A Modern Master March 24, 1997 Singapore    
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If it is the truth, why be offended, you know? Better change it! No, if someone tells you Something true about yourself, you should be grateful and change it. You shouldn't be offended, right? If the doctor points out to you that you have a piece of cancer here, then why get angry with the doctor. Right? Better get operation and then get well, right?

 Yes. Well, your ex-prime minister, he is notorious also for speaking the truth. The "tooth" and nothing but the "tooth." I don't know how many 『tooth』 he has left, but he always speaks with the whole "tooth," right? Anyhow, he doesn't care. That's how he brought Singapore into prosperity and honor, honorable standard in the world.

Because the way he works is very straightforward, no nonsense, 『tell it the way it is,』 right? He doesn't put a lot of seasoning into the food. Yes, it's health food, you know? Healthynatural, wholesome. Okay, mostly it's like that. When people point out our mistake, we don't like it. We try to do everything just to make the other person feel that it's not true, or better still, make the opponent feel that he's guilty. Turn the table around. That's the way it works with our mind. We don't like to admit our problem and our mistakes - everybody.

Yes, we all have our big problems. If we recognize our weakness, our fault, then it's half healed. Like, if we already know we have cancer or sickness, at least we admit that we have, then the doctor can do something. But if we continue to deny and say, "No, no, I don't have it. That is just some beauty mark, you know, like... " Then we'd never recover. The doctor even cannot help us. Is there any other more 『jing tien dong ti,』 moreearth-shaking news about this small state?

 Actually, your state is not small. I know a smaller one, like in Liechtenstein, they have a smaller state, in between. And then in Italy, there is a very small nation, about a half kilometer square, and the whole nation consists of about 300 persons. They have a fortress, they have a palace, in the middle of Italy somewhere. And then they have a palace, mini-palace maybe, and then even a king there. And then every day their five soldiers come and bring the flag up and down, salute the flag. Yes, every morning and afternoon. It's very official, yes, very small.

So I said, 『My God! Like that, you know, before we had Miaoli, it's bigger than other nations!』 Why compare to bigger? Have to compare to smaller, right? Then you feel different, yes. Anyhow… And like, Monaco, also smaller than your country. It's about three square miles, or three kilometers, square kilometers, but they're very prosperous. It's not necessary to have a big country to be prosperous and healthy.

And your country is very prosperous and healthy. There are some things that we don't like also, everywhere, but because the governments have also their problem. If they have to work according to their wisdom, then some people don't like. If they have to work according to the whole population, then the country sometimes might be destroyed.

Because most of the time, There are not too many clever people around, so we have to admit some good things and forgo some bad things. If it's for the general, so the whole picture is good, 80%, then we have to forgo 20% of the inconvenience of some bad things. You see?

So sometimes if a leader is good, we have to forgive some of his mistakes - if we even think that it's a mistake. May not be. Might not even be a mistake. Everybody cannot have the same opinion. Right? Very difficult to find a good leader, you know? In the whole world, how many good presidents do you have?

 How many good prime ministers do you have? And then again, he's plagued with all kinds of problems, dragging him down, defaming them or whatever, opposition and all that. So, very difficult to find intelligent people in this world. That is exceptional.

This is something unimaginable here. Yes. For example, I told you many times, in the classroom only a few distinguished, smart students. Is that not so? Yes? Not the whole class can be reliable. That's the problem with the population. So sometimes, if we say the governments have to rely on the people's will in order to work, that is also fine, too, but in practice, it's not always possible.

Because everybody has different ideas, and then if the leader has to listen to everybody, then he cannot work. If he's really clever and good and has the interest of the nation in his mind all the time, then we can trust him. In Singapore, you have no choice anyhow. You have to. Yes, but the government has proven themselves that they are efficient. Then it's all right. But it's good that the Singaporeans now are encouraged by the government to have more vegetarian food, every day.

Meditate, everything well? (Yes.) Business good? (Yes.) Not necessarily good? Really? That's what it means by 『business』 - busy-ness! Keeps you busy because of all kinds of problems. It's okay, just to keep you busy. Just have enough money to live, it's okay. We have to only do our best. In this life, what can we do?

Everything is so... not the way we want. Everybody is not the way they should be, and everything is not the way that we want to be arranged. We just have to try the best and live on, continue. Very difficult for everything, not just meditation. It is just not meditation.

Meditation only two-and-a-half hours, even if you struggle, it's two-and-a-half hours. But everything else, you struggle all day all night - right? - you still don't have anything. I'm very happy that you continue in your way of practice, and that it benefits you somehow.

Does it? (Yes.) In which way? (All ways.) All ways. Really? (Yes.) Like what? You have more money or what? (Less stress.) (Less stress.) Less stress? (Happy.) Happy? (Secure.) (Peace) Secure (No worries.) (Calm.) Very secure. (More confident.)

