Good evening! I'm very honored to be in this royal country again, because your country makes the guests, the visitors feel very comfortable and feel at home in the first instance. Today I have the feeling that I would like to stay in Thailand forever. I don't want to go home. (Applause) I feel so touched by the spirit of brotherhood and nobility of the people of Thailand. When you come to Thailand, you can not help but also feel yourself very noble, very graceful. You can not kind of bring yourself into saying something which is not polite, which is not noble, or bring yourself to do any kind of not noble or not gracious actions.
A Beautiful Country Fulfills The Buddha's Teaching
When I first went to another country, they keep the tradition of the Buddhist very strictly. I thought that was good. But when I came to Thailand, I see a little different tradition. Here, for example, anyone can become monk for one week, three months, one year or forever. It's up to him or her; and no one would blame him or degrade him, if he came out of the monk order. Now, I think this is even better.
That means the Thai people have truly understood the doctrine of equality from the Buddha, and of the liberal spirit that we should obtain for ourselves and also grant others the same privilege. We should not try to find the Buddha nature from the outer appearance or dress but we should look right through into the soul of mankind. That is why Thai people are so beautiful and open. That is when I see the benefit of temples, of monks, of nuns and of the teachings of the Buddha; because to be a Buddhist by name is not as important as to understand the essence of the teachings of the Buddhist doctrine. I'm very happy to find that such a people exist on this Earth.
On the way to this lecture hall, I was deep in prayer for your country. While I was sitting in the car, I said to the Buddhas (enlightened beings) of the ten directions, please bless your country, bless the people of Thailand; because they are so noble, they are so pure, and so sincere. This prayer came from my very heart. I wish your country more prosperity, more nobility and more enlightenment. If one day I decide to stay here for sometime, I hope you will welcome me as a Thai citizen. (Applause) I already tried very hard on the first day. Yesterday, I promised some of the Thai disciples to wear Thai dress, because they wished me to do. I hope I didn't make a very bad example of your tradition, because your tradition is very beautiful. I can only try my best to make an imitate of it.
We All Come From A Glorious Origin
When I say music that is because there are no better words to compare. Otherwise, this is a kind of very powerful energy which will kind of draw us upward into the higher dimensions of the universe. Our Quan Yin Method is named after this quality of the heavenly teaching; because Quan means the observation, Yin means this musical sound.
In the old times, when people still had very convenient connection with heaven, we always heard this music. Therefore, we tried to make many musical instruments which have lasted until today; and we have a lot of kinds of imitations of the heavenly teaching. So, we have the church bells, the harp, the flute, the piano, the zither, etc. Therefore, when we go to the church we see all kinds of musical instruments, when we go the temple we have also different kinds of musical instruments. When our relatives or friends die, the church services or temple services resound with musical accompaniment. That is the left-over from the age-old glorious heavenly tradition.
The Heavenly Music Comforts Our Souls
Now, if the man-made physical music could comfort the people when they departed from this world and could comfort the hell beings, then we can imagine how much greater a comfort we would get while we are still living and if we get direct original music from heaven. Therefore, many enlightened beings from higher dimensions in the universe, sometimes come down to our world and try to give us this connection with the Buddha's land or the highest heaven. Once we are connected with this teaching directly from the Buddha's lands or from heaven, our life changes forever; because we begin to enter into the golden teaching, the golden dimension of the higher beings, like Buddhas or saints of different degree.
Therefore, when the Buddha came to our world, He said, I come to make you become a Buddha. Jesus came and He said, whatever I do, you can do also. The same with different founders of different religions. They brought the message of equality between all beings.
But what is it that makes us become a Buddha? If it is all the teachings from the Buddha that make us become a Buddha then we would have become a Buddha long time ago. Similarly, if all my teachings which are recorded by my disciples and printed in books could make you become enlightened, then I don't need to come. I would just send the books to your house; and we, the disciples, don't need to spend days, time, and a lot of energy and money to organize today's lecture.
So, we remember when the Buddha transmitted the dharma -- means the essence of the teaching -- to his fourth disciple Mahakasiba, He said, there are no words for it, no language for transmission. My doctrine, my teachings are non-verbal. The same with different patriarchs of the Buddhist system. For example, the Sixth Zen Patriarch Hue Nung of China. Similar with different religious systems, we have to get the essence of the Master -- not the letters, not the words, the essence we have to get.
The Quan Yin Method is the way to help us to get this essence without language. This method is very ancient, since the time that we appeared on this planet. We came from a glorious dimension and we have to go back there, because our work on this Earth does not last forever. So, for some people who feel that they are ready to go home, the Quan Yin Method will be exactly for them.
