World Vegan, World Peace: A Conscious Choice - P4/10 Chicago, Illinois, USA August 11, 2001    
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Commissioner Horton (f): Now,my next question. The United States is facing a huge budget deficit, and the government is considering cutting Medicare cost as a part of the solution to reduce the budget deficit.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: No,no. Commissioner Horton (f): Some people oppose the reduction of the Medicare program. Earlier there had been a heated debate on the healthcare reform as well,in the United States. It seems most of the people have already focused their attention on medical treatment. How can we change people's thinking to live in a way to prevent us from getting sick, rather than treat our health after we get sick?

Supreme Master Ching Hai: That's it,that's it, Madam Commissioner. You're right. Prevention. That is very crucial for people to know.
Commissioner Horton (f): That's right.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: Prevention is better than cure,and it saves a lot of money, then the government doesn't even need to cut because we will not spend so much on healthcare anymore, if people have gone vegan. And if you turn vegan, (Commissioner Horton (f): That's right.) you live healthy immediately.

It has been proven through clinical research and medical proof, exams. We should have the governments and responsible authorities refer people to the right information and to propagate a healthier lifestyle for the benefit of humans as well as the planet. The governments can do a whole lot by giving people references through newspapers, broadcasting television, radio,and using networks such as the media or internet to share valuable information about the preventive way to living a long and healthy life; and in making use of this power of the media, I again congratulate the Commissioner and Mrs. Sherry Avila for their television shows that help people to become more aware of the environment and their health so that they can directly improve their own circumstances.

Similarly,all government leaders can also share the medical research that clearly highlight the benefits of a healthy vegan diet. We know now through science that the vegan diet can reverse and eliminate (Commissioner Horton (f): That's right.) all types of disease, even cancers,diabetes, and heart diseases etc. It means reversed immediately in many cases. People just stop having heart attacks or heart problem; as soon as they turn vegan, the heart problem stops. (Commissioner Horton (f): They go away.) It's just like a miracle. It's no miracle. Yes.

We just have to eat scientifically. We don't put poison into our body and expect it to run well, just like we don't put water in the car to replace petrol, or mix it with petrol, then of course our car will have problems. This is all like engine, car: we have to treat it nicely,wisely,scientifically. The government can also collaborate with forward-thinking professional organizations, such as the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, based in Washington D. C., the capital - they live next door; the government should discuss with them- whose members promote a vegan diet as effective, proven preventive medicine.

You can ask them for all the proof you need. Staying healthy is everyone's dream, but we have to do it. Don't just dream about it, not just talk about it: make it happen! Yes,make it happen. Go about to put back health into our body. So you are absolutely right, Commissioner Horton, people have to know that, not only our health but our planet's future depends on it. The government is in the right position and has the right power to start connecting people to these resources. Thank you,Madam.

I get all excited when it comes to people's health and happiness, because it's right there in front of our eyes. Everyone can be healthy and happy. Why don't we just do it, you know? I'm just so excited,because it's so easy. Why do people have to suffer? Lack of information, wrong lobby, wrong advocate. Please turn around. Help people to stay healthy and happy, then the country grows also strong. The country will grow strong if you have strong people,healthy people. Thank you,ma'am. Commissioner Horton (f): Thank you. Thank you.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: Start from Chicago.
Commissioner Horton (f): And I will continue to take this message forward. Thank you and everyone here who has been a great example. Thank you, Supreme Master Ching Hai, for sharing your thoughts. (Supreme Master Ching Hai: God bless you.) And they will forever be in my heart. And I love you.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: Thank you. God loves you. It's easy to love you.
Commissioner Avila (m): And now Supreme Master Ching Hai, my lovely wife has a question to ask,also.
Supreme Master Ching Hai: Yes,ma'am.

Mrs. Sherry Avila (f): Good evening.
Supreme Master Ching Hai: The better half. Good evening, Madam Sherry.

