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News 128, While on the Path

Missing Initiation by Twenty Minutes

By brother-initiate Maxwell D. Dube, Johannesburg, South Africa
(originally in English)

My Quest for the Truth

A few years back, I wanted something real in terms of spirituality. So I began my quest for the Truth. I went to church but quickly realized that the "something" was not there and left. I joined a spiritual group and read several religious scriptures and books on philosophy. I delved into Zen, Sufism, Buddhism and conflicts between science and religion. But all this was just not presenting an answer.

Then, one morning, while still in bed, I experienced what I thought was astral travel. It lasted for just a few moments, but was enough to reveal to me what all those books I had read could not. The "something" I was looking for truly existed and was waiting to be discovered!

Enter Master Ching Hai

A while later, I walked into a "Shoprite," one of the giant supermarkets in South Africa, and noticed a pamphlet bearing Master's picture and containing information about a master from the Himalayas. It did not occur to me that the person in the picture was the Master. I thought the lady was probably introducing readers to some old, long-bearded 'guru' from the Himalayas. However, I wrote down the phone number, and the other information on the pamphlet.

After a few months, I noticed the number in my notebook and decided to call. I was told to come to some address where I could be told more details. It was far away from my home, and I could not afford this luxury at the time. So I gave up on the idea. After all, I consoled myself, I could always phone and make fresh arrangements since "the guru" seemed to always be around and not that far away.

Second Contact with Master

Eight months passed, and I never contacted those people again. This time I was walking towards a local corner shop on a weekend morning. A newspaper page, tabloid size, carried a picture of a lady dressed in royal clothing. It also mentioned that an acclaimed spiritual leader was coming to town on November 25, 1999. I was going to attend this lecture, I promised myself.

On the day of the lecture, I walked to the city hall. A sister handed me a sample booklet and welcomed me to the lecture. I immediately recognized Master on the cover of the booklet. "Is She the Master who is coming today?" I asked. The sister smiled and answered me positively. I was surprised, to say the least. I kept looking at Her face on the booklet, and then walked to a table where some old magazines had been placed and collected one from each stack. But there was no time to read, as I was listening keenly to different versions of Master's histories from those who had heard about Her. If only I had gone to that address, I kept cursing myself, I would have some knowledge about this person as well.

For Master's lecture, the hall was packed and everything went well. Some cried on seeing Master; extended hands literally blocked Her way as people made frantic efforts to shake Her hand. And I did shake Her hand as I had hoped.

Missing Initiation the First Time

After what I had heard in the lecture, I very much wanted to be initiated, but the vegetarian diet stood in the way. So I eventually settled for transmission of the Convenient Method, which Master conducted Herself.

After a week or so, having read most of the magazines and the sample booklet, I reflected on the coincidences I had experienced, and compared articles I had read earlier with Master's teachings, and things that had happened in the lives of other initiates that I had read about in the magazines. I meditated for thirty minutes every day and realized that something had happened to me. Therefore, on January 1, 2000, the dawn of the new millennium, I became a full vegetarian. My family was amazed! My yearning became real and I began to realize the full extent of what I had missed when Master came to Johannesburg. Anyway, I was to wait for only three months for a Quan Yin messenger to come and give me initiation. During my wait, the 30-minute Convenient Meditation became frustratingly too short a period but I patiently held on.

Missed Again

News finally came that the messenger would be coming to my area. You can imagine my excitement! I now knew what I was looking for and, above all, knew without a doubt that I wanted it. Three days before the messenger came, local candidates for initiation were told that initiation would be held at the Center at 9:00 AM. On Saturday evening, I met a brother initiate and after some formalities he told me that the initiation was to be held on Tuesday. He reminded me that you should arrive at 8:00 AM for initiation and I just said, "Okay," without giving it much thought. On Monday afternoon, I went to our local supermarket, where I had first made contact with Master. Again I met the same brother I had encountered previously. After we had greeted each other, he said, "Don't forget, you must arrive for initiation at 8:00 AM tomorrow!" Again, without bringing myself to ask why he had emphasized 8:00 instead of 9:00, I replied, "Okay," thinking that he wanted us to watch a video before initiation.

On Tuesday, although the 8:00 AM mentioned by that brother flashed through my mind, it never occurred to me that something was not quite right. I was excited, not knowing that I would be late. I left home at around 8:15 and got to the Center at about 8:35. I was twenty minutes late! They had given some allowance time for late comers but I missed it. Even as I write now, I can feel a mist of tears in my eyes.

The brother who kept reminding me about the time was acting as a security guard. When he told me that I was late, I thought he was joking, and pleaded with him to let me in, but that was outside of his control. He actually went inside to see if there was any chance that I could enter, but came back to say he was sorry. I felt I had been rejected by God! I would have cried out, but I was just dry and dumbfounded, not knowing what to believe.

Another elderly brother, who also could not be initiated because of his age, came along. We sat in his car and told each other our stories-he also had missed his first initiation because of the vegetarian diet. I felt sorry for him, for I still had a chance, but I did not see it that way on that day. Again I had missed the call, missed the divine arrangement. I finally was initiated on December 19, 2000-after a whole year had gone by. Thank you, Master, for giving me the strength and courage to hold on for that long!

As I Look Back ...

Putting all the pieces together, I would not have missed anything if I had had the wisdom to see the signs as they unfolded. Even today, I wonder how much I missed because I had not seen these signs. They were just too subtle. When I look back and notice the perfection in the arrangement, I cannot help but smile. When Master came to South Africa, I am now sure that I was ready but my stupid brain just had a different agenda. That is the time when I should have cried over missing initiation. On the second miss, the Master-power must have noticed the mix-up in time and put a brother from the Center on my path, twice, to try to correct the situation but I missed it all.

Brothers and sisters, be on the lookout, and you can save yourselves a whole year of waiting for initiation!


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