*Good evening. I only wanted to say to you that today is a very special day, Supreme Master Ching Hai's first visit in Paris. For this type of event, normally speaking, Supreme Master Ching Hai never prepares her speeches in advance. She always speaks spontaneously, according to the public and the place.
But because she is so in love with France and with the French language, and because it's been more than 20 years that she didn't have the opportunity to return to France, she therefore wanted to give her lecture in French. We worked a little bit yesterday evening - rather, a good part of the night - to try to write some lines so as to be able to offer you her message in French; to be closer and to help you to better understand it.
So I wanted to explain that she never prepares her speech, but today the circumstances are a little bit special. She wants to offer this to you, to communicate in your language and to avoid any problems.
I would like to take this opportunity to share a little bit of my experience with Supreme Master Ching Hai. I met her about four years ago, after having searched many years for the truth, and read many books. As I came from a Catholic family, I studied the Bible and I spent a big part of my schooling in a Catholic school.
When my brother died, I was around thirteen and he was eighteen; I asked myself many questions about death. I suddenly realized that at the moment of death and after death, we leave everything we have, everything we have earned with so much effort during our life. In fact, we leave everything behind us.
And since that day, I really asked myself questions about the aim of my life, whether we spend our entire life accumulating properties, social position, a certain prestige, and whether at the moment of death we leave everything behind.
Something else must exist, my life wasn't… It wasn't clear. There must be something else. Then I studied a little bit, not only the western philosophies, but also the eastern philosophies, because one thing was sure, the truth - whatever exists in the East or in the West - should be the same.
We all come from the same place, we have all the same fears, all the same needs. Therefore, I studied other philosophies. I obtained other answers, sometimes more concrete, sometimes more precise.
Unhappily, this knowledge was always from books. I was very interested in reading a book, and this stimulated a huge feeling of curiosity within me. This also offered me a certain inner peace, intellectually speaking, but I still felt a kind of void within myself.
I read stories of the lives of several saints, Catholic ones, or belonging to other religion. Sadly, these saints were part of another time, with other problems, with other temptations. All this was always, for me, something relatively distant. I was, therefore, a little bit frustrated.
I tried some meditation techniques. I switched from one method to the other one when results were slow to come, but as Ramakrishna said it so well, if you spend your time digging small holes in your garden, you will never reach the spring. You must choose a place, dig a hole, and dig it every day until you reach the spring.
Apparently I hadn't yet found the way which was suitable for me. I obtained many answers, which showed me that all religions, all philosophies, pointed toward the same direction. But this Kingdom of God, as described in the Bible, this Buddha Nature, as mentioned in the sutras and in many other holy scriptures, we don't know how to contact and to reach.
Sadly, books don't give us enough information on this subject. They are like a menu. People speak to you about delicious dishes, but we never taste these foods. Then we are still hungry.
One day I was very desperate to find a guide and a path, to find my reason for being on this planet, which was the most important thing for me.
I think that life offers us many "coincidences," although I don't think they were coincidences. I found in Supreme Master Ching Hai this incarnated truth that I read in my books. I don't say that as a sign of adoration or to put somebody on a pedestal, but because Supreme Master Ching Hai and all the great masters of the past, present and future, they all came to show us and to make us "rediscover" everything we possess forever within ourselves.
I think that most of the time we don't think we are able, we don't think we possess this purity which is the characteristic of all saints and all great human beings who came to this planet. For this reason, the presence of a master is very, very important.
It is indeed the mirror of our nicest qualities, the reflection of the potential we don't use because we are too busy every day.
At home, at the office, we run left, we run right, because of all the responsibilities we have. And even before having had the time to look back, time is gone and we have become old, we have adopted many habits. We still want a little bit more, as a part of ourselves is not yet satisfied.
The day I met Supreme Master Ching Hai I discovered a joy which was not based on something outside of myself. This is a joy that nothing can take from me. If I am rich today, nobody knows what tomorrow could bring; the stock exchange could collapse and perhaps I wouldn't have any money at all. This inner joy, described in all the great scriptures, we have it within us, and we can all find it.
But for this we need the help of a guide, of somebody like us who had doubts, who has some knowledge, certain habits, who lives life as we ourselves live it. instead of having somebody who belongs to another century, who can't speak with us anymore, and who, perhaps, doesn't understand our problems.
Then, after having met Supreme Master Ching Hai, I found not only a friend, a guide, but also somebody who showed me, at the same time, the inner path and the one for the day-to-day life. Because spirituality wouldn't make any sense if it couldn't help us in daily life - to find this inner peace of mind that we love so much, but let also the world around us enjoy it.
And I think that everybody wishes to have peace in the world, everybody wants to have more compassion, more understanding for others, but we are “imprisoned” because of our habits, and because of our fears which paralyze us.
We don't have the key that all masters coming to Earth have. They give us the key and don't demand anything in return; they only want us to discover our potential, following their steps. They never came to say that they are the only ones who are able to do it. Even Jesus Christ said, "The things I do, you can do You will be able to do them even better.”
This is the reason why today is a very special opportunity to have Supreme Master Ching Hai with us. It's her first official visit.