How do we know that your time has come? When we feel that this world has no more attraction for us, when we feel that everything here doesn't satisfy us, when we know, we see everything here doesn't offer us a kind of everlasting happiness, that is the time to go home. For others who do not feel the same -- they feel they still like to stay in this world, they feel like they still want to do many things and they feel satisfied with this world, for these, the time has not come; because each one of us has a different mission for this planet.
For some of us the work is finished and we feel we can not stay here any longer, nothing appeals to us anymore. We long to find something, but we do not know what it is. Even if we have great possession of property, of fame and of respect in this world, we still feel there is something missing.
Searching For The Inner Treasure
So, whoever has not found this essence yet, we offer to help them, be it a monk, a nun or a lay person; because our inner nature does not discriminate the robe, the place, the position of the human being. That's why when the Buddha was alive, he had different kinds of disciples. Some were monks, some were householders. But there was one of householder person, his name is Vimalakirti. He was wiser than many of the monks in the Buddha's disciples' circle. (Q: Was he a male or female?) Male. But don't worry. Females can also become Buddha.
In the sutra called the Lotus Sutra... "sutra means Bible, the Sanskrit scripture. The Buddha spoke many things and each time they recorded it into a book which is called a sutra or we can call it a scripture. Sutra is the Sanskrit name for scripture. Sometimes because we speak in English terminology and we forget to translate into modern English. I forgot. Just like "Buddha is the Sanskrit name of an enlightened master. If you do not translate, it sounds foreign, it sounds very farfetched. When we say 'enlightened master' it sounds closer, that we can obtain it maybe.
Now, in that Lotus scripture, the Manjusri Bodhisattva mention that a girl of eight-years old had attained Buddhahood, a girl. Bodhisattva means enlightened saint. So you see, to be a lay person and to be a woman is no problem for Buddhahood. Similarly, in Christianity there are different male and female saints. So, we don't worry about man or woman. What I say to you has proof from the ancient scriptures, not from my own making. If you do not believe, you can go home and search in these sutras and have a look. In any temple you can find this. In any church, you can find the records of different male and female saints.
So the essence of the teachings is not possible to be conveyed into human language. It can only be transmitted through inner wisdom and through silence; but in silence we will see the light of heaven, we will see Buddha's land, we will hear the melodious teachings from the higher dimensions. Everything that is spoken in words, is only an introduction to the true teachings. Just like when we advertise the lotus flower or we talk about the lotus flower, it is not the flower itself. When we talk about the king or the queen of Thailand, these are not the king or queen, just an introduction, just talk about them.
It's nice to talk about the king and queen, but it would be much nicer for us to see these noble persons in person. Just like ordinarily, it's nice to talk about our beloved, our girlfriends, boyfriends, wife and husband; but it's better for us to be with them, to see them personally. So, it's good to know that Buddhas exist, that Buddha's land is there, that heaven is somewhere; but it would be best if we can experience these ourselves.
That is the reason why many people would like to get the initiation, to get enlightenment; because they want the real thing. If you are those that want to see the real thing, we are willing and we are happy to help you. It's very easy -- even children can do it, if we know how; because we already have it within ourselves. If I have this paper in my hands, I can see it any time; but if I am too busy looking somewhere and busy with something else and forget the paper is in my hand, of course I will not see it even though it is in my hands.
Enlightenment Is Our Nature
To end suffering doesn't mean we run away from suffering, it doesn't mean we run away from the world. We just make ourselves stronger, so that the suffering seems nothing. That even when we experience the most severe blow of upheaval, we feel that for only few minutes. Then the next minute life becomes normal again. To end suffering doesn't mean we never suffer again after enlightenment. It just means that we are strong enough to withstand suffering and to be detached from happiness. Then we can rise above all changes in this ephemeral world in order to recognize the real.
This is the way that Buddha has taught His disciples more than two thousand years ago, and this tradition continues forever. As long as there are human beings who wish to return to the source, who wish to become enlightened and to end the suffering, there will be the teachings of the Buddha or the great saints.
A Logical, Scientific And Easy Method
Questions And Answers
Q: What is wisdom?
M: Wisdom is what we called Buddha nature or the Kingdom of God within ourselves. This is the greatest intelligent resource from which all intelligence comes. When this wisdom is opened, we know everything without knowing, we can do everything without doing, and we can be anywhere at the same time without going anywhere. When this wisdom is opened, we have the power of Almighty, omnipresence and all-knowing.
Q: To obtain Buddhahood or nirvana, can everyone reach it?
M: Yes, but it depends on your sincerity, your diligence and also your background merit.
Q: After we have attained enlightenment and we die, where do we go?
