BE VEGAN , MAKE PEACE – LECTURES BY MASTER CHING HAI @ www.SupremeMasterTV.com

Spoken by master Ching Hai, New Zealand, April 27, 2000

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The nature of the soul is not that I am here and I have one soul in here. It’s not like that. My soul is bigger than just in here. It might be all over here. (Master makes a gesture encompassing the area of the room.) It might be all me, but it looks different. It’s not like God is one and everyone is one with God. It’s not in that sense. It’s in the sense that one individual can have a great soul that encompasses many so-called bodies. So we can happen to identify just like we are each other.

Just like sometimes there are two persons, but they think exactly the same thing at the same moment. That’s because that is one soul, not because they are one with God or they are one with each other. But they are one soul, just like twins or soul mates. A soul mate doesn’t mean only one; it can mean a lot. Because some great souls encompass many other beings for their own purpose. Therefore, we feel like brothers and sisters; we feel like one. Sometimes you feel very good with your sister or your brother, your mother or your father because that’s you! You make it become family, but it’s only one: one soul and many individuals.

That’s why sometimes we say, “I have affinity with that person.” Or, “She’s my soul mate; he’s my soul mate.” Because it’s you; it’s really you. I mean that’s your individual soul group, in one soul. Apart from being one with God and one with everyone else, we also have the individual soul, which can house many big groups of people as just one soul. But it looks different.

Thus sometimes we feel so good with a group of people. And the more we’re with them, the more we feel strengthened because we’re at home with ourselves. We’re together, and we’re at peace together. It’s no wonder; no wonder we work so well!

Can you imagine you are me?

Move over, meatless Mondays and vegetable quesadillas! One private early childhood-12 school in southern California is going all the way, eliminating all meat and animal products from its cafeteria and offering an entirely plant-based menu.

The MUSE School in Calabasas, California, will complete a transition to an all-vegan menu beginning in the fall. Though at least one school has gone vegetarian, MUSE is believed to be the first primary or secondary school in the nation to go entirely vegan.

MUSE was founded by actress Suzy Amis Cameron and her sister Rebecca Amis in 2006, with a focus on sustainability. According to spokeswoman Jennifer Mau, MUSE’s board and administration made the decision to go vegan last spring; all lettuce and nearly half of the produce will be sourced from on-campus gardens and greenhouses thanks to the school’s seed-to-table initiative, which grows about 200 different varieties.

MUSE was already moving toward the change, serving entirely plant-based meals one day a week to its 150 students beginning in September 2013. Last fall, it upped that number to two days a week, plus two days of vegetarian-friendly fare.

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Parents’ response to the initiative has been largely positive, Mau says.

“The way we eat is the easiest and most impactful way we can alter our carbon footprint as a school,” MUSE’s head of school Jeff King said in a statement. “The largest consumers of water are not people but cattle. To truly deliver our mission of sustainability, we had to find a sustainable way of eating. The answer was to create our ‘One Meal a Day for the Planet’ program — plant-based lunches and snacks — for our students.”

Nutritionists interviewed by The Huffington Post applauded MUSE’s move away from the typically highly processed foods and drinks that too often remain standard American cafeteria fare. Studies show reducing one’s meat intake not only has an environmental impact, but also a health one — reducing risk of heart disease, stroke, cancer and diabetes, as well as curbing obesity.

There are general caveats. Marion Nestle, a professor of nutrition and food studies at New York University, told HuffPost that a vegan diet is in line with the health world’s recommendation to eat mostly fruits, vegetables and grains, but that any successful diet must offer a variety of choices.

“One basic tenet of healthful diets is to include a variety of foods, and vegan diets need variety too,” Nestle said via email. “The menus must be planned to be adequate in calories, protein, and variety.”

David Katz, an instructor in medicine at Yale’s School of Public Health, agreed, noting that “it’s possible to do a vegan diet badly, but if it’s done well, it’s one of the best diets we have.”

“Just calling it vegan doesn’t guarantee it is high nutrition and a lot could be lost in translation,” Katz noted. “But the potential is great.”

Mau, noting that students are only eating one meal a day at MUSE, said school officials are very careful about their approach to plant-based proteins in an effort to ensure the meals are as nutritious as possible.

Katz also pointed to early research indicating a link between healthy eating and physical exercise and improved student behavior and academic performance. It’s evidence, he says, that MUSE’s efforts could be beneficial for their students in ways beyond their physical health.

MUSE’s embrace of a plant-based menu comes at a time when more and more schools across the country are also reducing their reliance on meat and animal products.

Since 2009, Meatless Mondays, a public health campaign associated with the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, expanded their program into the school sphere, with Baltimore City Public Schools becoming the first public school system to offer an an all-vegetarian menu to start off each week.

Since then, another 53 districts have also joined the movement, including schools in Los Angeles, San Diego, Philadelphia, Boston and Detroit, and others are working with the program to implement more meat-free proteins into menus that still meet the requirements of the National School Lunch program.

Meatless Mondays isn’t advocating necessarily for students to go vegetarian or vegan — rather, the program’s goal is for people to diversify their diets and incorporate more plant-based meals. Children, spokeswoman Diana Rice notes, are at a particularly important time in their lives as their eating habits tend to be less entrenched than adults.

“This is something people can participate in without feeling that they have to change their diets completely,” Rice told HuffPost. “It teaches them from a young age that a meal doesn’t have to have meat in it to be a solid meal.”

From  http://www.huffingtonpost.com

From Stone to Saint

Spoken by Master Ching Hai

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In China, there was a story about Meng Tzu. Meng Tzu was a very wise man of China, one of the saints. But he had a saintly mother, so that’s why.

When he was a child, his house was next to a slaughtering house that killed animals. So he went to see the people who slaughtered the animals. When he came home, he began to catch all the small animals, like frogs, cats and dogs. And he also began to slaughter them, because he imitated what he saw.

Children imitate everything, good or bad. I didn’t; I did not imitate. I remember many of my cousins and the neighbor’s children always went and fetched birds, and would roast them and eat them. And they killed all kinds of insects, making them become like their toys. I never did this; I never liked it. But most children imitate things, whether good or bad.

So when the mother saw that the child had developed this very bad habit due to their neighbor’s influence, she moved, because of him. She said, “This is not a good place for my child.” She was a saintly mother. And they were not wealthy. I think she was alone. Her husband wasn’t there; maybe he was dead. She raised the child alone as a weaver, weaving cloth. She was very poor and didn’t earn much money weaving cloth. Even then, she sacrificed her time, energy and money for her child. Can you imagine how saintly that is? That’s why I say she was a saintly mother. And in ancient China, moving was not easy. There’s no transportation, no one to help you, only the mother and the child. You can imagine how difficult that would be.

So she moved to another neighborhood. Sometime later, she discovered that her child came home every day wailing and crying, making a ceremony for the dead. He was making a funeral service every day. And then she discovered that they lived very near a funeral home; that’s where he learned it. So she said, “This is not a place for my child.”

She moved again, for the third time. Then, at last, she moved next to a school, where they taught about Confucius and all the saints’ teachings. And the child came home behaving like a saint! He had all the manners of a good scholar and the thinking of a saint-very polite, very noble and very saintly. So the mother said, “Wow, this is the place for my child.”

And then, when this child grew old enough, of course, he went to school. He liked going to school. He said, “I like it!” He liked to be like the scholars, so he went to the school. But one day he became fed up with the school for some reason. Probably the teachers had scolded him or his roommate wasn’t nice, or else he was lazy. So he went home and went to sleep, in the middle of his classes. He didn’t want to go to school any more.

The mother used all her logic to persuade him to go back to school that day, but he didn’t. He said he didn’t want to and was very insistent and stubborn. The mother was weaving a piece of silk at that time. After he had been so stubborn, she took a knife and cut across the piece of silk she had woven. And then she asked the child, “Can we use this piece of silk now? Can it be useful?” And the child said, “Of course not! Why did you destroy it? Why did you cut that piece of silk when it was so perfect?” And the mother said, “Well, it is like your education. If you don’t continue, it’s of no use. If you break it in the middle, what is the use of before and after? Something broken in the middle is of no use.”

It’s the same with our practice. We should also continue every day. Otherwise, even though it’s beautiful before and it might be beautiful after, if it’s broken in the middle, it’s not a continuous flow. And we will experience some kind of difficulty or obstacles or uneasiness in our life. We cannot expect things to go smoothly and easily, the way we want, all the time. We must learn to take and to give, to be strong and also to be flexible, when the situation requires. Otherwise, we will have a lot of trouble during our life, and we will never grow up.
If the mother of Meng Tzu had been a very ordinary mother, then today we would never have heard of the name Meng Tzu. He would never have left his name in the history of sainthood. And in China, there are so many people, a vast number of people, with vast lands. To be listed in the names of these vast people and vast lands-as one of the handful of saints-is not easy. To make a name for yourself in China, where there are so many people that you cannot count them all-to make a name distinguished from these masses-it’s not easy! And they have four or five thousand years of history; to be distinguished as one of the few is not common.

But people have forgotten his mother. They don’t know who she was or what she did, only that she cut pieces of silk and moved three times. But her actions were worth more than all the lectures that Meng Tzu ever offered to the public. She is worthy to be a master, a master of all time. She was master of all mothers, of all the masters! If she weren’t a saint and a wise woman, she could have never sacrificed so much in her situation and in her poverty.

Can you imagine what Meng Tzu would have become without such a mother-a brilliant saint who would have been contented with killing animals every day for a living? So you see how saints are made. We can make saints out of stones! I think I will start a manufacturing plant for building saints! We could! Just give them good examples, a good environment and good lectures, and they will become saints.

The Tibetan people train their monks from childhood. Most of the monks learn from childhood. They come into the monastery when they are young, mostly as orphans or poor children whose parents cannot afford to raise them; they get offered completely to the temple and never go back home. So they are trained from childhood, and that’s how they grow up. Even if we don’t say anything about their levels of sainthood, at least their manner and behavior are very sweet.

So everything we were taught in childhood is very important. I guess my grandmother and my father were good teachers for me. My grandmother used to make me read a lot of books to her because she couldn’t read; she was very old. I read her all the philosophical books that were meant only for adults, but she was very fascinated by them. And I loved her; I was always sticking around her, so I was the one who read a lot for her. And I was more fascinated than she was. Sometimes she went to sleep or she was busy, and I would read them all by myself. So I read all the things that a child should not read, like Chuang Tzu, Lao Tzu and all kinds of Chinese and other cultures’ philosophies. In the evening when I slept, I would fly around meeting saints and things like that. And I had all kinds of magical powers in my dreams. Anyhow, I guess that’s what made me become what I am today; it had an influence. In the world today, people teach pregnant mothers to read good books and imagine beautiful faces, or hang beautiful pictures in the bedroom or around the house, just to make a beautiful baby, to plant noble ideas into the fetus. It helps.

Actually, the parents are commissioned by God to teach their children. But most parents do not remember their duty. They love the children but they think of the children also as property, that the children should grow up and make a name and make money for them, to repay them for their kindness. So most of the time, they emphasize more to the children that they have to go to school, they have to learn a craft, or they have to do this and do that. There’s really no moral motive behind it at all, just a monetary motive. This is just most of the time; I don’t mean all families are like this. But the people who are like that teach each other-that you have to spend 10 years or 20 years in education just to get a position, to earn good money, to get a good husband or wife and to be secure in life. This is always emphasized in our society. And then if they have a religious background, they send their children to the priests, and the priests know nothing.

So that’s how we are left alone to struggle for ourselves spiritually in this world. If we are not lucky enough to happen to stumble into a saint or the saintly teaching of a living Master, can you imagine how we carry on with our life? You’re born and you die and you have only one ideal in your head: making money, gaining position, and raising children, like raising ducks, pigs, or any other animals. If we as humans don’t have a higher ideal about life and God, we are just like the animals. But how do you find a teacher who will teach you anything like this? We have been brainwashed for 15 or 20 years in school, just for money! Let’s face it; that’s the only motive. It doesn’t matter how much flour they put around it or pepper and chili on top to cover it, it is all for monetary purposes, nothing else. And not only to earn enough money for a living; sometimes money tricks people into selling their dignity and forgetting all their moral standards.

That’s how the society teaches us, even our family members. Of course, not all families are like that. Thus, we should earn money or have a position to take care of ourselves, but not to the extent of forgetting everything else. That’s why we are very far away from God. If we are near God, it must be a money god, or a banker god!

By Master Duy Tue
Originally in Vietnamese

Lesson 24 – Giving Presents

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Give presents and flowers to your parents, your friends, and your teachers.

By giving presents, you show your gratitude to and your love for those who love you. You give presents not because you want them to love you. Giving presents is the easiest thing you can do to show your gratefulness.

Some people say they love their parents but they don’t do anything for their parents to show their love. You shouldn’t be like that.

Let somebody see your love through what you do for them. Being grateful is how you show your respect and love to people around you.

By Sumitra

Gregory Kloehn is an artist who uses his skills for a really worthy cause – building homes for the homeless. Making use of recycled and reclaimed materials found on the street, he creates small mobile homes, each about the size of a sofa. These homes come with pitched roofs to keep out the rain and wheels at the bottom, for mobility. So far, he’s built about 10 shelters through the ‘Homeless Homes Project’, and hopes to create more in the future.

Although they’re not made of much, the tiny homes are more than enough for someone with no other place to sleep. They are painted in bright colors and have a few quirky elements – like washing machine doors for windows and minivan tops for roofs. Gregory, 43, is a sculptor by profession, but he went on a construction spree after building his five-unit live-work condominium from scratch. Originally from Denver, he now lives in Oakland, California, where he carries out his philanthropic construction project.

“Before, I was all about sculpture, but I realized it just sits there,” he said. “And you’re just peddling it to rich people. I kind of think if you’re putting so much effort into something it would be nice if it did something.” So with his new-found fascination for architecture, Gregory began to study homeless shanties in his neighborhood. He wrote a book called ‘Homeless Architecture’ at the time, admiring how they were able to recycle all day and make homes out of almost nothing.

Homeless-Architecture-Gregory-Kloehn-1Soon he began to build the tiny houses in his studio, but he didn’t realize their potential right away. Things changed when a homeless couple showed up at his door last year, asking for a tarp. He gave them the small wooden structure he was working on, equipped with a water tank, built-in kitchen and a small trap for human waste. The couple was delighted. So Gregory decided to make more such houses and give them away for free. He’s simplified his design over the past year; he can now make a home out of only five pallets.

Homeless-Architecture-Gregory-Kloehn-3The process begins with dumpster diving in an industrial Oakland neighborhood, where illegal waste dumping is rampant. Gregory carefully selects the parts he needs – cargo pallets for a foundation, refrigerator door for the door, and pizza delivery bags for insulation. He then brings all the materials to his studio, where it takes him two to three days to build a home. Unfortunately, not all of his homes have fared well on the streets of West Oakland.

Homeless-Architecture-Gregory-Kloehn-8The home that Gregory gave to the couple was firebombed. Another one of his homes was stolen, and one recipient sold his home for $80. It is now being used as a doghouse. According to city official Karen Boyd, they would need to discuss and decide if these homes present encroachment or other policy issues. Although Gregory doesn’t plan to build the tiny homes for all of Oakland’s homeless, he doesn’t want to stop his project any time soon.

Not all of Gregory’s homes were successful, but they have managed to bring smiles to a few homeless people. Like Wonder, a homeless woman who has her new tiny home parked on the sidewalk next to her old home (a tarp draped over a couch). “This is the best home I’ve had in five years,” she said. Her home is made from a discarded picnic table with pizza bag insulation. “It gets real hot in here,” she added. Many others have given the homes rave reviews as well.

Gregory is currently working on new designs, including a chuck wagon and a geodesic home. He also wants to conduct weekend workshops to teach the craft to others. “A lot of people who hear about what I’m doing want to get involved,” he said. “Maybe we meet someplace and put a couple of homes together.” Gregory is currently accepting donations and volunteers to help his project grow further.

Homeless-Architecture-Gregory-Kloehn-5From  http://www.odditycentral.com

Why Are We Here?

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Spoken by Master Ching Hai,
Auckland, New Zealand April 27, 2000

The Buddhist scriptures say that you are the Buddha and that the Buddha Nature is inside you. The Bible says that God lives within this temple. So who else is in there, except God? If we are the temple and God is the only one who lives in there, who are we then, except God? If we don’t remember, that’s fine, but we are still God.

So whatever we choose to do as the God of all gods that we are, we should respect. As the Father/Mother of all of these beings that we are, we should respect our own wishes and our choice to live and express our divine Selves in whichever way we want.

That’s why Jesus told us that we should not judge people. Because we don’t know the path that another being has chosen to walk. He or she does his/her thing so that she/he might come to know God in a different way. He or she might choose to be a seemingly bad person, a very lowly person or a very so-called immoral person. But that’s his/her way of knowing the divine. By choosing to be ungodly, that person will one day know that’s not him/her. But they have to go back and learn the whole being again. Because if we always stay in Heaven and are Gods all the time, we won’t recognize ourselves as God. So we need to lower ourselves and come down to this physical level so we can once again recognize our own greatness. That’s our choice, and that’s why we came here.

So the answer to our question about why we are here is: Because we want to know God. When we feel the time is up, that’s the time we choose to remember ourselves again. That’s the time we come to seek out spiritual friends, a spiritual group or maybe a spiritual teacher so that we can remember quickly; because we have forgotten how to remember and where to look. So some friend who has already remembered Himself/Herself may be able to help us. And then we recognize that we’re nothing else but the Supreme Being, but God. We recognize the Supreme Being that’s housed within this body.

