Enjoying a "Collective" Heaven
International Retreat at Cape Town, South Africa, November 28-30, 1999
The recent International Three-Day Retreat in South Africa was held at a campground near a bay some two hours drive southeast of the city of Cape Town. The rolling hills were covered with a fresh green carpet of grass and when a mild wind blew through the campground, especially when one was in peaceful meditation, one could hear the echo of ocean waves in the distance.
On the first day of the retreat, Master arrived at the forest meditation hall during the second session wearing a beautiful, creamy white African dress with gold embroidery. Dressing Herself beautifully and even braiding Her own hair, She joined us early in the day so that as we awakened from meditation, our eyes would rest on the image of a beautiful Saint.
Master said that with so many woods around us, the oxygen from the trees could revitalize and refine our skin such that we could live forever in this physical body. Master pointed out that God makes this body very durable to last for eternity, yet we damage it through overwork, or by poisoning it with various intoxicants or unnecessary activities, and even wearing out our minds by all kinds of nonsensical schemes, plans and negative thinking.
Master then commented that the South African press had provided positive coverage of Her arrival, although She also joked that they stated Her age as being 51, but that this was really a misprint that should have read 15 instead! If people live calmly with contentment, in the heavenly way, they can live long like some in remote areas of the Himalayas, who live to 400 years of age or more.
Golden Age Wisdom
Next, Master said that ages ago, the world was actually a matriarchy instead of a patriarchy like it is today, and that women ran the affairs of state instead of men. Today, cultures such as those of Tibet and the local Zulu people still maintain that tradition. Husbands simply lie around and help to multiply the race, until they learn from their wiser wives and manage to govern. She then comforted the male disciples, saying that She was only mentioning objective observations from history, and how God provides different skills and advantages for each sex, so that men are stronger and protective, while women are intelligent, refined and delicate, can concentrate well, and can endure more hardships, both in spiritual and emotional ways. That's why there is the old saying, "Behind every great man, there's always a great women". Yet, we take turns in life to be in the roles of men and women, so there is really no competition between the two genders. And, it can be disadvantageous for members of either sex to work on their weaknesses instead of their strengths.
Master suggested that we should think of God as a mother goddess, instead of a stern father figure Who punishes and makes strict rules. Master then mentioned that the Golden Age refers to a time when things are carried out and obeyed in the way God intended. Women are the greatest help to men while men are the greatest help to women. We should not change the things that God intended, so that our lives can become Heaven.
Women are more patient, and that's the way God made them. But nowadays we use our weaknesses instead of our strengths and our world has become degraded from the Golden Age to the state that we are experiencing now. Master stressed that God has let us ascend into this world to learn to become God, to learn to appreciate God again, and that we should not use fear to control one another, thinking of God as a punishing god. In this way, we have lost the belief in an eternally loving God, and as God becomes fearsome, so too our lives as humans become fearsome. Then, in whatever we do, we experience fear and guilt. The more people fear, the more of this negative thinking congregates together, and the bigger the devil becomes, possessing more power, even though he did not exist in the beginning, so it becomes more difficult for us to go back to Paradise. We can change the future, because we have free will. Destiny is only for the present, but we can still maneuver it to make things come out differently.
In the afternoon during the next meditation session, Master arrived in a bright blue African dress and meditated with us for a time. Master joined us again that evening, this time wearing a traditional African dress in bright red, gold, and black. For a while, She answered our questions as a group and then a sister from the small island of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean shared her experience. She recounted that before she came to know Master, a woman with long black hair had appeared to her in a dream and said, "What are you waiting for? You should do what you have to do. You are taking too long." She knew that the woman must be her Master. Then, after she came to know of Master, she had many more visions of Her.