M: It depends on where you are when you are alive. For example, during our life if we have attained the third level of enlightenment or the third heaven -- it's not the highest heaven, when we leave this world, we'll go to the third heaven. Then our master will continue to teach us and then we can gradually also rise up to nirvana or the highest dimension of heaven. If we have already reached nirvana in this lifetime then after we leave this world, of course, we will go to nirvana. 'Nirvana' is a Sanskrit word for the highest heaven, what is termed "the Kingdom of God in Christianity.
Q: This is the first time I have been to Bangkok; but in my dream, I have seen this lecture surroundings before. Is this something to do with my previous life?
M: If you have affinity with a master, any master, then sometimes the master will give you some sign of recognition before you see that master, so that you know this is for you. It is just a proof, a signal, for your recognition. Therefore, you have seen this lecture before you even came here. That's just the blessing from the Buddhas, to let you know you have come to the right place and met the right person. Many people have had similar kinds of experiences before they met me in person. Sometimes even 17 years, 20 years, 10 years ago, before I even appeared in the public for the first time.
Q: Master, can You see the future? If You can, would You tell us when the end of the world will come?
M: I don't want to see the end of the world. (Applause) I want to see that you help me to preserve this beautiful planet. The future is in our hands, so you make it beautiful or you make it worse; it's up to you. (Applause) We do not have to, we should not think in this negative way about anything. We should always try our best to do good, to think good, to speak good, then the future will be good. (Applause) Is it not easy, right? For example, before I came here, I put on a beautiful dress, I put on nice jewelry, because I wanted to appear beautiful before you. I made the decision to be beautiful. I could have also made the decision not to be beautiful and appeared to you in rags, dirty clothes, unkempt hair, and lousy looking. So the future is yours.
Q: After initiation we are not allowed to heal other people's sickness, what is the reason behind this?
M: It's not that you are not allowed, you are advised not to. It's better for you; because after enlightenment, you don't have to do any kind of actions to heal people. They just get healed automatically if they think of you, if they pray to you. That is better for both sides; because if the person knows that you healed them, they will be attached to you. They'll worship you, instead of finding inside their own healing power. They will rely on you, instead of relying on themselves. That is slavery. That's dependence. That is not the teaching of equality, it's not the teaching of enlightenment.
Now, when you heal without doing anything, your ego will not become bigger; and that's good for you also. Many people claim that they are healed by me when they pray to me, but I never do anything. Therefore, I can not be proud, I can not take credit for anything. If we are proud of any achievement, we walk the road of illusion, of maya. So I try to teach you the way of egoless practice, the way without pride. (Applause)
Q. Why does having sex outside of marriage mean we can not reach enlightenment?
M: I did not say you can not reach enlightenment. I just said that you are advised not to. The more disciplined, the stronger your mind-power, the stronger the concentration, the more powerful you will be. You can reach enlightenment; but you might not be so fast, if you are too much divided, if your attention is too scattered on different material matters. Extra-sexual relationships bring trouble, bring strain, bring unhappiness into the family relationship and atmosphere. That divides your attention.
Also lately, scientists have discovered that people who have extra-sexual relationships, outside marriage, tend to have more heart-attacks, more diseases and shortened life. That comes from the restless conscience. Therefore, whatever I tell you is also very, very scientific. This I told you long ago, but the scientists just discovered lately.
Q: Is Your initiation method the same as in Taoism?
M: In the ancient time, originally the Taoist way is the Quan Yin way; but today Taoism is different. Many Taoist sects have only the written and oral doctrine, they don't have the speechless transmission. The same with many other religious divisions.
Q: The business life means hard-work, confusion, confrontation of problems the whole day. How can we provide time to study meditation, because I think it needs time?
M: I told you already that you can find time, anytime you have time. Business and obligations in this world we have to fulfill anyhow. Even if you are monks or nuns, you still have to do some kind of business, do kinds of work in the temple. So, there is no priority, no privilege for anyone.
Do you think we, this group, me and my close disciples, cross our legs all day long and do nothing? If that were the case, you would never see me tonight. I had to work for the airplane tickets for a lot of people. For all the equipment, for all the staff members that you have seen, we all have to work. So, don't have the illusion about a life in the Himalayas with nothing to do.
Enlightenment must be also useful to the society. Otherwise, what is the use? So, do your work and try to meditate at your free time. If you try your best, the Buddhas, God will know your efforts and bless you all the same.
Q: Could You explain about the cycle of rebirth?
