Lord Buddha's Compassion-Hand

Part I: Questions and answers

LB 1-8. These questions were answered by Sri Chinmoy during a meeting with his Thai students on 13 December 1992.

Question: Thailand is a Buddhist country. Whereas we emphasise God and the soul on our path, the Buddhist philosophy on these matters is one of silence. Usually this silence is interpreted as meaning that God may or may not exist and that the soul may or may not exist. It would be very helpful for us to have your word on what the Buddha meant or intended.

Sri Chinmoy: Buddhists may not believe in the soul but they do believe in light. Lord Buddha spoke about inner light. For us, that light is the soul. The soul embodies illumination. So what they call light, we call the soul. It is like the sun and its flames. We use the word 'sun' and they use the word 'flames'. The flames come from the sun and, again the sun comes from the flames. The two are inseparable. I will call a flower 'phul,' and you will call it 'flower.' When I say 'phul' I will get one kind of feeling; and when you say 'flower', you will get another kind of feeling. But the flower remains the same.

It is the same thing with God. When we speak about God, we are referring to the Highest. He is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent. The Buddhists use the term 'Nirvana.' Lord Buddha attained the state of Nirvana, which is the highest form of bliss. Perhaps only one person out of a million or a billion will know what Nirvana is. But everybody knows what silence is. So when Lord Buddha speaks about Nirvana, let us think only of silence. This silence that the Buddhists speak of is nothing other than God, for inside silence we see the whole creation. Inside God also we see the whole creation.

In absolute silence we are far beyond the mind. In this silence are peace, light and all the divine qualities. The Buddhists feel something in this silence that they want to grow into. Similarly, we feel something in God and are trying to grow into His Infinity, Eternity and Immortality. But those who follow Lord Buddha's path and those who follow our path are talking about absolutely the same thing. These are not dictionary words; they are realities that we can realise through prayer and meditation.

So the Buddhists speak of light and we speak of the soul. They speak of silence or Nirvana and we speak of God. But it is the same thing. People who are sincerely interested in our philosophy will have no difficulty when we speak of God and the soul. Just as the flower cannot be separated from its fragrance, so also the soul cannot be separated from light and God cannot be separated from Nirvana or silence.

Question: I have been told that we should meditate by using our heart. But when you talk about silence, it means to make the mind still. At that moment, how do we use the heart?

Sri Chinmoy: The followers of Lord Buddha try to silence the mind because the mind is like a restless monkey playing tricks at every second. Without silencing the mind, they cannot enter into savikalpa samadhi or nirvikalpa samadhi. But on our path we do not pay so much attention to the mind. Our way is to meditate on the heart and in the heart. The results will be the same. If you can make your mind calm and quiet, then you will get peace. Again, if you meditate in the heart, you will swim in the sea of peace. You can follow the path of the mind or you can follow the path of the heart. But you have to be in one boat. If you have one leg in this boat and one leg in another boat, then you will fall into the sea of ignorance. So you have to choose the boat and the boatman in which you have utmost faith.

Question: If we have already decided that we will choose this boat, then my question is how to bring our mind to the heart.

Sri Chinmoy: It is not a difficult thing. Think of your mind as a three-year-old child who is not listening to you. You want to bring the child into the meditation room where you are praying and meditating, but the child wants to be on the porch. So you just pick up the child and bring him to the meditation room.

For a few days the child will say, "Oh, I don't want to go." But after a while the child will start to get joy from being with you at the shrine. In the beginning the mind is unwilling to listen to the dictates of the heart, but eventually it finds that it gets utmost joy by following the heart.

There are two ways of dealing with the mind. One way is to keep the mind totally separate. The other way is to bring the mind into the heart so that it can meditate like the other members of the family. If you want to bring the mind into the heart, in the beginning you have to force it. If a child does not want to drink milk, then the parents have to beg or force the child to drink. Otherwise he will suffer from malnutrition and get sick. When he is young, the child may not appreciate what the parents are doing for him. But when he grows up, he will say, "My parents were right. Because they forced me to eat properly, today I have become strong and healthy."

