The International Spiritual Truth Association
~ Serving Humanity Through Spirituality ~
The International Spiritual Truth Association
~ Serving Humanity Through Spirituality ~
Supreme Master Ching Hai
“We are separated from God because we are too busy. If someone is talking to you and the telephone keeps ringing, and you are busy cooking or chatting with other people, then no one can get in touch with you. The same thing happens with God. Hes is calling every day and we have no time for Hirm and keep hanging up on Hirm.”
~ Supreme Master Ching Hai ~
Supreme Master Ching Hai teaches the importance of the practice of meditation, inner contemplation and prayer. She explains that we must discover our own inner Divine Presence, if we are to be truly happy in this life. She tells us that enlightenment is not esoteric and out of reach, attainable only by those who retreat from society. Her job is to awaken the Divine Presence within us, while we lead normal lives. She is always deeply concerned when disasters occur in any part of the world. Upon hearing news of such events, She immediately provides financial assistance and sends relief teams. Through such efforts, Her unconditional love and support are conveyed to those affected, thus reducing their suffering while helping them to rebuild their lives.
A female Holy Master of the modern Age, currently residing at Her forest base in the foothills of Hsihu, North Taiwan. In summary, Supreme Master Ching Hai (as She is now known) was born as Hue Dang Trinh on 12th May 1950 in Quảng Ngãi Province, mid Vietnam. She is primarily a spiritual teacher of the secret Buddhist Quan Yin Method of spiritual practice, that is based upon ancient Sant Mat (“Path of the Saints”). She is also an author, artist, entrepreneur and mystic, Who teaches the importance of spiritual practice in one’s daily life, while living as a moral householder – including the practice of holy meditation, inner contemplation and sincere prayer, as well as the need to live a strict moral life. She explains that we must discover and connect with our inner Divine Presence (our soul self), if we are to be truly happy in this life, and that enlightenment is not something esoteric (obscure) and out of reach for most people, attainable only by those who retreat from society, it is for everyone, including householders.
Supreme Master says that Her job is to awaken the Divine Presence within us, while we lead normal but moral lives. Now looking at Her own life story, thus far, it is naturally exemplary. Supreme Master Ching Hai was born to a Vietmanese mother and a Chinese father. Her father was a highly respected local Naturopath. He also loved to study world literature and was especially interested in deep philosophy. Among his favorites were the writings of Lao Tzu (chinese mystic philosopher) and Chuang Tzu (chinese Taoist philosopher), which were also available to the Supreme Master as a young child. Indeed, She had read these and other Buddhist texts even before entering primary school. Thus, Supreme Master Ching Hai was not a typical child. She was often found reading philosophical literature when other children were doing homework and playing. This concerned Her father who asked Her if She actually understood these works. She answered him thus, “If I didn’t understand, I wouldn’t have any interest in doing this”. Although he remained concerned, Supreme Master consistently achieved excellent work in school, so he supported Her unusual interests.
Now although Her parents were Catholic Christian, they were open to Buddhism. Indeed, Supreme Master’s grandmother, a Buddhist, whom She loved to spend time with, taught Her the scriptures and Buddhist worship. Supreme Master soon developed a very open attitude towards religion due to this background. She would attend Catholic Church in the morning, Buddhist temple in the afternoon, and in the evening would listen to lectures on the holy teachings of anyone She came across. This left Her with many spiritual questions, such as, “Where did we come from? What is the life after death? Why are people so different?, etc”. Furthermore, as She grew up She was renowned for Her compassion. At one time, there was a shortage of doctors and nurses in Her home town, so Supreme Master helped in the local hospital after Her school classes. She washed patients, emptied bedpans and did errands in Her efforts to ease the suffering. Due to this, and many other examples of humanity and wisdom, and because of Her sense of humor and kindness to everyone, Her friends often called Her the “living Buddha” or the “charmed Saint”.
Moreover, She has always had a soft spot for animals and was often known to take a wounded animal home, care for it, and release it. If She saw an animal slaughtered, She would cry, wishing that She could prevent such cruelty in the world, even as a young child. Thus, She has been a vegetarian all Her life and has always been repulsed by the sight of killing, and of meat sold in stores. Incidentally, when Supreme Master was a child, a respected local astrologer said that She was an unusual and very intelligent being, with superior character and morals. It was predicted that She would be a renunciate (nun) and would become enlightened if not married, but if married, She would have a happy relationship and an admirable husband. This same prediction was repeated at many other times in Her early life.
Thus, when Supreme Master left home to become a nun, Her mother went to a Quan Yin (Buddhist sect) temple to pray for advice. She chose a temple where the great/famed Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva (a female deity who embodies compassion) was said to answer all questions of sincere devotees, through vision or telepathy. Upon her praying request she was told this: “The Supreme Master is a very rare and noble child, one in a billion. She has come to this world, on the mission of God’s Mercy, to save sentient beings from misery”. So, from that point on, Supreme Master’s family accepted Her uniqueness.
