An Immediate Plan for Afterlife - P1/3 May 28, 1989 San Francisco, California,USA    
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* Ladies and gentlemen,welcome to the seminar. First,let me give you a brief introduction of our Master Ching Hai. Master Ching Hai was born into an Aulacese (Vietnamese) family. When she was a little girl,she always followed her parents,who truly believed in God and Jesus Christ,to church on Sundays.
During the weekdays,she spent most of her after school hours with her grandmother,who was a faithful Buddhist,studying all the Buddha's sutras. Because of this special family background,Master Ching Hai has accepted both Catholic and Buddhist teachings since her childhood. Concerning Master's biography,please refer to the free booklet you have in your hand.
I personally have been looking for the answers of life since I was a very little boy. I have tried from Buddhism to Christianity,but I had never been satisfied until I met Master Ching Hai. She gave me the answers and woke me up. Thank you,Master. I believe pretty soon there are people who are sitting in this room tonight who will have the same feeling as mine. Now,let's again welcome our Supreme Master Ching Hai.
Thank you. Thank you,my friends,brothers and sisters,fathers,mothers. He came from Boston. He was initiated about last year,(*Yes.) last year in Formosa (Taiwan). Yes. They came from Boston to welcome us. So,may I also welcome you?Today,I saw that all of you came back from holidays. Is that not so?You came back from vacation?Had a nice vacation?Yes?
The best vacation we will have when we leave this world - I mean,go back to the Kingdom of Heaven. But for this,we must prepare today. It is like before we go on a big vacation or small vacation,we must prepare our luggage,our checkbook,our gasoline,our clothing and the comforts we need on the road and at the vacation site. So we must prepare today for the final day of our journey. How to prepare this day,most of us do not know. We only know how to prepare for old age,for sickness,life insurance,but nobody prepares for death insurance,and the death insurance is the most necessary insurance that we should remember.
When a woman is giving birth to a child,so many people rush to assist her; or when we get married,a lot of people come and congratulate us and help us prepare the joyful event. So,in any circumstances we have assistance and helpers,except when we… what?Depart from this world. No one ever can assist us except the angel of death. Now,people will tell me, 『No,no,no. When I die,the Buddha will come to me and bless me,take me to the Buddha Land,because I am a Buddhist,』and the Christians will tell me,『No,when I die,Jesus will come as my Savior and take me back to the Kingdom of God.』
But we forget… forget what the Buddha said about liberation,about going back to the Buddha Land,and we forget about what Jesus said,how we can go back to the Kingdom of God. What I am saying now to you is nothing new: it is all stated in the Bible and in the Buddhist scriptures. I only refer to them in order to emphasize that we must follow those advice in order to truly enter into the Buddha Land or the Kingdom of God.
Now,the Buddha said if someone doesn't meet a Buddha,then he has to run around in the circle of birth and death again and again: he may be born as devas - means heavenly beings; he may be born as human being; he may be born in hell or in the animal kingdom,but not in the Buddha Land. And what does it mean by 『Buddha Land』?The land of the ultimate bliss,of the highest happiness,or Nirvana,we call that.
Now,what is the Buddha?Everybody knows the Buddha,but the real meaning of the Buddha most people do not take care to consider. 『Buddha,』I say again and again,is the Sanskrit term for an 『enlightened master,』and that's all there is to it,to a Buddha. Whenever you meet an enlightened master so you meet a Buddha; the same with the word 『Christ』in the Hebrew language - means an 『enlightened saint,』a 『messiah,』a 『savior,』one who can lead us to liberation,can bring us back to the Kingdom of God.
So the Buddha said,if you haven't met such a master or such a Buddha,then your chance of becoming totally liberated,totally knowing the Truth,the true world - the invisible,true world,the highest world - your chance to know them is very,very thin; almost nothing,no chance. You will be born in Heaven,hell,world,and that's it - running around,around in the world of eighty-four thousand -means eighty-four thousand kinds of beings - but never becoming a Buddha; means never becoming an enlightened - truly,completely enlightened - perfect saint.