Why? Before, where did you put your confidence?
(Courageous.) Courage? Courage. Why? You want to go in the zoo and fight with the tigers there? They are our friends.

Okay. Of course we don't try to harm the tigers, yes? But don't let the tigers harm you. Protect yourself. It's not that we are practitioners and then we have to go and put our head in his mouth, just to prove our sincerity and goodness and positiveness. It doesn't work that way all the time. Same in life. In life, if we have to do something to protect ourselves, do it.

Don't just say, "I am a practitioner, I don't do anything." It's not true! It's not true! Whatever we have to do in this life, we must finish, by all means and all of our intelligence. We have to use our wisdom and all the facilities that are afforded to us in this life, in order to take care of our mission.

Everyone comes here with a mission. I'm really impressed by you, and by all the initiates, that they meditate so diligently even when I am not there, even though they meditate on every different thing. But what do you expect, you know?

It takes nerves to sit there and think about 1000 things in the same center, you know? Even though we learn the same method, but the ones sitting to next other have different experiences. It's okay. You are trying your best and I appreciate very much your effort and your goodness in trying. Try your best. Of course, sometimes we are too far away from what we want to achieve, but at least we know we try our best.

I'm very impressed all the time that people take valuable time to come and sit like that. Actually, because meditation always makes you improve because you sit there quietly and then you go inside and then realize the potential within your being and you make use of it.

And many things have not been cleared during the busy times become clear during the meditation time. Just like the pond of water, when it's quiet - no turbulence, no wind - then it's so quiet and clear. So, continue with your good way. I don't know what else to say.

Whatever I have to say, I've said many times already in different ways. Even though never repeated, but different ways point to the same thing, yes? Look inside yourself and find all the answers that you seek. That's the lasting knowledge. Even sometimes you ask me a question and I answer you, this is not your self-found wisdom. Everything we earn ourselves is more satisfying, right?

I read a book recommended by you, "Embraced by the Light." It's said that each person has a mission in his life. How do we know what is our mission?

Just continue doing what you like best. That is your mission. Continue to do what you cannot avoid, and that's your mission. Doesn't matter if you like or not like, sometimes you can't avoid what you're doing, and that is your mission. Make sure it doesn't harm other people. If it's harmful to anyone, please stop it, okay?

Because it's not your mission, all right? Or you choose not to have that kind of destiny. It's fine. Most of us know already what our mission is: meditate two-and-a-half hours a day. Go on retreat, spread the good news, and be good to each other, keep the precepts, vegetarian. That's your mission for now, and everything else comes from that. Okay?

 Everyone else has a different mission. We in this group have the same mission, almost the same. We spread the good news to help the people who'd like to go back to Heaven in this lifetime - I mean, after this lifetime - and everything else is just by the way. You know what I mean? By the way. Okay? What else? Yes?

Everything fanatic is not our practice and is not our motive. Our motive is to reclaim the Truth, not to be a fanatic, okay? So, judge by yourself and use logic and common sense. Don't just be too rigid and then we have no more joy in life; also no more health, okay?

When I first came to Hong Kong, I wore Tibetan traditional monk's robe, and all the Hong Kong people ran away from me. I tried to ask only the road, where to go to the refugees' camp, the boat people. But finally one person, a police or something, showed me to the boat people.

You remember the story of a monk who first has to raise a cat? (Yes.) A monk who renounced everything, right? But then he had his robe, monk robe, to go out begging. So whenever he come… he had two - huh? one to wear, go out, and one to hang it here. But then the mouse comes and eats, you know, bites his clothes and damages the second set and then he goes and begs for another one.

And of course the disciple offers, you know, like… Well, believers in India, they offer anything if you want. And then the believer offers another set, and then the mouse eats again. The mice, sometimes they don't eat, they just damage everything, sometimes. And then the male monk was so fed up and kept asking the disciple, and the disciple became fed up, too.

Every two, three days asked for a new set of clothes, so the disciple said, "Master, why don't you raise a cat? So the cat will eat the mouse." Okay,so that's that. And then he brought the cat to offer to the master, and then 『Like this, you don't have to go and ask for clothes every week or so.』 Okay, the monk raised a cat. And then the problem is, the cat needs milk, the cat needed food and milk, so he had to go out every day begging for milk.

And then the disciple, also fed up, said, "Master, why don't you raise a cow? And then the cow will provide the milk and then you don't have to go begging every day for milk,』 you know? Okay, so, said and done. The disciple gave him a small cow, and raised up and then they had milk every day.

That's very convenient. But then the cow needs…? (Grass.) Grass. You know, need the wheat, grass, to feed because grass doesn't always grow in winter so you have to plant like rice or something in order to take the plant and give to the cow. So then, there comes the problem. "Master, you have to cultivate a piece of land in order to have the feed for the cow."

Okay, that's what the Master did. And then to cultivate a piece of land, he can't do it alone, he has to have a wife. There, that's it. Here you are! Now you have everything. And then the wife, of course, will have children and all that. Now, that's it. You imagine the rest. For example, okay?

