Supreme Master Ching Hai - A Matchless Model of Compassion for All Beings
By one of Master's attendants (Originally in English)
For those highly enlightened Saints who thoroughly understand the game of creation, a reclusive life in the mountains, far from the mundane world, is one of happiness and freedom from care. However, these Saints often choose to maintain a worldly existence to assist and set examples for sentient beings. Thus, we are sometimes blessed to gain glimpses of Their lives, Their elevated words and deeds, and learn from them.
On September afternoon in 2005, Master traveled by helicopter to a farm in the Eastern Hungarian countryside that was used to raise pigs and other animals but was poorly managed, being extremely disorganized and dirty. Near the entrance was a guard house, next to which was a large, flat area with concrete walls along its sides that had previously been used to store old agricultural machines. Upon landing, Master stepped out of the helicopter and saw two small dogs bound by chains no more than two-and-a-half meters in length lying in front of the guard house.
The limited area in which the dogs were able move was covered only with dirt, and to one side was an old, dilapidated doghouse. The other side of the area was filled with dog feces that had obviously been there for many months. In front of the poor creatures was a dirty plastic bottle that had been cut in half, and inside the halves were some foul-smelling water and dry bread. The dogs, which were of an European long-haired variety, were in extremely bad condition, being underfed, filthy and smelly from having to lie in their own excrement.
At the opposite side of this concrete area Master and Her attendants also noticed two crooked walls that leaned toward one another to form a sheltered gap, in front of which was a large, short-haired dog that appeared to be a German shepherd mix. Like the other dogs, he was also bound by a chain no longer than three meters. However, this dog did not have a doghouse like the others, but found refuge in the gap formed by the two concrete walls, both sides of which were open so that wind and rain could blow into his shelter. Inside the gap were only dirt and mud, and as with the others, this dog's area of movement was covered with dirt and feces. It was apparent that the third dog, however, only defecated in one corner of his area in order to stay clean. But, sadly, his chain would always drag along the ground, spreading his filth over the entire area so he had no choice but to lie down in his own excrement as well.
Master was shocked and disgusted at the scene and immediately inquired about who owned the dogs and why they were kept in such inhumane conditions. Next, the sympathy in Her heart for the pathetic beings led Her to the large dog first, and as She approached the dog wagged his tail with joy and a sense of longing and curiosity. After Master came and petted him, he immediately gave Her his paw in a kind, gentle way. And upon seeing this show of love and compassion, Master began crying for the creature had shown Her great kindness even after other humans had treated him heartlessly. Master then gave all the food she had with her to the dogs and also provided them with fresh water.
The farm was abandoned at the time so there was no one to ask regarding the identity of the dogs' owner. Then at that moment Master decided something had to be done to make the dogs' lives better, and although She was unprepared to deal with such a situation and had many other urgent matters to attend to, She postponed them just to spend time with these pitiful creatures. She next asked one of Her attendants to go and bring all sorts of delicious food for the dogs, including various types of cheese, vegetarian sausages, vegetarian ham, organic vegetarian dog food, green bones, milk and dog biscuits, and instructed that they be given as much as they could eat. She then asked the attendants to write a letter to the dogs' owner requesting that they be properly cared for and that they be freed from their chains at least once a day to relieve themselves somewhere other than their living area so that they would not have to lie in their own filth. She also said in the letter that if the owner did not like the dogs he should not keep them and instead give them to a proper dog shelter so that they could find a warm, loving home.
Then at Master's request the attendants visited the dogs several times during the next month, to supply them with proper food and water. But on each visit they never saw the person who was responsible for their care and the guard house was always empty and locked. The last time the attendants came to feed the dogs, an elderly woman who worked at the farm came by on bicycle. They asked her about the dogs' master and she said they belonged to the owner of the farm. The woman also explained how the owner never let the dogs free from their chains, as Master had believed, as he was afraid that if they were free they would go to the neighboring village and cause trouble. She further revealed that besides the water and dry bread, the dogs occasionally received some meat, but the attendants could not see any trace of it. The lady then promised that she would forward Master's letter regarding a better life for the dogs to their owner.
Months passed by, during which time Master spoke about the dogs and hoped the owner had taken Her advice and behaved in a more humane way toward his pets. Then when winter arrived and the temperature began falling below zero degrees Celsius, Master instructed the attendants to again visit the farm, check to see if the dogs' lives had changed for the better and bring them some food. She also stated that if the dogs' situation had not improved to a reasonable degree, the attendants should purchase them from their owner.
When the attendants arrived at the farm, they were terribly saddened to realize that the dogs' lives had not gotten better but rather had worsened! Of the three dogs that had been present before, only two remained, one of the small dogs and the large dog. The other small dog had passed away most likely from hunger and exposure to the cold. The remaining small dog's chain was coiled up and now only one meter long. Thus, he could not even reach his cold, rotten doghouse or his empty, tattered water container and was much thinner and even dirtier than before. The larger dog's condition had not improved either: The same windy concrete structure still provided his only shelter and unfortunately, due to recent heavy rainfall, the gap in which he lived had become even wetter and dirtier. And next to the gap lay a young, dead frozen pig, which had most likely been left there so that the dog could satiate his hunger. However, the dog had not touched the corpse and happily ate the cheese and vegetarian sausages sent by Master instead.
Then fortunately, after contacting the owner, the attendants were able to buy the dogs, and in the car on the way back, they were surprisingly well behaved. The small one even cuddled up in the driver's lap! Next when Master called one of the attendants to learn about the situation with the dogs, she cried profusely out of joy and happiness, being deeply touched that the animals had finally had a lap to rest their heads on and could feel human love for the first time.
Next Master instructed that the dogs be immediately taken to the best veterinarian in the area for a complete check-up. And after the vet examined the animals and took blood samples from the smaller dog, he concluded that except for poor health caused by his exposure to cold and hunger, the dog was free of disease. When they returned home Master directed the attendants to give the small dog a proper haircut and shower. The larger dog, however, was not so lucky. He had a strong, pungent smell coming from his neck area, and after observing him the vet realized that his plastic collar, which was very wide but also very thin, had acted like a blade and cut his neck in the cold weather. Since the collar had always been on the dog's neck and he was constantly in motion, the wound was never able to heal. Also, fluid from his open gash had flowed onto the dog's fur and become rotten. Then the veterinarian immediately gave the dog an anesthetic and operated to fix the wound.
Now, thanks to Master's help, which had come just in the nick of time, the operation was successful, and the large wound is healing. Meanwhile, on Master's instructions, both dogs are enjoying healthy vegetarian diets rich in protein and vitamins and find pleasure in taking walks five times a day with human "attendants"! Also through Master's loving care, the animals now rest in a clean, warm environment on soft blankets and pillows. And once they are totally cured and become strong, they will be able to find a loving owner and good home.
In describing Her experience with the dogs, Master said, "I cannot take care of millions of dogs all around the world, but those dogs which I meet and which need help, I feel I have to take care of and help."
Through Her loving concern and care for two helpless European dogs, Master has provided a touching, noble example of compassion for us all to follow. Despite Her busy schedule and constant work, She still manages to help free sentient beings that are only a hand's reach away from us. When in us is also awakened the power of love at this level, we will be able to follow Her example and begin to feel our world become a better place.