The Poet’s Commentary on Silent Tears


A Truth Seeker’s Journey
Spoken by Supreme Master Ching Hai,
Taipei, Formosa, November 4, 1987, Audiotape # CE3A
and November 12, 1988, Audiotape # CG05 (Originally in Chinese)

Supreme Master Ching Hai has bestowed upon us a most precious treasure in the book, Silent Tears. This beloved poetry collection speaks to the heart of spiritual aspirants as it reveals Master’s own experiences on Her path to the Truth. As She has said, “The path you are walking now, I have already walked. I must walk it. If not, how could I guide people?”* Originally written in English, Master later orally translated the profound verses into Chinese and then Aulacese. The combined three-language edition of Silent Tears, with the English and Aulacese verses written in Master’s own hand, was first published on February 25, 1988.

*Quote was originally in Chinese

In the following excerpts, Supreme Master Ching Hai reveals Her own explanations for some of the poems in Silent Tears. The term “Master” in the poems refers to the inner Master, symbol of eternal Life, and the most powerful and gracious of all Beings in the cosmos.

  O Master of heaven and earth,
Lord of infinite Love,
High above all sorrows and pleasures
You own my very heart!
Wouldn’t You accept me the way I am?
Your hard tests are difficult to pass!

You know well what it’s like
To live in this dark world without Your guide:
If You’re not there to hold my hands
I’d fail immediately!
There could be no doubt about that.
So Master,
Don’t ever try!

Master: You definitely must not ever try! (Master and everyone laugh)

Q: This was written by Master or an initiate?

Master: I wrote it, I personally translated it [into Chinese].

Q: Because it’s all our heartfelt feeling.

Master: I wrote it for all of you.

Q: Master understands us.

Master: I was also once a student, a student of my Master. The path you are walking on now, I have already walked. You have to reach a certain level in your spiritual practice to understand. Otherwise, you won’t.













All the morning I sat alone
Yearning to meet Thee.
Thou didn’t show up.
All the afternoon I again sat alone
Waiting earnestly
All the world know my urgency!
But Thou care not!
All the night I lay awake
In my darkest chamber
With a lonely candle,

Your Light never once shone through!
Alright Master! Then go!
Go wherever You wish.
I’m tired!
Heart broken.
Have no more patience.
After all I’m only a frail mortal, You know it!
I quit.
 (P.S. till tomorrow).

Master: This is a student who had meditated for a long time, but did not have many inner visions and did not see the inner Master. It’s said that we should see the inner Master and that we will have such-and-such good experiences. He didn’t have them. He prayed a long, long time, but he still didn’t have them. So this poem represents his complaint.

When we practice, sometimes we have to go through a very dry period where there is absolutely nothing. It looks like our courage and motivation to practice has disappeared, and it seems we are about to fall. That period is called the dark night of the soul.


You have numerous disciples.
I have only You!
Who is the most faithful of us two?

I pity myself openly!
I complain openly!

Does anyone hear me?
My Master wouldn’t care the least
That I gave away the world,

That I renounce all pleasures…
Food doesn’t even taste good anymore.
And at night, I could hardly sleep.
All because of HER!
You’d ask me if the Master cares about it.
Not at all!

Master: The meaning is that the Master has numerous disciples and does not care for him alone. Master said do not pity yourself, do not complain so much, you should be patient…… etc., but that person was too tired, and could not bear it any more. Even after several years of practicing, he felt he did not have anything. He could not talk to the Master, so he talked to the outside people. Maybe he used the microphone (Master and everyone laugh) “Hey, people on the road, is there anyone who knows my sorrowful situation?” Even though he’d been practicing a long time, he could not see the inner Master. When he was praying to the Master, Hes didn’t listen, Hes didn’t hear, Hes didn’t see him. Some people who cannot find the enlightened Master after a long time, also will understand this situation.

Don’t think that after you have followed Master and practiced, you will be forever happy! Perhaps only after initiation, you will feel happy. After a while, you will come to that painful period, that very dry, very pitiful level. It seems like the whole universe has run away, that Buddha and the Saints have gone to the Western Paradise, that there is no God. It seems like Master has no eyes and no ears. Hes cannot hear, cannot see our yearnings! This level is very painful. However, it is very necessary. If you practice without any sorrow and do not have a truly longing heart, you won’t get anything. Only when you get to that level and go beyond it, then you will truly rise above any hindrances and will reach the carefree state. But during this dry, dark period, it seems like nothing can be explained. We don’t want to do anything – we cannot eat, we cannot sleep, we cannot meditate well even though we want to. But we cannot stop meditating. If we keep practicing the Quan Yin Method of meditation for a long time and get used to it, we cannot live without it.


The road to Your home
Is full of stones and thorns,
O Lord!
But I’ve walked halfway now,
To return would be even worse!

Master: So we have no choice but to continue walking to reach the Master’s level, to become a Master, to see the Master, to obtain Mastership. What’s the meaning of “The road to Your home?” We practice to reach the Master’s level. But before getting there, we suffer a lot! This path is full of rocks and thorns. We thought they might disappear after walking for a while. But it turns out that the farther we go, the harder it gets, and the more stones and thorns there are. However, since we have already gone halfway, wouldn’t it be even worse if we returned? Therefore, we suffer very much in this dilemma.



