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Master Reminisces, Part 1 of 4

2023-04-06
Lingua del discorso:English
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Every day, we’d do barbecue. We’d get the wood; dried wood from the woods, cheap, no cost, so it doesn’t matter. And we’d sing, and then made theater. We didn’t have makeup, so they put like the coal (on), charcoal that we cooked to do all kinds of makeup on the face. And they braided leaves and wild flowers, and made crowns, or theatrical stuff, and played something. We were laughing so much! It was very nice at that time.

You know the Cinderella story, right? (Yes.) Twelve o’clock, must go! All the makeup falls off, the mascara’s gone, lipstick fades, rouge’s gone, pumpkin’s coming. My pumpkin is coming out! So, “The pH Miracle,” is like a vegetarian book? Is it? Or is there fish in there? Chips? (No.) Fish? (More or less vegan.) Vegan? OK. (Because he himself stresses, “fish maybe once a month” or something, because of certain qualities of the fish.) (Yes.) That kind of man, compromise, you see? Oh, that’s garbage. I don’t need that. Fish once a month. What would that fish say to you if you eat him once a month? Gosh! You see, I don’t like this kind of people. Are you that or that? Pleasing everybody. It’s OK, it’s OK. No need, honey. Have a rest. All of you. OK. So where were we?

OK, the tent. In the beginning, you know already, I had a car. Like 3,000 something, or 1,000. Like almost a free gift. Because it stayed in the garage too long, nobody bought it. It was rusty, so they gave it to us, mostly for free. And he is very temperamental, the car. Anytime he doesn’t want to go, he just stops, no need to tell you anything. And you can push all you want, he just stays there, “I’m tired!” So, mostly, we didn’t have a car anyway, just one small, like a van, and pack all together, so four people – one tent. That’s why I told you, we stayed at the bank of the river and were not afraid of death because we had company.

I told you already, if you die alone, you worry, but mostly when people die, they don’t want to die because they’re lonely. When they go, they go alone, no? When they die, they die alone, so, that is very scary. But if you have another three persons with you in one tent... So, it’s just like, in life if you have friends, you are not afraid. Because mostly if the river’s swollen up, then we will all be swallowed up. It’s true!

Because the river can be unpredictable, so if you want to camp somewhere, even in the middle of summer and all that, you have to take precautions, OK? Because I was young and fearless and invincible, I told you already. We were all young. All the young kids followed me, about my age at that time. We were young and we were happy. Every day, we did not much at that time. Sometimes I went to lecture and came out. We didn’t have a home, anyway. Sometimes we had, but we still liked to camp. In the beginning, we didn’t have a home, so four persons – one tent. And when I come to think about it, I really think I was very brave. All the poor monks and nuns followed me; what if the river swelled up, and then we’d be flushed (away) in no time! Because sometimes the rain comes from the other side of the mountain, far away, where the river source is, and the water can be very torrential coming down on us. But luckily, we didn’t die, so I’m still here.

And every day, we’d do barbecue. We’d get the wood; dried wood from the woods, cheap, no cost, so it doesn’t matter. And we’d sing, and then made theater. We didn’t have makeup, so they put like the coal (on), charcoal that we cooked to do all kinds of makeup on the face. And they braided leaves and wild flowers, and made crowns, or theatrical stuff, and played something. We were laughing so much! It was very nice at that time. Why am I telling that? What was it? (Being together.) Being together? Ah, yeah.

I told you… In the beginning I didn’t have land, I didn’t have a house. We rented a house, which they gladly gave to us, and later we knew why: it’s a ghost house! (Oh!) A lot of ghosts, nobody dared go in there. The grass had already moved into the living room, all over, so we cleaned it up, all the grass. The tall grass, looked like this bamboo kind, but that kind of tall grass, tall and hard, a sugarcane type, a bamboo-type of grass, all over in the house already, and we cleaned it up. We cleaned the road, because there was no road, even! All the grass was growing on the road! So, we cleaned it all up because we didn’t have much money. That was very cheap. We didn’t know, later somebody told us, “They paid somebody to go in there, and nobody dared go in there, even.” Paid for a housekeeper, and nobody wanted because the ghosts “kept” the house. So they were scared. So, seven years, nobody lived there, and the grass grew all over. We went in there: “Oh, it’s not bad!” I told you, I was young and invincible.

At that time even, I didn’t go out in public or anything. There were about 20, 30, following me around. And sometimes we had to share clothes. My clothes, they’d give it to some men or some monks, but they were all very happy. And then we had that house, we cleaned it up, and we planted vegetables. A very small land, but planted vegetables, and we’d eat and sell some. It’s enough to live simple. Then because the house was already clean and nice, and had vegetables and all that, they sold it. The owner sold it, didn’t tell us. So, we didn’t have a house.

OK, we moved out, moved around, and later I had a little piece of land in Yang Ming Mountain. But that’s a national park, we couldn’t even camp, it’s not allowed. But later, they can do it. They do it now! They camp over there at the base. I told you, everywhere I go first, then people come, and then I have to go. I make it all nice and clean, and then we have to go also. I didn’t know about that. I thought we just camp, you don’t do anything, so it couldn’t be wrong. But then the police came and all that, too much hassle, so we went. We went somewhere, so we didn’t have any land. We had land, but we couldn’t stay at that time. Now they can stay, they made a tent up there. Even built a small pavilion for me.