But actually, He is not housed within the body. He houses our body. But then again, spiritual terminology is never a very exact science. So no matter how much a teacher tells us about God or how eloquently a spiritual friend might speak about the Divine being within us, we cannot understand just by listening. So the spiritual teacher, guide or friend has to show us practically, not just theoretically.

For example, when Jesus came to our planet, He taught His disciples both ways: the theoretical way and the practical way. And that’s why later, His immediate disciples could also do wonders, could also see Heaven, could also hear the Voice of God as the Word of the Creator, could also see the Light of Heaven, could ascend to Heaven and even see the angels or see the Father. The Father spoke to them, like the Father spoke to Moses. And the angels also spoke to them.

Likewise, we can do that. Because as great as Jesus’ disciples were, we are also great. We and Jesus’ disciples are the same because Jesus said to us that we are all children of God. But because we have forgotten sometimes one or two friends have to come to remind us, but only when we are ready. Because if we aren’t ready, no one can do much for us.

Gravitation of love

Gravitation of love is the reason that relationships exist. It is the deepest learning of our soul and the most important lesson in human growth.

Some people often complain why they always attract bad people? In fact, what we should do is to ask ourselves: “Why do I create this reality? What kind of spiritual growth is intended here?

We should treat the people around us as lessons for our growth. They are the motions behind joys of life rather than torturous pain – because of these interpersonal relationships formed by the gravitation of love, these people around us still have lessons of love yet to be completed.

No matter how conflicts and hatred are caused between people, it is within these opposing forces that love and acceptance are released from the heart. We must first confirm the value of our existence and the good intentions of this world. Let true love and unconditional acceptance come from within our hearts. This way, the relationships with our family, friends and colleagues will drastically make positive changes filled with goodwill and respect.

—excerpt from “Mind Energy Resources”

A blind man named Jia Haixia and his friend, a double amputee with no arms named Jia Wenqi, have spent more than 10 years replanting trees to revive the once-barren environment around Yeli Village in northeastern China.

Haixia was born blind in one eye and lost the other in 2000 in a work-related accident. Wenqi lost both of his arms in an accident when he was only 3 years old. Together, they’ve leased 8 acres of land from the government and have begun replanting the land with trees to protect the village from flooding.

Jia Haixia was born blind in one eye and lost the other in a work accident. Together, however, they make an awesome tree-planting team. They wake up at 7 AM to begin their work every day. They don’t have money for saplings so they use tree cuttings. Haixia’s job is to climb trees and get the best cuttings.

blind-man-amputee-plant-trees-china-3blind-man-amputee-plant-trees-china-4blind-man-amputee-plant-trees-china-12blind-man-amputee-plant-trees-china-5blind-man-amputee-plant-trees-china-8from  http://www.boredpanda.com

097874_861ebb5536164d2ebeb5376ca9184105.jpg_srb_p_825_825_75_22_0.50_1.20_0Spoken by Master Ching Hai

What is the Kingdom of God?

It is not the palace that is shining with gold, silver, diamonds, rubies and all kinds of precious stones.

It is the purity, the loving kindness, the compassion, the peace of mind. That is the Kingdom of God. If we carry this Kingdom of God within us, then wherever we go we always feel that we are in heaven. So there is no need to yearn for the life beyond and to shun the opportunities to serve our brothers and sisters here on earth while we are still living. If we have already attained heaven within, whether we live or we die, it is ours. No one can take it away.

But if we do not attain this, then even if we go to heaven, the outer environment of heaven may not even penetrate inside our darkened souls, and we still carry with us hatred, jealousy, bad, negative thinking, within our hearts. Then heaven is just another place in the universe for us, the same as everywhere because we have not changed ourselves.

 

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Nearly everyone gets a headache at some point of life. Headache is one of the most common medical complaints and more than 45 million Americans (about one in six) suffer chronic headaches each year.

Headaches are generally classified by cause: the first category is primary headache and the second category is secondary headache. A primary headache isn’t a symptom of an underlying disease, but is caused by problems with pain-sensitive structures in your head, for example chemical over-activity in your brain, issues with the nerves or blood vessels of the head or even genes that make you more susceptible to develop such headaches. An example of primary headache is migraine. A secondary headache is a symptom of a disease that can stimulate the pain sensitive nerves of the head, for example acute sinus infection, brain tumor, stroke and more.

Headaches can be triggered by a variety of factors, but if you experience chronic or frequent headache, see your doctor as it may be a symptom of an underlying medical condition.

Top Causes of Headache:

1. Alcohol and hangover headache

Most of us are familiar with the old hangover, although the actual cause of it is not known. Yes, it is clear that a hangover follows a heavy night of boozing, but it is not clear whether the pain comes from inflammation or the effect alcohol has on blood vessels. It is also thought that dehydration may be another cause of hangover headaches, along with a late night. There is also cheeky little ingredient found in red wine and other alcoholic drinks, known as tyramine, which could be causing your post-booze headache. Tyramin is also found in aged cheese, including blue cheese, cheddar, Parmesan, and Swiss cheese.

2. Dehydration and skipped meals

If you haven’t drunk enough water, and have skipped a meal, then that could be why your head is hurting so much. Try drinking 8 glasses a day of water, and eat regular balanced meals that combine protein, complex carbohydrate and healthy fat throughout the day to keep your blood sugar level stable. Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables, which contain water, along with essential vitamins and fiber that your body needs to stay healthy (and fight off headaches!).

3. Cold-stimulus headache

Surely we’re all familiar with brain freeze – it just sometimes comes with territory of eating a delicious ice cream. But if you can’t stand the sensation of a ‘cold-stimulus headache’, to put it in it’s official term, then simply eat your ice-cream more slowly and take smaller bites/licks. However, I do appreciate that it’s hard to do when the ice-cream tastes so good!

4. Stress

We all put up with stress. Whether it’s dealing with work, school, kids or annoying boss. Stress is indeed associated with headaches. The science behind it is that migraines usually follow a tense situation, as during times of stress the body produces cortisol to help you through the tough time, and then when the cortisol levels reduce, you are more susceptible to a migraine. It is annoying that after you’ve got through a stressful time, you get lumbered with a banging headache!

If your headache is stress related, you can try reducing the stress by experimenting with stress relieving techniques, such as deep breathing, yoga, pilates, meditation, a relaxing massage or a relaxing aromatherapy bath. Aromatherapy and essential oils can help in relieving headaches.

5. Digestive problems

According to Chinese medicine, the head represents the digestive system. That means that all headaches are in some way linked to digestive health. Monitor your digestion after eating certain foods, to see if there are any particular foods that cause you to experience any digestive discomfort, and also a headache.

6. Exercise-induced headache

If you have gone ultra-hard in the gym, then that could be the cause of your headache. Try mixing up your workout with other activities to see if that relieves the pain. Some people find that they just need to warm up longer. While pushing yourself to hard can trigger headache, moderate exercise considers to be a great stress reliever. There are various muscles that can contribute to headache, but the major culprits are the muscles that connect the upper neck to the shoulder blade and the muscles that connect the first two vertebrae to the skull. Walking is a good choice as it increases circulation and helps to relax the neck and shoulder muscles.

7. Food allergies and certain foods

Some migraines and headaches are associated with food allergies or reactions that can be caused by preservatives, artificial colors, flavors, and other additives. Cow’s milk, eggs, wheat, cheese, caffeine and nitrates in processed meats, are known to be the most common culprits. Keep a record of what you eat and try to identify patterns that will help you to avoid the trigger. Then try cutting out the suspicious foods from your diet to see if there is any improvement or consider allergy testing by your doctor.

8. Environmental factors

It is said that there is more than 12,000 substances and pollutants in the environment, which can cause headaches as people become more sensitive to the chemicals in the atmosphere. Mold, smoke, pesticides, plastics, perfumes, deodorizers, chlorine, radioactive fallout, carbon monoxide, or even the toxins from your wall-paint, contain substances that build up toxins in the body an can result in headaches. To help reduce the level of toxins in your environment, place several air filtering plants in your home and office and spend more time in nature.

9. Changes in sleep and lack of sleep

A study showed that those who get 6 hours or less sleep a night, are more prone to headaches than those who get 8 hours. So snuggle up, read a book, count sheep and do whatever it takes to get your must-needed zzz’s! You deserve it!

10. Poor posture

As well as to much exercise, it seems that just sitting down and relaxing can cause a headache. However, it is the case of slouching at your desk that can cause pressure in the head an neck muscles. So sit up, de-hunch your shoulders, and use a chair with lower-back support, (or use a comfy cushion!).

11. Symptoms of disease

As mentioned above, this is also called secondary headache, unlike a primary headache which isn’t a symptom of an underlying disease. There are many diseases and medical conditions that can cause headache. If you experience unusual or persistent headache and you suspect something might be wrong, best to visit your doctor.

12. Hormonal headaches

The reduction of estrogen that occurs just before your period can cause migraines. Other hormonal fluctuations can also trigger headaches during pregnancy, pre-menopause, and during menopause. While some people opt for over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) such as ibuprofen, you can also try some of these natural alternatives for ibuprofen.

13. Excessive medication use

Also called rebound headache. Overuse of pain medication can lead to the development of rebound headaches.

14. Temperature changes

As if there weren’t already enough triggers for headaches/migraines, the weather can also be a culprit! While you can’t control the weather, you can wear sunglasses on a sunny day and make sure you drink lots of water to stay hydrated.

15. Smoking

I suppose it’s no surprise that naughty cigarettes can cause headaches. But be careful folks, even if you don’t smoke yourself, second-hand smoke still contain nicotine, which causes blood vessels in the brain to narrow. So either give-up smoking, or persuade someone whom you spend a lot of time with to pack it in, and then you can be headache free.

The best way to avoid headaches is to identify your trigger or triggers so you are able to prevent the headache before it starts. Try to think about what you eat, physical activity, stressful events or weather changes and if one or several of them cause you a headache. Then try to identify patterns that will help you to avoid this triggers.

PA110038

Try this vegan soup! It is amazing delicious, perfect for a light dinner. I recommend that you use fresh and tasty mushrooms.

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: about 50 minutes

Serves 4

Ingredients:

8 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 medium onions, peeled and chopped
11 oz. (300 g) champignon mushrooms, sliced
Water, about 3 cups (750ml)
Salt, about 2 tsp.
1 lb. (450g) chopped pumpkin
11 oz. (300g) chopped potatoes
2-3 fresh rosemary sprigs
Black pepper to taste

Method:

1.        Heat the oil in a large pan. Add the onion and sauté gently. Add the mushrooms and 1 cup (250ml) of water. Season with ½ tsp. salt, cover, and cook until the liquid has reduced and the mushrooms are tender (about 20-30 minutes depending on the type of mushroom).
2.        Meanwhile, in a large pot put together the pumpkin and the potatoes. Add 2 cups (500ml) of water, 1 ½ tsp. salt and rosemary. Cover, bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes or until pumpkin and potatoes are tender. Then, turn off the heat, remove the rosemary sprigs and, with an immersion blender, reduce the mixture to a creamy puree.
3.        At this point, add the mixture of onion and mushrooms to the soup, and serve immediately in individual bowls with a sprinkle of black pepper on top of each servings.

Notes:
·         You can use other kinds of fresh and tasty mushrooms.

from  http://www.anitalianinthekitchen.blogspot.com

Fond but Forgetful

Maser Tells Joke

Bernard was invited to his friend Ruben’s home for dinner. Ruben, the host, made all the arrangements and requested his wife to prepare dinner and make Bernard feel at home. But he always used endearing terms like sweetheart, sugar plum, apple pie, honey pie, honey dew, morning rose, and pumpkin pie to call his wife whenever he requested something or talked to her.

Bernard was very impressed. He said: “Oh, my God, you are really sweet. After all these years of marriage, you still call her all these sweet names. You must have a very happy marriage. I am glad for you.” Ruben said, “Shh, don’t speak so loudly. I began to forget her name three years ago.”

The Astral Bag

Spoken by Master Ching Hai
1988 Taipei, Formosa

In the astral world, there are many empty bags. If we are not careful, after we die, we will fall into one. Once we fall into it, we cannot control it. That’s why we hear of ghosts floating here and there. They cannot stay in one place. They float where the wind blows. If there is no wind, they will stop there. They cannot eat and have no place to live. They cannot talk and cannot just go where they want to; they are not free. It is all because they are caught in this is so-called Astral bag. It is like a kind of plastic bag.

On our Earth planet, there is a kind of hydrogen balloon. It floats in the air and there is a big bucket under it for people to sit in. If we are thrown into that Astral bag, it is the same as being thrown into the bucket in that hydrogen balloon. We cannot find a way to control it. That’s why we say ghosts are very miserable. It is all because while we are still in this world and we still have this opportunity to control it, we don’t control it.

We don’t make use of our precious time in this human world to organize our future life, so when we leave, we are frightened by bad karma (retribution), and we are terrified by other ghosts. We run around with no direction, then we fall into this human body, or we fall into an animal body, or we fall into hell, or we fall into a so-called bag in the Astral world. Then we cannot find a way to control it. Only when we have a human body can we control it. We can decide our future and we can choose where to live. It doesn’t actually happen in the future. Now we can go to other places to live and then go back and forth, back and forth like this. It becomes a habit. Then later on when we leave, we will know where we want to go. Because we are used to going, back and forth already. It is just like this; otherwise after we die, more than half of us will fall into the Astral bag and then float here and there like that. We can live for a few hundred years but it is meaningless and so miserable.

There are many things in this world that are like traps waiting for the floating soul. This is the job of Maya. In Taoism, we refer to the so-called maya, as “yin.” There is “yin,” and there is “yang.” Now we are looking for “yang.” After we pass away, the “yin” has a lot of control. When we are alive, we have yin and yang, we can choose to take yang and not to take yin. After we die, “yang” disappears and we don’t have the choice, we can only have yin. At that time, it will be too late.

Vietnamese Salad Wrap

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Ingredients

  • 2 ounces vermicelli noddles
  • 8 large round rice paper wrappers
  • 1 cup mung bean sprouts
  • 1/2 cup cucumber, cut into thin strips to make 1/2 cup
  • 1 medium carrot, shredded
  • 8 leaves of lettuce
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 2 avocados (make 16 slices)

Sauce:

  • 1/4 cup hoisin sauce
  • 3 TB peanut butter
  • 1 oz water
  • Salt to taste

Preparation

Make vermicelli according to package instructions, set aside.
Soften 1 rice paper wrapper by immersing in warm water, carefully remove and place flat on a large plate or cutting board. Be careful not to let the paper fold on itself when removing the wrapper from the water and leave it there for a minute.

Place 1 piece of lettuce in the middle of the wrapper, add 1/8 each of the vermicelli, cucumber, carrots, avocado and sprouts. Roll rice paper as you would a taco, tucking in the sides, it should stick to itself easily. Repeat for the remaining 7 wrappers. Makes 8 rolls.

For the sauce, mix the ingredients and bring it to boil. Stir well.

By Master Duy Tue
Originally in Vietnamese

Lesson 23 – Learn to save money at a young age

When you help your parents out, say, helping your father mow the lawn, he may give you some money in return. You should save it for later use.

Your parents may have a lot of money but you when you grow up, you have to work to earn your own money. You can work for your parents to get paid or find a job outside. Save the money you earn and use it pursue the big goal in your life.

Learn to work and earn money for yourself. Don’t be picky about jobs. You can do little things like mowing the lawn or washing the car for your parents. When you work to earn your own money, you will understand the value of your hard work and also appreciate it when other people work hard.

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by Stephanie Relfe, B.Sc. (Sydney)

I had always wondered, since most people’s health problems are partly owing to being too acidic, if it would be a good idea to take baking soda, since it is so alkaline. Well, it turns out that there is a story to that, whereby simple baking soda and maple syrup cooked gently together were said to stop and even heal cancer.

“There is not a tumor on God’s green earth that cannot be licked with a little baking soda and maple syrup.” That is the astonishing claim of controversial folk healer Jim Kelmun who says that this simple home remedy can stop and reverse the deadly growth of cancers. His loyal patients swear by the man they fondly call Dr. Jim and say he is a miracle worker. “Dr. Jim cured me of lung cancer,” said farmer Ian Roadhouse. “Those other doctors told me that I was a goner and had less than six months to live. But the doc put me on his mixture and in a couple of months the cancer was gone. It did not even show up on the x-rays.”

Dr. Jim discovered this treatment accidentally somewhere in the middle of the last century when he was treating a family plagued by breast cancer. There were five sisters in the family and four of them had died of breast cancer. He asked the remaining sister if there was anything different in her diet and she told him that she was partial to sipping maple syrup and baking soda.

Since then, reported by a newspaper in Ashville, North Carolina, Dr. Jim dispensed this remedy to over 200 people diagnosed with terminal cancer and amazingly he claims of that number 185 lived at least 15 more years and nearly half enjoyed a complete remission of their disease. When combined with other safe and effective treatments like transdermal magnesium therapy, iodine, vitamin C, probiotics and other items like plenty of good sun exposure, pure water and clay treatments we should expect even higher remission rates.