If your mind-child is disobedient and will not listen to you when you tell it what is good for it, you should not give up. If the parent loves the child, the parent will not let the child do something that is harmful. The mother will not stand aside and let her child suffer just because the child is disobedient. If there is a tiger in the street, the mother will not allow her child to walk there and be devoured. No, the mother will keep the child inside the heart-garden, where he will be perfectly safe.

Question: If we stay in the same room all the time, then it is quite easy to keep our mind still. But when we have to work every day and deal with problems and people, it is quite hard to keep the mind still.

Sri Chinmoy: I am telling you a secret. When you go to work, you get a salary at the end of the week. This money you use throughout the week to buy food and other necessities. Today you use a little money to buy some food. Tomorrow you will buy something else. Then, when the week is over you will get another pay cheque.

In exactly the same way, you can get spiritual wealth from your morning meditation. This spiritual wealth comes in the form of peace, love, joy and inspiration. When you pray and meditate early in the morning, you get many divine qualities from God. This inner wealth you will keep inside your heart-pocket. Then, throughout the day when you are in need of peace or some other quality, you will draw on this inner wealth.

You are a science teacher. If one of your students is misbehaving or if you have a conflict with another teacher, immediately think of the time that you spent meditating early in the morning. Then the love and peace that you acquired will come to you as something very solid, and you will not be disturbed by the person who is bothering

Question: But it doesn't work all the time.

Sri Chinmoy: When you were very young you did not learn the alphabet overnight. Only gradually you learned the alphabet. First you went to kindergarten, then you went to primary school, high school and college. Finally you went to the university. But even now you feel there is so much to learn. So there is no end to the progress we can make. Progress itself is our perfection.

Before you entered into the spiritual life, remember how many times during the day you used to become angry and annoyed with your mother, your father and others. Your relatives and friends have not changed, but perhaps now you are not getting angry with them as often as you used to. Now you are able to tolerate much more. You say, "Poor fellow, how I wish he had more wisdom so that he would not make that mistake." Previously, if someone made a mistake, you became very disturbed. Now you are much more tolerant. So is that not your progress? A day will come when you will not be upset no matter what happens.

This kind of progress is so important. You have to know what you were two years ago and what you are now. If you think of what you were before joining our path, then you will definitely feel that you have made progress. So if you have already made considerable progress in just two years, in a few more years you can feel that you will make considerably more progress.

Question: We would like to organise a seminar on meditation, but I have been very slow in learning to speak Thai.

Sri Chinmoy: Why do you have to kill yourself learning Thai when someone can translate for you? I have become a very, very, very close friend of President Gorbachev. I thought of studying Russian, but God knows how long it would take me to learn it. And he is not going to learn English. But our friendship can still grow and expand. By appreciating and bringing forward the divine qualities in one another, we are serving the world in a very special way. I have received about ten letters from him highly appreciating our peace activities. In the last one he said, "Your profound wisdom and vast compassion are a matter of my deepest admiration." To say this he didn't have to learn English. And for me to understand it, I did not have to learn Russian.

You know our philosophy so well. Your feelings can easily be expressed to the Thai people by the Thai disciples. In no way am I discouraging you from learning their language. But rather than spend three or four hours a day studying, I feel it would be better for you to give more emphasis to spreading our light.

This is the year of newness. Special Blessing-Grace is going to descend from our Beloved Supreme. Now is a golden opportunity for new flowers to blossom in our centres and for the old ones to become eternally new. When a flower is blossoming, it has a special freshness and a special fragrance. So when you are dealing with the members of your centre, if you can make all of them feel that they are together blossoming, then your centre will also blossom.

I have said that all my students — no matter how many years they have been with us — should feel that they have been on the path for only a few days. When someone feels that he has been following the spiritual life for only four or five days, his mind remains pure and he has the inner eagerness to make progress. Otherwise, a superior feeling comes. Sometimes it happens that people who have been leading a spiritual life for twenty or twenty-five years are not making progress any more because they are not renewing their oneness with God's Will every day. Because they live in the mind, they have become complacent about their spiritual life. But if they can live in the heart, then they will remain in the world of aspiration and dedication, which is ever new.

You have been living in Thailand for three years. But if you can make yourself feel that you have been here only for three days, then you will derive so much inspiration and aspiration from your inner being and you will be able to receive much more light from Above.

Question: Many people want to meditate and come to a centre, but they don't wish to follow a path.