Following the completion of Her formal education Supreme Master worked for a time in Germany as a translator for the Red Cross. She translated to and from Âu Lạc (Vietmanese), German and English, and voluntarily worked long hours in the service of Âu Lạc refugees at the expense of Her own health and comfort. Her work with the Red Cross put Supreme Master in contact with refugees from many countries. Thus, She continuously saw suffering and turmoil brought on by wars and natural disasters. Furthermore, Supreme Master Herself suffered a great deal as She sought to alleviate the pain She saw, but soon realized how impossible it was for one person to stop the suffering of humanity this way. This dilemma drove Her more strongly toward enlightenment, as She realized that only this could help alleviate mankind’s pain.
At the same time, in 1969, She began a relationship with a German scientist. He had doctorates in two fields. They soon married, and Supreme Master often says that he was a kind, attentive and loving husband. He also became a vegetarian, travelled with his wife on pilgrimages and was very supportive of Her charitable works. Eventually however, Supreme Master felt that She needed to leave Her marriage in order to pursue Her burning spiritual goal. She discussed this at great length with Her husband and so the separation was arranged with his agreement. This was an extremely difficult decision for both of them, but Supreme Master felt very strongly that this was the right decision for Her and that She needed to do this in order to pursue ‘enlightenment’.
After leaving Her marriage, Supreme Master sought the best method available that can lead one to attain liberation in one lifetime. Thus, while living in Europe, She started practicing the sacred prayer/meditation technique that She had learnt from a learned monk from the Himalayas, even more seriously. In addition to this, She sought out new teachers, read everything She could find on spirituality, and practiced many methods of attaining enlightenment – trying to find the highest truth – but without success. She felt that these spiritual practices were not working, and that She was not experiencing the spiritual phenomena She had read about in the scriptures, nor was She reaching an enlightened state. This was extremely frustrating for Her. So, She set about looking for an actual teacher who could personally instruct and guide Her on the path to self- and God-realisation, rather than just following books & scriptures.
Eventually, in 1979, Supreme Master met a Buddhist monk, in Germany, whom She followed for three years, but his monastery continually denied entry to females. Thus, being fed up with prejudice, She moved to India to study different religions. There, She met Sant Thakar Singh Ji (1929 -2005; Indian Guru & initiate of the Kirpal Singh Ji’s lineage of Sant Mat (see earlier)), where She subsequently got Initiated (Spiritually Awakened) by him. This was unlike anything She had encountered before and so it intrigued Her. You see, Supreme Master Ching Hai had an unusually broad view toward all religions, as She just wanted to know the actual Truth of God, Life & Creation. As a result, She studied the works of Jesus Christ, The Buddha, Lao Tzu, the Sikh Gurus, and many others. During this time, She also practiced Sant Mat meditation, before being drawn towards esoteric Buddhism.
Indeed, Supreme Master became most interested in the Surangama Sutra of Mahayana Buddhism, in which Sakyamuni Buddha apparently said that the Quan Yin Meditation Method was the highest of all methods. However, none of Her teachers knew of it. Thus, She travelled and searched everywhere, and finally, after several years, found an apparently 400 year-old Himalayan Master who Initiated/Spiritually Awakened Her into the sacred Quan Yin Method and gave Her the Divine Transmission that She had sought for so many years – but only after an arduous & dangerous journey on foot to reach Him.
After a brief period of intense Quan Yin practice, She apparently became enlightened, and so continued to practice and improve Her understanding. Supreme Master thus enjoyed powerful spiritual experiences, which continues to this day. Thus, She initially remained in retreat in the Himalayas for some time, continuing Her daily practice of God-realisation and bliss.
Eventually, though, the now named Supreme Master Ching Hai travelled to Formosa (Taiwan) to stay with friends and get reacquainted with the material world. One evening, however, during a typhoon with heavy rain, as She meditated in a room behind a small home-made altar/temple, a group of people knocked at Her door. When Supreme Master asked why they had come, they answered, “whilst praying earnestly in a local temple, the Quan Yin Bodhisattva (The Goddess of Mercy) replied to our prayers and told us about you, saying that you are a great Master and that we should pray to you for the method to reach liberation”. In response the shy Supreme Master tried to send them away but they would not go. Finally, being touched by their sincerity and devotion, She agreed to bless (Initiate) them, but only after several months of purification and their agreement to adhere to a cruelty-free vegetarian diet. Shy in nature, Supreme Master did not seek out students to teach. In fact, She ran away from people who sought Her ‘Initiation’. This happened in India too, and in the United States, where She was living the unassuming life of a Buddhist nun, travelling around the world giving Buddhist teachings. However, when She was “discovered” for the third time, again in Formosa (Taiwan), She realized that She must not run away from the inevitable work that lays ahead.
