Fred (m): Inspired by Supreme Master Ching Hai's songs and poetry， a brilliant， vegan songwriter from the Washington D.C area， Alex Arndt， has adapted her song 『I Will Forever Love You，』 and poem，『To Thu Hồ，』 into music - a heartfelt piece with the same title， 『I Will Forever Love You.』
Sarah-Mai (f): Performing 『I Will Forever Love You』 is Yvonne Smith， a singer，songwriter， creator，writer，ＴＶ host， speaker，and vegan who is lovingly known as 『The Traveling Vegetarian.』 After becoming a vegan， Yvonne Smith started her own ＴＶ show， and everything related to 『The Traveling Vegetarian』 has become successful. And so it is with great pleasure that we welcome Yvonne Smith to perform 『I Will Forever Love You，』 with Alex Arndt on acoustic guitar. Please welcome Ms. Yvonne Smith and Mr. Alex Arndt！
I Will Forever Love You Poems written by Supreme Master Ching Hai (Vegan)
Music by Alex Arndt (Vegan) Vocals by Yvonne Smith (Vegan)
Ancient souls in repose Golden autumn leaves scattering... A crane soaring with the wind In the void， wings quietly resting
I will forever love you Through all the worlds Through all the lovers Through all the beauties you so adore I will love you
Your heart elegant as brocade Your spirit smooth as velvet Melody as precious stream Music like heavenly rain！
I will forever love you Through all the worlds Through all the lovers Through all the beauties you so adore
I will love you， I will forever love you I will love you， I will forever love you I will love you
You will forever search for the love in yonder You will forever search for the love in yourself I will forever love you
Through all the worlds Through all the lovers Through all the beauties you so adore
I will love you， I will forever love you I will love you， I will forever love you I will love you， I will forever love you I will love you， I will forever love you
Sarah-Mai (f): A stunning performance by Ms. Yvonne Smith and Alex Arndt！ Thank you so much for your special musical treatment of these poems written by Supreme Master Ching Hai.
Fred (m): Ladies and gentlemen， our very special guest for this evening is Supreme Master Ching Hai. But some of you may be wondering， 『Who is Supreme Master Ching Hai？』
Sarah-Mai (f): There is so much I could say about this loving，caring，and compassionate Master. It is said that a tree is known by the fruit it bears. We can also apply this concept to an individual and her contributions to society. The contributions by Supreme Master Ching Hai are countless and include all inhabitants of our Earth. Rather than attempting to describe her myself and share her long list of noble works， credentials，and awards， let's watch this biographical video appropriately entitled 『Walk the Way of Love.』
Video: Walk the Way of Love Supreme Master Ching Hai， as she has affectionately become known to those who have had the pleasure to meet or work with her， lives a message that walks the way of love. A renowned humanitarian，artist and spiritual visionary， her love and assistance has extended beyond all cultural and racial boundaries to millions of people around the world.
Not only are human beings the blessed beneficiaries of her kindness， animals from different species are also the recipients of her boundless benevolence. Supreme Master Ching Hai was born in central Âu Lạc <enter> (Vietnam). During her early years， she was often found helping hospital patients， the needy as well as injured animals， in whichever way she could. As a young adult， she moved to Europe to study and continued there as a translator for the Red Cross.
She soon discovered that pain and suffering exist in all corners of the globe， and her search for the remedy to this became the foremost goal in her life. She was happily married at the time to a German doctor， and although it was an extremely difficult decision for both of them， her husband agreed to a separation. She then embarked on what became a two-year journey in search for spiritual understanding.
Finally，in the deepest reaches of the Himalayas in India，she found an enlightened Master who imparted to her the Quan Yin Method， a meditation technique on the inner Light and Sound. After a period of practice， she became fully enlightened. Soon after her return from the Himalayas， at the earnest request of those around her， Master Ching Hai shared the Quan Yin Method with others， encouraging them to look within to find their own greatness.
Before long， invitations arrived from the United States， Europe，Asia， Australia，Africa and South America as well as from important organizations， for Master Ching Hai to give lectures. The income generated from her artistic creations has enabled Supreme Master Ching Hai to create an independent source of funding for humanitarian activities， in support of her noble mission of assisting God's children in their times of need.
Although she does not seek acknowledgment of any kind，Supreme Master Ching Hai has been given awards worldwide by government officials and private organizations on numerous occasions. These include the World Peace Award，the Award for Outstanding Public Service to Mankind， the ２００６ Gusi Peace Prize， the Los Angeles Music Week Certificate of Commendation， and First Place Silver for the ２７th Annual Telly Awards，２００６. In addition，October ２５ and February ２２ have been proclaimed as Supreme Master Ching Hai Day in the United States.
"She is the light of a great person， an angel of mercy for all of us.』『I dream that all the world will become peaceful. I dream that all the killing will stop. I dream that all the children will walk in peace and harmony. I dream that all the nations shake hands with each other， protect each other and help each other. I dream that our beautiful planet will not be destroyed. It takes billion，billion， trillions of years to produce this planet and it's so beautiful， so wonderful. I dream that it will continue，but in peace， beauty and love.』『The peace and love that we most often talk about and seek， we have within ourselves.』
Fred (m): Ladies and gentlemen， up next is the most anticipated moment of the entire conference - the interview with Commissioner Avila and Supreme Master Ching Hai via videolink.
Sarah-Mai (f): During this session， Supreme Master Ching Hai will graciously answer questions posed by Commissioner Avila， Commissioner Horton， and Mrs. Avila. Commissioner Avila， thank you for hosting this interview segment. We'd also like to take this moment to acknowledge Nancy Hung representing Chicago Chinese News; Peter Anderson， Executive Director of Midwest Area Pit Stop dog rescue，also a vegan; and Dan Maloney， author of Sunrise on Kusatsu Harbor. Thank you for joining us today.
Commissioner Avila (m): Ladies and gentlemen， we are honored to have as our special guest， Supreme Master Ching Hai， joining us today via videolink. Hallo，Master， Supreme Master Ching Hai.
Supreme Master Ching Hai: Hallo. Hallo and thank you.
