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The Garden Of Eden

Biblical Story

Spoken By Supreme Master Ching Hai,
Hsihu Center, Formosa May 27, 1990 (Originally In Chinese)

Adam And Eve

A long time ago, when God created the universe, Hes created our world. Hes created day and night, the stars and moon, as well as the sky, the oceans and the land. Hes created birds that flew in the sky, fish that swam in the oceans and animals that roamed the land. God was pleased at the sight of Hiers creation.

As the universe was meant for human beings, Hes started creating man and woman. God made Adam and Eve and had them rule the world, which included the plants, birds, animals and fish. Hes gave them a beautiful place to dwell, where there were cool streams, shady trees and a variety of fruit. That was the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve were delighted with all they had, except for one thing that God had forbidden -- the eating of the fruit from a special tree. If they ate it, they would die. Adam and Eve obeyed God and lived as Hiers friends. However, there was someone else who had his mind set on ruining God's world.

One day as Eve passed by this special tree, she heard a sweet serpent voice calling her. (The Westerners give the snake a bad name, saying that it always looks for a chance to seduce human beings. They have embodied Satan in a snake.) Anyway, the tree was named "the tree of good and evil knowledge." The voice told her, "Look at the wonderful fruit! Your mouth must be watering. Taste it, and you will become very smart, as smart as God has ever been." Upon hearing the serpent's gentle voice, Eve forgot about God's warning, because she wanted to become as smart as God and do whatever she wanted. She reached for the fruit and ate it. Then she saved some for Adam. That was where things began to go wrong.

God knew what Adam and Eve had done, because no one could ever hide anything from Hirm. From then on, they were no longer God's friends. Hes asked them to leave the Garden of Eden. They had once lived such happy lives in the garden, where they had walked and talked with the Lord. Now the angels stood on guard at the gate of the garden with swords in their hands, never to allow the return of Adam and Eve. They had to work very hard till they were exhausted. Now they experienced pain. What was worse, God gave them a most horrible message, that they would age little by little, and eventually die.

After they left Eden, Eve gave birth to Cain and Abel. Cain grew up to be a farmer, cultivating the land and growing grain on it. Abel was a shepherd, taking care of his father's sheep. At harvest time, Cain offered part of his crop to God in gratitude, while Abel offered a flock of sheep. We know both are very good gifts, but we can't give them in exchange for God's love, because Hes knows what we really are. Abel was a righteous man, so God was very much pleased with his gift. Cain was jealous and angry. He hated his younger brother Abel, and God did not like his gift as much.

One day in the field, Cain rose up against Abel and slew him, believing no one witnessed it. But God did, Hes punished Cain by driving him and his family away forever. A world once so attractive was thus brought to ruin. Do you understand the story? It's not that eating one piece of fruit brought about all this misfortune, but that we know what's right and wrong and have the right to make choices. We shouldn't do what we know we shouldn't. If we do know but still do it deliberately, we will make a mess of our life, turning it into something complicated and painful. The fruit was just a symbol of what we shouldn't do. Following God's instructions means acting in a reasonable way, and not harming other people for our entire life. Even if you have not taken up spiritual practice, you may well have done yourself and the world a big favor by staying on a vegetarian diet and keeping the precepts. It's the same with my students. We choose to do what we should and avoid what we shouldn't.

God's Wishes Are Not Extraordinary

God had taken such good care of them, gave them every kind of food or pleasure. There was nothing else they needed, which implied God's love knew no boundary. Where else could anyone have lived such a carefree and pleasurable life without having to work? All they had to do was have fun. Did God ever ask anything extraordinary of them? Never. All Hes said was, "You may eat anything, but that tree is mine. Leave it for me. You shall not eat from it." But they didn't even spare that one. Not that they were starving. Was there anything they needed that they didn't have? God had only one requirement for them, but they weren't able to do it. Hes created so many things for their pleasure, but they still made mistakes.