Thus, She began sharing Her knowledge with all who wished to hear Her message, of high spiritual Truth, and She also began to bless/Initiate sincere seekers into the Quan Yin Path for attaining the true Kingdom of God -through strict moral living, Mantra Meditation, and Holy Prayer. Nevetheless, She still liked to study the teachings of other mystics, religions & philosophies to familiarise Herself with them. Thus today, She promotes the similarities among the great religions and spirituality, and further encourages us to see, through Her eyes, how all the great Masters, past & present, essentially teach the same Truth. She even explains why different religious opinions have arisen, over time, due simply to cultural differences being expressed in different countries at different times.
Today, Supreme Master Ching Hai’s work has spread by word of mouth from this first small group in Formosa to many thousands, worldwide, though most disciples are in Formosa & China, because that is where She has stayed the longest. In recent years She has travelled and taught throughout Asia, the United States, Latin America and Europe. Thus, many people from all walks of life, and from different religious/non-religious backgrounds, have made great spiritual progress with Her help.
Now although no formal organization exists to spread Her teachings, grateful friends and disciples are to be found all over the world, ready and willing to help others learn from their beloved Master who reveals the highest Truth and wisdom to them.
In addition to helping numerous people, through Her spiritual teachings and Initiations, Supreme Master also assists those who are suffering or in need. In recent years, Her humanitarian efforts have indeed touched the hearts and lives of millions of people all over the world. Supreme Master does not discriminate between suffering caused by spiritual ignorance, material deprivation, or circumstantial events. Wherever there is suffering, She will help all equally and selflessly, where many miracles surround Her, and so Her life has been likened to the mission of Jesus Christ or The Buddha. Some of the Supreme Master’s humanitarian activities in the past few years include aid to: the homeless throughout the United States; victims of fire in southern California; victims of floods in the Midwest United States, central and eastern Mainland China, Malaysia, Âu Lạc, Holland, Belgium and France; disadvantaged elderly in Brazil; those displaced by the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo in the Philippines; disaster victims in north Thailand; destitute families in Formosa and Singapore; lepers in Hawaii; poor spiritual communities in India, Germany and Uganda; families of mentally retarded children in Hawaii; victims of the Los Angeles earthquake; veterans of the United States; orphanages in Âu Lạc; and many, many others. Of course, we must also mention Supreme Master’s never-ending and tireless efforts to help the post war Âu Lạc (Vietmanese) refugees. And although She has not sought acknowledgement of any kind, Supreme Master Ching Hai has been recognized and honored for Her humanitarian work by government officials throughout the world. For example, October 25, 1993 was proclaimed “The Supreme Master Ching Hai Day”, by the mayor of Honolulu, Hawaii, and on February 22, 1994 was likewise proclaimed by the governors of the States of Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin, Kansas, Missouri and Minnesota. She also received the “World Peace Award” in Honolulu, and the “World Spiritual Leadership Award” at a ceremony in Chicago in February 1994. Congratulatory messages were sent to the Chicago ceremony by many government officials worldwide, including Presidents Clinton, Bush, and Reagan at that time.
Furthermore, Supreme Master’s natural talents in the arts, and the sales of all her artistic endeavors, have enabled Her to create an independent source of funding for humanitarian activities, highlighting Her pragmatic view that we should always try to create our own means of living without being a burden to others or society, from which to give to others after supporting ourselves through simple living.
Being always truthful when asked any question, Supreme Master Ching Hai tells us that She was not always enlightened. She initially lived a normal worldly life, and thus knows from experience about our problems, our heartaches, passions, desires and doubts. She also says that she knows the Heavenly Realms of Truth, and how to get there from here. She explains that Her sole function, today, is to help sincere seekers of spiritual Truth with their spiritual journey – from the suffering and confusion of the unawakened state to the bliss and absolute clarity of Total Divine Realization.
If one is ready, She says, She is there to take them back to their true home (back to God), where one shall witness wondrous things, and can meet all the past Masters/Saints/Prophets and many more great Beings that one knows nothing about today! Moreover, Her mission is only young, but She says She is destined to become one of the greatest spiritual leaders the world has ever known by the time of Her death at a ripe old age of 80+; all achieved through both the introduction of global and economic reform, right up to the spiritual awareness of the true purpose of humankind on Earth.
