A Humble Saint
There is a good story about what a master should be. Would you like to hear? (Audience: Yes, yes!) Suppose you want to be a master, so listen carefully. Here is the way, the method and the secret. Now, there was a man, so holy, so pure, that even the angels would rejoice every time to see him. However, despite his great purity and holiness, he had no idea that he was holy and great. That was the only problem with this guy. So, he just went about his business, and tried to humbly distribute whatever goods he had, or whatever goodness he possessed without even thinking about anything, just like a flower emitting a beautiful fragrance without even knowing that it has the fragrance, like the sun diffusing all its warm and beautiful nourishing sun rays without ever knowing it. That was the way the man was.
His holiness laid in this so that he forgot every person's past and looked at them as they were now, and at the person only. He looked beyond each person's appearance to the very center of their being where they were innocent and blameless. Even too ignorant to know what people did. He saw nothing extraordinary about his behavior or in the way he looked at people, because it was the result of perhaps the purity inside or the way he lived his holy life.
So, one day an angel came to him and said, "We have been sent by God and Hes has thrown upon you favors that whatever you wish will be given to you, so ask now."
The holy man was speechless in his very innocent way and didn't know what to wish for. The angels had to give him a kind of idea. They asked him, "Would you like the gift of healing, for example? The man said, "No. I would rather God did the healing Hirmself."
Yeah, a clever man. (Master laughs.) He didn't want to do anything. Yes, if we were asked, then we'll tell our wish. We would say, "No, we'd rather go to heaven and don't have to meditate even; or God can come to make a better, no leaking meditation hall for us Hirmself."
The angel continued to ask him, "Would you like to bring the sinners back to the path of righteousness?"
"No." (Master laughs.) Funny man. "No," he said, "It's not for me to touch the human's hearts. That's the work of the angels."
Pooh! Then what does he do? Oh, I could say the same thing and I'd be finished. So, the angels continued patiently, with all reverence, and asked him, "Would you like to be such a model of virtue that people would be drawn to imitate you?"
"No," was the man's astonishing reply, "What for? For that would make me the center of the attention."
Wow! He's clever. That's the worst thing you could be -- the center of attention. Yuck! I know what it's like. How did this man become so clever? He has not been the attention and he knows already. Yes, I should have known this before.
"Then what do you wish for?" the angel asked.
"I wish for the grace of God," was his reply. "Having the grace of God, I will have all the contentment, and all my desires fulfilled."
The angels were thinking that this man, despite his holiness, is so stupid. God doesn't grant favors that often, and God doesn't dispatched an angel to anyone that often in order to grant him boons. This man, how come that he is so holy but stupid? So, they forced him. They said, "God's will shall be done. Now, you must have a wish, or one will be forced upon you." (Everyone laughs.)
I thought God was liberal, but Hes is a dictator. We always thought God gives us free will, and lets you do what you want. Is that not true? How come here Hes is like a dictator? Hes forces people to want something. That's the problem with Hirm. (Laughter)
Okay. Then, the old man was kind of forced into this situation. He had to obey God's will. So, he said, "All right, all right. Then, I shall ask one wish. Whatever good be done through me, don't let me know it." Wow, that was nice!
Master's Holy Wish
I remember when I first wished for something, when I wasn't enlightened, before I became acquainted with the Quan Yin Method. It was the first Buddha (statue) I took home in Germany. That was not the first Buddha but the first Buddha in Germany. My Buddhist teachers believed that if I took a Buddha alone home, without the presence of a master, a teacher, a nun, then the Buddha is no good. I mean the Buddha will be good for nothing. So, if you want to worship a Buddha, you have to ask a monk or nun to bless it for you. Bring it to your house and have a ceremony with flowers, incense and food. Just symbolic. Then, you have to bow to the Buddha, then to the teacher and then make a wish. If your wish is to be granted, all the incense will curl like a spiral and never drop on the floor. Normally when incense burns, it drops like cigarette ashes. But when your wish is sincere and accepted, then all the incense will curl like a spiral.
