be free, be happy, be peaceful

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

Friday, May 31, 2013

Reflection at the waterfall on loving kindness...

On the way walking back from the waterfall to the car park, an old Malay man asked us, "Is the waterfall very far away?"

We told him it's only less than 5 minutes walk and it's easy to walk there.

And when he started walking towards the waterfall, we heard someone calling, "Pakcik (Uncle)!.... Pakcik (Uncle)!"

We then saw a Malaysian Chinese man who was working for the renovation project at the waterfall was calling for the uncle.

Assumed that he must have something to say to the uncle, I helped him to call the uncle also, but seemed like the uncle didn't hear us and kept walking away.

The Malaysian Chinese man spoke to me in Chinese, "The uncle's family had went up to the top of the waterfall and I heard the family told the uncle to wait for them here. He is old and alone. He shouldn't go anywhere. I worry if something happen to him and no body is with him."

I said to him, "Maybe you can go and check him out in 10-15 minutes time later to make sure he is alright."

He said, "But I will be going back soon."

I said to him, "为人为到底,送佛送到西, (It means that when we show concern and kindness to other people, we have to complete doing what we have started), please go and check him out before you go back to make sure he is alright."

He then laughed, and said, "Okay. I will go to check him out before I leave."

A small story, but it was very touching, as this Malaysian Chinese man doesn't know this old Malay man. The old Malay man's family left him alone there, and the family didn't ask this Malaysian Chinese man to watch out for this old man. He has no obligation to look after this old man. But just because he overheard their conversation and out of concern for the old man's safety, he showed concern and care for him.

And most important, there's no difference about race or people whom we know or not. We show concern and care to anyone disregard we know them or not, and without any obligation.

Marc laughed out loud after I explained to him about our conversation. He said it's funny for me to tell people, if we want to be good, we have to complete the good actions that we have started. And that man actually listened to what I said to him.

Om shanti.

Home cooked vegetarian food recipe - Stir-fried eggplants or aubergines with mixed herbs

Here is another new vegetarian cooking recipe for our yoga retreats guests here in Langkawi.

Stir-fried Eggplants or Aubergines with mixed herbs (serve 2-3 people)

2-3 medium size eggplants or aubergines, rinse and halve lengthwise, then cut into about 1 cm thick slices

4 small red or green chillies, remove seeds and chopped finely

5-6 cloves of garlic, chopped

About 2 teaspoons of dried mixed herbs

Salt and black pepper to taste

A bit of cooking oil

About 1 and a half cups of hot boiling water

x x x x x x x x x x x x

*Non-stick wok is very important in this recipe. I don't know if it will work on a normal wok, as the eggplants might keep sticking onto the wok.

Heat up the non-stick wok in medium heat. Add about 2 tablespoons of cooking oil.

When the oil is hot, add in chopped garlic and chillies. Sautéed until fragrant.

Add in the eggplants or aubergines. Stir evenly. The eggplants will absorb the oil and look dry. Sprinkle some salt over the eggplants evenly, and stir well. Add 1 and a half cups of hot boiling water and stir. Again the eggplants will absorb all the liquid and become dry. It should be moist but dry. The eggplants might break into smaller pieces as we stir. It's fine.

Add in mixed herbs and black pepper.

Keep stirring or tossing until the eggplants cooked evenly, or until the eggplants turn soft and browned, almost slightly burnt. This process takes some patience, cooking at medium heat.

Serve hot with rice or bread, or as a snack on its own.

Bon Appétit!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Righteousness that is associated with anger and hatred is different from compassion...

Do not mix up compassion with the feeling of righteousness that is very much associated with extreme aversion, negativity, disappointment, anger and hatred towards something that our mind disagrees with, especially what our mind believes is "bad" and "wrong". As they are not the same.

If we are truly compassionate, there is no aversion, negativity, disappointment, anger or hatred.

Next time when we think we are very loving and kind hearted beings, and believe we are good people, but we are also being very angry and hating some other people who we think, believe, judge and criticize them as "bad" and "inhuman" people, then know that we are not in the compassionate 'zone', but we are in the righteousness 'zone'. There's nothing wrong with being righteous, but we are hurting ourselves mentally, emotionally and physically, as well as unintentionally inflict unnecessary tension and unhappiness onto other people while we react out of anger and hatred.

Being compassionate will allow us to perform whatever actions or inactions that need to be performed for the best benefit of everyone without discrimination, intention or expectation. There is no attachment towards the actions, and the fruit or the result of the actions. There is no disappointment nor unhappiness. Just give, and let go.

Sometimes, in certain situations, the best action could be inaction. We need to have a calm and clear mind that is free from aversion, negativity, disappointment, anger and hatred, for us to know what is the best action that needs to be done.

