We cannot  avoid having birth,old age,sickness,and death in this world because we have planted a lot of bad karma (retribution),and the fruits have ripened. The fruits are ripe and they will fall,but what is important is the future.
Buddha can cut this tree for us so it won't bear fruit again in the future,but if some fruits are already ripe and already there,you cannot remove them. Understand? The tree has blossomed and has borne fruit and everyone can see them,but it won't bear fruit in the future. Buddha doesn't need to rush to do things like ordinary human beings. He does things with poise and ease.
It seems like he doesn't do anything,but he does a lot. Although he does many things,it appears as if he's not doing anything. That's why Lao Tzu said “do without doing.” To attain this level,we have to become a Buddha and we have to become egoless. A Buddha has countless transcendental bodies,but he doesn't go anywhere. That's why he is called “Tathagata.” He is called Tathagata because he doesn't come and doesn't go. Understand?
He doesn't go anywhere,but we can see him everywhere. That's why he is called Tathagata,and this is the meaning of Tathagata. If a person can be omnipresent,we call him Tathagata,because he can go anywhere,but he doesn't go anywhere either.
Many practitioners don't know the meaning of Tathagata. They think only Shakyamuni Buddha was a Tathagata. This thought is too pessimistic,too pessimistic! Every one of us can become a Tathagata. If it's our destiny to save sentient beings,we will become a Tathagata.
If it's not our destiny to save sentient beings,but there is a need,we can still become a Buddha. But very few people know we are a Buddha and very few people know we are a Bodhisattva. It is best this way because being a Buddha is very hard.
Even though you don't have any suffering,everyone brings suffering to you. As an ordinary human being,we already suffer too much,right? If one person's suffering is already so painful,can you imagine what it is like if the suffering of all of the beings in the universe becomes yours? Is it fun? (No.) It's not fun at all. So most of those who became a Buddha did so quietly.
We cannot blame them,either. Even as great as Shakyamuni Buddha was,after he became a Buddha he shook his head and said,“No! I don't want to save sentient beings. It's too difficult! Too difficult!” He shook his head and he wanted to go to Nirvana. It means he wanted to enter samadhi and enjoy the peacefulness and tranquility in the so-called Nirvana. To go to Nirvana doesn't mean you have to cut off your head and leave your physical body. It's not like that.
Being in Nirvana means we become worry-free and we enjoy the higher realms when we are in a state of samadhi. This is called small Nirvana. Going to the great Nirvana is when we cut off our karmic relationship with this physical world Forever and we leave this physical body and this world.
This is called great Nirvana. We won't come back anymore. But if we want to,we still can come back. So it's not that Shakyamuni Buddha didn't have compassion,but he knew it was too difficult. During his era,people in India were very kind and India had been a sacred place century after century,right? Most Indian people were vegetarians and they knew how to practice from when they were young.
They recited mantras and the name of Buddhas,they worshiped gods and Buddhas,they practiced many methods; India is a very spiritual country. Moreover,his time was called the “Dharma-image Age.” Our time is called the “Dharma-ending Age.” At that time,people were still very kind,and there was not a lot of material wealth so people were still very pure.
Also,he was in India,the kind of country where sentient beings were easier to save,and it was easier to save sentient beings at that time. Nevertheless,he still shook his head at that time,not to mention nowadays. Today,if a person has become a Buddha,would he dare to tell others he is a Buddha? Only if he is a dumb Buddha would he do that.
That's why I didn't go out to advertise myself before. It's because the time had come and people kept pushing me to come out. You are the Brahmas,the Arhats,and the Dharma guards who keep praying to me. Then more and more information about me was revealed,like my level and who I was,etc. All this is new to me,and I never knew I was this and that.
I am just a very ordinary person,but you gave me all kinds of titles. Since this already happened,I will accept this position,if everyone has already agreed. It's just like electing a president,right? If people agree,then this person becomes the president. I do things for your benefit. As long as you get benefit,and as long as you are saved,you are happy,you are helped and protected,I'm willing to do anything.