We burned a lot of incense, not only one. That was the problem. I don't know why the Buddha has to test people's sincerity to this extent. So many incense and each of them had to curl like this. Oh, God! I was thinking, I don't think I will make it. Ha! Look at all the incense; and I always saw the incense ash drop immediately after it burned. So, anyhow I just did as I was told. I wished, "Okay! I don't mind that people told me that human life is very suffering, and that we have to make a lot of merit in order to get out of human life. I don't mind if I stay in human life because it's not so bad for me. So, whatever good I have, it should be distributed to people who need it most, and don't let me even know about it."
That was my wish. Then, all the incense curled like this. (Master laughs, audience applauds.) I was thinking that my teachers had bought special incense for me, that was for sure. A special one already curled in advance, or not the spiral incense, the incense stick very straight and they have to curl by themselves with the ash, you know. (A: Yes!) That's how the Buddha tests the people's devotion. But I was thinking it was the blessing of my teachers. Yes, they were very holy, these people -- the Buddhist nuns and monks at that time. The whole family had become nuns and monks. I think they helped me a lot in my time in Germany, taught me a lot of things. I thought they were very holy, and due to their blessings, the incense dared not go straight or drop but just curled. I thought that they had magical power, something like that.
So, they were very happy for me. They thought, "Oh, whatever you wished will come true." I was not supposed to tell them what I wished inside, I just did it alone. So, today I am telling you just to let you know that I am very good. (Master laughs.) Okay, anyhow, you don't have to believe it. (Applause) But after I've told you I don't know if I am good anymore. I don't know if I should have told you. It was just by the way. When I read this, it reminded me of my thing. At that time I didn't practice the Quan Yin Method yet. I just recited Buddhist's sutras, recited the Buddhist's great compassionate mantras and recited the Quan Yin Bodhisattva's name and the name of the Medical Buddha and whatever. Everyday, I was busy with all these thick books, of which I didn't understand half. (Laughter)
The Saint's Shadow
So, it was accepted that the holy man's wish would be granted. Now, because the holy man didn't want to know whatever good done through him, God had arranged it that his shadow would be a great blessing for anyone or anything, anywhere that it fell upon; and the man would never know anyhow because he would look in the front. So wherever the holy man went this shadow fell on the ground and fertilized the land; it made the rain fall where it was needed, and made the sun shine where there was not enough sun; it made the people become healed of all diseases and healed the afflictions of their souls; and made the place prosper. Mountains became green, springs and fountains also sprang forth in different places. Many people who had been weighed down with karma and bad fortunes began to look more alive and became more healthy and more hopeful.
That was the benefit of the shadow of this holy man according to God's arrangement. All the while, the man never knew anything about it; because he always look in the front and did just his things, busy with his business. He didn't know what was happening behind him through his shadow.
This is the true master. Therefore, you've never heard of any master who says that he knows anything about what he's doing to you. So, don't be surprised. Many disciples always praise the great master for helping him, helping her do this, that or heal their sicknesses, change their misfortunes and bless their houses or do anything. But the master never knows about it, and don't be surprised. If the master says he knows, he's not a master. (Master laughs.) Maybe sometimes the master, through initiates and through the blessing of God, knows once in a while; but it's not always conscious to the master about the good things that he or she does for mankind.
Also, in Buddhism, the Buddha said, The one who says he's the Buddha, he's not the Buddha. That doesn't mean that after Buddhahood, you can not say you have attained the Buddhahood, you may say so. But that doesn't mean that you are very, very aware about it; because Buddhahood has no definition. Truly, if we say we've attained something, that is not yet.
There's Nothing Except God
In the Diamond Sutra, the Buddha emphasized again, again and again that there's nothing to attain, there's no Buddhahood to realize. It's not because we couldn't become holy, but everything holy belongs to God, belongs to Buddha nature. If we have attained our simplicity and purity enough; then, that Buddhahood and that God power will reveal itself accordingly without us having to know about it. How can we use the mind of a human brain to understand the limitless, expansive nature of God, or the Buddha nature.