Today we are in a worst situation, tantalized and forced to drift in the ocean of suffering. Our world is full of distresses like birth, aging, illness and death. But at that time they knew no illness, aging or death. They didn't even have to fight for their bread. All they were asked was just one tiny favor, which they actually fell short of fulfilling. What came from God's mouth, they disobeyed, not to mention what it would have been like had it been from my mouth. What would it have amounted to?

They knew very well that God had created everything for their enjoyment. They knew Hes was their master and that Hes offered them whatever they wanted except the fruit of one special tree, yet they decided that they must eat it, of all things. As a matter of fact, there was nothing special about the tree. It was just like any other tree. But God wanted to see if they could keep themselves from eating the fruit for Hiers sake, but they failed even such a simple request. They turned a deaf ear to God, yet they listened to the serpent! It was a serpent, of all beings!

The words of a serpent were more important than those of God? Now you see, if anyone should fall into the circle of transmigration, there is absolutely no one else to blame. If this story is true, we can't put the blame on God anymore. Hes was so nice and hospitable to human beings. Hes asked for nothing, only the keeping of a tree for Hirmself. But they had to get the fruit of this very last tree. They had faith in everything but God. They even believed in a serpent and ate what they shouldn't have. Not until they swallowed it did they realize what sufferings they had created for themselves, and what was good or bad.

By then, God had also known that they hadn't had enough faith, and that they didn't deserve to be Hiers friends. There are many things in this world, each a different price. For example, if we buy a diamond, we have to pay a huge amount of money, but we don't have to pay that much for gold. We pay even less for a piece of silver. A piece of iron costs us a few hundred dollars, but gold of the same size may cost ten times more. Similarly, if they wanted to be God's friends and enjoy whatever there is in Eden, they had to follow the rules. If they couldn't even spare a tree, how could they live there?

People have to respect each other if they are to stay together. I may have a request for you and you may have one for me too, and we just have to cooperate. That's the moral of this story, not that God really wanted something from Adam and Eve. God thought that if Hes gave them everything but no rules, it would be monotonous and boring. Therefore, Hes granted them everything but this tree, just for variety. Alas, they didn't understand this, and wound up listening to a serpent rather than to God, their benefactor. That's disgusting! So they went 'kaput' after they followed the serpent.

If you think more highly of a serpent than of God, you surely don't deserve to be a friend of Hiers, do you? You have betrayed Hiers trust and spoiled the cooperation between you and Hirm. You want your own way. You don't respect Hiers opinion, even though it has not harmed you at all. With so many things in your hand, what else could you possibly want? So that's the ego, the eagerness to be as great as God.

Beware Of The Ego

If you weren't as great as God, so what? It's good enough to live in Eden. Every day, you have enough to eat and wear. You have whatever you want, but you still want to become God. What for? We human beings always have this troublesome ego. We want to be the king, the highest and the best. That's why we have been cheated into this world of hustle and bustle. We earn a lot of money to be richer than other people; we use a lot of make-up to look prettier than others; we buy expensive clothes to look better, too. Everyone races against each other. The better we are, the harder we race because there always seems to be someone ahead of us no matter how good we are.

This biblical story is not just about a piece of fruit; it has a moral. The ancient teachers, for fear of trouble, didn't dare put things in a straightforward way, so they used various parables to get the ideas across to the people. If you read this book, "The Bible Stories," that's all you need. This book has selected quite a few good stories. Good, but simple. Even children can understand them. Even by reading this story, you can feel how horrible and inconvenient it was for ancient people to pursue spiritual practice. Most of the time, they were envied and in danger of being captured of killed.

The spiritual practitioners must have been better, wiser, smarter and more talented than ordinary people in every way, so they were very much envied and in danger. Just reading the Bible, you will know how hard it was to practice in the past. The first story of the Bible has given us many good points to ponder and study. It's not just a matter of fruit; it's a matter of discipline, mutual respect, cooperation and ego. Adam and Eve didn't want to follow the instructions. They just wanted to be greater than others, even God. But they were pretty stupid in their attempt.

