World Vegan, World Peace: A Conscious Choice - P5/10 Chicago, Illinois, USA August 11, 2001    
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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. But since we have come to this slumber as you have put it, we just have to wake up.

There are two things to do only, very simple: the physical and the spiritual. Physically we have to clean ourselves in order to recognize ourselves again. Suppose your daughter has been lost on the streets for many days or many months and she has been in hardship, because she's without home, without parents, and when you find her, you cannot even recognize her. She wouldn't even recognize herself, the way she was before; she'd be dirty and unkempt, and tattered, maybe very sick and troubled. Yes? So, the first thing, clean her, no? Bathe her, give her new clothes, feed her, so that she becomes strong and healthy again.

Now, similarly, to go back to our True Self, the two things to do: physical and spiritual. Physical: clean ourselves by turning back to the compassionate lifestyle, God-like lifestyle, Heaven-like lifestyle. No harming, no killing others. Just everything it said in the Bible, or in the Buddha's sutra (scripture) or in Mahavira's sutra, or even in the Qu'ran. We misunderstood the Prophets when we kill others, even for God's sake; we are not to do that. God never teaches any of us to kill. The first commandment in the Bible is “Thou shall not kill.” That includes the animals, because God did not say thou shall not kill men but can kill animals.

No, it was very clear already, I have mentioned before. So now we have to return to the God-like. You know she has to behave now like Miss Avila, the way she was before. Even if she has been on the street, maybe bad influence or something, met some bad people and maybe misbehaved and not behaved nobly or, like the daughter of the great commissioner and madam like that, she has to return to family life, a good-girl lifestyle now, you see? Same.

So physically we clean ourselves by keeping the five peace principles: Not kill, not steal, not tell lie, not commit wrong sexual relationship except with your partner, and do not take poison, like intoxicants, drugs, alcohol, cigarette. These are poison for the body. Meat is also poison. We know it by now already. So we have to eliminate all these in order to keep our body clean and healthy to receive the strong, powerful grace again, because a sick body cannot assimilate good vitamins or nutrition. It could even turn into poison. Yes?

If your stomach is poisoned somehow and you drink milk it gets worse, for example like that, or if you eat something, you get worse. Yes, food turns into poison. So now, first of all, physical, we clean our “house,” clean the “temple.” Live the way a God-child would live. No harming any, just helping, being benevolent, being virtuous. So, you see, the five universal principles are in all religions, more or less modified, but it's the same. We keep those five precepts. That's the one thing; be vegan.

It is also included in those five precepts, because do not harm or do not kill means indirectly as well. If we don't harm the animals but we eat them, then other people have to harm or kill them for us. So the vegan diet is included in the first principle. So, physically we keep the five peace universal principles, and then we're clean and pure, ready for God's Light again. Secondly, spiritual. This is a harder part, but it's not hard if we can find the Guide who helps us. Nowadays, it's not difficult: we have internet; we know which gurus teach what, which school teach what yoga, teach what meditation. There's no excuse to say that we don't know. We know everything, we just don't do it. That is the second part.

Now we're ready, we're clean, the “temple” is swept and washed and mopped, everything clean; now we go and find the Guide to show us how to see the Light within again, the Light that's mentioned in the Bible, the Light which shines in darkness but darkness knows it not. Okay? `Know you not that the Light is within you.' “Know you not that the Kingdom of God is at hand.” You see that? Okay, now, we have to find that Guide, the Guide that knows, the friend or teacher, whatever you call him or her, a Guide, who has already been enlightened, who already sees the Light - I don't mean the flashlight here, the electrical light, I mean the Light inside you, the Light without any instrument.

When you close your eyes, your whole body is flushed with Light, Light of more than a thousand suns. You are that. You are that Light. You are that God quality. And there's also the Music of the spheres. You can hear forever and it will soothe your troubles, heal your bodies, enlighten your souls, make you closer and closer to God. So, very simple: Physical, clean the “temple”; spiritual, find the Guide to show you how to reconnect with yourself. Because you are the great Self, you are the children of God. Everybody says, “You are the children of God.” “I'm the child of God.” But how, what? You have to prove it to yourselves that you are the children of God by contacting God, and if you cannot do it yourselves, just go find somebody who knows how.

