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

10985403_10206633389095571_6481987778354692382_nSpoken by Master Ching Hai

“All the pain, sorrow and misery come not from the outside, not from other people. They come from our inner ignorance. We expect too much from everyone and everything, and then we’re disappointed. So the only source of happiness is inside. Whenever you meditate, try to get in touch with that source. For your sake, for your own happiness, contentment, satisfaction, you must always try to get in touch with that joyful center which is inside all of you. That is where the Master power is. That is where every miracle in the universe can manifest. That’s all loving kindness, that’s where all loving kindness is born. That’s where all the Virtues, beauty and the Truth laying dormant there for you to discover.

Otherwise, sooner or later we all die and go where, who cares? At least when we’re living, we must live a very worthwhile human life. We should be happy and be able to carry on our life in a joyful way. Because that befits our dignity as a human being, as the “Top Ten” of all the animals in this world. We’re the top of physical creation. We don’t know if we’re the top of the universe yet. Maybe not, but at least here, we’re the top of creation. So we must carry on our life as dignified as a human being should be, and not be fearful of everything and stupid and in misery, especially when we have the treasure inside that we can always use.

That’s the only purpose of meditation: that you know yourself and know what true happiness is, not because the Master says so and you have to obey the Master. You obey the Master because it’s good for you, but you must know why. You must know it’s for you, not for the Master.

by Hannah Sentenac

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Hippocrates said it best back in B.C.: “Let food be thy medicine.” Unfortunately, it’s taking today’s medical community a long time to heed his warning.

Luckily, a handful of forward-thinking, science-minded organizations and individuals are finally advocating for the power of plant-based diets, and the Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) is at the forefront.

As part of its commitment to nutritional advocacy, the group is set to open a nonprofit medical center in Washington, DC,—one that’ll be focused entirely around Hippocrates’ wise words.

The plant-based Bernard Medical Center will open on Nov. 2, 2015, offering primary care to thousands of patients per year.

Running the show will be Neal Barnard, M.D., founder and medical director, plus three physicians, one nurse practitioner, and two registered dietitians. The staffers will help clients create custom treatment plans designed to prevent and/or treat chronic conditions and other medical needs.

“With six full-time clinicians, we’ll be able to see about 4,000 patients each year,” Dr. Barnard told LatestVeganNews.com.

The clinic will help people change their lifestyles from top to bottom. As medical professionals, they’ll still be able to write prescriptions and perform standard medical tests, but as the team says in their announcement: “Although we can prescribe medications, we prefer to help you minimize your need for them.”

There’s also a major education component to the facility, says Dr. Barnard.

“Barnard Medical Center will be one of the first clinics of its kind, hosting regular Food for Life classes to educate the community and Barnard Medical Center patients about foods for optimal health and disease prevention,” he explains.

Class specializations will include weight loss, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and different types of pain, including migraines, joint pain, and menstrual cramps.

“Nutrition and lifestyle changes will be at the forefront of treatment,” he explains. At the clinic, the root causes of diseases will be treated—versus just focusing on symptom relief like most modern medical facilities.

The clinic will be setting up shop at 5100 Wisconsin Ave., Suite 401, Washington, DC 20016 on Nov. 2nd, so DC-area residents have a lot to look forward to. Let’s hope Barnard goes on to conquer every city in the U.S.—lord knows we need it.

from http://www.latestvegannews.com

 

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By master Duy Tue
Originally in Vietnamese

Lesson 25 – Good thoughts, good actions

Your grandparents, your uncles, or your cousins may live far away from you. Don’t put them out of your mind. Write to them or give them a call sometimes. You do this to maintain a blood relationship with them.

You may still think about your beloved family members when they are far away but if you don’t try to get in touch with them, your good thoughts for them, after a while, will be good for nothing. You have to turn the good thoughts in your head to good actions. Otherwise, your good thoughts would not help anyone or make anyone happy. If you just keep the good thoughts in your head, after many days they will turn into trash.

You are thankful to and concerned for people around you. Those are good thoughts. And remember to turn them into actions. Practice doing this at a young age and you will grow up living by the rule “Good Thoughts, Good Actions.”

Why actions are important? Because if you just think and don’t act, your brain won’t develop properly and you can’t see and understand things broadly without neglecting details.

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According to the Associated Press, the FDA finally confirmed that chickens given the drug do indeed test positive for inorganic arsenic.