Mrs. Sherry Avila (f): I just wanted to start off with saying that I probably started being a vegan when I was about 10 years old, and the teacher said 『Make sure there's a green and yellow vegetable on the plate,』 and I went home and told my mother that, and my mother was very like,『What?!』 But since then,now my vegetables are green, yellow,red, and all the colors of the rainbow probably, but I know that I feel better when I eat a lot of vegetables,(Supreme Master Ching Hai: Yes.) and follow the diet, and I know that I sing better - for anybody out there who is a singer, keep that in mind - and I know that my overall well-being, psychologically,is better.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: (Yes.)
Mrs. Sherry Avila (f): There are just so many wonderful,honestly, benefits from eating vegan that it's just endless almost. So I just wanted to share that before I begin my question.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: You are a good example - your skin looks good, your eyes sparkling, and your hair is full. Good example,Madam.
Mrs. Sherry Avila (f): Thank you,thank you.
Supreme Master Ching Hai: You've been vegan all this time? Can we hear you singing later on? Short,maybe? Or maybe now even?
Commissioner Avila (m): She is a good singer - she loves the Irish songs, and I love the Irish songs also. (Supreme Master Ching Hai: Yes.)

Mrs. Sherry Avila (f): Well we're going to have some wonderful singers here that it will be fun to hear. So…
Supreme Master Ching Hai: No but it's different - you and him sing one short song - it's just a minute.
Mrs. Sherry Avila (f): Let's get on with the question.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: Okay ma'am. You're too modest,yes.
Mrs. Sherry Avila (f): So I think the bottom line here is for everybody - we all want to be healthy.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: Yes.
Mrs. Sherry Avila (f): That's the bottom line. (Supreme Master Ching Hai: Sure. Sure.) And your words that you shared made a big difference, will make a big difference - now even as we speak, and as Patricia said, go forward.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: Yes.
Mrs. Sherry Avila (f): I was particularly touched by the poem, 『Please Don't!』 from your poetry book, 『The Love of Centuries.』 (Supreme Master Ching Hai: It's a long one.) I have a personal connection to that poem, because my father served in the Philippines during World War II and I got to know a combination of the sufferings that he suffered there and continued to suffer even here,when he was back in the United States.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: I'm so sorry.
Mrs. Sherry Avila (f): In your poem 『Please Don't!』 you portray how war is against human nature, (Supreme Master Ching Hai: Right.) which I truly believe. I would like to read a few words from that poem, and so I am going to read those now.

Please don't go! Leaving an elderly mother and innocent siblings There's no real hatred among us human beings.
Battlefields have but guns, swords and hostilities While here a warm house welcomes your company.
Please don't go! Wreaking suffering on others There's no real animosity, only thirst for power
Countless corpses lie shriveled to expand an empire Whereas here only love, peace and safety thrive.
Taking lives,we'll have to pay with our own How can we rejoice in causing demise and separation?
Only boundless, lasting compassion Shall make us great among all creation…

This is very emotional to me. (Supreme Master Ching Hai: I see.) There are many conflicts in the world right now as we all know (Supreme Master Ching Hai: Yes.) and the words of this poem speak very strongly about our current time. How can we make people understand that war is not the solution to conflicts? Can you explain the best ways for countries to protect their uniqueness,spiritual and moral values,and material possessions?

Supreme Master Ching Hai: Yes,yes,ma'am. Thank you,Mrs. Avila, for your genuine concern for the people in turmoil right now. Thank you. Yes,I also feel a little emotional. The poem was written… the way I felt in my heart. If I could just kneel all day all night begging the world to stop the war and if that would help, I would do it, because I also, like yourself,I also experienced firsthand the suffering of the people during the war, yes - I was born in Âu Lạc (Vietnam) as you know. Right.

We call ourselves civilized society, we are in the 21st century now and we have developed all kinds of techniques and technological inventions, and we call ourselves advanced,developed, and we do,kind of, look down upon the Stone Age humans as barbarous warlike creatures, who made all grounds their hunting grounds and would kill each other for woman,man love rival,food, water or territories,etc.

