Three Fundamental Issues in Life - P2/2 December 10, 1995 Hsihu, Formosa    
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When he reached the top, he saw this hermit monk tilling the soil in the field. He was turning the soil in order to plant something in his garden. Seeing this stranger, the hermit nodded and greeted him and continued tilling the soil.

While he was turning the soil,the king observed that this old man was not very strong and it was rather difficult for him to turn the soil. The task was a bit too hard for him. He was having difficulty breathing, panting audibly. Yet,since the king always got anything he wanted immediately, he did not tarry with words,so he said,

『I came here to ask you three questions. The first question is: What is the right time to do the right thing? If I want to do something, I need to know the best moment to do it. Secondly: Who is the best partner for me to do things with? Who is this most important person? How do I find the most suitable person to do different tasks with? And then the third one is: In this world,in our life, what affairs are the most important?』

The hermit monk listened to him very attentively, however,he said nothing. He just patted the king's shoulder. Fortunately, he didn't know the man was the king, otherwise,he wouldn't have dared to pat him. Do you know why? Because the bad karma (retribution) would have been too heavy.

After patting him, his hand would hurt for three days. So,after patting the king's shoulder, he continued to turn the soil, so he could plant things. Standing on one side, the king said,『It seems that you are very tired. You must be very tired, aren't you? Please sit down,sit down. Let me work a while for you.』

The hermit didn't stand on ceremony and just handed the hoe to the king,and then went to sip some tea. The king said, 『Okay! Have a seat.』 After turning two rows of soil,the king went back to the hermit and repeated his three questions. The hermit again gave no answer,but got up and took his hoe back, saying,

『Perhaps you are tired. Now I will resume my work.』 However,the king felt pity for the old man, so he refused to give the hermit his hoe back. He continued to help him turn the soil. It was good that the king did this,right? It was rare for a king to do manual labor, and it was rare for him to take pity on people.

It showed that the king was still curable. One hour passed, and another,until finally the sun was setting. The king laid down his hoe and said to the hermit,『I came here to ask you three important questions. However,if you cannot give me the answers, please let me know and I will go home and stop bothering you.』

Suddenly,the hermit asked the king,『Did you hear the noise of many people running around? There were some loud clashing sounds.』 The king turned around and saw someone there. They both saw the person, a rather old man. The man was holding his abdomen,stumbling out of the forest. He was injured and stumbling.

When he reached them he suddenly fell in front of the king and he kept moaning. He moaned very loudly because he was in great pain. The king moved the man's hands away and discovered that he was seriously injured.

The king then helped him clean his wounds. He tore off a piece of cloth from his own clothes to dress the man's wound. But because the man was bleeding too much, the king had to repeatedly wash the cloth and re-bandage the wound until the bleeding stopped.

Suddenly the wounded person came to and asked for some water. So the king went to the Nectar River, fetched a bottle of water and gave some to the man. By then the sun had completely set behind the hill. It became cold, so the king and the hermit carried the wounded man into the hermit's hut and laid him on the hermit's bed.

The injured person lay there and closed his eyes to rest. The king was also exhausted. He wanted to go home, but by now he was too tired. He had spent the whole day plowing the field. Never before had he worked so hard. He'd also treated the injured person, even though he was not a doctor,and had had to carry him too. Usually, it was other people who carried him. That's karmic retribution.

The king leaned against the wall and fell asleep snoring. When he woke up, the sun had already risen to the top of the hill. At that moment, he suddenly seemed to have forgotten everything. He had forgotten who he was, as well as why he had come to that place. He could only remember that an injured person was lying there.

Then he saw the injured person. The man was also looking around,feeling very strange and wondering why he was lying there. This often happens to injured people; after the shock, people tend to forget. Due to the hard struggle and pain, when they wake up later, they have forgotten what happened to them.

But only for a short time; they will remember later. Suddenly, the injured person saw the king sitting there. As you know that the king was in disguise at that time; he looked just like an ordinary farmer. However,when the injured person saw the king, he kept looking at him and staring at him.

In a very feeble voice, he said to the king, 『Please forgive me.』 The king was surprised and said,『What have you done that you have to ask for my forgiveness?』 The man then said, 『Of course you don't know me, Your Majesty. You don't know me.』 He knew the king! It was similar to the incident when I went to buy shoes.

