“700 years from now, the laurel will turn green again and the good men and women will return.”
After His resurrection, Lord Jesus Christ’s close disciples traveled to different places to carry on His teachings. According to local beliefs, one of Lord Jesus’ foremost Apostles, Saint Mary Magdalene, arrived on a boat at the shores of the south of France, along with Saint Mary of Clopas and Saint Mary Salome. Thus, there is even a small town named after them, called Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer (Saint Marys of the Sea). The legend says that Saint Mary Magdalene then started her ministry of spreading the original teachings of Jesus Christ. It is also believed that the original form of Christianity was practiced in that region through the spiritual group known as the Cathars.
In the 11th century, the Languedoc region of southern France was a cultured, open and tolerant society. It flourished because it was progressive. Among them were the Cathars, good citizens who practiced love, peace, charity, simple living and honest labor, according to the spiritual principles taught by Lord Jesus Christ. Thus, the Cathars were known as “bons chrétiens (good Christians),” or “bonhommes (good men)” and “bonnes femmes (good women).”
The term “Cathar” has its origin in the Ancient Greek word “katharós,” which means “pure.” The Cathar initiates were basically vegans, practiced meditation to contact God directly, and believed in reincarnation and the law of retribution! For us, the disciples of Supreme Master Ching Hai, the way of the Cathars sounds very familiar! Not only do the Cathars have much in common with us a thousand years later, they also lived like the Essenes (Lord Jesus’ lineage) did a thousand years before them. That is because since eternity, there has only ever been one True Way of spiritual communion with God. As Supreme Master Ching Hai has lovingly taught us:
“The Masters of old have passed away, but Their teaching, Their lineage of enlightenment, has always – somewhere, somehow, somewhat – survived. It not necessarily survived in Jerusalem. It not necessarily survived in Bodh Gaya in India. It goes deep into the ground like the river. It goes all over; it branches out; it's hidden away somewhere, and then it springs up somewhere else, “Surprise!” So we have to find where that river has sprung up right now and get the source of the water of life.
I'm also lucky to have encountered the newly sprung up river and I have also drunk the water of life, which tastes good. I know it tastes good because I've tasted it, so I come back and tell you, and I can also show you where to get the water and taste it for yourself.”
“Since ancient times, great Masters have emphasized the Quan Yin Method. Jesus Christ taught the Quan Yin Method, Shakyamuni Buddha taught the Quan Yin Method, Lao Tzu taught the Quan Yin Method, Confucius, practiced the Quan Yin Method, Master Xuanzang practiced the Quan Yin Method, and the Sixth Patriarch Hui Neng practiced the Quan Yin Method, etc. So what should I practice then? Right?”
According to Richard Stanley, an award-winning South African filmmaker, author, and anthropologist based in Montsegur, France, a center of Cathar country: “(Catharism was not only an initiated tradition, it had a secret body of law which was not available to outsiders that was only told to or revealed by fellow initiates so the actual belief or teaching was never known or never written down but only conveyed to fellow initiates. The line of initiation allegedly went back to before the time of Christ [BCE before the Christian era].)”
“This Method is very ancient, and the lineage is unbroken from one country to the next, from one Master to another. If we are not interested in this kind of direction, sometimes we never know about it.”
“When the Master transmits the so-called Quan Yin, the Master doesn’t speak anything. And doesn’t do anything. And does not tell you to do anything. It is because of the silent power, the unwritten method. Therefore it’s called method but it’s a very invisible method, unwritten. No using language. If you are in contact with this (inner Heavenly) Light or the Sound of God inside by any means, then you are in the Quan Yin Method.”
In Catharism, the initiation into spiritual practice was called the “consolamentum.” It can be explained as the true baptism, an immersion in the Holy Spirit. During the consolamentum, the new Cathar initiates received spiritual gifts such as the cleansing of sin, spiritual regeneration, and elevation of the soul to a higher plane of perfection, nearer to God. Eventually, they would be freed from the bonds of the physical world for eternity. The consolamentum sounds very much like the initiation that Supreme Master Ching Hai bestows by Her Divine Grace.