So,that's what the Buddha meant. Now we come to Christ. We forgot what Christ said if we want to go back into the Kingdom of God. Now,Christ said what?『No one can come to the Father except through me.』Now,what does it mean 『me』? 『Me』means the Son of God,means the one who knows God completely,the one who recognizes God within him,the one who has discovered the Kingdom within his heart,because,『Lo and behold the Kingdom is within you.』
No one said the Kingdom is outside. Everyone says Buddha is in your heart,everyone says the Kingdom is at hand,within you. Now,it's not only Buddhist and Christian Bibles that say so. All other scriptures say the same. I must even take more time to study the Sikh scriptures,and I must say to you the Sikh scriptures are so complete. The book is called 『Adi Granth.』Inside,there are all kinds of sayings of the great ancient masters from all over the world,and they all praised the inner power of God,they all praised the inner Light,the inner Vibration,the Sound of the universe,the unstruck…
Guru Nanak said the 『unstruck Music.』He said,『Thy unstruck Music nourishes me,makes me wise,makes me become humble,』and he knew that. He knew God through this unstruck Music. Guru Nanak is the founder of the Sikh religion,and he said many things similar to Jesus,to Buddha,in praising of this inner Vibration which is the 『Word』in the Bible,which is the Quan Yin,『Quán Âm,』the 『Sound Stream』in Buddhism.
Andin all other religious scriptures,I have found mention about this inner Sound which liberates and nourishes all beings and brings all beings back to God when the time comes. Now Jesus said,『No one can come to my Father except through me.』He didn't mean that big ego 『I,』proud,ignorant 『I.』 He meant that 『me』who is the real one,the one who is awakened,the inner man,the radiant one,the wise one,the one who knows everything,who owns everything,who can make everything,who can accomplish everything without doing anything. 
Just like Lao Tzu said, 『doing but not doing,』 『wei wu wei.』What is it when we come to the state of 『doing and not doing?』It is we lose the ego; that is the egoless state of attainment,when 『I and my Father are one.』It is the same like 『doing and not doing』; or like the Buddha said, 『Giving charity without knowing that you are giving charity』- that is the real charity. Or like Jesus said,when you give someone by the left hand,don't let your right hand know about it.
That is all the same meaning,by egoless state of enlightenment. So when Jesus said, 『No one can come to the Father except through me,』he meant the enlightened one, 『Me,』because Jesus at that time,he was enlightened. And if we follow him,that enlightened Jesus,then we would go back to the Father. That's exactly what he meant.
But when Jesus has left this world,then we must follow another one who is on Earth,another enlightened master,be he Hindu,be he from India,from America or from whatever country. I think Americans have a great enlightened master in recent time: Emerson. What did Emerson say that is so strikingly similar to the egoless state?He said,『A great burden falls away from our shoulder if we let God rule the universe』- if we let God rule the universe.
And now,what happens to us?- we are ruling the whole universe. We take care of everything with our little limited intelligence and very,very weak physical power. So we are exhausted,tired and muddled in our head because we don't let God rule the universe; we rule it and we rule God as well. We tell Hirm what to do. Every day we tell Hirm, 『Please God,help me. You must make my son pass the exam,』 『Please take good care of my daughter,that she will get a good marriage,』 『My business is not running well,please runs faster.』
So every day we dictate to God what to do. So,we get nothing from that,then we get angry and frustrated,and sometimes we go out of our religion,thinking God doesn't hear us. Or we may think we are just a kind of superstitious person,we think religions are no good. It is because we see no proof from religious devotion.
