Meditation References from different religions  

Why Practice Meditation and Find God?

The Quan Yin Method

The Quan Yin Method

Immediate Enlightenment

Experience of Enlightenment

Inner Light and Sound

Worldly Sound Vs. Supra-worldly Sound

Sound Meditation

References from different religions


References from different religions

You have heard a lot about enlightening methods, and I do agree that there are a few ways to enlightenment, but there is only one highest road. You may go by different ways, but you must go through this one to go up. This way is through the inner light and the inner vibration. The vibration, as I told you yesterday, is what the Bible calls "the Word": "In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." And in the Tao Teh Ching it is called "the Name you cannot name," which is the Word in the Bible, the Shabd (Sound) in the Hindu scriptures, and the Quan Yin (the Sound-hearing) in the Buddhist cannons.

In the Buddhist scriptures Buddha said that the best and only way to reach Buddhahood is through contemplating the inner Sound, the Sound Stream. But in the Bible it doesn't say how to contemplate; it only says you must "go within and listen to the inner Sound," which implies the same as "Fan Wen Wen Tzu Hsing" (Chinese) in Buddhism, meaning listening to your own Nature by turning your hearing inward. So we are confused as to what our own Nature is. If we refer to the Bible it is very easy to understand. When we refer to both back and forth then we can understand each other very quickly.

What is our own Nature, our Self-Nature? It means what we are born from, is that not so? Just as the nature of this table is wood. The table is made of wood and that means its nature is wood. We can say so and it is understandable for everyone. But now, what is our Self-Nature? If Buddha told us to go within and listen to the Self-Nature, or the Sound Stream, that means our Self-Nature is a kind of sound, a kind of vibration. Then, in the Bible it also says, "In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." So, this Sound, this Word is our Self-Nature, because "everything was made by this Word and nothing that is made is not made by this Word."

We know from the Bible that everything was made by the Vibration, by this Word or Sound, or inner Vibration; and Buddha said the same: Listen to your own Self-Nature by turning your hearing inward. Now, to turn your hearing inward and hear your own Self-Nature there must be some sound to hear; otherwise He would tell you to turn your toe inward and feel your own nature, or turn your hand inside and scratch your own nature, no? [Laughter.] No, He said "Turn your hearing inward and hear your Self-Nature". And the Bible neither says that you are made of anything; it says "everything was made by this Word."

The Word is something which sounds, something which vibrates. Because of the language barrier sometimes we use it all differently. In the old, ancient language "Word" means vibration. That's all. In the "Tao Teh Ching" Lao Tzu said, "It is the Name which cannot be named, but you can hear it without ears, can see it without eyes, "which is the same thing all over again. All the bibles and scriptures mention the same thing -- the Vibration, the Origin of all things.

So we know that the inborn Nature, our Self-Nature or Buddha Nature is the Word, the Sound, or the Vibration. The only remaining question is how to contact this inborn Nature -- or God. Because "the Word was God and everything was made by it and there is nothing made that is not made by it," and in the Bible it also says that God made man in His own image, so we have some clues now, is it not so? "Everything was made by the Word and the Word was God," and then "God made man in His own image," so there is no doubt that 2+2=4 -- God is that Word and the Word is our origin, and we and the Word are the same, we and God are the same because God made man in His own image and then, on the other side, everything came from this Word. Can you understand now?

If my speech is very lousy, you are welcome to throw tomatoes [laugher]; if not so lousy I welcome your response because we are studying together. Not I am preaching to you, understand that? We are all of the same Nature. Everything was made by God, or this Word, or this Self-Nature. So do not make me a God and sit there like statues waiting for me to preach some high-reaching sermon or something like that. It is very scaring. We should become equal in order to understand each other, and cooperate in order to communicate. I don't want to sit there like a guru and make so big deal, make a fuss of everything. I sincerely want to discuss with you our questions, our problems which I had before and which, I know, you now carry in your heart. If I have discovered something new, I will tell you; and if it is incorrect, you may tell me. Okay? If you know something better, later you may also inform me. This is a better atmosphere like that.