Om shanti.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Non-possessiveness & non-attachment...

Non-possessiveness is being practiced side by side with non-attachment. In fact they are not separated from each other. There is non-possessiveness in non-attachment, and there is non-attachment in non-possessiveness.

In non-possessiveness, we understand that nothing belongs to "I". We also understand that there is actually no "I" being there to possess anything. The body and mind is just the product or combination of elements. Without fire, water, wind, earth and space, this body and mind doesn't exist.

Without the function of the mind, the body and the senses doesn't perceive any names and forms.

It is not the eyes who see, it is the mind sees or perceives sights through the function of the sense organ of eyes. It is not the ears hear, it is the mind hears or perceives sounds through the function of the sense organ of ears. And so on with all the other sense organs. If the sense organ of eyes doesn't function properly or doesn't exist, or in the absence of light, the mind doesn't sees or perceives sights, colours or shapes. And so on, with the other sense organs. If energy depleted, even there is a body with all the sense organs, the mind doesn't function. There is no perception of anything. And without energy, eventually the body with the sense organs will decompose. Who am "I"?

If there is an "I", then this "I" is totally power-less and has no control over the existence and the function of the mind, the body and the sense organs. This "I" doesn't possess the mind, the body and the sense organs. As if the mind, the body and the sense organs belongs to this "I", then they should be under the control of this "I". But, it is not in the control of this "I" at all about what the mind can perceive and cannot perceive, want to perceive and doesn't want to perceive. It is not that "I" only want to feel good and happy, think only positive thinking and experience only pleasant sensations, and do not want to feel bad or unhappy, nor think about negative thinking, nor feel any unpleasant sensations. All these feelings, emotions, thoughts and sensations don't belong to "I". They come and leave as they like and without asking for permission from this "I" to come or to leave.

As well as all the reactions in the mind towards what it perceives through the senses, or when the mind comes in contact with the objects of the senses, are just the intellect and the ego functioning, which is part of the function of the mind. The intellect analyzes all the objects of the senses that the mind perceives, and the ego asserts like or dislike, agreement or disagreement, and generates craving and aversion towards all the experiences, and feels good or bad, happy or unhappy when this craving and aversion is being gratified or ungratified. The one who thinks it is "I" who is experiencing all these experiences, is the ego.

The function and the existence of the body and mind is totally depending on energy and elements. They belongs to energy and elements, they don't belong to "I". Then how can this "I" possess the body and mind, and all the relationships with everything else that come in contact with this body and mind in this life existence?

And thus, "I" can't even own or possess this body and mind, how can "I" own or possess anything else beyond this body and mind. All the ideas of "my mind", "my body", "my family", "my parents", "my children", "my partner", "my friends", "my relationships", "my country", "my world", "my universe", "my feelings", "my emotions", "my hurts", "my disappointments", "my injuries", "my job", "my wealth", "my health", "my things", "my name", "my fame", "my power", and etc, don't really exist and it's coming from incorrect understanding, not knowing the truth. All these things or objects exist in life existence, but none of them belongs to "I", nor in "my" control how "I" want them to be.

Everything is just fleeting momentary impermanent experiences. They don't stay forever unchanged. We can be aware of all these experiences whether they are pleasant or unpleasant, when they exist in the present and being what they are, and let them go when they change and stop existing, without being influenced nor determined by all these good or bad experiences in this life existence.

And hence, through the correct understanding of the truth, non-attachment happens naturally without any efforts. (Many people say it is not possible or it is very difficult for them to practice non-attachment in their everyday life or in what they think is "reality", it is incorrect understanding and the veil of ignorance that make them feel and think this way. There are also people practicing yoga and meditation for long time, but still being disturbed and affected very much by restlessness or anxieties that derives from ignorance and attachment. There's nothing wrong with this, but just need to keep purifying the mind to deeper level.)

There is no attachment towards all the experiences that the body and mind is experiencing from moment to moment. There is no attachment towards what the mind perceives through the senses of what it sees, hears, smells, tastes, touches and thinks.

There is no attachment towards what the mind believes what things are, what the mind feels and thinks.

As all these things that are going on in the mind are not necessarily the truth of what things really are. It is just a projection coming from the mind about things. If the mind is not pure, then whatever the mind projects will be contaminated by impurities in the mind, it is not the truth of things.

And so, purification of the mind is the most important thing to be happening all the time. So that the mind is free from impurities, and allow it to see or know the truth of things as they are, and not being influenced nor contaminated by any impurities or the veil of ignorance.

The mind will be free from suffering or unhappiness that arise due to the incorrect understanding of things or being ignorant about the truth.

