They cannot see God. They have to grab onto anything they can see, any statues of the past Saints, any written past teachings of the Saints. They worship it, they pray to it, and sometimes it works if they are very sincere. Then, of course, the angels, the Saints, the Sages are never far away. They help what they can, according to their karma.
The Formosan (Taiwanese) people, they worship past Masters. Like in Taoism and in Confucianism and in Buddhism, like that. I-Kuan Tao is also from Buddhists. They worship the Ji Gong Huo Fo, they call Him. Ji Gong Huo Fo, meaning “Ji Gong, the Living Buddha.” They say that every day, but they don’t realize that Ji Gong Buddha is gone already, not a living Buddha anymore. It’s better they seek the living Buddha, living Master. Sometimes people are very funny. (Yes, Master.) They forget.
Just like in Sikhism, they worship the teaching of the Masters in the form of the Granth Sahib. All the teachings of all the great Masters are written in there. That is wonderful to worship, fine. But in there, it says you should seek a living Master also. But they did not see that, did not realize that. So, they just worship the teachings of the Masters in that book every day. That book is holy for them. Of course, it’s good then. In the book, it tells you to do good things and all that. But the main point is to look for the Master so that you can hear the Shabd, means the (inner) Heavenly music – “Shabd” means the (inner Heavenly) Sound – and see the (inner Heavenly) Light through a living Master. It’s stated in that Granth Sahib, the big bible of the Sikhs. But how many people realize that?
Just like in the Bible, it says, “Don’t be with the meat eaters and wine drinkers” even, not to talk about eating meat and drinking wine yourself! But how many people follow that? They read it every day. The priests know all about it, and they go to the church every Sunday. But how many people follow that advice? You see what I’m saying now? (Yes, Master.)
In India, they also worship many deities, and they worship also animals. They worship even snakes and mice. There are temples built for snakes. There are temples built for mice. And people go there and eat and drink together with the mice and wish to be born as a mouse. Some people go and offer milk and flour and all that for the mice to eat. And the people, the followers, go there and drink the milk for the mice, together in the same bowl. Whatever the mice already drank, they also drink it, hoping to have blessing from the mice. And eat the mice’s leftovers, hoping also to be born as a mouse.
And some worship cows also, of course, living cows. If you go to India, you will see what I’m saying is true. You don’t have to; maybe you read some books where they write about it. And documentary films. I’m telling you the truth. You believe me or not? (Yes, Master.) You go there and see people worship the mice. And the cows. Of course, the cows we can understand, because in India before, they had only cow’s milk. Cow’s milk for babies, for the sick people, and for making medicines, for making cheese and butter and all that for them, all these centuries and thousands of lifetimes. So, they are appreciative to the cows. I mean, most Indian people. Not all of them. Some of them eat them also because of the influence of other religions. Like that. It’s even so bad that the government made a law nowadays in some states in India, made laws to forbid people to harm or hurt the cow, or kill the cow, or anything. In some places, if you kill the cow, you go to jail for life even. I like that. I like that. Because the cows are harmless. He eats only grass or leftover garbage. They don’t do any harm to anybody. They are very, very docile.
Now you are happy with my answer? (Yes. Thank You, Master.) Any more doubts? Any other questions spring from that?
(I’m just wondering because the culture likes to pray for studies, pray for prosperity, they like to pray to some deity about those mundane things.)
Well, if it helps them. Because for some people, God is too far-fetched. The teaching of the Saints and all that, they think they cannot do it. They cannot follow, because they are just ordinary persons, they are just ignorant beings and they look down upon themselves, because they don’t see the Buddha Nature in themselves. There is no Master who can open their wisdom eye, let them see that there are great beings within themselves, within this physical body. Even though the Bible says that, “You are the temple of God and the Holy Spirit dwells within you,” or “God is within you.” “Buddha Nature you have.” But saying is saying, believing is another thing. People have been poisoned for too long. They have no more self-confidence. They have no more trust in anything that they don’t understand or don’t see.
Only the Master can make them see, and only if they are even up to it yet. Because the Masters, mostly They are compassionate, They just give everyone a chance. But not all of them, even initiated people, would understand that much. But if they continue practicing and being faithful, then of course sooner or later they will also catch up with those who can see immediately, or who have a strong faith like Jesus said: “Blessed are those who don’t see, but believe.” “… because for them is the Kingdom of God.”