Mostly… I have to say that I think all the teachers teach these things free of charge, because it's your property, so nobody costs anything anyway. Suppose you forget your glasses in your pocket and I say, “Hey, your glasses are there, look in your pocket,” should I charge you for that? For the guidance that your glasses are in your pocket? No, no. Therefore all these teaching are free of charge, ever since time immemorial. So, Madam, that's it. Two things to do; physical, spiritual.

There are many teachers, yes, who teach different ways, or just… anyone could find what he is looking for. When you're ready for spiritual guidance, you will find a teacher, or the Guide; we call it the “Guide” anyway, the inner Guide. Yes. The outer Guide will guide you to the inner Guide, and then you can talk to Jesus, talk to Buddha, to Prophet Mohammad, whomever you would like to contact, and contact direct to God. Why listen to anything? Why read the secondhand experience from anybody? Like, okay, `John sees the Light,' `John hears the trumpet.' You will see the Light. You will hear the trumpet. It's the same. You will see God like a bush of fire. Yes.

You will hear God's voice like the Sound of many waters, like the Sound of trumpet, etc., etc. It's mentioned in all kinds of scriptures - Buddhist, Christian, the Granth Sahib, the Hindu scripture, etc., etc. Just have to find it, and verify it. Thank you.

Mrs. Sherry Avila (f): Thank you.
Commissioner Avila (m): Thank you very much for your comment. Mind, body, and spirit. Excellent.
Supreme Master Ching Hai: Yes, sir. That's right, sir.

Commissioner Avila (m): Sherry and I derive great pleasure from the insight you have about people and the world we live in. (Supreme Master Ching Hai: Yes.) Here is my next question. People in the United States are one of the most Hard working people in the world. (Supreme Master Ching Hai: True. True.) And yet our economy has been experiencing downturn in the last few years. So, is it true that the economy does not just depend on how much you work, but something else? If so, what is that?

Supreme Master Ching Hai: It is true, sir, that the economy doesn't depend on how much we work and earn. It also depends on how much we spend or waste. Yes. Right now, you mentioned that Americans are (one of) the hardest working people in the world. I have to testify that it's true. When I was in America, as long as you have money, you can buy anything, 24 hours, seven. Not in every country like that.

Some countries, they have siesta, and they close on the weekend, and they close at certain hours. America, no. No. Even in a small town, you can buy things in Home Depot, for example; if you need, desperately, things, always ready for you. Anytime, you can buy anything in America. So they truly are hard-working people. I had the impression that what you said is true, but the thing is, all this earning and tax paying goes where?

Many places that it's leaking to, your hard-earned tax money. Subsidies. Subsidies for the meat industry - otherwise, the meat industry will go bankrupt, and the hamburger will not cost 99 cents but will cost at least 30 or 50 dollars apiece. That's the leaking “1”. And the US is spending too much money on military operations, in the far lands, as I told you before.

I am sorry. I am very sorry, but I have to tell you the truth because you asked me, and I so much love America because they honor me so many times: at least 10 states of America gave me honorary citizenship and the key to the cities and states and all that. I am forever honored by and grateful for the American government's recognition and many of your presidents, at least five, six presidents, have written congratulations notes to me and given me awards, certificates, Presidential Award, things like that. I am not trying to make you feel bad, I'm just trying to repay your kindness, by telling the truth. You see? Because the policy needs to be turned around.

As President Obama has stated recently, we should not use money For war in foreign land anymore but to use the money for the benefit of the people at home and the needy instead. I'm glad he has said that. I'm glad he has realized that, because that's where the money is running to, and fast-paced. Because, besides the irreplaceable cost to human lives, war puts a great financial burden on the nation. Every day, as you know it yourself - I'm saying this for the sake of others who don't know - every day, the US has been spending at least, at least US$720 million for the war in Iraq alone.

One day, in one country alone, US$720 million. It is also estimated that the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan will cost the US at least US$3.7 trillion in another 10 years of long-term payments and interest. So, even if your citizens, the Americans, are working 24 hours, seven, even if you are the richest country in the world, no matter how large your budget, it will run out. Would you agree with me?