Peace is there, when the mind is free from anger, hatred, jealousy, greed, dissatisfaction, disappointment. frustration, irritation, agitation, depression, anxiety, low-self esteem, pride, arrogance, craving, aversion, clinging, longing, imagination, anticipation, fear and worry, and etc, when it sees or knows the truth, being free from ignorance.

Contemplate on these teachings, and realize the truth by ourselves, not just by hearing or reading from somebody or some books written by some great beings, and be truly free. As just by knowing about the teachings by hearing or reading about the truth of things doesn't liberate us from suffering or unhappiness. The mind will still have doubts and be influenced and determined by the veil of ignorance and impurities that arise due to ignorance. The mind will still be disturbed and over-powered by fear and worry, anger and hatred, greed and jealousy, agitation and depression, being over-powered or determined by craving and aversion towards what the mind likes and dislikes, agreements and disagreements, wants and doesn't want.

When we practically in one with the truth, we will know how to love and accept everyone and everything out of compassion, without possessiveness. We will be able to allow the reality of everything to be what it is, without attachment, interference, judgment, expectation, nor try to control or change the reality that the mind doesn't like or doesn't want to be what it likes it to be. We just do our best for the well-being of everyone, and let go the result or the fruit of all actions.

There is no "I" being there to perform any actions. There is no "I" performing good or bad actions. There is no "I" giving or receiving something good or bad.

Be free.

Om shanti.


Sunday, May 26, 2013

快乐充满爱的幼年成长时期,是世界和平最关键的影响因素

当我们的社会里出现了动荡,憎恨,暴力,歧视或种族主义冲突,起因是来之于无知,不满,愤怒和憎恨,并且极有可能,它是来自一个不快乐,压迫环境之下成长的童年影响。

毫无疑问,学校教育,社会接触,社会媒体,商业和政治操纵是其中非常重要的 ''洗脑'' 因素,对我们的思想,信念和行为有很大的影响力。但人类的思维,信念和行为最重要的影响因素,是从幼年成长时期就开始了。

一个健康仁慈充满爱心的家庭成长环境的重要性,和正确的人生价值观教育,是实现家庭和谐,社会和世界和平最关键的,最有影响力的元素。

不歧视和尊重一切众生,善良和慷慨,慈爱与和平,无暴力和无仇恨的品质,都是从童年就开始造就。

如果孩子成长在一个充满爱心和无暴力的培育环境之下,他们一般都是独立和快乐的。

在不受压迫和没有暴力的培育环境之下,和拥有正确的人生价值观之家庭教育,是非常重要的。就好像:-

对一切众生无条件的慈爱,宽恕,宽容,包容,耐心,为他人着想,尊重,不歧视,广阔的胸襟,开放的视野,谦让,无暴力,无评判,无占有性,诚实,坦白,慷慨,知足,感恩,珍惜,体育精神与道德等等;

纯洁的思想,行为和语言,无有愤怒,仇恨,骄傲,狂妄,贪婪,嫉妒,恐惧和担忧;

来之他们自己的意愿,不被压迫之下的启发自我控制和自律;

将所有行动转化成不期望回报的无私服务;

最重要的,无论他们的表现如何,他们可以完全的被接纳与被爱;

他们被允许去考证询问一切事物的正确性,并没有被强迫去服从或遵照他人的指示;

他们被允许犯错误,并从自己的错误中学习;

那么这些孩子将可以充满自信和自由的成长,拥有不被动摇的自信心和伟大的人生价值观,懂得自爱和自我接纳,拥有个人的信念,自我约束和控制。

他们不会生起冒犯性和防御性的念头和行为,没有愤怒和仇恨,没有恐惧和担忧。

他们将不会受到那些“不良好”或“不正确”的学校教育,社会接触,社会媒体,商业和政治操纵的影响。因为这些孩子们拥有强烈的推能力,懂得自己辨别是非,善恶。

而这些所有的人生价值观从早期的童年就开始培养了。

这并不是“我希望我的孩子是善良的人,或者是好人,或者是圣洁的人”。这也不是为了我们自己的私欲,希望他们成为我们想要他们成为的那一种人。而是让孩子有很大的自由空间去探索,体验,学会如何自己对自身和宇宙负责。

即使我们已经尽了最大努力,我们可以给孩子提供最好的指导,但是,他们的思维,信念和行为,仍然是他们自己的责任。家长应该完全豪无条件的仁爱和接纳他们当下真实的自己。

这也不是不给孩子们暴露于,或接触到某些不良因素。反而,让孩子们接触和知道所有好和坏的因素,使他们自己能够开发的推理推断能力,辨别是非,善恶,并让他们为自己的决定和行动负责。

