Selected Questions and Answers






Difficulty is
the Cost of Living

Spoken by Supreme Master Ching Hai, International Three-day Retreat in Los Angeles, California, USA, December 17, 1998 (Originally in English) Videotape #641


Q: My older cousin committed suicide. He was always my model; I wanted to be like him so it's been a little difficult. But then I had an experience. He appeared to me inside and told me that he was well, and then I almost made the same mistake. I also wanted to kill myself because I couldn't cope with the world. And then last year God appeared to me and said that suicide was the most stupid thing I could do.

M: Yes. That's also what I've always said.

Q: Yes, but at that time I didn't know You yet.

M: It's good that God spoke to you like this.

Q:  Hes also told me that I still have an important task to do and I said, “If I still have an important task to do, then I need someone to show me the task.” And two weeks later I got Your leaflet and then I had almost the same feeling as two weeks before when God spoke to me.

M: That's very good.

Q: But actually before I didn't believe in God. That's what makes it so special. And now I want to ask You, because I'm also sick, I get epileptic attacks, could this have something to do with my whole family and the stress in the family?

M: Yes, it is collective karma and also genetic.

Q: This is kind of depressing to me. That's why I didn't want to live anymore.

M: You’re a very wonderful person. You don't need to think so much. If God says you are OK, then you are OK. Do you believe God or do you believe yourself? The brain always says negative things.

Q: OK, now I know Hirm, but am I supposed to just accept these attacks? Because one time during meditation I also got an attack. It was really terrible and for a few days I had no more confidence.

M: I understand, but we have to be strong.

Q: So this is normal and it’s just how it is, right?

M: Yes, it is normal and that's how it is. Life is always difficult for everyone. You have epilepsy; other people have asthma. We all have different things. That is the price of living, OK? You must not be so sad but always think positive.

Q: I don't intend to do the same thing my cousin did.

M: No, you won't follow him. He made a big mistake, not only a mistake, but a stupid thing to do! That is the most stupid thing one can do. You cannot follow his example. We must always follow the higher goal, the noble ideal, which is beautiful, nice and positive. One must not follow such stupid, bad things and such low thoughts.

Q:  Because of You I quit smoking and drinking.

M: See, you have made so much progress!

Q: And I became vegetarian, and all this happened within three weeks.

M: Only three weeks? That’s good. You’re wonderful! You have to be an example for other people so that they will also quit smoking and so on. You have to always be like this, to set an example, OK? That's your task.

Q: Until now it's been quite difficult because everything around me is the opposite.

M: You shouldn’t think like this, OK? Be positive. Sometimes we come here with a very, very special choice, but when we come here we forget. So the special choice that we made in Heaven becomes like a hindrance, a burden during our life here. But actually blessing comes in many different ways and many disguises. In English, they say something like “The strongest tree grows in the most unfriendly soil.” So we must not concentrate on the choice that we have made, or the so-called disadvantage that we think we have because after all everything is illusion anyhow, and concentrate instead on what we want to make out of our life, and what we have instead of what we do not have. There are endless things that we do not have. But there are a lot of things that we have that we know, and a lot of things that we have and we also don't know.

So we have a lot more to use. When I was young, because I'm very little, people teased me and I felt very bad. But after a while, I met some other people who loved me because I'm small and I realized that the others were lousy. So actually, everything in this life has a purpose. Sometimes before we came into this world, we choose a harder way to practice. We say, “OK, I’d like to be a shorter person or a fatter person, or a very exceptionally tall person, or I want to be a handicapped person in order to pay for quicker progress in finding God, or to help other people to find God who are in the same position I am.”

But when we come here, we wear this human's brain and then we begin to compare ourselves with other people. And we begin to feel complexity, and we begin to feel that our choice is too disadvantageous now. But it's just the mind that thinks like that. We are God, and when we go back to Heaven or when we’re really enlightened, it doesn't matter at all what we look like. We don't feel disturbed anymore. So the main thing is to be enlightened, deeply enlightened, so that we can find Heaven right now, so that we know that nothing is really us. Not even the outer beauty or the outer disadvantage is us. They are not us; they are just the clothes we wear. So what’s important is to be enlightened, not to be anything else, and everything else will come along.

I don't remember if I told you this story: There was a very famous person who was a hunchback. One day, he met his future wife on a doorstep. She was very beautiful, but he was deformed. He fell in love with her and then he wanted her to be his wife. But she, of course, looked down upon him. So then he said, "Do you believe marriage is made in Heaven?" And she said, "Yes, but why so?"

Then he said to her, “Because we're supposed to be married. Our marriage was already made in Heaven.” So she said, “How can you say something like that?" and he replied, "Don’t you remember? Before we came here God said to us that one of us would have to be a hunchback, and it was supposed to be you but then I took it over. I said to God, ‘Oh, my Lord, it’s terrible for a woman to be a hunchback. Let it be me.’ And that's why I became like this and you remained beautiful."

So somehow, this touched her and made her remember that the things he said were true. He must have also been a saint, and they married and lived happily ever after. So maybe you’re sacrificing for someone and you don't even know it. Maybe you’ll meet her or him one day, and remind them of the debt.