Do you remember that story? I wrapped myself up to here,showing only a little bit of my eyes, my hat was down to here and here,but the guy still recognized me. He asked the people next to me,『Is this Supreme Master Ching Hai?』 Remember? I was wearing a track suit with an oversized jacket on top like those you are wearing,and it was zipped up to here. 『Supreme Master Ching Hai!』

 I thought he wanted to seek the Truth, but instead he wanted to get the winning Lotto number. At that time,I didn't have a hoe to give him. I just gave him $500NT and then rushed off with my shoes. Perhaps when he went home,played lotto with the number 『500』.

 So the man said, 『Of course Your Majesty doesn't know me, but I know you. I am your archenemy! I had sworn to take your life because you killed my younger brother in the war and you seized all my property.

So,when I learned that you were coming here alone today to visit this hermit, I decided to come here and wait for you to come down the hill and then I would kill you. However,after waiting for a long time, I still didn't see you come down,so I left my ambush hideout and came here to find you.

But before I could find you, I ran into your entourage, your imperial guards, and they recognized me. They wounded me. I was fighting hard with them,and thank God, I still had some luck. I managed to escape and came to this place. If I hadn't seen you, I surely would have died. But you saved me.

You cleaned my wound and bandaged it. Originally,I wanted to kill you,but instead you saved my life. So now,I feel very ashamed and I am very grateful to you. I have no words to express my gratitude. If I survive,I swear that I will be your servant forever to repay your grace and to compensate you for my mistakes, for my wrong thinking.』

He said,『Please give me your word of forgiveness.』 What he meant was that he wanted to be pardoned formally. Hearing his words,the king was very delighted! With such ease he had made peace with an archenemy and became good friends with him. Therefore,the king not only forgave the person, but promised to return all his property to him.

Also,he would send the imperial physician to his home to take care of his injuries. He would also send many servants to his place to wait on him until his injuries were fully healed. Then he ordered his servants to come - because they had chased him up there - he ordered them to escort him back home.

Then the king went again to find the hermit and repeated his three questions. He found that the hermit was sowing seeds in the field they had plowed yesterday. He was silent,as if nothing had happened. When the hermit monk saw the king,he looked into the king's eyes and said,『But you have already been answered!』

The king said, 『How? When?』 The hermit said, 『Think about it and you will know.』 The king thought for a long time,using his nose,eyes,knees, and his heart to think. He even used his solar plexus to think, but it was no use. He should have used his wisdom eye to think. Right?

 However,he still had no idea what the wisdom eye was,so he used the other organs to think,but he couldn't think of anything. He said,『Would you please just tell me?』 Then the hermit said, 『Yesterday,if you had not taken pity on me, this old man, if you had not plowed the field for me, if you had left in disappointment or anger because I didn't answer you,or if you had felt very agitated and very impatient and rushed down the hill, you would have been killed by your enemy.

 And then,even if you were not dead, you would have regretted not having stayed with me or helped me. Therefore, the most important time was when you were here helping me to turn the soil. And I was the most important person who cooperated with you and helped you. The most important person was me.

 And the most important matter at that time was to help me.』 In this way,he answered all of the king's questions. He continued,『Later, when the injured person ran to us, the most important time was when you were cleaning and dressing his wound. If you had not helped him with love,he would have surely died. Then you would have lost an opportunity to make peace with your most deadly enemy.』

You know that if this peace had not been attained,there would have been karmic retribution. The two of them would have had to come back as enemies again. They would still fight with each other. Perhaps when they fought, many lives would be lost, not just theirs.

So it was fortunate that he'd reached peace with the enemy,and everything was fine then. So the hermit said, 『Therefore,at that time, this person was the most important person to you and at that moment, the best thing to do, for the best intention, was to take good care of the wound in his abdomen.

Therefore,you should have realized by now that there is only one time that is important: Now! Now is the most important time because it is the only time over which you have any power to control. You cannot control the future,and the past has already passed.

So,at this moment, you should just do what you have to do,and do it with all your heart. That is the most important time. And the most important person is the person you are with at that moment. At any time,the person right next to you is the most important person at that moment.』

 He went on to say,『If you do not pay full attention to the person in front of you now, how do you know whether you will have another chance or time to have dealings with anyone else? Therefore,the most important person is the person right in front of you at any given time.』

And then he said, 『The most important purpose, or the most important thing to do,is to make the person who is in front of you now feel happy. That is the most important goal in our life.』 Now do you understand?