Sri Chinmoy: Each school has its own way of teaching. There are many schools that only try to inspire people. In my case, I have students or disciples; I also have followers, admirers, well-wishers and acquaintances. In America and elsewhere, my students give talks, but we don't expect everyone to follow our path. Our philosophy is to share the message of peace, light and bliss with the world at large. It is up to each individual to decide whether our way of life and our way of prayer and meditation suit him. If they do suit him, then he joins our boat.

Right now you do not have a large, well-established centre. So the limited amount of time and energy that you have at your disposal should be spent on those who are attending meditation regularly. Although they have already joined the path, still you can inspire them to be more dedicated and more serving to mankind. Then later, when the centre is strong, once a week you can give general talks to inspire humanity. But right now you should devote most of your attention to helping those who are in the boat.

We give seekers a chance to come five, six, seven or eight times to the centre. But there comes a time when they have to make a decision whether they want to belong to our boat or not. After some time, if they don't feel that they can become part and parcel of our life, then we know they are not taking our path seriously.

I always say that each path is like a boat. Everybody has to be in one boat or another. Right now, let us say, somebody is standing on the shore looking at the sea. Far beyond, on the other side, is his goal. He is only at the starting point; the shore where he is standing is not, unfortunately, his destination. So he has to find a boat to take him to his destination — the Golden Shore of the Beyond. If he tries to swim, he will see how many creatures are there in the water to devour him. So you are representing the boatman; you have come and you are giving talks. If your inspiration does not give a particular seeker joy, then some boatman from another path will be there to carry him to his goal. But if the seeker doesn't enter into our boat or into somebody else's boat, how is he going to cross the sea and get to the other side? He will stand on the shore for a few days or a few weeks and listen to you give talks, and then he will disappear. You are not the loser. Only you feel sad that he did not care to enter into a particular boat.

It does not have to be our boat. The world's fastest sprinter, Carl Lewis, is my student and friend. About a month ago in Houston, he said on television, "Sri Chinmoy wants only to inspire people. He is not telling you that you have to follow his way. He is simply saying that you have to follow some way — whichever way you like. Otherwise, you are not going anywhere."

We will never say, "If you do not follow our way of life, then there is no Heaven for you." No, no, no! Only we are begging people to choose one road. All the roads lead to Rome; but if a seeker only stands in one place and cannot decide which road to take, he will never reach his goal.

I will never feel sad — not even for a fleeting second — if someone goes to some other group after listening to you give a talk. The fact that he received inspiration and aspiration from you is enough. Thousands of people come to my concerts, but I do not expect them to become my students. I don't expect even ten to become my students. I may play for 10,000 people for two and a half hours; perhaps they get inspiration and joy. Perhaps in the course of two and a half hours, they will pray and meditate for a minute or two. Or perhaps the following morning they will sing a soulful song or think of God for a moment. Then I am so happy, for the inspiration that I have offered to them has helped them to become a better person.

Question: I would like to come to see you in New York, but it is quite expensive.

Sri Chinmoy: True, it is expensive, but right now you can start thinking about it and dreaming about it. Miracles do happen. It is like reading a book. You read one line of a book and then you are inspired to read the next line, then the third line. So today you can start by thinking of coming to New York, and tomorrow you will be inspired to go one step forward. New inspiration will come, and inside that inspiration there will be a way to realise your dream. You will say, "Oh, perhaps so and so will help me." There are so many ways to accomplish your goal. Right now they are invisible, unseen, unknown. But those invisible, unseen, unknown ways will come forward. If we don't sow the seed, how will there ever be a plant or a tree? So inside your heart you have to sow the seed of coming to New York. Then that seed will germinate in the form of inspiration. Then it will become aspiration, then dedication and finally manifestation.

Part II: Conversation with Mr. Vanasin Vongbhun — Owner of the Pinnacle Quality Hotel

Conversation with Mr. Vanasin Vongbhun

Sri Chinmoy: About half an hour ago I was told that you help the orphans. I was extremely, extremely moved because I also happen to be an orphan. I lost my mother and my father at a very early age. My elder brothers and sisters went to a spiritual community, and there I was brought up. So whenever I see somebody who is helping orphans, immediately I offer that person my heart's infinite gratitude.