If they really wanted to surpass God, there must have been some other way. They could have asked Hirm, "Why are You so great? Can You tell us how You did it?" Being so great meant God must have had Hiers own virtues and ways of practicing. Hes couldn't have become what Hes is in one day. So they should have told Hirm their wish. Stealing behind people's back is by no means a good quality. God had treated them so well, but they ended up doing nasty things behind Hiers back. That's human beings!

The Greater The Goal, The Higher The Price

I have told you, everything has a price. As you follow me in your spiritual practice, you have to obey strict rules. But you get something in return. You know this very well. Otherwise, why are you still here? Buying gold is different from buying iron. If you want to get something, work for it. Take me for example. I underwent an operation some time ago, but that was not the end of it. I had to work my muscles and nerves for three to four hours a day to help them recover because of the anesthetic and the surgeon had sutured them. If I hadn't exercise them they would have become stiff and gone on strike. I was told that I'd have almost, if not complete recovery after working the muscles three or four hours a day for six months. Similarly, if it is a higher goal that we are after, how can we not work hard every day? This is a rule that we just can't ignore.

You may know it very well, but you haven't worked very hard. Still, you have gotten something in return, but not as much as a hard worker. It is more difficult to obtain worldly things. For example, you have to pay hundreds of thousands of NT dollars for an operation, and you feel very terrible afterwards. For the first few hours, you are unconscious. After you come to, you will discover a lot of tubes all over your body. It's a painful mess.

On top of that, you may not yet have recovered completely. The suffering continues, because you have to exercise for several hours a day. Nothing in this world is simple or free of charge. It seems that God's offer is easier. Hes created the whole Garden of Eden solely for the two of them, except for one single tree. However, they took even that. That means man is never satisfied, no matter how much he has been given. So if anyone should treat you badly or walk out on you, don't always think that you must have done something wrong. Probably it's just another human being with an insatiable heart, demanding one thing after another. Have you ever noticed that our mind is really nasty? It keeps bothering us all day long. Once we have settled for one thing, it says, "No, I want that one too." Thus we are always busy with a lot of things. That's why we have to examine it and keep a spiritual diary. We have to watch closely to see whether it really needs something. If it doesn't, don't comply with it. The more you give, the more it demands and the busier we get, although we may never figure out what makes us so busy. For example, you may have accumulated a lot of stuff in your house, which you don't use even once a year. Sometimes it was used only once after you bought it, and then it was forgotten forever. There are many things like that.

Don't Mistake A Lack Of Discipline For Freedom

If we make our lives simpler, they won't be complicated anymore. We have to watch our minds carefully, to see what they demand, how they get what they demand, how they bother us, and how they get hold of us. Once we have made a clear analysis, we will have better insight. We have to be strict with ourselves, observing ourselves as if out of our bodies, and ask, "What do you want this for? What else do you want after you get this? How much time, money and effort do you have to pay for it? What can you do with this?" Probe deep into these questions, or else we might become slaves to our own minds while still believing that we are free enough to do whatever we want. No, that would be undisciplined, not freedom.

Freedom means doing something when you need to, and not doing it when it's wrong. On the other hand, doing what our mind tells us to do is just pampering ourselves. We can never improve in this way. It will only do us good if we are strict with ourselves, not with other people. Nothing is free of charge in this world. We have to work very hard to get what we want. We have to be strict with ourselves, very strict, to acquire the characteristics and level that we pursue. If we just want to pamper ourselves, that would be too easy. We might just as well follow what our mind dictates and believe it's freedom. No one would interfere, no one would care; we ourselves wouldn't care either. But that's wrong. That's slavery, not freedom. The whole world is upside down. It always finds my rules and teachings difficult to accept, even though I'm telling the truth. People think I'm too harsh on them and they can't stand it. They want to do whatever they want because that's easier. But where does this easy way lead us? We are accustomed to walking the easy way, regardless if it's right or wrong. Because it's an easy and comfortable way. We keep walking on and on and never want to turn back.