I have not returned to France for almost twenty years. I studied French here for one year, but there has been little chance for me to practice it for a long time. Setting foot in Paris, I can taste the wonder and the beauty of this metropolis again, especially the evenings of Paris.
I strolled around the city at dusk and enjoyed a cup of coffee with friends. I had almost forgotten the fascinating lifestyle of Paris, the cordiality of the people, the magnificent historical relics, and the prosperous culture.
In some aspects, Paris has not changed much. Me neither. You neither, you didn't change. Paris is still as fascinating, beautiful, and elegant as before. She is always so artistic and romantic, representing the typical style of French living.
Why does everyone love beauty? Why? Above all French people...
We all love Truth, beauty, and kindness. This explains why women wear make-up and men put on smart clothing. People paint and furnish both the interior and exterior of their homes, and build beautiful houses, parks, gardens, fountains, and all sorts of artworks, and, of course, let's not forget the Eiffel Tower.
We do all this to express our love for beauty. Even children demonstrate their tendency to this quality. They love wearing and showing their new dresses to others; they can easily forgive others, which is a demonstration of virtue. Children never lie because they are closer to Truth, beauty, and inner kindness, which are divine qualities.
We show that we love Truth, virtue, and beauty because these qualities are inherent within us since childhood, but we have been influenced by the environment as we grew up. It seems that the more we succeed, the more we move away from our true Nature, from our essence. We have forgotten it because we fight for existence every day and collect useless information from society. So we are no longer as happy as when we were children.
In childhood, we were so pure and innocent. We possess more kindness, virtue, and beauty than we can express. We cannot always be satisfied in our present situation, because the memory that comes with us from the Original Source is much more magnificent than anything we see in this material world.
Most people are seeking endlessly for something, but they do not know what. We hope to find, in this material world, something that can lead us closer to our Original Source, the Heaven.
However, the Paradise is within us. If we can find our inner Truth, virtue, and beauty again, then the material world will become more meaningful to us and the world will be more beautiful, and we'll find Truth in this illusionary world.
Because we can always track down the real thing by following its shadow. Then we'll have no more discrimination. Even the longing for the Kingdom of God will vanish because we will see the Kingdom of God here and now and in this world.
Our fellow practitioners who were initiated and are now practicing the Quan Yin Method are very happy. They also share their happiness with people around them, as they know how to accept and appreciate life as it is, and improve it by the knowledge acquired through meditation.
Enlightened people, after enlightenment, their every action reflects their underlying Truth, virtue, and beauty. These qualities are extremely abundant and account for our existence; but we can never find sufficient Truth, virtue, and beauty from the material world, so we will never be satisfied with this life on Earth.
There is nothing wrong with material life. However, if we indulge too much in the material aspect, we are only chasing after the shadow and forgetting the real object in the end.
Similarly, you may have a photograph of your fiancée, but no matter how beautiful the picture is, you shouldn't get attached to the photo and forget the real person. Undoubtedly, this photo is helpful to you when you are apart; however, when your fiancée is right in front of you, she is the source of your happiness. You can only be fully content when you are with the real person.
Such is the case with our original Nature. If you can discover and appreciate it, it is absolutely incomparable.We may keep the photo or even take some more, but no matter how well the photograph was taken, only the fiancée in person can satisfy us.
An enlightened person can still enjoy this world in the same way a husband appreciates the photo of his wife. However, the beauty and the real bliss comes from the original person and not from the photo, which is most important. Similarly, worldly pleasures are only the copy of the real world. Only the real world can bring us real, eternal happiness.
Before we were born, we were given a precise method to find our real life. Our way Home was paved inside us long ago. Should we forget this lifesaving map, we will be forever trapped in the cycle of birth and death.
This path is so real and distinct when we observe it with our internal eye of the soul, but we can't see or feel it with our physical eyes, and imperceptible to our senses. It will automatically manifest when we sincerely seek it. Nonetheless, it is better to have the assistance of an experienced guide because most people have forgotten the path.
Even if we can remember, the way Home is so long and risky that we need a guide to lead our way. This guide has walked this path before and he knows all the ways between this world and the superior worlds.
Thanks to the grace of God, I have found this way back Home. I offer this discovery and my help to all who wish to remember, and I offer to help them retrieve this long lost blessing of bliss.
Through initiation, we can taste the original Heaven again, right here and right now. Initiation is the transmission of a power that wakes up our real person, and brings us Home.
After initiation, we are totally renewed. We're full of life and vitality. All the greed and desires leave us. We still live an ordinary life, but we won't be frustrated anymore when we fail to realize our goals nor become upset when we can't get something we crave in this world.
These longings can only be minimized after we have found our true source. After initiation, you will get from God the intense, internal Light that shines all along the path back to our Original Source. A comforting melody from Heaven provides us with all we should know on our way Home. The enlightened master, the experienced guide, will stay forever by our side, protecting and helping us to complete this extraordinary journey until we have passed through all the worlds en route. This guide will do his very best in anything that comforts and benefits us, even in this physical world. We shall say farewell forever to distress and to lonely feelings.