So now, we know the Bible and the Buddhist sutras have spoken about the same thing. The only remaining question is how to find the Self-Nature, or this Word, or God. To know God is to know this Word, is it not so? We come back to the conclusion because the Word was God and everything was made by it and then God made man in his own image. So we come from this Word or this God. Now we will do some intellectual wrestling just for the sake of fun.

If the Bible says that the Word was God or the Word was with God, then why doesn't it just say, "In the beginning was the Word", or "the Word was God", or "In the beginning was God"? Isn't that so? It is simpler. Why does it have to say "In the beginning was the Word" and then "the Word was with God" and then come back to say, "the Word was God"? Why doesn't it just say "the Word was God" or "In the beginning was the Word" -- forget about God if there is the Word, and forget about the Word if there is God? What were all these complications for? Who knows? Please raise your hand. [Someone answers, "Because the Vibration is what was God."] Yeah, that is good; you are enlightened! Give you an "A."

Therefore, We learn from Buddhism that they also say "in the beginning there was nothing, non-existence." And in Taoism they also say that in the beginning there was nothing, only Tao, and then the Name came (the Vibration, the Word -- in the West we say the Word and in China at the time they said the Name). So the difference between languages made us confused and made all the religions in the world separate and fight with each other. This is a pity. We should not do so.

In the beginning there was only God, or what we call the Love Ocean. There was nothing at all; no vibration, no light, no darkness, no thinking, and no movement; only God. And then the movement arose, and that was the Word, the Vibration. And then everything became created.

So actually, the Word isn't God, but the Word is God. Without God there is no Word, no Sound; and without Sound we don't know God. This is what it -- probably what it exactly meant. It's just like the ocean. If there's no wave then it seems not like an ocean but a big pool, a peaceful lake because the lake is peaceful and has no waves. So the ocean has waves, we all know this, and the waves arise from the ocean. But the ocean actually has no waves, so the waves "are "the ocean. Is it clear?

The same with all things in the ocean. The fish, squid, and all the living beings and non-living beings in the ocean also arose from the ocean. Is it not so? The temperature and the movement in the earth, and the combination of the ocean's atmosphere and temperature and movement made all things become existing in the ocean. They are ocean-born. So, similarly, the Vibration arose in God's blissful ocean of Mercy and Love; and then all things came, by combining with the forces of nature.

There were two forces which then arose. Any movement will create a kind of force or two forces -- one is pro and the other is contra, which we call in Chinese "yin" and "yang," and in the Western terminology "negativity and positivity." When this negativity and positivity are mixed together or somehow integrated with each other, they create a third thing. And that's how all things come into existence. It's like electricity. There are two poles, one negative and the other positive, and when the plus and the minus are put together it creates power. That is what we call electric power, and it starts all movement, lights, and everything we need. Actually electricity is neither positive or negative, but without positivity and negativity we have no electricity.

So, the same with all things. God is neither good or bad; He is only an ocean of indifference and Love, He knows no hatred, no dirtiness, no bad, and no sins; He discriminates not between the bad and good, the beautiful and ugly. So we call Him the ocean of Love and Mercy. But since the term "ocean of Love" may be difficult for us to understand, there arises this Vibration and then the negative and positive, and so we have time to compare, and then we begin to understand what is good and what is bad, what is wisdom and what is ignorance.

It is fun, no? If there were no opposite force, then probably we would always be in ignorance. We could not appreciate God's Love and Mercy. So it also has some purpose.

There is another theory in Buddhism, that people believe there is no God. So the Catholic people call them atheists, meaning they are non-believers, pagans. Now Buddhists deny that they are atheists, by saying they do not believe in God but they believe in Buddha. So both of them are fighting a desperate intellectual battle. I think that when Buddha said there was no God, He did not mean to believe in non-God; He only meant that there was no personality -- a "one" who sits there and says you are bad or good and punishes this one, gives reward to that one. What He meant is that the ocean of Love and Mercy has no name, and the Name which you cannot name is the real Name.

