It is the correct way of life. Not that the Buddha cares what we eat, but because after enlightenment, we realize that we and all beings are the same, and we have compassion. We don't want to cause further suffering if we can help it, if we can control it. And that, we can.
In the Nirvana Sutra, the Buddha advises the disciples that when the monks go out for alms, if the people give food with some meat in it, then they should just wash away the meat part and then eat. But that was in India.
It's easier because most of the Indian people are vegetarian. I know a group of practitioners, they are all vegetarian. They're also monks and nuns; they also come out for alms. But I think they tell the people that they are vegetarian so they also get vegetarian food. I know one group. I have visited their ashram; it's near Bangkok. So I think it's also no problem.
Difficult maybe, but not impossible. Anyhow, some of our practitioners thought that they could, even, never give up meat because they are so used to it and they cannot imagine without meat, “how can they grow？” But there is possibility. It's no problem. If you want, I can introduce you to some giant disciples, who eat vegetarian since they were in their mother's womb, and no problem.
Or maybe you go to the zoo and look at the elephant and compare it to the tiger. Elephant, tiger. So, you do not worry. Anyhow, this is just introducing to you our way of teaching, our way of Buddha, not to force you or to try to offend you. You are free to choose the way you live your life.
But since you come here, we, of course, have a duty to introduce to you what we are here for and what we'd like to share with you. So, these are just some small things actually. Some people also have enlightenment, even though they do not change to vegetarian diet - it happens also - but mostly we will reach a certain level of enlightenment only.
I do not know if they can go beyond that to go into the higher dimension of consciousness with a non-vegetarian diet, with a very heavy meat diet. But according to what I study and I know, most of the great teachers emphasize vegetarian diet, including Jesus. And even Muhammad, the Prophet.
If we study more carefully into the Qur'an and the scriptures, it's always emphasized that don't eat the meat, don't drink wine. And of course, in Buddhism, there are so many sutras that emphasize vegetarianism so I do not need to repeat too much here. Anyhow, we have two kinds of practice to suit different people. One is very serious.
If you would like to pursue it seriously to the end, then we must clear our speech, body, and mind of all the obstruction, including the meat diet. And we have found out that without the meat karma (retribution), we progress faster and have less obstruction, and less sickness,less mental struggle,and less bodily weakness.
So the vegetarian diet, from ancient times, is truly a recommended must for the serious spiritual practitioners. There is another way for those who like to relax and take what they can; this is what we call “convenient practitioners.” They eat vegetarian whenever is convenient for them and as much as they can, and they practice also some kind of lighter meditation technique.
They will get blessing, enlightenment also, to some degree. And the first one is more powerful for themselves as well as for the people who contact them. They will have more power to bless people, not to talk about their deceased relatives, five, six, seven, ten above generations.
They will liberate them by the mere merit of their practice and enlightenment - for the first, serious, people. And their power is vast and limitless - even before they attain Buddhahood. Because they're very connected with the Buddha Nature and the Buddha Nature is mighty./And because of the direction, the conception that they choose to live their lives.
They want to liberate themselves, liberate the sentient beings, and they sacrifice everything, including their diet, to get this merit, to get this power. That's why they get it. Of course you get what you want and what you work for, right？ And the other, the second degree, half-serious people or relaxingly-serious people, can get half of the power, can liberate themselves or a few acquaintances and a few close loved ones.
That's also not bad. It is still better than drowning in the sea of transmigration life after life, and cannot help themselves and cannot help others. Now I have to clear something: it's not the diet, it's not the vegetarian, it's not the conception alone that give us the power of liberation and blessing. Otherwise, we'd just sit at home wanting and that's enough. Or the elephant, or the buffalo would have become a Buddha a long time before we talked about this. So now, we must also know where the door is - the door to Buddha's land, the invisible eye of wisdom - we must know where it is and we must know how to open it. Because the soul, the Self, the true Self, the Buddha Nature is encaged and the door is locked and that's why we suffer, that's why we are imprisoned in this physical body and in the physical illusion of this world.