If we can help the helpless, then God will be so pleased with us and proud of us. These children are not getting a mother's and father's affection. But if somebody comes and says, "Yes, I may not be able to give you a mother's or a father's affection, but I will try to give you a little affection, then God is so pleased. At that time God's divine Pride in you increases beyond your imagination. You are getting very, very special Blessings from Him. Again, it is He who has given you the opportunity, the capacity and the wisdom to help these orphans.

Let us take the mother and father as the most delicious fruit. If I cannot give you the whole fruit, then let me give you a portion of the fruit. That is what you are doing. And by giving them a portion of the fruit, you are reminding them of the sweetness of the whole fruit. If they could eat the whole fruit, naturally they would be happier. But since they cannot have the whole fruit, at least somebody like you is offering them a quarter or a half of the fruit. Then they are so grateful to you. So this is how we get the affection, love and gratitude of these poor, innocent, helpless children.

In life we start by sowing a seed. Then the seed becomes a tiny plant, a small tree and finally a huge banyan tree. Similarly, in our spiritual life we start with prayer and then we enter into meditation. When you are planning to offer these children spiritual instruction, my humble advice to you is to start with prayer and then to enter into meditation. First you have to make them feel that they are communicating with Somebody who is infinitely higher than they are. If you are a Buddhist, you will say it is the Lord Buddha. So when they are praying, they have to feel that they are praying to the Lord Buddha. Then, when they begin meditating, they have to feel that the Lord Buddha is talking to them. When they are praying, they are talking to the Lord Buddha, and when they are meditating, they are listening to the Messages from the Lord Buddha. If you could give the children this message, it would be extremely helpful.

What you are doing for these children is most extraordinary. But what you have to do is bring forward their good qualities as soon as possible by making them feel that they are as important as you. It is like the boatman and his passengers. If the boatman does not carry any passengers, then what kind of boatman is he? Again, if there is no boatman, then how can the passengers reach their destination? So both are equally important.

I have thousands of students all over the world. I tell them that they are as important as I am because many participants are needed in the Cosmic Game. If I make myself feel that I am superior or better than they are because I am playing the role of the teacher, then I will not be able to bring to the fore their good qualities. Their good qualities can come forward only when I offer my own good qualities to them and make them feel that they are as important as I am. The best qualities come forward from each and every human being when we give them importance.

You are giving so much of yourself to these children. While giving ourselves to others, we have to feel that they are our own extended parts, that we are the tree and they are the branches, flowers and fruits. Sometimes when we give something to others, we feel that we are the doers and they are the receivers. We feel that they need us badly. But we should feel that we need them as much as they need us.

When others receive our light, they are helping to build a new and better creation. They are needed to make this a better creation. God is both the Creator and the creation. So He is acting in and through you as God the Creator, and He is acting in and through the people whom you are helping as God the creation. God the Creator and God the creation are equally important.

Mr. Vanasin Vongbhun: May I tell you more about our programme? The orphanage has 1,700 children. Of course, we do not finance all of this; contributions come from all over the world and the government is also a sponsor. The part that we contribute to the orphanage is the salary of about fourteen of the teachers. Then, after the students finish junior high school and are 15 or 16 years old with nowhere to go, we create careers for them. We rent apartments for them and give them food from this hotel. Then we train them for four hours a day in different departments and let them go to school in the afternoon until they finish high school. We also give them some salary. After they finish high school, we hire them as part of our normal hotel staff. We do this through our different hotels. We have right now ten hotels in Thailand.

The programme is growing. Last year we took in around twenty orphans at this hotel and twenty at the others. This year we will have 150. So it is becoming very popular.

Real wisdom comes from the heart

Sri Chinmoy: I am so proud of you. You have no idea how grateful I am to you and also how proud I am of you. Each time you help someone, his heart's tears enter into you and your soul's smiles enter into him. He gives you what he has, his tears, and you give him what you have, your smiles.

To help even one orphan — to give him a real education and to make him into a decent human being — is such a difficult task. And now you are dealing with hundreds of orphans! As the years pass by, you will have to deal with more people because they will see how compassionately you are doing things. I am sure that your organisation will grow very, very big. Like your hotel it will have so many branches in so many cities!

