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May all find the teacher within to guide oneself towards unconditional love and peace

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

About Selflessness And Compassion



The center of Buddhism and Yoga teachings is selflessness.

We know that all suffering arise from ignorance. It is true. But ignorance exists only when there is a selfish ego for it to attach to. When we become completely selfless, there is no stage for ignorance to perform anything.

Suffering or unhappiness or dissatisfaction occurs when we have impurities like anger, hatred, jealousy, lust, pride, greed, depression, cravings and aversions. And all these impurities arise from ignorance. And ignorance is empowering the ego, while the ego is feeding the ignorance at the same time.

To be free from suffering, all we need to do is understand what is selflessness and learn how to become selfless. We all know that the opposite of selflessness is selfishness. So, selflessness can also mean unselfishness. It means we are not thinking about our owns benefits, comforts and happiness, but being thoughtful for others and serve those who are in need of helps. But there is a deeper meaning than just being unselfish.

Without compassion, it is not easy for us to understand what is selflessness and very difficult for us to become selfless. If we have great compassion, naturally we will become selfless also. And being compassion towards all beings also include compassion towards our own self. This “self” is also a being. Without compassion, it is not easy for us to forgive others and not easy to let go of unhappiness and difficult situation (problems).

Compassion and selflessness are together not separate from each other. When we are compassionate, we will be selfless. When we are selfless, we will be compassionate too. It is like the mind experiencing everything through the senses. Without the mind, there is no use of the senses. Without the senses, the mind cannot perceive anything – names and forms (colours, sounds, tastes. smells, feels and thoughts).

When we are truly selfless and compassionate, we will also becoming fearless. When we are compassionate towards all living beings, we will not have any fear at all, not even death or painful injury towards this physical body of us. When we are not afraid of death (the unknown), what else that we can be afraid of? We will be loving and forgiving. When we are truly loving, we will not have hatred or ill-will towards any beings who had inflicted pain or injury onto our body and our feelings. We will forgive whoever or whatever that have been being unkind to us or hurt us whether intentionally or unintentionally.

When we are selfless, we don’t see any differentiation between us and others. It doesn’t mean that we are not existing anymore but we have become one with all. We are not separate from everything and every beings. Good is us, bad is also us. Ignorance is us, wisdom is also us. Birth and death have no differences as well as God consciousness and this consciousness.

Take away all the names and forms, what do we have? What are the differences? Where are the boundaries? What are the limitations? What is good? what is bad? What is happiness? what is suffering? What is real? What is unreal? What is beautiful? What is ugliness? What is praise? What is censure? What is big? what is small? What is fast? What is slow? Who are you? Who am I?

It doesn’t matter who we are, what we are, where we are, how we look, what we do, what we like and dislike – we all are the same when we are happy or unhappy, angry or jealous, laugh or cry, compassionate or wicked. And we all are the same when we have fears and worries, dissatisfaction, frustration, disappointment, doubts and confusions. Without any of the elements – fire, water, air, earth and space, we all are nothing, we won’t be exist and be here. What is the meaning about having lots of money, accumulation of wealth and taking care of the health, having sensual enjoyments, material comforts or accumulating the knowledge of the world if the nature didn’t or couldn’t provide us with the basic essentials for life existence? The nature doesn’t have differentiation of likes and dislikes, good and evil when they provide everything to every beings and everything for being here. It is us having the mind which has the differentiation of likes and dislikes, good and evil, love and hatred. We will pray for more water when it is not enough for our needs but we will condemn the water when the water is too much and causing damages and inconvenience for us. We complain about the sun and dry weather when we feel too hot, and we complain about the rainfalls and cold weather and wish for the sun when we feel too cold. The mind is never satisfied and forever changing of likes and dislikes. But the nature continues to provide without asking any rewards or repay, and never have hatred even though we have caused so much damages onto the nature. The nature is never tired nor having any intention to give or take, but just provide without limits and unconditionally and are not attach to its actions and the fruit of actions. And this is selflessness.

How to become selfless?

We need to practice patience, forgive and forget. At the same time, we also practice giving and sharing without asking any form of rewards in return. And then we go beyond all names and forms and practice detachment and indifference towards duality, treat all are equal. Slowly we will be able to not attach to our body and mind, the intellect, the ego and all the senses. Our mind will always be having unceasing thoughts (negative and positive), feelings (good and bad), judgment, comparison, criticism, competition and expectation. It is the habit and characteristic of the mind to be like that. all minds are having this same thinking habits when the senses come in contact with the object. But if we do not attach to these phenomena in the mind, they cannot affect us to do good or bad, and it doesn’t disturb the peacefulness in our hearts.

When we can detach from comforts and discomforts, we will be free from likes and dislikes. When we are free from likes and dislikes, we are free from cravings and aversions. And so, we will be free from discontentment, disappointment, irritation and frustration. We will be free from happiness and unhappiness. We don’t crave for happiness nor rejecting unhappiness. We watch all the feelings and thoughts passing by in our mind and not being contaminated or disturbed by them. All the feelings and thoughts are very temporary. They arise, stay for a while, they change and they will disappear. We can practice concentration and meditation to help us stilling the mind or slowing down the thought waves. But even that stillness state of the mind is not permanent. We will have to come back to life and the senses are continuing receiving inputs and the mind is continuing creating thoughts and sending outputs. We have to come back to life because there are still some karma for us to work on until there is no more karma left. And we will be resting in the complete stillness or silence of namelessness and formlessness.

Because of the unchanging law of impermanence, and thus it is the same as birth and death. It is a continuous cycle of births and deaths due to the cause and effect. By knowing this, we will know that we actually exist eternally, infinitely. And we will find that having this physical body and the unrest mind is not a great suffering anymore when we have eliminate the ego and ignorance. Without attaching to the body and the mind (not identify with them), the body and the mind have become an instrument for us to experience everything – up and down, within and without, and for us to learn what is selflessness (compassion and wisdom) and go back to pure existence (beginningless and endless), pure compassion and wisdom, pure consciousness and peace (without names and forms, attributes, limitations and conditions).

When we are selfless, there is no anger, hatred, jealousy, greed, lust, good, bad, insult, humiliation, compliment, censure, success, failure, irritation, disappointment, fears, worries, happiness and unhappiness. When there are no more such impurities and duality, true compassion takes over the whole consciousness.

May all beings be happy.

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My husband and I run ongoing yoga retreats in Langkawi Malaysia. We teach traditional Hatha Yoga - a combination of Asanas (postures) and Pranayama (breathing techniques) and relaxation, that has given benefit to millions of practitioners over thousands of years. Our yoga studio is situated in Langkawi. We also run yoga retreats in Europe and India.

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