Otherwise, there is no creation, no world, no suffering. But it's all right to have creation, to have world. It's also fun; just like watching movies.Only after enlightenment, we can realize that this is movies.
Otherwise, we sink deep in the sorrow of the theater and we cannot even leave it. That's the problem. So, as I have mentioned before, most of us are very shy and reserved and have not too much self-confidence. That's why we do not get enlightenment; otherwise, enlightenment is already there. It's our own treasure, our own Nature, and it's not too late.
We can always have it now. Right now, after this lecture. Before you go home, you'll become a Buddha. Well, or at least 10% Buddha, then you'll develop more every day. Ten percent is better than nothing, no？ So because enlightenment has many degrees, you see, so I cannot tell you that you'll become Buddha right away, but you'll get enlightenment.
Because, of course, you can become Buddha right away. It's just our preconceived ideas cannot allow it so we cling to our ignorant state and we can't believe it. So, the Master takes time, just a little bit at a time, so we don't feel too overwhelmed, too powerful for us and we cannot bear, the body and mind cannot bear.
That's why we say about 10%, 20%, 50%, 60%; but there is no percentage in Buddhahood, really. Some of the newly initiated, they go right to the Third, or the Fifth Level of Heaven. It is not rare, not impossible. The more simple, the more pure, the more faith in the heart, the higher the level. ] Not because purity symbolizes the high level, it is that the purity allows us to understand our high level better than the complicated mind. Why？ Because we are originally Buddhas.
We are the children of God. Every religion tells us that. Unless the Buddha told lies, Jesus told lies, or Muhammad told jokes, then I cannot be responsible. But I have practiced hard and I realize that they told the truth. We are really Buddhas; but some are stupid Buddhas. The stupid brain obstructs the Buddha Nature. So now we have to open cut through, the intellect, cut through the mind-thinking process, go directly to the source of wisdom that is our Buddha Nature. That's the process of initiation, of enlightenment, so-called awakening, immediate awakening.
Most of us identify ourselves with the mind, with the computer brain inside that “I like smoking,” “I like drinking,” “I am bad tempered,” “I am good,” “I am this, I am that.” It is only mind talking. All this "I am" is just a habit, just a collection of a way of living in this world, of our brain-computer analyzing things. It is not the true "I am". It's not the true Self.
And because we identify ourselves with all this habit and the brain working, we think we are that person, this person - bad, or good, or charitable, or angry, etc., etc. This is not the real Self. Our real Self is beyond that. It is the Buddha. Without opening the door and cutting through the mind to get in contact with the real source, we will forever be identifying ourselves with our habits, with the things that we collect from our neighbors and society, with the things that we learn in this world.
We never know our great, true, glorious Self which is the Buddha, and then we will forever have an inferiority complex. We will feel that we will never become a Buddha, that the Buddha is something that only happens once in millions of years
To worship a Buddha is very good;
but it's not all that good. It has side-effects, like everything else. Because we alienate ourselves with the Buddha; we differentiate, we separate ourselves from the Buddha, when the Buddha already mentioned that “I and sentient beings are one.” No difference.
And we make Buddhahood something farfetched, something just to look at or to dream about. We never can dare to think that we might reach Buddhahood ourselves. And that is the side-effect of worshipping, too much, a Buddha. We heard that the Buddha may be different from us when he was born, but we were not there, we're not sure whether it's true.
For example, when the Buddha was born, he walked seven steps, and then he put his thumb up and down and said, "From Heaven and Earth, I am the greatest." And we cling to this story, and we think because he is so special - he walked when he was born - so he became Buddha. It could have happened, but I am not sure.