So, actually in different countries the enlightened people speak in a different fashion, and so the unenlightened people are easy to get into confusion. Besides, there is a big mechanism of "priest-craft" -- unenlightened priests who scare people into all kinds of things in order to catch the devotees for their own selfish motives or their own thirst for power and fame. This is also the reason. If they were all enlightened they would respect all kinds of religious scriptures and understand how to go inside and get in contact with God, they would know all things without having to refer to the languages.

That is what Lao Tzu said, "Knowing without knowledge." He also said, "The wise are similar to the ignorant." Does anybody understand this? Why is it that you become so wise and then you look like the ignorant? Anyone knows? [Someone answers, "He meant that the wise one knows that the stupid one will never agree with him anyhow." Is that not so? Because his way of doing things and seeing things is so different, so he doesn't expect the stupid one to understand him, so whatever the stupid one says the wise may say, "Yes, maybe like that. O.K., O.K., you carry on that." Is it not so? Yes, It's similar like that. [Another one replies, "He meant the more one learns the more one realizes how ignorant one is, and so one stops all chatting, all comments and discussing; one becomes humbler."] That's right. So it looks like one learns more and becomes more stupid, more ignorant, and humbler.

But actually the more one learns the humbler one becomes, because he realizes that everyone has God Nature, Buddha's wisdom, and one can learn from each and every one of our neighbors, and one can respect and love each and every one of the human beings he encounters on the street. So one eventually becomes humbler -- maybe that's what Lao Tzu meant. Yes, I do agree with you both.

So, what is it that makes one so humble? It is the great, vast knowledge of the universe which one could never understand enough that makes one humble. For example, when we are in the primary school we learn how to add numbers, such as 4 + 4 = 8 and 3 + 3 = 6. And later we learn more complicated things such as "One tomato costs $3, so if I buy three tomatoes, how much will they cost? If later somebody else asks to buy one from me, then I have only two, then how much do I have to pay, and how much does that person pay?" and all kinds of more complicated things. And when we have solved this problem, we feel very proud, and we come home and tell our parents how great we are at school -- that we can make one tomato less, two tomatoes more without any problem, that we can make the numbers work and run. This is our small accomplishment and we feel very proud. Later, when we go to high school, and college, this petty pride washes itself away because we know there is so little that we know. Is that not so? Yes.

Similarly, those who practice very little boast a lot. They like to let people know that they have "superpower," and they demonstrate it in public or write books about it, charging people money for it. Of course, that is their ultimate gain; we cannot forget that. But those who've practiced up to a very high level will not use these powers any more. They feel ashamed if they ever have to use it, if they are even forced to use it.

Remember the story of Moses? He came back to his kingdom after being banished to the desert and having seen God (that is, he had seen the flame and heard the thunder), remember? That was the inner Vibration and Light. So now we know, if we've practiced this method. Before, I did not know what it meant and I wondered: Why was it that God's voice was like thunder? Why did He appear as a big flame? It sounds so terrible and so scaring. No, the fire wasn't the fire, and the thunder wasn't the thunder. The thunder is so soothing, that we want to listen to it again and again. It's not the thunderous, boisterous outside thunder, it's the inner one which heals all kinds of sickness, ignorance, arrogance, and all kinds of misery.

But I may inform you that the thunder inside is not even the highest Sound you should listen to; it's only one of those beginning sounds. There are others which are more enchanting, more wisdom-offering. I don't know how to explain because there is everything in it.

Now I've forgotten where I was before.... Oh yes, Moses. Now, when Moses came back to the king, he showed off his miracles; he turned sticks into snakes. But then, afterward, he repented and said, I'm sorry. Forgive me, God, for misusing Your power. This is the attitude we should have in the beginning, anyway. And remember the story of Jesus, when He went to the marriage party? He had to make wine out of water. Was He so willing and so proud, and doing that immediately? No, He wasn't. He even slightly scolded His mother, asking, Why have you disclosed these things to people? Is it not so? Yes. He blamed His mother for being so. But because He respected His mother, who had already prepared everything -- telling people to quickly fill the buckets and jugs with water and put them over there and wait for Jesus -- He was forced into the situation. He was so embarrassed. Was it not so?