M: You see, when we still have desire for anything in this world, we will be given another human body or another kind of body again, in order to make us satisfied. That is the cycle of rebirth. When we owe someone something, we have to go back and repay. Therefore, when I teach you meditation, I also tell you to keep the precepts. Make sure we don't owe anyone anything financially, emotionally, mentally, and even physically. Therefore, we keep the vegetarian diet; so we don't owe any living beings their life. (Applause) Thank you for understanding.
Q: To see God and attain enlightenment, are they the same or different?
M: Oh, yes, the same. God is enlightenment; and when we are enlightened, we are able to know God.
Q: Is it sinful to give meat to the dog we raise at home?
M: The dog can be vegetarian also, then you don't have to share his karma; or you don't have to have a dog, save the problem.
Q: How can we know that what we think is not wrong?
M: Whatever you think, if that doesn't hurt someone else, then it is not wrong.
Q: Can we go to heaven just eating vegetarian food?
M: You go the heaven if you behave according to heavenly rules. Vegetarian food is just one of the rules. Otherwise, you will go to vegetarian heaven, and see all the cows there. (Laughter)
Q: Who are You, Master Ching Hai? (Applause)
M: I am what you think myself to be. (Applause) I am different according to individuals, but I never change. According to your understanding level, so I will be.
Q: It relates to that question. Where are You from?
M: I came from the exact place that you came from. (Applause)
Q: What do You want in Your life?
M: It's difficult, because I don't remember if I wanted anything. I used to want before but now, I forgot. Before enlightenment, I used to want many things. Like you, I wanted to be successful, I wanted to graduate with the best mark, I wanted to have a good husband, I want to have a harmonious family. Finally, I wanted enlightenment. Now, I want nothing. (Applause)
Q: In meditation, we see the white light in the middle. Can You explain about this?
M: It depends on the brightness of that light. If it is as bright as a thousand suns, then you have reached the third level of enlightenment. If it's still very dim, then you have to try harder. There are greater lights than this white light. Only those with the initiation will experience the greater light.
Q: If we have killed someone and practice the Quan Yin Method, can we be delivered in this life?
M: Killed someone? Yes, you can, if you repent and don't do it again. You did it because you did not understand, or because the circumstances forced you to do it. So it will be forgiven if you understand now and try to keep the precept. When the Buddha was alive, someone killed ninety-nine persons, and wanted to kill the Buddha to make it a hundred; because his previous teacher cheated him to do that. But when he came to the Buddha, the Buddha enlightened him, he knew it, he repented, the Buddha forgave him, and he became Arhat in a very short time. We have the same method to cleanse all the sins.
Q: How do we know our original self?
M: Get enlightenment then you know everything.
Q: Why is it that as the scientific world learns more and more, it goes closer to religions?
M: Religions originally are very scientific. It's just a science of life. Therefore, many enlightened masters know a lot of things before the scientific discoveries. For example, the Buddha said that in a glass of water, there are numerous sentient beings inside; and the scientists refer to them now as bacteria. The Buddha knew that over two thousand years ago. It took a lot of time and research before the scientists confirmed that; because the enlightened person sees with their real wisdom eye, and the scientists have to see with instruments.
Q: In order to get initiation, people have to eat vegetarian food for the whole life. It is very difficult. Don't You think that it prevents a lot of other people to do or to practice good things?
M: Yes, it's difficult; but we don't have to always do easy things. These are reserved for the babies, children. If we are grown up, we do something difficult; because we are strong. But it's up to you.
We have two kinds of methods. One is called 'the great way,' and the other one is called 'the small way'. 'Great way' is initiation, fully vegetarian, keep the precepts; and you can save five generations and give them liberation and save anyone that is dear and beloved to you. So, one person enlightened, many people get benefit. 'The small way' is, you are enlightened yourself and benefit your very own. 'The small way,' you can have, as expedient, convenient method. My disciples can teach you, if you require them. In this method, you don't have to be completely vegetarian. You try as much as you can to eat vegetarian to lessen your karma. 'Karma' means the bad or good effect from the action.
Q: How can we know that we attained Buddhahood?
M: We know, but we don't know; because Buddhahood is not candies or cakes that you can define, "Oh! I've got a cake. But we know, the Buddhas in the ten directions know, the whole world knows, and the whole universe knows. When you attain Buddhahood there are different signs. Without your knowing, you have all healing power, almighty power or all-pervading power. That means you can appear in a thousand and one places at the same time, while you are sitting in your house. That's one of the signs of the Buddhahood -- very important sign; so that you can help different sentient beings in different parts of the universe, not only this world, different heavens and hells as well. Your disciples will know that you are the Buddha.
TOKYO -- Advice by North Korea to its citizens on how to make roots and wild grass taste better is another sign of a worsening food crisis and of a pressing need for international help, experts said Thursday.
