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Words of Wisdom / Supreme Master Ching Hai's Lectures

Sorcery Contest, Part 3 of 12, Aug. 11, 1991

Language:Mandarin Chinese(中文)
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People were very focused on what they were doing. Ancient people lacked material resources, so they had more time to practice. They focused wholeheartedly on their practice. No matter how poor or how tough life was, they were able to continue and had a lot of time to practice qigong and magic, in addition to meditation and spiritual practice.

Q(f1): The ones I dispelled? I used to practice I-Kuan Tao before initiation. I brought a friend with me to pursue spiritual practice in I-Kuan Tao but she followed Master instead. So I tried to bring her back. And then I came with her…

Master: Can you hear her? Can you hear her clearly? (To our ashram.) Do you understand? (Yes.) What did she say? Grab what?

Q(f2): She used to practice I-Kuan Tao…

Master: It was a person. (Yes.) I was talking about ghosts!

Q(f1): Yes. On the day of my initiation, the ghosts I’d dispelled followed us. They followed us wherever we went.

Master: I don’t understand. (Yes.) Oh, the ghosts followed you wherever you went? Why?

Q(f1): We were not powerful enough.

Q(f2): Not enough power. (No.)

Master: They meant to take revenge, yes? You chased after them before, now they chase after you, right?

Q(f1): No, they followed us so that they could have…

Master: What? The last sentence. Repeat again.

Q(f1): The last sentence? When we drew magic symbols to dispel ghosts, the ghosts would remember us. Wherever we went, they would… Sometimes we also asked them to look up things for us.

Q(f2): She asked the ghosts to help her to check something.

Master: To check things? (Yes.) Like a spy? I have never heard of ghost spies! Ah, that could be helpful. It’s better because no one can see them. (No.) No gun or sword can hurt them. (That’s right.) And then? (Then…) And they can check out a lot of secrets. (Yes.) That’s right! (Yes.) Because no one can see them. (Yes.) And people would tell all their secrets. (Yes.) Yeah, they can hear. (Yes.) Even if no one knows, (Yes.) the ghosts will know, as will the gods. (Yes.) And then?

Q(f1): Then I came to Hsihu to receive initiation from Master. It was on Your birthday last year. You were dressed in white. You came out in the evening.

Master: Who was in white? (You were, Master. You were wearing white.) I didn’t… (You were also wearing a white round hat.) Was I?

Q(f2): Yes, last year. (May 12th.)

Master: I wore white last year?

Q(f1): Yes, last year. (Last year… The strapless…)

Master: Oh, the strapless suit. (Yes.) With the shoulders exposed? (Yes.) And then?

Q(f1): Before You arrived at the hall, I saw a brilliant light filling the hall.

Master: What did you say? Speak clearly.

Q(f1): When Master walked toward the hall, there seemed to be a very bright light. I did not know what it was until You walked into the hall. And then I realized that it was You, Supreme Master Ching Hai.

Master: I don’t understand.

Q(f1): When you came up to the stage, You came on the stage and Your body turned dark in three minutes.

Master: Wait.

Q(f2): She said that it was on Master’s birthday last year that… (Say it slowly.) She saw Master…

Master: I was bright in the beginning, but became dark after coming on to the stage? (Yes.) Yeah! I knew! (Yes.) You saw all this when I came on the stage. (Yes.)

Q(f1): You were like a huge magnet, attracting all the karma from us.

Q(f2): You were like a magnet attracting all the karma from people.

Master: Yes. And then?

Q(f1): The ghosts we had dispelled before followed us. They were touched by Master’s love and light and ascended to another world. I asked them, “Aren’t you going to follow me?” They said, “No, we want to go to a better place. We’ll stop following you.”

Master: Wait. (Yes.) What did she say?

Q(f2): She said…

Master: It’s strange, I could not hear her!

Q(f2): Those things she learned from Taoism.

Master: Yes. (Speak slowly.)

Q(f2): The ghosts followed her here.

Master: OK.

Q(f2): And then they ascended to somewhere higher.

Master: Who? (The ghosts.) So the ghosts dared not stay here?

Q(f1): No, it’s not because they dared not stay here. It’s because Master’s Love elevated their spiritual levels.

Master: OK! Understand. (Yes.) So they rose from their previous level. (Yes. The dark level.) They preferred… (Brighter places.) Somewhere higher. (Yes.) Yeah, understand. They realized that their world was not good. (Yes.) They should not be attached to that any more. I understand now. (Yes.) OK, then?