To keep on going is more convenient than to turn our car around, even though we are actually getting farther and farther away from our destination. It's all right to keep going, but we have to first make sure that it's the right way. Just because it's a big freeway it doesn't mean we always have to take it. If our home is in the other direction, we have to make the necessary turns or even turn our car around, no matter how hard it is. We can't speed on and on just because it's a big freeway, nor should we give up because it's a narrow path. If we give up, we will never get back to where we want to go.

Freedom is not going straight ahead all the time -- stupidity is. The difference lies in the lack of self-control. Irresponsible people may look just like those who have freedom, because they do whatever they want and they believe they are free. No, that's being negligent of one's duty, and they are being too easy with themselves. So now you see. This Garden of Eden story is not just about a piece of fruit. It's a parable which tells us that it's not easy for us to obey others.

When people tell us not to do something, we have to do just that. Our mind always messes things up this way, doing what it is warned not to do. That's why Adam and Eve listened to a serpent just because of one piece of fruit. They knew how nice God had been to them, giving them the whole world for their use, but they were not grateful. They believed in the hypocritical serpent and ate what God had told them not to. We shouldn't steal anything from our benefactor no matter how attractive it seems. If we really want it, we have to tell him. They were given the whole world, but they were not satisfied. They were told not to eat the fruit, but they ate it anyhow. The moral is: it's not easy to keep ourselves in line, because we always listen to the bad guys.

Introspect At All Times

There are two people inside us: one is the good guy, the other is the bad guy. The serpent is the bad guy in us. We know we shouldn't do something but we still allow it to happen -- carelessly, or even intentionally -- because we don't have enough wisdom or good judgment. Therefore, we have to examine ourselves every day in order to know what our mind demands. Is it really necessary, or is it just a mountain made out of a molehill? Something to consume our time which could otherwise be spent in thinking about what we really need?

Sometimes when we go grocery shopping, we get carried away by the advertisements outside the shops and forget about the important things we have to buy even before we reach the store we have set out for. We hang around and buy this and that. Later we may run out of money, the store may be closed, or we ay forget all about it. Anyway, we end up coming home with lots of useless things, and nothing we intended to buy.

Now that you have read this story, you can figure out why some people treat us badly even though we have been very nice to them. Even God can't satisfy human hearts, how can we? That's what human beings are like. So we have to keep ourselves from becoming like that. We have to remember this story and remind ourselves not to become that kind of person. But it's very difficult, because we make mistakes very easily and we like listening to the "serpents". There is no one worse than those with a sweet tongue. That's why we Au Lac eople are afraid of sweet people.

Be careful when someone speaks sweet words to you. Sugar and candy don't do us any good. Sugar spoils all the vitamins we consume -- so I was told. So now you see why those who have high sugar intake, or have a lot of sugar in their coffee, look very nervous -- because they don't have enough vitamins. Besides, too much sugar causes tooth decay. Sweet thing doesn't help us. We will put on weight, get high blood pressure or heart disease if we have too many ookies. They are fatal diseases. So sweet things are no good at all, and neither are sweet words. But the whole world is fond of sweetness. That's the trouble. Had the serpent's words not been so sweet, stupid Eve would probably not have taken he fruit. But as they were sweet, she bought them and ate the fruit; then dragged her husband down as well. Because of this story, people believe women are like serpents, in that they all seduce men. I dare not say it's wrong, but who was the riginal seducer?

The Latter Part Of Eden

When Adam and Eve fell to Earth, they were captivated by worldly pleasures and virtually forgot about repentance. Since then, they have been mesmerized. ntoxication alone is still acceptable, but why are they so ferocious? It is because of what I have just told you. When they wanted to eat a fruit in heaven the fruit would drop into their hands. Such things never happen in this world. You shake the tree with all your might or even use a hook, and the fruit still won't come off. So, they began to rack their minds, trying to conceive of a way to get a lot of fruit in the most civilized and speedy manner. They got some inspiration from the power of the rains and storms. They saw the trees wavering in the wind, so they imitated and blew at the trees. The trees didn't move an inch. Then they began to pactice Chi-kung and energy exchanging. At first they could only bully the small trees.