Now you are giving the orphans work in this hotel or that hotel in Thailand. But a day will come when you will have to send them to other countries because the good qualities that they have learned from you — the knowledge, wisdom, affection and self-giving service that you have offered to them — will be needed not only by Thailand but also by neighbouring countries. There are many countries that need this kind of service, wisdom, affection and compassion.

You have sown the seed. Now the seed has germinated, and it is becoming a tree. A day will come when it will be a very, very huge banyan tree. But we have to know that you are the source. To the source everybody will always remain grateful. You are doing so much for suffering humanity. If there are people like you to help suffering humanity, then God's creation is definitely being taken care of. These helpless children need your help at every moment, and your heart of compassion, love and affection is doing everything for them.

Mr. Vanasin Vongbhun: The hotel industry fits perfectly into this kind of project because in the service industry you do not need a lot of education. They do not have to get a bachelor's degree. When you have too much education, it is not good to be in the service industry.

Sri Chinmoy: More knowledge than we need is not good to have. It only creates problems. People who go to universities and get very high degrees usually live inside the mind. Then they become a dry tree without branches or leaves. But people like you, who live inside the heart, are like a tree that is full of fragrance — a tree that is offering its flowers and fruits to the whole world.

So higher knowledge is not needed by these children. They don't have to get the highest university degrees, not at all. Whatever knowledge is needed, you are giving them. You are giving them your heart, and this is what God wants from you, from me, from everyone. In my case, I did not even finish high school, but I have written 900 books in English and I have given talks at many, many universities. The knowledge that I have, I get from my heart — not from the mind.

Real wisdom comes from the heart. And what is that wisdom? To love and serve these poor people who are suffering. The knowledge that comes from the mind always has a superior feeling: "I am so clever; I am so great." But the heart's wisdom acts like a mother. When the mother deals with the child, she never thinks of herself as superior. She comes down to the level of the child so that she can deal with the child and the child can deal with her. Suppose someone has read 10,000 books and you have read only one book. Who cares for 10,000 books? The only book we care for is the book that says to love and be loved — and that book is written on the tablet of the heart. That particular book you have and I also have. You are giving me your heart-book and I am giving you mine. That is all we need.

All those who are getting your affection, love and concern may not outwardly express their gratitude. But in their hearts they feel it. Sometimes when people get tremendous help from someone, they become speechless. They cannot imagine how somebody can be of such service to them. What you are doing is far, far beyond the imagination of these poor little orphans, who so badly need help from you in so many ways.

You are involved in many activities and projects. These projects are like branches of your life-tree. The more branches our life-tree can have, the more flowers and fruits there will be. In your case, the flowers are these children, to whom you are giving an education and trying to raise as decent human beings. All these flowers come from your love and service. You are the tree, and the beautiful flowers and delicious fruits are your creations.

Honouring Mr. Vongbhun

Mr. Vanasin Vongbhun: Tomorrow afternoon the orphans will give a little ceremony for me here. They do it every year.

Sri Chinmoy: So they will show you their love and gratitude?

Mr. Vanasin Vongbhun: Yes, that's why they asked me to be here tomorrow.

Sri Chinmoy: While they are honouring you may my students and I watch from a distance?

Mr. Vanasin Vongbhun: Yes.

Sri Chinmoy: I will definitely be here with all my joy and pride in you. I am so proud that they are coming to honour you. I shall definitely be here with my own boundless love and personal gratitude to you for helping these young people who badly need your help. A heart like yours everybody needs. Mr. Vanasin Vongbhun: And I think we can express this concept to other countries, especially in the hotel business.

Sri Chinmoy: Each hotel gets pilgrims from all over the world. Even today, see how many people are coming to your hotel here in Bangkok from various parts of the world. So the good, compassionate thoughts that you have instilled in these children will spread to people all over the world who come to your hotels. The flower may be here, but the fragrance can be felt everywhere. You are the flower and the fragrance is spreading all over.

A hotel brings all the bees for the honey. It serves a very, very special purpose for mankind, because we are all members of one family. In our world-family, the brothers and sisters are living in various countries. But at Christmas or at other special times, they all gather together and come to a hotel to be with their brothers and sisters who are living in a different place. So a hotel serves that divine purpose.