And then we went to the river. We moved south to the free river. You camp at the bank of the river, you have water from the river, and we’d filter it and then use it. Or just do simple cooking or just barbecue every day. At night, we’d collect the wood, then we’d camp and then we’d cook whatever we had. Even at New Year’s and all that, that’s all we had. But it was very fun, it was fun. What else did I say? What was it? (Where to stay...) Where to stay? (Yeah, where to stay.) (For You.) For me? Oh, OK, that’s why. We could just camp somewhere beside the river. But would police say anything, anywhere? Probably yeah.

In Taiwan (Formosa), it was more simple because where we went, police didn’t even bother to come. It was over mountains, rivers, mountains, rivers, on foot. And you can’t drive cars in there. Not even a horse can go through. Sometimes the river’s swollen very high, and we have to go together, with a rope. And then go across the river together with a rope. And we keep the rope there across the river, so whenever we want to go across, we just hang onto that. Sometimes the river was up to my neck here. A very strong current – I don’t know how I survived! I’m so small, and the current was very strong! And you couldn’t see it, because it’s turbulent. It’s not clear. My God! So invincible! That’s typical of young people, you fear nothing. You know nothing! You’re unarmed and un-dangerous. Nothing is a danger to you! You don’t even know how danger’s spelled like. And many of them were also young, and they had fun, they didn’t care.

Sometimes we went to pick up the vegetables around the area, and we just cooked them and eat them or eat them raw. And sometimes we’d go outside to buy vegetables – a big car or something, or rent some truck and then bring the whole truck in. We’d eat for a while, and when we’ve finished, we go out again. You should see the scene, oh, my God! Maybe some of the old films, old CDs, still have it. It’s like this: the river like this, mountain like that, on both sides, and you see the monks and nuns come from the mountain, go down, a whole line, ta-ta, ta-ta-ta, ta-ta... Ta-ta, ta-ta, ta-ta, ta... And you can see them one by one, the whole line, carrying stuff, like the ants, the ants when they go? It’s similar like that. But it looks so beautiful, though, because they had to carry by foot. There’s nothing you can use in that mountain and river, because the mountain path is very small; it’s enough for one person to climb up and down like that. And then through the river, sometimes we had to put food on the raft so it doesn’t get wet or it’s not too heavy to carry. In some areas you can, some areas you cannot.

And I had a tent also, and I also had a living room. What was the living room? It’s a raft made with dry wood from the forest just put in the middle of the river. Yeah, that’s it! And that part of the river doesn’t flow fast. It gets stuck between the rocks so the raft just stays there. So sometimes if I’m bored with my summer camp, I go there, just a few yards away, very convenient, put my feet in the water, cool! Because summer can be hot there, and then we’d just play around. And if you felt hot, you’d go in the river, bathe yourself. And if your clothes are dirty, you wash it and put on the rock, in just half an hour – dry! Just like in the laundry in your best shop in London. Very simple. The water’s always flowing, so it’s clean. And we were at the top of the mountain, the top of the river source, so it did look like that, nobody was up there. At least for a long time, we didn’t see. What you don’t see, you don’t know.

And we used cloth to filter the water because we had nothing else. If you use the cloth to filter, it’s clean enough already; and then you boil it, boil a lot, and then it’s safe enough. Well, at least I was young, invincible, but I know the basic hygiene, thanks to the Buddha. One of the precepts in Buddhist monkhood is that you have to filter your water. Buddha, at that time, He knew already. He looked into it, He said, “Oh, there are 8,400 million bacteria in your cup.” The monks at that time, two thousand some years ago, already filtered their water before they drank. We filtered, and we boiled as well.

And it’s so free, such a freedom! At sunrise, you get up, or not get up. At sunset, you go sleep, or not go sleep. It’s up to you! Nobody checks, we don’t know what time, we don’t care. And then we play the mandolin, sitar, whoever does what. Flute, harmonica, whatever! We do all kinds of nonsense stuff. And playing ambush, ambushing each other, surprising and all that stuff. Put all kinds of charcoal on the face, we looked like jungle fighters. And we’re all burnt, so black! Oh, every day in the sun!

Sometimes... As I told you already, when the Sun sets, you can go to sleep or not sleep. And I’m telling the truth, because some didn’t sleep at night! I don’t know what they did... Daytime, they’d go out and sit on the rock, on top of the rock, and then sit for a while, and then their heads begin to lower down... And then some of the jungle men, some men who come and cut wood or something, and they said, “My God, you poor thing! You don’t have a home, right? That’s why you can’t sleep. Look! All of you are so tired! Look at... all sleeping all day!” Some were meditating, sitting there or lying there, with eyes closed, so the woodcutter was so worried about us, “My God, what are you doing? You’re so tired! All of you are sleeping!” In the daytime. But it didn’t feel... Oh, my God, I think that was the best time I have had, up to now. Compared to all the big buildings, big meditation halls, roomy houses and big houses or whatever. I never feel as good, I have to tell you the truth. At that time, all we needed was just one or two meals a day, and it’s not elaborate or anything.

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1
32:21

Master Reminisces, Part 1 of 4

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2023-04-06
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2
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Master Reminisces, Part 2 of 4

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3
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Master Reminisces, Part 3 of 4

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4
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Master Reminisces, Part 4 of 4

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