Commissioner Avila (m): Yes. I agree with you. Yes.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: The poor American citizens, they cannot put up with all this. They cannot catch up, no matter how much they're willing, no matter how deep they reach into their pockets, they have nothing in there anymore to reach to. So, it's not the American citizens, it's the policy that has to change. We should not do it as habit as a proud nation always going to war and “beat the…” whatever - you know that - out of everybody else.

The way we're doing like this, it gets bigger and bigger, more and more resistance, and more Americans die also in foreign lands in the prime of their lives. Look at all of them. Look at all the soldiers. You saw them on TV, how beautiful they are: the best of Americans; the best-looking guys. Any girl in the world would like to marry one of those soldiers. They're so good-looking, aren't they? Beautiful. So beautiful! So pure. Their faces are so pure, and so intelligent. We cannot afford to even waste this kind of human resource. If the Americans, all young and beautiful, and intelligent and handsome like that, go out and are dying all the time like this, what will you have left in the future?

Because able young men have all gone out, got killed. Either that, or you kill other countries' youth and beautiful and able people. Either way it's not correct. You see, plus, we have to spend extra on the aftereffects of the war, such as to care for the veterans, for another… many years. And you can't… Sometimes the budget is not even allowed to care for the veterans. Many veterans became even homeless. (Yes.) It's not fair that they sacrificed their youth, their prime time for the country and then come home to become a homeless beggar.

This is not the dignity for Americans. Please think again, what we can do with all that money. And of course, some of the most painful costs of war are not able to be paid financially but emotionally, psychologically, environmentally and spiritually. So the economy and the sense of accomplishment, for the hardworking people of America, would benefit greatly from the monies being spent on good causes, like President Obama mentioned. (Commissioner Avila (m): Yes.)

We should spend this money on the things that help improve everyone's quality of life. Trillions of dollars, my God! The Americans don't need to work anymore if…
Just sit there and the government takes care, if we have all this money, yes. If we don't spend in war, then Americans can sit pretty, yes. And with all that money saved and all the hardworking Americans, your country will be so powerful that even you don't have to go to any war.

But you weaken your own power, economically, manpowerly, and karmically, okay? This I cannot prove, but I can only tell you logically that if we spend all the money, then we have to go begging elsewhere; and where goes the dignity of the great nation like America?

First, charity begins at home. We have to take care of our home, we have to have a stable foundation before we even take care of the world. We could provide in abundance for children's education, parents' healthcare, the things that help improve everybody's quality of life, you know: early retirements, more hobbies, more happiness, upliftment of the disadvantaged neighbors, and investing in green technology or organic farming; in short, prosperity for everyone to enjoy their God-given lives on Earth. Thank you for your thought-inspiring question, Commissioner Avila.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: I just have to tell the truth.
Commissioner Avila (m): And thank you for your thought-provoking answer.
Supreme Master Ching Hai: I hope it helps, sir.

Commissioner Avila (m): And, you know, I agree that if we spend that money on organic farming,(Supreme Master Ching Hai: Yes, yes, organic farming. Yes.), that would help us and the world also.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: Yes, and people will be healthy, (Commissioner Avila (m): Yes.) and the planet will be saved. Because organic farming also absorbs 40% CO2 in the air also.

Commissioner Avila (m): Yes, that's true. You know, when we treat wastewater, at the end it comes out in what we call “bio-solids” and liquid. Well the bio-solid is fertilizer, and when we give it to the farmers to grow their crops, (Supreme Master Ching Hai: Yes.) they have greater yield per acre using our treated waste. Our human waste is treated as you mentioned; the animal waste is not treated.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: Yes, understand, yes.

Commissioner Avila (m): And that's what causing the problem as you mentioned, down in the Gulf of Mexico. (Supreme Master Ching Hai: Yes.) We have that dead zone down there.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: Yes, yes. I'm glad you are doing something. It's helping your community; and then other counties, other cities could learn from your method or your examples. Thank you. Yes.