After years of sweeping the issue under the rug, the FDA has now finally admitted that chicken meat sold in the USA contains arsenic, a cancer-causing toxic chemical that’s fatal in high doses. But the real story is where this arsenic comes from: It’s added to the chicken feed on purpose! As far back as 2006, the IATP’s report Playing Chicken: Avoiding Arsenic in your meat estimated that more than 70 percent of all U.S. chickens raised for meat are fed arsenic.  It is added to induce faster weight gain on less feed, and creating the perceived appearance of a healthy color in meat from chickens, turkeys and hogs.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has found that nearly half of all chickens tested have absorbed inorganic arsenic, the most toxic form, in their liver. Based on that finding, the agency asked Pfizer to stop manufacturing Roxarsone, the arsenic-containing drug that’s added to feed to fatten chickens and give meat a bright pink hue.

from :  http://www.livingtraditionally.com

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If you’re like most people, you live almost entirely in your mind. There’s a constant internal dialog going on, the mind always talking to itself. “I need to do this…”, “What if that…”

As soon as one thought is finished, another pops up. This is going on non-stop, so much so that really paying attention to all these thoughts would start to drive you nuts, so all the thinking starts getting pushed into the unconscious where it goes on automatically, habitually.

This is dangerous though, and the fact that nearly everyone else is doing it too doesn’t make it any less so. Your thoughts influence enormously how you perceive your world. In new age jargon, this is the “you create your reality”.

Your beliefs are the lens through which you see the world, though for most, it’s more accurate to say your beliefs are your world. To let the mind ramble on unconsciously is very dangerous because it will go on absorbing, and modifying beliefs without any conscious direction from you, and these beliefs will direct your whole life.

When you’re unaware of your own thoughts, you’re like a leaf blowing in the wind, and it becomes very easy for people to manipulate you. The media can just repeat something over and over again, and whether or not it’s true, the majority of people will start repeating it as fact. Most mainstream forms of media, advertisers and politicians have refined manipulating people into an art.

When you’re caught up in your own mind, it’s difficult to really hear what another person is saying too. Your own thoughts take precedence in your mind, and they can very easily distract you.

You go on half-listening or half-reading what another is saying and at the same time you’re listening to your own thoughts. You get overloaded, too much to take in at once, and so you go on auto-pilot and you operate almost entirely unconsciously.

Unconsciousness reacts, and a reaction is always based upon the past. If you live unconsciously, you will just repeat the past over and over again. It’s very easy to live that way, and it’s very safe, at least by societal standards.

If you truly live in the moment, if you really live consciously, all you know for certain is what’s occurring in this moment, the past is just echoes, and the future is endless possibilities. In living presently, everything opens up, life moves from the known to the unknown to the Unknowable, the Ultimate.

Consciousness is always fresh, always new, always seeing things in different ways. It’s not something planned out beforehand, it’s something that happens entirely in this moment.

We’ve been taught that behaving unconsciously makes us good people though, and that truly making our own decisions, by breaking free of the rigid societal structures, we’ll bring chaos upon ourselves and threaten society as a whole.

The things I’m talking about here may seem fairly mundane, not nearly as exciting as chakras and higher dimensions, but what I’m talking about here, awareness, is the key that unlocks all those things. Spiritual people are always talking about awakening, but what is awakening? Isn’t it simply awareness?

Isn’t that what happens every morning when you wake up? You were sleeping, and now you’re awake, now you’re more aware. Spiritual awakening is just a heightened level of awareness, it’s awareness of more than just the physical realm. You don’t need a bunch of bells and whistles to get there, no need for a spiritual books, gurus, chanting, all you need is awareness.

Greater awareness of the body and mind will naturally lead to awareness of the Soul. It’s the unconsciousness of the mind that distracts from the Soul in the first place, but unconsciousness cannot thrive when the being is aware. Pay close attention to everything, do not let your mind ramble unconsciously.

Really, all you’re doing is acknowledging the way your mind really is. With awareness, little by little, the mind will start to calm. Not by fighting against the mind, not by struggle, but through simple awareness. The worries and fears that thrived in unconsciousness start to shrink when exposed to the light.

People use spirituality like some mental bubble gum. You chew on something for a while, then when it has lost its flavor you spit it out and look for something new to consume. It’s a form of entertainment, some excitement and distraction from an otherwise boring life.

Pay very close attention to all parts of your life, so close that it becomes impossible to ignore any part, whether ecstatic joy or extreme pain.

In this you will be transformed, your feelings will become guideposts in how to live your life, not as an imitation of someone else, but as a celebration of your true self.

http://www.thespiritscience.net

Master Tells Joke

A mother gave her kid two dollars and said, “One is for you to do with as you want, and one is to put in the box in church for God.”

So the kid went around and was playing with the dollars, and then one of them went into the river. She couldn’t find it so she said, “Sorry, God! Your dollar’s gone!”

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Here’s how you make it:

  1. Fill about half a spray bottle with distilled white vinegar.
  2. Add in 1/4 cup of lemon juice.
  3. Fill the majority of the remaining space in your spray bottle with the dish soap of your choice.
  4. Shake the bottle to mix together ingredients.
  5. Use your solution on hard water stains! Spray it on liberally and let it sit for 30 minutes. Then scrub away the grime. Rinse, dry, and marvel at the glorious results.

http://www.tiphero.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.

 

headache-700x466

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

smcow

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 .

 

 

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