A section from my autobiography- treading the religious path:
About 25 or 26 years ago, I and five other disciples traveled in our van to Washington D.C following an invitation from Mr. Phu, an attorney. At the time we did not know that he was once President Thiệu’s legal advisor.
When we got there we visited one meditation center of Vo Vi Friendship Association in the U.S. and met about ten members (who used to go to the center for meditation on Sundays) and the head of the group, an ex-army officer of the previous regime. It seemed that he had heard of us from a video about our lecture, and from our performing initiation rites for about 30 Vo Vi members at Fountain Valley branch, led by Mr. Lac, not too long ago.
Looking to preserve his status in the sect, he expressed his doubts and derided us, suggesting that we belonged to the center of Intelligence of the North Vietnam regime. Therefore they asked us many questions and did not ask for the initiation rites. The meeting was brief and we took our leave.
One of their members, named Tuat, had invited us to her home. When we got there, she and her sister named Quan asked us for the initiation rites into Secret Buddhism (Quan was not a follower of the Vo Vi sect).
Mr. Phu had allowed his nephew, who at the time was about 19 or 20 years old, to receive the initiation. So Tuat, Quan and the nephew were initiated and they all received the Buddha’s Power. After we gave them the permission to initiate others, we left Washington D.C for Canada before we returned to Colorado.
About 2 months later, we received a letter from a couple. The wife was a head nurse in Vietnam, and continued to work as a R.N. in the hospital in Washington D.C. The husband is a professor at the University of Sciences in Saigon. We called him Uncle Hoang. Uncle Hoang wanted to come see us in Colorado, together with his sister-in- law. We agreed.
When we met, they told us that Quan, whom I had recently initiated,was actually their daughter-in-law. She had given the initiation rites to both of them, her husband, and her brothers-in-law. They told us that the nephew of Mr. Phu had the Buddha’s force and performed powerful kung fu moves. Mr. Phu was very delighted.
Regarding Uncle Hoang, before he received the initiation, he had tripped and severely injured his foot. It was very painful and he was limping. His wife had taken him to the hospital, and the X-rays showed he had a fracture, and he was receiving medical treatments. After Quan initiated him, an unexpected thing happened. His painful leg suddenly healed up quite beyond the expectation of everybody in the family and the doctors. From having this miracle and the divine signs that happened with other people following their initiation, they wanted to ask us permission to print the book: Secret Buddhism – Middle volume ( at this time we did not yet have the Quintessence of Esoteric Buddhism) and the Cundi Sutra. With our approval, they went to a Vietnamese print shop in Colorado to have them printed before returning to Washington D.C.
Since then, Quan continued to initiate many people and they all had wonderful signs upon their praying. A few months later, the religious practitioners in the area invited us to Washington D.C to ask if they could form Mat Giao (secret Buddhism) Friendship Association in America. We gave our consent, as we did not see any problems. Mr. Phú (he had helped the Vo Vi sect start the Vo Vi Friendship Association) helped us with the paperwork to start Mat Giao Friendship Association in America, a non profit organization which aimed to print and distribute free books on Secret Buddhism to people who knew about it and wrote to ask for it.
When we got back to Colorado, Uncle Hoang called to give us some news up where he was: On the occasion of Tet (Vietnamese New Year), following our consent, Uncle Hoang’s family had rented a booth in the Vietnamese fair in Washington D.C in order to distribute our books. Our booth was next to one from Protestant denomination, but they were selling their books while we gave out ours for free; therefore many people came to our booth. Besides the books, they had 3 or 4 numbers of Mat Giao magazine, published monthly, for people to see and sign up to get it sent to their homes.
During this Tet festival, Quan had initiated many high ranking ex- government officials from the Republic of Vietnam such as Mr. Chu Ngoc Lien, Director of the Presidential Cabinet, and a Colonel, once director of Saigon-Cholon police forces. Then, there was Lieutenant General Lư Lan, who once was commander of the 2nd Military zone before 1975, a friend of the Hoang’s family, who stopped by the booth to pick up some Matgiao books and registered for the Matgiao magazine. Uncle Hoang had suggested that he receive the initiation but he tactfully declined.
