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Words of Wisdom / Supreme Master Ching Hai's Lectures

Always Reflect on the Name of God, Part 3 of 6, January 31, 1993

2022-10-26
Language:Taiwanese Hokkien(台灣話)
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On weekends, we’d go to pluck fruits. We had lots of fruit gardens in the south. Like the mangosteen or rambutan, wow, they’re everywhere! You’d be mesmerized once you go inside. It’s very much like the apple gardens in Japan. It’s so beautiful. We’re lost in there. We just drove there and plucked a handful of them, and then we ate there. After we were full, we just laid there and fell asleep.

For instance, I sometimes chat with disciples, those university graduates. He said, “Wow! Studying in the university is so painful.” We’re talking about university. Then he said: “Wow! it’s really painful. We have to study hard day and night. After graduation, it’s as if the Five Fingers (or Wuzhi) Mountain has been lifted off our shoulders.” I said, “How could it be so painful?” He said, “Oh! You’ve no idea. Students like us really have a hard time.” Yes. This was what they told me. I said I didn’t remember having such a hard time when I went to school. I said those were my best days!

I’d ride my Honda motorbike from Japan, which was rare at that time, not more than a dozen in the whole country. I’d slip out on it. I’d quietly push it out, like dragging a horse, in silence. After I got out, I’d start it and go to the café to enjoy music and coffee.

However, I respected my teachers very much. They also respected me a lot. I have never seen teachers respect their students so much. In the evening, when I looked around at the place where I was living. Can I talk a little more by the way? (Of course.) If not, this poem is nearing the end. There’s not much in it to talk about. They’re all poems, spiritual poems or spiritual verses, very short ones. Very short and condensed. Just read it and you’ll get the message; no need for much explanation. And for Quan Yin practitioners, it’s clear at a glance. So I’ll gossip about something else, adding seasonings to enhance your food.

OK. At the place where I lived. When I was studying in school, the place where I lived was on the second floor. It was something like an attic. How to say it in Chinese? (Attic.) Attic, yes, attic. I lived in one of those. My neighbors were all students studying together. We were about the same, about the same age, lots of them. All my neighbors happened to be students. In the evening, I noticed that their lamps were on until very late, one or two after midnight. But I switched off my lamp at eight every evening. What a shame! Then my relatives complained, “Why are you not studying hard? Other people’s lamps are on until early morning.” They knew they were all students. “You’re the only one switching off your lamp at eight or nine. How can that be?” “OK.” I said, “OK, I’ll improve.”

What a shame! I was really ashamed. That’s contagious. Even the atmosphere could be contagious. Seeing that everyone was studying hard, I was ashamed for not doing the same. So I also left my lamp on until very late. It did not matter that my lamp was on, but I still fell asleep.

Then I felt even more shameful, knowing that I was only cheating. Several books were laid open on my desk, but I fell asleep after flipping a few pages. What a shame. So, a few days later, I bought some coffee and tea, drank it as strong as possible, and then kept glancing at my watch the whole night through. When everyone else had switched off their lights, I’d do the same and go to sleep. I really couldn’t learn.

I also admired those very diligent students. Really, since I was small, when I went to school, I seldom attended classes. I didn’t behave like a student. I just casually flipped the pages and then remembered everything. That much effort was enough. I virtually never studied hard. So now, when they talked about how they studied hard, I was a bit shocked. I said, truly I didn’t study diligently.

But it’s too late now. For instance, when I was in high school or middle school, I was rather sluggish and often went to enjoy coffee. When in elementary school, I was always first in class. In high school, I dropped to the third. I was having too much coffee and too indulged in music. I was quite picky at that time. However, the teachers in high school respected me very much. There was one time, I was much respected in high school. I did receive first honor, not in academics though. I won first honor in acting. It’s a first honor all the same. Who cares! In middle school, I was the third in class, perhaps the fourth, I’ve forgotten. Definitely not the first, below the second.

However, they respected me a lot. It’s strange. When in middle school, I was still very small, but not that small. I was around 13 or 14, or perhaps 12, 13, or 14. One time, my teacher openly repented to me. He repented before everyone, because he scolded a student for no proper reason. He didn’t really scold. Proper scolding is OK. However, this student didn’t do anything wrong that day. Yet he made fun of his not so pretty appearance. I didn’t say anything. I just frowned slightly. I looked at him with this uncomfortable look. I thought he didn’t notice. I felt he shouldn’t have done that. Some people are disabled. Some are not so pretty outside. He shouldn’t make fun of them like that. Is this called “teasing?” (Yes.)

That’s right. The student was already feeling inferior. Instead of giving encouragement, he poked fun at him. That was not a proper behavior. He was not scolding him; it was OK for him to scold a student. It was poking fun at someone without any reason at all. Perhaps because he was running out of ideas. I just stared at him and frowned, and then looked away from him. Then he understood. I didn’t say anything. How would I dare to? Besides, it was not necessary. He was the headmaster of the middle school. He was teaching us, but he was also the headmaster. Understand? Is that called “headmaster?” (Headmaster.) Headmaster. On the next day, he repented openly. He said he did something wrong the day before. Fortunately, a very moral student gave him a nudge.