She was even predicted by Nostradamus (famed astrologer & reputed seer of medieval France; 1503-1566) who says that “…following her reign on Earth, a thousand years of peace shall follow!” Today, Supreme Master gives a variety of lectures to interested seekers, according to their background and culture, on spiritual as well as global matters; no matter if one is Muslim, Christian, Buddhist, Hindu or Taoist, etc… She speaks in plain English, French, German, Chinese, and other languages. All lectures & spiritual Initiations are offered free of charge. Indeed, Supreme Master’s famous quote further explains Her mission here: “We are separated from our connection with God because we are too busy. If the telephone keeps ringing, but you are busy stressing, cooking or chatting with other people, then no one can get in touch with you. The same thing happens with God. Hes is calling every day yet we have no time for Hirm.”
Supreme Master’s teachings are mainly disseminated through Her meditation centres worldwide, and in America they benefit from a tax-exempt status as religious organisation. Today, Supreme Master presides over an organisation which owns & runs vegan restaurants (138 worldwide in 2014), and sells Her jewellery, artwork, books and clothes. She even launched an exotic clothing line in New York and Paris in 1995, while her other artworks and books are sold through her spiritual Centres. Her organization also hosts websites which offer digital downloads of Her media in 17 languages, as well as a “Celestial Shop” which sells apparel and jewellery designed by Supreme Master Herself.
Some of the organisations She has founded include: the Supreme Master Ching Hai International Group, World Peace Media, Oceans of Love Entertainment and Supreme Master Television.
In late 2008, Supreme Master began a media campaign in Australia and New Zealand asking people to “Be Green, Go Veg, Save the Planet”, following scientific proof of the impact of accelerated animal farming on climate change. Thus, the Supreme Master Ching Hai International Association has made submissions to the Garnaut Climate Change Review, advocating large cuts to livestock production.
For promotion of Her causes, Supreme Master Ching Hai’s World Society heavily relies on the internet for audio-visual distribution, information-sharing and disciple recruitment – marking the group as a transnational “cybersect” by analysts.
In summary, Supreme Master first demonstrated the “Immeasurable Light Meditation” and the “Way of Sound Contemplation” or Quan Yin Method of high spiritual practice in Miaoli, Taiwan, in 1986. The method is very similar to the Surat Shabd Yoga method of the Sant Mat tradition. Thus, Supreme Master says that She did not invent the Quan Yin Method of spiritual practice, but that She merely “knows” it. In Her book The Key to Immediate Enlightenment, She also says that those who recite Her name would become spiritually elevated. Her method involves meditation on the “inner light and the inner sound of God”, termed the Shabd, that emanates from God. Supreme Master says that Jesus Christ acknowledged the existence of this method, and that it has been repeatedly been referred to by most major religions. The Quan Yin Method requires 2½ hours of holy meditation per day and adherence to five moral precepts, similar to the Five Precepts of Buddhism.
By 1996, several thousand residents of China were practitioners of the Method. However, the Chinese government claimed that the organization’s beliefs & activities were fundamentally “anti-communist” and called the group a “reactionary religious organization”; hence it was made unwelcome. Then significantly, in 2002, the manager of the ‘Wuhan Zhongzhi Electrical Testing Equipment Company’ was accused by the Chinese authorities of using his business, as a cover, to “support heresies” associated with the Quan Yin Method. This is because the business supported thirty practitioners who they claim “masqueraded as employees and business associates” in order to secretly practice group meditation on the premises. The manager was charged with using the company’s offices and buildings as “retreat sites”, organizing “initiations” and “screenings” to recruit members, and illegally printing & distributing more than 6,000 copies of heretical (as they see it) texts.
Regarding actual controversies: In 2004, an artificial island and a 330ft (100m) long boardwalk, created in the Biscayne National Park, Florida, that was illegally constructed by workers from a local property owned by Supreme Master, who was known locally by the pseudonym Celestia De Lamour, costed over $1 million to remove by the Florida authorities. National Park workers had to replant between 400 to 500 mangrove trees in the area once covered by the illegal boardwalk. The private property owned by Supreme Master, adjacent to the National Park, was also seized by police and later sold at auction to the village of Palmetto Bay, which planned to establish a park on the site, to help recover the costs.
Regarding Awards: in 1993 – the mayor of Honolulu, presented Supreme Master with an honorary citizenship. Then in 1994 – the World Humanitarian Leadership Award was presented by the head of the International Federation for Human Rights to Supreme Master. In 1994 – the World Spiritual Leadership Award, presented by the General Secretary of the World Cultural Communication Association, was presented to Supreme Master. In 2006 – the Gusi Peace Prize, was presented by the President of the Philippines to Supreme Master. Today, Supreme Master Ching Hai is mainly based in Taiwan, where the organisation headquarters are located.
She has an estimated following of tens of thousands worldwide, with the vast majority located in the orient. Online campaigns for climate change, cruelty-free living and spiritual practice for the welfare of humanity remain high priorities, despite Her retirement from public life.
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