As their Chi grew stronger, they affected the bigger trees. Consequently, their faces started to look flushed, and their voices also became very loud and coarse. Previously, they didn't have to speak in heaven. Everyone could communicate by telepathy and understand each other's thoughts. Here they had to learn from the animals because they wanted to defend themselves. It was still all right when they irst came here; but later, the animals smelt them and threatened to eat them. errified by the roaring animals, they didn't know what to do. So, because the animals roared, Adam, Eve and their children also began to roar.

Observing that they were more fierce, even the tigers ran away -- it worked! Their method worked. So they continued and became more fierce, just like tigers and lions. If we sometimes see people who are very fierce, you know that was how they first learnt it. Originally, they practiced it to protect themselves, but gradually it became a deep-rooted habit. That is how we became like we are today -- fierce and raucous Buddhas. If people still remembered what they were like in the very eginning, they would speak in a softer manner. When they don't remember, they roar. So now we know it is only our habits that make us speak softly or loudly.

Then came the whistling sound of the wind, very much like the rumbling sound of tigers and lions. However, Adam still couldn't talk to his wife, because they didn't have to speak in heaven. As soon as other people thought, they understood. Not a word was required. When they fell to Earth, their power was gone. It was different when they were deprived of the blessing power. Once they left this power, they got lost in the secular world. Therefore, they needed to speak.

Then they felt the shame that estranged them from each other. They dared not hold each other's hands or do anything. It was not the same anymore. So, they began to charm each other. In doing so, they had to learn from the animals, because they could no longer communicate inside, and they didn't know how to speak either. They observed the animals and imitated their voices. That was how they learnt their A-B-C's. Having no one else to learn from, they could only imitate the chaotic behavior of the animals.

When they were up there, they learnt from God, from the immortals, the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas (enlightened beings), which was much more elegant than the human world. When they first came, there were no other humans, because they were our ancestors. They didn't have an enlightened master to teach them here, so they had to teach themselves. However, their wisdom had been severed and forgotten! As soon as they left the spiritual center, they got lost and couldn't return. They were intoxicated by passions and sensual pleasures! The secular world is full of worries which made them forget their wisdom, so they had to take care of themselves.

Having no teachers, they learnt from the wind, the rain, the fearful thunder, the sun, and the extreme phenomena of hot and cold. They learnt everything from nature. They also learnt from the animals, how to protect themselves. Sometimes they were not really angry, but when the tigers came roaring, they also roared. They imitated them so well that they started to look like them. They were not really fierce at heart, but sometimes Adam would forget and roared even at his wife. His wife also roared back at him. So the two acted in the same way. Human language was initiated from there, which was a compilation of animal sounds. We shouldn't blame ourselves really; we should blame God for giving us such a severe punishment. Anyhow, God is impatient in the first place. Hes has the greatest patience, but Hes is also the most impatient. Hes is the most merciful, but also the most apathetic. Hes has two faces. Hes is the most Yin and the most Yang; the most gentle and the most forceful. This is what makes Hirm so interesting.

It is similar in our world. If there is only sunshine every day, we cannot bear it, and the crops will not grow. We need rain. However, if it rains constantly. It is very inconvenient for us who live in tents. So, both are essential. However, although we are aware of the law of the Yin-Yang equilibrium, it is still unbearable when the effects come to us. We know there are rainy days and sunny days; there is winter and summer. Nevertheless, we often complain about the hot, sticky and humid weather of summer. When it rains, though we know it is essential for agriculture, we still cannot stand it. Especially when we are having a 1-day or 7-day retreat or gathering. Everyone is completely wet, the steel cups are filled with rain water and cannot be used to drink Oolong tea. (Laughter)

The same also applies when we encounter trials in our spiritual cultivation. The Master has told us a hundred and eight times that there ought to be trials, and that we should keep a balanced mind, see good and bad things as the same, and take praise and reprimand equally. However, when we are being scolded, we still pull a long face, feel hurt, and show all our protesting gestures. One here and one there, with many little signs. We show all our hands and feet in protest -- against whom we don't know, even when there is no one watching us.