Commissioner Avila (m): And how are you today？
Supreme Master Ching Hai: I am great，thank you. And how are you？ How is everyone there？
Commissioner Avila (m): Well，we're having a good time here because we're having wonderful weather here in Chicago.
Supreme Master Ching Hai: Good for you.
Commissioner Avila (m): God has blessed us today.
Supreme Master Ching Hai: Good for you.
Commissioner Avila (m): Supreme Master Ching Hai， it is an honor and a pleasure to meet you. I am most appreciative and honored.
Supreme Master Ching Hai: It's my honor，sir， my honor.
Commissioner Avila (m): Thank you very much. I sincerely thank you for accepting our invitation to interview you regarding your poetry book， 『The Love of Centuries，』 and other issues concerning our planet. I was also privileged to receive a copy of 『From Crisis to Peace』 and 『Celestial Art.』 Thank you so much for sharing these books with the world. Before we start the interview session， it would be wonderful if you could share with us some of your insights and wisdom.
Supreme Master Ching Hai: You're too kind，too kind. Thank you，sir，thank you. And thank you， you and Commissioner Horton， and your beautiful wife， Sherry. Thank you all of you， as well， involved in this beautiful conference. You're very kind. May God bless you so much，so much.
Commissioner Avila (m): Yes， when I read your book and when I met your disciples speaking about love and peace… You know，I love God， and I love my wife， and I love my kids，but I love you also，because you are concerned…
Supreme Master Ching Hai: Thank you，thank you. Thank you.
Commissioner Avila (m): Because the way you you're concerned about the kids. The kids are going to save our planet， and that's why we have to educate them on how to save the planet.
Supreme Master Ching Hai: Thank you for doing all you're doing，and my warmest greetings to you， Commissioner Horton， your wife， and everyone there. I am very happy to have a chance to participate in this conference today， (Commissioner Horton (f): Thank you.) and to be in the presence of such distinguished and caring people like yourself， Commissioner Frank Avila， Commissioner Patricia Horton， and Mrs. Sharilyn Avila， your beautiful wife，and So sweet，as well as all the concerned participants attending this discussion.
First of all，my respect for your hard work and high moral principles that guide your endeavors， and at the same time have shaped this great nation of America. You have each reached out and touched many lives in your own capacity. Commissioner Avila and Commissioner Horton have served millions of people through the internationally admired
Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago. It's a long，long title. It's not long enough for your merit actually; you have done all to make sure that people have safe and clean drinking water， while improving the environment in which they live. The people of Cook County are fortunate to have your dedicated guardianship and selfless spirit of service. And Mrs. Sherry Avila， in your diverse community roles， you have enriched the wholesome learning for many people.
All your actions speak volumes of the genuine love and compassion flowing in your heart. You make a lovely couple. Knowing that we all care for people and the environment， we still may wonder about the best way to preserve it for our children and grandchildren， as you care so much about the future generation. Fortunately， we have people like you， whose work offers an example of benevolence and noble values. We also have the teachings of sages past and present to remind us that being kind and virtuous are important，not only because this is right or pleasing to Heaven， but because loving kindness and virtuous living protect us and our world.
The wider we extend our circle of loving kindness， the wider we will be， the wider we will have the shield of protective， positive energy around us. So， imagine this circle extending to encompass all creation，including the whole planetary environment and all the living beings within it. Such a shield would protect us from any negativity or harm， be it climate change， disasters，war，economic depression，etc.，etc. Being vegan- a word that in today's world means to live without exploiting the lesser beings， lesser co-inhabitants， animals- is the most pervasive way to expand this circle of peace.
Veganism is just the modern term for an ancient practice that matches the teachings of ancient prophets like Master Jesus Christ， Prophet Mohammad， Lao Tzu，the Buddha， Socrates，etc. All these great teachers spoke the way of peace and walked the way of veganism，the way of love，for all beings. If we don't walk the way of loving kindness， we will widen the sphere of non-peace，of violence. We can see the evidence of this in the animal farms and the slaughterhouses
Supreme Master Ching Hai: where there is no inch of peace for our innocent and aware animal co-inhabitants. Not only that， there's no peace for the countless wild animals who lose their habitats to the land that is cleared for the animal industry every day. Over ８０% of the Amazon's increasingly deforested areas have become pasture for livestock，with the rest going mostly to livestock-feeding crops. There is also no peace for the millions of people in need，who suffer from hunger and thirst， which is only worsened by the massive resources consumed by the livestock industry.
There is no peace for the neighbors of factory farms， where hydrogen sulfide， ammonia and bacteria-laden dust can create an unbearable stench and cause health problems that have both trapped people within， and driven them away from，their homes. There is no peace even for the consumers who are plagued by the rising incidence of meat-related diseases. As the vegan doctor (Dr.) Neal Barnard has pointed out， ４０００ Americans have heart attacks every day due to meat eating. Every day， ４０００ Americans suffer heart attacks. Can you imagine？ That's heart attack alone; there are other things that we don't mention.
There's no peace for the animal industry workers even，whose bleak and hazardous working conditions today remain similar to those of the Chicago Union's stockyards meatpacking days a century ago. I guess you have not forgotten. Human Rights Watch calls meatpacking or slaughtering the most dangerous factory job in America; and in the end，there's no peace even for the few who financially profit from the meat and dairy industry. They must bear the dreadful consequences of their actions， if not in this life， then in the hereafter，because God has warned those who harm or kill animals that they should stop all this cruelty.
It says so in the Bible. `Stop all this cruelty or He will turn His head away when they pray to Him， because their hands are full of innocent blood.' So，a completely peaceful world must be a vegan world， where all beings live in peace and do not fear one another. Therefore， I urgently call upon all the caring people to please be vegan， and also pray and meditate for World Vegan， World Peace. This is to protect our planet，our lives and our souls with our positive energy. Please be vegan to manifest peace and health，at least in your circle of life， so that together we can lessen the violence and sorrow，and increase happiness and love in our world.; and this shall be the kind of tomorrow we could ensure for our children and all beings on the planet. Thank you. May God bless us all.
Commissioner Horton (f): Now，my next question. The United States is facing a huge budget deficit， and the government is considering cutting Medicare cost as a part of the solution to reduce the budget deficit.
