THE BUDDHIST MARTHA

SHE'S A MERCHANDISING MYSTIC FROM TAIWAN--AND SEES NOTHING WRONG WITH GIVING CLINTON A HANDOUT

To bring Suma Ching Hai into focus, imagine Martha Stewart as the Dalai Lama. The Supreme Master, 46, is an elegant hostess--and clever merchandiser. At a vegetarian dinner with a TIME correspondent last week in Alhambra, California, she wore a bright yellow dress that she designed herself--embroidered with the Supreme Master monogram (SM) and available to followers by catalog. When she gestured with her hands, she flashed gold and diamond rings with the SM design, part of her Celestial Jewelry collection--available by catalog as well. (Also for sale: Celestial purses, hats, gold dinnerware, chopsticks, inspirational videos, floor lamps.) A petite woman...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!