O Master,
What’s the use of this eternal game:
The seek and hide,
Since ancient time?
For eons, countless people,
Dumb and wise,
Have wasted much energy playing it!
I’d quit!
One day You have to come out all by Yourself.
I no longer have the strength to continue.
It’s no good for either of us.

Let’s stop the game!
I’m now lying bare-hearted,
Unconscious at Your door.
All the passers-by could see my pitiful situation but You did not!
Oh Beloved and Merciful One!
Sprinkle some Life potion
On my soul, please.
But quickly!
Or I’d never again wake up!

Master: Has anyone reached this level in your spiritual practice? Whoever has practiced to this level will put down everything. He or she does not care anymore, not about becoming a Buddha or a Saint. At that time, the Buddha and Saints will appear! Anyone could see the sorrow of the bare-hearted one. Have you ever seen a bare-hearted person? They have existed among our Quan Yin practitioners for a long time. After four or five years of practicing, you will experience this level. At that time, I should congratulate you! (Master and everyone laugh) Come quickly then to read my poetry collection Silent Tears, and you’ll say it seems that Master is describing the feeling that I have today. I have walked this path. It’s full of suffering.

I took refuge in You.
And You have promised life eternal
and everlasting happiness.
This I believe. Indeed I do!
But merciful Master, hasten to make it come true.
For I’m dying in this prison of the Prince of darkness.

Master: He’s dying down there, so why not “go up”? There are only two ways: staying down there to die or coming up to live.


You can move heaven and earth.
You can change demons into the Angels of Love.
O Greatest of all Magicians,
Didn’t You change this monkey mind?!

Master: Every day, the mind fights with us, does not let us meditate, does not let us follow the Guidelines, does not let us relax. It is said that the Master can move Heaven and Earth! Hes can change the whole universe, the whole world, but Hes forgets to change our minds and lets us suffer every day. This Master seems to be difficult, but you still like Hirm. (Master and everyone laugh) It’s because we have already gone halfway; to go back would be even worse.













If You ever turn away from me
I wouldn’t know what to do with God!
O my One and Only,
Do give in abundance Your Light of Mercy.
Without which I cannot live!
This poor soul’s possession
Contains only You.

Master: Originally we practice to attain Godhood, to attain that Supreme Perfect Enlightenment- Anuttara samyak-sambodhi. “If You ever turn away from me, I wouldn’t know what to do with God!” For this person, his Master is more important, indeed! If our Master does not love us or is angry with us, at that time, wouldn’t you even lose interest in spiritual practice? When you have practiced to that stage, nothing will be of meaning to you except your Master. At that time, you will become Master soon! Because you will be One with the Master. The Master represents the whole of Creation, the Truth, so if we think of Hirm all the time to that degree, it means our level is high enough, almost One with the Creation, almost One with the Truth. Only when we are really longing for this inner Master, longing to reach the Truth -- to the extent that we cannot sleep, cannot eat -- then we are able to write those complaints.

I have already walked this way. I wrote it down for you so you might also recognize it; so you might realize that Master understands your heart. How can I not understand? The path you are walking now, I have already walked. I must walk it. If not, how could I guide people?


I suspect that You’ve lost Your heart somewhere
While ascending the heavenly abodes!
Or else You’d recognize my feeling
As my heart is forever hanging
On my sleeves,
Dying to make itself an offering
To You!

Dearest Master,
In the case that You’ve lost the human heart,
Please take mine.
So that You may know and sympathize
All my fellow beings who are on the same boat.
Who long for Nirvana,
But all they know is samsara.

Master: The Master seems to have lost Hiers human heart. Maybe Hes has a saintly heart. With a saintly heart, Hes probably can only understand the Saints. Missing a human heart, Hes probably can’t understand my suffering human heart.

Did you get one or two drops [of the life-saving nectar]? Didn’t you receive some at the time of initiation? You did have some at the time of initiation! You just lost it after a while. You had some, but you longed for more. At that time, you seemed unable to go beyond this stage, and you were stuck there! The Sound you heard was getting smaller, and the Light you saw was so dim that it might disappear. It was so dark. You suffered so much at that time. It seemed that no one could hear you when you prayed, that Buddha and the Saints all went to the Western Paradise. It seemed to be useless to tell your Master as well. Hes just listened when you talked, but Hes didn’t help you. Hes didn’t seem to be concerned about you and let you suffer. This is how our body, speech and thoughts get purified. This is how our desire to seek the Truth gets strengthened and intensified. Going through this stage is very necessary. That’s why sometimes even though the Master knows that the students suffer a lot and cannot go beyond this stage, Hes still lets them suffer. Hes does it out of the greatest compassion.


If my husband leaves me
I could hardly live.
If my children desert me
I would surely cry.
If the whole world forsakes me
I would indeed feel miserable.
But if You ever neglect me, dearest Master!
I’d die.

Master: “Master” means our inner power. If the inner Master power leaves us, doesn’t love us, we’ll really die! When we die, we have no more energy or power. Is that right? In our spiritual practice, not everything always goes smoothly every day. Some people can only see a dim Light after practicing for a long time; some hear the same Sound for a long time, and the Sound even gets smaller at times. It can be very difficult to practice. However, if we get anything too easily, we won’t value it. That’s why since ancient times the great practitioners have worked very hard for spiritual attainment.