And I never felt like that was very ascetic or anything like that. I felt very happy at that time. I am happy now also, that I can do some service to humans and non-humans. I’m also very happy about that; that I’m able to; that I’m allowed to; that I’m empowered to do it. I’m very happy too.
I am very OK. My eyes can still see. Just that I need reading glasses when I work, so it’s easier. Otherwise, it’d be more difficult to read; it’s easier with reading glasses. Then I can stand or sit while reading. I don’t need to bend. Understand? My lower back hurts already. Therefore, I’m still counting my own merits every day. I’m still alive, even though some people cursed me. And I don’t eat much. Sometimes I eat, and other times I don’t.
Sometimes I eat a lot, like today. I was nervous about your coming. I haven’t slept for a few days and I was exhausted. So, I thought I’d better eat something. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be able to walk down here. I ate something and drank tea so I’d be more energetic. Well, the food I cook tastes better. I cooked some rice porridge and ate it with some cucumbers; Taiwanese (Formosan) pickled cucumbers. It’s cucumber, right. But it comes in cans. Do you know?
Let’s go somewhere else; otherwise, people will be jealous. OK. Good. Then what? I haven’t eaten congee for a very long time, because I didn’t have time to cook hot food that I could eat immediately. Sometimes, I take something simple from the fridge. I don’t eat much. Strangely, I ate a lot today, when I shouldn’t have eaten so much. It’s always like that. Sometimes, you want to be punctual when meeting someone, but somehow you just forget and then you are late. Isn’t that so?
Each time I come to see you, there are obstacles. The problem today is the food, which I myself cooked; I cooked, and it was delicious! It was hot and fresh. Also, I hadn’t eaten since yesterday, so it was delicious. I forgot and ate a lot. However, I was supposed to wear loose fitting clothes. I haven’t seen this kind of clothes for a long time. This is from Indonesia. They hung it up there, and it was right before my eyes when I got down there.
Usually, I need to search for a long time because they hang many clothes there. Today, it was right there, smiling at me. So, I thought: OK, this one is nice. I thought it was similar to the loose clothes that I normally wear. It looked big and loose when it was hung up. Once I put it on, I said, “Hey! My God!” When I put it on, I thought, “Oh my, what should I do now? Oh! It’s too late. Forget it; just wear it.” So, I wore this to cover it up in the front. See? For women’s eyes only. OK. The buttons. It’s the fault of the delicious Taiwanese (Formosan) food.
Come, thank you. I have more affinity with Taiwan (Formosa), OK? Good, good. (Master, I love You.) Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I can’t walk all day. So, just a symbolic walk. OK? Yeah? (Hallo, Master.) Hallo.
When I first came to Taiwan (Formosa), I didn’t know anyone. I also had no money, since I was a renunciate. And my clothes, accessories, earrings, bracelets, etc., everything, I gave away. Only when I was in the Himalayas did I realize I had no money. I had no money. Of course, when I came to Taiwan, I also had no money; just a little bit. Then a lady from Taiwan, whom we called Miss Liao, helped me as my interpreter. I didn’t speak Chinese when I first came. She spoke good English and she always translated for me. She also offered some money and food to me.
There was another one; they both became initiates later; they were not in the beginning. She saw that I was a foreign renunciate, wearing tattered clothes and having no money, so she made offerings to me.
There was another sister who cooked for me every day. So, the meritorious rewards of one person or a few people, can be shared with the whole country through their affinity. Understand? So, we ought to be grateful to them, OK? The earliest few. A spiritual practitioner who receives support and help from people of one place, is obliged to stay and edify the people there. This is a reciprocal action to repay their grace. Just one or two persons do meritorious deeds and the whole country benefits. If one or two persons create bad karma, the result will be the opposite.
There are two kinds of affinity. One is giving to others, one is taking from others. Both can create affinity. I simply form affinity with the right people. It is not always necessary to receive things. During His life on Earth, Shakyamuni Buddha told stories about His past lives, how He even had to offer His body, flesh, and blood to sentient beings to create affinity with them. He went to that extent. Understand? (Yes.) Some people made offerings to Him and received a lot of blessings. People who made offerings would soon become spiritual practitioners, and their practice was smoother and easier when following the Buddha.
Things were more difficult for those who harmed Him. Even though they met the Buddha, they didn’t change. They sometimes betrayed Him and were sometimes blinded by karma. They still committed misdeeds. Shakyamuni Buddha offered His body, kingdom, and gave up His wife voluntarily. That was different. He was not harmed by other people. He voluntarily let sentient beings consume His flesh and blood. That’s not the same. It would’ve been different if they’d forced or harmed Him. Take Devadatta for instance. Life after life, he remained the same, going to hell like people going to the market. And still he didn’t learn his lesson. However, this is the way of this world. Where there is Yin, there is Yang. To bring blessings to sentient beings, we can endure anything. Good. OK.
Sorry, I’m getting old and can’t walk around the whole place. OK? Watch the television! I just finished my meal, and then I have to walk; my legs are heavy. From now on, I’ll pay attention; when you come, I’ll skip my meal. If I faint, so be it.
