Hallo, Ms. Vice President.
*Hallo Master. Amitabha Buddha.
Amitabha Buddha. Welcome!
Welcome to visiting our small place.
*Yes. Master, today I brought some good sisters from Business and Professional Women of Formosa (Taiwan) (Wow!) to visit your Hsihu Center. We admire you very much.
Thank you so much! Thanks for coming. Thank you very much!
We are very honored to have such a virtuous leader to visit our very humble place. We feel very, very honored and very lucky, very lucky. Very honored to see you, Your Excellency. I want to take this opportunity to send our deep gratitude to you for travelling around to ask people to protect the environment and save the Earth. I know you have a lot of work to do but you continue your work to protect your people. Such a deed shows that you are truly a living Bodhisattva (Saint).
According to Buddhist sutras (scriptures), if a person is rich and powerful - like you who have both power and fortune - but is not attached to fame, instead, he/she does meritorious deeds and believes in Buddhism, then he/she must be a Bodhisattva. Buddha said so. Therefore you must be a living Bodhisattva. Formosa (Taiwan) is so blessed (*Thank you, Master.) to have you to lead the multitude.
Master, I have retired for three years, so I have no power anymore.
* I have no power anymore.
I know, I know. What I have is love, just like you have.
* I only have love towards the Earth and humanity.
Yes, yes. This is also a kind of power.
*Yes. Right. That's right.
Because you have this power inside, you think this way.
*I've been promoting the soft power.
*Soft power includes peace, love, and high technology.
Worldly power is not everlasting. But we say that once a person becomes a president, he is a president for life. He still has power, just a little…
* Presidents have terms, but one's life is everlasting.
Yes, yes. You have high wisdom, so you know. We Buddhists who practice diligently and follow Buddhist traditions and teachings all know that the world is transient.
* Yes, right.
Any power is transient, but you are still respected by the whole nation and the international community. You still have power, a different kind of power. Regardless, you still care about the suffering people in the world and want to save all beings. This is really meritorious.
May Heaven and Buddha bless you forever so you can have power, not the worldly power, but the inner power, to continue help the Earth and people in this world.
We take this opportunity to thank you. Thank you a thousand times. Formosa (Taiwan) is so blessed.
*Thank you. Thank you, Master. You have been spreading Buddhist teachings for a long time, also calling on people to eat vegetarian and refrain from eating meat to save the Earth. I think it's a very extraordinary effort. I would like to ask Master: You have been promoting “Be Veg 2 Save the Planet” around the world. Are you satisfied with the results so far? In what aspects are you going to do more?
No, Your Excellency, not yet.
I'm not satisfied yet. It's impossible. You know it very clearly. We still have a lot of work to do and we need to work harder in many areas. Being vegan is still a new concept for the world, so it takes time for people to accept it. Even if they can accept the idea, it's still hard for them to change habits. For example, we Chinese people like to eat rice. If others ask us to eat potatoes or bread every day, we'd also need time to adopt it. It's hard for people to change their habits. If our world has more people like you, Ms. Vice President, we will be able to spread the message wider and faster. If I do it alone, it's more difficult… I work very hard, but I don't have much power.
*You are too humble.
I don't have much power.
*You are too humble.
*In the international community, do you think it's easier to promote veganism in developing countries or well-developed countries? I think those who are rich eat more meat, so we should target rich people more for the meat-free campaign . Do you agree?
You've made a very good point. You've made a very good point. We just continue to work.
But in this era, they develop too fast. Take Mainland China for example. In a blink of an eye, it has become a very developed, powerful country. Mainland China used to eat less meat and fewer people got cancer because they ate less meat. Now they eat a lot of meat, because they are rich. Also, it seems most families have a car, which they didn't have before. Wherever we can promote it, we just start from there. I think what you said is correct. That's why we started from Europe and the United States.
*The United States is a country that consumes a lot of meat.
*They eat beef.
*The United States is big but its rail system is not widespread, so Americans rely mostly on cars.
*I think you have been doing a lot in the United States. What else do you think we can do in the USA?
Yes. I'll just continue like this. In your opinion, what can I do in the USA? You know more about politics. Maybe you can give me some advice about what I should do there.
*Then what do you think we should do in China? We don't need to promote veganism in China's poor areas, because they don't have meat to eat anyway.
*Instead we should focus on certain groups of people (Yes.) in Shanghai and Beijing. If we can influence them, it should be helpful. What I am doing in Formosa (Taiwan) is that whenever I treat my guests to a meal, I'd say, “Sorry, but I'd like to treat you to vegetarian dishes today.”