We are in this difficult world, very hard world, and we influence each other as a big dyeing tub. So, if one person says, “Oh, the local god is very, very, very responsive. If you pray to him, you bring some gift to him, then tomorrow, whatever you ask will come true.” It might come true, it might not. The small god maybe can help you a little bit, but it could be also your karma that changed for the lucky tide now. You see, just like the tide in the ocean, it ebbs and flows.
In this world you have to know, my love, it’s so difficult for ordinary people out there to earn a living, to marry off her daughter, to cure his grandparent’s sickness, to minimize the suffering of their relatives and friends due to disease or trouble. So, they don’t see God. They cannot see God. They have to grab onto anything they can see, any statues of the past Saints, any written past teachings of the Saints. They worship it, they pray to it, and sometimes it works if they are very sincere. Then, of course, the angels, the Saints, the Sages are never far away. They help what they can, according to their karma. If their karma is about this much good, they add on more to make their wish come true. Then they begin to believe more. Next time, they ask the same book of the teachings of the Saint. Or next time, they come back to the same local deity, to bring more apples, whatever they bring. Or they worship some ghosts or some demons that they don’t see around them, just to help to bless them or to minimize their trouble or at least don’t cause them more trouble. And it works, then they do it again and again and again. Then they spread it out to the neighbors, to their children, to their family, their friends to do the same. Do you understand now? (Yes, Master.)
Because this life is too hard to earn a living, to stay sane, to be above poverty, or even just to have enough food, two, three meals a day. Sometimes people have only one meal every day. Not because they are monks or nuns, just because they don’t have the fortune to afford two meals or three meals. You know that. (Yes, Master.) Some don’t even know if tomorrow they’ll even have one meal. This world is so hard, and once you lost something, you lost everything else. In many countries, you know that there are a lot of homeless people because they just lost their job, or they’ve just been so ill that they spent all their savings and they cannot get up to catch up again to the former lifestyle or the former standard of life that they had. And they became homeless. They’re begging on the street. Everybody’s afraid of that situation. They don’t want that to happen to them. So, they pray here, pray there, they go worship this and worship that, just in case it works, because they don’t know what else to do. Do you understand now? (Yes, Master.)
So, we cannot even look down upon them also. We also cannot feel disrespectful for this kind of activity and worship. For most people, that’s the only comfort they have. At least it comforts them. It gives them hope. (Yes, Master.) Gives them hope that maybe the deity will help, will bless, and will make the trouble less, or make the trouble disappear. Gives them hope, because in this life, hope is the best humans can have in daily life, dealing with all kinds of trouble, difficulties. Even if you have a job, it doesn’t mean heaven, because you have the boss – the big boss on top pushing for production, the lower boss between kicking you to be faster, to work harder. Even if you are sick that day, even if you are in trouble with your wife or in trouble with your children, you still need to work. And if you are in front of the public, like the news readers, the journalists, the reporters, you have to smile no matter what. If you are an actress, an actor, you have to make people happy in your role. You cannot remember your trouble. Even if you remember, you cannot act on it. This life is so hard, so hard.
We are lucky, we don’t know that life. (Yes.) But imagine if it’s you. You work in a very hard, competitive, sometimes toxic atmosphere, just to earn a living, and still not sure if you can continue to do your job. Sometimes you just lose your job like that, for no reason, or very little reason, because you are powerless. And you need that job for yourself, for your family to have a dignified life. It’s very, very hard. So, people just worship anything, pray to anything. It’s like that.
The same with the people of Israel at that time when Moses was leading them in the desert. It’s a very short distance from Egypt to Israel, to Jerusalem. But somehow, they ran around or lost themselves in the desert for 40-something years. You understand now? (Yes, Master.) And before that, they believed that God gave them a Promised Land – Israel. They believed that God gave them that Promised Land. After Egypt, they will find that land, quickly settle down, and have their life back. But they were lost in the desert for 40-some years and they were desperate. Even though they had Moses and all that, who strongly believed in God because of His own experience, direct contact with God or through the Master on Mount Sinai. But still, how many people can hang on to Moses’ faith without having the experience themselves?
Maybe some people followed Moses and were initiated and also had some experiences like Him. But not everybody has good experiences, the direct contact like that with the (inner Heavenly) Light and the (inner Heavenly) Sound. And not everybody can believe anything that they don’t see. So, for 40 years plus, they wandered around in the desert. Imagine how hard a life that was.