96/While On The Path/Through The Valley Of Death
While On The Path


Through The Valley
Of Death
With Master

By Sister Xiao Wen, Changhua, Formosa

Before initiation, I was very eager to meet an enlightened Master. However, prior to this, decades of futile searching had left me penniless. I had wasted my money and youth, and even sacrificed my health in the process. By chance, I came across "The Key Of Immediate Enlightenment" by Supreme Master Ching Hai. Joy filled my heart as though I had found a treasure. I read the book every day, making sure I did not miss a single word or sentence. A clear inner sound arose in my ear. Master once said, "When you have faith in the Master, you have already been initiated by Her." This is absolutely true. I prayed then that She would return soon to Formosa so I could be initiated.

After my initiation, Master's intense blessing power immersed me in the ocean of love every day. The joy of meditation erased all my worries and concerns, and the sound stream accompanied me constantly. However, the path of spiritual practice is strewn with rocks and thorns, and trials soon appeared.

I remember once my blood pressure rose to around 230 mm Hg (systolic). I went to the hospital as an outpatient to be checked and was fifty-seventh in a long line of patients. My head seemed to be exploding and I could hardly stand up. Under Master's wonderful arrangement, the doctor started to see the patients ahead of time, and surprisingly, I was moved up in the queue to number three. Thus, was I able to survive that difficult time.

In the following month, my battle against illness left me bedridden. My mind took command and told me that I could not meditate because of my pain and misery. The less I meditated, the weaker my inner power became. As I went to group meditation less frequently, my determination to pursue spiritual practice began to waver. Maya often came to test my spiritual strength, and left me confused and lost. I prayed to Master for the right instructions, wondering what life would be like if I did not practice spiritually. Which path should I choose at this crossroad?

It was then that Master reached out Her helping hand yet another time. One day a sister initiate drove me to group meditation. When I mentioned my dilemma, she said, "If you are sick, you should see a doctor. But you have signed an invisible agreement with Master, so you should practice diligently and fulfill the terms of the agreement." Deep down, I felt ashamed when I thought of how Master had been taking care of me and yet how I had been deceived by the mind's ignorance and forgotten my purpose, that of going Home.

From then on, I meditated very diligently and attended every group meditation session. Despite the physical pain, I began to experience a sense of upliftment brought on by love. I learned not to be anxious and fearful, and to overcome pain through meditation. Of course, this was by no means easy. It was a process of constant struggle, self-reminding, and standing back up after countless setbacks. Out of ignorance, I would give in to anger, to a complaining, worrying mind. But I discovered that if you succumb to Maya's trap, your tests in life will be doubled.

One month before I decided to attend the Christmas 1997 Four-Day Retreat in Washington, D.C., God again tested my patience and determination. During that month, there was no peace in my family. It started with my husband's surgery on November 21st. The day after his surgery, I got cellulitis -- a big lump grew near my ear and left that side of my face swollen. The doctor diagnosed it as a tumor and decided to do a CAT scan.

At the time, I was taking care of my husband at the hospital and the children at home, and did the best I could to meditate and pray for Master's help. I told myself firmly that I had to face the difficult situation bravely and should not be defeated by it. I tried to dissolve anger, complaints and withdrawal into love, patience and tolerance. During every minute of my pain, I was convinced that if I persevered, the next day would be better.

Two weeks later, my husband recovered and returned to work. My pain and swelling began to subside and finally I too recovered. Throughout this experience, I knew I was not alone. Master was always right next to me, embracing me in Her love and enabling me to come through the difficulties with an excellent performance.

By the time things were back to normal, it was time to fly to America for the retreat. I went on my journey with profound gratitude. During the four-day retreat, Master's love -- so delicate, so right and indiscernible -- enriched my love. I know that despite the rocks and thorns on the path of spiritual practice, we are the most fortunate children of all, because Master's love is always with us. I truly believe that She takes care of each one of us in different ways. Under Her arrangements, we should bravely journey through the path of human life and return to our real Home.

Illness Is A Blessing Through The Valley Of Death With Master