“In accordance with an old prophecy… The Church of Love is proclaimed in 1986. It has no fabric, only understanding. It has no membership, save those who know they belong. It has no rivals, because it is non-competitive. It has no ambition; it seeks only to serve.”
In our previous episode, we began to learn about the Cathars, a fascinating spiritual group that lived from the 11th to 13th centuries AD in southern France and other parts of Europe.
Regarding themselves as Christians, the Cathars were charitable pacifists. Many Cathars were known as “Believers.” Meanwhile, those more ready to renounce the world were the initiates known as “Perfects. These individuals were imparted a secret way to contact the Divine Love within. The Perfects followed vegan principles, refusing to take the flesh or by-products of animals that were born through normal reproduction because this meant that they housed reincarnated souls. (Unfortunately, some say that they mistakenly thought that fish reproduced spontaneously.)
We realized that the Cathar Believers are like our Convenient Method practitioners, while the Perfects resemble our fully initiated Association members. The similarities are striking; even the majority of Cathars were women, just like in our group today.
The Cathars also believed that there was a benevolent God and also a lower evil god – satan. Souls could connect with the True God for salvation and thus free themselves from the cycle of reincarnation. Meanwhile, the negative god, whom we know as satan or the king of maya, tries to stop souls from reuniting with the Divine by filling the world with temptations. Only through initiation and living a pure and moral life, can one become eternally free from the imprisonment of the evil god and return home to Heaven. These Cathars doctrines are very similar to what Supreme Master Ching Hai teaches today.
“There are always two forces in this world, negative and positive. The negative tells people to do all the bad things that are harmful to societies and to themselves. The positive people try to stop that and tell people to do good, whatever good for the nation, for the world, and for themselves. And these are always at odds with each other. This is the temptation that we always heard about in this world. The negative always tries to give temptation to people, to make people bad. And the positive power tries to save them, tries to tell them to do the right thing, go into the better, correct direction. So, the Master, the Prophet always represents this positive power. And many negative representatives on this planet of course will not want the Master to be alive or to be well. Because if the Master takes all the souls to Heaven, then what do they do here? They cannot control people anymore, they cannot tell people to kill each other anymore, they cannot tell people to drug themselves to death or harm their bodies by drugs and by all kinds of bad habits anymore. All souls are free. So they’re afraid. They want to keep the souls here, enslaved forever.”
“This world is a big trap, and very difficult to escape unless you’re really sincere and you seek a Master to help you. There’s a secret way to go back Home, to go back to Heaven. And only the Master can open it. That is the thing. Because the karma is so strong, it’s like an iron door, double, triple iron door. Only the Master has the key. The Master has enough power to do it. Not everyone can.”
Catharism spread rapidly and resonated among countless people in medieval France and Europe. The troubadours, as traveling musicians, may have played a role in the wide following of Catharism. But the Cathars earned their respect by their humility and virtues, including from sympathizers in high places, such as the powerful French Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine. Even a Catholic clergyman who opposed the Cathars admitted: “If you interrogate them, no one could be more Christian. As to their conversation, nothing can be less reprehensible, and what they speak they prove by deeds. As for the morals of the heretics, they cheat no one, they oppress no one, they strike no one.”
When the Roman Catholic Church at the time launched a crusade against the Cathars starting in 1209 AD, Catholic military orders were urged to join in their persecution. But one soldier answered: “We cannot. We have been reared in their midst. We have relatives among them and we see them living lives of perfection.”
Tragically, the innocent Cathars were imprisoned, besieged, and massacred over the next several decades. But not one of them renounced their faith, such was their inner fortitude and firm knowledge that their Kingdom lay in Heaven, not on Earth. It is said that in the face of their obliteration, the Cathars uttered the words, “The laurel wilts.” For the Cathars, the laurel was a sacred symbol of the Divine Love, the essence of their faith.