Supreme Master Ching Hai: No，no. Commissioner Horton (f): Some people oppose the reduction of the Medicare program. Earlier there had been a heated debate on the healthcare reform as well，in the United States. It seems most of the people have already focused their attention on medical treatment. How can we change people's thinking to live in a way to prevent us from getting sick， rather than treat our health after we get sick？
Supreme Master Ching Hai: That's it，that's it， Madam Commissioner. You're right. Prevention. That is very crucial for people to know.
Commissioner Horton (f): That's right.
Supreme Master Ching Hai: Prevention is better than cure，and it saves a lot of money， then the government doesn't even need to cut because we will not spend so much on healthcare anymore， if people have gone vegan. And if you turn vegan， (Commissioner Horton (f): That's right.) you live healthy immediately.
It has been proven through clinical research and medical proof， exams. We should have the governments and responsible authorities refer people to the right information and to propagate a healthier lifestyle for the benefit of humans as well as the planet. The governments can do a whole lot by giving people references through newspapers， broadcasting television， radio，and using networks such as the media or internet to share valuable information about the preventive way to living a long and healthy life; and in making use of this power of the media， I again congratulate the Commissioner and Mrs. Sherry Avila for their television shows that help people to become more aware of the environment and their health so that they can directly improve their own circumstances.
Similarly，all government leaders can also share the medical research that clearly highlight the benefits of a healthy vegan diet. We know now through science that the vegan diet can reverse and eliminate (Commissioner Horton (f): That's right.) all types of disease， even cancers，diabetes， and heart diseases etc. It means reversed immediately in many cases. People just stop having heart attacks or heart problem; as soon as they turn vegan， the heart problem stops. (Commissioner Horton (f): They go away.) It's just like a miracle. It's no miracle. Yes.
We just have to eat scientifically. We don't put poison into our body and expect it to run well， just like we don't put water in the car to replace petrol， or mix it with petrol， then of course our car will have problems. This is all like engine， car: we have to treat it nicely，wisely，scientifically. The government can also collaborate with forward-thinking professional organizations， such as the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine， based in Washington D. C.， the capital - they live next door; the government should discuss with them- whose members promote a vegan diet as effective， proven preventive medicine.
You can ask them for all the proof you need. Staying healthy is everyone's dream， but we have to do it. Don't just dream about it， not just talk about it: make it happen！ Yes，make it happen. Go about to put back health into our body. So you are absolutely right， Commissioner Horton， people have to know that， not only our health but our planet's future depends on it. The government is in the right position and has the right power to start connecting people to these resources. Thank you，Madam.
I get all excited when it comes to people's health and happiness， because it's right there in front of our eyes. Everyone can be healthy and happy. Why don't we just do it， you know？ I'm just so excited，because it's so easy. Why do people have to suffer？ Lack of information， wrong lobby， wrong advocate. Please turn around. Help people to stay healthy and happy， then the country grows also strong. The country will grow strong if you have strong people，healthy people. Thank you，ma'am. Commissioner Horton (f): Thank you. Thank you.
Supreme Master Ching Hai: Start from Chicago.
Commissioner Horton (f): And I will continue to take this message forward. Thank you and everyone here who has been a great example. Thank you， Supreme Master Ching Hai， for sharing your thoughts. (Supreme Master Ching Hai: God bless you.) And they will forever be in my heart. And I love you.
Supreme Master Ching Hai: Thank you. God loves you. It's easy to love you.
Commissioner Avila (m): And now Supreme Master Ching Hai， my lovely wife has a question to ask，also.
Supreme Master Ching Hai: Yes，ma'am.
Mrs. Sherry Avila (f): Good evening.
Supreme Master Ching Hai: The better half. Good evening， Madam Sherry.
Mrs. Sherry Avila (f): I just wanted to start off with saying that I probably started being a vegan when I was about １０ years old， and the teacher said 『Make sure there's a green and yellow vegetable on the plate，』 and I went home and told my mother that， and my mother was very like，『What？！』 But since then，now my vegetables are green， yellow，red， and all the colors of the rainbow probably， but I know that I feel better when I eat a lot of vegetables，(Supreme Master Ching Hai: Yes.) and follow the diet， and I know that I sing better - for anybody out there who is a singer， keep that in mind - and I know that my overall well-being， psychologically，is better.
Supreme Master Ching Hai: (Yes.)
Mrs. Sherry Avila (f): There are just so many wonderful，honestly， benefits from eating vegan that it's just endless almost. So I just wanted to share that before I begin my question.
Supreme Master Ching Hai: You are a good example - your skin looks good， your eyes sparkling， and your hair is full. Good example，Madam.
Mrs. Sherry Avila (f): Thank you，thank you.
Supreme Master Ching Hai: You've been vegan all this time？ Can we hear you singing later on？ Short，maybe？ Or maybe now even？
Commissioner Avila (m): She is a good singer - she loves the Irish songs， and I love the Irish songs also. (Supreme Master Ching Hai: Yes.)
Mrs. Sherry Avila (f): Well we're going to have some wonderful singers here that it will be fun to hear. So…
Supreme Master Ching Hai: No but it's different - you and him sing one short song - it's just a minute.
Mrs. Sherry Avila (f): Let's get on with the question.
Supreme Master Ching Hai: Okay ma'am. You're too modest，yes.
Mrs. Sherry Avila (f): So I think the bottom line here is for everybody - we all want to be healthy.
Supreme Master Ching Hai: Yes.
Mrs. Sherry Avila (f): That's the bottom line. (Supreme Master Ching Hai: Sure. Sure.) And your words that you shared made a big difference， will make a big difference - now even as we speak， and as Patricia said， go forward.
Supreme Master Ching Hai: Yes.
Mrs. Sherry Avila (f): I was particularly touched by the poem， 『Please Don't！』 from your poetry book， 『The Love of Centuries.』 (Supreme Master Ching Hai: It's a long one.) I have a personal connection to that poem， because my father served in the Philippines during World War II and I got to know a combination of the sufferings that he suffered there and continued to suffer even here，when he was back in the United States.
Supreme Master Ching Hai: I'm so sorry.