As long as it's good for you,it's fine. I just told you that you might be a Buddha yourself,but because it is not your destiny to save sentient beings,you should become a Buddha quietly. It's best to become a Buddha quietly. If we have any merit,any power,any virtue,it's best to hide them and not brag about them. If you brag,you are not a Buddha.
We should keep quiet. Or,if by accident we know we have some power or certain good qualities,it's better not to let people know. Since ancient times,all saintly people have been very humble. Understand? They don't think they are virtuous. If you still think you are virtuous and that you are a Buddha,then you are not a Buddha yet. It's very strange. It appears very self-contradictory.
If it's your destiny to save sentient beings,people will dig you out. Understand? Regardless of where you hide yourself,it's no use. People will dig you out,introduce you to others,call you Buddha,praise you,and spoil you. But only a person who has really become a Buddha will be treated like this,understand?
If you haven't become a Buddha,this won't happen because you can't handle it. For example,if you didn't graduate from college and you are not knowledgeable,no matter how many people introduce you and praise you,you know you are not capable of doing certain things,right? After a while,people will find out who you are. Understand?
It's because you cannot deceive people forever. Therefore,these things won't happen just because you want them to happen or some organizations make them happen. These things are arranged by the Creator and they have to be part of the universal plan.
But after you are elected,oh my! you are finished. You won't have personal time,personal opinions,personal occupation,or personal emotions anymore.
Although the whole universe belongs to you,nothing is yours. You have to help every being in the universe,but no one in the universe will help you.This is a terrifying position. Can you imagine such a lonely person? This person is called “Buddha,” understand? So if anyone becomes this kind of “famous” Buddha,we should have pity for him,and there is nothing for us to envy about him.
Not only does he suffer loneliness,he also suffers from people's envy,jealousy,slander,misunderstanding,and obstruction of his work. He has to listen to people's slander while he is working but he still has to continue doing what he is supposed to do. No one understands him,but he still has to keep doing his job.
But it won't be that painful either. I think it is still tolerable. I just want to let you know a little bit about what it is like to become a Buddha so you won't have any illusions. Even though as a Buddha… Of course,he is always in Heaven and in higher realms,and he is the best,but he is still in this physical world and has relationships with the physical world.
As long as he has the physical body,he has to go through countless trials and tribulations and bear much suffering. But he can still bear it. If an ordinary human being were to do his kind of job and bear his kind of suffering,that person would become dust instantly on the first day.
It's not that the person will turn into dust every day. No,he will turn into dust on the first day because he can't bear it. We all remember the story of Milarepa. He was about to die because a person who was jealous of him had poisoned him,right? Then the person who poisoned him pretended to be very humble and compassionate. He cried and told Milarepa,“Master,you are so great. You cannot die.
You can transfer your pain and sickness to me,your humble disciple,and you will be fine.” Understand? “I will bear your suffering for you and I will die for you.” That was what the person said. Milarepa said,“No,you can't bear it. You don't know how to handle it.” That person still kept asking because he thought Milarepa didn't know how to do it. He thought Milarepa was pretending and didn't have the magical power to transfer the sickness to him.
Since that person begged for so long,Milarepa decided to let him try. Milarepa first transferred his pain to a door,right? What happened to the door? The door crumbled into dust,right? The door was completely destroyed,right?
But that person still didn't believe Milarepa's power,and he said,“Don't transfer your pain to the door. Transfer it to me and the pain will leave you.” Okay. Milarepa transferred a little bit of his pain,just a little bit,to that person,and that person already started rolling on the ground. Only at that time did he realize that Milarepa was truly suffering and it was not a joke. Most people who become a Buddha or enlightened master seldom talk about the suffering they have to go through. Even if they talk about it,they talk in a humorous way so we won't feel it's a big deal.
But it doesn't mean they don't suffer. We only have to bear our individual suffering and our individual karma (retribution),but a Buddha has to sacrifice himself and make the whole world's suffering his own. Only in this way can the world be elevated and further developed. The so-called barriers that exist in people's minds have to be resolved by the Buddha. Understand? It's because when there is a cause,there must be an effect.