*This way, while having the meal, I can explain to my guests the reasons why I'm not serving them meat dishes.
*And they listen.
*Then they will think about it afterwards.
*I also entreat with them to order vegetarian meals whenever they treat their guests. This is to send a message to the restaurant owners (Yes, yes.) that they should request their chefs to learn how to cook meat-free dishes.
*This way we can further promote the vegetarian diet.
*I also try to convey the message to the public as much as possible when I give speeches, but it is hard to ask them to cut off meat completely, because probably only people at a high level in their spiritual practice are able to do that. So I change it to “eat less meat,”( Yes.) instead of “eat no meat.”
*If I ask them to cut off meat completely right away, perhaps many people would refuse. Therefore I ask them to eat less meat. (Yes.)
*We also plan to promote “at least one meatless meal a day.”
*So on United Nations Day, October 24, I'll answer the call of the United Nations with “3 Less to Save the Earth.” The United Nations promotes “Eat No Meat,” but I changed it to “Eat less meat, (
Yes.) Drive less, Waste less.”
You understand human psychology so well.
You are very understanding.
*So, based on the “3 less,” we are planning to organize two “3 Less to Save the Earth” festivals in Kaohsiung and Taipei.
Are they effective?
*We are preparing for them. First, we try to make more people aware of this issue.
*Currently, most people who don't eat meat have religious beliefs.
*We hope, however, that no matter whether one has religious beliefs or not, everyone will “Eat less meat,” ( Yes.) “Waste less,( Yes.) and “Drive less.”
*So we are actively preparing for these events. On October 23, (Great!) the day before United Nations Day, we will have events in Taipei and Kaohsiung, at least. Of course we hope that all your disciples can also help, because you are already doing very well. We hope you can join us. Today at your (Hsihu) Center, I've also got to know many outstanding physicians as well as people in the veg business. I also hope they can join us to promote the events together. Hope Master gives us blessing.
They will, they will.
In the United States, they have already started promoting it. First Lady Michelle Obama has already been promoting the vegetarian diet for a while. Not vegan, but vegetarian. She did put a piece of cheese on her MyPlate.
* She should ask President Obama to replace the beef hamburger patty with a vegetarian one when he visits his favorite hamburger store. That would be very helpful, right?
That would be great! They are truly very nice people.
*Yes, yes. Master, from a feminist point of view, I would like to ask you a few questions. Is that okay?
Please. Please, how can I serve you? Please ask.
*Today we have quite a few outstanding female friends from Formosa (Taiwan). They are all professional women. We also know that there are a few great female leaders in the Buddhist religion. Master Ching Hai, you are a very special one, because according to traditional views, if one is a religious leader and lives a monastic life, he/she should follow the tradition when choosing what to wear and deciding what his/her appearance should be like. Master, you are the first person to take a stand, according to the worldly view. I think this has also caused you some trouble. From a feminist point of view, we feel this is a very unique aspect. Can Master expound on this?
I don't think about such things anymore. These concepts are already history. I don't think about them anymore, I just continue doing my job. Whatever is convenient for society and beneficial to the Earth, I'll do. I don't worry about what to wear or what to do. We should go beyond these physical aspects. I can have my head shaved or not; either way is fine. For example, you are the Vice President. Your hair is so short. If it becomes a little shorter, you almost become a nun, but you are very pretty in this way.
You look so young, so young.
*So Master means as long as you sincerely believe in the Buddha, outer appearance is not important.
Not very important.
*We can go beyond that.
Yes, we can go beyond that.
*We also know that you are a very gifted artist. You can do a lot of designs. Can you also elaborate on this for us?
Thank you. It's all due to Heaven's and Buddha's help. It's due to the help of the Buddhas and the blessings of the Bodhisattvas (Saints). Otherwise, it would be very difficult for a woman without any worldly power to go out, struggle alone, and give advice to society.
It's very difficult *(Yes.)
Everyone likes to stick to traditions. People are suspicious of anything new, but I do things according to Heaven's instruction. Whatever Buddhas and Bodhisattvas ask me to do, I will do. Even if I were asked not to wear any clothes, like those Himalayan yogis, I'd do it, for sure; but please, please ask them not to have me do like this.
*Yes, yes, yes.
Each era is different. I follow in Quan Yin Bodhisattva's steps.
*Yes, yes, yes.