Do you know who wrote this story? Leo Tolstoy! Do you know him? A very famous Russian citizen,the one who wrote 『War and Peace.』 Okay,that's him. He wrote this story. He often wrote these kinds of stories.

We are also delighted to read them. I often read Chinese stories to you,so now we read stories from the West to see if there is any difference. There is no difference. You see,morals are respected in any country. Even vicious people also like morals and respect moral people. Okay. All right. That's enough. It is just past three o'clock. Have I explained it clearly enough? (Very clearly!)

The conclusion is that when any person is close to us, we should do our best to make him happy, to make him satisfied and delighted. That is the most important thing. It is so simple. That is why God says, 『Love your neighbor,』 or 『Love your enemies.』

When someone is in front of you, just love that person. Do not misunderstand, though. This love is not the kind of passion that binds people. We should transcend the level of human passions. The mundane love may look very similar to God's loving power, but when we love with that universal and unconditional love, it is more immense and it will not give us that kind of pressure or that kind of obligation. It won't make us feel that we are obliged; it won't give us those negative feelings of jealousy and possession.

Therefore,you see, most love affairs are very painful. Even the love of parents for their children is very painful. They feel very hurt when their children do not listen to them. The way children love their parents is also very painful.

If you love someone without being loved back,it is very painful. If you love someone and that person loves you, it is also very painful,etc. And when several people love one person, it is also painful. If one person is in love with several people, that's even more painful. Everything is very painful, very troublesome.

Only God's love,or the love for the whole world, can give us more happiness. Okay. I hope you will find that love, the sooner the better.

All right. Now you meditate for half an hour. I will sit here with you while you are meditating. I heard some fellow initiates say that you always look forward to Sundays so you can eat here. It is better to tell the truth.

Do you cook at home? Some of you don't know how to cook? Buy cookbooks. First,learn the basics, then buy cookbooks and read them,and then you will remember. If you find it too difficult, try to cook three dishes a week. It is all right to repeat them.

Change to a new dish every two or three days. After two or three days, change to a new dish. Repeat them like this and you will remember how to cook them. After a month, you will have memorized a few dishes by heart.

Then the following month, try another ten dishes. First,try the dishes that you remember. It's not too boring if you change to a new dish every three or four days,is it? If you just keep changing dishes this way, two to three times a week,or five to six times a month, you will be able to memorize them. After some time,you won't need to refer to the cookbooks anymore.

In one year's time, you will be able to cook for a king! You can memorize them. As you learn more,you will get more used to it, and then you can come up with many variations. You can modify one dish and make it into several different dishes. We will become more talented and have greater confidence,then we can cook anything. I heard that they will publish the cookbook called 『Supreme Kitchen』 soon.

You can give those recipes a try. Some of the dishes are very simple,not difficult. For instance,if you find that some of the dishes are too difficult, then don't try them. You try the simpler recipes first, the ones with only five or six lines; they should be enough.

Some recipes take up a whole page for the cooking method and ingredients. A whole page. When you see it, you'll just get confused. You'll add this and forget that, so give it a try first. Those who don't know how to cook, or men,first… Men should also try.

Cooking is very simple. Our monks here, the so-called monks,do their own cooking now. They think the girls outside don't cook well, so wherever they go, they hurry to build a kitchen. I don't have time; I'm very busy. But they still want to build a kitchen,so they can cook for themselves. They feel better and more free if they cook for themselves, and they don't have to depend on women to survive. They decided to be independent.

Therefore,you can try it. First,try those very simple or very familiar dishes that you have seen me cook before. I think they have recorded some of those on video. Those are not all the dishes that I can cook, but I cannot cook every day just for you to record on video. I also feel shy. Besides,I do not feel that cooking is the most important thing to do in the world.

To be a Master,you need to know how to sing, how to dance, how to cook, how to raise children, how to feed big 『children』 and how to teach other people how to be a good wife or husband. I need to know many things. All right. Let's meditate. Otherwise, if we waste time, our conscience will feel bad when we eat.

I wore a hat so that you would know where to look. You know? Look at my head here. The Jews, the believers of Judaism, always wear a hat. Sometimes,the hats are too heavy, so they just wear a small symbolic one on the top of their heads, to remind them to remember God, the Most High. That's right. Our wisdom is inside our head,right?

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