He was cute! Was I being moral? He had to be joking. However, I was much pampered then, perhaps too pampered. OK, it’s just by the way. So, I told him that I studied in a carefree way but still learned very fast. I had no intention to grab any awards or graduation honors. I had no idea about those things.

I’m not discouraging you from going to school. Don’t go home and spread the wrong message and ruin my reputation. You still need to go to school. Your situation is different. You want to go to school and study hard to get the diploma. To achieve your goal, you have to study hard. I was an exception. I didn’t think there’s anything great about it. Going to school was not a big deal. What the teachers were teaching, I got it immediately. I understood even if they didn’t teach us. What’s there to learn? So troublesome.

I just thought that it was kind of wasting time. There was nothing else to do anyway when we were still a kid. What else could we do? Right? Our parents had earned enough money. Everything was already sufficient for us, be it food, drink, and things to use. Nothing to worry about at all. What’s there to do other than going to school? We were so little at that time. We could not get married. There’s nowhere to look for fun. We could not even dress up yet. Since there was nothing else to do, it was also fine going to school.

Then, we got some schoolmates to race motorcycles. Sometimes we raced with buses. Although my motorcycle was just 120c.c., I got rid of the exhaust pipe. Only the inside. The outside was still there so the exhaust would still come out. Just that it could run faster. It made loud noises. So naughty! Don’t copy. It’s not good! (Drag racing.) Drag racing. That’s why we went fast. The police couldn’t say anything since it looked exactly the same. Nothing had been changed. It’s just that the noise was very loud and it could race very fast. Sometimes even buses or cars were way behind me.

On weekends, we’d go to pluck fruits. We had lots of fruit gardens in the south. Like the mangosteen or rambutan, wow, they’re everywhere! You’d be mesmerized once you go inside. It’s very much like the apple gardens in Japan. It’s so beautiful. We’re lost in there. We just drove there and plucked a handful of them, and then we ate there. After we were full, we just laid there and fell asleep.

That’s how we lived our teenage life. Otherwise, what else could we do? I didn’t have so much meritorious reward like you, not the same as you. You’re so young and know to practice spiritually already. I knew nothing about spiritual practice when I was little, except reciting “Quan Yin Bodhisattva” and things like that, and reciting charms. When I was young, about 12 years old, I’d already memorized the ten spells, etc. I managed it myself, “kow, kow, kow…” I hit the wooden fish while reciting the sutras. I recited it well and I understood it. But I didn’t know much about spiritual practice. That’s it, just worship, etc.

So, I think your children, who are only 6 or 12 years old, already know to ask for initiation, to practice spiritually and to be vegan. Wow! It’s amazing to me. A lot better than me. I saw suffering of the world only when I grew old, and then thought of spiritual practice. Before that, I didn’t have any suffering and didn’t see suffering of others. I didn’t see that much. Busy with passing others in drag racing. Who am I to see?

The car’s going so fast, how can you see anyone? Besides, you can’t look around! You have to focus. I was wearing a very big hat, exposing only my two eyes. Who else would I see? And my ears heard nothing. Yes. I had to cover them all up to protect myself because I raced at high speed. I’m sorry that you get to know my little shortcomings. Though nothing to do, I was quite naughty when I was a kid. But strange enough, all my teachers liked me very much. Because I was only a junior high student, that’s why I was so naughty and playful. I was very obedient in elementary school. Didn’t have a motorcycle. I walked every day. When I was in elementary school, I walked one kilometer daily. Meaning one kilometer for a round trip on foot. That’s why I wanted to make it up after going to junior high school. Going to school by motorcycle was much faster, to make up for the hardship during elementary school.

It’s strange that going to school was so easy for me, and it was not a big deal to me. But others try very hard and make a lot of effort. They said, “Wow! It’s so painful going to school!” They had to also attend tutoring school or whatever. It’s a lot of work. That’s why it’s very painful. The same with doing business. Some can do it very easily. They are serious about it, but they are relaxed. They still can manage it very well. Some people just do it blindly, taking care of this and that, and working very hard. But in the end, they get nothing done. Perhaps they are not relaxed enough. They can’t relax.

Unlike us, we the spiritual practitioners don’t even want much from the world. Of course, some people still have their desires. Maybe they haven’t reached the first asura level. But most of your fellow initiates already have no worldly desires. Right? (Yes.) And even if we don’t want it, we still have it. It’s better than before, right? (Yes.) Before, we desired so many things, but we couldn’t get them. Even if we get them, we are not satisfied. Now, even if we have little but sufficient, we’re satisfied. We’re self-sufficient and happy. And we know also how to manage our life. For example, we cut down unnecessary spending that we used to have. We’re satisfied with living naturally. That’s how it is. Yes? (Yes.)

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