“After initiation, your soul is free. You will never have to be reborn again in suffering and dying situation like in this world. You don’t have to be reborn, don’t have to get old again, don’t ever have to suffer again. Don’t have to be sick or suffer of any kind again and don’t have to ever die again. I mean, don’t ever have to experience this dying process again, which is terrifying and painful and troublesome and sorrow for yourself and for family members. You are lucky people.”
“The initiation will help us to purify, to burn out all the past karmas, and just leave the karma of this life for us to go on. And even then the Master power will minimize our suffering when necessary, when we couldn't bear it.”
“The Master will leave a little bit of karma for us, for daily use of give and take. But don't make new ones. That's why we keep the precepts, we eat vegan, to minimize the karma for the future, the cause of coming back for the future. But the rest of the karma, the Master Power burns it away so you don't have any more debt to come back anymore. So that's the good thing about initiation. Inside, open the wisdom and clear all the storage of bad karma and even good karma, so we don't have to come back again. That's why for the initiates, this is the last life, last life. If you want to come back, fine, you can. If you don't want to, nobody can drag you down. And five or six or seven or more generations of your relatives will be elevated to liberation also. So, the initiation is immensely powerful. It’s incredible.”
It was believed that consolamentum, or Cathar initiation, could happen only twice in a lifetime: upon confirmation in the faith and upon impending death if the person made the commitment to the faith. Master has also explained that apart from getting initiation to enter the circle of Sainthood, the sincere could also be liberated if they remember the Master at the time of death.
“Many of the beings that I help, not you, they've already gone to Heaven, they came daily to thank me. Came in my vision daily, countless, I cannot count. All came to say thank you, to thank me. I'm very happy also because of that. They're not initiated, no, no, no. Maybe some of your relatives passed away already, and some people outside who saw my photo and believed, prayed or remembered me when they died and they've gone, all gone to Heaven.”
“I sympathize with everyone, even the worst criminals in this world. People judge them, I don’t. I just feel sorry for them, very, very sorry. And it pains me that not everyone listens to me, so that I can help them.
If they just believe in me, then I can also liberate them at the end of their life, then they don’t have to come back again. If they just not slander me, then I can also liberate them, help them at the end of their life, and in this lifetime already, anyway, in different circumstances, although they don’t see, they don’t know. Some do know, even though they’re not your Quan Yin practitioners’ brothers and sisters. They do know, some see, some don’t.”
The Cathar initiate was called a “Perfect,” because as spiritual aspirants, they strove to remain clean and perfect after receiving the rebirth of initiation. The Cathar Perfects followed a very simple lifestyle, refraining from consuming animal flesh or animal products. (However, some may have erroneously consumed fish, perhaps because they did not have a true Living Master to guide them in detail. Also, they might have been influenced by the false belief in those times that fish were different from other animals.) The Cathar Perfects observed abstinence from sexual contact and from intoxicants such as wine, alcohol or drugs. In their daily lives, they worked as weavers or farmers, always helping the less fortunate, and not caring for privilege or opulence. Spiritually, the Cathar Perfects practice focused on one-on-one, direct communication with God. Instead of worshipping in a church building, they practiced meditation in meadows or by streams. For us, all these reveal that the consolamentum of the Cathars could be the same precious key of initiation (with the five moral precepts) that we have been fortunate to receive in our times, as disciples of Supreme Master Ching Hai.
Sadly, despite the high regard people had towards them, the Cathars were perceived as a threat to the established Roman Catholic Church at that time. A crusade was launched in 1209 to exterminate the Cathars. In the year 1321, the last Cathar Perfect (initiate) named Guillaume Bélibaste, was asked to go back to the south of France to give consolamentum to a dying woman. He was betrayed, and on his arrival was captured and burnt at the stake. According to legend, in the last moments of his life, Guillaume Bélibaste shouted the following prophecy:
“700 years from now, the laurel will turn green again and the good men and women will return.”
In referring to “the good men and women,” Guillaume Bélibaste was predicting the return of his own people, the Cathars, precisely 700 years from the time he spoke. Wise viewers, 700 years from 1321 is the year we are in now: 2021! As our series continues, we’ll go deeper into the Cathars’ fascinating predictions about their own return.