What's the purpose or motive of your sacrifice? Do you want to be the Brahma?" The King said: "I want to help others only, and never think about anything in return. I only want to become Buddha and be one with God."
Master said: When we help others, that's when we are helping ourselves. For example, as the Au Lac refugees, we are not necessary helping them when we do so. We are helping ourselves to uplift our compassion and conscience, so that it will not fall asleep, and we won't regret not doing the righ thing. Because when we do something right, we are fearless even if the whole world is against us; and if we are doing the wrong thing, we should be ashamed and afraid even before a baby.
Sometimes the heavenly beings are mischievous, they'll transform into various beings to trouble us so as to test our reaction and ability. Therefore I told you before that Au Lac refugees might be the reincarnations of saints or heavenly people to help our world learning the lesson of love and brotherhood, also help us in spreading the Quan Yin Method. Maybe according to this story, we have to check if the Au Lac refugees were sent by UFO, or they were sent by heaven to test the Quan Yin practitioners, to test the compassionate people, charitable organizations, human rights organizations and amnesty organizations to see if they are sincerely pursuing their noble ideal. Therefore we must be careful, we have to remember what we want and we should know what's right. If it's right, we have to carry it through, no matter how many countries are against us.
When we do something, we may not always succeed; but it's not important, the important thing is that we do it sincerely. Just as the King in the story, the result is not important. The main point is not the pigeon should be rescued or the eagle should eat the King's flesh; it's that he did it wholeheartedly without regret. We human beings should use human standard to measure ourselves. If anything is correct and beneficial to other beings, we should do it without considering whether it's good for us or if God will reward us for it. The correct attitude we should have is while we are doing benevolent work, we do it only because it's what has to be done.
In fact sometimes we find that this world in the universe is like a theater. Everything comes and goes, nothing is real. Anyhow, since we are born as human beings, and have feelings of suffering and pleasure, we just try our best to share happiness with other people and other beings. This is our duty as a human. We have to do it no matter whether it will succeed or not, because this is our duty. We don't know whether these people are really suffering or they are heavenly people descended to this world, but due to human responsibility and compassion that impels us, we have to do it.
Giving Without Asking In Return
Master told a little story: There's a religious person, who asked God to let him go to heaven after he died. He said that he loved God all his life. God replied: "I came to see you several times, but you drove me away. How can you say that you love me?" This man was astonished, he said: "When did you come to me?" God said: "I came in the form of my children. Once I came as a beggar to beg for some food, you didn't give. Another beggar passed by, who lost his money and lost his way; he asked you for some water, and you didn't give. Once your neighbor was sick and asked you for some money to buy the medicine, you didn't give him. There was another child who didn't have parents and lost his way, he was a victim of the war. He came to you seeking shelter. He asked you to give him clothes and lodging, but you didn't accept him. These are all me. It was God who came to your door. How can you say you love me?"
Master said: This is the story of many people, the story of Au Lac refugees, Bosnian, Rwandan, African refugees and many brothers and sisters on this planet. It's because we don't take care of each other that this kind of story happens. No matter how many refugees there are in this world, if every family can take care of one refugee, there would be no more refugees long ago, and this kind of story would not exist.
There are five billion people and only some hundreds of thousand of refugees in this world now. It's not much, and we still have many problems. For example, there are only forty to fifty thousand Au Lac refugees. The whole world can not take care of this number of people, and even beat them, kick them, let them shed blood and tears, and let them suffer physically and mentally. This is not the level of a human, but near to hell, because the killing of each other, abusing of each other, and beating of each other only happens in hell; there are no such things in heaven. The human world should not be that bad. There are different levels of living, if we pull down our level, then we'll be just like animals or devils. This is how hell is formed.
Master speaks of the true meaning of charity: All charitable acts, good deeds, or any kind of conducts have certain incredible consequences. Therefore, we don't need to ask for anything. We will reap the fruit, naturally.
If we take the limitless and boundless merit and frame it inside our preconceptions or demands, then it will be squeezed into that tiny space or we will only obtain that tiny corner.
