The first dance is called "Thep Ban Thoeng" dance. The second dance is called "Sri Wi-chai" dance. So, this is the great occasion that we would like to welcome Master Ching Hai to give her lecture. Please welcome Master Ching Hai.
We would like to introduce our fellow initiate to tell some of her experiences.
Good evening. I am one of Master Ching Hai's initiates. I have been initiated and practiced the Quan Yin Method for two years. My first inner experience just happened during this past April. On that day, I got up from bed to meditate as usual.
When I was about to go into samadhi I heard a loud sound inside. It was a big concert in which a lot of instruments were playing off-key. At the same time, there was a bright spot at my wisdom eye and also a kind of energy with a great vibration pulling my spirit to that bright spot at a high speed.
It was like I was in an imaginary train running through a tunnel. My spirit ran through the wisdom eye to the outside which was another dimension that had a nice atmosphere and clear sky. I looked back at myself and did not find my body - only my spirit and my mind floating in the sky. My spirit finally floated to a paradise.
When I got inside that place, I found Master and my dear friend, who is also an initiate. Master selected some jewelry and gave one diamond necklace to my friend and one to me. Then Master invited us to go and play around outside.
After this experience, I always had similar experiences during my meditation, at least once a month. However, the sound that I heard and the dimension and atmosphere were different. Even though the experiences that I obtained were not extremely great, I feel most convinced that Master Ching Hai can certainly guide us to liberation and enlightenment; however, we have to be sincere and serious in seeking liberation. I would like to thank Master for having compassion for all of us.
So right now is the time that we all are waiting for, so please welcome Master Ching Hai. The Supreme Master Ching Hai.
How are you?
How is everyone feeling? Is it all right? Thai people are very shy. That doesn't help me; I am even more shy. So, we are both shy together and just sit here, do nothing. That's the trouble with our world.
Everyone is so humble and so shy and does not try to express our feelings and does not try hard to achieve what we want to do. I was also a very shy person. I still am, but I don't let my shyness overcome the goal in my life. Our shyness and fear sometimes inhibits us and lets us get stuck in our daily routine despite our eagerness to find some new solution or some new meaning to our life.
And that's also the reason why I think many of us cannot attain enlightenment, even though the Buddha has promised that every one of us will become Buddha. He is the one who became the Buddha, but we will become Buddha. He said all of us have Buddha Nature. The Buddha's teaching or any other great master's teaching are very similar; to tell us that the Kingdom of God, the Buddha's land, is within our heart.
But why is it that many of us cannot see, cannot understand, cannot realize the Buddha Nature, even though the Buddha says we are the Buddha? If we have the Buddha Nature inside, that means we are potential Buddhas. At least, we have the seed of the Buddha. Why ca we not see, why ca we not find it?
For the ones who have found it, they found it is very easy. For the ones who have not found it, they have found it is so difficult. When the Buddha found his own Buddhahood and Buddha Nature, he was surprised.
The Buddha said, "I and the sentient beings are no different. How come they don't realize it?" It happens to any beings who happen to find their enlightenment. They would feel the same thing, and they will find that they are very ordinary; it's not much different than before, but the wisdom has opened. Something inside them has awakened. That's the only difference.
And the one who attains enlightenment would find it's difficult to convince other people that it is very easy to find their treasure. Mostly because our nature is very introvert, shy, and I can say maybe humble also, very humble, and we have a lot of illusions about what a Buddha is like or what enlightenment is like, and how very difficult it is, how impossible it is to attain enlightenment in this very lifetime, in this very, very mundane situation that we are living in.
That's why I ran to the Himalayas, because I thought only in a mysterious place and a faraway place, with nobody there and no contamination, no pollution, then I would attain enlightenment. And then I went through a lot of hardships - eating once a day, etc., didn't sleep at night; just sitting all night long, etc., etc. -
I thought all this hard work would earn me Buddhahood. Only after a long time, feeling hungry for a long time, and sometimes cold and miserable, and then after some time, I realized that it is not necessary, all these things, because the Buddha is very merciful; doesn't want us to suffer like that.
Then, after I began to share my experience with other people, and then I realized more that they could just sit in their house, driving their Mercedes, eating their beautiful noodles in the first-class restaurant and still have enlightenment.
Some of our fellow practitioners in the same Quan Yin Method, their level of spiritual awakening is very high, and they have never been to the Himalayas and they have never eaten once a day or never had to meditate all night through; and every one of them can testify to that.