If we ever profess that we know that we are Buddha, we truly know that, or that we know we are holy or we know God or things like that, it's just a way of saying, but it's not truly so. If God can be described and can be known by human's brain then it's not the true God, it's not the true Buddha nature. Buddha nature is within and without us. God is within and without, in heaven and on earth. We are swimming in God, breathing in God, eating in God, have our lives in God, have all the essence in God. There's nothing except God, around and about us. There's no need to say that I've come in touch with God, I am looking for God. Hes is everywhere.
So, whenever we feel that we have attained something, stop and remember this story. If we ever want to know what a master is like, remember this story.
A Master Never Knows That He's Holy
A master never knows that he's holy, doesn't matter what he acts or what he is like. Sometimes he admits it or whatever, whether it is for the sake of sentient beings or just for the sake of just to get it over with; because they keep asking all the time. So, then they say okay, okay, I am a Buddha, so what, what next. Something like that.
People sometimes insist you admit that you are something in order to argue around. Just like sometimes you come on a bus and sit there and someone next to you or opposite you keeps looking at you all the time and says, "Are you American?" for example like that.
Then you say, "No, I'm not."
She says, "But I'm sure you are American."
Then you say, "Certainly not, ma'am."
She continues looking at you and says, "But you look like. Just admit it, won't you. You can just tell me that you're an American. It's free here."
So, finally, you're fed up, you say, "Okay, I am an American!" (Master laughs.)
Then, she keeps looking at you again, and says, "Well, on second thought, you don't look American." (Master and audience laugh.) When I first came out into the world (preaching), and had contact with the human brain, I went on and on about the blessings and Buddha's power, the Quan Yin Method and all that, according to their requests. Then, they kept insisting that I tell them that I am a Buddha. I said, "Well, there's no need to say that, and I don't even know if I am a Buddha."
But they said, "You are the Buddha. You must tell us! Like Shakyamuni Buddha said, I am the Buddha. I'm the one and only, you should say the same."
And they kept insisting and pressing me on and after a while I said, "Okay, I am a Buddha."
Now, when I remember the Buddha's Diamond sutra, it says, The one who knows he's a Buddha, is not a Buddha. (Master laughs, audience applauds.) Now, you tell me!
We cannot win. So, just know yourself or don't know yourself. Whatever you're comfortable with, it's okay. We cannot argue back and forth with all these people. Humans, their brains are made this way, just to make trouble where trouble is not, just to ask a question where a question is not necessary, and to give an answer when an answer is not sought, things like that. Always the same. What we do is just continue with our daily business, do the best of our ability according to our knowledge, according to our conscience about what a good human being should be. What we should do in this life is our duty, our daily work, just do the things that we feel good with, that we think that we should do and that's it. If God is pleased with our behavior and purity, then Hes would grant us whatever we need, or whatever is beneficial to mankind through us.
There is no need to worry about your level or whether you have attained Buddhahood or you have gone to the ninth level or not yet. I'm still on the fifth, but you have gone to the ninth already. The master is supposed to be at the fifth level, but some people think they're on the ninth. Congratulations! It's a little bit too far for us, but it's okay if he likes to go there.
It's God's Power Who's Doing All This
According to this story, the saint didn't know much about the good things that were attached to him and his shadow, because the people were very centered on the shadow that they forgot about the man. So, his wish, that whatever good had been done through him should not be revealed to him, had come true. God has granted him this wish. This is exactly what the master is, according to my humble knowledge, opinion and experience.
So, if you want to ask me what the master is like, he's like this man, nothing more. (Applause) If you ever want to know what the master is like or thank the master for anything, it's not necessary really, because it's God power who's doing all of this. The master is always free naturally. He's like one of us. Never having the burden of carrying the holiness on these shoulders all the time or having to take care of this holiness or this Buddhahood, so that it doesn't slip away or that he doesn't fall down to another level or things like that. Once you've attained Buddhahood, once God is pleased with you, Hes does not withdraw the favor. He will continue to have this all his life without even knowing about it.
