An Audience of 4,000 and Supreme Master Ching Hai at the Musical Program
"A Journey Through Aesthetic Realms" in Washington, DC

Excerpts from Culture Magazine, California, USA , Jan. & Feb. 1998
By Ly Kien Truc, January 1998 (Originally in Aulacese)

     Washington, DC – Four thousand people were present at the concert “A Journey through Aesthetic Realms,” Saturday evening, December 27, 1997. It was winter on the U.S. East Coast; the chilling wind was blowing in gusts; and snowflakes were falling, dusting concert-goers’ hair and shoulders. They were talking among themselves, hoping that the program tonight would warm people’s hearts in this wintry climate.

     The theme of “A Journey through Aesthetic Realms” was depicted through the colorful set on the stage of Washington DC’s number one theater – the DAR Constitution Hall. The theme was suggested by a very well-known Aulacese composer, and the organizers spent approximately half a million dollars in order to enhance the romantic atmosphere of the evening…

     …Renowned artists and musicians of different genres came from various parts of the world. There was musician Tran Quang Hai, who is well-known from Paris to Moscow to Little Saigon, with his presentations of his studies of Eastern music; and Jean Louis Beydon, an accomplished pianist who plays so many of the world’s beautiful love songs. Then there were singers Dalena, Ai Van, Tom Mahieu, musician David Arkenstone, and many others, all of whom contributed to the program.

     I wonder if the artists had come together for the arts, for the public, in the affinity with the art-loving Aulacese people, who are scattered everywhere on this small planet: Kieu Hung from Germany, Bach Yen from Paris, Nguyen Dinh Nghia from Washington, DC… Some are from Europe while others are from Asia, some from the US East Coast, and others from the West Coasts: all of them wanted to sing the most popular songs of the world in this “evening of reflective music and romantic songs,” December 27, 1997. The well-known singer Bach Yen said, “To sing and die on stage is an artist’s unimaginable happiness…. The happiness of an artist is to be able to stand under the stage lights.”

     In order to organize the event systematically and elegantly, the organizers rented almost the entire Hilton Hotel for ten days to arrange meals and lodgings for about 4,000 people.

     Hundreds of staff members took turns picking up guests from the airport and transporting them to the hotel. These volunteers sometimes had to wait for many hours on end, all night and all morning at the airport due to the freezing weather and continual snowy conditions that obstructed many flights from landing. The volunteer staff were concerned that the performers and musicians might be late for their performances, but eventually they all arrived.

     Thousands of representatives of meditation centers from 40 nations came together. Their luggage consisted of only a few carry-on bags, simple clothing, a meditation cushion and a water bottle. They were all vegetarians, and were served, to the last detail, by the 40 vegetarian kitchen staff members who arrived from Formosa, with tons of vegetarian delicacies, transported by a special flight also from Formosa. This vegetarian kitchen staff served more than 4,000 people through all the ten days at the Hilton. Furthermore, the performers and musicians invited for the musical program “A Journey through Aesthetic Realms” also took vegetarian meals with the meditation practitioners.

     Christmas night in Washington, DC, was accompanied not only by the glittering Christmas tree from the White House, with hundreds of thousands of residents from Maryland, Virginia attending the midnight celebration at the churches, but also by thousands of practitioners rejoicing at the birth of Christ with happy and festive songs in Hilton’s Hall, hosted by a spiritual master who has been known for almost ten years in many parts of the world, the Zen Master Supreme Master Ching Hai. Thousands of practitioners respectfully call her ‘Master’... while the artists called her ‘Poet Zen Master.’

     In order to observe the method of practice of the Supreme Master Ching Hai International Association, this writer had the opportunity to accompany many practitioners to eat vegetarian food for almost seven days, and interview them, both old and especially the young from many different nationalities. Most of the interviewed people said, “Keeping the five precepts and a vegetarian diet for at least three to six months are the basic conditions to be accepted into the Association, and to be initiated into the Quan Yin Method....”

     The Poet Zen Master officially appeared along with the guests on the Saturday evening, December 27, 1997, at DAR Constitution Hall. According to Washington, DC residents who have lived there for a long time, this theater has rarely or never been leased out to any private organization for musical performances, because it is a traditional theater used for patriotic ceremonies. In addition, according to the organizing staff, the theater’s manager had said that recently the theater has been completely renovated, with new carpets, seats, stage, including supporting equipment that cost about 7 million dollars. Therefore, the acceptance of the Supreme Master Ching Hai International Association to organize a night of musical performance is something not easily done.

     Even without introductions, Supreme Master Ching Hai is known, but on this night, there were probably people who had just met her for the first time, some who had seen her a few times at a distance, and all paid attention to every walking step of this unique Aulacese-speaking lady . People asked themselves: Is this the lady who has been and still is surrounded by legends?

     One detail that was not part of the program, and was applauded enthusiastically by the audience, occurred when the Zen Master Supreme Master Ching Hai presented $100,000.00 USD to Jim Delgado, Director of Volunteer Services - Secretary of the General Office Department of Veteran Affairs. According to Supreme Master Ching Hai, this was only a small gift from the Supreme Master Ching Hai International Association to the U.S. Veterans Affairs, to thank all of the U.S. soldiers who had fought and sacrificed their lives in Au Lac. Mark Katz, Director of the Vietnam Homeless Veterans, was also given $100,000.00 USD. About this act, Supreme Master Ching Hai remarked that it was also an opportunity for her to know another U.S. veterans organization of the Vietnam war, now also involved in humanitarian activities in that country. The act of giving the $200,000.00 USD to the different veterans organizations was a noble act, enhancing the meaning of the ‘evening of reflective music and romantic songs’ in Washington, DC, organized by the Supreme Master Ching Hai International Association.

     “A Journey through Aesthetic Realms” lasted until after 2 a.m. During the 15-minute intermission, an unexpected event for the thousands of attendees was the announcement by the organizing staff: the Formosan vegetarian kitchen staff had prepared plenty of vegetarian snacks, neatly packed, available in all corridors of the DAR Constitution Hall for everyone...(Excerpted from Supreme Master Ching Hai News Magazine #89)

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