"Today, I will introduce you to tasty and healthy ways to eat wild grass, a woman said in Korean Central Broadcasting program; which was aired Thursday by the Japan Broadcasting Corp. It was the first known public advice by North Korea that people turn to grass and roots, an official said.
"Parsley will be good after being briefly cooked in boiling water or fried, the broadcaster advised. "Making kimchi out of parsley will also be good, she added against background pictures of edible wild plants. Kimchi is a spicy Korean pickled dish, usually made of cabbage. A Japanese commentator said that, in addition to the recipes, Pyongyang was broadcasting advice on ways to select edible wild grasses and roots.
International organizations have said food shortages are getting worse daily in the isolated nation, which was hit by severe flooding last year. Foreign estimates put the daily average grain ration now at 250 grams (9 ounces) a person, less than half the amount needed for good health.
Meanwhile, South Korea told the government of the North that it was prepared to send 7,000 tons of milk powder to help ease near-famine conditions there, but Pyongyang was said to have responded that it would prefer rice.
The South Korean press agency quoted a senior government official as saying that an offer to send the milk free of charge had been made through the International Committee of the Red Cross, but that it was rejected.
An increasing number of people have been seen in North Korea collecting grass and roots at parks and roadsides -- the first such sighting since the 1950-53 war.
The North Korean broadcast was seen as a new appeal for aid, said Kazuhiro Araki, a researcher at the Modern Korea Institute, a Tokyo-based research operation. "It's meant to be a political message to the outside world, he added, to show that foreign help has become vital. Robert Hauser, director of the United Nations World Food Program, in Pyongyang, said Thursday that the food situation in the North was "very serious.
"Famine is coming closer every week, he said in a telephone interview. Although Koreans, like most Japanese and other Asians, are fond of some wild plants, these are not the plants they are now eating, Mr. Hauser said.
"They are telling us that they eat such wild grass only during the worst periods of crises, and that they last ate them during the war in the 1950s, he said.
"They eat them because there is nothing else to eat, Mr. Hauser continued, adding that the authorities were considering further reductions in the grain ration. The next four months until the autumn harvest are considered the most critical.
The official North Korean News Agency alluded Thursday to foreign aid by saying that the Nigerian government had made a cash donation to help the country recover from the floods. The news service said that ambassadors and other diplomats from such "friendly embassies as Pakistan, Indonesia, Algeria, Cuba, Cambodia and Poland had helped transplant rice seedlings on co-operative farms.
"They sang songs and talked with co-op farmers, deepening the friendship, the English-language report said. The agency did not say whether the event was related to the food shortages that developed after devastating floods swept the North last year.
On Wednesday, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies began a fund-raising drive in Beijing to raise $750,000 in three weeks and $4.5 million by October to combat the reported famine conditions in the North. (AP, Reuters) Believe it or not...
Los Angeles -- When ailing oldster Garrett Cornice collapsed with a heart attack, his terrified wife Amy was too rattled to react. So their gentle German shepherd Jake jumped in and saved his master's life -- by giving him mouth-to-mouth resuscitation!
"I don't know how Jake knew what to do, but he sure as heck did it, said grateful Amy, 60.
"He tipped Garrett's head back and put the paw over his nose and started breathing into his mouth, just like they told us in CPR class. He kept at it for maybe 40 to 60 seconds and the next thing you know, Garrett started coming around. I still can't believe it happened, but the doctor says if that dog hadn't acted so fast, Garrett would have died for sure -- or suffered brain damage from lack of oxygen.
Amazing Jake swing into action just moments after his 85-year-old master keeled over unconscious at the couple's suburban home April 10.
"Garrett had had two heart attacks when we lived in the Midwest, so last year we took a first-aid class together so we'd know what to do in an emergency -- and we even practiced CPR on each other, said embarrassed Amy. "And when Garret collapsed in our living room and I absolutely froze. I just couldn't make myself do anything. All I could do was stand there and scream. But the next thing I know, there was Jake, giving Garrett mouth-to-mouth as cool as could be -- so at that point I came to my senses and ran to the phone and called an ambulance.
The retired fireman was rushed to a nearby hospital, where he remained in intensive care for 13 days. "The first thing I did when I got home was give Jake a big kiss and the juiciest steak I could find -- because my doctors, the ambulance guys and everybody said I'd be a goner if it weren't for that pooch, the easygoing gramps recalled. "Nobody has any idea how he did what he did, and neither did I. Our vet says dogs have great instincts and maybe Jake watched us practicing CPR at home and just picked up on it somehow. All I know is, that dog is my best friend -- and I'll never bitch about his breath again.