One year passed and we had another opportunity to return to Washington D.C. This time we stayed with the Hoang family. Then Lieutenant General Lu Lan contacted Uncle Hoang to express his wish to be initiated into Secret Buddhism by us. Uncle Hoang told us that Mr. Lu Lang liked to read and recite from the Earth Store Boddhisatva Sutra. When we met, he wanted to recite in the name of Amitabha Buddha to receive the initiation, and he promptly received the divine sign. We had noticed that he was a very cautious person from the fact that he had read our books and followed closely our monthly magazine for a whole year before he himself come to ask for the Initiation.
We returned to Washington D.C. on another occasion to provide support to our religious practitioners. One day, Uncle Hoang introduced to us two persons, who wanted to receive inìtation from us if possible. We knew the name of one, he was an ex-Lieutenant General in charge of military security of the South. The other one was introduced to us simply as a high ranking government official, his name was not revealed to us.
The ex-Lieutenant General (we won’t mention his name, and will call him Mr. A, and his friend Mr. B) expressed his sincere wish to be initiated. After praying for about 15 minutes, he did not receive any divine sign. Mr. B therefore did not venture to ask for the initiation. Before they left, we noticed that Mr. A picked up the coat and put it on his friend, Mr. B. From his respectful action we deduced that Mr. B must be his superior. Later, during a conversation with a Colonel , we asked about Mr. B and was told that he was a Lieutenant General who once served as Secretary of Defense for Vietnam’s old regime, and had held other important posts.
Later, we heard from Uncle Hoang about Mr. A. He was contrite as a result of not receiving the Holy Force during his initiation. He said to the couple: I know why I did not receive the Holy Force: it was because of my sins. So, Mr A thought that the Divinities did not acknowledge his prayers and he felt a sense of guilt, as in political life naturally one gets involved in matters of good and evil. However, we felt, as a result of our experiences, that his feeling guilty was not necessarily correct, because many people did not receive the force their first time. It was not because of sins, but rather a test for perseverance from the Divinities. If he were to receive the initiation a few more times, he would also receive the Holy force.
I want to bring you back to the “Nomination of the Gods” and reflect upon the battle between the Chau and Tru Dynasties, which illustrates this the saying “If one’s career is as a General, when he dies he will become a Genie.” Which means the Generals, through their contributions in fighting for their country, will achieve the rank of Immortal if they survive the war and die from old age. However, if they die in battle, they will become Genies instead (which is a lower rank in the Spirit world).”
I have had the opportunity to have met many officers in the military; they all started their careers from low and rose to high, and had survived many battles to become Generals. They are those who once were wreaking havoc on the military and political stage of South Vietnam during the time when I was just a high school student. When they met with me, they were in their 50’s to 60’s, while I was around 30-something years old, and preaching secret Buddhism. They all had Divinities who had been protecting them in their military lives, and, toward the end of their lives, their Spiritual Protectors had prompted them to come and meet with me in order to tell me wonderful and mysterious stories they had come across in their lives, or to ask for initiation into Secret Buddhism, as well as to officially ask for a passport for their entry to Heaven.
I only met them once, and gave them the initiation. So far I have not had any further contacts or communications. As this article was written, they may already have "returned to the realm of the Immortals” ( otherwise, they must be in their eighties …)
August 1, 2010.
Addendum: Mat Giao Friendship Association in America does not have any affiliations with any political party. It does not receive any financial support from any non-profit or charitable organization. All of its activities such as printing and distributing Mat Giao’s books and magazines came from private individuals.
Mat Giao magazine had been in circulation for about 3 years, and at that time, various overseas political parties affiliated with religious organizations started to be in turmoil, viciously attacking each other to compete for leadership, which negatively affected the Vietnamese community. Therefore, we had decided to terminate and dissolve Mat Giao Friendship Association in America.
However, the Mat Giao Friendship Association in California continued its missionary activies in silence during the next 10 years, by not placing any religious articles in the newspaper, and by publishing three more editions of the following: Buddhist Bible, Quintessence of Esoteric Buddhism, Nomination of the Gods and Mysticism, The Cundi Sutra... All of them were distributed for free. In addition, the Initiation Rites continue to be available to all social classes.