Remarks by Sri Chinmoy at the ceremony to Honour Mr. Vanasin Vongbhun

Dear brother-friend, Mr. Vanasin Vongbhun, I wish to offer at the very outset my heart's deepest love to you and to all your students who are here now.

My dear young friends! I call you my friends, my brothers and sisters, because you and I are in the same boat. I am absolutely one of you. I lost my parents when I was quite young. At the age of ten I lost my father, and the following year I lost my mother. So I became orphaned at the age of eleven.

Affection, love, compassion and all the other divine blessings I received from my parents only for eleven fleeting years. Parents' affection can never be replaced. Again, there are many human beings who are extremely compassionate to orphans. Here is the most radiant example. Mr. Vongbhun is all kindness, all affection and all protection to each of you.

I was born in a village. In a village there are many good children and, again, there are many bad children. In my family, when we lost our father and mother, some children of our age were very unkind to us, while other children were extremely kind and compassionate. In India, when we lose our parents, for a month we have to lead a very strict, disciplined and austere life. We cannot sit on a chair or sleep on a bed; we have to sit and sleep on the floor. We cannot have any kind of comfort. During that period I had to take an examination. So I was answering the questions from the floor, while my classmates were all on chairs. Some of my classmates were laughing at me while others, including the teacher, were showing me such affection and love.

Then I went to another school in another part of India. There the students and teachers were so kind and affectionate to me because I had lost my parents at a very young age. So if there are bad students who do not show kindness, affection and sympathy to you, please forgive them. There will always be good students who will show you their affection, kindness and love.

Now a few words about your teacher, your friend, your leader, who is your father and mother in one body — Mr. Vanasin Vongbhun. Yesterday I had the golden opportunity to speak with him for about an hour. He told me everything that he has been doing for the past few years with the children who lost their parents at the very beginning of their life's journey. The ideas and the ideals that he has placed before you are extremely beautiful, powerful, illumining and fulfilling.

As I understand, you are all the sweet children of the Lord Buddha. He embodies infinite Compassion and he has very, very special affection and compassion for all of you at every moment. As you know, when the Lord Buddha came into the world, his mother had to go to Heaven. So he also did not get his mother's affection. But after he attained the highest Nirvana and received the infinite Light, he used to contact his mother in Heaven. He used to give her Light in infinite measure and keep her in the highest plane of Heaven.

You children can also give joy and affection to your parents in Heaven. Early in the morning, when you pray, you can ask God to give your parents joy, love and light. God definitely will listen to your prayer. You should pray to the Lord Buddha. He will do it for you the way he did it for his own mother. So by virtue of your prayer, you can help your parents in Heaven.

Also, every morning please offer gratitude to the Lord Buddha for giving you special concern, shelter and protection here on earth under the guidance of your great, divine leader. If we show our gratitude when somebody does something good for us, God immediately increases our good qualities. He gives us more love, more joy, more affection, more strength, more peace and more of everything than we deserve or even need.

You have to pray to the Lord Buddha at least twice a day — every morning and every evening — for his Protection and his Illumination. Every morning and every evening, please pray to the Lord Buddha for his infinite Compassion, infinite Affection and constant Protection so that you can become good citizens of the world and do something very good and very great, not only for your beloved country but for the entire world. The more you can pray to the Lord Buddha, the more happiness and fulfilment you will receive from your lives.

Once more, I wish to personally thank this supreme teacher from the very depths of my heart. Dearest friend, I deeply appreciate and admire all your divine qualities. In so many ways you are serving your young brothers and sisters — giving them a new promise and a new hope of becoming perfect citizens of the world. Therefore, I am extremely, extremely grateful to you and extremely, extremely proud of you.

Editor’s introduction to first edition

Sri Chinmoy and a group of his students from various parts of the world spent several days in Bangkok, Thailand in December 1992. This book contains the transcripts of meetings which took place at that time with Sri Chinmoy's Thai students and with the owner of the hotel where the group stayed.


Thailand, Thailand, Thailand,


Great Lord Buddha's


In a small body the Pinnacle-Voice.

The world's quick


Thailand, Thailand, Thailand,


Peace-hunger-lives play your

oneness-band. ```

From:Sri Chinmoy,Lord Buddha's Compassion-Hand, Agni Press, 1993
Sourced from https://srichinmoylibrary.com/lb