Otherwise, all I studied about Buddha's life is just that he is like one of us. He eats, he sleeps, he studies, he meditates until he gets enlightenment. And before that he eats and drinks, makes merry, has hundreds of wives and a luxurious life. So, here you are. All I know about his life is since his birth he lived in luxury. He never paid tax, he never worked; he only enjoyed , and then he walked out and became Buddha. So, why not us？
The Buddha has 84,000 methods to teach the disciples. I think I'll make use of every one of them. Anything that can help sentient beings to realize their true nature and leave aside the attachment at the end, it is a good method, it's a good way. It is the same way of learning, just a more charming, more attractive way of learning. For example, if the children sometimes don't like to learn,
it's difficult for them to remember ABC and things like that, and the teacher makes a song out of it. I heard a little girl singing A,B,C,D,E,F,G... something like that. She sings all day long and then she feels that it's fun. It's a song. It's not homework so she learned quicker.
Because all of us have a different mentality. Some of us put things down quickly, some of us put them down slowly. It doesn't matter. Why be in a hurry？ Besides, our world needs to be beautified. It's already miserable and doesn't look good. Why don't we beautify the world by every means we can？ If everyone all wear a monk's robe then also doesn't look good.
Just a way of putting color into this miserable situation and trying to make the best out of our lives while we are waiting for our final liberation from the physical prison. But it's very difficult, very difficult, I know.
Most of us are too shy, too reserved or too serious to enjoy it. We have to break through and be natural. But it is very difficult. We make a Buddha out of any teacher that we think is enlightened, and make a miserable Buddha out of him or her.
That's what stops us from becoming a Buddha. Because we limit ourselves; we put a wall in front of us, between us and the Buddha. That's the terrifying effect of conception, rules, regulation, people, brainwashing into our mind. It freezes your life, freezes your spirit, makes you become useless.
I thought you have to fight for what you want. If you love the girl, you're willing to have a duel with anybody and risk your life for her, why not a Buddha or enlightenment？ That's what stops us from becoming a Buddha and enlightened, nothing else: fear.
So, this is what's wrong with us. We have too many wrong conceptions, like what the Buddha should be; how we should act towards a Buddha; how the Buddha should talk to people; sitting cross-legged, but not lying down, like a lying Buddha is no Buddha. But I remember going to see a very famous Bangkok temple, there is a lying Buddha. All the people come and bow to him.
So, what's wrong with us？ Fear, wrong conception, limited ideas about ourselves. So, let's set free. Let's become Buddha. No, not become Buddha, let's remember that we are the Buddha. And if you still don't remember, let me help you through initiation. Thank you.
Why would it be detrimental to our spiritual progress to use spiritual power to cure others' illness as is stated in the initiation registration form？ I am a Reiki practitioner and very interested in further spiritual progress.
It is because we are leaking our power instead of preserving it until we reach Buddhahood, and then we can heal without healing, heal without hands, without having to lay hands on people; heal without even people have to tell you about their illness; heal without even knowing that you heal people. And that's the highest healing.
You can heal if you want to waste your power before you attain it. But if you want to attain the Buddhahood, attain the state of “healing without healing,” then you must conserve it first. A Quan Yin practitioner, after some time of practice, can heal people who have an affinity with him, even thousands of miles away, even if they don't even know each other. No need to lay hands on them or do anything. So, it's not that I forbid you to use spiritual power to heal people, I just want to show you a greater way of healing.
The next question is in Thai. There are three questions in total.
The first is: What is Quan Yin Method？ The second is: Where do we go after we die？ And the third is: What is the state of Buddha？
Quan Yin Method is the way to open your own Buddha wisdom and recognize yourself as a Buddha, as you originally were before you have this illusionary birth in this world. And // where you go after you die depends on what you do before you die. If you do virtuous things and if you practice spiritual enlightenment, then you go to a very high level of Heaven or Buddha's land. If not, then you have to come back to this world or do some other things another time and in other places.
They ask: What is wrong sexual action？ ( Sexual misconduct.) Right. (Okay.) Why don't we inhibit sexual action absolutely？ (Altogether？) Absolutely.