A Smile Breaks the Ice
On the morning of the second day of the retreat, Master came to the forest hall wearing a traditional African dress with royal blue and white stripes and gold colors interlaced with the blue. Master even had Her hair done up in many long, thin braids in an African-style hairdo, with attractive blue beads on Her forehead, and a feather in Her braids. After walking among the practitioners for a while and receiving an enthusiastic welcome, Master meditated with us. Later that day, in a wooded area near the kitchen, Master met with the lecture tour working teams. She wore a beautiful creamy white dress with light aqua-blue embroidery, and Her long, flowing hair was adorned with gorgeous butterfly pins. She encouraged us to do all our work with a warm, friendly smile instead of being frozen inside. She pointed out that smiles can convince us that we are happy. After smiling for a while, one may forget about what happened before. No matter how hard we work, we should try to smile.
During this session, many workers shared their wonderful experiences and stories about the lecture tour. One mentioned meeting a person on a different spiritual path, who had thanked us for our presence in his city because he felt the atmosphere had improved a great deal while we were there and that the spiritual level was much more stable. Master remarked that this was a nice confirmation of our own spiritual blessings, particularly from someone who was objective and sensitive, with nothing to gain from us. She said it is true that if you practice more, you will become a saint.
Another sister from San Jose said that she had met an Indian woman who had received a sample booklet four years earlier and that Master had appeared to her in a dream. Every time the woman had a problem, she would just look at Master's picture on the booklet and the problem would be solved. She and her family all came for initiation during Master's lecture tour.
A truly magical evening began when Master arrived at the main meditation hall, once again wearing traditional African attire, this time in bright royal blue with a matching mid-sleeve jacket. She had tiny strings of beads on Her braided hair and colorful furry tassels hanging from Her braids. She also wore a necklace of magnificent African design. Walking slowly down each aisle amid thunderous applause, initiates extended their hands and hearts to their Beloved and She responded in kind. Master could not stop telling jokes and laughing heartily, nor could we stop laughing, smiling, clapping our hands, and whistling. Our shared ecstasy in the presence of our Master united people of every race, religion, and cultural background into one family, the Quan Yin Family - everyone facing the same direction.
A brother asked how to regain a simple mind, and Master said just practice remembering what you forgot with a sincere and humble heart. With a brainwashed, bookish kind of mind, it takes time to erase it. Those who are too attached to book knowledge will still have soul progress to make because the mind may continue to make mistakes and true wisdom will be harder to gain. Master added that it also depends on how much faith you have in the Master.
In response to another question, Master said that everything is divided into different dimensions with respect to time and space so that it becomes a physical illusion. This is the only thing that keeps us separate from God. Things cannot happen to us at the same time. In the higher dimensions, things happen simultaneously without interfering with each other. For example, if people in two different places miss each other, in the celestial dimensions, they can choose to be here and there at the same time. A true Master is a Master of both worlds.
The Planet is Getting Better
On the final day of the retreat at the close of the second meditation session, Master wore an elegant aqua-blue dress with a silk scarf over Her right shoulder to the forest hall. In Her wavy hair with gold highlights was a silver-sequined hair band and colorful beads were woven through Her African-style braids. As She walked slowly near the men's meditation sections, many whistled in awe of Her beauty.
Master then went onto the stage and gave a closing lecture. She praised our group as the most beautiful and happiest people She had ever seen. She said She wanted to thank God again for entrusting Her with this honorable job and for letting Her know so many colorful people. She remarked that we enjoy ourselves because we are looking in the same direction. We are able to do many things and we can do everything smoothly because we are directly connected with God. She was especially happy when She was with us this day, saying that we can at least make Heaven on Earth periodically at our retreats. She commented that every retreat is getting better and not only are we getting better, but so are the world's population and the planet.
Master next discussed possible locations to hold a year-end 2000-millennium retreat. Then, as the song "I Will Forever Love You" resounded in the air, Master and disciples, though reluctant to part with each other, waved good-bye. After this session, some fellow initiates left for their earthly homes while others stayed a few more days in Cape Town to attend the "Parliament of the World's Religions," where Master was to speak.