Usually, if we have no demand, we will have all, including that tiny corner. But, because we are too narrow-minded, we keep all our attention in that tiny corner. We ignore the rest of the merit, therefore, we obtain only one little thing and not the whole. That's why Buddha once said, "Giving without giving is true charity." That's true charity, perfect charity.
Training Oneself Constantly
The day before the Human Rights Conference, Master was happily chatting with disciples and said, "Tomorrow is a special day. Be more solemn." She said, "This is a way of training our quick reactions. Most people tend to stick to their routine when they are happy. If, suddenly, situations change or disasters strike, they feel painful and sad, they get scared, and they panic! If we are ready at all times, we can handle any changes and adjust to the circumstances. This way, we won't be attached to anything and won't be overcome by any situation.”
On the evening of May 25, the "International Human Rights Conference" and a press conference were held at the International Convention Center. This meeting was hosted by Mrs. Barbara Finch of the "International Federation for Human Rights" and Mr. Hung-Kwang Chen, general secretary of the "World Cultural Communication Association" and convened by the International Supreme Master Ching Hai Meditation Associations. It was attended by VIPs, reporters, and thousands of initiates from more than twenty countries. An International Human Rights proclamation drafted by Master was presented.
In the meeting, the "World Cultural Communication Association" presented Master with "The World Humanitarian Leadership Award". Mr. Chen pointed out that Master was the only person chosen to receive this award in the past ten years.
In Her acceptance speech, Master said, "I am willing even to die right now in order to save the refugees." Master's love and compassion touched everyone presented.
Master said that over the years, She has knocked on the doors of all counties in the world, hoping some would want to accept the Au Lac refugees. She would be willing to donate five to six million dollars of all Her possessions plus hundreds of thousands of dollars each month to help pay for their living expenses and job training until they could be independent. Actually, the refugees could help the economy of the countries they immigrate to. Both would gain the benefit. But, until now, no country has been willing to accept them. As Master talked about the brutal treatment of the refugees by the government of Hong Kong, again and again She shed tears.
Legislator Cheng-Chieh Lin also stated that Formosa was trying to enter the international political scene. If Formosa would accept twenty thousand Au Lac refugees in Hong Kong, it could raise its international reputation. Besides this, Formosa needs a large number of laborers now. Facing a low population growth and high rate of emigration from Formosa, Formosa has the space and ability to accommodate the refugees. He would suggest to the government to take positive steps in accepting the refugees.
A list of over 1.3 million signatures in favor of aiding the Au Lac refugees collected from all over the world was presented at the meeting. It will be delivered to President Clinton of the United States and to the United Nations to bring the refugee problems to the attention of the international communities. In addition, a collection of over one million signatures in one week in Formosa alone was given to the representatives of the National Assembly, requesting them to convey to the government the wishes of the people to accept the refugees.
A press conference followed the meeting. Master answered the various questions posed by reporters. Afterwards, Master went back to the hotel and gave personal interviews to reporters, even though it was already very late in the evening.
The next day, many major newspapers and radio stations all over the world reported the news of the "International Human Rights Conference". The messages about aiding the refugees spread quickly through the mass media to every corner of the world.
Master And Disciples Celebrate The Birth Of
Fellow disciples prepared this special occasion not only to celebrate the birthday anniversary of Sakyamuni Buddha, but also to extend a warm welcome to Master who had just returned to the country (Formosa) after more than a year absence.
That evening, our beloved and revered Master was wearing a brilliant golden Au Lac royal costume and a golden hat decorated with pearls. Amidst an atmosphere of earnest greetings from thousands of fellow practitioners and guests from over thirty countries, Master entered the venue of the celebrations with a ceremonial and magnificent demeanor. The whole place was filled with deafening applause.
During the evening, fellow practitioners representing countries from the continents of Europe, North and South America and Asia extended their utmost efforts to present highly talented performances of both traditional and contemporary styles. Such a great variety has rarely been seen at even major programs in the country. Under Master's great blessing power, many performers reached an "egoless" state.