History Of The Earth

Actually, there weren't any extreme climatic conditions on our Earth. There weren't any hot summers and cold winters. There might have been some rain, but not so distressing. Our climate used to be more pleasant. There were sunny days and rainy days, but it rained only when necessary. It was not that cold and humid, and it would dry when the sun came out. Summertime was not that hot. Our climate now is a result of a war that we waged against heaven. We didn't listen to God, and wanted to challenge the angels just after we had learnt a few things. Therefore, they destroyed our weapon system with another powerful weapon, and locked us up in here. That is why we cannot get out of the three realms.

The angels set up a protective layer surrounding our Earth, just like the magical spell that confined the Monkey King. We are imprisoned by this invisible control. Every moment, the beings in heaven are observing us, and they won't allow any of us to advocate revolutionary ideas as we did before! That is why the machines we have now are lousy ones; we cannot invent really good things. But we have started doing it again. In the last century, we have built atomic bombs based on our past-life memory. Instead of feeling remorseful, we are creating trouble again. Therefore, the angels are monitoring us continuously, and they keep warning us with a chain of calamities.

Besides, our resistance also generates a destructive power that will destroy ourselves. When we are angry, don't we feel heartache, physically irritated? When we are in trouble and cry, don't we feel very exhausted just like when we are exhausted from working? (Audience: Yes.) This is how we are hurting ourselves. At that time, the angels prepared to destroy us. Their attack was so forceful that the Earth was struck slightly off its orbit, which resulted in the extreme hot and cold climate of today. After that, the angels locked us here. In addition, we ourselves generate this kind of ambiance, so we live and die by ourselves.

Although God has confined us here with Hes magical spell, Hes still keeps an eye on us, fearing that we might sneak into heaven. Some people tried to liberate themselves through meditation, but they ended up being possessed. Who are the devils? They are the guardian angels. Observing us trying to escape, they think we are trying to revolt and fight again, so they push us down. When we come back, we are like an idiot, separated from our soul, extremely confused, and unable to recognize anyone. People call this "being possessed". They forbid us to go up. So, if we get out ourselves, they regard us as revolutionaries, and take prompt action to keep us from ruining the universe.

We are under constant observation, and we cannot go up alone without the guidance of an enlightened master. However, there are some very sincere people, so the Buddhas often come to teach and encourage us: "We know where you are hiding. Quickly come out and surrender; you don't have much time. You will be forgiven. This is the final warning!" Some enlightened beings go out and put up posters, distribute leaflets and sample booklets just to edify us. There are people who really repent and want to be liberated from life and death. They really want to get out of this barrier. If we are truly sincere, we can enroll, observe a vegetarian diet for three months, then a master will come and accept us. This is the initiation.

Other people still cannot go out! Here we are just like prisoners. Some prisoners behave better, and they are not that evil in nature. Their offense is light, and they truly repent and behave well; so they can be released when a lawyer comes to help them. This is what happens to the initiated people. If we truly want to get out of jail, the Buddhas will open the gate and take us out. Other people are not allowed; they must first repent, and stop producing atomic bombs. Only a small group of people who really repent and want to get liberation can break through this intangible barrier. We are not supposed to go out. If we stealthily escape, there will be graver consequences when we are caught. We will be condemned to a small cage where we can neither stand nor sit, and forbidden to talk to anyone.

Similarly, those who attempt to seek liberation by themselves will face an even more tragic end. They will become more strange than before. Originally, they could still understand something. After they meditate by themselves, they do all sorts of hand and feet mudras and talk nonsense. Their minds become confused and run amuck. Like the prisoners, if we escape and get caught by the police, we will be treated more harshly than ordinary inmates. We will be chained, locked up in a small place. There is no light -- very dark. Severe criminals are jailed there, and they are not allowed to talk with anyone. The situation is worse than before we escaped.