Mrs. Sherry Avila (f): In your poem 『Please Don't！』 you portray how war is against human nature， (Supreme Master Ching Hai: Right.) which I truly believe. I would like to read a few words from that poem， and so I am going to read those now.
Please don't go！ Leaving an elderly mother and innocent siblings There's no real hatred among us human beings.
Battlefields have but guns， swords and hostilities While here a warm house welcomes your company.
Please don't go！ Wreaking suffering on others There's no real animosity， only thirst for power
Countless corpses lie shriveled to expand an empire Whereas here only love， peace and safety thrive.
Taking lives，we'll have to pay with our own How can we rejoice in causing demise and separation？
Only boundless， lasting compassion Shall make us great among all creation…
This is very emotional to me. (Supreme Master Ching Hai: I see.) There are many conflicts in the world right now as we all know (Supreme Master Ching Hai: Yes.) and the words of this poem speak very strongly about our current time. How can we make people understand that war is not the solution to conflicts？ Can you explain the best ways for countries to protect their uniqueness，spiritual and moral values，and material possessions？
Supreme Master Ching Hai: Yes，yes，ma'am. Thank you，Mrs. Avila， for your genuine concern for the people in turmoil right now. Thank you. Yes，I also feel a little emotional. The poem was written… the way I felt in my heart. If I could just kneel all day all night begging the world to stop the war and if that would help， I would do it， because I also， like yourself，I also experienced firsthand the suffering of the people during the war， yes - I was born in Âu Lạc (Vietnam) as you know. Right.
We call ourselves civilized society， we are in the ２１st century now and we have developed all kinds of techniques and technological inventions， and we call ourselves advanced，developed， and we do，kind of， look down upon the Stone Age humans as barbarous warlike creatures， who made all grounds their hunting grounds and would kill each other for woman，man love rival，food， water or territories，etc.
We should question ourselves: 『What age are we in now？』 and 『Why we are acting like in Stone Age in some areas？』 I am sorry for your personal pain and may God bless your father and all the victims of war，soldiers and civilians alike. The best way for all the countries to preserve themselves is by helping fellow nations to grow and develop - not by war，not by killing or destroying humans， fellow humans， causing so much loss， pain and suffering on all levels as you know it. The United States policy has many good points， mind you，like respecting and welcoming the talented， the brainy people， the genuine，good humans， the experts，and the spiritual genuines; also expanding the land state by state with peaceful means; that's why your country expanded now.
In the East，the ancient political strategy has always been to control the nearby nations and to befriend the faraway lands. So countries in the East，for example，have always expanded and prospered， despite occasional periods of setback. Mind you，I have to tell you this strategy originated from China， since ancient times. They want to always，like， conquer the neighbors and befriend the faraway lands. Actually，the policy has some good logical point - not the invasion part - but the part that you have to be strong， yourselves，your nation，has to be strong， because the neighboring countries would not ire your nation if you are powerful and strong， naturally.
So for peace sake， that is，to protect our land and people， we should be strong. Maybe we should have muscle - so to say - to ward off invasion， but to engage in war with faraway lands would be costly， too costly，as you know it， and difficult due to distance. This the what ancient strategists already knew - it's all written in the war and peace strategy of Chinese policy. If you don't believe me， you can read it. It's called 『Sun Tzu Ping Fa，』means the military strategy of Master Sun. It's very famous，okay？
If we engage in war with a faraway land… Even nowadays we have airplanes and all that， distance doesn't mean much，but still it's very costly，and the supply is difficult and lacking in the military， or food or familiar nutrition for the soldiers; the unfamiliar surroundings， the different languages and backgrounds， the traditions and climates etc.，the soldiers cannot be used to. Soldiers will be more fatigued because of all that: less confident， more fearful， more vulnerable and lacking morale， while the so-called enemies are in their own elements， knowing their steps， knowing every corner of their countries and can be more in control of all combat advantages.
It would be even better - I would say the best - of course，if we do not so-called control the neighboring nations by force，but instead offer benevolent assistance in all near and far corners of the world. We should use our power and financial privilege to extend humanitarian rather than military help or even aggressive action to those weaker and developing nations. Then enemies would fade. You see，Abraham Lincoln， what did he say？ 『I destroy my enemies by making them my friends.』 Even your past president knew these lessons. The enemies then would fade. Peace would be possible and the global economy will stabilize and bloom， and soon all nations will enjoy the same prosperity and peace，dignity and freedom as family members of the human race.
The people in the world will respect and cooperate with each other， or with the powerful nations，not out of fear of strong military force， but out of respect and love for any country， however strong and rich， because from their hearts they love and respect this country and the government that's offering them help. Meanwhile， these countries can all develop in their own space and time while preserving their traditions and protecting moral values， and the country who helps，you see， also profits because they will not have to spend so much money in war.
And we can learn from each other: no matter how developed or underdeveloped the country，we always have something to offer; and the helping hands will also receive manifold benefits， from economy to peace， from happiness to Heaven's blessing. And since charity begins at home，I would like to say that I appreciate your many endeavors in your own community to help it flourish and develop，such as through your church or by introducing people to cultural beauty at one of your local art museums and the Irish American Heritage Center， and before that as a Girl Scouts leader yourself. With gentle，wholesome vegan teachers as yourself who make positive impacts， we could have a more peaceful world. We should have more people like you. Thanks again，Mrs. Avila.
Mrs. Sherry Avila (f): Thank you.
Supreme Master Ching Hai: Ma chérie. Thank you，ma chérie. That is the French for 『My darling.』 Your name，Sherry， is similar to 『ma chérie』 in French.
(Mrs. Sherry Avila (f): Yes.
Supreme Master Ching Hai: Okay.)
Mrs. Sherry Avila (f): I just went to a cross-cultural， cross-racial seminar last Saturday. And it was brought up that through love that would help us to try to understand each other better. It was a very interesting seminar- cross-cultural， cross-racial， through the church.
Supreme Master Ching Hai: Yes，I hope there are more activities and more people like you who really get down to work with the people， not just sit and talk.
