be free, be happy, be peaceful

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

Friday, July 3, 2009

Who or what can we rely on?


When a person is not enlightened yet, he needs a faith or belief to rely on as his guidance in life. Even when a person thinks that he doesn’t need a guidance in life, he still has a certain type of characteristic or personality of his own. These characters and personality are in fact his guidance for him to think, act and speak, and he has certain point of view about himself, his life and the world.

He is being moulded into certain types of behavior and being ”trained” to have certain types of thinking – by the people and all the happenings in the world that he comes in contact with, without him being aware of it. He doesn’t know that actually he is always being affected or influenced by the surrounding. This surrounding with all the people and happenings in it, is ever changing without a true characteristic and there is no certainty at all. He will think that he is independent and intelligent enough to have his own ideas and he is different from any other people.

But this is not really true.

We were always being told about many things, teachings, stories, cultures and beliefs by our elders, our school teachers, our friends, our medias, and the leaders in our society, from the moment when we were being born until now. We are full of fears and worries. We are being influenced by all the stories and ideas that was told by all these people. We have certain likes and dislikes. We all only want happiness and don’t want unhappiness. We all want to be a special individual and being different from other people. We all are being manipulated by so many things in the world. But we still think that we are very smart and are better than other people.

Even Buddha said that he is not different from all other living beings and all other living beings are not different from him.

Why did he say this? What did he mean?

It is because when he had become selfless, he realized that he and all other living beings have one same nature and have no differences at all whether we know about it or not. And we all have the same needs for the maintenance of life, the same ignorance, the same wisdom, the same anger, the same ego, the same hunger and thirst, the same sadness, the same compassion, the same impermanence and the same enlightenment. All living beings have the same equal rights to be happy or sad, to be enlightened or to be in delusion; having equal painful sorrow and suffering; same functionings of the mind, the ego, the intellect and the subconscious mind. And we all have to go through birth, growth, old age, illness and death. No one can avoid any of these impermanence of existence until the moment we become absolutely selfless.

If a person has no faith or a belief to rely on, he will fall apart when he encounters some difficulties or disappointments in his life. He will be lost in the ocean of lust, greed, anger, ignorance and selfishness.

And so it is important that we have a faith or belief to rely on. Although it is not a necessity, but it does help us to go through many trials and turbulence in life.

But how do we choose a faith or belief? And where can we find it? Because there are so many different beliefs in the world, including good practices and evil practices as well. How are we going to be sure that which one is really good for us and will benefit all living beings? Which one will lead us to know the Truth?

”Whatever actions and speech that are bringing peace and happiness to oneself and others as well, are good and are right conducts; and whatever actions and speech that are bringing disharmony and unhappiness to oneself and others, are not good and are wrong conducts.”

“Whatever actions and speech that are promoting loving kindness and harmony, we should support and promote them. Whatever actions and speech that are promoting hatred, violence and disharmony, we should not support nor promote them.”

This basic phrase from the teachings of the ancient saints and sages should be our initial guideline to look for a correct path in life and a belief to rely on. Although it may not be a certainty under some special circumstances. Because sometimes when a person thinks that his actions and speech are good for himself and others but actually it’s not. While something which is good for himself and everyone may be being misunderstood that it is bad. All these confusions are derived from ignorance.

The power of ignorance is so great that we always under estimate it and think that we are very smart and intelligent. Most of the time we are being influenced by our jealousy and lust, but we have no idea about it at all, and we will do things and say things that is coming from the big ego and ignorance which bring us and others so much conflicts and unhappiness.

If we find that we are in competition with somebody, or we are comparing ourselves with somebody, and we want to be better than somebody or trying to get recognition and praise from others, or feel that we are not good enough, then know that we are under the influence of the ego and ignorance. Beware… always watch the changes and arises of thoughts in our mind, before they influence us, over power us and control our actions and speech.

When jealousy, arrogance and selfishness take over us, we cannot see ourselves clearly anymore. Even when we are being told that we are under the influence of jealousy, arrogance and selfishness, we will become more irritated and will deny such accusation and continue being influenced by the ego and ignorance.

This is a common obstacle for everyone in any path of beliefs, in Yoga or in Buddhism.

It is nothing wrong but we need to recognize this obstacle and correct ourselves, let go and move on.

Never say that we will never be influenced by the ego, the anger, the jealousy, the arrogance and lust, unless we have attained full enlightenment and are totally selfless and detached from everything. Because all these things will keep on troubling us and try to stop us from our practice of purification and towards selflessness. “They” don’t like that. “They” get very irritated when we want to become selfless, because that means they will have to disappear if we become selfless. We should be always very watchful for all these elements in us.

Keep practicing detachment whenever the thoughts of anger, hatred, arrogance, jealousy, greed, despair, sadness, selfishness and lust come up to the surface. Learn to detect their presence and learn to let them go instead of suppressing them back into the heart. Sometimes we will be confused whether we are actually letting go or we are just suppressing those negativities in us.

