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Words of Wisdom / Supreme Master Ching Hai's Lectures

Sorcery Contest, Part 1 of 12, Aug. 11, 1991

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Master once said that, if we want our spiritual practice to be fruitful and to progress quickly, we should always focus on the “Tao.” Always think of the Tao, think of God, think about liberation, think of the Buddha, the Dharma, and the monk order, and think about benefitting sentient beings. Then, we are constantly in the Tao, anytime, anywhere.

Q(f): Hallo, fellow initiates. First, we want to thank all of you for your patience and love, and for giving us this opportunity to learn. I think Master wants to train us to be independent and be able to face trials, as well as to train our faith, patience, and courage. Today, I’ll take this opportunity to share some of my thoughts on following Master to practice the Quan Yin Method and to become a nun. Through this sharing, we can encourage each other.

I think this is also a good way to eliminate the ego. Why? Because we all know that we are being haunted by our ego. That’s why we often have fears. We care about good or bad, success or failure. We care about gains and losses. Therefore, we cannot be free and have peace of mind. This is also due to our ego. Every day, we are obstructed by outside influences. Our faith is shaken by praise and criticism, success and failure. We cannot be free.

Therefore, ever since I followed Master, I always looked up to Master. I feel that Master is our best example, our best paragon in spiritual practice, and the best and the greatest trainer. As such, Her every act, speech, and personal example are the best teachings for us. Master is also the greatest educator. At the same time, She is also the greatest trainer. “Great Trainer” is one of the titles of Buddha. Master trains, controls, and tames us, these stubborn sentient beings who are difficult to train and tame.

In daily life, we can observe that Master’s speech and acts are always perfect examples. For instance, whether Master is giving internal discourses to us, or giving open lectures to thousands of spectators, She is always so composed, at ease, graceful and noble. Her superb demeanor is truly mesmerizing. Master’s speeches further reveal Her extensive knowledge, unfathomable wisdom, and fluency in debate. Her words are gems of Truth, and every sentence is aphorism, all of which are reminding us of faith and find the precious power within us. Since Master is our teacher, She trains and educates us like a teacher. Her ways of teaching are often unpredictable.

She teaches all of us equally without discrimination. Among our fellow initiates, Master does not care whether we are rich or poor, intelligent or mediocre. She teaches us all with equality and the greatest compassion. Master is also good at using suitable ways to teach different disciples. She is aware of their personality, needs, and their ability to learn and receive. She provides us the best education accordingly. She is good at using suitable scenarios to teach us. Her ways are flexible and ever-changing. Sometimes, She uses both soft and hard measures. Sometimes, She is gentle and stern at the same time.

In conclusion, She teaches us using the best ways possible. At the same time, we could deeply realize the incredible ways that Master uses to teach disciples. For instance, Master sometimes uses kind and loving words to warm our hearts, to touch our hearts, and to make us happy so we forget all our worries. Sometimes, Master inevitably has to use rather stern ways. Even Her scolding is charged with Love. As we know, we scold the most our loved ones. Is that right? As parents or teachers, we can realize the agony when our children progress or improve too slowly. Sometimes, for the purpose of teaching us, Master inevitably has to scold us to resolve our invisible karma. However, fellow initiates should understand that this is precisely one way for us to receive Master’s great Love and compassion. We couldn’t even thank Her enough. Never have a critical heart. Doing so shows our ignorance.

Master is a teacher above this world. She is the greatest teacher, giving us the most precious things. She transmits the Dharma to us, this most profound method of liberation, helping us to reach enlightenment and liberation in one lifetime. She guides us to find our Buddha Nature and to return to the Homeland of our soul. Master’s grace is infinitely vast like the ocean and high like the mountains. We have no way to describe or show our gratitude for Her grace. We can only repay Her by practicing conscientiously. In the way of a stern father or loving mother, Master teaches, corrects us, and lets us know what “love” is and how to love others. These are the teachings that Master bestows upon us.

Before I met Master, about nine years ago, I had deeply perceived the ephemerality of life and the ever-changing and unreliable nature of this world. Since then, I started to have the idea of seeking an enlightened Master. I encountered all kinds of setbacks, didn’t succeed. Recalling this experience, I am filled with emotions. It’s also because we have gone through so much hardship, that we realize the preciousness of Master’s method, and the greatness of this true enlightened Master.