We should question ourselves: 『What age are we in now?』 and 『Why we are acting like in Stone Age in some areas?』 I am sorry for your personal pain and may God bless your father and all the victims of war,soldiers and civilians alike. The best way for all the countries to preserve themselves is by helping fellow nations to grow and develop - not by war,not by killing or destroying humans, fellow humans, causing so much loss, pain and suffering on all levels as you know it. The United States policy has many good points, mind you,like respecting and welcoming the talented, the brainy people, the genuine,good humans, the experts,and the spiritual genuines; also expanding the land state by state with peaceful means; that's why your country expanded now.

In the East,the ancient political strategy has always been to control the nearby nations and to befriend the faraway lands. So countries in the East,for example,have always expanded and prospered, despite occasional periods of setback. Mind you,I have to tell you this strategy originated from China, since ancient times. They want to always,like, conquer the neighbors and befriend the faraway lands. Actually,the policy has some good logical point - not the invasion part - but the part that you have to be strong, yourselves,your nation,has to be strong, because the neighboring countries would not ire your nation if you are powerful and strong, naturally.

So for peace sake, that is,to protect our land and people, we should be strong. Maybe we should have muscle - so to say - to ward off invasion, but to engage in war with faraway lands would be costly, too costly,as you know it, and difficult due to distance. This the what ancient strategists already knew - it's all written in the war and peace strategy of Chinese policy. If you don't believe me, you can read it. It's called 『Sun Tzu Ping Fa,』means the military strategy of Master Sun. It's very famous,okay?

If we engage in war with a faraway land… Even nowadays we have airplanes and all that, distance doesn't mean much,but still it's very costly,and the supply is difficult and lacking in the military, or food or familiar nutrition for the soldiers; the unfamiliar surroundings, the different languages and backgrounds, the traditions and climates etc.,the soldiers cannot be used to. Soldiers will be more fatigued because of all that: less confident, more fearful, more vulnerable and lacking morale, while the so-called enemies are in their own elements, knowing their steps, knowing every corner of their countries and can be more in control of all combat advantages.

It would be even better - I would say the best - of course,if we do not so-called control the neighboring nations by force,but instead offer benevolent assistance in all near and far corners of the world. We should use our power and financial privilege to extend humanitarian rather than military help or even aggressive action to those weaker and developing nations. Then enemies would fade. You see,Abraham Lincoln, what did he say? 『I destroy my enemies by making them my friends.』 Even your past president knew these lessons. The enemies then would fade. Peace would be possible and the global economy will stabilize and bloom, and soon all nations will enjoy the same prosperity and peace,dignity and freedom as family members of the human race.

The people in the world will respect and cooperate with each other, or with the powerful nations,not out of fear of strong military force, but out of respect and love for any country, however strong and rich, because from their hearts they love and respect this country and the government that's offering them help. Meanwhile, these countries can all develop in their own space and time while preserving their traditions and protecting moral values, and the country who helps,you see, also profits because they will not have to spend so much money in war.

And we can learn from each other: no matter how developed or underdeveloped the country,we always have something to offer; and the helping hands will also receive manifold benefits, from economy to peace, from happiness to Heaven's blessing. And since charity begins at home,I would like to say that I appreciate your many endeavors in your own community to help it flourish and develop,such as through your church or by introducing people to cultural beauty at one of your local art museums and the Irish American Heritage Center, and before that as a Girl Scouts leader yourself. With gentle,wholesome vegan teachers as yourself who make positive impacts, we could have a more peaceful world. We should have more people like you. Thanks again,Mrs. Avila.
Mrs. Sherry Avila (f): Thank you.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: Ma chérie. Thank you,ma chérie. That is the French for 『My darling.』 Your name,Sherry, is similar to 『ma chérie』 in French.
(Mrs. Sherry Avila (f): Yes.
Supreme Master Ching Hai: Okay.)

Mrs. Sherry Avila (f): I just went to a cross-cultural, cross-racial seminar last Saturday. And it was brought up that through love that would help us to try to understand each other better. It was a very interesting seminar- cross-cultural, cross-racial, through the church.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: Yes,I hope there are more activities and more people like you who really get down to work with the people, not just sit and talk.