When the cause has been planted,one can't avoid getting the fruit,and Buddha has to eat the fruit,regardless of who planted the seed. Such a person is called Buddha. There are many levels of Buddha and they aren't all the same,but they are all one. After people become Buddhas,they don't differentiate between who is higher or lower in level. But the levels do exist,just like in college or school where there are many teachers,and they are all teachers,right?
But there are some who have more seniority and are more experienced,and there are others who have just graduated and become teachers,right? Some people become the principals,right? They would be the highest in rank. It's similar among the Buddhas. Even though they don't differentiate,they know the difference.
Basically,this is just from the perspective of the ordinary people. The Buddhas themselves don't make such distinction. Understand? One Buddha wouldn't say,“I'm an old Buddha,while you've just graduated.” The Buddha wouldn't say,
“I have more experience,and I've taught many people in many lifetimes while you've just debuted and you don't have that many disciples.” Buddhas wouldn't think that way. Sometimes,they would even exchange their positions. That's why the brother just said that Manjusri Bodhisattva was originally the teacher of the Buddhas of the ten directions. When it was the turn of Shakyamuni Buddha to come to the world to preach the Dharma (true teaching),Manjusri became Shakyamuni's disciple and his Dharma guard.
He helped Shakyamuni propagate the Dharma (true teaching) everywhere. So who knows who is who? Our ignorance is so terrible! Our differentiating mind is so great! Why do the Buddhas do such kinds of role-changing? It's because they have nothing to do,and they are bored,and they do whatever they want to do. They don't have any concept of status, so they don't have to go through elections like we do,begging people.
To them,they don't care which position is good and which is not good. If one wants to go to the physical world to save sentient beings,then the Buddhas of all the ten directions will support him by becoming his disciples,his subordinates,or his ignorant attendants,etc. Understand? They will become the elders in his family,his disciples,his Dharma guards,who go out and put up posters,etc.
No one cares. But eventually everyone will know that he is a Buddha. Many sentient beings need our help,but training us to become Buddhas is also very difficult. It is because we've been here for so long that we've forgotten our status. Life after life,we've been an ordinary person,so if we suddenly come here to be a Buddha,it is very difficult.
It's hard in that we can't accept ourselves. We just can't! It's not that we're not a Buddha. It's just that we forgot. Now,since those who are newly initiated haven't changed their mind-set completely and are still lacking in self confidence,how can we rely on them to save sentient beings? That's why every Buddha brings his own helpers here when he comes down. Understand? Those who are very supportive of an enlightened master and understand his teachings are actually Bodhisattvas.
That is what a Bodhisattva is like. Similarly,the ancient sages are no different. Ancient Buddhas were also like this kind of people. They didn't behave in any other way. So you see,were Shakyamuni Buddha's disciples very enlightened? Right after initiation,they became Arhats or some kind of Bodhisattvas.
And they immediately supported him and went in all directions to spread his Dharma (true teaching). It's because they had already learned these things before. That's why we could also be a Bodhisattva,and it's possible that we were a Buddha. so don't look down upon yourselves. We have to try and find out by ourselves.
You shouldn't just believe me. You should try and see. What if we really are a Buddha? Right? If you miss this opportunity of discovering who you are,wouldn't that be a great waste? What if what I say is true? Right? What if this Master was right ? Or do you still want to think about it?
*Dear enlightened Master,I have two questions. Please enlighten me. First,after we get initiation,can we buy stocks?
If you need to,you can. If you don't need to,it's best that you do not buy them.
*For a person who hasn't been initiated but who believes in an enlightened Master,can he ask the Master for help when he encounters problems? How should he ask? Thank you.
Ask my disciples this question. They know better. Brother Su,please tell him. You tell them what to do. I never know what you should do. I've never begged for help myself so I have no idea.
*Just recite Master's name. So easy! It will be good enough to recite Master's name.
If you have any problems,just ask for help inside.
*Dear Master Ching Hai,I love to read kung fu novels and cartoons,can I get initiation? Is reading these kinds of books violating the precepts? How can I repent?
After initiation,you will start to feel that those things are very boring. If right now you still enjoy those books,you can read them. In the meantime,do your meditation.
*What is our true Self?
Ask Brother Su to answer him.