It is important not to use baking soda which has had aluminum added to it. The Cancer Tutor site reports that Arm and Hammer does have aluminum but the company insists that is not true. One can buy a product which specifically states it does not include aluminum or other chemicals. (e.g. Bob’s Red Mill, Aluminum-Free, Baking Soda). Sodium bicarbonate is safe and extremely inexpensive.
Some people believe that this works because the cancer cells love sugar and gobble up the maple syrup, and in the process give a free ride for the baking soda right into the cancer cell. The baking soda is like cyanide to cancer cells, for it hits the cancer cells with a shock wave of alkalinity, which allows much more oxygen into the cancer cells than they can tolerate. Cancer cells cannot survive in the presence of high levels of oxygen.

My husband and I take a teaspoon of this daily, every now and again. The key to heating it is to put it on a super, super low temperature. Once the maple syrup is burned, it tastes TERRIBLE. But if you keep it just warm enough to fizz and mix for five minutes, so the two substances get combined, then it tastes quite pleasant. This sure can’t hurt. 100% pure maple syrup is also very good for you
The nice thing about this remedy, is that you can do it at the same time as anything else you are doing.

RECIPE

Mix 3 parts organic maple syrup with 1 part Aluminum free baking soda ( Red Mill Brand) stir with low heat (not over 120 degrees) for 5-10 minutes and take 3 tsp per day for 1 to 2 months. If it tastes terrible, you burned it, which is easy to do. Change diet to no meat, no milk, no sugar and no white flour!

Vegetarian Wisdom

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Q: Is Vegetarianism Important?

ShantiMayi: Well, important for what or whom? Are you asking, is vegetarianism important for spiritual awakening? Actually there are many spiritual people who are not vegetarians. I have been vegetarian for most of my life. For me, it has been easier to not eat meat. We have a garden in our ashrams (except India), however I have never killed an animal in my life. In our ashrams we eat vegetarian food. It is lighter (satvic) in the body to eat vegetarian. It will make a difference to your entire physical system to omit meat from your diet. But is it important?

This you have to answer for yourself. For the world, it takes more energy and cost to raise cattle than it does to raise vegetables or grain. There are many good reasons for eating a vegetarian diet. Spiritually, it makes sense to eat good foods and organic (biological) food as much as possible. If you are healthy, it supports good health. If you are unhealthy, it supports wellness. A good, healthy body is advantageous for everyone. For spiritual people is it best to care for the wellness of the body, when it is unwell, it becomes a preoccupation. This is not to say the unhealthy people cannot excel in understanding and realization. Good health is simply a hurdle dissolved.

Nothing will benefit health or increase chances of survival of life on Earth as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.
– Albert Einstein (1879-1955), German-born American physicist, Nobel Prize recipient

The fact is that there is enough food in the world for everyone. But tragically, much of the worlds food and land resources are tied up in producing beef and other livestock-food for the well-off, while millions of children and adults suffer from malnutrition and starvations.
– Dr. Walden Bello, executive director of Food First, Institute for Food and Development Policy

I think of veganism humbly and holistically. It’s about taking personal responsibility in a world so full of needless suffering. It’s challenging one’s self to open one’s eyes and question society’s assumptions and habits. It’s about critical thinking and compassion and how we would like to see the world evolve.
– Michael Gregor, M.D., American lecturer & author

All the arguments to prove human superiority cannot shatter this hard fact: in suffering, the animals are our equals.
– Peter Singer Australian philosopher & author of Animal Liberation

To avoid causing terror to living beings, let the disciple refrain from eating meat.
– the Buddha (circa 563-483 B.C.), Indian avatar

The animals of the world exist for their own reasons. They were not made for humans any more than black people were made for whites or women for men.
– Alice Walker, African-American writer & storyteller

Cows constitute the stay of all creatures. Cows are the refuge of all creatures. Cows are the embodiment of merit. Cows are sacred and blessed and are sanctifiers of all. One should never, in even one’s heart, do an injury to cows. One should, indeed, always confer happiness on them.
– Mahabharata, the great religious epic of India

Within the city of Brahman, which is the body, there is the heart, and within the heart there is a little house. The house has the shape of a lotus, and within it dwells that which is to be sought after, inquired about and realized. What, then, is that which dwells within this house, this lotus of the heart? Even so large as the universe outside is the universe within the heart. Within it are heaven and earth, the sun, the moon, the lightning, and all the stars. Whatever is in the macrocosm is in this microcosm.
– Chhandogya Upanishads, ancient Hindu scripture

http://www.happycow.net

True Offering To God

Master Ching Hai tells story

This is a story of the mental worship. Mental worship means a devotee, a follower don’t use any external object such as flowers, incense, drums, gongs or statues, etc. to worship, or food offering.

You remember Ajuna? The devotee of Lord Krishna recounted in the Bhagavadgita. Ajuna was very fond of doing long and ostentatious external worship of God. He had a spacious worship room lit up with countless lights. He used gold and silver vessels. He spent several hours in ceremony and worship Lord Shiva. He would sit for many hours and throw cart loads of flowers at the image of Lord Shiva. You know Lord Shiva, one of the God in Hindu – Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. Shiva supposed to be the Lord of destruction. Actually He destroy evil, He doesn’t destroy good person.

There is a brother of Ajuna called Bhima. He never sat to do any worship, he never went to the temple.  He used to close his eyes for a few minutes just before dinner, just a few minutes before dinner, and do mental worship of the Lord. Perhaps he makes offering or recite the five names or something like. Ajuna thought that he was a great devotee of the Lord and that he was highly pious and devoted. He thought that his brother Bhima had no devotion. Therefore, he looked down upon him with contempt. (Laughter)

Lord Krishna found out the attitude of Ajuna and wanted to teach him a good lesson and bring him to his senses. He proposed to Ajuna to take a trip to Mount Kailash, the abode of Lord Shiva.

When they are on their way, they met a man dragging a cart loaded with flower of diverse kinds. Ajuna asked the man where he was taking the flowers to. But the man kept silent as he was very much absorbed in his work, very concentrate. So Lord Krishna said to Ajuna, “Let us follow the man and find out the things for ourselves.” Ajuna agreed and they both followed the man, they saw him empty the cart by the side of a huge heap of flowers which was as big as a hill of Hsihu Center. They further saw several hundreds of carts, all loaded with flowers, approaching the same spot and empty their contents there. There’s a huge mountain of flowers, fresh flowers there.

Ajuna became more and more curious. He could not control his curiosity anymore, so he asked the man, ‘Please tell me where these carts of flowers came from.” None of them bothered to reply. But one man said after repeated questioning from Ajuna, “Venerable sir, kindly do not disturb us. We are too busy with our work. We have no time to talk to anybody. We have brought only seven hundred and fifty carts of flowers and more than seven hundred and fifty more are still in the temple. They are all the flowers with which one Bhima, a son of Pandu, worshipped our Lord yesterday.”

That means these mountain of flowers only half of what they have to carry out, it still half laid somewhere in the temple, and all these flowers came from Bhima, the brother of Ajuna, the lazy one, the one who never went to the temple, never worship the Lord, apparently, and never do anything, never get a flower or incense to the Lord, the one that Ajuna always look down upon as useless, as atheist, as not devoted to God.

“Now, it’s hardly four more hours before his worship today and we must remove all the flowers within that time. Every day he worships, the mountain of flowers come.” So they have to remove everyday there are so much flowers from him, from his worship.

Ajuna was struck with wonder. He asked, “Is it Bhima or Ajuna that you speak of? Are you sure you don’t make mistake, you mean Ajuna, right, Ajuna, not Bhima!? My friends, think, think about it. You’re mistaken. The name is Ajuna, Ajuna, A-J-U-N-A. Must be.” So the man replied, “Poo! Don’t talk about Ajuna. No, no, no! Not at all. It is Bhima, who does such glorious worship with intense devotion, and not his brother Ajuna, who merely makes an outward show of his worship.”

Just then another man came with a basket of flowers, Lord Krishna asked that man, on purpose, not that he doesn’t know, “Ah, my friend, who’s offering are these flowers?” Of course you know the answer. The man said, “They were offered yesterday by an ostentatious man who lives on the earth, his name is Ajuna, (laughter) and he makes a display of his worship without any real love and devotion.” Therefore one basket of flowers and talks so much about it.

Ajuna lowered his head in shame and said to the Lord, “Oh  Krishna, why did you have to bring me here? Let us leave this place at once. You could point it out, my defects, myself conceit, hypocrite and ostentation at home, and save all this trouble and exertion. I do admit that I thought very highly of my worship and devotion. I treated Bhima with contempt. Just now I realized that Bhima’s short meditation with sincere devotion is more valuable than all my showy worship all day long.” Lord Krishna smiled (laughter) and kept silent.

So you know in our place, in our none-temple temple, we don’t bother with flowers and incense, or drums and gongs or anything. We just bother with sincerity and inner devotion. That’s why I tell you concentrate and meditate, no need for outer performance so much, no need to even bow to me or bow to any Buddha. If you saw him inside, saw the Buddha inside, you may bow to the Buddhas if you want to. But the Buddhas do not expect these things. They expect that you are devoted to yourself, so that you can find your Buddha nature and became Buddha or became one with God. Found your own glorious nature and be of help to yourself and many other beings, and that is what the Buddha expects from us.

What we need to change is our concepts and not the outer environment. If this is already the situation for us, then we should be patient and try to live happily. When the time comes, everything will change. Just like winter, it is over in three months, the same with spring and summer. There is nothing that remains the same every day. Look at how our emotions change from day to day; sometimes we are happy, sometimes we are depressed, and there are times when we are half happy and half depressed; sometimes we are irritable, and sometimes we are more at peace, etc.. Therefore, we must learn to be patient. When the time comes, the situation will change on its own. Even the most glorious era fades away when its time is up. When we are the most miserable, it will also change for the better. So, search within and find the happiness in your true Self, and you’ll be fine!

By Master Duy Tue
Originally in Vietnamese

Lesson 22 – Learn to express what you see

Learn the habit of expressing what you see everyday. What color is the shirt that the teacher is wearing today? How do her shoes look? How do your school friends look? Is anyone tall? Is anyone short?

Looking and listening without judgments are two life skills that you need to be able to live a safe, productive, and pleasant life.

Practice looking and listening everyday, and your mind will be clear and bright.

By now, it’s common knowledge that non-organic cow’s milk is one of the worst choices you can buy at the store due to the excess hormones, antibiotics, steroids, pesticides and who knows what else it all contains. The food industry has tried to mislead us into believing that organic cow’s milk (and its products) comes with pure innocence and is made from cows that graze gracefully and happily in fields all day with the cleanest of air, water, fresh grass and more. Regardless that most none of this is true, cow’s milk is still one of the worst health food choices you can make for many reasons, no matter what kind of cows it comes from. The main reason is for how it affects your hormones.

All cows that produce milk are pregnant, organically raised, fed, etc. or not. It makes no difference that their milk doesn’t have added hormones considering that alone, cow’s milk contain over 60 different hormones without anything being added to it. Now, while all of us have different hormone situations going on, there is no logical research that says we need to take in added hormones from another mammal.

Why Ditching Dairy is Important for Your Hormones:

Cows are pregnant nearly 300 days of the year and Harvard Health shares that the more times a cows has been pregnant during that year, the more hormones she produces through her milk every time. Cows were not made to stay pregnant 300 days of the year and they develop infections due to this high demand for production, not to mention may be subject to further disease and bacteria when antibiotics aren’t used (such as in organic farming practices).

So, what about a cow’s hormones so detrimental to our own health?

Here are some things to consider:

  1. Insulin Issues

One of the primary reasons dairy is linked to acne is that it raises insulin in the body. All dairy contains IG1, or insulin-growth factor. It raises our levels of insulin, which causes blood sugar swings that lead to acne. Acne is strongly influenced by hormonal changes, which is one reason so many teenagers struggle during puberty. Why would we put ourselves through that anymore than necessary? No matter what kind of dairy you choose, you’re taking in excess insulin growth like factor. Sadly, it’s promoted as a healthy option for body builders looking to bulk up, but over time, it’s not a healthy choice and will likely cause insulin problems that lead to overeating, sugar cravings, and poor blood sugar control.

  1. Mood Swings

Dairy also contains hormones that can lead to mood swings. Estrogen and testosterone are our sex hormones, and when they get out of balance according to our bodies’ needs, we suffer mood swings as a result. Dairy milk promotes excess estrogen in the body due to it containing estrogen from female cows. At the same time, milk naturally contains androgenic properties, so it raises testosterone in the body and can cause bulking quickly. It’s absolutely chock-full of all these hormones we don’t need scurrying through out bodies. Think about it this way: the dairy you consume contains hormones from the female cow and the male cow that were used during impregnation. That doesn’t sound so healthy or appetizing, now, does it?

Dairy milk accounts for about 80 percent of estrogen consumed through the human diet, along with the fact that milk from pregnant cows (which is how all milk products are produced) contains about 33 times as much estrogen as milk from non-pregnant cows.

Mood swings inarguably happen due to swift hormone fluctuations and women aren’t the only ones to suffer. Men can too, which is one reason dairy isn’t a healthy choice for anyone looking to have a healthier, happy and more stable mood. How about some tastier, much healthier mood foods instead, all hormone-free?

  1. Cancer Causing

The jury is in: milk causes cancer in any form, organic or not. Check this out: Harvard Health studies show that dairy milk and cheese products led to testicular cancer in men ages 20-39 and have been found to affect breast, colon, and prostate cancer heavily as well. And then there’s the casein protein found in milk that has also been linked to cancer. Even without hormones or even lactose, casein is a detrimental protein to our health and should be avoided however possible.

Help Your Hormones: Ditch Dairy

Sadly, the food industry would have you believe you need to consume milk to be healthy, but we know that’s not the case. Quit believing the lies around cow’s milk and have some other calcium-rich options instead, all free of these scary hormones.

http://www.onegreenplanet.org

Hemp Seed Cookies

IMG_1302Ingredient

2 Tbsp coconut oil
1/4 cup applesauce (a little single serving applesauce cup happens to be 1/4 cup!)
1/2 cup stevia (or brown sugar)
1/4 cup chia seed (or 3/4 cup whole wheat flour)
1/2 cup hulled hemp seed
1/2 cup ground flax meal
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 handful each chopped hazelnuts and chocolate chips

Direction

Preheat oven to 350 and grease a cookie sheet. Mix coconut oil, applesauce and stevia together in a small bowl. Mix all remaining dry ingredients (except nuts and chocolate chips) in a large bowl. Add wet ingredients to dry, mix with a spoon. Add chocolate chips and hazelnuts. Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls and flatten with the palm of your hand. Bake for 10-12 minutes, let cool on a cooling rack. Makes about 24 cookies depending on how much of the dough you eat.

 

Spoken By  Master Ching Hai, Hsihu Center, Formosa December 30, 1994 (Originally in Chinese)

This is an Indian story. There was a man whose name was Ayah. He was originally a slave, but for some reason, he was later appointed the Prime Minister, and the King liked him very much. Because of this, other officials were jealous of him. They tried many ways to make the King get angry with him, so that he would not be in such an important position any more. But, no matter how hard they tried, it was in vain. The King liked him all the same, even more.

One day, those officials asked the King, “Your Majesty, please tell us why you like this slave so much.” The King replied, “Sure, I have a reason. You will know in time.” About two or three months later, the King summoned all his officials and told them, “My dear officials, I will hide myself in the royal garden tomorrow. You should start searching for me early in the morning and find me before sunset. The one who finds me will be rewarded with a wonderful present.”

Hearing that, the officials were all very happy, and wondered “Ah! What present will the King give us?’ After they went home, they kept on thinking about the present and imagining what kind of present they might get the next day, so they did not sleep a wink. The same night, the King gave orders that the next morning, all of the most beautiful girls, who were experts in singing and dancing, should perform on each of the roads leading to the palace.

The next morning, the officials set off early to search for the King. But, on seeing those beautiful girls singing and dancing on the way to the palace, they could not help being attracted, and were gradually lured away to enjoy the performance. All the officials was thinking, “The road from here to palace’s royal garden is quite near, and it is small. It will just take a few minutes to find the King. No need to be in such a hurry .  I can enjoy the singing and dancing first.”

Being convinced of what they thought, they further indulged themselves in the performance until it was very late, about sunset. After realizing the time, the officials hurried to search for the King, but the sun had dipped below the horizon when they arrived at the royal garden. At that moment, they felt very ashamed and disappointed, since they saw Ayah, that slave, had already been with the King for some time. “Oh, why did you come here so early?” the officials asked, “Didn’t you see people singing and dancing on the road? So beautiful! You didn’t see?” The slave said, “Who was dancing? I didn’t see anyone. In the morning, I came here right from home, and I never saw anyone singing and dancing. The only thing I kept thinking in my heart was how I could quickly find the King. I had been thinking about him since last night, and I could not afford to wait even one minute to search for him.”

Then the King said to the officials, “Now you know why I like Ayah so much. It is because the only one he loves is me. In his eyes, the whole world does not exist. No matter how beautiful a girl might be, no matter how glorious a banquet might be, no one can win his heart. It is just like those who have kindred spirits, they attract each other. He loves me so much that I cannot treat him other than myself. I just cannot help loving him.”

This story is to remind us that we should devote ourselves completely to God, to Buddha without swaying one way or the other. Don’t be tempted and let the worldly attractions lead us astray, away from our destination. Only in this way can we receive the grace of God. If we only think of God and our hearts house only God, then we are one with God. There would be no need to pray to God or to request anything from God, since everything is created by our mind. If we only think of God in our hearts, we become God. Do you understand?(Everyone applauds.)