Mrs. Sherry Avila (f): Well, when I came back home to the church and I said to the congregation that I attended this cross-cultural, cross-racial seminar, 『I think some of you would like to go to this,』 several people came up to me and they said they would like to go to this. (Supreme Master Ching Hai: See?) So I think that when the opportunity is there, there are others out there who are open and willing,ready to learn, so… (Supreme Master Ching Hai: Right.) and I actually have your poetry book with me. This is 『The Love of Centuries.』 Frank and I really love the book, both the illustrations in it as well as the words in it and the variety of poetry that's in it and so I have another poem.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: I'm glad you like it. Another poem?
Mrs. Sherry Avila (f): And so I'm going to read the touching poem.
Supreme Master Ching Hai: You're really a poem lover,aren't you?
Mrs. Sherry Avila (f): Yes,yes. My daughter was the founder of the poetry club in high school.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: Really? Wow, she takes it from whom?
Mrs. Sherry Avila (f): So this particular touching poem, which is actually an environmental poem, (Supreme Master Ching Hai: Yes.) is 『Please Wake Up!』 And as I said,it's from 『The Love of Centuries.』

O world, wake up and behold Rivers and mountains are in tumult Burnt forests,eroded hills, desiccated streams Whither do the poor souls go in the end of all dreams?
O heart, relent your sobbing For my soul to rest in long nights Tears dried up and I'm wordless Weeping in pain for the tormented!
O night,please kindle your source of light Shine the way for those human souls in darkness Be serene for my mind to still And enter emptiness with the miraculous celestial melody.
O day, stir not sudden unrests For peace to repose in our very hearts For humankind's struggles to subside For the true Self to gloriously shine.

Mrs. Sherry Avila (f): So I was particular touched by that poem because it is an environmental poem and we have become very actively involved in the environment. And so,that inspired my husband and me to continue to help people to renew our planet, and although the world is lively and advanced, many of us did not realize that we were asleep. I think when Frank and I go to some of these conferences and we find out more and more about the toxins and the pesticides and so forth,we realize that we're definitely asleep. How did we come to this slumber? That's the question, I guess. What are some of the ways to awaken people? Will we ever know our 『True Self』 in order for it to 『gloriously shine』 as your poem states? Thank you, Supreme Master.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: Thank you,Madam. I have something to tell you,which I did not tell anyone before. When I read that poetry together with the 『Please Don't! 』 I was very,very in a physical bad shape. I thought that was the last thing I'd ever tell the world - in these poems. It was really all my heart and soul in there, and I was crying when I wrote it. And I was crying when I read it. I thought that was the last time I'd ever tell the world anything. I thought I was going to say goodbye to the world. That was a kind of a goodbye poem as well.

But Heaven wants me to continue to stay in this world for a while longer, so that's probably why it touched you so much, because… It's even translated, it's not as original as in the Vietnamese (Aulacese) which is even more stirring,for me at least. So anyway,I am glad that it touched you. Maybe it has touched some other people as well and maybe it will remind them to do something for themselves and for the planet, something more positive, more constructive. I thought that was the last speech I'd ever make,in poem,yes. But I'm still here, thanks to God and Heaven. They told me, 『No,no,you stay.』 Okay.

Well,Madam, to know the True Self for it to gloriously shine through,there are only two things to do. We are already God-like, we're already the children of God, and the children have similar quality to the parents, we all know that, even physically. Children are from parents, we are the children from God,so we are God. At least we're God's children, God's offspring. So to know our True Self, to know the meaning the Kingdom of God, is very easy. That's just to go back to our Origin,to turn back to where we are. Just like if your children got lost on the street, and if they found their way back home, then they're back home again,because they're already your children.

There's nothing that can change that. No law,no disaster, nothing can change the fact that your daughter is Miss Avila,your daughter. You see? Yes. So if everyone told us, all the Masters of old told us,that we are the children of God, then we are the children of God! Why should Jesus lie to us about our origin? Why should Buddha tell us the untruth about our greatness? So we have to believe it. We are the children of God,no? So to go back to be the children of God again, it's so easy.
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