Mrs. Sherry Avila (f): Well， when I came back home to the church and I said to the congregation that I attended this cross-cultural， cross-racial seminar， 『I think some of you would like to go to this，』 several people came up to me and they said they would like to go to this. (Supreme Master Ching Hai: See？) So I think that when the opportunity is there， there are others out there who are open and willing，ready to learn， so… (Supreme Master Ching Hai: Right.) and I actually have your poetry book with me. This is 『The Love of Centuries.』 Frank and I really love the book， both the illustrations in it as well as the words in it and the variety of poetry that's in it and so I have another poem.
Supreme Master Ching Hai: I'm glad you like it. Another poem？
Mrs. Sherry Avila (f): And so I'm going to read the touching poem.
Supreme Master Ching Hai: You're really a poem lover，aren't you？
Mrs. Sherry Avila (f): Yes，yes. My daughter was the founder of the poetry club in high school.
Supreme Master Ching Hai: Really？ Wow， she takes it from whom？
Mrs. Sherry Avila (f): So this particular touching poem， which is actually an environmental poem， (Supreme Master Ching Hai: Yes.) is 『Please Wake Up！』 And as I said，it's from 『The Love of Centuries.』
O world， wake up and behold Rivers and mountains are in tumult Burnt forests，eroded hills， desiccated streams Whither do the poor souls go in the end of all dreams？
O heart， relent your sobbing For my soul to rest in long nights Tears dried up and I'm wordless Weeping in pain for the tormented！
O night，please kindle your source of light Shine the way for those human souls in darkness Be serene for my mind to still And enter emptiness with the miraculous celestial melody.
O day， stir not sudden unrests For peace to repose in our very hearts For humankind's struggles to subside For the true Self to gloriously shine.
Mrs. Sherry Avila (f): So I was particular touched by that poem because it is an environmental poem and we have become very actively involved in the environment. And so，that inspired my husband and me to continue to help people to renew our planet， and although the world is lively and advanced， many of us did not realize that we were asleep. I think when Frank and I go to some of these conferences and we find out more and more about the toxins and the pesticides and so forth，we realize that we're definitely asleep. How did we come to this slumber？ That's the question， I guess. What are some of the ways to awaken people？ Will we ever know our 『True Self』 in order for it to 『gloriously shine』 as your poem states？ Thank you， Supreme Master.
Supreme Master Ching Hai: Thank you，Madam. I have something to tell you，which I did not tell anyone before. When I read that poetry together with the 『Please Don't！ 』 I was very，very in a physical bad shape. I thought that was the last thing I'd ever tell the world - in these poems. It was really all my heart and soul in there， and I was crying when I wrote it. And I was crying when I read it. I thought that was the last time I'd ever tell the world anything. I thought I was going to say goodbye to the world. That was a kind of a goodbye poem as well.
But Heaven wants me to continue to stay in this world for a while longer， so that's probably why it touched you so much， because… It's even translated， it's not as original as in the Vietnamese (Aulacese) which is even more stirring，for me at least. So anyway，I am glad that it touched you. Maybe it has touched some other people as well and maybe it will remind them to do something for themselves and for the planet， something more positive， more constructive. I thought that was the last speech I'd ever make，in poem，yes. But I'm still here， thanks to God and Heaven. They told me， 『No，no，you stay.』 Okay.
Well，Madam， to know the True Self for it to gloriously shine through，there are only two things to do. We are already God-like， we're already the children of God， and the children have similar quality to the parents， we all know that， even physically. Children are from parents， we are the children from God，so we are God. At least we're God's children， God's offspring. So to know our True Self， to know the meaning the Kingdom of God， is very easy. That's just to go back to our Origin，to turn back to where we are. Just like if your children got lost on the street， and if they found their way back home， then they're back home again，because they're already your children.
There's nothing that can change that. No law，no disaster， nothing can change the fact that your daughter is Miss Avila，your daughter. You see？ Yes. So if everyone told us， all the Masters of old told us，that we are the children of God， then we are the children of God！ Why should Jesus lie to us about our origin？ Why should Buddha tell us the untruth about our greatness？ So we have to believe it. We are the children of God，no？ So to go back to be the children of God again， it's so easy.
If everyone told us, all the Masters of old told us that we are the children of God, then we are the children of God. Why should Jesus lie to us about our origin? Why should Buddha tell us the untruth about our greatness? So we have to believe it. We are the children of God, no? So to go back to be the children of God again, it's so easy. But since we have come to this slumber as you have put it, we just have to wake up.
There are two things to do only, very simple: the physical and the spiritual. Physically we have to clean ourselves in order to recognize ourselves again. Suppose your daughter has been lost on the streets for many days or many months and she has been in hardship, because she's without home, without parents, and when you find her, you cannot even recognize her. She wouldn't even recognize herself, the way she was before; she'd be dirty and unkempt, and tattered, maybe very sick and troubled. Yes? So, the first thing, clean her, no? Bathe her, give her new clothes, feed her, so that she becomes strong and healthy again.
Now, similarly, to go back to our True Self, the two things to do: physical and spiritual. Physical: clean ourselves by turning back to the compassionate lifestyle, God-like lifestyle, Heaven-like lifestyle. No harming, no killing others. Just everything it said in the Bible, or in the Buddha's sutra (scripture) or in Mahavira's sutra, or even in the Qu'ran. We misunderstood the Prophets when we kill others, even for God's sake; we are not to do that. God never teaches any of us to kill. The first commandment in the Bible is “Thou shall not kill.” That includes the animals, because God did not say thou shall not kill men but can kill animals.
No, it was very clear already, I have mentioned before. So now we have to return to the God-like. You know she has to behave now like Miss Avila, the way she was before. Even if she has been on the street, maybe bad influence or something, met some bad people and maybe misbehaved and not behaved nobly or, like the daughter of the great commissioner and madam like that, she has to return to family life, a good-girl lifestyle now, you see? Same.
So physically we clean ourselves by keeping the five peace principles: Not kill, not steal, not tell lie, not commit wrong sexual relationship except with your partner, and do not take poison, like intoxicants, drugs, alcohol, cigarette. These are poison for the body. Meat is also poison. We know it by now already. So we have to eliminate all these in order to keep our body clean and healthy to receive the strong, powerful grace again, because a sick body cannot assimilate good vitamins or nutrition. It could even turn into poison. Yes?