By master Duy Tue
Originally in Vietnamese

Lesson 21 – Be Grateful

You have to know the right way to be grateful. You should be thankful to your parents or anyone who has brought you up and loved you. Be thankful for everything that you possess.

Parents pay so that you can go to school. Your teachers help you learn in school. Your friends support you. So you have to show your gratitude for your parents, your teachers and your friends.

When your neighbor gives you some corn, you have to say thank you to your neighbor, and to the corn itself because it is something you can eat when you are hungry.

When you have a new pair of shoes, be grateful to the shoemaker who has made something you need for your feet to walk safely, and be grateful to the shoes themselves for supporting your feet.

 You should know that being grateful is a proper manner in Vietnamese culture.

 

Split Pea Soup

Soup is always an easy choice to make in a crockpot. With no added oil, this soup is fat-free and very low-calorie.

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Ingredients
  • 2 cups green split peas
  • 8 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 potatoes, chopped
  • 2 ribs celery, chopped
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 1 onion, diced ( or fry chopped onions )
  • 1 tsp chopped garlic
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp sage
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 3 bay leaves
  • brown sugar, salt and pepper to taste
Preparation

Combine all ingredients in a crock pot or slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for at least 4 hours, or until peas are soft.

Remove bay leaves before serving and adjust seasonings to taste.

Modified from http://www.vegetarian.about.com

 

Narrated by Fellow Initiate Wu, Tainan, Taiwan
Recorded by a Resident Disciple, Hsihu, Taiwan

At the early stage of master Ching Hai’s preaching, She always found time to visit prison inmates. Besides comforting and encouraging them spiritually, She also shared with them biscuits and candies. Due to the longing of sentient beings around the world, Master has become increasingly busy, and constantly travels and preaches abroad. Although She no longer has time to visit prisons, Her concern for prisoners persists. She has instructed our fellow initiates to visit them on Her behalf when they have time. Initiates who used to be prisoners have been requested to go along to encourage the inmates with inspiring stories of their own conversions from evil to goodness.

For this reason, brother Wu was also asked to join such a trip. Unexpectedly, when the organizing brother explained the trip’s objective and asked him to present a speech in the prison, he refused abruptly on the spot. He continued to reject later requests as well. His fear was that, after speaking in the prison, he would be laughed at and would lose face in the event that he should decide to join the gangster circle again. He also found many excuses, like being too shy to speak in public , in order to turn down the requests. The organizing brother had no option but to report the situation to Master. In order to help him understand the holy meaning of this work, Master asked someone to relate the following message to him: “This is the last opportunity in your life to do this job. You must seize this chance, and remember your mission. When you go to fulfill your assignment, be humble at heart, and absolutely refrain from being arrogant.”

Upon receiving Master’s instructions, brother Wu dared not refuse anymore. To accomplish the job perfectly, and to avoid stage fright, he practiced frequently before his wife and son who acted as his audience. The response to his speeches was always “It is awful!” After several attempts, he was ashamed to torture his wife and son any longer. He could only wait until midnight when no one was around, and then stealthily go outdoors to practice his speech to the light pole. And whenever he had time, he would meditate at home, praying to Master to bless him and grant him inspiration.

One day, he felt thwarted and complained to his wife, “I don’t think I am going, because until now my practice is still far from satisfactory!” His wife rebuked him, saying, “This is an assignment from Master, how can you refuse to go? I see you are usually very talkative. Why can’t you speak now that you have the opportunity to express yourself?”

Since it was Master’s assignment, he dared not complain any more. Instead, he rushed to meditate and pray for Her help. On the next day, the organizing brother conveyed another message: “Master said that your wife may also give a speech to the female inmates.” Upon hearing this, his wife’s face turned green, and her nervousness was no less intense than brother Wu’s.

Early the next morning, brother Wu and the working members arrived punctually at the Taipei Prison. Cordially, the prison staff led them to the VIP Room for a brief rest; then they split up into two groups and went to the male and female wards respectively. This trip induced very deep emotions in brother Wu. Previously, whenever he went to a prison, he entered as a prisoner. However, this time he came as a VIP lecturer. Events in this world are truly ever changing and unpredictable. On the way, he recalled some fragmented memories of his life in prison, and without being aware of it soon reached the lecture venue.

When brother Wu went onto the stage and began to speak, the inmates stared at him with hostility and indifference. Even the applause sounded mechanical. An indescribably strange atmosphere pervaded the venue, as if invisible forces were oppressing him and making him speechless. Immediately, he prayed for Master’s blessing, and his mind was stabilized. He described his whole life in detail to the inmates: how he had sunk into gangster society, how he had been converted to goodness and pursued spiritual practice, and how he eventually met master Ching Hai.

As time went on, the atmosphere gradually began to change; the inmates started to listen with great interest and attention, and their expressions also became more cordial. When brother Wu concluded his speech, he received warm applause from the whole audience, which seemed to convey their encouragement and recognition. Some inmates took the initiative of helping the work team clear the venue. Several inmates who knew brother Wu even approached and greeted him. One of them rushed forward saying, “Hello, brother boss! I will surely visit you at Suma Ching Hai’s Center when I am released.” Brother Wu delightedly expressed his welcome.

After this first speech in the prison, brother Wu’s blissful feeling could not be described in words. He never imagined this meaningful mission could be accomplished so smoothly and successfully. For him, it was an incredible challenge . Without Master’s admonition, he could not possibly have gathered the courage and strength to rectify his undesirable quality of declining to do good deeds and benefit others. Furthermore, he had conquered his stage fright.

The most precious lesson that brother Wu learned from this was that he could always feel the bliss of being one with Master during such missions, and experience Her selfless and almighty love. For instance, when going to the Tainan Prison to give a speech, he kept shedding tears in the car until he felt embarrassed. He wondered: “I didn’t shed a single tear when being punished severely for many days in the prison before. Why am I behaving like this now? Perhaps it is like Master once said that our soul knows we are now on the right path, so it cries due to extreme bliss!

When brother Wu made a speech at the Jiayi Prison, another initiate observed a strong light bathing him as he was on stage. He looked much younger in the light, and Master’s manifestation body was standing behind him. No wonder brother Wu always feels that, the more work he does that benefits others, the happier and more relaxed he feels both physically and spiritually, and the more his guilt feelings are eliminated. So, it turns out that Master’s manifestation body is always blessing him and cleansing his karma. This story testifies to the truth of Master’s words: “When helping others, we are actually helping ourselves.”

The application for brother Wu to present a speech at the Hsinchu Youth Prison encountered difficulties. The local fellow practitioners had been applying for a long time, without being approved. Once, when brother Wu spoke at the Hualien Low Security Prison, several inmates advised him, “Brother boss, you should pay a visit to the ‘Hsinchu Youth Prison.’ The situation there is very serious. Tell them the story that you told us today; it will surely touch many of them, and lead them back from the wrong path.” This loving request intensified brother Wu’s wish to visit the Hsinchu Youth Prison.

Perhaps sincerity really worked, or perhaps it was Master’s fantastic arrangement operating invisibly in the background. Mr. Ma Ying Jiu, Minister of the Justice Department was inspecting the Swallow’s Nest (Yan Cao) Prison where he coincidentally met brother Wu, who was making a speech there. Minister Ma shook hands with him and encouraged him cordially. Shortly afterwards, the fellow initiates from Hsinchu received permission from the Youth Prison regarding the lecture application. It happened that Minister Ma had personally called the Hsinchu Youth Prison instructing them to invite brother Wu to give a speech. Fortunately, the Formosan Government is very wise and really cares for prisoners, allowing its youth who have gone astray to have the blessing of developing affinity with a living enlightened Master.

A chain of presentations by brother Wu has occurred in prisons throughout the province. As brother Wu is inclined to getting carsick, long distance travel is agonizing for him. The occasional recurrence of his chronic ailments also aggravates his exhaustion. Once when he was traveling to Yilan to make a speech, he was complaining within about being too tired. However, in the car, he heard a brother recalling when Master wandered and preached everywhere in earlier times. For the sake of saving sentient beings, Master camped anywhere necessary, and did not even have a Center in which to stay and preach. Overcome by remorse, tears rolled down his cheeks. Immediately, all the grumblings in his heart disappeared completely.

So far, brother Wu has presented speeches in prisons in Taipei, Taoyuan, Kaohsiung, Swallow’s Nest (Yan Cao), Jiayi, Tainan, Yilan, Hualien, and Green Island (Lu Dao), as well as the Hsinchu Youth Prison. He receives an overwhelming welcome everywhere he goes. After each talk, he always begins to wonder, “Where is the next opportunity for me to redeem my sins?” He truly feels that real happiness can only be found in doing work that serves and benefits others.

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Randall Cannon is a veterinarian from Orlando, Florida. We caught up with Randall to find out his perspective on animals.

1-What inspired you to become a vegan?

My inspiration for becoming vegan was, without a doubt, the animals.  Any health and environmental benefits are a bonus.  I was raised in a family that hunted and hunted myself until I was 20.   Like most people, I looked at animals as a source of personal enjoyment whether it be for taste or sport. When I entered veterinary school, I cared for animals, but in a very selfish way looking at them more as a possession than a soul-I loved animals more for what joy they brought ME.

I was trained in the livestock industry and had full knowledge of the horrors involved in bringing animal products to the dinner table.  I was able to keep my blinders on and continued to eat meat and dairy for about 10-12 years into my career.  Somewhere along the way, my patients showed me time and time again that they were as special, if not more special, than humans.  They certainly have purer souls.  I began to look at animals as true beings deserving of all the dignity and rights afforded to humans.  I enjoyed steak immensely—filet mignon was my favorite.  After a good meal, I would be haunted by the vision of a cow’s eye, a beautiful trusting innocent cow’s eye.  The hypocrisy of working all day to save a dog or cat and crying when I couldn’t, but then coming home and eating a steak began to gnaw at me.  I gave up meats about 8-9 years ago, but continued to eat dairy and fish until about a year ago when I finally admitted to the horrors of those industries as well.  I now realize that I have no right to use animals for taste, fashion, convenience, and entertainment, nor can I sit idly by while animals are abused by us humans.

2-In your opinion, as a doctor, do you regard the vegan diet as healthy?

As someone with a medical education, albeit veterinary, I whole heartedly believe that a vegan diet is the healthiest choice for humans.  I did not make the switch to being vegan for health, but rather for ethical reasons.  The bonus for me has been much improved health.  I am 46 years old and I no longer require any cholesterol medications, am at my college weight and am in good shape.  When I consumed animal products, I suffered from severe indigestion and frequently would wake in the middle of the night to take an antacid, but since being vegan, that problem has resolved as well.  I encourage people to read The China Study to get an understanding of how bad animal products are for us.  I look at my vegan friends and I am always amazed at how young they look compared to the general population.

3- I find it very strange that there are not more vegan veterinarians around. Is my assumption incorrect that vets love animals and would therefore not want to see them suffer through the animals agriculture process?

I find this strange too.  As with most people, veterinarians are able to wear blinders and ignore what they know goes on in the livestock industry.  I have a continuing education meeting every month which is held at a steak restaurant.  I am the only veterinarian who orders a vegan meal.  I sit at the table with rapidly aging, overweight veterinarians who ask for their steaks rare…one even said that he wanted it mooing when it hit his plate.  I don’t mince words when I am at the table.  I don’t accuse them of being bad people, but I do point out the hypocrisy of specieism…that we work all day to treat dogs and cats, but could care less about the livestock, whales and dolphins in Sea World, circus animals, etc.  I almost always get asked the same stupid questions of protein, plant feelings, etc., but I bite my tongue and try to appeal to their hearts.  I hope there will be a day when veterinarians take the lead on animal rights instead of defending the very institutions that indoctrinated us into the notion that is our right to use animals.

4- Can animals such as our pet cats and dogs be vegan? What is the best diet for our pets?

As for vegan veterinary diets, I think it is safe to feed dogs a good vegan diet.  For cats, being true carnivores who require animal proteins, it is a different story.  I have no personal experience with vegan cat foods, but I will be looking into it.

5- In addition to your vet work, you are also involved in the animal right’s movement. Can you tell us a bit about what kinds of projects you get involved with and what you are doing currently.

Once I was able to remove the blinders and acknowledge the horrors of the livestock industry, eating a vegan diet just wasn’t enough.  I can not sit idly by while animals are born into a life of hell and then slaughtered for our tastes, convenience, fashion and entertainment.  I actively try to show people the reality of their choices and show them the hypocrisy of loving a pet while participating in cruel industries.  I am sure I offend many, but I always think to myself that I would rather offend them than to not stand up for the animals who have no voice.  I really do not care if I offend someone who really doesn’t care if he/she offends helpless innocent animals in the worst of ways.  Get over it and face reality.

I am also actively involved with the local animal rights group ARFF and frequently participate in protests at puppy stores, circuses, Sea World and the greyhound track.  I actively adopt out animals from my clinic and hand out vegan literature.  I believe that it is just not enough to care, you have to act!

6- Do you have any tips for us about how we can better protect our pet’s health?

Seek out a vegan veterinarian…they will always have the animal’s best interest at heart.  Give your pet plenty of love, exercise and fresh foods.  Learn about their diseases and problems.  Well-educated pet owners have healthier pets.

7- If you had a message for the world on behalf of animals, what would it be?

That is hard because I have so many messages.  I think the animals would want us to know that they are much more intelligent and aware than we give them credit for…that they feel emotional pain at the same guttural level as we do.  Stripping a calf away from her mother hurts her as deeply as it would for a baby to be stripped from a human.  Herding cattle down the slaughter chute evokes the same trembling and fear as humans felt in concentration camps being led to the ‘showers.’  It is not about superiority and who is more intelligent; it is about a sentient being experiencing suffering and pain.  I have witnessed first hand the suffering that goes on in the livestock industry…it is real and it is horrific.  Any veterinarian who tells you otherwise is either a liar or has a distorted view of suffering and killing.

8- Anything else you would like to add?

I have not met a vegan yet who went vegan because he/she did not like the taste of meat and dairy.  It really boils down to if you value your tastes, convenience, fashion and enjoyment more than the suffering and lives of those animals.  It really is that simple.  As hard as I work as a veterinarian to save animals’ lives every day, the truth is that you can save more lives than I ever can by just going vegan….no degree required!  The irony in all of this, humans killing animals, is that ultimately, our consumption of them is what is killing us. Karma.

Thank you so much Randall – you are an inspiration to us! :)

from http://www.vegansarecool.com

 

 

Spoken By Master Ching Hai, Hsihu Center, Formosa. Dec. 29, 1994
(Originally in Chinese)

A long time ago, two friends took a trip together to visit and tour around. As they passed by an Indian temple, they heard someone reciting the Bhagavadgita inside. The Bhagavadgita is a very famous sutra in India. One of the friends said to the other, “Come on! Let’s go inside to listen to the sutra.” So both of them went inside; however, only one stayed to listen, and the other took one glimpse and went out to look for girls in a brothel.

The one that went to a brothel soon felt bored. He regretted what he had done and felt quite ashamed. He thought, ‘Gosh! This is really nonsense! I am so ashamed. Why did I come to such a place instead of listening to the holy teaching? My friend is listening to the sutra now and receiving boundless merits while I degraded myself at a place for prostitutes. How demoralizing!” He felt repulsive and ashamed, so he went back to the temple to listen to the sutra. But when he arrived there, it was already over. He was truly sorry and repented for several days afterwards.

While he was feeling ashamed at the brothel, his friend in the temple was unable to calm his mind to listen to the sutra. His mind kept wondering to the brothel and thought, “Gosh! This is really boring! Why do I stay here listening to the sutra? My friend is now eating and drinking and having a good time, while I sit here listening to some sutra. How boring!” As he thought about it, he got into a bad mood.

After a long time, both of the friends died. The angel of death pulled the friend who listened to the sutra to hell, and dragged the friend who went to the brothel to heaven. Do you know why? It is because everything is created by the mind. God does not look at our conduct alone. He looks into our hearts. Sometimes, we see a person’s behavior but we don’t really know if he is that way. Unless we can measure from within, it is very difficult to judge the inner person. He may appear very kind, but his heart is not kind; or he may have a very loving heart, but it doesn’t seem like that from his outer appearance.

The same with some of our fellow initiates. You know that they were not so virtuous in the past; some were big gangsters and some were lady gangsters. (everyone laugh.) Some have killed others or have committed some deeds that were not acceptable to society. But after they repent, they try to purify themselves and practice self-cultivation sincerely. Eventually their sins will be eliminated. While there are some others who may not have committed any crime during their life time, but they roam around, refuse to learn meditation, and take only half a glimpse at the Master and feel nothing. They leave to look for other masters. They are always ‘shopping” around; we might say that they are “shopping around the mountains” because most of the enlightened masters lived in the mountains. (Master laughs.) They jump from one mountain to another because the other seems greener and prettier. Due to their lack of sincerity in spiritual practice, they are not successful in the things they do.

Therefore, we cannot fool God by our seemingly kind outer appearance. We cannot fool God because to fool God means to fool ourselves. We are fully aware of what we want; and whatever we do, whether we are sincere or not, we know it clearly.

You have also read some stories of the ancient masters. Some of them were pretty weird, like Jigong (a Chinese master). We heard that he was always drunk and falling down without dignity. Then there was the Chin-Shan living Buddha. He was also a weird monk (Master laughs.) He was always very sloppy and undignified. But they practiced and knew their own level of spiritual attainment; and the Buddhas knew as well. Therefore, even though it is not easy to judge from the outside, but as spiritual practitioners, we know from the inside whether we are sincere or not. Even if we don’t know, God knows. It is not due to our outer performance that other people will believe in us, not necessarily so. God makes the judgment.

