I said we have to make an excuse to go back to Taipei. One by one, we make friends with all these new people. Because the outsiders also, they are so very friendly but business-friendly. Also, they are happy that we are vegan also, ideal for them. They love the same ideal people, so they serve us, wow, special. Everything is so good, so good.
I can’t stand the cold so I brought extra. But now there seems no need. It’s hot. We can have air con again! (Yeah!) I can talk again! Private stuff. Nowadays, it’s so convenient. OK, we meditate, and then at four o’clock, we go eat; and then at five o’clock, we go home; and at six o’clock, I go do my work. Is the food OK, guys? (Yes.) Now and then. Now and then is OK. At home, you eat better, for sure; don’t care. (Yes.) Now and then is OK. I have to eat that every day, so you cannot complain. You eat only once in a while. You come see Master for two days, three days. Even if it’s no good, you don’t complain. (Yes.) Because if you complain, I would think I should also. I’ll write a letter: “Every day, same food, my God! Every day similar food.” In…they cook better, more variety. Sometimes they have Spanish food; sometimes they have vegan curry, real Indian curry, cook vegan samosas. Sometimes we have vegan spring rolls, Aulacese (Vietnamese), real. Sometimes we have real this, real that. Sometimes we have real vegan sandwiches, do-it-yourself. (You make us hungry.) You’re hungry now? (After You describe it so good.) Oh, yeah? I am very good at describing. (Yes, yes.) That’s the only thing I’m good at, especially when I don’t have them. I do it especially, so that they feel bad that they don’t give me anything.
When I was in Taipei… You know Taipei is a very good city for vegan food. I went to Taipei one time, for some reason, I forgot; of course, I go here and there sometimes. Ah, yeah. I know what. I went to the mountain to do a retreat. And then after the retreat, I said, “Oh, I feel like eating something. I don’t feel like going home, eating the same stuff yet, so let’s go treat ourselves to something. Look on the internet to see where, what. OK?” And then we went. They said nearby, otherwise, we’d have to take too long to drive. Nearby, there’s an Aulacese (Vietnamese) restaurant – not our disciples, not our initiates who made it, outside people. It was so good, so good! Even just a simple (vegan) noodle tasted so good. And that (vegan) sandwich they made, Aulacese (Vietnamese) Aulacese (Vietnamese) (vegan) bread, oh, my God, a long time, I didn’t have. Long time, I don’t know how many years or decades or centuries since I’d had this good food. So, I ate, ate, ate. And one of the drivers, he is specialized in eating. Whatever you put in front of him, no matter how much, he would finish it all for you. So, I said, “Wow! We should do this every day.” The way he ate made me hungry, eat more, enjoy. And I said, “I feel sorry for myself. Now we’ll go home and eat the same stuff again, almost the same every day.” Because they buy in a chunk. They buy big, so that it’s cheaper. So, they probably buy 100 watermelons, so we have to eat that for one month, for example. Cheaper, you know? Wholesale. Or 2000 kilograms of potatoes, then we have to eat that for another two months. It’s cheap. At least it’s clean water over there. And they buy big chunk, big boxes of cabbages, and then we have to demolish it in two, three months, or maybe one month minimum. And so on and so forth.
So, I don’t even need to have magic power or go to the kitchen to check. I know what’s going to be on my table tonight. So, I said, “No, let’s go eat something good.” So, we went to eat that Aulacese (Vietnamese) food. So good, so good. And I said, “Is there some other food like this, similar foreigner food?” They said, “Oh, many, Master. We have even Mexican vegan.” Oh, to the “Mexi-mum.” “Mexi-mum” tortillas, “Mexi-mum” what? Tell me. ((Vegan) Tamales.) (Vegan) burrito in “Mexi-mal.” And then they even have an Italian restaurant, and Thai vegan, and Italian vegan, Mexican vegan. I said, “Wow! What am I doing in the New Land? These are all my faves!” Indian vegan and Mexican – oh, these are all my faves, all this lifetime, years. The problem is I have been around. I’ve traveled a lot before, even during marriage time, so I have tasted all kinds of good food. And now… stuck here.
I really felt sorry for myself that day. I said we have to make an excuse to go back to Taipei. One by one, we make friends with all these new people. Because the outsiders also, they are so very friendly but business-friendly. Also, they are happy that we are vegan also, ideal for them. They love the same ideal people, so they serve us, wow, special. Everything is so good, so good. Because they know we are vegan. We said, “We are vegan, so make sure everything is vegan.” “Yeah, we have only vegan here.” Wonderful. No need to worry.