If your stomach is poisoned somehow and you drink milk it gets worse, for example like that, or if you eat something, you get worse. Yes, food turns into poison. So now, first of all, physical, we clean our “house,” clean the “temple.” Live the way a God-child would live. No harming any, just helping, being benevolent, being virtuous. So, you see, the five universal principles are in all religions, more or less modified, but it's the same. We keep those five precepts. That's the one thing; be vegan.
It is also included in those five precepts, because do not harm or do not kill means indirectly as well. If we don't harm the animals but we eat them, then other people have to harm or kill them for us. So the vegan diet is included in the first principle. So, physically we keep the five peace universal principles, and then we're clean and pure, ready for God's Light again. Secondly, spiritual. This is a harder part, but it's not hard if we can find the Guide who helps us. Nowadays, it's not difficult: we have internet; we know which gurus teach what, which school teach what yoga, teach what meditation. There's no excuse to say that we don't know. We know everything, we just don't do it. That is the second part.
Now we're ready, we're clean, the “temple” is swept and washed and mopped, everything clean; now we go and find the Guide to show us how to see the Light within again, the Light that's mentioned in the Bible, the Light which shines in darkness but darkness knows it not. Okay? `Know you not that the Light is within you.' “Know you not that the Kingdom of God is at hand.” You see that? Okay, now, we have to find that Guide, the Guide that knows, the friend or teacher, whatever you call him or her, a Guide, who has already been enlightened, who already sees the Light - I don't mean the flashlight here, the electrical light, I mean the Light inside you, the Light without any instrument.
When you close your eyes, your whole body is flushed with Light, Light of more than a thousand suns. You are that. You are that Light. You are that God quality. And there's also the Music of the spheres. You can hear forever and it will soothe your troubles, heal your bodies, enlighten your souls, make you closer and closer to God. So, very simple: Physical, clean the “temple”; spiritual, find the Guide to show you how to reconnect with yourself. Because you are the great Self, you are the children of God. Everybody says, “You are the children of God.” “I'm the child of God.” But how, what? You have to prove it to yourselves that you are the children of God by contacting God, and if you cannot do it yourselves, just go find somebody who knows how.
Mostly… I have to say that I think all the teachers teach these things free of charge, because it's your property, so nobody costs anything anyway. Suppose you forget your glasses in your pocket and I say, “Hey, your glasses are there, look in your pocket,” should I charge you for that? For the guidance that your glasses are in your pocket? No, no. Therefore all these teaching are free of charge, ever since time immemorial. So, Madam, that's it. Two things to do; physical, spiritual.
There are many teachers, yes, who teach different ways, or just… anyone could find what he is looking for. When you're ready for spiritual guidance, you will find a teacher, or the Guide; we call it the “Guide” anyway, the inner Guide. Yes. The outer Guide will guide you to the inner Guide, and then you can talk to Jesus, talk to Buddha, to Prophet Mohammad, whomever you would like to contact, and contact direct to God. Why listen to anything? Why read the secondhand experience from anybody? Like, okay, `John sees the Light,' `John hears the trumpet.' You will see the Light. You will hear the trumpet. It's the same. You will see God like a bush of fire. Yes.
You will hear God's voice like the Sound of many waters, like the Sound of trumpet, etc., etc. It's mentioned in all kinds of scriptures - Buddhist, Christian, the Granth Sahib, the Hindu scripture, etc., etc. Just have to find it, and verify it. Thank you.
Mrs. Sherry Avila (f): Thank you.
Commissioner Avila (m): Thank you very much for your comment. Mind, body, and spirit. Excellent.
Supreme Master Ching Hai: Yes, sir. That's right, sir.
Commissioner Avila (m): Sherry and I derive great pleasure from the insight you have about people and the world we live in. (Supreme Master Ching Hai: Yes.) Here is my next question. People in the United States are one of the most Hard working people in the world. (Supreme Master Ching Hai: True. True.) And yet our economy has been experiencing downturn in the last few years. So, is it true that the economy does not just depend on how much you work, but something else? If so, what is that?
Supreme Master Ching Hai: It is true, sir, that the economy doesn't depend on how much we work and earn. It also depends on how much we spend or waste. Yes. Right now, you mentioned that Americans are (one of) the hardest working people in the world. I have to testify that it's true. When I was in America, as long as you have money, you can buy anything, 24 hours, seven. Not in every country like that.
Some countries, they have siesta, and they close on the weekend, and they close at certain hours. America, no. No. Even in a small town, you can buy things in Home Depot, for example; if you need, desperately, things, always ready for you. Anytime, you can buy anything in America. So they truly are hard-working people. I had the impression that what you said is true, but the thing is, all this earning and tax paying goes where?
Many places that it's leaking to, your hard-earned tax money. Subsidies. Subsidies for the meat industry - otherwise, the meat industry will go bankrupt, and the hamburger will not cost 99 cents but will cost at least 30 or 50 dollars apiece. That's the leaking “1”. And the US is spending too much money on military operations, in the far lands, as I told you before.
I am sorry. I am very sorry, but I have to tell you the truth because you asked me, and I so much love America because they honor me so many times: at least 10 states of America gave me honorary citizenship and the key to the cities and states and all that. I am forever honored by and grateful for the American government's recognition and many of your presidents, at least five, six presidents, have written congratulations notes to me and given me awards, certificates, Presidential Award, things like that. I am not trying to make you feel bad, I'm just trying to repay your kindness, by telling the truth. You see? Because the policy needs to be turned around.
As President Obama has stated recently, we should not use money For war in foreign land anymore but to use the money for the benefit of the people at home and the needy instead. I'm glad he has said that. I'm glad he has realized that, because that's where the money is running to, and fast-paced. Because, besides the irreplaceable cost to human lives, war puts a great financial burden on the nation. Every day, as you know it yourself - I'm saying this for the sake of others who don't know - every day, the US has been spending at least, at least US$720 million for the war in Iraq alone.
One day, in one country alone, US$720 million. It is also estimated that the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan will cost the US at least US$3.7 trillion in another 10 years of long-term payments and interest. So, even if your citizens, the Americans, are working 24 hours, seven, even if you are the richest country in the world, no matter how large your budget, it will run out. Would you agree with me?