Q(f1): Actually, in the beginning, I was here to challenge You with magical power.

Master: What did she say?

Q(f2): She wanted to challenge You.

Master: Really? Now you can. You should have come up earlier when I asked you. I knew you wanted to challenge me. I am giving you a chance now, yet you won’t take up the challenge. You see, now it’s clear. It’s not that I was curious to see magical power. Some people really wanted to challenge me. That is, before they were initiated. If I didn’t accept the challenge, they would have regrets. This is why I asked you to show us what you’ve got. But you didn’t come up. OK! Now you can take this chance.

Q(f1): No. I realized that Master is too powerful. Compared to Your power, my small magic is nothing. I am no match for Master.

Master: So you forgo the challenge.

Q(f1): I cannot be Your opponent. I can only be Your disciple.

Master: What did she say?

Q(f1): I can only be Master’s disciple. I cannot compete with Master.

Q(f2): She can only be Master’s disciple. She cannot compete with Master.

Master: Never mind. If you are not going to challenge me, you can still show your power. (Mmm…) OK? (I really dare not.) It’s OK! Just for fun. Just like some people sing for me, some dance with their sword, or perform martial arts, (That’s right.) like qigong. (Yes.) You can show us your magical power.

Q(f1): Brother Chen told me that Master said only visible magic can be performed, but not invisible magic like drawing magic symbols and fortune telling. Only the magic of flying in the air or tunneling through the earth is allowed.

Master: I don’t understand.

Q(f2): Please say it again.

Master: Can you understand? (Yes.) Some people don’t understand. Can you repeat what you said?

Q(f1): Only visible magic can be performed, but not invisible magic. And most of the Taoist magic is invisible.

Q(f2): She said that she cannot see any magical power here anymore.

Master: No, she did not say that! Come, come. You can go now.

Q(f3): She said that brother Chen told initiates at a group meditation in Taoyuan that they could perform their magic here, but only the visible acts. Invisible magic cannot be performed.

Master: Yeah. That is what she said. Something is wrong with your hearing! I could not understand her because I am a foreigner. But you are Chinese! No wonder there are lots of international conflicts and disputes. Nothing gets straightened out. (Yes.) Communication problem! Anything else? Hey, Tong, stay here. By the way, are you a Taiwanese (Formosan)?

Q(f1): No, I am half Taiwanese (Formosan), half mainland Chinese.

Master: No wonder I cannot understand you. What else have you got? Tell me. (Let me think.) It’s OK. You are not exaggerating anything. I just want to know what Taiwanese (Formosan) people usually practice.

Q(f1): I feel nervous when I face a real Buddha. I don’t want to be nervous but I can’t control it sometimes.

Master: Why? (I…) Buddhas are kind and compassionate. Don’t be afraid of them. (That’s right. But I don’t know why.) You are not scared of ghosts, but you are scared of me. This world is really topsy-turvy. (Yes.) Why is that?

Q(f1): Because ghosts would listen to us. So it seems that we are We’re more powerful than ghosts, so they are scared of us. That’s why I am not afraid of them. But I would be scared of someone who is more powerful than me.

Q(f3): She said that they’re more powerful than ghosts. So if someone is more powerful than them, they become frightened. (Yes.)

Master: OK. But I won’t take you by force. (I know.) Anything else? (Yes?) Anything else? Any more magic?

Master: Her story is interesting, isn’t it? She does have her reasons to practice Taoism but it’s just that they are too attached to magic. (Yes, yes.) Sorcery was also a kind of science. Do you know that? Spiritual practitioners lived in one corner of the world. (Yes.) You know? (Yes.) In the old times, we did not have airplanes. (That’s right.) No cars, for example. Since we didn’t have cars, it was not easy to travel. (That’s right.) That’s why people practiced... (Magic.) Flying in the air or traveling under the earth was much faster. (Yes.) It was much faster to run or protect themselves. Because in the old times people were more barbaric. They would kill anyone who looked weird. There were not many laws to protect the victims. Many of the officials were corrupt. Is it a rascal? (A corrupt official.) How to say it? A corrupt official? There were a lot of corrupt officials. (Yes.) People could be killed anytime. That was why they had to learn that kind of science to protect themselves. It was called magic. That was why. And they had to heal themselves by learning how to take the pulse and work on acupressure points. It was necessary in those times. That was one aspect of their practice.