But those who are faithful in any religions find some solution,find some existing power from God,however little that might be. So we heard a lot about the saints. So,like in this city,San Francisco,San Jose,Santa Clara,yes. All these are the past,great masters,but they are in Spanish name. Yes?San Francisco,it is Saint Francis,is that right? 『Saint Francis』in Spanish becomes 『San Francisco,』and that's all there is to it. It's the same one,the same famous Saint Francis.
Now,what made him become a saint?Maybe he had a very good,enlightened master to guide him. Then he became a very great saint. If he practiced himself,and really devoted,maybe he'd also become a saint of a lesser degree. He may become compassionate and become very humble and become very…somehow very,very devoted to God. But a real saint,a highest order saint,he is like the Buddha,he is like Guru Nanak,he is like Jesus Christ. They are the saints of the highest order.
How do we know that?We know from the examples of their lives,we know how they save sentient beings,we know how they liberate others from the bondage of birth and death,of suffering and misery. The Buddha can be anywhere at the same time. Jesus can be anywhere also at the same time.
He has the power of healing the suffering of others at an instant; and the same with Guru Nanak of the Sikh religion,or the same with Krishna of Hinduism,and the same with other saints in the past. I cannot tell you because the saints from the past are numerous and you cannot count. But some saints are higher and some saints are less in degree.
Now,『By thy fruits shall thou be known.』So we can judge a saint from his power and from his deeds. Doesn't mean a saint has to be famous to become a greater saint - no,not necessary. Mostly when a saint is alive,he is not so famous and he's persecuted by many jealous people,like Jesus,like Guru Nanak or the tenth guru of the Sikhs,Guru Gobind Singh. Gobind Singh,he was chased from one place to another for what he had done,because he helped people. He preached Truth to people,and they worshipped him because they got the experience. They knew what he said was true,they knew what he said were the real things,they knew he did not cheat them.
They got the proof of enlightenment from Guru Gobind Singh or Guru Nanak or Krishna,or whomever when they were alive,therefore,they believed him. They believed Jesus because Jesus gave them proof; they believed Buddha because Buddha gave them proof immediately of enlightenment.
So people worshipped them. The more the disciples worshipped them,the more other people got jealous,so they gave them trouble. Therefore,when a master was alive,it's not necessarily that the master's life was very smooth and easy and that everybody came to their feet and worshipped them; maybe some,maybe some not.
On the contrary,in the ancient times,the master's life was very,very hard to preserve; very difficult to be a master openly. Now,we go back to the 『me』of Jesus,why he said that everyone had to follow him,otherwise,they go to the lower sphere of creation,like hell: it is because if you don't have an enlightened master,it is difficult for you alone to swim across the sea of existence onto the other shore of free land,of liberation.  
That is the meaning of that. It is like we could also learn to swim ourselves,but it is dangerous. It's better to learn with an expert who can swim,who knows,and also he can swim across that river many times: he knows where is the whirlpool,where are some dangerous waters,where it's so deep and so and so… where are rocks underneath so he can take you very easily. Like a captain of a ship who is sailing across a big water many times,he knows.
And most of the Christian people believe that Jesus was the only one. The same with most of the Buddhist people: they believe that Shakyamuni Buddha is the one and only Buddha in the world and ever born or yet to come for many thousands of years. Now,we forget what the Buddha said.
I told you yesterday he said: I've already become Buddha and you will become Buddha. Everyone can become Buddha in one lifetime. And Jesus also said all beings are children of God,『what I can do you can also do,even greater and better than I do.』That was what Jesus said. 
He didn't say, 『I do better than you and you can never do it.』So we forget that and we look down upon ourselves. We forgot that we have the Kingdom within. Now,if the Kingdom is within us,as the Bible states,why don't we look within and find where it is,or ask someone who has found it within?
It's so simple as that. And now,if the Buddha said, 『Buddha Nature is within you,』and everyone possesses this Buddha Nature,then why don't we also look within and see where our Buddha is,instead of going to the temple and bow to the wooden image?Only after we know where our Buddha Nature is,then we can worship Buddha more.