Being truly sincere is the most important in spiritual practice. At group meditation, some people may sit there quietly, but their mind is not focused. That’s why I often tells you that when you go to group meditation, you must keep your body, speech and mind clean. Otherwise, you receive no merit from sitting there; it is worse than those who meditate sincerely at home. They are very sincere and humble when they meditated every day; thus they receive more merit. But of course we will receive a lot of merit when we attend group meditation anyway, because the sincerity of the others will affect us. For example, when we come here and see hundreds and thousands of people meditating intently and sitting so seriously, we might feel ashamed and try to sit quietly for a while , thus very naturally we will receive merit through concentration and purification of the mind.

920x920by David L. Kirp

At first glance, Quiet Time – a stress reduction strategy used in several San Francisco middle and high schools, as well as in scattered schools around the Bay Area – looks like something out of the om-chanting 1960s. Twice daily, a gong sounds in the classroom and rowdy adolescents, who normally can’t sit still for 10 seconds, shut their eyes and try to clear their minds. I’ve spent lots of time in urban schools and have never seen anything like it.

This practice – meditation rebranded – deserves serious attention from parents and policymakers. An impressive array of studies shows that integrating meditation into a school’s daily routine can markedly improve the lives of students. If San Francisco schools Superintendent Richard Carranzahas his way, Quiet Time could well spread citywide.

What’s happening at Visitacion Valley Middle School, which in 2007 became the first public school nationwide to adopt the program, shows why the superintendent is so enthusiastic. In this neighborhood, gunfire is as common as birdsong – nine shootings have been recorded in the past month – and most students know someone who’s been shot or did the shooting. Murders are so frequent that the school employs a full-time grief counselor.

In years past, these students were largely out of control, frequently fighting in the corridors, scrawling graffiti on the walls and cursing their teachers. Absenteeism rates were among the city’s highest and so were suspensions. Worn-down teachers routinely called in sick.

Unsurprisingly, academics suffered. The school tried everything, from counseling and peer support to after-school tutoring and sports, but to disappointingly little effect.

Now these students are doing light-years better. In the first year of Quiet Time, the number of suspensions fell by 45 percent. Within four years, the suspension rate was among the lowest in the city. Daily attendance rates climbed to 98 percent, well above the citywide average. Grade point averages improved markedly. About 20 percent of graduates are admitted to Lowell High School – before Quiet Time, getting any students into this elite high school was a rarity. Remarkably, in the annual California Healthy Kids Survey, these middle school youngsters recorded the highest happiness levels in San Francisco.

Reports are similarly positive in the three other schools that have adopted Quiet Time. At Burton High School, for instance, students in the program report significantly less stress and depression, and greater self-esteem, than nonparticipants. With stress levels down, achievement has markedly improved, particularly among students who have been doing worst academically. Grades rose dramatically, compared with those who weren’t in the program.

On the California Achievement Test, twice as many students in Quiet Time schools have become proficient in English, compared with students in similar schools where the program doesn’t exist, and the gap is even bigger in math. Teachers report they’re less emotionally exhausted and more resilient.

“The research is showing big effects on students’ performance,” says Superintendent Carranza. “Our new accountability standards, which we’re developing in tandem with the other big California districts, emphasize the importance of social-emotional factors in improving kids’ lives, not just academics. That’s where Quiet Time can have a major impact, and I’d like to see it expand well beyond a handful of schools.”

While Quiet Time is no panacea, it’s a game-changer for many students who otherwise might have become dropouts. That’s reason enough to make meditation a school staple, and not just in San Francisco.

David L. Kirp, a professor of public policy at UC Berkeley, is the author of “Improbable Scholars: The Rebirth of a Great American School District and a Strategy for America’s Schools.”

from http://www.sfgate.com

By Master Duy Tue
Originally in Vietnamese

Lesson 20 – Being Kind and Honest

A kind person loves and helps other people, and never tells lies.

When you hear elders talk about God or great men, they are probably talking about someone who loves everyone with an enormous love and never lies.

 If you love and help other people, you will be loved and helped.

If you don’t lie, you will meet good people. If you lie, you will meet bad people.Don’t have bad thoughts about anyone and few people will think badly about you.Don’t think about how to get someone into trouble and nobody will ever do that to you.

Don’t take away anything which is not yours. Don’t steal from others.

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Serves 2

Broth
1 large onion, peeled and halved
2-inch piece fresh ginger root, peeled and halved lengthwise
3-inch cinnamon stick
1 star anise
2 cloves
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
4 cups unsalted vegetable stock
2 teaspoons soy sauce
4 carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped

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Noodles
1/2 pound dried flat rice noodles (known as bánh phở; use 1/16″, 1/8″, or 1/4″ width depending on availability and preference at Asian markets)

Toppings
Protein such as fried or silken tofu, bean curd skin, or seitan
Mushrooms
Vegetables such as bok choy, napa cabbage, or broccoli

Garnishes
1/2 onion, very thinly sliced
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1 chile pepper (Thai bird, serrano, or jalapeño), sliced
1 lime, cut into wedges
1/2 cup bean sprouts
Large handful of herbs: cilantro, Thai basil, culantro/saw-leaf herb
Hoisin sauce
Sriracha sauce (optional)

For the broth
Char onion and ginger over an open flame (holding with tongs) or directly under a broiler until slightly blackened, about 5 minutes on each side. Rinse with water.

In a large pot, dry roast cinnamon, star anise, cloves, and coriander over medium-low heat, stirring to prevent burning. When spices are aromatic, add vegetable stock, soy sauce, carrots, and charred onion and ginger.

Bring broth to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes. Strain and keep hot until ready to serve.

For the noodles
While broth is simmering, place noodles in a large bowl and cover with hot water. Let stand for 20-30 minutes or until tender but still chewy. Drain. (If soaking does not soften the noodles enough, blanch them in a pot of boiling water for a few seconds.)

For the toppings
While broth is simmering, prepare toppings as desired – slice and cook tofu, lightly steam or blanch vegetables, etc. Toppings should be unseasoned or only lightly seasoned so as not to interfere with the flavor of the broth.

To serve
Divide noodles between two bowls. Arrange toppings over noodles. Ladle about 2 cups of broth into each bowl. Serve with garnishes on the side, which diners should add to taste.

Wars and natural disaster are not always caused by geographical complications, but generated from the atmosphere of the world. When human beings treat each other unjustly and with hostility, an irritating and vicious warlike ambiance is generated, and from this many disasters and wars are created.

Of recent, more disasters have been happening on earth. This is a reminder from God that we should go back to our original qualities of truth, virtue and beauty, instead of being intoxicated in negativity. We humans have two kinds of power, one is positive, the other negative. The positive one gives us and others comfort and bliss. This is the quality we should always maintain and develop further. If we were to be stuck in the negative sphere, the world would become more and more chaotic.

Suppose the whole nation becomes vegetarian. Because of the gentle atmosphere, due to no killing karma, naturally, there would be no disasters, and life would be comfortable and healthy, the country would be rich and strong. Being physically healthy, our mental would also be full of energy. Many wise ideas would emerge benefiting the country and the people. If this is the case with all countries, the world would be peaceful. There is virtually no need for all the conferences that consume so much champagne and steak, without rendering much peace to the world. Perhaps, there is peace today, but not tomorrow. Peace is restored here, but war breaks out in another country the next day. Therefore, the world is not to be managed by empty talks. Instead, each person should put into practice the lessons they have learned.

Until now, Singapore is the only government I know that advocates vegetarianism to her people. Of course, it is rare to find such a government that treats a problem from the root and not the fruit. Perhaps there are other governments advocating the same, but I am not aware. Singapore seems to be the only government being so clever to care about the ethics and health of her people. I hope other governments will follow their example.

We say that with the guidance of a virtuous and enlightened friend, our life will improve and become more noble. Our fellow practitioners can be that virtuous and enlightened friend, a very good friend. Even the non-initiated people outside can be our teachers sometimes, reminding us of some beautiful things. For instance, observing them doing good deeds or speaking some good things, our heart will become more open. Even if we saw them doing bad deeds, at least we can learn a lesson and refrain from doing the same!

That was why the ancient sages said, “In the company of three people, there will be one who can be my teacher.” I would say all three of them are our teachers. Each person living in this world has their particular obligation and mission. If we are close or related to a certain person, definitely he has a mission concerning us. It might be good or bad, but he is responsible for giving us a lesson. So, please keep your eyes and ears open, detect what God is trying to teach us through that person close to us. However, we should use what we have learned, and not keep reciting it like a parrot or a tape recorder, which is useless of course.

Recently, I have often asked you to help do, or organize disaster relief work. Of course, we are trying to help them because of our compassion, and our uneasiness when seeing others in a suffering condition. However, we are not doing it only for the victims. Participating in the relief work, we are also helping to develop our own compassion, fulfill our obligation, and learn how to respond to a situation.

Distributing the rice is not all there is. In the affected area, you will come across people whose emotions, feelings and urgent living needs are similar to yours. You might have to face the problems they are facing also. After talking to them, you can find out more about the inner needs of the individual. Then, you are tested on how you react and how you comfort them, counsel them, help them overcome the problems in their life. That is your lesson to learn. Without putting it into practice, it is useless listening to my words for years, because you have not experienced it in benefiting others.

Okay, I have said too much, so I won’t say any more. I wish everyone a happy and successful new year, achieving early enlightenment and liberation.

5

Spoken by  master Ching Hai, Hsihu center, Formosa Jan 29, 1995 (Originally in Chinese)

Many people misunderstand the meaning of the New Year and other festivals. On every grand occasion or New Year, we should spend more effort to reflect and introspect on ourselves, how we can serve the world better, contribute more to our relatives and friends or the country. The occasion is not to be used every time as an excuse for making merry, instead we should refine our coarse behavior and speech. Of course, everyone is aware of this. I just take this opportunity to remind you. You don’t have to listen if you have done so. If you have not done this, or have forgotten to do so, then you ought to be reminded!

I have said everything before. The important thing is that you have to put the teachings into action, then it will be fine. Of course, we should progress in the new year. Instead of getting “older” every year, we should be “stronger” spiritually and wiser. Then, we deserve to be called “elder”, the older the better. For instance, if we did something last year that we or others disliked, then we ought to rectify it in the new year with our best effort! Improve our behavior and speech, becoming more beautiful.

In real life, it is hard to avoid having some moments when we overreact, but do not let this quality cling to us in ordinary times. Do you understand? Of course, it is different when you have to react. For instance, just now you are angry with that person because he made you mad. Or, there are times when we cannot suppress our temper. At those times other people can forgive you. Aware of our wrong behavior later, we should apologize or improve ourselves, then we may be forgiven.

However, we must not let this quality develop to the extent that we are using it even at normal times. This is different from speaking harshly when we are angry. We can find out later. Anyway, this is provoked by the situation, and is different from having a rude personality. It is totally another thing if we are rude even when joking or chatting with people, and irritating them. That is our bad quality. If we observe such a quality in ourselves, improve it and do not let people feel uncomfortable each time they think of us. The bad memory will jump into their mind each time they think of our name. Subsequently, we undermine our friendships, the atmosphere at home and our essential business.

The Master is not telling you to speak in a flattering manner wherever you go, for instance, praising others with words not from your heart, or just doing it to win others’ feelings or to delight them, when we are thinking the other way at heart. We should speak according to our heart. The oneness of outer actions and inner thoughts is “Zen”. Otherwise, we are hypocrites. It is true that we should behave naturally, but politeness and nobleness are also essential. Observing our refined behavior, even the people with no elegance would feel ashamed of their attitude. A New Person In The New Year

The New Year gives us a chance to become a new person. If we did well last year, we should be even better in the new year. If not, then we improve in the new year, the more the better.

Many people misunderstand the meaning of the New Year and other festivals. On every grand occasion or New Year, we should spend more effort to reflect and introspect on ourselves, how we can serve the world better, contribute more to our relatives and friends or the country. The occasion is not to be used every time as an excuse for making merry, instead we should be refining our coarse behavior and speech, right? Of course, everyone is aware of this. I just take this opportunity to remind you. You don’t have to listen if you have done this. If you have not done this, or have forgotten to do so, then you ought to be reminded!

We have to set a good example for the world in every aspect, including the relief missions, spiritual practice, handling friendships and the relationship between Master and disciples. Only when absolutely necessary, then we use stern methods. Is it not better if we can treat each other in a refined and noble manner? The creation of heaven should start from here!

People in high positions in particular, should care more about their qualities. As an official, one should be honest and upright. A government servant must work diligently for the nation, sacrifice for the well-being of her people. Spiritual practitioners or the liaison persons for Master, etc., should also mind the manner and quality in their acts and speech, sacrifice for others instead of enjoying personal comfort. Parents, they should take care of their children of course, make them comfortable, but not spoil them badly. Children, naturally they should be filial and obedient to their parents and elders.

The teachers should fulfill their responsibilities, provide moral and ethical lessons for the students. The basic A, B, C lessons, that everyone can teach, are not enough. The greatest responsibility of a teacher is to teach the children about ethics, the superior qualities. This also applies to the parents. Just feeding and dressing the children are not enough. If everyone fulfills their responsibilities – the parents protect their children well, the children are filial – the world would be in great peace, beginning with the family. Then, all the natural disasters and war calamities would diminish.

by Melissa Breyer

A new study has found that wastewater from large dairy farms contains notable concentrations of estrogenic hormones that, instead of breaking down, can persist for years. The unusual behavior, unknown to scientists before, involves estrogens quickly converting from one form to another in the absence of oxygen – resulting in halted biodegradation, and as an extra bonus, making them much harder to detect.

The study, led by researchers at the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center(ISTC), appears in the journal Environmental Science & Technology.

The problem starts when lactating cows create estrogenic hormones that are excreted in their waste, said ISTC senior research scientist Wei Zheng, leader of the study. In large confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs) the hormones end up in wastewater, (euphemistically called lagoons). The water is used to fertilize crops, and although there are federal regulations limiting certain agricultural nutrients from polluting rivers, streams, lakes or groundwater, the regulations do not protect groundwater and surface waters from contamination by animal hormones and veterinary pharmaceuticals.

Animal hormone concentrations in agricultural waste are 100 to 1,000 times higher than those detected in human sewage – and large dairy farms are one of the major sources of estrogens in the environment, according to Zheng.

“These estrogens are present at levels that can affect the [reproductive functions of] aquatic animals,” Zheng said. Even low levels of estrogens can “feminize” animals that spend their lives in the water, for example, causing male fish to have low sperm counts or to develop female characteristics, compromising their ability to reproduce.

“Hormones that end up in surface or groundwater can pollute sources of drinking water for humans,” Zheng said. “The estrogens may also be taken up by plants – a potential new route into the food chain,” he added. “We need to develop a strategy to prevent these hormones from building up in the environment.”

source> http://www.treehugger.com

Spoken By Master Ching Hai, Hsihu Center, Formosa October 25th, 1994
(Originally in Chinese)

In the very beginning, we were with God; we were one with the essence of the highest Buddha. At that time, there was nothing to do in the universe. It was empty like an ocean of love, so pure and tranquil, without any movement, or anything interesting. Therefore, when God or the Creator suggested that we have some activities and add some excitement to the universe, we all agreed with joy. Thereafter, we shared in part of God’s creative work. Each one of us has to do something and has to play a role. We each cast our own character. That is why there are so many different colors of skin, different temperaments and even different shortcomings. Thus, we created the universe. We created different planets, different nations and different people.

When we came down, we brought some tools or toys along with us, such as our characters and the roles. Since we created them, we also need to destroy them in order to rest and then to create new ones. Suppose you had created a bad character, perhaps a hot tempered or murderous one, even though it was your role, it was not meant to be played forever, because the roles in the play still have limitations. You may play it for a hundred years at most, or you may murder a few people, so as to carry out the drama, thus making the universe have activities, have the virtuous, the evil and transmigration. But you cannot continue to kill people like this or be so hot tempered. At the end, you still need to eliminate this character.

The character you created is only for you to come down and play with for fun. After the play is over, this tool or this malevolent character has to be eliminated. How do you eliminate it? You have to try your best to overcome this character. It was created for you to play with, but because it is defective you have to destroy it. This has to be done by no one but yourself. You will have to destroy and dissolve this character completely by yourself in order to reclaim your original quality, which has no discrimination of good or bad. Do you understand what I mean? Otherwise, you carry this character with you as you transmigrate through the universe, contaminating yourself and others as well. Unless it is cleansed off, you cannot recover your original self that existed before the creation, and before the drama was set on the stage.

In case you have not eliminated the qualities before you die, then you cannot return to where you came from. Because before we came down here, we did not have these toys, such characters and temperaments. At that time, we were in an ocean of love and purity; we were just as loving, as perfect and as almighty as God. In order to have some fun, to carry out the drama, and to make the universe more interesting and diversified, we played our roles as different characters, like the performers in a drama.

Originally, we were the children of God and we were with God. Later, we wanted to have some fun so we signed a contract with God. We all supported His plan of creation and agreed to follow it. Subsequently, according to the plan, we created Africa, Europe and the Americas to be this way, and Formosa, Cambodia, Thailand… to be that way; each one being unique and beautiful in its own way. But the trouble is, sometimes we overplayed our roles; we forgot to wash off our stage makeup or to remove our masks, and we continued on with the play. We forgot the will of God and couldn’t stop playing. That is why this worldly game is no longer fun and it gets worse as we go along.