The dance by the Korean fellow practitioners was truly splendid. The "Flower Dance" is usually performed only at the commencement of national celebrations, on the Emperor's birthday, or at the New Years Festival. Expressing their heartfelt gratitude to Master, initiates from Seoul offered this dance to Her with deep respect.
An African dance was performed by a Canadian sister initiate whose dancing is of international standard. The dance displayed the strong determined and energetic qualities of the African females, as well as expressing their feelings of love and joy.
One brother from Hawaii was inspired by the Inner Master to write a song named "Inside My Heart". Dedicating the song to Master, he sang it in a most touching way.
"The beautiful Costa Rica", a traditional national dance, was performed by the Costa Rican disciples. Accompanied by soft music, this dance portrayed the national characteristic of the Costa Ricans' love for peace and Mother nature.
The dance "Salutation" by the French fellow practitioners brought to life the blissful atmosphere created by a group of subjects on greeting their noble queen. Master said that the French people are the most elegant and courteous, also the most gifted in artistic talents. Therefore, the Au Lac people call Paris "The Capital of Brilliance". Master recalled that She had only lectured once in Paris, yet the fellow practitioners there practice very diligently. They are also eager in aiding the Au Lac refugees. Master is very happy with them.
With great skill, one Japanese initiate played a beautiful piano sonata. Initiates from the host country, Formosa, presented a large variety of performances. The dance "Flying Fairy" from Hsinchu vividly portrayed the blissful Goddess of Freedom depicted in the Dun Huang murals. The contemporary dance "The Red Tide" by the Taipei initiates, portrayed the suffering of the refugees detained in the camps, their struggle and the final gaining freedom with help from the free world.
The program ended with the songs from a choir of Taipei initiates, "Hope" and "Baby, Come Home!", which voiced the heartfelt feelings of both Master and disciples:
..."The world is one big family, all humans are kin. We wish that all brothers and sisters may live blissfully hereafter."....
After the conclusion of the program, fellow initiates earnestly requested Master to sing a song on the stage. Feeling concerned about the situation of the refugees, Master repeatedly expressed that She was not in the mood to sing. However, not wishing to disappoint the disciples, She finally sang a song on the stage. When Master was singing "Love me... love me... and I'll set you free", Her distinct voice stirred the entire hall, and also voiced our longings. The applause from the audience seemed never ending.
After the song, Master walked around, greeting fellow practitioners. After accepting their warm salutations, Master left the venue, thus ending this rare occasion.
On May 27, the last day of the retreat, fellow initiates gathered in the ballroom on the second floor of the Asiaworld Plaza Hotel to listen to Master as She concluded the seven-day retreat. In Her final speech Master said, "The seven-day retreats held by others usually will not have an attendance exceeding fifty persons. Here we have 5 thousands, and the meditation gatherings are so orderly and quiet, which is very rare in this world." Master also said, "Each time we hold a three-day or seven-day retreat, thousands of initiates come from faraway places to attend. This shows that we have derived benefits from these meditation programs. That we can persist in the meditation shows that our inner level is improving." "By occasionally grouping together for meditation, we can bring beneficial and positive energy into the world. This is vital for improvements and progress all over the world."
Concerning aiding the refugees, Master reminded each of us to do our best, and not to hesitate or always await Master's instruction. On the path of spiritual practice, we should adhere to Master's instructions, but concerning the issue of aiding the refugees, both Master and disciples should strive together for the same objective.
In order to satisfy our longings to see Master more, She gave us some good news: She would stay at the Hsihu Center for a while. Fellow initiates could go to see Master. Foreign disciples would be allowed to stay at the Center for a short time. Everybody was so delighted at hearing the news with the expectation of our subsequent meeting with Master at the Hsihu Center.
Master's profound love and concern for human beings was significantly
obvious in this international seven-day retreat and the related activities.
Despite Her nobility as a living Buddha, She humbly went to the streets,
appealing to humanity to stop their foolish acts, striving to eliminate our
karma, and praying for the blessings for humankind. Bestowed with Master's
infinite grace, we should exert our best efforts to help the refugees as
instructed by Her!