Commissioner Avila (m): Yes. I agree with you. Yes.
Supreme Master Ching Hai: The poor American citizens, they cannot put up with all this. They cannot catch up, no matter how much they're willing, no matter how deep they reach into their pockets, they have nothing in there anymore to reach to. So, it's not the American citizens, it's the policy that has to change. We should not do it as habit as a proud nation always going to war and “beat the…” whatever - you know that - out of everybody else.
The way we're doing like this, it gets bigger and bigger, more and more resistance, and more Americans die also in foreign lands in the prime of their lives. Look at all of them. Look at all the soldiers. You saw them on ＴＶ, how beautiful they are: the best of Americans; the best-looking guys. Any girl in the world would like to marry one of those soldiers. They're so good-looking, aren't they? Beautiful. So beautiful! So pure. Their faces are so pure, and so intelligent. We cannot afford to even waste this kind of human resource. If the Americans, all young and beautiful, and intelligent and handsome like that, go out and are dying all the time like this, what will you have left in the future?
Because able young men have all gone out, got killed. Either that, or you kill other countries' youth and beautiful and able people. Either way it's not correct. You see, plus, we have to spend extra on the aftereffects of the war, such as to care for the veterans, for another… many years. And you can't… Sometimes the budget is not even allowed to care for the veterans. Many veterans became even homeless. (Yes.) It's not fair that they sacrificed their youth, their prime time for the country and then come home to become a homeless beggar.
This is not the dignity for Americans. Please think again, what we can do with all that money. And of course, some of the most painful costs of war are not able to be paid financially but emotionally, psychologically, environmentally and spiritually. So the economy and the sense of accomplishment, for the hardworking people of America, would benefit greatly from the monies being spent on good causes, like President Obama mentioned. (Commissioner Avila (m): Yes.)
We should spend this money on the things that help improve everyone's quality of life. Trillions of dollars, my God! The Americans don't need to work anymore if…
Just sit there and the government takes care, if we have all this money, yes. If we don't spend in war, then Americans can sit pretty, yes. And with all that money saved and all the hardworking Americans, your country will be so powerful that even you don't have to go to any war.
But you weaken your own power, economically, manpowerly, and karmically, okay? This I cannot prove, but I can only tell you logically that if we spend all the money, then we have to go begging elsewhere; and where goes the dignity of the great nation like America?
First, charity begins at home. We have to take care of our home, we have to have a stable foundation before we even take care of the world. We could provide in abundance for children's education, parents' healthcare, the things that help improve everybody's quality of life, you know: early retirements, more hobbies, more happiness, upliftment of the disadvantaged neighbors, and investing in green technology or organic farming; in short, prosperity for everyone to enjoy their God-given lives on Earth. Thank you for your thought-inspiring question, Commissioner Avila.
Supreme Master Ching Hai: I just have to tell the truth.
Commissioner Avila (m): And thank you for your thought-provoking answer.
Supreme Master Ching Hai: I hope it helps, sir.
Commissioner Avila (m): And, you know, I agree that if we spend that money on organic farming,(Supreme Master Ching Hai: Yes, yes, organic farming. Yes.), that would help us and the world also.
Supreme Master Ching Hai: Yes, and people will be healthy, (Commissioner Avila (m): Yes.) and the planet will be saved. Because organic farming also absorbs 40% CO2 in the air also.
Commissioner Avila (m): Yes, that's true. You know, when we treat wastewater, at the end it comes out in what we call “bio-solids” and liquid. Well the bio-solid is fertilizer, and when we give it to the farmers to grow their crops, (Supreme Master Ching Hai: Yes.) they have greater yield per acre using our treated waste. Our human waste is treated as you mentioned; the animal waste is not treated.
Supreme Master Ching Hai: Yes, understand, yes.
Commissioner Avila (m): And that's what causing the problem as you mentioned, down in the Gulf of Mexico. (Supreme Master Ching Hai: Yes.) We have that dead zone down there.
Supreme Master Ching Hai: Yes, yes. I'm glad you are doing something. It's helping your community; and then other counties, other cities could learn from your method or your examples. Thank you. Yes.
Commissioner Avila (m): Now Sherry will ask the next question.
Supreme Master Ching Hai: Yes, ma'am.
Mrs. Sherry Avila (f): When I was a Girl Scout leader, part of the program was a cross-religious, cross-cultural invitation, that we would get to know somebody from another culture, from another religion, (Supreme Master Ching Hai: Right.) and I was very fortunate, because I knew Amber. Amber was Muslim, (Supreme Master Ching Hai: Oh.) and Amber invited us to her home, (Supreme Master Ching Hai: Yes.) and all my Girl Scouts came to her home, and she helped them to understand the Muslim religion, (Supreme Master Ching Hai: Yes.) and… She helped us.
She also had a baby at the time. She fed my Girl Scouts, and she was very generous and kind to them, and that brings me to my next question, Supreme Master Ching Hai. The freedom of religion is guaranteed by the Bill of Rights in the United States Constitution. (Supreme Master Ching Hai: That's right.) Mrs. Sherry Avila (f): In the past few centuries, many faiths have flourished in this country, thanks to that Bill of Rights. (Supreme Master Ching Hai: Yes.) However, after the tragedy of 9/11, there has been a tendency of discrimination against Islamic citizens.
Also, there has been an increase in the number of Islamic schools so that the Muslim children would be treated with respect and dignity in their own schools, because they weren't being treated with respect and dignity in the public schools. What can people do to stop prejudice, and to promote love and peace among all people, regardless of religious background?
Supreme Master Ching Hai: Yes, yes Mrs. Avila. It's not only in the United States, but there is kind of a wave of “counter-Muslim” in the world, including in the European Union. Hence, you see many new laws come in, you know, like the law that discourages or forbids Muslim ladies to wear a full gown to cover the face, for example? It had not been like that before - just recently. It's because, I think, the government is also afraid that any extremists could disguise themselves in the garb of this full-veiled woman Muslim, and do some harm to the public. That's another thing.
And one more thing is they want them to integrate into the country where they stay, to be like everyone else, you know? Like, “we like to know each other, we like to see what each other look like.” I also, not for religion, but I would have loved to have seen the lovely woman behind the veil also, because I've seen some of them. When I was still married with my husband, some Muslim ladies came to have treatment from him, and when they unveiled the veil, they were very beautiful inside, very beautiful.