Commissioner Avila (m): Now Sherry will ask the next question.
Supreme Master Ching Hai: Yes, ma'am.

Mrs. Sherry Avila (f): When I was a Girl Scout leader, part of the program was a cross-religious, cross-cultural invitation, that we would get to know somebody from another culture, from another religion, (Supreme Master Ching Hai: Right.) and I was very fortunate, because I knew Amber. Amber was Muslim, (Supreme Master Ching Hai: Oh.) and Amber invited us to her home, (Supreme Master Ching Hai: Yes.) and all my Girl Scouts came to her home, and she helped them to understand the Muslim religion, (Supreme Master Ching Hai: Yes.) and… She helped us.

She also had a baby at the time. She fed my Girl Scouts, and she was very generous and kind to them, and that brings me to my next question, Supreme Master Ching Hai. The freedom of religion is guaranteed by the Bill of Rights in the United States Constitution. (Supreme Master Ching Hai: That's right.) Mrs. Sherry Avila (f): In the past few centuries, many faiths have flourished in this country, thanks to that Bill of Rights. (Supreme Master Ching Hai: Yes.) However, after the tragedy of 9/11, there has been a tendency of discrimination against Islamic citizens.

Also, there has been an increase in the number of Islamic schools so that the Muslim children would be treated with respect and dignity in their own schools, because they weren't being treated with respect and dignity in the public schools. What can people do to stop prejudice, and to promote love and peace among all people, regardless of religious background?

Supreme Master Ching Hai: Yes, yes Mrs. Avila. It's not only in the United States, but there is kind of a wave of “counter-Muslim” in the world, including in the European Union. Hence, you see many new laws come in, you know, like the law that discourages or forbids Muslim ladies to wear a full gown to cover the face, for example? It had not been like that before - just recently. It's because, I think, the government is also afraid that any extremists could disguise themselves in the garb of this full-veiled woman Muslim, and do some harm to the public. That's another thing.

And one more thing is they want them to integrate into the country where they stay, to be like everyone else, you know? Like, “we like to know each other, we like to see what each other look like.” I also, not for religion, but I would have loved to have seen the lovely woman behind the veil also, because I've seen some of them. When I was still married with my husband, some Muslim ladies came to have treatment from him, and when they unveiled the veil, they were very beautiful inside, very beautiful.

Mrs. Sherry Avila (f): Very beautiful eyes.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: Yes, beautiful eyes, yes, and flashing their eyelashes, you know? Very, very attractive. God creates us so beautifully. I would have liked to see them, you know? - man, woman without covering, yes. In the West, people are also afraid that if you cover yourselves, that means you have something to hide. That's why they're afraid, and especially after 9/11. You know, it affects not only America but affects the world as well.

So, you see, I share the same wish with you. And we all have to exercise - help each other - tolerance and understanding for the different stages of development in various nations. We should try to reflect on the common ground that we all have, that we all share; that is love, universal love, and love for the family. We all have, whether Muslim or Christian or Buddhist, love for our favorite family members, our pets, our friends, our teachers, our countries. We all have this kind of love, Muslim or not. We all have all this common ground that we all share. We all have the innate nature within us to “love thy neighbor” and to help them when they are in need.

So, we just have to be loving, friendly, and let each one be, let each one be in peace. Saying that, however, I would like very much also to see the people of Islamic faith really go all the way to take responsibility for world peace, to take any opportunity to have respect, to integrate into the societies where they live, and to prove their worth; the more they hide in their own community, the more people will not understand them. You see, just like when you were in the Girl Scouts time, the Muslim lady invited the children to her home, and therefore the children understood what Islam is all about.

They see the kindness with the Muslim people. You see that? The example speaks louder than words. So they, the Muslim people, also should open their hearts and minds and houses as well, to accept others, no matter how different in looks, religious beliefs, and traditions. If the Muslim people are in America, they should try to integrate to become like Americans.

I don't mean eat the same or have to go to the same church or anything, but outwardly at least look like the neighbors -yes? - so that there is no maybe suspicions, or a little hesitance between the neighbors, yes? If the Americans have a Muslim next door, maybe he or she would like to make friends with the neighbors, but if she comes out always veiled like this or keeps to herself all the time, then the American people, they very much respect privacy, they will not always come and make an initiative to get to know them, thus also know the Muslim faith. You see?