What is our true Self? You just explained it so much,you must know.
*One's true Self is the greatest,omnipresent power.
It seems like you know. Our true Self we can only know after we're enlightened and after we start practicing. No one can tell us about it. I'm sorry! It's because this is our own Self. Who can know this Self more than ourselves? Right? If we don't even know our own Self,then who can answer us? It's not possible and not logical.
*Master Ching Hai,what should one do if one has made mistakes? Does one have to meditate and recite sutras to help compensate for his mistakes? Please give me some advice.
If we have made any mistakes,it's because we were ignorant. Of course now we have to make it up; but at the same time we have to get enlightened. Otherwise,we'll repent for this mistake today and then make some other mistakes tomorrow. All mistakes come from our ignorance,so we still have to get initiation and we still have to find our own wisdom.
*Why is it that some people who know the Dharma (true teaching) still make mistakes?
It's too hard to change our mind. But no problem,every day we start over. We start over,and do the right thing again,and change again.
*Dear Master,for people who don't have affinity with the Quan Yin Method,are there other convenient methods that can help with their faith so when the affinity increases,they can enter the gate of the Dharma (true teaching)? Please enlighten me on this.
There are. There are many convenient methods. You can recite Buddha's name,or mantras,or sutras,or you can repent.
*Dear Master Ching Hai,I work in a pig husbandry research lab in Miaoli. I'm responsible for computer management and data analysis in the computer division. Do I have to change jobs if I want to get initiation?
Computer systems for pig husbandry? Why do they need computers for pig husbandry? Strange! (Computer management.) Even though it doesn't involve killing,your livelihood is still related to a business involving killing. Okay,you can get initiation first and change jobs later. This way your conscience will be clearer,and you'll feel you are making cleaner money. Then your conscience will be more peaceful.
*Dear Master,what's the difference between humans' way and Heaven's way?
What's human's way? Do you know? What's Heaven's way? Do you understand? The person who asked this question,please tell me what humans' way is and what Heaven's way is,and then you will instantly understand what their differences are.
You don't need to ask me. If you still don't understand what humans' way is and what Heaven's way is,then you'd better get initiation. The Dharma (true teaching) and the Tao (wisdom) I teach includes everything. It includes Heaven,human,and Buddha. I will also teach you how to be a good person,and then I'll teach you a method to transcend Heaven.
I'll teach you the Buddha's way and how to become a Buddha. If we only learn humans' way,we might not be able to attain Heaven's way. If we only attain Heaven's way,we might not be able to attain the ultimate Buddha's way. That's why we have to know everything.
*Dear Master,I'm not initiated yet. A few days ago,one of my subordinates became possessed. I was anxious so I put a necklace with Master's picture around his neck. But my actions maddened the spirit who had possessed my subordinate and he tried to choke me. Luckily Master saved me from being choked to death. Because of your help,I have no fear,but I wonder if what I did has hurt this invisible friend.
No,no. In the future,whatever you do,don't have any bad intentions,and then he won't come to harm you. You should ask the inner Master to help him,but not to chase him away. Then he won't harm you. Any act,as long as you do it out of love,won't harm others. Instead,you will help them. Anyone,even if they don't know me- any beings,ghosts,gods or humans,who don't know me- but since you know me,and you pray to me to help them,I will help them. But don't use your anger or hateful heart and don't use my pictures to terrify them.
*Master Ching Hai,the so-called mediums,are their bodies possessed by Buddhas?
What do you want me to say? The truth or lies? (The truth.) Most Buddhas are very pure,understand? Most of the Buddhas I know are very pure. They won't enter the bodies of people who eat meat and drink alcohol,and they won't make people do chaotic things that they themselves have no control over. If a Buddha wants to enter a person's body,he will do so while you're conscious of it. He won't make you collapse and become unconscious and then talk about a lot of things that you won't know about when you wake up. He won't destroy your body or make you cut yourself up or do a lot of frightening things. Buddhas use very gentle methods to save sentient beings,methods that suit people's minds,or methods that people can bear. They can't overdo anything to harm the person. Buddhas don't often enter people's bodies. Understand? If they want to,they'll come as a transcendental body.