If we do good to mankind, what for should we know about it. It's mankind who is benefitted. That's the main important thing. Because we wanted to benefit people, so if they got the benefit, doesn't matter where from or how it was done. There are not many masters on earth, but some of the masters that I've met, the true masters, they are like that, very, very humble and very ordinary. They don't really know their supremacy inside, they don't know their holiness. Maybe they love people, they bless people according to their wish, but they don't feel themselves is a "blesser". Yes, maybe they act like a master because people expect it. Just like the lady who kept asking, "You're an American, aren't you?" Then finally you say, "So, yes." Just okay, okay why not. Keep refusing all the time makes so much trouble. So, the master is like that. Just act accordingly so that everyone is pleased and happy and just to make things simple. Otherwise, the master never thinks, never feels that he or she is a master.
Why We Can't Integrate With Master
That's why I don't have problems integrating with you, but you have problems integrating with me; because you always carry a master in your head and I don't carry any disciples at all in my mind. I look at you as one of the persons. That is why I don't like it when you are too humble or you are over-acting that you love me so much, respect me too much, whatever. I don't feel natural. If I come to know a person and said, "Oh, you can be my friend, no problem." And for me no problem, but for him it was a problem; because he always thinks I'm a master. I said, "I never think of you as a disciple." So, it has never been any obstacle from the beginning.
But you always have problems being my friends and that's why I don't have friends because you put me too high and you put me separately. That is why we have problems communicating with each other. That's why you misunderstand what I tell you, often, and that is why you don't do the things I request; because you think whatever you do for me must be very special, extra special. Whatever it is, it turns out terrible, because you do it with the ego, with the way you think, not the way it should be done. That is why everything done for me is a mess. Always never the way I want -- simple, logical and common sense. They have to make such a big deal about everything and I end up suffering. (Master laughs.)
No One Knows How A Master Suffers
To be a master is such a difficult job, and such a suffering position; because people heap upon you their own opinions about what a master should be, how a master should have, what a master should like, how a master should live. Therefore, the master becomes like a prisoner in your heart; and when there are so many hearts put together, the master is finished. The worst criminal has only one solitary cell, but the master has thousands, hundreds of thousands, millions of solitary cells to live in. Do you understand? Because our minds are very narrow and limited, the love in our hearts is human-made. So, the master has to stay there and do work the way we think. Otherwise, we give the master hell. Like you don't expect the master to do this, you don't expect the master to wear that, you don't expect the master to speak like this and blah, blah, blah, blah. You give this rejecting and refusing atmosphere to the master every time in your hearts. That's how you make a master a prisoner in your frame, in the narrow walls of your minds; and that's how the master has to suffer.
It's like a bird, you put it in a cage. Doesn't matter if it's an iron cage or a golden cage, it's still a cage. The master can not be free because of the master's love for mankind; he or she will not be free until everyone is free. But it's no problem, just to let you know what it's like because you always ask me, "What's it like to be a master and what would the master feel like or how is it, what is a master made of?" The master is made of simplicity, just like every of us. Just because we complicate our lives, therefore we can not be one with the universe and God can not contact us. We build walls of prejudice, of religious expectations, of social behavior patterns, anything to separate ourselves from the natural way of life. That is why we can not become a master; originally everyone could.
So, as long as we still occupy ourselves with such things as, what other people think, or what the master should be like, we can never be one. Just drop every idea, be as a child, and then you will know what's it like. But it's better still that you don't know people, you don't go out teaching, you don't lecture and all that; because then you're finished. People will surround you with all kinds of troubles, all kinds of walls and frames. Then, it's very difficult to move in your life. You still can try it, but it's difficult and a lot of suffering -- mentally inside, not outside, outside you don't see much. If some people cut your arms or bruise your leg, people see it and sympathize with you; but if it's bruised inside, very difficult, no one knows.