If we will be troubled by the same situations or emotions on and off repeatedly, know that we didn’t letting go, but have been suppressing our feelings of negativity.

If the intensity of the negative feelings is becoming less, and even when the same situation is happening again, but we will not be troubled by these negativities anymore, then know that we are practicing letting go.

We might need somebody who is wise and honest – a good guardian, or a good teacher, or a good friend to point out the defects or negativities in us. They can help us to realize our faults and make us take a deep look at our own self from time to time through their eyes of wisdom. And they also can uplift us with their compassionate loving kindness. We shall learn all the good qualities from them, but not to pick up anything negative from them and not to criticize anyone when we see some defects in other people. No one can be perfect for everyone or can please everyone, unless we are fully enlightened and are not conditioned by the world of names and forms. Even Buddha had received criticisms from the people who didn’t understand him, and didn’t like him and his teachings.

But we can not totally rely on the people who can uplift us or guide us as well because they are also under the circumstances of uncertainty. No one can avoid uncertainty as long as we still have this physical body, this life existence, this mind, this ego, this intellect, and being conditioned by all the names and forms.

If someone tells us that he or she loves us very much today, but tomorrow he or she might not loves us anymore. If someone tells us that he or she doesn’t love us now, but tomorrow he or she might love us very much. Everything is uncertain. Even a wise person can be deluded sometimes.

Unless we have attained enlightenment and are free from all sorts of names and forms. And we are identified with the unchanging bliss, the pure consciousness that without a beginning and without ending; has no birth and no death, all existing, all pervading, all wisdom and all compassion. The one pure consciousness that has no qualities, no intention, neither good nor bad, and “that” which is neither this nor that. It is beyond name and form, beyond all good and bad, negative and positive, existence and non-existence.

If we rely on somebody who has a specific name and form, and who is being limited and conditioned by the image of that name and form; or if we rely on certain beliefs which has such and such conditions and qualities; then we will be easily losing our faith in that person or that belief in case of their personalities and policies have changed. Or we will be very disappointed and lost, if we found out that there are some imperfections in that person or in that belief. Any person or any belief that is being conditioned by a certain name and form, can never be permanent unchanging and can not be all perfect. We can not find perfection in any human beings or in any beliefs that is organized and supervised by human beings. Because everything is uncertain. Even ”this” is also uncertain. Because everything that we perceive and understand through this conditioned body, limited mind and the senses has a beginning and an ending. The mind of everyone and the condition of every being is ever changing without a certainty.

So, who can we really rely on? Ultimately it is our true Self.

No one can see what is going on in our mind, but only our own Self.

We need to find out or to know this true Self – which is always here with us, from before the very beginning of life existence and also beyond the end of life existence. It is not our body; not out life; not our thinking mind; not our senses; not our knowledge and learning; not our experiences; not our achievements; not our memories; not our breathing; not our heartbeats; not our everyday Yoga practices; not our feelings; and certainly not our ego. It is nameless and formless, without qualities, without intentions, without beginning, without ending, without birth, without death, without happiness, without unhappiness or suffering.

Our true Self is the one and only reliable and truthful guardian, teacher or friend that will never leave us, judge us, condemn us, or harm us, even though when we are so deluded, evil and ignorant.

Because it is beyond speech and words, our true Self is not easy to be grasped or recognized by us. But if we keep on purifying ourselves, purify our thoughts, actions and speech, develop self control, calmness and peacefulness, then very soon we will realize this all wise and all compassionate Self. It is when we empty ourselves, let go of selfishness; let go of all attachments and eradicate all the lustful desires; let go of the past and the future; and reside at the present moment, we will know this Self.

We are the Self. It is not separate from us and will never be separated from us. But we feel the separateness and are separated from it and ignorant of it, when we have lots of impurities and are identifying with the selfish ego.

Look at nature, the universe, the sun, the earth, the air, the water, and the space…
They always accept every living beings and everything, and allow everyone and everything to be in it, to be on it, to torture it, to utilize it resources, to consume it, to pollute it and it doesn’t matter if anyone is being ungrateful towards their contributions for all to be exist here. They embrace all, treat all equally and see no differences of good and evil. They constantly give without any expectations of receiving goodness or rewards in return. Our true Self is the same as all these elements of nature. If we want to be able to understand what is this true Self, and want to know or realize it, we need to purify ourselves until we are the same as this nature, and are not any different from the absolute selflessness of nature.

Expand our heart; open our mind; embrace everything in different names and forms.

May we all reunite with our true Self and be free.

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Know thyself. There is no existence of 'I'. Everything is impermanent. Be free, be peaceful, be happy.

Om shanti

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Pantai Cenang, Langkawi, Kedah, Malaysia
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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