How come you guys sit there? You like it there? Or you don’t like it here? Come up! Come up here, here, here. I am very small, I go like this. You come up. Three of you. Come. Look, you see? You see how I go? You can sit, both of you. Both sides. How are you guys? OK, OK, good, good. Come here, honey, sweetheart. There are places in the front, places here. Don’t worry, I am very small. My stomach’s big but I am still small. You can also sit up here, if there is not comfortable. There is a lot of places. I don’t know why they make such a big place. I’m a small one and sits (on) the big one. They want my kingdom big, that’s why. Yes.
Yeah, have a look. OK? Your airplane ticket money is sitting here for you. Sorry, maybe with your good merit, you will have a bigger meditation place soon. I’m working on it. Every country, even the most freedom protecting country like Taiwan (Formosa), also has rules and regulations. Understand me? This is as good as it gets already. OK? Yes. So, we have to thank God for everything we have. Even not much, but you know, it’s cool, right? (Yes.)
Some people say, well, why I let you come here without any rooms or any house, any comfort? But it’s OK to have a picnic now and then. No? (Yes.) At home sometimes, you also pack your tent, you know, long time ago, pack your tent, go to the park with your kids or your friend, sit on the floor or on the cloth. Right? And have (vegan) barbecue. No? And eat your stuff out in the fresh air on the grass. So, this is just like a picnic for you. I don’t know why somebody complained. Anybody complained? (No.) Better not. Yes. Some people do, but never mind about that. I know most of you are happy to be here. (Yes.) You are much better off than when I was in India.
In India, I had no tent even. If there was a roof, like a corridor outside with a roof, then I would sit under it and sleep under it. If not, I just covered with my coat, outer coat. It’s like when you’re cold, you have it. So, I just put a chair, you know? In any ashram they would have a chair, spare, somewhere, and I just sat on that chair, and in the corner of the balcony; any balcony they have a corner. OK. I sat right at the corner. I covered with the coat at the corner, I sat on the chair, and that was my house. And whatever little luggage I had, I put in the front, so, if I fell down, I didn’t fall right onto the cement, but bumped onto my luggage. Saved my head. Not too bad. I’m not that stupid; I know everything.
And then if I didn’t have money and I went around sometimes to visit some holy shrines or holy places -- I went almost the whole of India. I don’t remember the names. Then I just put the umbrella. I had a small folding umbrella. I put the umbrella out and the rain came out and not down. Or the dew, whatever. It was a very cheap tent and you had it everywhere with you. And I never felt like that was very ascetic or anything like that. I felt very happy at that time. I am happy now also, that I can do some service to humans and non-humans. I’m also very happy about that; that I’m able to; that I’m allowed to; that I’m empowered to do it. I’m very happy too.
But at that time, it was different; it was more carefree. Carefree. I slept when I wanted, I ate when I was hungry, and I walked around when I felt like exercising my feet or my body. Many things are still free in life. Even in the Himalayas, I had a chiropractor treat me free. I had no problems. It was just anybody he liked. He said, “Come, come! I’ll give you a massage.” He just did it for free. He went on holiday in the Himalayas.
At that time, I was in Rishikesh and I lived in a little mud house. You pay rent, but very cheap. And I cooked chapati every day, ate with some peanut butter and some wild whatever… wild leaves that I found around me. I was very happy. So carefree, you know? (Yes.) And then in the morning, I went to the Ganges River, took a shower, bath, and then got some… There was even free running water, like a small waterfall. Went there every day to wash my clothes, and I went to the Ganges River just for a little pat pat.
Yeah. Life was really cool. I was happiest at that time. You’re happy, you don’t even know that you’re happy, because there’s nothing sad about anything. So, you don’t think about it. Only after I left it. Now it’s so burdened, or busy every day and night. A lot of work and a lot of responsibility, then sometimes I have nostalgic feelings about that kind of life. It was so free, so free.
In India you don’t need a lot of money to stay alive. I ate very simple, just chapati, made it myself in just a very little plate like that. You can use it to cook water and cook chapati too, and peanut butter, and some cucumber. Just something like that.
That kind of life is so good. And in that kind of area you are free. You feel also free because the energy there is not like in the city. And not a lot of people. There are some people who came for pilgrimages. So, they are sincere, their heart is pure. And people who live there, are also very pure, because they don’t go down to the plain, with the hustle bustle, the competitiveness of life. They stay far away from it. And that place since long time it’s like a shrine, natural shrine for the practitioners. Buddha went there. Many Masters went there. Some famous Masters are still there or from there or went there to establish Themselves. So, the energy is just very light, simple. Even if you don’t do anything, you feel good. You don’t even feel that you feel good.
You’re just living, freely. Just have no care in the world. And I ate only chapati and peanut butter and sometimes a little (vegan) samosa. That was my favorite. At that time that was my weakness. I didn’t have money to have more every day, just one. Very small one, very, very small. About the size of my wrist. About this much. Very small. Some they made it bigger, but that one’s very small, very small. And I could only afford one a day. But sometimes, I could not help it, I ate two, three, and then one week I could not have anything. No cucumber. And less chapati, and less other… walking instead of going on the horse ride. Yeah, somehow you can manage. You can be flexible with your money.