Today, we celebrate the extraordinary life of the venerated enlightened Sufi Master, al-Hallaj, a brilliant shining star illuminating the Divine nature within all human beings and all of creation. Even to this day, He remains an inspiration to many souls longing for reunification with God.During a lecture in 2019, Supreme Master Ching Hai spoke of al-Hallaj’s immense sacrifice to help the world: “Some Saint even voluntarily, I read it somewhere before, I forgot His name, voluntarily let people sever His arms, His legs, and even His tongue. And He told the person who executed Him like that, who punished Him like that, that please let the tongue be the last, so that He could praise the Lord, He could utter some blessing, before the tongue be cut off. He did this voluntarily. He did that because He understood at that time, that His blood, His sacrifice would help His disciples, His followers, and the world at large in His time. So, He asked to be punished thus, even though He did nothing wrong. So, we, I mean mortal people, would never be able to accept such a situation and pain without hatred, without revenge, in thought even; at least if not action, then the thought. But none! The Saints are like that.”Al-Hallaj was born in the southwest Iranian province of Fars in 858 AD. In His adolescence, around 874 to 894, Islamic mysticism, or Sufism, was in its formative stages. Drawn to this emerging movement, al-Hallaj met His first teacher, Sahl al-Tustari, who lived an ascetic and solitary life immersed in Divine contemplation. Though al-Hallaj only stayed with Sahl for two years, the influence of Sahl’s teachings stayed with Him throughout His life and formed the foundation of His spiritual understanding and practice. Al-Hallaj’s teachings reflected the belief that the image of God in man (nasut) could be awakened and fulfilled by being in communion with that Divine nature (lahut) from where it came. To Him, the highest state of consciousness was not the trance state of mystical union with God, but the permanent wakeful union with God. A person in this state retains all their faculties and freewill, but are perfected by Divine Grace so that the individual becomes a representative of God’s will.