In ancient times, to find an enlightened Master and to attain the Truth, people had to cross mountains and rivers, enduring all kinds of hardships. Begging for the true method, our Zen Patriarch even had to kneel in the snow through the night and lose an arm. Some even offered their lives for this goal. We can imagine their intense yearning, and the hardships they encountered. How blessed and fortunate our fellow initiates are today. We have found the Master, but it was She who crossed mountains and rivers, endured hardships and extreme dangers, in order to save us, a herd of lost sheep. She has gone through a lot of tribulations to save us, and for that, She endured defamation, criticism, and slander. All these pains are really beyond what we can imagine. Also, to give us initiation, She must shoulder our karma of many lifetimes, and even the karma of our relatives and friends. We really cannot imagine the intense pain that Master must bear for this karma. We have found this extremely precious method. If we don’t cherish it and practice diligently, we ought to be ashamed for wasting Master’s good intent and sincerity.

Master once said, “It’s easy to find sincere disciples, but hard to find a sincere Master.” We all know that, in this deluding world full of sins and evil, it is not so easy for a Buddha to come to deliver sentient beings. Because this is the maya’s world. He won’t let us practice spiritually. He will deter and hinder us, let us experience lots of pains, and discourage us. Therefore, the Master… Only a Master like our Master, having such a great compassion and Love, would be willing to descend to deliver sentient beings. Of course, there are many Bodhisattvas Who use various intangible ways to teach sentient beings. However, Master is the most compassionate and loving. She puts the sentient beings before Her fame, reputation, and life. We are truly touched, and there is no worldly language to express our gratitude. This is true.

Master is an enlightened Master who has attained great enlightenment and the Truth. As an enlightened Master, She is empowered with great love power. We know this love power is very precious and magnificent. The power of love is above everything and is able to coalesce and illuminate everything. This power of love can make lonely people happy, bring warmth to those in pain, and make this world beautiful. Of course, Master is the most loving person. If not for love, She wouldn’t have to come to this deluding world to endure so much suffering for all of us.

So, this power of love is also a very important lesson for spiritual practitioners. Master once said that this power of love is a prerequisite for those who strive to attain the Truth. However, this power of love has to be developed naturally from within us. It is not to be acquired outside. Of course, we need to rely on spiritual practice to develop this inner quality of ours. Spiritual practice can change everything.

Next, I wish to share some of my insights. I’ll speak whatever comes to my mind. Master says that we spiritual practitioners must be humble. A humble person is always grateful. We shouldn’t take anything in this world for granted.

Master: All right. Are you going to finish soon?

Q(f): I am still talking.

Master: Hurry up. Today we came here to enjoy tea, not to listen to your speech. Hurry up. Good. So, just by the way…

Q(f): One time, Master spoke at the Bamboo Grove. Even the earlier fellow initiates might have missed this. Master said, “I’m always grateful for everything. I never take anything for granted. Everything in this world is the result of everyone’s efforts.”

Master: Just sit over there.

Q(f): I forget when I see Master.

Master: Never mind, you definitely will have (vegan) snacks, because everyone is mentally prepared for a tea party. Very generous.

Q(f): In our world, even the rice that we eat in our daily life is sowed, fertilized and irrigated by the diligent farmers. Braving rain and storms and working very hard, so that we can enjoy steaming fragrant rice. Thus, we understand that every grain in our bowl is the result of hard work. These are material and ephemeral things of the world, but still we know we should be thankful. Not to mention the profound and precious method that Master imparts to us; this is the most precious method and is beyond words. So, we ought to be even more thankful. Master’s grace is so immense that we have no way to repay. We can only practice diligently to be more fruitful in Buddha nature. This is the best way to repay Master.

Master once said that, if we want our spiritual practice to be fruitful and to progress quickly, we should always focus on the “Tao.” Always think of the Tao, think of God, think about liberation, think of the Buddha, the Dharma, and the monk order, and think about benefitting sentient beings. Then, we are constantly in the Tao, anytime, anywhere. Any moment we forget this Tao, we become ordinary humans. Outwardly, there is no difference between one who is enlightened and one who is not. The difference is in the ideal. We have the ideal to seek wisdom and to benefit others. We are different from people who have no ideal and just live day by day, following the flow of society. Thus, spiritual practitioners are different from non-practitioners.