The guide understands that we have been away from Home for so long that we are both exhausted and have no courage. For this reason, he gives us all the help possible while we are on Earth, as if we are in Heaven.
This guide knows the way well. Our life on Earth would be extremely tiring without him. Without the help of such a true friend, who accompanies us through the ups and downs of life and supports us in facing all the obstacles and traps, it is very difficult to reach our destination, the eternal Heaven.
The internal Light and Sound are vital in achieving eternal lifeWithout them, there would be no happiness, either on Earth or in Heaven, and life, beauty and the true kindness wouldn't manifest to us. No matter how much we want to be good, virtuous and gracious, we can never reach a state of perfection, because these qualities belong only to the interior world.
All the theories of so-called beauty, Truth, and virtue manifested in this material world are inferior duplicates.
My dear friends, I sincerely welcome you to join the group heading for Home. There are absolutely no fees or obligations. However, if we only have intelligence and technology, but no sincere compassion for other beings, then our life is not complete.
We will feel divided inside and experience an unspeakable sorrow and unease. This is simply logical.
If we wish to bring Heaven into this world, we must live in the same way as the beings there. That is to say, live in harmony and respect the freedom and right of existence of all lives.
We ourselves created the karmic cycle, and this is the cause of wars and of different opinions. We have suffered enough from the conflict between individuals and groups.
The five precepts and the vegetarian diet are aspects of an upright and noble lifestyle, and the bearing of a great gentleman, of a sage having compassion and greatness, whose love embraces all living beings.
Being the highest of all living beings on Earth, we ought to implement our true love and kindness as actions to bring peace to the world. That's what really is contributing to peace on Earth. This is the love, the kindness in action. I'm going to stop to let you ask questions. Thank you for your warm attention.
What are we to do with our psychological problems, and what can we do with the spiritual evolution?
Psychological problems are the result of the numerous pressures from our society; work problems, family problems and personal problems, etc. Sometimes these pressures are too much for our physical and mental strength, and this is why we encounter psychological problems.
But these problems are the source of our thirst for spiritual life. This is why, if we are enlightened, all these problems will disappear. And do not worry that you won't have anything to do once you are enlightened; we can do many things.
Look at us, we have so much work to do and there is never enough time because many people in the world ask for our help, and there are many things to do. Moreover, after enlightenment we will be able to solve our problems in a more efficient way, no matter what line of work we are in. This is why we should be enlightened.
Could you speak of the different inner levels?
I have spoken specifically on this subject at the United Nations. I think that we distributed copies of it, so take it home with you and take your time in reading it.
What exactly is "immediate enlightenment"? How can we achieve it?
Immediate enlightenment is possible because we already possess the awakening within us. It is like a diamond. It is already a diamond, we only need to clean it a little and we will have it. So we can have immediate enlightenment because it is already here. It is only because you have forgotten where it is, but I know where it is. I will show you where it is and you will find it immediately.
What is meant by “abstaining from all sexual misconduct?”
It means that if you already have one wife it is enough; or if you have a lover, a man or a woman, it is enough. If you have too many men or women, you will have problems and won't be able to be calm enough to find your inner greatness. So, if before initiation you already have two partners and both are happy, then do not worry; that is before initiation. Afterward, don't go looking for someone else.
How can we know that we are enlightened? What are the manifestations?
It isn't difficult. “Enlightenment” means "with light," “en-lightened.” If we are enlightened, we must see the inner Light; but not with our physical eyes. When you are elevated, you will see immediately the inner, bright Light, and this is a sign of enlightenment. It works instantly because our nature is the Light from Heaven. We are not our physical bodies.
They are only clothes that we can remove and put back on whenever we want, if we know how to do it. I will show you how to do it during initiation. Okay, you can do that. I need that, I need encouragement.
Is suffering absolutely necessary for the soul to progress?
No, it isn't always necessary. It depends. Some people have almost never experienced the world's suffering, but they still have a thirst for God. These people have a lot of goodness, virtue, and grace. It is maybe influences from their past lives.
Why do animals suffer?
Animals suffer like us. We are not animals, but we sometimes suffer. It is the cycle of death, birth, illness, and suffering. If we leave this cycle we will never experience suffering again. Animals must wait a little longer until they become human beings and can take the road that will lead them Home.
What are the dangers one might encounter on the path of initiation without an experienced and living enlightened guide?
There are several dangers we may encounter if we do not have a guide to help us.
If we do not know the direction and the traps on the road ahead, we can sometimes make mistakes, and the road Home is very long and steep. This is why we need an experienced guide. The dangers include mental disturbances, physical suffering, and being possessed by other spirits.
Can we meditate anywhere, at anytime?
Yes, but not for all kinds of meditation. There is a meditation you can do in public and another that is better to do in private. We will teach you everything during initiation.
What do you think about meanness, and what can we do to counter it?
There aren't really any bad people. There are only people lacking security, wisdom, and the knowledge necessary for living in a pleasant way for themselves and everyone else. Maybe they have many inner problems and no confidence. They are always struggling with themselves and with the environment. They need more of society's love. This is what I think.