The attendant brings food for me every day. Normally, they put it out there and then whenever I feel the time, I come out and get it and bring it to my table. So yesterday, I said, “I am sure it’s the same again like yesterday, right?” He said, “More or less, Master. Except the potato is boiled instead of fried,” or whatever, instead of boiled. Boiled whole instead of boil chopped. I said to him, “Hey, you think you miss …food or not? It’s better than here, right?” He said, “Yeah, yeah. A little bit more variety.” I said, “If you miss the food, you go, man. Go there to eat.” He said, “No, Master. It’s OK. You are here, I am here. I won’t go just for food.” I said, “Really? Wow, that’s touchy-feely. Oh, good, good, good.” I said, “Yeah, of course, if I can eat, you can, right?” He said, “OK, no problem.” He said, “Oh, for me, no problem.” For him. He said, “It doesn’t matter.” Meaning, it doesn’t matter, it’s equal to him. I don’t think he tells 100% truth, but it’s OK. He didn’t want to make me feel bad. I think I should move to Taipei. Why should I stay here? I can move all of you also. We’ll rent a hotel or something. You pay, I eat. (I invite You!) Yeah! (OK!) We are not many. We are about 100 people sometimes. We can book one whole hotel all year round. And today we go to Indian, tomorrow we go to Mexican, next day Italian, and the other day Aulacese (Vietnamese), and the other – Korean even! They have Korean vegan. Oh, all kinds!
And other days, Sunday we go – we go where? Thai vegan. Wow! You’re right, I am hungry too. (Then You’ll make me into the real Happy Buddha.) It has an effect, I am telling you. You are happy already, no need to make exaggeration. We’re happy to see you like that already. No need to please us any further. We wish you to develop but not exaggerate, because then we have to carry you. We have to wheel you in the hall. We have some wheelchairs. Can do. I wheel my food because they put it on the tray, and then I put it on the wheeling table, because I cannot carry all that. Actually, they give a lot; the portion is a lot. Just that this is for a public kitchen. I sometimes cannot eat, so I return almost the same. I do think of these Aulacese (Vietnamese), and Mexican, and Korean, and Italian, and whatnot. What else? Thai and Indian. Oh, all kinds of my favorites! My God!
The lucky Taipei people. And even then, not all of them are vegetarian or vegan. Shame! Don’t you think so? (Yes.) Shame on you, Taipei people. You should be vegan. It’s so convenient! I wish I could exchange places with them. Then I do nothing ‒ don’t have to be Master, don’t have to sit here, drooling about all kinds of food. Of course, they have Chinese vegan restaurants also. And to eat outside in an ordinary restaurant is a treat, I’m telling you.
I don’t go to Loving Hut so often. Only once every two years, maybe. And (only) if I have to. Because if I go there, it’s work. It’s work to go to Loving Hut restaurants, my own Loving Hut restaurant to eat. I could even get overly praised, overly kneeled on the floor, and just making people look at me like weird stuff. “Why is She making people kneel?” I don’t make anybody kneel. They come, “Oh, Master!” Just come out of the kitchen, “Oh, Master!” and then on the floor. I feel sorry for the floor. Just drop like that, so heavy. One-hundred-pound person drops like that, or more even, sometimes 200 pounds, depends. Happy Buddhas. Happy lady Buddhas. And, OK, that’s not all. Everybody comes to put their head over my (vegan) soup. On my table, my food is here, “Master, bless me! Please!” Surely my soup won’t taste the same. Now you laugh? Why did it take so long? Translation. Wait until the Korean and Aulacese (Vietnamese) laugh, then we’re finished. You’ve finished laughing? There is more to come, but I forgot.
They treat you equally. They don’t come and make trouble. Some know it, but they just say, and then I know. Then I don’t say anything. I pretend they don’t know, and they pretend they don’t know me, until I pay. After I pay, they say, “Where do You live?” “Are You the...?” I say, “Look the same, look similar, right?” They say, “You are not?” If I say I am, they don’t believe it. “You? Really? You? Yourself? It’s You? Your very self?” I say, “Yeah. You asked me, so I have to say the truth.” “Oh! Photograph, please!” And then the whole restaurant comes out. Well, at least they wait until I’ve enjoyed my dinner, and don’t put their head over my soup, or my salad, or whatnot. Sometimes they don’t know until the end. Somehow, they find out. When I come to pay and then they look close up. “Huh? Uh… Eeh…” So funny. Couldn’t speak, just, “Ah... eh... em... ah… You are Supreme Master Ching Hai, right? A vegetarian, right?”
First, they say, “You are vegetarian, right? You’re vegan, right?” And I say, “Yes.” “Ah, yes, I know. You, Supreme Master Ching Hai, right? Yes or no?” And then if I… I cannot say no, and I say, “Yes,” and then they ask again and again and again. “Really? It’s You? Yourself? Supreme Master Ching Hai self?” So I say to the assistant, “Tell her.” I’m embarrassed, man. I cannot just say, “Here! Me! Gorilla coming.” Keep asking ten times, I’m embarrassed. Everybody is looking and listening now. The whole restaurant knows. Before, they didn’t notice; they kept eating their own noodles, minding their own salad. Until they all make a big deal and take photos and whatnot, and then the whole restaurant begins.