Photo by Scott Beale / Laughing Squid
Those readers that are recent visitors/residents of San Francisco may have noticed the above billboards popping up. They read “Be Veg! Go Green! Save the planet!” with a url beneath it. It’s not an uncommon sort of thing to hear these days, but the people behind this specific billboard are anything but common.
The person behind Supreme Master TV and the parent group of Supreme Master Ching Hai International Association is.. yes, you guessed it Supreme Master Ching Hai. According to Wikipedia, Supreme Master Ching Hai is “is the self titled founder and spiritual teacher of the Quan Yin Method.” In addition to founding and teaching this method to “sincere people longing to know the Truth”, Supreme Master Ching Hai stays busy by running Supreme Master TV, making art, designing high-end fashion, and running vegetarian restaurants. Many of her writings, art, clothes, and various items are sold for top dollar to her devotees. It’s easy to say, money is not an insignificant part of Supreme Master Ching Hai’s life. In fact she is so wealthy that she tried to build an artificial island off Florida before she was shut down for environmental concerns. I hope you see the irony in that.
My personal exposure to her organization was when I ate at Vegetarian House down in San Jose. Rather than rehash a description from memory, go read the Yelp reviews to get a feel for the place. The food and service were quite good as long as you ignored the shelves upon shelves of literature and the slightly creepy vibe.
Want some more interesting reading? Try out these articles:
* God Inc.: Inner peace isn’t the only thing Supreme Master Ching Hai is selling Bay Area disciples
* Sect Appeal
* Part Buddha, part Madonna, Supreme Master Ching Hai promises immediate enlightenment to San Jose’s Asian immigrants
* CultNews.com even has an archive for her
* There are accusations of marriage fraud to boot.