Now, those who are tired of playing and wish to rest must eliminate all those characters borrowed from the second realm, for such characters do not exist above the second realm, not even our brain, the computer within us exists. These tools are not needed up there; without karma, there is no need of temperament, no need to have good or bad. It was originally quite uneventful! Now, if we want to go home, we must dissolve all these tools and characters; we must destroy all these qualities that we have borrowed, before we can become our original self again. Do you understand what I mean? You continue to play because you have been here for so long that you have forgotten.

If you want to go back now, you must follow the Master and listen to the Master’s instructions. You must eliminate all those borrowed and defective tools. There must be no more greed, anger and obsessions, no more alcohol, no more meat… no more malevolent qualities. If you still cannot let go of these, then you have to stay here. Why is that? Because these tools and qualities belong down here, and if we are still attached to these, then we have to stay here with our tools. We can go up only after we have let go of them.

It is like if we were to visit the president at the presidential palace, we have to leave our luggage or guns at the gate. If you don’t want to leave your weapons, your baggage and other junk with the security guard, then you will not be allowed to go inside to see the president. Similarly if we still indulge in greed, hatred, obsession, fame, gain and other vicious qualities that are unfitting up there, then we will not be allowed to see the King of the universe.

When we came down here to have fun together, some people chose the roles that had the worse qualities, while some others chose those that had higher positions. In fact, only in this world we have the good and the bad, we see others as virtuous or evil, superior or inferior. When we picked our roles before we came down, no one intentionally chose anything. It was like God put out a big pile of different qualities, the good, the bad, the greedy, the angry, the obsessed, the irritable, the benign, etc. for us to pick one to wear, just like costumes. No one complained that his position was not what he wanted, that he wanted to be the king and not the policeman…, etc. At that time, no one had such ideas at all.

When we were up there, all things were equal. We were not impressed by fame or gain, we did not care about being poor or unfortunate, or worse yet, having a poor figure. We and God agreed to create a universe in which there should be a variety of different people, animals, flowers, trees…, etc. Besides, we were all willing to come down here to each play a role, choose a character in the creative plan. But after the role was over, the character was supposed to be eliminated and not left to roam around the universe. For the universe can only be an ocean of love, nothing but simplicity and purity.

At the end, if we were still unable to learn our lessons, or unable to fight, conquer, and destroy the character, then we had to keep it in our bag; just like when you keep leftover money in your pocket. If we come down again another time, we will have to choose another tool or another character before we can come here.

No one was born into this world exactly perfect. From birth until a certain stage at least, we have to be imperfect, which means that we must have a lot of junky qualities. So the last time, if you did not eliminate that character, now this time you have to come down with another lousy character, that becomes two to make things more difficult for you. And if you do not eliminate both characters this time, then next time around, you’ll have three. Your qualities will become worse and worse, with more and more shortcomings. If all three are not eliminated, later you’ll have four, or five, or six, or seven, or eight… and you’ll end up in a mess indeed! (Master and everyone laugh.) Therefore, we say that some people are really bad and have a lot of shortcomings, because life after life, they did not practice and learn their lessons well; instead of eliminating their rotten qualities, they accumulate more bad qualities each time they came down. In addition to that, they even contaminated themselves further by imitating their neighbors.

Therefore, the faster we advance in our self-cultivation the better off we are! You must persevere and try to eliminate any undesirable qualities that you may have; otherwise, there is no guarantee that it’ll be any better the next time!  The baggage might be too heavy to carry! When we came down the first time, we jumped down with empty bags. Now we try to go back up, wow! We have so many tools, habits and burdens, and all are unnecessary baggage. We have become used to working with them, that is why we hang onto them so dearly. We have developed a serious attachment to them and that is troublesome.

The negative qualities we have are also a type of obsession; we are immediately liberated if we can let them go. Therefore, it is said, “Let go of the butcher knife, be a Buddha instantly.” Aside from the butcher knife, the same applies to anything that binds us in this world. So if you want to go “home”, then practice diligently.

By master Duy Tue
Originally in Vietnamese

Lesson 19 – Sowing Good Seeds

When you play games too much, your head will get crazy because of the noise from the games. Your brain will get sick as you spend more time playing games. Your brain is like a car, which is made up of different parts. If you don’t wash it or have the maintenance service take care of it, it can’t work properly. Similarly, you have to take care of your brain. Relaxing and listening to soft music keep your mind bright and clear. If you spend too much time playing violent and noisy games, your brain will be damaged.

Your brain is like a garden that needs taking care by watering and pulling out weeds. You should take care of your brain by relaxing, listening to music, or taking a nature walk.

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Alicia Silverstone’s son is “proud of being vegan”.

The 38-year-old actress is mother to three-year-old Bear with husband Christopher Jarecki. And the star admits that while the pair made the conscious decision to raise their son a vegan, the lifestyle choice has never caused an issue with the little boy.

“He has never asked for meat or dairy. He is proud of being vegan,” Alicia told the Miami New Times. “In fact, the other day I called him ‘my butterball’ and he said, ‘Mommy, I don’t eat butter; I eat Earth Balance. I don’t want to eat cows.’ So many parents say, ‘How on Earth do you get your kids to eat greens?’ And I say, ‘Well, it’s because I eat them!’”

“He is eating the same foods I was eating while he was in my belly, while I breastfed him, and that he ate as his first foods. He has only known the healthiest foods, which makes it normal to him. These foods keep him happier and healthier.”

Alicia continued to reveal that sticking to a vegan diet has contributed to her son’s boundless energy. And the Clueless star said she is proud to observe how well her little boy has taken to the lifestyle.

“I think the diet’s influence is pretty evident in that he is full of vibrant energy; he’s so smart, creative, and insanely sweet – like a magical little elf!” she said. “It’s so important to me that his body be as healthy as possible so he can enjoy every minute of his life and not be bogged down by ailments. I’m so proud to say this is how his life is now, and I’ve made it my job to keep it that way.”

from https://sg.entertainment.yahoo.com/news/silverstone-proud-vegan-son-120000638.html

Raw Cucumber Soup

821715

Ingredients:

2 cups chopped cucumber
1 cup chopped zucchini or squash
1 cup peeled and chopped avocado
1 glove garlic, minced
a dash of cayenne (optional)
1/2 cup of cilantro, chopped
1/2 large lemon, juiced (more if you like sour)
2 tablespoons cold pressed olive oil
1 teaspoon sea salt (or to your taste)
2 cups of water

 Directions:

Put all the ingredients in the blender and blend until smooth (about 1 minute).

Enjoy!

Modified from http://www.allrecipes.com

Spoken by master Ching Hai at a group meditation, Hsihu, Formosa on June 11, 1995.
(Originally in Chinese)

There is a method that heals all illnesses; that is, meditation and loving others, two simple things only. If we just sit there every day worrying about this and that illness, we get sicker and sicker, feeling worse and worse as we practice. Some modern scientists have stated that we should not find an excuse to stay home just because we suffer from a little cold or flu. It is not necessary! Just go out and work. If necessary, take some medicine, wear more clothes to keep warm, and then continue with your work. In this way your system will improve as you force yourself to resist your sickness.

Help other people if you have time. Help your neighbors or orphans and widows. Observe their needs and render help accordingly. Don’t spend time worrying about your own feelings; because, the more you worry, the more exhausted and sick you get. It is good for us to think of others. If we die while we are caring about other people, it is also a great honor. I have told you many stories; you should practice their principles in your daily lives.

Everyone Is God’s Child

Master Ching Hai spoke to her disciples

Everything is made for purpose. Even some things we think very bad, but in a proper use, they are useful. Like in our home, the toilet is the most unwanted place, but it is very necessary. Therefore, we learn to value things in life accordingly and not to judge rashly or blindly. In the Bible, it is stated that “Judge not so that you shall not be judged.” Whatever we laugh at today, we will be laughed at tomorrow ourselves.

So be careful how you treat others, especially your relatives. Even if they are very ignorant and do not understand your purpose of practicing Quan Yin Method, you should treat them courteously and nicely because they are also members of the family of God. No one is excepted, no one is not a member of the family of God. Even if they deny God, they don’t want to know God, they are still God’s children.

So in this world, everything has its place and purpose. So, he could not go around and say what is good, what is not good. We don’t really know. Even though in the field of medicine, you know there are so many herbs that in some countries are very well-known and popular and much widely used, and in other countries, they are completely ignorant about it. And even some poisonous plants sometimes will be used for some healing purpose. So, until we know everything, we better not accuse anything, or blame anything, or criticize anything, because God is very wise. When God makes everything, it’s for some purpose. It’s just that we don’t know.

Therefore, many people look at this world as miserable, as great temptation. But some other people look at this world as a school, as a good school for training. It depends on our mental attitude. If we are very wise and practicing well in our method, and we feel this world is good.

Since God is omnipresent, we cannot escape from God. So we might just well remember and submit our will to His will, so that our life has more meaning and our purpose of being a human will be quickly fulfilled. If something is there and we keep denying it, it is a waste of time, and a waste of energy. We just naturally accept it, and that’s it. And it is better for us and it is better for God.

Such a Good Boy

Master Tells Joke

Two women were sitting on a train. It was a long ride so they started talking about family business and their family members. And the older of the two women said, “Oh! My God, it’s so terrible to have children. There’s so much to worry about; they always make trouble for you. My son, he’s only 20 years old, but he already smokes and drinks, and he always changes girlfriends. It’s really terrible. I wish he could be better, but no such luck. I’ve been praying every day.” She then asked the other woman, “And how about you? Do you have any children? How about your son?” So the younger woman said, “Oh, my son is no problem! He never smokes, he never drinks and he doesn’t have a girlfriend. He doesn’t even utter one word about bad things.” So the older woman said, “Really? Fantastic! You’re so blessed. How old is he?” And the younger woman said, “Five months.”

A Stingy Old Woman

Master Ching Hai Tells Story

At the foot of a mountain in India, there lived an old women. This woman, she loved “seclusion.” Most of people when they love seclusion, it means they want to be one with God, they want to be alone so that they can think of God, they can meditate on God, they can remember God, they can love God, they can see God, they can hear God, they can talk to God, etc…. That is a true seclusion.

But this woman is not this case, she was the worst of all the misers in the country, means she is very stingy. She lived alone in seclusion, just because she don’t like to share her possession, her food with other people. Charity was unknown to her. She knows nothing about charity. During her lifetime, never ever she give anything at all.

Now there is a God, called Lord Vishnu, you know Vishnu? The second world God and he watched with interest the life and action of this famous old lady. He found that she was to die soon, after New Year (laughter). After she eats the first rice cake, she’s probably going to be choked to death. Actually, there are many Japanese old people choked on rice cakes during New Year festival. Make sure you don’t eat too much rice cakes, you know, the sticky rice cake? I don’t know how they can choke on it, but actually someone did. Maybe this lady will choke on sticky rice cakes on New Year and she’ll die soon.

And the Lord saw that she has only three more days of her life on earth. The Lord therefore called Busandi Maharaja to his side and say to him, “My very dear beloved Busandi, snatch something from her at least today, because tomorrow she has to die. When she dies, she will have some merit to her credit in that case, if you stole something from her, at least some chocolate or something (laughter), or maybe popcorn.”

Busandi nodded okay, and he took the form of a crow and sat on the tree near the house of Kachani; Kachani is an old woman’s name. It was the time when she was washing a handful of black gram, soak in water for cooking her food. Now, Busandi decided to snatch away a beak-full of it, and suddenly, at one leap, he flew near the vessel and took a mouthful of grain with lightning speed. But, the alert old woman grab him with the greater speed still, grab him in the neck like this. She wrung his neck, yuck!  And kept it twisted, so that the grain would not slip down in his stomach. (Audience, in sympathy say, “Oh!”) My goodness. Meanwhile, with her other hand, she parted the beak of the bird and squeezed out, took out the grains, to the last grain, from the throat of the struggling crow.

This really… she deserves the award from us (Laughter), “the most miserly woman in history”. I don’t know if there is such a story. I don’t know, could be huh? Some people are so stingy and cruel, cold blooded. Anyway, Busandi struggled for his life, gulp, gulp, gulp…. At last, he was let free after she thought all the grain have been poked out by her.

He flew to Lord Vishnu and fell at his feet, half dead. Lord Vishnu questioned him as to what had happened after he left him. Busandi gasp out the whole story painfully and said, “Oh Lord, I was almost strangled to death. I could not succeed in my mission. I’m very sorry. But I could not get even a grain of food from that wretched old woman. Then the Lord said, “Oh, Busandi, do not say so. Come, let me examine in your mouth. (Laughter). Open your mouth, let me have a look.”

So, Busandi opened his beak, and the Lord Vishnu used his wisdom eye with the magnifying glass look into his throat, and find, “Ah, there is something there. (Laughter) What is it? Let me see what is it, must be something.” He saw a little bit of husk, the outer skin, shell of the grain, sticking to his palate. (Laughter) Thanks God! At least he has not wasted his time and struggled for nothing. And say, “Look, Busandi, there’s a small bit of husk sticking to your palate. I am satisfied,” the Lord says.

So now, the old lady has earned some merit. Oh! Bless be the Lord, so compassionate and loving and merciful! Now he said, “Busandi, when she goes back to the world after her death, let her be fed on the husk of the particular grain which is found sticking to your palate. So the old woman will be eating that all her life long.” And then, the Lord disappeared.

End of story.

So what do we learned?

Infinite and overwhelming is a love and compassion of the Lord, such is the mysterious potency of even the least act of kindness and charity. Probably she didn’t want to take it out because she knows it is useless. But the Lord Himself in His great love creates opportunities for the redemption and deification of the sinning human. When the old woman who did no meritorious act was ordained to get bread made of husk, even if she just left a little bit of husk sticking there. And if we give people a lot of things more, how much would we have? That is the conclusion, that’s the meaning of it.

By Master Duy Tue
Originally in Vietnamese

Lesson 18 – A man of the future

Now that you are a boy, what do you need to know?

You need to do physical exercise. Don’t be like girls because girls are different from boys in nature. Don’t dress like girls, don’t whine, don’t paint your nails, don’t wear make-up, don’t play with dolls, don’t grow your hair long, and don’t trim your eyebrows.

You shouldn’t date a girl until you are 18 years old. Don’t try by all means to have what others have just to show off.

When in streets, or at school, don’t be afraid of strange people, even when you are threatened. Don’t fight, either.

Don’t feel sad, don’t feel hurt, and don’t feel sorry for yourself.

In brief, you have to make your body healthy and fit by doing exercise and playing sports and expand your understanding by observing and asking questions .

 

 

Damian-Aspinall-001

As a boy, his best friends were bears and wolves, and later on his own children shared their nursery with a baby gorilla, who they treated as a big brother. Damian Aspinall, son of the legendary gambler and maverick zoo keeper, John Aspinall, grew up surrounded by his father’s exotic pets and has passed on his all-consuming passion for wildlife to his children.

Amid sculptures of pouncing lions and leopards at home in Knightsbridge, he says: “It’s magic crossing the species boundaries, and the greatest thing about being alive. You can’t explain to people who don’t have it.”

The Aspinalls are well known for their special relationships with animals, adopting wild orphans and raising them alongside their children. “Some animal people have a deep-rooted connection, and it comes from very deep in here,” he says, pounding on his heart.

“When you look at your cats or dogs and they look into your eyes, there’s an understanding and a level of love like they’re your children. You see their pain, you see their love and you instinctively understand their wants and needs. Imagine having that with primates and lions!”

The millionaire casino-owning environmentalist, once a staple of the international party circuit with supermodel girlfriends such as Naomi Campbell and Elle Macpherson, has devoted his life and fortune to conservation. He runs Howletts and Port Lympne wildlife parks in Kent as well as the Aspinall Foundation.

“Animals should have as much right to happiness as we do and to coexist on this planet, which is far more important than we are,” he says. As we speak, Aspinall is preparing to repatriate a whole family of gorillas to their homeland this summer. “I’m very wary. It’s like sending your children out into the world, knowing the dangers they’ll face. Taking a group of adult gorillas and uprooting them from the place they’ve lived all their lives could go terribly wrong.”

Damian, 54, was brought up at Howletts, a 700-acre estate in Kent, where his father’s oversized, pampered pets prowled the house and gardens and were given the freshest fruit and vegetables, Sunday roasts and even chocolates. This Noah’s ark idyll, however, was disturbed by occasional maulings and, over the years, five keepers died after being savaged by tigers or crushed by elephants.

But Aspinall says he had “an extraordinarily blessed childhood. We’ve got Super 8 films from the 60s of me as a seven-year-old, playing with tigers and bison around a tree or tearing around the lawns with a gang of wolves; and all of us being chased and diving in the pond to try to get away from the wasps after we upset their nest.”

He loved living at close quarters with his family’s wild menagerie and almost all his friends were animals. But whether he admits it or not, he clearly craved human contact. “No one came round to see me,” he says wistfully. “You don’t get playdates when you’ve got tigers in the garden. The odd mate came, otherwise it was just me and the animals. To be perfectly honest, I’ve always felt disconnected, and humans inevitably let you down – animals never do. There’s more of an honesty and purity there.”

