The gods are listening. Whenever we have lecturing, or assemblies like this, they always come around. They love. They love very much. They love this kind of talk, more than humans. They appreciate it more because they truly understand the power of the spoken words of the sutra and of whoever respectfully recited, not necessarily even a high Master.
True love is to let your partner be free. As long as they don’t do anything bad or wrong, or harming anybody else. So you should even learn from their good example and follow that. Follow them. That is true love. Looking in the same direction, if it’s a good direction, of course. Following Master Ching Hai is a good direction or bad direction? (Good!) Good direction. Very wise. One candy for you. Thank you for the sticky rice cake. The dogs lapped it all up, and the assistant loved it. I had no chance today. I haven’t eaten your food yet. I am so sorry, I forgot. I forgot to eat because in the morning I was too busy, and then I had to take medicine, and was so busy, so cold and hungry. The stomach feels bad after taking medicine so the food has not arrived yet because everybody was busy today, my assistant was busy knocking, nailing and fixing the roof together, so I did not want to ask anything. So I took the couple of pieces of vegan bread, and I put some vegan spread on it and just ate that. Yes. Just to calm the stomach. And then after that, (vegan) bread is swollen inside somehow and I didn’t feel hungry at all until now.
I just see because the dog was... I know he knows that the Aulacese (Vietnamese) fried sticky rice cakes are there, so I came: “Oh, truly it’s there!” So I gave some to him, and some to the assistants to keep them warm. They’re working in the cold, wet through, even with the raincoats. I was also running up and down, and wet also, because the path is so small; the umbrella doesn’t always pass. And if I tried to make the umbrella smaller by reducing it from inside then all the water shook on me also. Silly woman. So I forgot that I haven’t eaten anything until now, I mean since the morning because today everybody is busy, so I thought maybe she was also busy helping everybody, so I didn’t want to bother. So I thought anything just to calm the stomach and then I can eat later. And then I forgot because I’ve been working on my roof. I have to clean the house also, and then we jumped onto the dog’s hut, and etc., etc., and the house is always messy because of rain and there’s always something to do. And the dog brings in all these thorns and shakes it all over my house again. Because I open the door, let him in and out because it’s raining. And then I have to work again. And when you’re working, you forget. You forget to eat, yes. But I will, OK? I shared with them these (vegan) spring rolls, no, (vegan) summer rolls, and they ate the sticky cake already. I will eat the rest or some later. Where are we now? But thank you anyway. Thank you, thank you. (My pleasure.)
- So filling a cart with the seven kinds of precious stones and disguising himself as cucumbers, he drove into the city of Benares. How can a cucumber drive himself with a cartful of gold? Probably a cucumber seller or something? I don’t know. I have to read on. I haven’t read this story. But I just read some before and I knew it’s going to be a good story. Not like the other book. I read most of the stories before I read it to you. I choose. Because I read some, they’re so gruesome. I didn’t want to take a chance, therefore I read all, most of all the stories I read to you. This I have not had a chance yet. It’s new. It’s new. And then I was sick. I don’t feel like reading much. So I didn’t check. But I knew it’s going to be a good story. Because I just read some. I was just turning the pages knowing that it explained to people what kind of precepts you keep, and what kind of merit you have, and how a charitable deed will bring you heavenly fruit, heavenly birth, etc. So I knew it’s going to be a good story so I didn’t have to check it. So I don’t know why filling a cart with seven kinds of precious stones … No, no, no. The stones, precious stones disguised as cucumbers. Not him! He drove into the city. Sometimes they didn’t write it very clearly.
Yes, he drove into the city of Benares. “Come, get cucumbers!” he cried aloud, as he entered the street. But when people came to him with coins in their hands, he said, “I do not part with my cucumbers for a price.” He said, “Come get cucumbers.” When people came to buy, he didn’t sell. “On what terms do you part with them, then?” They asked. “I give them to the woman that keeps the precepts,” he replied. “Master, what do you mean by ‘precepts’? Are they black or brown? Or some other color?”
How wise! Imagine, people didn’t even know what precepts are in that day. Many people still don’t know, nowadays. Sometimes, they think they’re Christians, or they think they’re Buddhists. But they don’t really keep precepts. Because if you do keep five precepts only, and then you don’t eat animals because thou shall not kill, thou shall not harm others. And if you eat the fish or the animals, that means you are harming them, either directly or indirectly. Because if you don’t eat, people don’t kill for you. So he just taught his wife the five precepts, and she kept them. So she didn’t eat any live fish, you see? Yes.
Now, so the Sakra, in the form of a vendor, said, “You don’t even know what precepts are? Much less will you keep them. I will give my cucumbers to the woman who keeps the precepts only.” “Master, we know there is a potter’s daughter, who is always going about saying, ‘I keep the precepts.’ You will give them to her, go give them to her.” The potter’s daughter said to him, “Very well, Master, give them to me.” So Sakra pretended he didn’t know. He said, “Who are you?” She said, “I am a maiden that has never failed to keep the precepts.” You know, the moral conducts. Sakra said, “For you alone have I brought these.” And driving his cart to her house, he presented to her, in the guise of cucumbers, celestial treasures which could not be taken away by others. And making his identity known to her, now he said, “Here is wealth sufficient for you to live on.” Rich husband and loving husband. “Keep the Five Precepts unbroken. Continue please.” He said that, and then he departed. It’s really unconditional love. Not that he liked to linger there because he needed her or stayed around with her because he was lonely or he really needed her or anything. He just wanted to help her and to save her from a miserable existence.