We can worship Shakyamuni even more fervently - I mean,more faithfully,more sincerely and more vigorously - and only when,after we've seen Jesus or we've seen the Christ within us,we've seen the Kingdom within us,do we truly know how to love Jesus,do we truly know how to appreciate him,can we truly worship God then. 
At the moment,if we haven't known God yet… If you have known already,forgive me; I mean the majority of the people,when they have not known God,God is only an abstract conception of 『nothing.』Don't know what God is. Everybody says God is love. But love what?What is love? 『If Hes loves me,why every day I'm so miserable?Why when I have no money,Hes didn't give me?Why when I'm sick,Hes didn't heal me?Why when I'm in trouble,I call Hirm,Hes doesn't come to aid?』
So,we can't know God's love if we are not in contact with Hirm. So,the purpose of my talk is that I have the way that you can contact with this love power,or the Kingdom within,or the Buddha Nature within yourself. And every day you will know that love,you will know that God is love. 
God is not a person,two persons,with a big beard like this,but God is truly love: L-O-V-E. So when God is love,means,if we got in touch with God we are loved. What it means?We are taken care of from then on 24hours,every day.
Every minute of the day we will know Hes is there,love is there,surrounding us,emitting from us and enveloping us,and then also radiating to all directions and benefitting others. And that is the true love. Not to embrace one another and say 『I love you,』but the sense of universal love. You carry this love,you sleep with this love,you eat with this love. You know it,but you don't talk about it even,ever anymore. You are so sure of that that words are useless.
And now we are going around screaming,『Love,love,love. God is love. I love you,everybody loves each other,』but then a minute later we fight. We talk a lot and we have nothing. Just like everyone screaming, 『Money!Money!』and they have none. And now a millionaire,he doesn't go around screaming, 『I have money!』- he just has it,and he knows it for sure and he's so secure about it.
He walks around laughing. And when everybody talks about money,arguing about the money,about a few pennies on the street,he laughs. He says,『What is it worth a few pennies,and arguing like that?』Understand?He has so much he can't believe people argue over pennies. The same,when an enlightened saint walks around,he doesn't talk about God or about Buddha - he doesn't argue anymore - he knows what God is. He is with God,he is in God,or you may say,he and God are one,like Jesus said. But then that person doesn't always,every day,going around sticking his nose in the air and say,『I and God are one,』or let people smell about this.
No,no. That person will be so humble,so…just lovable and is just normal. And so Taoism would say, 『xin ping chang shi dao,』『The ordinary mind is the Tao.』Now we hear that the ordinary mind is the Tao,so we say,『Okay,then I am an ordinary person,I have an ordinary mind. I don't need to meditate,I don't need to pray to God,I don't need to do anything. I don't need to get enlightenment because `ordinary mind is the Tao.'』
Only in its true sense when you have got the Tao,when you're really ordinary - means very,very sensible,ordinary,normal - but ordinary people are not normal. Why?Because our minds are disturbed by all kinds of thinking,all kinds of vexations,and that is not 『ordinary mind.』An ordinary mind means he sleeps when he's tired; he eats when he's hungry; he has no vexation in his mind waves; he is enlightened without thinking that he is enlightened; he's a Buddha without worrying that he is a Buddha,without being proud about his status. He just eats and sleeps like everyone,but he is the Buddha. He's so ordinary in his heart. He's so peaceful,so harmonized with all beings.
He has no hatred,no worries,no anxieties,no vexations,and that is really an ordinary mind,a mind of an enlightened person. Even when they are eating,they can manifest their body in all over the countries and universes to save all kinds of sentient beings. Even when they are sleeping,their manifestation bodies fly all over the universe,hell,Heavens. Rescuing all beings and teaching all kinds of beings,but then he is very ordinary,and that is what's called 『xin ping chang shi dao,』 『an ordinary mind is the Tao.』
Not that we ordinary persons have this Tao. We have it,but we are not still enough to recognize it. Those who are still enough,quiet enough within,they recognize the Tao. They know it so they became enlightened,they became Buddha or saints or Christ or one with God. That is the difference between an 『ordinary mind』and an 『ordinary being.』But why Jesus said, 『No one comes through Father except through me』?