The initiated people are those who are sincere about getting out. If you are not really sincere, and you have cheated the Buddhas, later you will be thrown in and locked up again. The enlightened beings have nothing to lose; it is we who have to bear the consequences. The two-and-a-half hours of meditation each day is to remind us, and to let God know that we are very sincere, that we are determined to go out. God tests us to see if we always remember or not. We have only said once: "I want to go out!" One statement is nothing. Besides, there is no proof. It is not enough! Therefore, we must repeat it every day. Because we were so bad before, God wants to make sure that we are truly sincere this time. For two and a half hours each day, we have to recite: "I want to go out. I want to go out. I really want to go out. I am determined to go out!"

It is the same when we want to marry someone. It is not enough just saying: "Doctor So-and-So, I want to marry you!" We have to show it by our actions, present gifts, and chant every day: "I really want to marry you. I definitely want to marry you." Furthermore, we have to prepare for the wedding ceremony to show our sincerity. We must work towards that, step by step. Similarly, we have to meditate for two and a half hours each day and keep chanting until we are "married" to God.

Don't Take The Devil's Apple

Adam and Eve ate just one apple, yet they incurred so much karma. Do you have any idea how much we have eaten in our lives?We have eaten everything including cows, horses, chickens, ducks and pigs. How can we endure so much karma? Adam and Eve shared only one apple, each taking only one half of it, but ended up falling from heaven down to Earth. Then they had to endure great pain, tiredness and hardships to earn their bread. Their descendants, generation upon generation, were involved in this karma as well, not to mention the additional karma we create by ourselves.

What I mean is, anything that is not given by God bears karma. Its price and interest are beyond imagination. That's why we have to offer the food to God and recite the Holy Names before each meal in order to cleanse the karma. Otherwise, we would be eating the devil's apple. Later he will ask a lot in return. That apple was actually created by God and placed in Eden. Why is it that nothing carried karma in Eden but this apple? Since they were all from God's creation, why must this apple, of all things, bear such a high price? It's because God had not granted it to them. They stole it, so it wasn't blessed by God. They listened to the devil, so it was blessed by the devil instead. Not that God had to be fierce with them; not that God had the heart to punish them, but that they belonged to the devil once they had eaten from him. At least they became his subordinates, tools, relatives or friends. In addition, they lost the privilege of being God's friends.

If they had informed God in advance, things would probably have been different. God might have said, "Well, since you want it so much, all right. Feel free to take as many as you want." There wasn't anything that God couldn't do; but because they ate it furtively and received the blessing from the devil, they brought disasters upon themselves.

Similarly, if you follow me and practice, you will have to keep a vegetarian diet and meditate for two and a half hours, but it's no big deal. There are other people who eat vegetarian as well. Besides, they eat only one meal a day, live in graves instead of mansions, and meditate eighteen hours a day. Yet they have received nothing from all this effort! What does your two-and-a-half-hour amount to anyway? And you might eat several meals a day, consuming more food than non-vegetarian people do! However, why do you still benefit from it? It's because you get the blessings. It's because you are doing it correctly, and God has accepted you. Hes promised, "Okay, if you do these things, I will give you this and that." However, if you do it alone, who will ever know what you are doing?

For example, suppose there is a boss who runs a very big store. He hires you to take care of his business. Then even if you have no customers coming to you for two or three days, you will still get paid; because he has made a deal with you by saying, "If you work for me, I will pay you this amount of money each month. You'll get health insurance, I will take care of your security benefits, you'll get a pension when you're old, and there's special financial assistance when you're ill." Later, the deal is done, and you have to look after the store. It doesn't matter if there isn't a lot of work to do. You'll even get additional money when you're sick or have an accident. You still get paid even if you haven't sold a thing. However, if there is someone who hasn't been hired by the boss, will he get paid for standing in the store for fifteen years? Will he get anything for staying awake all day and night looking after the store? No! Who cares if he stands there by himself?

Similarly, God has Hiers own system in this world, and some people work on Hiers behalf. If we get in touch with them, they will introduce us to God so we are connected with Hirm. If we just follow ordinary people's footsteps, or even the devil's footsteps, we won't do ourselves any good even when we have done as much, if not more. You get benefit because we are connected with a totally different system.
 

Quan Yin Method