So, in Âu Lạc, Vietnam, there's a saying, “When you enter a river, be mindful of where you're going,” because there are currents difference, and the shallowness and deepness are different in different places of the river. So, be mindful of the currents and the place that you're entering. And “When you enter a home, be mindful of the house rules,” so that you'll be in harmony with your environment, with the people that you meet. It has to be mutual respect and consideration in order to build lasting friendship and peace.

And, above all, everyone, be they Muslim or other faith followers, must discourage and boycott any germination or exercise of violence, because it destabilizes the friendship of nations and destroys peace in the world, including where they live. As God's nature is love and forgiveness and peace, and we are God's children, we should do the same. Thank you, ma chérie (my darling).

Mrs. Sherry Avila (f): Thank you, Supreme Master. Thank you.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: I also agree that religious and spiritual leaders should work together and let people know that it's time to change, that the planet is in urgent danger now, and we must be more loving in our actions, whatever religion we belong to. And be vegan to save it, whatever religion we belong to, or non-religion we belong to.

VOICE: Please join us on Supreme Master Television, Saturday, September 3, for part 6 of the re-broadcast of the live conference entitled “World Vegan, World Peace: A Conscious Choice,” with Supreme Master Ching Hai; the Honorable Commissioners Frank Avila and Patricia Horton of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago; Ms. Sherry Avila, docent of the Loyola University Museum of Art and the Irish American Heritage Center; and performances celebrating compassion and environment, right here on Words of Wisdom.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: I'm not just trying to talk or convert you or people into my way of life or anything. I was sincerely, honestly, genuinely concerned that, if any word I have spoken, through the grace of Heaven, should benefit people, your people or any people who are listening.

VOICE: Please join us on Supreme Master Television, Sunday, September 4, for part 7 of the re-broadcast of the live conference entitled “World Vegan, World Peace: A Conscious Choice,” with Supreme Master Ching Hai; the Honorable Commissioners Frank Avila and Patricia Horton of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago; Ms. Sherry Avila, docent of the Loyola University Museum of Art and the Irish American Heritage Center; and performances celebrating compassion and environment, right here on Words of Wisdom.

Commissioner Avila (m): World Vegan, World Peace - it's got to be our Conscious Choice. If people stop eating the flesh of another being today, that is a good way to start a responsible, compassionate, and healthy lifestyle. Therefore, the future of the planet is in our hands. We are the protectors. We are the stewards. We are the example of our children. They can pick up where we left off effectively, with a determination to keep the planet clean, fresh, flourishing in peace and in love.

VOICE: Please join us on Supreme Master Television, Tuesday, September 6, for part 8 of the re-broadcast of the live conference entitled “World Vegan, World Peace: A Conscious Choice,” with Supreme Master Ching Hai; the Honorable Commissioners Frank Avila and Patricia Horton of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago; Ms. Sherry Avila, docent of the Loyola University Museum of Art and the Irish American Heritage Center; and performances celebrating compassion and environment, right here on Words of Wisdom.

Commissioner Avila (m): This is our planet home. I was deeply, deeply inspired by the wonderful experience I had tonight. I think we all kind of forget and we go down, but today, wow! I am up. I'm really up. We will continue in our quest to inspire love, peace and compassion. Take care of your heart. Take care of what is in it. Check for the love, the peace, the compassion for all beings, and for the environment.

VOICE: Please join us on Supreme Master Television, Wednesday, September 7, for part 9 of the re-broadcast of the live conference entitled “World Vegan, World Peace: A Conscious Choice,” with Supreme Master Ching Hai; the Honorable Commissioners Frank Avila and Patricia Horton of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago; Ms. Sherry Avila, docent of the Loyola University Museum of Art and the Irish American Heritage Center; and performances celebrating compassion and environment, right here on Words of Wisdom.

VOICE: Tune in to Supreme Master Television today for our program, “World Vegan, World Peace: A Conscious Choice,” on Words of Wisdom.
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