Why do we say that Quan Yin practitioners have infinite merit? It’s because worldly people may also be clever and intelligent, but only to the mind level. They might be able to improve life materially, but the intangible power of the spiritual practitioners can bless society and the universe, purify the world, and make the world more peaceful and radiant. It would be terrible if the world was not blessed by this power. We couldn’t survive. The sun and the moon would become dark, so would the sky and the Earth. We’d be in great agony. Without the power of love, people would become depressed and agonized. OK, we know that if a person is not nourished by love, he may be more violent and unhappy. Then his actions manifested outside would be rather coarse and undesirable. However, the power of love can change everything.

From past records of students in schools, we have learned that many students, who suffered from broken families, would become negative and unhappy. Their behavior would show that they are less friendly. However, they can also be softened by loving teachers. Among fellow disciples under Master’s teaching, we can see some men, who seldom shed tears, are softened by Master’s Love and end up crying like a baby. Even an eighty-year-old grandpa would melt in Master’s Love. The love power is incredible.

Where does this power of love come from? In addition to practicing spiritually, our Master has explained that it is a converged power of (inner Heavenly) Light, (inner Heavenly) Sound and the Buddha power. This power can bless society and the universe, and give us greater peace and happiness. Today, we are blessed to practice under an enlightened Master. I hope fellow initiates would be more diligent. In addition to purifying our actions, speech and thoughts, be clear about the precepts. In this way, we can purify our society.

Master said, “Invisible swords are more terrifying than visible swords.” Why? Because that invisible sword is negative energy and bad karma. It causes people great pain. Spiritual practitioners will become increasingly sensitive. This sensation will become very intense. I think, after we purify ourselves, we will become more aware of it.

We practice the Quan Yin Method, so we know that it is very precious. People outside are also practicing spiritually. Then how do we know that we have found a real Master, and that the Quan Yin Method we practice is truly the best method? I wish to elaborate on this further. As we know, all spiritual practitioners are responsible and obliged to share the true teachings. Since it’s our duty and responsibility to help beings get enlightenment and liberation, this certainly is the most meritorious deed a spiritual practitioner can do. We do not seek meritorious rewards, but we have to do as much as we can. Each of us has the responsibility to spread the Truth. Each of us is a lamp for the world. We can act on it and undertake the grand task of a Buddha. We can also serve as the tens of billions of transformation bodies of our Master. We can be Master’s ‘thousand eyes and thousand hands.’ If every word we speak could spread the Truth and benefit others and make others enlightened, then even one word from us would be very precious. Hmm… Where was I?

Master: You haven’t told them how to tell that our method is the best. Yes. Yes. Question asked, but no answer.

Q(f): I’ll first talk about an enlightened Master. We’ve met a truly enlightened Master. That’s why we believe that the Quan Yin Method is the best method. Our Master is one who has attained the Tao, the great enlightenment and great wisdom. She is one of great love, great wisdom, great compassion, great courage, great faith, and great power. Most importantly, as a true Master who has achieved the Tao, She has incredible power, the power that neither arises nor ceases, is neither impure nor clean. It’s the great universal power that is inexhaustible in supply and always available for use. That’s why Master can initiate us and impart the Dharma to us.

Most importantly, She leads us to enlightenment and liberation, so that we will forever be free of the cycle of birth and death. After we’re enlightened, we can bear testament to the Buddhist sutras. There’re 84,000 methods of spiritual practice. Everyone says that theirs is the best with the best master. So, how do we prove which is which? Yes? Master gives us all kinds of inner experiences. Sometimes we see the inner Heavenly Light, Light of different levels, and hear the inner Heavenly Sound of different levels. We also see visions of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, which are described in the Surangama Sutra, the Bloodline Theory of Bodhidharma the Zen Patriarch, the Lotus Sutra, the Wonderful Dharma Lotus Flower Sutra, and the Universal Door Chapter – the Lotus Sutra, etc. We can truly verify the inner experiences described in many Buddhist sutras. Since the sutras tell the same things, we know that the method Master has imparted to us is absolutely true.

Master can have billions of billions of manifestations, as seen and experienced by Her disciples. They are omnipresent and omnipotent. They can appear in thousands of places in response to thousands of prayers, saving those in suffering and calling for help and benefiting all beings.

Master is also… a truly enlightened Master who has achieved the Tao. She does not seek fame or gain. Most importantly, this is a point we know for sure. This is very difficult for a lot of religious masters to do. Master does not take any offering. Nor does She ask for personal fame or gain. Everything She does is for all beings. For all beings, She cares not about Her reputation, success or failure, good or bad, or Her image. She works for all beings, sparing no effort. If Her spirit of selflessness, non-self, devotion, and sacrifice is not the spirit of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, what could it be?

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