Mrs. Sherry Avila (f): Very beautiful eyes.
Supreme Master Ching Hai: Yes, beautiful eyes, yes, and flashing their eyelashes, you know? Very, very attractive. God creates us so beautifully. I would have liked to see them, you know? - man, woman without covering, yes. In the West, people are also afraid that if you cover yourselves, that means you have something to hide. That's why they're afraid, and especially after 9/11. You know, it affects not only America but affects the world as well.
So, you see, I share the same wish with you. And we all have to exercise - help each other - tolerance and understanding for the different stages of development in various nations. We should try to reflect on the common ground that we all have, that we all share; that is love, universal love, and love for the family. We all have, whether Muslim or Christian or Buddhist, love for our favorite family members, our pets, our friends, our teachers, our countries. We all have this kind of love, Muslim or not. We all have all this common ground that we all share. We all have the innate nature within us to “love thy neighbor” and to help them when they are in need.
So, we just have to be loving, friendly, and let each one be, let each one be in peace. Saying that, however, I would like very much also to see the people of Islamic faith really go all the way to take responsibility for world peace, to take any opportunity to have respect, to integrate into the societies where they live, and to prove their worth; the more they hide in their own community, the more people will not understand them. You see, just like when you were in the Girl Scouts time, the Muslim lady invited the children to her home, and therefore the children understood what Islam is all about.
They see the kindness with the Muslim people. You see that? The example speaks louder than words. So they, the Muslim people, also should open their hearts and minds and houses as well, to accept others, no matter how different in looks, religious beliefs, and traditions. If the Muslim people are in America, they should try to integrate to become like Americans.
I don't mean eat the same or have to go to the same church or anything, but outwardly at least look like the neighbors -yes? - so that there is no maybe suspicions, or a little hesitance between the neighbors, yes? If the Americans have a Muslim next door, maybe he or she would like to make friends with the neighbors, but if she comes out always veiled like this or keeps to herself all the time, then the American people, they very much respect privacy, they will not always come and make an initiative to get to know them, thus also know the Muslim faith. You see?
So, in Âu Lạc, Vietnam, there's a saying, “When you enter a river, be mindful of where you're going,” because there are currents difference, and the shallowness and deepness are different in different places of the river. So, be mindful of the currents and the place that you're entering. And “When you enter a home, be mindful of the house rules,” so that you'll be in harmony with your environment, with the people that you meet. It has to be mutual respect and consideration in order to build lasting friendship and peace.
And, above all, everyone, be they Muslim or other faith followers, must discourage and boycott any germination or exercise of violence, because it destabilizes the friendship of nations and destroys peace in the world, including where they live. As God's nature is love and forgiveness and peace, and we are God's children, we should do the same. Thank you, ma chérie (my darling).
Mrs. Sherry Avila (f): Thank you, Supreme Master. Thank you.
Supreme Master Ching Hai: I also agree that religious and spiritual leaders should work together and let people know that it's time to change, that the planet is in urgent danger now, and we must be more loving in our actions, whatever religion we belong to. And be vegan to save it, whatever religion we belong to, or non-religion we belong to.
VOICE: Please join us on Supreme Master Television, Saturday, September 3, for part 6 of the re-broadcast of the live conference entitled “World Vegan, World Peace: A Conscious Choice,” with Supreme Master Ching Hai; the Honorable Commissioners Frank Avila and Patricia Horton of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago; Ms. Sherry Avila, docent of the Loyola University Museum of Art and the Irish American Heritage Center; and performances celebrating compassion and environment, right here on Words of Wisdom.
Supreme Master Ching Hai: I'm not just trying to talk or convert you or people into my way of life or anything. I was sincerely, honestly, genuinely concerned that, if any word I have spoken, through the grace of Heaven, should benefit people, your people or any people who are listening.
VOICE: Please join us on Supreme Master Television, Sunday, September 4, for part 7 of the re-broadcast of the live conference entitled “World Vegan, World Peace: A Conscious Choice,” with Supreme Master Ching Hai; the Honorable Commissioners Frank Avila and Patricia Horton of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago; Ms. Sherry Avila, docent of the Loyola University Museum of Art and the Irish American Heritage Center; and performances celebrating compassion and environment, right here on Words of Wisdom.
Commissioner Avila (m): World Vegan, World Peace - it's got to be our Conscious Choice. If people stop eating the flesh of another being today, that is a good way to start a responsible, compassionate, and healthy lifestyle. Therefore, the future of the planet is in our hands. We are the protectors. We are the stewards. We are the example of our children. They can pick up where we left off effectively, with a determination to keep the planet clean, fresh, flourishing in peace and in love.
VOICE: Please join us on Supreme Master Television, Tuesday, September 6, for part 8 of the re-broadcast of the live conference entitled “World Vegan, World Peace: A Conscious Choice,” with Supreme Master Ching Hai; the Honorable Commissioners Frank Avila and Patricia Horton of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago; Ms. Sherry Avila, docent of the Loyola University Museum of Art and the Irish American Heritage Center; and performances celebrating compassion and environment, right here on Words of Wisdom.
Commissioner Avila (m): This is our planet home. I was deeply, deeply inspired by the wonderful experience I had tonight. I think we all kind of forget and we go down, but today, wow! I am up. I'm really up. We will continue in our quest to inspire love, peace and compassion. Take care of your heart. Take care of what is in it. Check for the love, the peace, the compassion for all beings, and for the environment.
VOICE: Please join us on Supreme Master Television, Wednesday, September 7, for part 9 of the re-broadcast of the live conference entitled “World Vegan, World Peace: A Conscious Choice,” with Supreme Master Ching Hai; the Honorable Commissioners Frank Avila and Patricia Horton of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago; Ms. Sherry Avila, docent of the Loyola University Museum of Art and the Irish American Heritage Center; and performances celebrating compassion and environment, right here on Words of Wisdom.
VOICE: Tune in to Supreme Master Television today for our program, “World Vegan, World Peace: A Conscious Choice,” on Words of Wisdom.