She said whatever she should do she would do: she would be a high official's wife, a young boy or girl; she would do anything. It depends on the time and need. This hair is easy to cut, but it takes more time to grow. If we want to cut it, in a few minutes, it's gone.
This dress, whether it is yellow or white, it's just different colors. It looks more or less the same.
*Yes, yes, yes.
No big difference.
I think in our time, people are more receptive to things that are not so serious and to those in common with ordinary people. In Buddhism, it is also said that to deliver sentient beings, we have to be together with them, walk with them, and be like them. There are many ways to deliver sentient beings. There are many ways we can communicate with others. We don't have to stick to one way. There are 84,000 methods. We can choose any of them. I don't know if I'm a nun or not. Every day I'm as busy as a bee. After meditating more than 10 hours, I don't have much time left.
Then I still have other work to do. So being a nun or not, I don't have any of that concept anymore.
*When we came to your Center, we saw that you have your bedroom in a cave.
*We felt very touched since you didn't enjoy much. You just stay in the cave when you come back to Formosa (Taiwan). (Yes, yes.)
*I think this is a very, very elevated way of practice.
I'm normally like that. But this is much better. Before, for several years, we only had tents. Caves are already very comfortable and safe. Previously, we'd lived in tents for several years. Sometimes the typhoon was too strong, and it blew them away. We stood there shelterless, with no more tents.
So, caves are already very good. Actually it's not that it's only good to live a cave. If I have a house, I'll live in a house, but since we cannot build houses over there, we live in caves, which are also very comfortable. We are very grateful to the blessings of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas that we have a stable place to live.
Wherever I go, it's the same. I live according to the situation. If there is a big house, I'll stay in the big house. It's not that I have to live in a cave because I'm a spiritual practitioner. It's not necessarily so. We live in whichever place available, depending on the situation.
Wherever we live, though, it's always very simple, because work is more important. We don't worry about worldly comforts. Now, no matter whether we are monks or householders, we work hard. While visiting our place, you've already seen our renunciates. They are also like this. They also must work. It's not that they have nothing to do , because they are renunciates .
*Master, you travel the world all year round and have been to many, many countries. And you were born in Âu Lạc (Vietnam).
*How long have you lived in Formosa? What do you think about Formosa?
Oh! It's too comfortable. I rarely go out of the Center. But our place in Miaoli is like Heaven. It's very comfortable. When I got to know the Formosan (Taiwanese) people, I felt they are very kind. They are so kind, so kind, so pure in their hearts, so pure.
* A lot of problems are happening on the planet. Master, according to your insight, is there any safety concern related to natural disasters to which we should pay attention in the near future, like by the end of this year?
It is very chaotic right now. We have all kinds of natural disasters. If we don't have earthquakes, we have typhoons; if not typhoons, we have floods; if not floods, we have droughts; if not drought, we have heat waves.
If not that, there is still another great danger, which is the Sun. The Sun may change itself, which will have a major impact on us. If solar flares arise, or if too much heat is sent to us, then we don't need to talk about other disasters on Earth. There is also a very strong energy sent to us from the universe.
*Energy. Scientists say that at the end of next year, or in the following year, there might be a big solar eruption.
* Is this what you are referring to?
Yes. There is also a kind of energy sent to us from the depth of the universe.
*Is it good or bad energy? Is it destructive or constructive? Constructive or destructive?
It is probably destructive.
It is because we cannot withstand this kind of energy. Earthlings are too weak. Only if the entire planet changes to a vegan diet and everyone takes care of his/her inner moral standard, can we withstand this energy from universal eruptions.
*Humans have too much bad karma (retribution).
*Is that what you mean?
Yes, yes. Also the Sun - if we don't have moral power, no science or technology can protect us. That's why I have been reminding everyone to return to his/her inner virtuous Buddha Nature, original benevolent quality. But it is not that easy. Ms. Vice President, you know it very well, and that's why you advise people to eat less meat, if not cutting it off completely.
I cannot tell people to eat less meat only.
*So in other words, Master, are you not very optimistic about the future of humankind? Is that right?
I am still optimistic somewhat. We still have hope. It cannot be hopeless. It cannot be hopeless. That's why I continue meditating more than 10 hours every day, almost all day, all night. Sometimes I have a one- or half-hour break because I need to take care of myself and my dogs, to clean the house, for example like that.