This is the attitude of the wise. When they have to do these unavoidable things in unavoidable situations they feel very ashamed, not proud. That is the way to discern between a real and a false master. A false master always advertises for his small, petty miraculous power, whereas the real master would never. If they have to, they only do it in secret -- only the disciples know -- and only when it's necessary in order to help the disciples out of some awkward situation or to heal their sickness, or to help them mentally, or to help them in their spiritual progress. The disciples know well how great their master is; they know very well, they alone know.

No wonder when Jesus or Buddha was alive people worshipped them as God, because they knew how great their masters were; only they knew. So when the outside people saw them worshipping their masters like God, even more reverently than they did the average priests, monks, or other so-called prophets, they became jealous, they became angry. So there arose all kinds of attacking and harming.

If only these real masters could demonstrate to the people at large how great they were and how many kinds of miraculous power they possessed, then, you could imagine, how many people would run to them! They don't have to do anything more, they don't have to spend so much money, they just go on TV and make a few tricks. Yes. And it would be enough. Or they could heal some sick people in front of thousands, and that would be the end of their mission. Everybody would come to their feet. No need to do any more advertising, and no need to do so very hard working and running around from one place to another. But they are not to do that, they cannot do that; they are not in a position to do so, and are too humble to do so. They cannot even imagine doing such a thing. That is the problem. But only their disciples know how great they are and any kind of power the master does possess.

There is nothing in this universe that doesn't belong to a real master like Jesus or Buddha or anyone that has attained their level. Do you understand this? The whole universe is their home; every living thing, every blade of grass belongs to them and obeys them at will. But they do not exercise this authority to press on anything because they have the quality of God, and God is free will, freedom, live and let live, love and love only; no pressure, no pushing, no controlling, no hinting, no tricking, no using any power to convert people but using wisdom and logic in order to appeal to their own wisdom so that they themselves awaken -- they awaken themselves. Do you understand? Not by any power or hypnotism.

The master can hypnotize, can do all kinds of miracles but they don't, because they came from God and God is all free, God doesn't interfere with people's business, God doesn't mess around in other's affairs. He leaves you to decide alone which path to follow, which way of life you choose, which realm you want to enter. If you want to go to Heaven He opens it, if you want to go to Hell it is also free of charge! [Laughter.]

The road to Heaven is difficult to follow because "Narrow is the way that leads to life, and broad is the way that leads to destruction and so many will walk therein." Why is it that the road to God is so narrow? Some even say it is like a razor's edge -- so sharp, so difficult to walk on. It is because the road and the way to God is contradictory to our ways of thinking and to the worldly desires and temptations. We have to swim in the ocean but must also prevent our clothes from getting wet. That's how hard it is. We have to live in this world with disciplines and purity like the lotus born from the mud and yet so pure, so clean, and so fragrant. This is how we have to become -- a saint in Hell!

In Buddhism there is a saint, and legend has it that he's forever in hell because he vowed to save the sentient beings in Hell. Now we imagine no one can live in Hell because it is so hot, full of fire and all kinds of punishments. How can a saint, a bodhisattva (meaning a Buddha of the second degree) live in hell, and forever? It is possible by the force of compassion and the power of love--you become immune from any harm or traps. If ordinary people go to hell, they immediately get burned and cannot bear the heat of it; but a saint or anyone who practices the saintly path can go there and visit, having no harm, because of the protection power from the master, meaning God's protection.

Now, we all know that we all have God inside because God is within you; we are told like that in the Bible. So why can't we find Him? Because we are too busy, we have no time to make contact with Him. And whenever we have time, we go to church, then we are busy again: we talk a lot, we sing a lot, also we're busy looking at the words in the Bible -- otherwise we will sing it wrong or do some wrong rituals making the priest angry [laughter]. We are always busy with the outside performances and have no room for an intimate talk with God, therefore we cannot find Him. This is the only secret.