So, the only thing we need is the correct way of practice and a friend, or a teacher or a guide, who knows already the way to practice and to share that experience with us, and then we can just do it anywhere. Of course, we don't have to change our way of life and our mode of living, also our place of inhabitance, to reach enlightenment.
We can do, if we want to. If we feel it is more conducive to our spiritual practice and gives us more peace of mind and more help in our spiritual endeavor, then we may do, we may do. We may change to a saffron robe, we may go to the temple, we may go to the forest, or we may change our job to a more quiet environment, etc., etc., when all these really give us a better feeling of wellbeing, so that we can practice better.
We may do that. But not all persons have the luxury of choice that he can do what he wants because most of us are responsible persons who have families, who have parents, children, wife, husband, and social duties to fulfill. If we all run into the forest then the city is empty. I don't think I would suggest that.
So, when the Buddha, Shakyamuni Buddha, was still alive, he had a multitude of disciples from different walks of life: different backgrounds, different positions, different intellectual talents and different religious beliefs also.
After the Buddha entered Nirvana, the successor had been bestowed upon mostly the monks. Because many of his monks had attained enough awakening to carry on his noble teachings. And also because the monks are more free in their obligation. They have nothing to worry about: they don't have to stay with the family, they don't have to provide food for family, etc. They're free to travel anywhere and to meet the demand of the devotees, to teach them the way to practice.
But that doesn't mean that he has no enlightened householder disciples. One of his foremost disciples was Vimalakirti and he was a householder, rich person. He had never left home, never shaved his head, never became a monk.
But all the monks of the Buddha were afraid of him because he was very, very highly awakened, almost near to the Buddha - Buddhahood. So, whenever the monks or anyone visited Vimalakirti, they were very respectful and very, very aware of his spiritual power. Also, like the Quan Yin Bodhisattva, she has never appeared as a monk or nun, and many other saints in Buddhism. I think you know.
So, after studying all these messages from the ancient practitioners, I thought, “Only by becoming a monk and nun can you attain Buddhahood,” but afterward, I realized it's not necessary.
Similarly, now most of us have become grown up, in the middle age of our life, and we sometimes think it's too late to get enlightenment, or we're too tied-up with worldly duties; but it's not too late, and it's not difficult.
We also have monks and nuns, monastic fellow practitioners - even from different religious backgrounds, not only Buddhism. We have also Catholic nuns and priests and they also practice with us. But most of our fellow practitioners are ordinary householders who work, earn a living, take care of their family and meditate in the night.
We can use our spare time to meditate before we sleep after we have finished with our household duties, and/or we can wake up one hour or half an hour early in the morning to meditate while everyone is still asleep. And because we have very little time to meditate like that due to our very busy schedule of a householder, we have more longing in our heart, and that will add extra blessing to our spiritual practice.
That's why I have found out that many of our so-called householder practitioners, they progress very, very fast from one level to the next. Very, very fast. Because meditation means you concentrate on one subject or one thing. It doesn't necessarily mean that you have to cross your legs and sit there, fixed, locked in one position for hours on end. Spiritual practice concerns the mind, not the body.
After the mind is controlled, the body is controlled. That's why sometimes if you already practice some kind of meditation, you will find out that sometimes if your mind is very turbulent and in trouble, you hardly can sit.
That's why we do not emphasize to people that they have to practice the position first, but we emphasize that we will help you to unlock the extra controlling power, so that at the beginning of your practice you can immediately calm your mind and have an immediate result of enlightenment so that you can be encouraged and continue further with your practice.
We help you to unlock your controlling power from the highest source of the Buddha Nature, or what we call the Kingdom of God in different religions. There is a way to do everything in this world and in Heaven. The secret is we know the way. That's why once we know the secret, we can do it easily. If we don't know the secret, it doesn't matter how hard we try, how sincere we are, we will not have results, as we wanted. It is like everything else - very logical and very easy to learn if we want to.
Enlightenment is the easiest thing to do in this world. If you want to become president or prime minister of Thailand, I cannot promise that. But if you want to become enlightened, okay. Because it's so easy. You can ask all of our fellow practitioners. They can guarantee you that it's very easy. That's why we call it “immediate enlightenment.”
Of course, when I talk, I am not instructing you for enlightenment; but if you give the instruction, you get it. Right now, I am only advertising, but if you want it, we can give you the cake right away; it's no problem. And enlightenment doesn't interfere with our daily life, doesn't make us feel a stranger to this place.
Doesn't mean we have to run away from the family or do anything strange. Just carry on living as usual except our wisdom is open. We can use it to help the society, help our families, liberate our attachment and become more helpful, more intelligent, more efficient in our daily work.