Then the Buddha can never be born in this world again.
The “sexual misconduct” means you have already one wife or one husband and you better not hurt your partner by having another one. We don't have to inhibit sexual activities altogether because this is not so urgent a necessity for spiritual practice.
Because the body chemistry has been working in this way for a long time and if suddenly you break it right away, it will break. It will have serious side-effects and mental consequences. This is not conducive for spiritual tranquility. And after you practice spiritually for a long time, this will reduce by itself. That is better.
They would like to know: Which one is the real husband and wife, in your opinion？ The first is the one that is registered according to the law; the other one is they were in the religious rite and have acceptance from the relatives; and the third one is they have a responsibility to each other. Or they have to have the three of them？ Which one is the real husband and wife in your meaning？
Why so complicated？ (I don't know.) Why don't you have one wife and have these three conditions together and be finished with it？ According to our worldly tradition, a wife is the one who gets married with the husband, registered, relatives recognized and are also responsible with each other. Is that not so？
Why must there be three persons？ Mostly they are also religiously married, like most Catholics, they go to the church, so that should be done, once. Unless the person who asked is a Muslim or something, then I can explain further. Is that right？ Is that from a Muslim？ Okay, it happens in this country that a man can marry many times. Is that right？
This morning I went out because I could not go out with my chauffeur, I took a taxi. I went out just to go to see the region, and the taxi driver happened to be a Muslim, and he talked about having many wives in his religious tradition, so by the way I can make use of that for you now.
And he asked me about many wives and things like that, so I said: “Well, originally the Prophet Muhammad allowed men in the Muslim religion to have many wives because there was a very necessary reason at that time.” At that time, the Muslim religion was persecuted and many disciples were killed. And they virtually had a war with the government at that time and many disciples were killed, the men were killed.
And, of course, all the widows and children were left behind, so, the Prophet allowed his disciples to take care of the wives and children of his deceased spiritual brothers. And that is the correct way to do so; they must do so. They must do it, because at that time the women were not able to take care of themselves.
They were not allowed to work or go out and things like that, so they totally depended on the men, and if her man died, she was done. So, the other brothers who were left behind had to take care of these widows, whether with children or without children. It's not necessarily physically sexual contact or things like that. It might be just to protect them.
And this is love and compassion and brotherly concern. That is correct. It could be a true marriage also, but then with the consent of the first wife. And also, the Prophet had emphasized that the man must be able to provide each wife equally the same care and attention. That's why, because of the situation.
He also had to consider for the first family, not that everybody would just take the whole…all the family neighbors in and then everybody goes hungry. That was a great tradition which came from love and brotherhood. But, nowadays, many people make wrong use of it for their own, maybe selfish, enjoyment and sometimes cause pain in the immediate family.
So, by the way, I think without enlightenment, it's easy for us to misunderstand religious scriptures and the intention of the great masters of the past. That's why we see so many religious wars still going on in our world today, at the near 21st century. It's a very, very sad situation.
Maybe not exactly killing with knives but killing with words and killing with criticism, killing with black-naming and damaging reputations in the press and anywhere. So, let's pray that these situations will become better and no more of this quarreling among brothers, at least from the same religious belief.
We all love poetry, songs, and expressions of emotions. For example, when we were young, we loved our parents, our pets, and our classmates, and so on. When we grow up, we love our partner. Then, when we get even older, we start to miss God, who represents our best quality. Every one of us likes that kind of romantic quality.. Why is that？
Join us on Supreme Master Television on Saturday, March 26, for our program, “Supreme Master Ching Hai's Book Premiere: `The Love of Centuries,' Chinese Edition,” on Words of Wisdom.
Tune in to Supreme Master Television today for our program, “Supreme Master Ching Hai's Book Premiere: `The Love of Centuries,' Chinese Edition,” on Words of Wisdom.