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.

From:Sri Chinmoy,Lord Buddha's Compassion-Hand, Agni Press, 1993
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