At the end of her existence as a potter’s daughter, she was reborn in the world of the asuras, as the daughter of Vepacitti, king of asuras. Already promoted, upgraded, but still far away from her husband’s kingdom yet. God, miserable lot! But the king of asuras, Vepacitti, was a bitter enemy of her husband Sakra. Since she had kept the precepts in the two successive existences, she was fair of form, beautiful. Her skin was of a golden color. And she was endowed with beauty and comeliness, the like of which had never been seen. Vepacitti, king of asuras, said to all the asura princes who sought her in marriage, “You are not fit to marry my daughter.” He said to all of them, yes. Typical father, no? Yes. But also she was so beautiful, too beautiful. Having thus refused to give her in marriage to any of the asura princes, he said, “My daughter shall choose for herself such a husband as she sees fit.” Well, very liberal father.
Chamomile? (Yes.) I think one or two cups a day is enough of this; otherwise you will have a loose stomach, understand that? (Yes.) But it’s good to cleanse up. It’s OK. But it won’t last forever. It probably cleans up every bad thing and flushes it out. But if you need to work then be careful, OK? You can’t leave your computer every five minutes and say, “Boss, I’m sorry. Don’t know what’s wrong with me today.” If you drink every day, then you could drink probably gradually a lot, a lot and a lot more until you’re used to it. But if you drink only now and then for some health reason, then be careful.
All right. So saying, he assembled the host of asuras. You know asuras world? The first world? (Yes.) The one without shadow, understand? That one. That’s a beautiful world, beautiful world. Looks similar to ours, but so bright, so radiant, so beautiful, so wonderful, so enchanting, so charming, so bewitching, so seductive that you’d never want to leave that world. If you happen to go there, if no Master, you will not know. You will just want to stay there forever and you think that is Heaven, utmost Heaven, and you never think of leaving it. But if you go there, if you have the penchant to like it, then Master will blindfold you and drag you up. “Go, go, go, go. This is not a place for you.” Because it’s too beautiful, shining, with Light and Music and anything you want just appearing immediately. Imagine here we have to work for every little drop of water that we take even. Over there, everything is delicious, everything is good. And you don’t even have to do anything for it.
Stretch your legs out, love. Stretch it out before you die. Look at me! I also have to stretch it out. It’s the cold weather and damp in the air and your bones telling you that you have them. You have bones. So take care of your joints. Just stretch it out, OK? Or do some shaking thing like this. All right. I think that’s why the Tibetan monks, they’re always, moving, swaying their bodies sideways, to keep them not numb. Because in some festivals, they have to read big sutras. Imagine you couldn’t read anymore. Or cannot walk out anymore after long hours of reciting. Then it’s bad. OK, can do that. Or do it with your legs then.
So he assembled the host of asuras and placing a garland of flowers in the hand of his daughter, he said to her, “Choose for yourself a husband who suits you.” At that moment, Sakra looked to see where she had been reborn. Lucky he looked quick enough, just a few more seconds she’d be taken. Perceiving what was taking place, he assumed the form of an aged, old asura, and went and stood in the outer circle of the assembled company. The daughter of Vepacitti looked this way and that way. Suddenly, because in the previous state of existence she had lived with Sakra, she was overwhelmed as by a mighty torrent by the power of the love for him, which sprang up within her. And crying out, “He is my husband!” You know, the old wretch, old Sakra, the old asura. And she threw the garland of flowers over his head. You know, this old asura, Sakra, Sakra’s disguise. Said the asuras together, “For a long time, our king has been unable to find a husband suitable for his daughter. Now, however, he has found one. This fellow is old enough to be his daughter’s grandfather.” Sarcastic, you know? Old enough to be her grandfather. And they departed, hanging their heads with shame. Yes. Lost it all to an old man. Some people like old women, old men. Yes, that’s why sometimes young men marry older women. Sometimes, older men marry young women. It’s more often the latter than the first, right? We women after four-five- sixty, we don’t feel like marrying anymore. But men, they still like; just put the denture on and go on.
Sakra took her by the hand, cried out, “I’m Sakra.” And flew up into the air. The asuras exclaimed, “We have been fooled by Old Sakra.” And started up in pursuit, chasing him. Matali, the charioteer brought up the chariot called Chariot of Victory and stopped by the way. Thereupon Sakra assisted his bride to mount and set out for the city of the gods. Now when they reached the Forest of Silk-cotton Trees, the garuda fledglings, hearing the sound of the chariot and fearing they would be crushed to death, cried out. When Sakra heard their cries, he asked Matali, “What are they that are crying?”
Even the god doesn’t know everything, the god of the gods. So you can see it’s a lower heaven. The Fifth-Level Heavens know everything, of course. The higher they go, the more knowledge of everything, even mundane knowledge. Yes, they know everything, if they want to know. Sometimes, they don’t want to. What is there here that they want to know? Tell me. Is something worthy for their ears? To busy their ears with? No. Is something worthy for their nose to smell? For their eyes to see? (No, no.) Yes. An old woman sitting here with her feet on the table, wagging her toes, and talking nonsense. And the whole assembly also laughing at nonsense. Yes, nothing much. The best is like this already. Imagine. Imagine the rest, how would he like to see anything. No, no, I’m just joking.
The gods are listening. Whenever we have lecturing, or assemblies like this, they always come around. They love. They love very much. They love this kind of talk, more than humans. They appreciate it more because they truly understand the power of the spoken words of the sutra and of whoever respectfully recited, not necessarily even a high Master. They like it because it makes them feel elated, happy, and extends their merit, so that they can live even longer in Heaven. They can stay as a god longer. So the flowers on their heads will not wither so quickly; they won’t die that quick. And they have more power, more youth, more vigor, and more happiness.