And,was he still having an ego?No. He only spoke the truth for the purpose of enlightening others,otherwise he couldn't care less. He would just eat and sleep instead of sacrificing his body,weary,health,and speech to speak to a lot of ignorant people. When Lord Krishna mentioned in the Bhagavad Gita,he also said, 『When you worship me,then you will attain true liberation.
You have to devote to me,worship me,listen to my instruction,obey my commandment,and love me alone,then you'll get true liberation.』Now,it sounds like a big ego,but no,it is like the same,same in the case of Jesus. The 『me』is not the 『I』ego,the 『me』is the real man within us,the what we call 『ben lai mian mu,』 『the real face.』  『Our real face before yesterday,』that is the talking in Zen Buddhism. The 『me』is the inner Man,the real one who will be awakened at the time of initiation from a competent master. 
We remember the story of the Sleeping Beauty,waiting until the Prince comes,gives her a kiss of life and then she is awakened. In the old days,people dared not speak about enlightenment and practicing openly,so they use parables,yes?It's like covering up by a story,yes,and then using that to talk to other people,and then their disciples understand. To ordinary people,it might not be easy to understand.
And after they practice with this enlightened master,they will also be able to understand. Okay. We have three nations here in this assembly. I feel actually honored and proud and happy that God,or the Most High,or the Buddha,has granted us this honor to be together,at least for a few hours in our very,very busy times and in our modern and very hurried times,that we could even find time to sit together,three nationalities and different countries.
And I came from Formosa (Taiwan) for the first time to meet you,but I feel I'm at home. I don't feel any separation whatsoever. Do you?You feel or not?Yes or no?No. I feel nothing,no separation,as I have known you for a long,long,long,long,long time,and this make me so joyful.
No words can explain this. Now,we see that in the three religious scriptures - the Buddhist,the Hindu,the Sikh,or others like Taoism - they also mention that you have to believe in a master,a living master,and follow that master's instruction in order to get liberation. They don't say that so that you may come and worship at their feet. No.
They just tell the truth. And,actually,these masters do not accept people's offering and worship. They only mean in a literal sense,means you have to worship the instructions of the master. Therefore,Jesus didn't say, 『You must worship me in person.』He said,『If you love me,keep my commandments.』Yes,that's what it means by worship 『me,the master.』
Why is that the true masters don't accept people's offering and worship?Because they are so humble. They know each and every one has the true Master within him and herself,and so these true masters,or 『our real face from yesterday』or the Kingdom within or the real man,has to be awakened,and that's all there is to it. And then you find your Master. Before you find that,and you could not do...  If you could do it yourself,then fine and good. If you could not,then ask someone who has already awakened his or her own inner Self.
And it is so simple; it's the meaning of a master who can help us to awaken our real Self within. You see,some people ask me the same question again and again,『If we have the Heaven within,if we have the Buddha Nature within our heart,why couldn't we find it alone?Why do we have to go to a master anyway?』I'd say,『If you can find it alone,then welcome.』It is pretty tough,difficult. The road to Heavens is like a razor's edge.
This is difficult to walk alone without the help of someone who knows the road,because 『Narrow is the road that leads to liberation. Broad and wide is the road to destruction and many will walk therein.』Why is it so difficult to walk on the road of liberation?It is because it's a counter-stream. We call it 『ni liou.』People are swimming in pleasures,in sensual enjoyments,and we are in the opposite direction. It is difficult to swim counter-current,so we need the help of someone who is a little bit stronger,who knows the road,who has developed a little bit more power in advance - it means 『before us』- and later we will grow strong,and we become like the same.
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