*Master,currently I'm learning the Great Saintly Zen practice. What should I do after I get initiation?
Is this the kind of chi-gong that does healing? That's right. One of my disciples used to practice this chi-gong. He used to be able to hit people,and he was very powerful. If he hit you from here,you'd fall down.
He could clear your meridians,too. After he started to follow me,he gave it all up. He realized that those methods weren't high enough. I'm just relating his experience to you. Okay? If we practice the Quan Yin Method,all our meridians will become clear,and all our power will come out on its own.
If we practice other methods,we'll only cultivate part of our power. Understand what I mean? For example,if you learn how to heal,you can only heal people. If you learn how to summon the wind and the rain,you can only do that.
If you only learned how to clear the meridians,that's all you can do. Our Quan Yin Method is omnipotent. It can clear out everything,including the meridians,cure all sorts of diseases,and destroy our karma (retribution) from all our past lives. I think this method is more complete and more worthy of our study.
But I let you make your own choice. If you want to follow me,follow me,and if you want to practice chi-gong,then do so. Since you asked me,it's difficult for me to answer you. I don't want you to feel that I'm trying to get you to follow me and give up your chi-gong. Or you can do this: go practice your chi-gong,and after you've accomplished it,come and get initiation. All right? If you are still alive then.
*Yesterday at Fengshan,I listened to your lecture. Before I went to sleep last night,your vision came to my mind. Was this an illusion?
If you felt good,then it was not. If you didn't feel good,then it was.
*Does a person have to be enlightened and practice spiritually to become a Buddha?
Yes. How else could you become a Buddha? By being ignorant?
*How many ants can a soul transform into? If a soul can transform into many ants,would it be necessary for these transformed beings to all come together to become one in order to be reincarnated again?
Why are you asking this? You are already a human now,so just hurry up and practice spiritually. Why are you asking about the ants? Are you asking on behalf of the ants because they can't write? Let me deal with the ants. This matter has nothing to do with you. To the ants,I teach the ants' method,and it has nothing to do with you humans.
*Dear Master,what are the Three Worlds? Why are there Three Worlds?
The Three Realms are different worlds. For example,the First World is a little lower than the Second World,and the Second World is a little lower than the Third World. Like in our society,there are people with more knowledge and some with less knowledge,and there are people with more wealth and some with less wealth. It's like this. It's just naturally this way. What we have in this life depends on our karma (retribution). Our current level depends on how we practiced in previous lives.
*People originally have Buddha Nature,so why do they have to come to this world?
When you become a Buddha,I will answer you. But I've already answered it in my “Question & Answer” books. And in many of my audiotapes I talk about that,right?
*Good evening,Master Ching Hai. Does the Quan Yin Method cultivate one's essence and life?
Why cultivate essence and life? Why so complicated? We just want to find our true Self. Understand? You can call it “the heart” or “life” or whatever. We just want to find our true Self. We just want to find our greatest,almighty wisdom so that we can deal with things we couldn't handle,to understand things we'd never understood before.
*When Buddhas have physical illnesses from carrying people's bad karma (retribution),could medicine reduce or cure such illnesses?
Medicine can't cure illnesses from bad karma (retribution). It can only cure common illnesses,like fatigue from overworking,or lung weakness from over-talking. One can drink some medicine that helps the lungs or the throat. But if a Buddha is carrying people's bad karma (retribution),no medicine can help his symptoms. Given time,he will naturally recover.
*Dear Master,how can one put up with slander and not hate the person who slanders us?
You mean what to do so you won't hate that person,right?
You should let it be. After we've practiced for a long time,slander and praise appear the same to us. They can't affect us. When people praise us,we won't be happy or excited. When people slander us,we won't feel it's anything important. We have to practice to reach this stage. If we don't practice,it's very,very hard. We can ignore people's slander,but it's impossible not to have hatred.
So we must practice spiritually. The more spiritual practitioners we have,the kinder the society will become. That's why I say that if a lot of people practice spiritually,our world will become the Pure Land. If people forgive one another,and everyone practices spiritually,then no one will slander other people,so how can anyone get angry? Understand?