His earliest memories are not of his mother or father, who was largely absent, but of a female gorilla that became his surrogate mother. He likes to tell an old story about getting stuck up a tree and, when his father ignored his crying: “She came up, put me on her back and climbed back down, wiped away my tears and spent the day comforting me.” He was virtually raised by apes and, as a baby, was placed in the arms of a female gorilla, a family ritual he later repeated with his own children, recently stirring controversy after he released a video of his daughter Tansy as a toddler being carried around by an adult gorilla like a doll. “Some people thought it was lovely and sweet and others who are ignorant about animals said: ‘Oh it’s mad, the gorillas are trying to kill her’ – all that nonsense. The biggest problem with society today is that it’s so sanitised.”

His father set up Howletts in 1957 as a private zoo where animals were housed humanely on immense parcels of land. “Everyone thought he was crazy having predators wandering everywhere,” says Damian.

In 1966, when he was six, his parents had a bitter divorce on the grounds of his mother’s adultery. His father – a mercurial, misanthropic figure with whom he had a difficult relationship all his life – got custody and sent him to boarding school. Damian never saw his mother, Jane Gordon Hastings, a Scottish model, again. She died in 2001. Did he miss her? “I’m happy to talk about anything, just not that,” he snaps, shifting uncomfortably. “I don’t know … I think anyone who’s brought up without a mother is going to be affected.”

Aspinall is convinced that he inherited his fearlessness, cavalier disregard for convention and great love of animals from his father. Since taking over the wildlife parks and foundation in 2000, he has far exceeded John’s ambitions. “You have to understand that when he died, there was no money in the bank and these parks were losing £4m a year. Now we have to find £10m a year. I can see why the other family members didn’t want to be involved. My brother and sister had no interest in animals, but I was compelled to do it.”

Like his father, who made his fortune from his Mayfair casinos and used it to create country estates for his wild animals, Aspinall uses the profits of his property and gambling empire to keep his charity afloat, as well as funding the patrolling of the foundation’s conservancies in Kenya, which span about 1m acres.

He has to employ 24-hour armed guards to protect the animals and his staff and the forests from poachers, along with vets, whisperers and naturalists to nurture and teach the gorillas, rhinos and monkeys how to live wild as they make the transition to freedom. So far, his charity has returned record numbers of gorillas, elephants and primates to Africa and Asia. “When my father first came up with the idea, he was laughed at. But we’ve been doing it successfully for years and even though we’ve introduced 60 gorillas back to the wild, no one else has introduced any.

“These animals have a right to go home. All this rubbish about ‘They’ve lost their wild instincts’ said by some scientists – what do they know? Who are we to play God and say they can’t go back? Zoos are barbaric places. It’s like locking children up – it’s deeply unethical.”

Unlike his father, who claimed his animals were more important than his children, Aspinall is a hands-on parent and adores his daughters. His eldest, Tansy, 25, and Clary, 22, from his first marriage, are both keen to continue the conservation work begun by their grandfather. Tansy has been promoting the foundation’s work and organizing fundraising galas, while Clary is volunteering in a Cambodian orphanage. Damian’s 11-year-old, Freya, whose mother is the television presenter Donna Air, is animal-mad too.

You sense that when he talks about his family or anything else, he is always thinking about his beloved silverbacks. “I’m happiest with the animals,” he admits. He lives between his home in London and the Kent compound, where he devotes weekends to his furry extended family and frequently joins them in their enclosures for midnight feasts.

“I make a huge pot of vegetable stew and go to see them. I find peace among them. When I’m with them, the world stops and nothing else matters. You just don’t get that with humans. It probably sounds corny, but it’s just pure love, unadulterated honey, and you soak it up.”

And with that, he goes off, smiling.

From http://www.theguardian.com

Happy Thanksgiving Meal

Thanksgiving is coming soon. It is strange to me that we thank God on this holiday, but we kill a lot of His creation. If we have a closer look, we should call it The Killing Day. Yes, we have tradition and custom, but I think we are smart enough now to see which one we should keep, and which one we should think it over.

I found a very good recipe for Thanksgiving. I hope that you could together with me to make this holiday becomes a very truly Thanksgiving.

Homemade Seitan

Makes 1 lb.

This tried-and-true favorite can be used in any recipe calling for seitan.

  • 2 cups vital wheat gluten
  • ½ cup nutritional yeast
  • 2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 5 cups low-sodium vegetable broth, divided
  • 2 Tbs. low-sodium soy sauce
  • ½ small onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  1. Combine wheat gluten, yeast, and garlic powder in large bowl. Stir in 1 cup broth and soy sauce until dough forms, adding more broth if necessary. Knead dough in bowl with spoon 3 minutes, or until elastic. Shape into 2 loaves.
  2. Place loaves in large saucepan, and add remaining 4 cups broth, onion, garlic, and enough water to cover seitan. Cover, and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 30 to 45 minutes, or until seitan is firm. Remove from heat, and cool in broth.

Holiday Seitan Roast

Holiday_Seitan_Roast-458x326

Serves 8

Thinly slice the seitan when serving so that each bite gets coated in sauce.

  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 lb. Homemade seitan, divided into 2 pieces
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil, divided
  • 1 Tbs. unbleached all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup red wine
  • ¼ cup tomato paste
  • ½ cup low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 2 tsp. tamari or soy sauce
  • ½ tsp. chopped fresh thyme
  • ¼ tsp. chopped fresh rosemary
  • 8 oz. baby carrots (1¼ cups)
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped (1 cup)
  • 1 large parsnip, chopped (4 oz.)
  • 12 oz. small purple potatoes, halved
  • 2 cups pearl onions, peeled and halved if large
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Combine salt, pepper, and paprika in small bowl. Rub over seitan pieces.
  3. Heat 1 Tbs. oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add seitan, and brown 6 minutes, turning to cook all sides. Remove seitan from pan, and set aside.
  4. Add remaining 1 Tbs. oil to pan, sprinkle with flour, and reduce heat to medium. Cook 3 minutes, or until smooth roux forms. Add wine, then tomato paste, broth, tamari, thyme, and rosemary; cook 3 to 5 minutes, or until sauce begins to thicken.
  5. Transfer seitan to roasting pan. Surround with carrots, celery, parsnip, potatoes, and onions. Pour sauce over top. Cover with foil, and roast 35 to 45 minutes. Remove foil, and roast 10 to 15 minutes more. Thinly slice seitan, and serve with vegetables and sauce.

From  http://www.vegetariantimes.com

Spoken by master Ching Hai to initiates
Hsihu Center, June 3, 1995

What you should detach is the attachment for power and fame, not to be detached from money and fame.

The thing is that we had better strive, strive to have a better life all the time, not because we are materialists but because life should have joy and abundance in all things and in all aspects. We do not have to give power and finance to the negative class of people. You understand what I mean? For example, the good people don’t strive to make income for themselves or to have some power within a society then all the power and the finance go to the negative power, all the bad people. They will in turn control the good people and the good people can do nothing; cannot even spread goodness. So to me, to earn money, to make a business, to strive in your life to earn a good standard of living for your family, yourself and your country is a duty, not a sin.

I do not encourage my people to stay in poverty, and to give all the power and finance to the negative system that has no morals, to people who have no morals, who have no responsibility, no feeling, and who have no sense of sharing with other people. For example, we who are practicing moral standards, if we have money we always share with other people. We help people in disasters, we help the victims, we help the refugees, we help the poor, we help the needy, we help the sick and the orphans and things like that. So, it’s very good to have money. It’s not capitalism. It’s the power of finance that we must have and also the power, sometimes, of social activities.

If you are a politician, you should stay in politics and be a good politician and fight for your country and for the standard of living of other people. If you are a businessman, you must be a successful one. Always strive to be successful. Earn as much money as God gives you and then you can share. Money is very easy to use. You cannot say, “Oh well, I don’t care about money. I’m a practitioner. Money for me is untouchable.” You cannot do that, you know? You cannot have such an attitude, you don’t have then you’re lazy to achieve and then you say, “Oh, no, I don’t care. I renounce everything.” It’s not true.

In the old times, the so-called practitioners, they always renounced many things. It’s okay. You can do that for a while. But I don’t think you should do it all the time.

Sometimes, I put some make-up on, wear some nice clothes for camera so that you can see me nice in the pictures. After that I’m so happy just to go next to the river and wear comfortable clothes, just be alone and be natural. Sometimes, the make-up and the clothes make me feel tired. The outer requirement of beauty and decency sometimes makes you tired if you are not used to it. Especially for the practitioners, we just like to feel natural. But if we want to do it for the sake of beautifying the world or to work in the society, it’s also okay.

So for us, the so-called practitioners, we really don’t need material comfort much. And that’s why it’s easy for us sometimes to think, “Oh no, why should I earn money, I don’t really need anything anymore.” It’s a very easy way out. But when we come to think about it, if we still live in this world, many people depend on us, our family, our children, our parents, relatives, and friends. Sometimes they need our help. If we are not in a position to help them, who will? Because only very rarely do people in this world want to help the poor and needy.

Truly the people in this world very rarely would give anything, even in ordinary circumstances. So that is the way of working of the negative power, to make the people become greedy and grasping. Whatever they have is mine, mine, mine. They never let go. Even when they have more than enough, more than they can ever count, more than they can ever recognize how much they have, they still want more. No one else can have it. Therefore, if the so-called good persons, positive people, like the practitioners of moral standards, the practitioners of the Way, the Tao, the Truth, don’t have money, who will help those needy people? That’s the difference. That’s why we need to earn money and make good business. Not because we need it but because in this world we can make use of this useful equipment, money, power or political standpoint, then we can help the people.

Whatever I teach you is good and pure, good for you, good for the society. And whatever I do is what I teach. Just because I believe that I must have the power and the finance to help the world, not to take the power and finance of the world for myself. I have to give them the power and the finance they need, not that I take the power and the finance from them, for my own personal benefit and glory. So in that case, I work for my ideals and beliefs. That’s why I also ask you to do the same, if you can and if you want to. Only if you want to, because I believe there is logic; but of course you don’t have to do anything. If you believe the same ideal and you think it’s logical then you do it. I just want to explain to you why we cannot shun money, why we cannot despise political positions, because they are good tools, they are good instruments to work for God, to work for the betterment of the world at large.

Many people think because I’m a Master, why do I still make money and all this? Of course, I know they say that, but because they’re ignorant. Otherwise, they can see why I do it. I don’t have to. If I were to take just one hundred dollars from each of you, I’d become a billionaire in one day. No problem. I don’t have to work. So, because I am not a materialist, because I don’t care for position and money, that’s why I work. If I cared for position and money, I’d ask each of you give me some money every month. Everyone would be willing to do it, is that not so? (Audience answers: “Yes.”) You’d give more than that, not just $100. Even if I took one dollar from each person, that’s all, from all my followers, in one day I’d collect millions of dollars, and everyday everyone would give me one dollar only. What would I have? Do you know?

Okay. Now. If anyone asks you why I make money, you already know why. Just because it’s the right thing to do. It’s the correct way to live our life honestly, earning our money with the sweat and labor of our own talent and our own endeavor. We put our labor, our talent, our work, our time into the production and then we can earn the money and then we can give it away.

The world is upside down. All the masters who don’t work, who don’t do anything, their disciples just offer to them anything and they praise them, “Oh holy man. Never touch money, no material.” It could be. But this is just one of the ways, it’s not the only way. It’s not all the masters who like to do that. It’s not all the people who don’t touch money, who just sit there and let people feed them, who are holy. It’s not that way. But actually, I think I’m doing the things a little bit stupid in people’s eyes, because all the masters don’t do that. The disciples feed them enough, really. Why do they have to work and do anything. But I want to give you a good example of all perfection development. You don’t only develop a moral standard and wisdom but you also make use of that moral standard and wisdom in daily life. Express it.

If you have talent and wisdom, then you can do all things. You have to beautify the world and make money for yourself. Take care of your own living so you don’t burden other people. And if you have really good moral standards, then of course you have compassion and love for all the needy and desperate beings. And of course, you would lend a helping hand to anyone, regardless of race, color, beliefs, and religious system, even your own enemies. That’s how we know that we truly have wisdom and moral standards.

At least you understand me. Many of the people in the world they don’t know. They think the opposite. If I sit here pretty and you all come with flowers, food, everything around me, and bow to me really flat on the floor, things like that, then I am a holy person. Because I don’t do anything, I don’t touch money, that’s when I am holy. Really useless holy! (Laughter) And the people who strive to do good for the world, with their own hands and efforts and work hard for it, then many people scold or criticize them, thinking they are materialistic and they want power and things like that. Power, I have enough already. Materials I could have anytime. Each of you give me one dollar I have enough to live my many lifetimes !

We must work. God has sent us here with equal opportunity, power and talent. So, if we don’t grasp the finances and the power from the world then all the negativity will grasp it. We are under their control. The negative power wins, and then we can’t do anything, we can’t complain and say that God doesn’t help us. God does, God sends us here, sends you here and even gives you opportunity to study like everyone else, the same as the negative power. This is just like a competition, you know what I mean? Both have opportunity, talent, and ability to take the same thing.

So, if you renounce it, of course, then the negative power will take it. And then in this world, if we have no power, no money, what will we become? Beggars, of course. That everyone can be, but mind you, nowadays, even beggars cannot survive. Many governments don’t like beggars, you see, even if you want to beg. If you renounce everything that doesn’t mean you are safe. You got it. Many put beggars in a home and you are not free to do anything that you want. You can’t have this and you can’t have that and you have to do many things not according to your will. And in the home you must eat meat and you cannot eat vegetarian, etc., etc. So, what do you do?

So, it’s not that you renounce everything then the negative power will leave you alone or will give you peace. It’s not true. Fight. You have no choice really. Take away your wrong conception about money and fame. What you should detach is the attachment for power and fame, not to be detached from money and fame. You know what I mean? The desire for it, that’s what you should renounce, not the money and the fame, just the desire. (Applause) Now so many people who practice spiritually have this wrong conception. So now you should not have this kind of wrong conception any longer since I have already taught you and showed you why logically. Not that I force you to believe me talking nonsense, but it’s really logical.

So, don’t laugh at our brothers and sisters who are in Parliament or who are in Congress. They are doing their jobs. They’re doing fine. Many of our brothers and sisters are in high political positions, as well as very famous and successful businessmen. I never tell them to get out of them. If they get out, I even say, “Why, are you crazy?” Yeah! Some of our brothers and sisters, just after initiation, renounce. Don’t become Congressmen anymore, don’t run anymore, and don’t do anything. I say, “What do you want to do now? I don’t need such a useless person around me. I have too many already. (Laughter)

We renounce the desire for the world, not renounce the world itself. Because the world is a part of us, a part of our relatives and friends, brothers and sisters, so we can’t renounce the world. That is the wrong word. We renounce the desire for anything in this world, that’s all we must renounce. Then you do anything you want. Earn as much money as you can, be in as high a position as possible, and use your power and finance to help the needy people. That’s the right thing to do.

A Magical Chair

Master Tells Story
Hsihu Center, Formosa December 31, 1994

Long ago there was an old man. He lived at the foot of the mountain and was very poor. He had no possessions. His straw hut was his only property. In fact, this person was very lazy so he deserved it! One day he heard that in a certain place there lived a very powerful yogi who had the supernatural power to create anything he desired. After hearing this, the very lazy person, who did not want to work, wished to go there to ask the yogi to use his supernatural power to create things for him so that he does not have to work anymore. After thinking in this way, he left.

He walked a very long way to the mountain cave where the yogi lived. When he saw the yogi he prostrated. The yogi was quite nice, he politely entertained him and asked him about his purpose. The lazy man said, “Respected and beloved master, I am a very poor person. Besides a small straw house, I have nothing else. Now I am very old and not able to work, so please, compassionate master, please help me. Grant me some possessions to live on. I know you have a lot of supernatural power. You can immediately create anything you desire. I believe you are able to help me.”

That yogi closed his eyes and sat there quietly without a word. Perhaps he was too tired listening to all of this. This old man than continued to ask him. After requesting for a long time, this yogi reluctantly gave him a chair and said, “After you go home, anytime you think of something you want, you can sit on this chair. But you have to wash your hands, face and take a bath before sitting on the chair. Then think about anything you desire. This way you will surely get it.”

After thanking the yogi, the old man took the chair and immediately rushed home! After reaching home, he did not waste a bit of time. He immediately washed his hands, face, took a bath, then he sat on the chair right away. At that time he was very hungry, so he immediately thought about food. Then food immediately appeared. Oh! Very beautiful, very nice and a very bountiful meal. So he enjoyed all the good food until he was very full. After eating he felt tired and desired a bed to rest. Immediately a bed with a thick mattress appeared. He lied down to sleep, but he could not really rest, because in his heart, he was always thinking of wanting things and money. He jumped up from the bed and sat on the chair. Now he started to think about transforming his straw hut into a palace. As he was thinking this, the straw hut immediately disappeared!

This old man’s palace was very beautiful with jewels all over. The doors were made of gold. The floors and the ceilings were made with gold, even the pillars were of gold inlaid with very precious jewels. Thus he was very happy and felt very comfortable. He continued to think, “Ah! Such a big palace should not be without any servants.” He just thought and many servants appeared waiting for his commands. Later he thought, “The servants, the palace cannot be without money!” He thought of a lot of gold, silver and money. Suddenly all these appeared together. It made this old man very happy in deed. But he suddenly became worried. He thought, “Ah! My palace is so beautiful, with so many possessions, if it happened that an earthquake should come, what to do?” (Master and all laugh.) He just finished the thought and the earthquake came. His possessions and the palace were squashed into the earth.