If you want to find Him, I have actually not much to teach you except how to be quiet and what is the best time to catch God -- at what hour. We can make a rendezvous with Him every day and then at the exact time He will appear. And then we become so acquainted with Him. He appears everywhere, any time, any hour, and even, when we are so acquainted with Him, others will see Him within us or near us, standing by. That is so good. Then this so-called God power will flow out like the ocean or a stream and benefit anyone that comes nearby, like a sandalwood. Or as in a perfume shop anyone that comes into smells the nice fragrance, free of charge; or sometimes the shopkeeper will give you a free spray and you come out also feeling so nice [Master laughs]. It is the same with the self-realized soul. It emits a kind of godly fragrance and a supra-mundane virtue that everyone will love to be near and everyone near will feel naturally comfortable.

The same with the master, so-called masters, or Buddha or Christ. They do not actually save any beings, they do not do any particular gestures or have any intention to catch the souls and bring them back home. No. They themselves are the magnet -- they just attract, they can't help it. Even if they want to stop it, it's too late; even if they want to stop giving blessings and happiness and joy to the surrounding people, they cannot do it -- it's too late. It's just like a fountain, which has to keep running and running; just like the ocean, which has to keep being filled like that -- however much the rain comes down, it will not become more full, however much the sun shines it will not become less. It is forever like that.

So, all of us can become saints like Buddha and Jesus. Buddha said that saving sentient beings He did not save sentient beings -- no one was being saved by Buddha. Although His disciples at that time said they were saved by Him, He proclaimed He didn't save anyone. That is the meaning of a natural power which flows spontaneously and naturally from a high self-realized soul, from a master soul to benefit others without Him having to control or so anything on purpose.

This is what is meant by saying: Saving sentient beings but not saving sentient beings. Because if they still have a sense of saving anyone that means they are not completely liberated from the ego, from the self-centered sense of existence, understand? They are not yet entirely liberated from the frame of the human self, so they cannot do this universal work. They cannot contain the limitless, endless, boundless, infinite power of God if they still have a sense of self, because it limits everything, understand that? You cannot contain the limitless if you are limited. That is the logic of it. So in order to become co-worker with God or a Messiah or the master soul, you must become limitless; and in order to become limitless we must practice self-loosening.

So it is said in the bible, "One who sacrifices the self will gain everything." Isn't it so? One who loses the self will gain everything, one who takes care of the self will lose everything. Is that not so? This is what it means. To lose the self is to lose the ego, the sense of limited being and become one with the universe. But it is easier said than done. To be so, to be such a limitless and boundless being one must practice the ever-present power of God, one must reserve some time daily to contact with this "Word," this "with God" Word, and this "was God" Word, or with "the Name that cannot be named" or with the Vibration, or the Sound Stream -- in the Buddhist terminology. They all spoke of the same thing.

If we want to reach the same height as the ancient masters, we have to follow the same path as theirs. It's only simple; so simple is that. It's just as if anyone wants to become a doctor, He has to follow the university way of teaching medicine, and the previous doctors can teach him and he will become a doctor. To become like Christ or Buddha we have to practice the same method as they did, we have to contact the inner flame, the inner thunderous voice of God. And this way I can offer you, and gladly, and freely -- free of all kinds of bondage, conditions, financial, physical or mental commitment. Only your devotion, your devotion to your own practice is needed. Every day you must practice, by your own time schedule and arrangement and your own free will. That is all that is needed.

From "The Tao, the Sound, the Word"
The Key of Immediate Enlightenment II, English Edition
Spoken by Supreme Master Ching Hai
San Francisco, California, USA • May 25, 1989
(originally in English)


The Five Precepts

1. Refrain from taking the life of sentient beings

2. Refrain from speaking what is not true

3. Refrain from taking what is not offered

4. Refrain from sexual misconduct

5. Refrain from the use of intoxicants

The Benefits of a Vegetarian Diet

Master on Meditation

Meditation Questions & Answers

Helpful Tips for Meditation


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