|On the Path Center Events A Journey to Heaven - Helping to Construct the Budapest Center|
A Journey to Heaven —
brother initiate Ricky Dearman, London, England
On August 11, 2002, three brothers and I took a plane to Budapest, Hungary to help construct a new center where the European Four-day Retreat was scheduled to begin on the 15th. When our plane landed, we were greeted by two smiling contact persons from Budapest.
On the way from the local airport to the Budapest Center, we encountered a huge downpour, strong gales and extremely cold weather. I noticed that our Hungarian driver-brother had mud all the way up his legs, but he did not seem to mind. He told us that it had been raining for the past two weeks in the area, and that some of the roads around the Center were closed due to their being waterlogged. The weather then got even worse as we approached our destination. Next, the brother told us that we had to get out and walk a short distance to another car, as this particular area had become badly flooded.
As I got out of the car, I immediately became immersed in mud up to my ankles, as the rain hit my face like pins and blinded me. Through the mud, we trudged to the other vehicle. I then passed my water soaked luggage to the brother and climbed into the car. We next discovered that the car had no windshield so the rain poured right in and soaked us even more, if that was possible. By now I was wet and freezing, and thought I would like to take the next plane home, if possible!
Finally, we pulled into the Budapest Center grounds and saw 15 brothers and sisters who were soaking wet, with mud up to their eyes. They were digging trenches on their hands and knees to prevent more flooding, erecting fences, fixing a roof and so forth, all the while smiling! They greeted us happily with enough enthusiasm to match any victorious army. Before pitching my tent, I stood shivering, watching these “human machines” at work. Their spirit was so strong and united that all one could do was admire them. I was deeply touched and impressed with their strength and passion, and could not help but respect them for their pure devotion.
The next morning, I awoke to find myself immersed in water and then changed into my other wet clothes to meditate. I found that wearing wet clothes was a good way to stop myself from falling asleep. After breakfast, work began. We dug, painted, installed windows, hung doors, etc. Whenever negative thoughts came into my mind, I would look around at the other brothers and sisters, and the thoughts would just dissipate as quickly as they had arisen.
Soon evening came, and I looked forward to a nice, warm shower — until I was told that only cold water was available at the time. So I got in and out of the shower in a record time of about 30 seconds!
Over the next several days, the rain continued to come down in buckets, and the winds got stronger, but we completed our projects nonetheless. We were right on schedule with only a little work left to do. In the meantime, access to the Center had gotten so difficult that cars were unable to reach it. So we had to rent a four-wheel drive range rover to transport disciples and equipment from the main road to the Center, a distance of about half a mile. One of the brothers and I were assigned to this job.
During each journey, as we drove the disciples to the Center, I noticed a change in the area: The whole Center had become filled with powerful blessing energy from Master. We then worked through the night with the help of Master’s blessing power.
On the morning of August 14 the sun came out for the first time in many days. Throughout the day, mini buses, cars and coaches arrived filled with brothers and sisters from many European countries including Germany, France, Sweden, Spain, the U.K the Czech Republic and many others. The initiates had heard news of the flood but were greeted with sunshine instead. As we pulled into the grounds of the Center, the delight on the brothers’ and sisters’ faces shone like sunlight.
The Budapest Center’s surroundings are fit for a movie set, with sunflower fields on three sides. These bright flowers swayed in the wind in total harmony with one another, as the sun’s rays broke through the clouds after a brief downpour, creating a rainbow in the sky. I watched brothers and sisters from all walks of life, of all creeds and colors, talking, eating, sitting, walking or picking wild herbs and mushrooms from the fields. As I savored this moment, I thought “Heaven on Earth” was right here, right now.
Then, as night fell, and a half moon cast its light over the dew, I looked up and saw a mass of stars twinkling, and felt as though I were looking inside myself. Soon something caught my eye — a shooting star that gracefully lit its way through the sky. I thanked Master sincerely for these wonderful experiences, as I zipped up my tent, snuggled in and fell asleep to the soothing sound of crickets.
On the morning of August 17, we heard that Master would communicate with us via an evening videoconference that was to be held at a nearby university. During the conference, we saw Master on the video screen, looking as radiant, charming and witty as ever. She answered all of our questions with unconditional love and wisdom, until all the disciples were satisfied and fulfilled. We then traveled back to the Budapest Center by coach, but we might as well have been flying because we were all afloat in Master’s love and blessing. It was a perfect ending to the European Four-day Retreat!
My mind then went back to where I had been before initiation — I used to be in a fog, often feeling depressed, in pain and without understanding. But now my mind is full of wisdom, knowledge and wealth beyond my wildest dreams. This transformation began four years ago when the most influential person I have ever known came into my life — Supreme Master Ching Hai, Who has brought into my experience people with great courage, integrity, honesty and ethical ideals. Thank you, Master, for helping me travel the road less traveled. Thank you for showing me the true meaning of altruism.