So it's just our opinions are sometimes too narrow We just don't go anywhere, don't learn anything, don't tolerate anything. We think this is good, that's good, and we think we are tolerant. It's not true. Very less tolerant are the people in modern times, even though we are advanced in a lot of techniques and a lot of equipment.

Life is more comfortable, technically speaking, but our mind has not been all that comfortable with new changes or with anything that doesn't suit our taste. Even the thing that's harmless to us, we still don't like it. If it's concerning us directly and we don't like, that's okay.

But when it doesn't concern us and we still don't like, that is no good. It's not open-minded. Some people are more open, some people are less open like that. And if I go all open, then they will be even more trouble - so that's 『opened』! Okay, our body is just a temporary vehicle. What's the big deal about it? What's so big deal about the body that we have to be concerned so much?

Feed it with a lot of carcasses, dead flesh and blood and bones and all that, and we're not concerned about that. Concerned about somebody else, what he wears. Every day we make the stomach become a tomb, bury a lot of animals, and we're not concerned about that, and we are concerned about what the Master wears or not wear - 『to wear or not to wear.』

Yes, this is a very funny world. We have so much shortcomings, so much problem, we don't worry about bettering ourselves; just worry about everybody else. That's the only problem with us. That's the only thing that causes war and disaster in this world. So conflicting energies, and we all nosey into everybody else's business and forget our house is dirty.

We don't clean our backyard, just go and nose into the neighbors', then tell them that their living room is a mess. For example like that. Yes, that's the trouble with us. If we, the practitioners, just keep to ourselves, if things don't concern us, then we don't concern. We only take care, handle, the situation when the people of the situation concern us directly.

Otherwise, we don't care who does what, who wears what, who eats what, right? Only when it directly concerns us, then we should take care the best we can. But in this world, we have to handle situations accordingly. Not that we are practitioners and we keep our mouth shut all the time and let people kill you or slander you, whatever they can. If you can, try to avoid. Or if you cannot, then leave it.

It's difficult to live in this world already, not to talk about being anything. "Master wear this, wear that, wear what…" you know. Sometimes I don't like to wear jewelry, too, but some of my close people like me to have some jewelry, so, okay, I please them, for example.

And some of you like me to look like this. (Yes!) Also, also, yes. Renunciation is such a tempting, romantic illusion that everybody fantasizes what it's like to be a monk or nun, and to stay there in the cave and cross their legs all day and just, 『Om Mani Padme Hum..." Yes. They don't know such a working monk like me have to do everything alone most of the time.

Whatever I can do alone I do it, because it makes more trouble for me if I delegate. It goes around, around… During the last 15 years I learned too much. I learned too much about humans' brain and mind and ego and pride… whatever…tradition and background and preference for clothes and all kind of things. Too much for me.

I prefer to be alone now. Yes, in this world I think to be a monk is very good as long as you don't go and work or do something, you know? - you don't do much. Then it's fine, it's good for you. You have more respect and people like it that way. You know what I mean?

Most people, what they have, what they enjoy, they don't want you to have, they don't want you to enjoy. So if you become a monk, " She's safe. She has nothing - no husband, no money, no house, nothing!』 They don't worry, you see? That's why they respect you because they think you suffer enough, you know?

What else do you have except a vegetarian meal once a day? So when you suffer like that, people love you more. "See? That's it. That's the way to go.』 Yes, and they respect you more, that you are courageous, that you can endure all this suffering. Okay, then sit somewhere and receive the offering. But that doesn't work in India. I tell you, if you go to India and you want to be respected and have offering, then you have to grow long hair and a big, long beard. That's a different story.

See, in India, if you want people to respect you, you just grow a long beard and then long hair, the longer, the better. The longer, the more respect. And in, Chinese-community countries like this, then the shorter the hair, the better.

Have it the way you want. And now my hair is shorter. You see? See? Be ready for a surprise from me anytime. If you think growing long hair is good, follow the Master to the letter and then grow long hair, and your hair is just about that long, I cut already. And before, you all wanted to shave your head, and I grew it long already.

Just no use, all this outside appearance. Look inside yourself and find the real beauty. You know already, no need for me to say. So, lucky are the ones who have understanding parents or understanding wives and husbands and all that. Lucky for you. Try to appreciate them. Treat them nicer than before. Appreciate their goodness.

Don't take them for granted or one day you'll lose them. Everything we get easy or too good, we tend to take it for granted and then we'll lose it. Don't be distracted by other temptation, other kind of, maybe, temporary good-look or temporary niceness. It is all maya. We have to know what we have, not what we might be having or what looks good.

As you know, illusion is always the same: tries to test you, to break whatever your good will, to spoil whatever goodness you have, or whatever good things that you have, damage it for you. Sometimes people don't do it on purpose; sometimes people do it. Concentrate, meditate, pray to God.

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