*The great Master Ching Hai,I'm an overseas Argentinian Chinese. On Dec 26,1988,we had a car accident while vacationing in Argentina. My wife died,but our six-month-old daughter who was in her arms survived. Can you tell me where my wife is now and whether she is fine? How can I help her transcend to a higher realm?
When you get initiated,you'll know and you'll be able to help her.
*Master,you emphasize meditation,but why was the Sixth Zen Master against meditation? In his sutra he says,“While living,one sits and doesn't lie down. When one dies,one lies down and doesn't sit. How can a filthy bag achieve any merit?”
What he meant was even though many people practiced meditation,they were just sitting there and they couldn't find their true Self. Therefore it would be of no use if they sat for one hundred,one thousand or ten thousand years. Understand?
What we cultivate is the mind,not the body. We sit there just so that our body becomes calmer. But for us,it's not the body that's practicing. All Quan Yin practitioners know that we are practicing not only while we are meditating. Right? But since it's all Zen whether we are walking,living,sitting,or sleeping,we still need to sit,or we will lack one element and we'll only be walking,living,and sleeping,and we won't have the sitting part. Since other people sit like this,we will also sit like this.
For beginners,if we sit,our minds become calmer. Understand? Also,when we enter samadhi,we won't fall down so easily. That's why we need to sit and meditate. It's not that by sitting and meditating we can become a Buddha. That's what he meant. Understand? But the Sixth Zen Master Hui Neng did practice meditation.
What he meant was he was against practicing the wrong methods,because meditation doesn't just mean sitting in a lotus position,closing one's eyes,or half-closing them. No,this is wrong. It's the wrong kind of meditation. If you only sit like this,you can never become a Buddha. You have to find your Buddha Nature,and then it won't matter if you sit,lie down,stand,or walk. You don't necessarily have to sit.
But Hui Neng himself meditated,which is why in his “Dharma Treasure Sutra,” someone asked,“Master,while you are meditating,can you see or not?” Right? (Yes.) This indicates that he did meditation. If he didn't,people wouldn't have asked this. Then what did he answer? “I see but I don't see.” Right? (Yes.) He indicated that he meditated,but it was his mind that was meditating,not only his body sitting there. And he cultivated his mind. You should understand this. You misunderstand too much.
*Dear Master,five of us drove here today from Taipei to come and listen to your lecture. I see a golden circle of Light,ten times larger than you,radiating from your body,and it shines from behind you and reaches the flowers off the stage. Now I firmly believe that you are a Buddha who has come to save sentient beings. Last Christmas Eve I was going to get initiation from you,but because of my job,I couldn't. But for three consecutive nights,I have dreamed of you giving lectures while sitting in the lotus position. After I woke up,I only remembered the gist of your talk. May I ask you if I have affinity with you,and if I can get initiation? After initiation,what level will I achieve?
Wait till you are initiated. You folks always talk about all the visions you've seen,but there are people who can't see any Light. Many of you say you saw Light,so those who haven't seen any Light feel bad when they go home.
*Master Ching Hai,while I'm meditating,I feel a hole in the crown of my head,and I feel very cool there. Is this bad for my practice?
No,it isn't. Just continue your practice. Focus your mind on the hole and try to open it up more,and then go out from there. It's not bad for you. Don't worry about it. There are many holes in our body. What does it matter if we have one more? It's not bad.
*Dear Master,does Swami Rama work together with you to help liberate sentient beings? He did not help initiate people but wrote very powerful books similar to Master's. Why is this?
What does it have to do with Master power?
*He only wrote powerful books like Master's but he did not initiate sentient beings.
Well,it is hard to say. He did help many sentient beings. He has achieved a high level in spiritual practice,which is good enough. Thank you for your love. I wish you all sleep well today and tomorrow,eat well and work well,and come to listen to my lecture in the evening. Please translate the following lines,thank you.
God Quality means the original,untarnished nature of the universal power of love. This power is inherent in all beings,humans and non-humans,even plants,trees,even rocks,minerals. The more GQ a being has,or recovered,the more loving,the more selfless,and more noble that being would be.