What does this story tell us? Our mind has to be clean and pure first. It is not good enough having supernatural power or power of practice. Therefore we have to clean our body, speech and thought before having the power. If we have the power but our body, speech and mind are not clean, precepts are not kept properly, then we could do bad things. Our own power could hurt ourselves. Sometimes this power could hurt others. Thus since ancient times, those masters, before taking in any disciple, would test the disciple for a long time until his body, speech and mind were completely clean before giving him the power.

The Master often tells you not to practice supernatural power. The ordinary people outside can practice the supernatural power easily. They do not have to keep any precepts and do not have to be vegetarian. When we still cannot control our mind, if we think about bad things they appear at once, because at that time we get whatever we think. The power in the universe is immense, but we should know how to use it. Otherwise, it can cause a lot of harm, harming ourselves and damaging the world. Some disasters we see in the world are sometimes not necessarily the karma of the people, but due to some people who practice supernatural power. They practice towards the bad direction or because of their messed-up thinking, they then mess up the world. We can say that these people created trouble or were possessed by the negative power. Really there are such people.

Thus when we practice we have to think about God every day, think about those fully charged names of the Buddhas to protect ourselves. Sometimes it is not entirely our own karma that causes our obstructions, but sometimes it is the negative, Maya power around us that affect us. Therefore, we have to always remember our goal, remember the power of the most high, and recite the five Buddhas’ names to protect ourselves. Thinking a lot about God Almighty, our mind becomes clean and then we do not desire anything. To us, at that time supernatural power would be of no use, because we would be one with God and there would be nothing we could not have.

At that time, we would be very satisfied inside and we would know that after we have left this illusive world, we would go back to our homeland where we have everything. Compared to that place, this world is junk. Nothing could be offered to us here. After our soul has returned many times to the homeland to take a look, our mind would understand and would be very stable. Then we would not want anything. Even if we want we would only want those things that are good for others. Our heart would be very kind, always thinking of positive things. Once thinking about positive things then the positive things would come.

Creamy_Celery_Root_Soup_with_Pesto_Swirl-458x326

Pear adds a subtle sweetness to this comforting soup, and a spoonful of mustard greens pesto gives it zip. Extra pesto can be swirled into other chunky and creamy soups or used to top pasta.
  • 3 Tbs. olive oil, divided
  • 3 cups peeled, cubed celery root
  • 1 medium onion, chopped (1½ cups)
  • 2 medium unpeeled Bartlett pears, diced (1½ cups)
  • 2 celery stalks, thinly sliced (1¼ cups)
  • 3 ¼ cups low-sodium vegetable broth, divided
  • 2 packed cups stemmed and chopped mustard greens (2 oz.)
  • 1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice

1. Heat 11/2 Tbs. oil in large saucepan over medium-high heat. Sauté celery root, onion, pears, and celery 2 minutes. Stir in 3 cups broth, cover pan, and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low, and cook 20 minutes, or until vegetables are tender.

2. Purée soup in batches in blender until very smooth, then return to saucepan. Add remaining 1/4 cup broth to blender, swirl to clean any soup from sides of jar, then pour into saucepan.

3. Blend mustard greens, lemon juice, remaining 11/2 Tbs. oil, and 1/4 cup soup in mini food processor until almost smooth. Thin with 1 Tbs. or more soup, if necessary. Season with salt and pepper, if desired.

4. Ladle soup into bowls, and swirl 2 Tbs. pesto into each serving.

From  http://www.vegetariantimes.com

By master Duy Tue
Originally in Vietnamese

Lesson 17 – Be disciplined or Responsibility

When your parents are busy with their work outside the home, you should take care of your little brothers or sisters. While waiting for them to come home, don’t play with the computer and don’t leave home. There are things that your parents tell you not to do, and you have to obey them. That is responsibility or self-discipline.

Your parents might tell you to get up early in the morning to do your homework, not to play games too much, or to stick to your timetable. If you don’t do those things, you are not responsible.

Your parents are hard on you because they know what is good for you. So you have to listen so that you can change in a good way.

Discipline also involves good manners. You have to be respectful to your older brothers and sisters, your teachers, and elders. You have to say hello and goodbye to visitors to your house in a polite way. Remember to wish everyone in your family a good day everyday when you get up and wish them a good night sleep before you go to bed.

Learn to do the right thing, even when no one is watching. Don’t just be responsible because you are asked to. Don’t just satisfy your feelings and have little concern for other people. That way of living is dangerous for you.

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Got milk?

These days, it seems like almost everybody does. Celebrities, athletes, and even former president Clinton’s head of Health and Human Services, Donna Shalala, are all proud to wear the white “milk mustache.” After all, everyone knows that you need milk to be healthy …

Dairy is nature’s perfect food — but only if you’re a calf.

If that sounds shocking to you, it’s because very few people are willing to tell the truth about dairy. In fact, criticizing milk in America is like taking on motherhood, apple pie, or baseball. But that’s just what I’m about to do.

Based on the research and my experience practicing medicine, I typically advise most of my patients to avoid dairy products completely. I like ice cream just as much as the next person, but as a scientist I have to look honestly at what we know. In today’s blog I will explore many of the documented ill-effects of dairy, and give you six reasons you should avoid dairy at all costs.

The Reason I Have Problems with the USDA Food Pyramid

I’m aware that my advice to avoid dairy flies in the face of the new, “up-to-date” food pyramid from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The USDA’s pyramid recommends drinking 3 glasses of milk a day. What’s wrong with that? Well, for one thing, it’s not a recommendation that’s based on strict science.

Some of the “experts” who helped create the pyramid actually work for the dairy industry, which makes the US Department of agriculture’s recommendations reflect industry interests, not science or our best interests.

In fact, Walter Willet, M.D., Ph.D — the second-most-cited scientist in all of clinical medicine and the head of nutrition at Harvard’s School of Public Health — is one of the pyramid’s most vocal critics. He’s even called its guidelines “udderly ridiculous.” That’s not something a Harvard scientist says lightly.

But Dr. Willett is right. The pyramid just isn’t based on key scientific findings about health. In a moment we will take a look at some of the pyramid’s recommendations and why I disagree with them.

But before I dissect why the current food pyramid is harmful to your health, I want to offer a bit of hope. I recently attended a medical conference put on by Harvard Medical School and the Culinary Institute of America called Healthy Kitchens, Healthy Lives and met Eric Rimm, who works closely with Walter Willett at Harvard School of Public Health and is a member of the 2010 USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans Committee.

I asked him if he felt that science not industry would be shaping the new guidelines and he said there was now only one scientist with industry ties on the new panel and he was objective and agreeable to make changes when presented the data. I am anxious to see how the science matches policy but feel a ray of hope that for the first time in the history of our dietary guidelines we will see science predominate, not industry interests and that the language will be direct, clear and simple to understand for all Americans. The guidelines from the early 1990’s promoting the consumption of 6-11 servings of bread and cereals daily led to the pasta, carb, sugar generation and led to the largest epidemic of obesity in the history of our species.

Let’s hope the new guidelines for 2010 will guide us toward greater health, not an increasing burden of obesity, diabetes and chronic disease. The USDA food policy guidelines form the basis of the school lunch program and it has contributed to a tripling of obesity in children. Let’s hope we can serve up a different lunch menu for our children and our nation.

The simple idea that science should become policy is unfortunately one that has found little traction in Washington. But that seems to be shifting a little now.

Now back to why the last government guidelines from 2005 are harmful to your health!

  1. Consume a variety of foods within and among the basic food groups while staying within your body’s energy needs.

Sounds sensible — but which food groups? If you choose dairy, meat, fats, and carbohydrates, the “perfect” meal could be a cheeseburger, milkshake, and fries with ketchup (potatoes and tomatoes are the two top vegetables consumed in America). Generic advice like that is pretty meaningless and potentially harmful.

  1. Control your caloric intake to manage body weight.

Again, that sounds good, but as I wrote in my book UltraMetabolism, even the best-trained nutritionists and dietitians can’t come close to correctly estimating their own caloric intake in a day. Also consider this: Is it okay to consume all of your calories from cola or ice cream as long as you stay within my caloric needs? Of course not. So this is more useless advice.

 

  1. Increase intake of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and nonfat or low-fat milk products.

Well, fruits, veggies, and whole grains are great. Milk — not so much. I’ll get back to that in a minute.

  1. Choose carbohydrates wisely.

Who could argue with that? But how do they define “wisely”? The real advice here should be to cut down sugar intake from 185 pounds per person per year (what we currently consume) to less than a pound, avoid flour products (except as a treat), and stick to whole-food carbohydrates like vegetables, fruit, whole grains, beans, nuts, and seeds.

  1. Choose to prepare food with little salt.

That’s not bad advice. But it doesn’t make sense if most of what you eat is packaged or processed foods that you don’t actually prepare. For most Americans who eat half of their meals outside their homes, this isn’t helpful. A better recommendation would be to avoid packaged, processed, canned, prepared, and fast foods (unless you know exactly how they are made).

  1. If you drink alcoholic beverages, do so in moderation.

Sounds good — but if you’re usually drinking two bottles of wine a night, then one seems like moderation! I think a better suggestion is to limit your alcohol consumption to half a drink a day or 3 glasses a week (the amount that seems to have the most health benefit).

  1. Don’t eat unsafe foods.

Of course you shouldn’t leave your egg salad out in the hot sun or toss your salad with hands that just handled raw chicken coated with salmonella. But the food pyramid guidelines don’t mention pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, or genetically modified foods, despite scientific evidence of their harm. Shame on the USDA!

You can see now why I have big problems with the food pyramid! Its guidelines try to sound sensible — while still protecting the interests of the food industry, the agriculture industry, and all of the lobbyists paying for the elections of the Congress. That way everybody’s happy …

But I’m not, and you shouldn’t be either. The public just isn’t served by this watered down, confusing, and useless pyramid. The next guidelines, I hope will be better, especially with independent scientists like Eric Rimm involved. Worse, some of the recommendations are downright harmful –like the one to drink more milk and dairy products.

The Truth about Dairy

According to Dr. Willett, who has done many studies and reviewed the research on this topic, there are many reasons to pass up milk, including:

  1. Milk doesn’t reduce fractures.(i) Contrary to popular belief, eating dairy products has never been shown to reduce fracture risk. In fact, according to the Nurses’ Health Study dairy may increase risk of fractures by 50 percent!
  2. Less dairy, better bones.Countries with lowest rates of dairy and calcium consumption (like those in Africa and Asia) have the lowest rates of osteoporosis.
  3. Calcium isn’t as bone-protective as we thought.(ii) Studies of calcium supplementation have shown no benefit in reducing fracture risk.Vitamin Dappears to be much more important than calcium in preventing fractures.
  4. Calcium may raise cancer risk.Research shows that higher intakes of both calcium and dairy products may increase a man’s risk of prostate cancer by 30 to 50 percent.(iii) Plus, dairy consumption increases the body’s level ofinsulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) — a known cancer promoter.
  5. Calcium has benefits that dairy doesn’t.Calcium supplements, but not dairy products, may reduce the risk of colon cancer.(iv)
  6. Not everyone can stomach dairy.(v) About 75 percent of the world’s population is genetically unable to properly digest milk and other dairy products — a problem called lactose intolerance.

Based on such findings, Dr. Willet has come to some important conclusions:

  • Everybody needs calcium — but probably not as much as our government’s recommended daily allowance (RDA) and calcium from diet, including greens and beans is better utilized by the body with less risk than calcium supplements.
  • Calcium probably doesn’t prevent broken bones. Few people in this country are likely to reduce their fracture risk by getting more calcium.
  • Men may not want to take calcium supplements. Supplements of calcium andvitamin Dmay be reasonable for women.
  • Dairy may be unhealthy. Advocating dairy consumption may have negative effects on health.
    If all that isn’t enough to swear you off milk, there are a few other scientific findings worth noting. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently asked the UDSA to look into the scientific basis of the claims made in the “milk mustache” ads. Their panel of scientists stated the truth clearly:
  • Milk doesn’t benefit sports performance.
  • There’s no evidence that dairy is good for your bones or prevents osteoporosis — in fact, the animal protein it contains may help cause bone loss!
  • Dairy is linked to prostate cancer.
  • It’s full of saturated fat and is linked toheart disease.
  • Dairy causes digestive problems for the 75 percent of people with lactose intolerance.
  • Dairy aggravatesirritable bowel syndrome.

Simply put, the FTC asked the dairy industry, “Got Proof?” — and the answer was NO!

Plus, dairy may contribute to even more health problems, like:

  • Allergies(vi)
    • Sinus problems
    • Ear infections
    • Type 1 diabetes (vii)
    • Chronic constipation (viii)
    • Anemia (in children)

Due to these concerns, many have begun to consider raw milk an alternative. But that isn’t really a healthy form of dairy either …

Yes, raw, whole, organic milk eliminates concerns like pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, and the effects of homogenization and pasteurization — but to me, these benefits don’t outweigh dairy’s potential risks.
From an evolutionary point of view, milk is a strange food for humans. Until 10,000 years ago we didn’t domesticate animals and weren’t able to drink milk (unless some brave hunter-gather milked a wild tiger or buffalo!).

If you don’t believe that, consider this: The majority of humans naturally stop producing significant amounts of lactase – the enzyme needed to properly metabolize lactose, the sugar in milk — sometime between the ages of two and five. In fact, for most mammals, the normal condition is to stop producing the enzymes needed to properly digest and metabolize milk after they have been weaned.

Our bodies just weren’t made to digest milk on a regular basis. Instead, most scientists agree that it’s better for us to get calcium, potassium, protein, and fats from other food sources, like whole plant foods — vegetables, fruits, beans, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and seaweed.

So here is my advice for dealing with dairy.

6 Tips for Dealing with Dairy

  • Take your Cow for a Walk. It will do you much more good than drinking milk.
  • Don’t rely on dairy for healthy bones. If you want healthy bones, get plenty of exercise and supplement with 2,000 IU ofvitamin Ddaily.
  • Get your calcium from food. These include dark green leafy vegetables, sesame tahini, sea vegetables.
  • Try giving up all dairy. That means eliminate milk, cheese, yogurt, and ice cream for two weeks and see if you feel better. You should notice improvements with yoursinuses, post-nasal drip,headachesirritable bowel syndrome, energy, and weight. Then start eating dairy again and see how you feel. If you feel worse, you should try to give it up for life.
  • If you can tolerate dairy, use only raw, organic dairy products. I suggest focusing on fermented products like unsweetened yogurt and kefir, occasionally.
  • If you have to feed your child formula from milk, don’t worry. The milk in infant formula is hydrolyzed or broken down and easier to digest (although it can still cause allergies). Once your child is a year old, switch him or her to real food and almond milk.

Still got milk? I hope not! Remember, dairy is not crucial for good health. I encourage you to go dairy-free and see what it does for you.

Now I’d like to hear from you …

To your good health,

Mark Hyman, MD

From http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-mark-hyman/dairy-free-dairy-6-reason_b_558876.html

25960139_BG1By Kelly Ogle

Marshall, Texas – Diseases of the dinner table continue to drag Oklahoma down. We’re a national leader for heart disease, high-blood pressure, obesity, high cholesterol, stroke, cancer and diabetes.

Being one of the country’s most unhealthy states is costly in sickness, medical and insurance costs, a lower quality-of-life, and early death. However, one Texas town is working to turn the tide on chronic disease.

Marshall, Texas has a population of 25,000. It’s cattle country, with a food culture, like the rest of the south, centered on meat, sugar, processed and fatty fried foods. Like Oklahoma, it’s known as America’s “stroke belt.” But to sit at dinner with Marshall’s Mayor Ed Smith and his wife, Amanda, you’ll hear a different tale.

“If somebody wants to get control of their health, and turn things around, your body will heal itself very quickly,” said Mayor Ed Smith.

Six years ago, Mayor Smith was 40 pounds heavier and diagnosed with prostate cancer. Knowing they needed to make a change, the Smiths Began eating a plant-based, whole foods diet of vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes and whole grains. Amazingly, his prostate cancer disappeared.

“Most of these chronic diseases we have in the United States, for the most part, and even a lot of our cancers are driven by what we’re eating.” Mayor Smith said.

Buoyed by his success, the mayor and his wife offered to share what they had learned.

“We’ve had so many people come up to us that we’ve not even met that tell us their success stories, that is so rewarding,” said Amanda Smith.

In fact, once a month, crowding in a room at the fire house, they share home-cooked healthy foods, exchange recipes and tell their success stories.

“I was 60 pounds heavier, so because of a plant-based diet, this is where I am today,” said Bill Dinsmore of Shreveport, Louisiana.

Sharon Clark of Nacogdoches, Texas also saw success.

“I wasn’t even conscious at first that I was losing weight ’til people started saying ‘are you on a diet?’ and I’m thinking, ‘no, I’ve changed my lifestyle is what I’ve done, I’ve gotten healthy,” she said.

Marshall’s Fire Chief Reggie Cooper was 50 pounds heavier and taking medicine every day for Type 2 diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol. Then he too switched to a plant-based diet.

“In 28 days, what I couldn’t do in five years, I was able to get off all the medications,” Cooper said. “I haven’t been on medication since.”

All because in a world where arterial-stents and open-heart surgeries are considered “normal,” a man in Texas draws headlines for eating his vegetables.

“The end result is it’s been a success in people’s lives that we’ve seen,” Mayor Smith said. “We’ve seen phenomenal changes in people’s health.”

From http://www.news9.com/story/25960139/texas-mayor-shares-secrets-of-his-vegan-town-with-oklahoma

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