But the Cathars had inner knowledge that their Church of Love would revive someday. As we saw last week, the last Cathar Perfect, Guillaume Bélibaste, proclaimed the following just before his martyrdom in 1321: “700 years from now, the laurel will turn green again and the good men and women (meaning the Cathars) will return.”
Thus, the Cathars knew that either they – or perhaps more likely, spiritual people just like themselves – would flourish 700 years later, which is today…
In 1244 AD, one of the last surviving Cathar communities took refuge at the fortress of Monségur when they were besieged by 10,000 troops for ten months before their surrender. Weakened by the cold and hunger, about 225 of them bravely met their end together at the stake.
Centuries later in 1978, this site at Monségur was visited by the late respected British dowser and spiritual author named Colin Bloy. He is also the founder of Fountain International, a gathering of individuals who are encouraged to use a simple meditation technique to bring peace and healing to their local communities.
Mr. Bloy was dowsing (detecting spiritual energies using rods) in the meadow where the 225 Cathars had perished in 1244, when some information was mysteriously revealed to him, predicting the future rebuilding of an Andorran church in 1986. Later, Mr. Bloy realized that there was a greater meaning to this.
In March 1985, Colin Bloy was suddenly inspired from within to write down a prophecy regarding the Cathars. Flowing through his hand within just 10 minutes, the words – not his own – came from the year 1244 AD when that group of Cathars were martyred: “In accordance with an old prophecy… The Church of Love is proclaimed in 1986. It has no fabric, only understanding. It has no membership, save those who know they belong.”
Mr. Bloy intuitively knew that the “Church of Love” did not signify the return of the Cathar Church per se, but a broader community of people with the same ideals, such as the peace-promoting organization that he himself had founded.
We too wonder whether the “Church of Love” that was to be “proclaimed in 1986” might also encompass our Association. The Supreme Master Ching Hai International Association was just beginning at around 1986, forming naturally around Master’s teaching of Love. Created neither to gain nor to keep members, our Association solely exists based on the understanding that everyone in it sincerely wishes to realize God under Master’s Guidance. Hence, “it has no fabric, only understanding. It has no membership, save those who know they belong.”
“(How does one become a member of Your international organization?) You just let me serve you, if you would like to know God, and that's how you can join us just to pray for the world. You are not a member of anybody, you are only a member of God's Kingdom. So, I just want to show you how to meditate, how to know God. That's all. You are not a member of any kind. We normally don't have anything like a membership or anything. But we give you a little card, so whenever you come to see me in my private residences, if you want to, you have priority to come in, ask questions or meditate, whatever. That's it. There's no membership fee, no obligation. If you want to come, you come. You don't want to come, you don't come. Nobody will call you, bother you, or force you, or remind you – any kind. If you want to come, our house is open; if you don't come, sayonara.”
The prophecy continued: “It has no rivals, because it is non-competitive. It has no ambition; it seeks only to serve.” As Master intended, our Association has no ambition; it seeks only to provide support for its members through group meditation and fellowship, and also to help the less fortunate unconditionally. These humanitarian activities spring from Master’s own example and Her reminder that it is our duty to put our love into action.
The very small group of Master's disciples formed the so-called Association because it’s requested by law, in order to gather in groups for meditation. All other “members” have no membership requirement.
“We really do not have an organizational structure. If you like, you may visit us and ask around. We give what we have. Next time, if there is a need again, ‘Quickly, what I have, I give; what you have, you give.’ We pool it all together, we do it on our own initiative. This is God's work. When our God, the God within is awakened, Hes will know how to save Hiers own relatives and friends. No need to make any organized effort. The meditation Association in Taiwan (Formosa) was established later, according to government regulations that an organization was necessary.”
“We don’t take any money. So whatever I earn, after I do everything else for everybody else in our (spiritual) family, then we give it away. Before we did it mostly by private names, so nobody even knew we are doing anything. I never care, I never care. It’s just recently they told me that sometimes if we just give by a private name it’s difficult to explain to the government over there, the one that we want to help or give to some other organization, etc., etc.”