People were very focused on what they were doing. Ancient people lacked material resources, so they had more time to practice. They focused wholeheartedly on their practice. No matter how poor or how tough life was, they were able to continue and had a lot of time to practice qigong and magic, in addition to meditation and spiritual practice.

The later generations forgot to cultivate their morality. Instead of searching for inner wisdom, they became attached to magical power. For example, in the old times, the new disciples had to learn some magic in order to do menial tasks more efficiently, like chopping firewood, fetching water from rivers, or delivering messages. Running errands for the Master, or serving as a messenger relaying information, in order to earn merits. The Master chose disciples who were loyal, competent and efficient, who were quick learners, who were humble with their magic and kept good morals. He would only teach these disciples the supreme dharma. Now some disciples are not so patient. They just learn the magic and leave to form a sect. They’re impatient after waiting too long for the Masterto teach them the highest method. They are content with their magical power. They go out to form another sect, which later becomes a sect for magic. Understand? (Yes.) And people come just to learn magic, which they find more appealing. So, people misunderstand them and regard Taoists only as sorcerers. It’s not like that! The original Taoists also practiced the Quan Yin Method. (Yes.) You can tell from Tao Te Ching.

Master: OK, continue speaking.

Q(f1): Another thing that Master just talked about was telling a person’s past by taking his pulse.

Master: Yes.

Q(f3): Speak slowly.

Q(f1): Some people see others’ karma with the eye. Another method is to take the pulse. Then time seems to move backwards and you can see people’s past lives. You can tell which dynasty that person had been born into in previous lives and what he had done.

Master: To check out their karma? (Yes.) To look into the past.

Q(f1): Yes. It can only be done with an innate ability.

Master: Can you do it? Which dynasty can you see? Tell me. Did you learn that?

Q(f1): I can do it by measuring the pulse. I didn’t learn it.

Q(f3): She didn’t learn it.

Master: So you can do that?

Q(f1): I have been meditating by myself since I was very little.

Master: Understand.

Q(f1): I did some mudras without knowing what I was doing. I was naive at that time. I did not realize I was meditating, until I saw Buddhists meditating during their 7-day retreat. When I graduated from middle school, I went to a Taoist temple and the abbot asked me to be his disciple. That’s how I started.

Master: Can you understand her? What did she say?

Q(f3): She has been meditating since she was young.

Master: I knew it. And then?

Q(f3): She went to a Taoist temple to learn meditation after graduating from junior high school.

Master: Wait a minute. You meditated, and?

Q(f1): They told me that I would gain some magical abilities after practicing meditation.

Master: I asked whether or not you could see people’s past. (Yes, I can.) You look at me for so long and haven't answered me yet. (Yes, I can.) You can? (Yes.) OK, now tell me about my past. In which dynasty did I live? Who was I and what did I do in previous lives? (You were…) This is not my first time in this world, you know? (Yes, I know.) Yeah. (OK.) So?

Q(f1): Now You are full of light and I can see nothing but a Buddha.

Q(f3): She said that Master is full of Light. Now she can only see Buddha and nothing else. (Yes.)

Master: You think I’ve never been here before? (You…) You think I’ve never been to this world?

Q(f1): Yes, You have. Many times. You have come and gone many times.

Master: OK, now look into my previous lives. What kind of job did I have? Have I ever been Chinese? (Yes.) When? If you say it wrong, I’ll cut off your hair. Check out what I did in China. Just the last life. (The last life?) Don’t take too long. (Before this life?) Yes. In your previous life… What did I do in China?

Q(f1): You were a monk.

Q(f3): You were a monk.

Master: A monk?

Q(f1): A famous Master. Yes, a Master.

Q(f3): A Master.

Master: What was his name? (I don’t know.) Hmph! (I only know that the Master’s level was very high.) How high?

Q(f1): You mean when? During the Song Dynasty.

Q(f3): Song Dynasty.

Master: Was there any famous Master from the Song Dynasty?

Q(f1): I am not familiar with the Buddhist Masters, only the Taoist ones. I have no idea.

Master: What did she say?

Q(f3): She only knows about Taoist masters, not Buddhist ones.

Master: OK. Look it up when you go home. (I’ll do that.) Otherwise, it’s too vague. We don’t know who it was. (OK, I’ll check when I go home. Is that all right, Master?) Yes. (Yes?) OK, tell us next week. (Tell You next week.) Tell us next week. (OK.)

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