Otherwise I meditate all the time, praying for Heaven's protection and also reminding people from inside to return to their original Self, which is compassion, which is Buddha Nature. To remind all people of this aspect from inside, I have to communicate with them through meditation. Outer speech is only a little bit effective, not completely.
The power of meditation is more effective, because inside we are the same, our souls are the same, our Buddha Nature is the same. That's why inner communication is more effective. Also we are asking all spiritual practitioners and non-practitioners in the whole world to meditate every day during various common times, or at any time. We should meditate and pray.
This is the message we are promoting on TV. On one hand, we are reminding people with the spoken language, and on the other, we are communicating with them inwardly. I still keep my hopes up, Ms. Vice President. We still have hope.
*Yes. Master, do you plan to visit Formosa (Taiwan) in the near future? Do you plan to come back to Formosa (Taiwan)?
Right now I meditate a lot, so I don't want to go anywhere.
*Are you in Europe?
Yes, I'm having a retreat.
*You are having a retreat.
*(Yes, yes, yes.)
Something like that. I'm having a retreat, but it's not that I lock myself up completely. If you come to our Center, I would still like to meet you very much.
*Yes, yes, yes.
I didn't expect that Ms. Vice President is so pretty and so young!
*Thank you so much.
You are different from how I imagined.
*Is that so! Yes, yes, yes. I'm not 100 years old yet, so I'm not that old.
I'm also about your age, but you look so pretty, so pretty.
*Thank you so much.
You are like a young lady.
*Thank you, thank you. I hope that next time when Master comes back to Formosa (Taiwan), we will have a chance to meet you.
*Today, a lot of our sisters have come to visit your Center. We also wish Master great success in your spiritual practice and goals.
Thank you. Thank you all for visiting our place.
*Let's thank Master. Amitabha Buddha.
*Thank you, thank you.
Everyone, please take care of Ms. Vice President more. Please.
*Thank you, thank you.
Take good care of her.
*May Heaven bless the Earth, Formosa (Taiwan), and Master.
Thank you! Please forgive me. I feel very, very honored. I feel very honored. I was supposed to greet you and your good friends in person, but I have been meditating a lot and I cannot go out so suddenly. I think meditation is more important, so I'm still having a retreat. Please understand and forgive me.
*Sure, sure. Alright. Thank you.
I ask for your and your good friends' understanding and forgiveness.
May Buddhas and Bodhisattvas bless you, your good friends, and Formosa (Taiwan), because it's a small island, which is more… (*In danger.) surrounded by seas. In this era, islands are not very safe, but I ask Buddhas and Bodhisattvas (Saints) to protect Formosa (Taiwan).
Thank you. Thanks everyone for coming. Amitabha Buddha.
*Thank you. Amitabha Buddha. Thank you, thank you. I think it's about the time. Please take some rest, Master. Thank you.
It's not time for me to rest yet. It's about six o'clock in the morning.
*I see. Yes, yes. Thank you.
We will just continue to meditate.
*Can we let our sisters talk to Master? If our sisters have questions, can they ask for Master's guidance?
If necessary, yes. Do we still have time?
*Does anyone want to talk to Master? Let's thank Alice first.
Hallo, hallo. Do you like our place?
*Yes, I like it very much, especially the Rainbow Garden for kids. I think it's very creative, very nice.
It's a little old now. Have you treated our guests well? Chairman, have you treated Ms. Vice President and her good friends well?
*We've done our best.
Cook vegan food for everyone. Did you prepare a place for them to rest or maybe they don't have time to rest? Maybe you don't have time to take a rest? You just came to visit and you need to go back to do many things, right? Are you still busy? Are you busy or no?
*I am okay. I just do the things I should do every day. I look at it as a conscious business.
Yes, a conscious business.
* Yes, I'm only doing conscious...
It's a forever business.
*Yes, yes, yes.
You don't need to take office, nor do you need to resign.
* Yes, yes, yes.
I wish you success in your business.
*Thank you, thank you.
I also pray for Formosa (Taiwan) to be blessed.
Our Association members practice spiritually also for the safety of Formosa (Taiwan).
*Yes, yes, yes. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
*Okay. Thank you. Okay.
Is there anyone else who'd like to say anything?
*Does anyone want to talk? Thank you, Master, please take care also.
They are shy. Please take care also.
May Buddhas and Bodhisattvas bless you, your friends, and Formosa (Taiwan). I love Formosa (Taiwan) very much.
* Yes, thank you.
Okay. We'll see each other again when we have a chance.
*Yes. Good. Thank you.