他们成为自主的人,懂得对他们自己的思想,信念和行为负责。

父母或监护人或照顾者本身是需要拥有这些正确人生价值观,那么他们才可以引导这些孩子(未来的领导人)培养这些正确的人生价值观。

如果孩子们因为成长在一个充满爱心和快乐的童年而拥有强烈稳固的正确生命价值观,那么将没有其他来自社会可能会造成任何不良或有害的杂质元素可以影响到他们个人的思想,信念和行为。因为这些孩子们从小就拥有强烈的推理能力,懂得自己辨别是非,善恶。

在提供指导和支持给予自己的孩子的同一时间,可以允许孩子有很大的自由空间,让他们有想成为什么的自由,而他们也知道如何明智的使用自由。没有一个父母会说教育孩子和给他们自由空间去发展开阔智慧是件很容易的事。

对于每个不同类型的孩子有着各人的性格和特点,我们提供不一样的指导方法和教育方式。要懂得大自然的规律是无常。每个人的思维,信念和行为无时无刻的在改变。我们的个性和兴趣可能会不时改变。我们要学会接受所有的变化。因为这就是懂得无条件的接纳和爱自己和其他的众生。

愿一切众生自在,快乐,和平。


Om shanti.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Well loved children and happy childhood is very crucial for world peace and harmony...

When there are unrest, hatred, violence, discrimination or racism happening in our society, it is derived from ignorance, dissatisfaction, anger and hatred, and most probably, it is coming from an unhappy oppressive childhood bringing up environment.

There is no doubt that schooling education, mixing in the society, social media, commercial and political manipulation are very big influential elements of 'brain washing' towards our thinking, belief and behavior. But the most crucial influential elements in 'influencing' human beings thinking, belief and behavior start from childhood bringing up.

The importance of a healthy loving bringing up environment and correct education on values of life are the most crucial influential elements in achieving peace and harmony in the family, in the society and in the world.

Non-discrimination and respect all beings, non-violence and non-hatred, loving kindness and generosity, love and peace are all start from childhood bringing up.

If the children are well loved, growing up in a loving and non-hatred nurturing environment; they are generally happy and cheerful, being free from oppression, suppression and violent treatments; and the family cultural values of life is very much based on unconditional love towards all beings, forgiveness, forbearance, patience, accommodation, tolerance, thoughtfulness, respect, non-discrimination, open-mindedness, humility, non-violence, non-judgmental, non-possessiveness, honesty, truthfulness, generosity, contentment, gratitude, appreciation, sportsmanship, purity in thought, action and speech, free from anger and hatred, pride and arrogance, greed and jealousy, fear and worry; they develop self-control and self-discipline on their own free-will, transform all actions as selfless service without expectation; and most important, the freedom to be who they are, being accepted as they are and being loved as they are, and they are allowed to reason everything and not being forced to obey or follow instructions, and they are allowed to make mistakes and learn from their own mistakes; then these children will grow up confidently, having their own confident immovable great values of life, having self-acceptance, self-belief, self-discipline and self-control. They will be free from offensiveness and defensiveness, anger and hatred, fear and worry. They will not be affected, nor determined, nor influenced by 'poor' or 'incorrect' schooling education, mixing in the society, social media, commercial and political manipulation.

And all these values of life start from the early childhood bringing up.

It is not about "I want my children to be good people, or to be well-behaved people, or to be saintly people". It's not about our selfish desires wishing them to be the kind of people that we want them to be. It is allowing the children to explore, to experience, and to learn to be responsible human beings towards themselves and the universe.

Even if we have tried our best to give the best guidance that we could give to the children, it is still their own responsibility towards their own thinking, belief and behavior. Parents should love and accept them as they are.

It is not about keeping the bad elements away from the knowledge of the children, not allowing them to be exposed or get in touch with certain bad elements. But to allow the children to be aware of all the good and bad elements, and allow them to develop reasoning power to discriminate right and wrong, good and evil; and allow them to take full responsibility for their own decisions and actions made.

They become self-independent and be responsible for themselves on what they think, believe and behave.

The parents or the care takers are the ones who need to be endowed with such values of life, then they can guide their children (future leaders) to be endowed with such values of life.

If the foundation of the values of life is strongly established in a loving and happy childhood bringing up, then there is no other impure elements coming from the society can cause any bad or harmful influence into one's thinking, belief and behavior. As these children grown up with reasoning power to discriminate right and wrong, good and evil.

No one who have been through parenting will say it's easy to give guidance and support to their children, and at the same time to allow their children to have the freedom to be what they want to be, and they know how to use the freedom wisely.

Methods of guidance and ways of parenting can also be different in each child with different types of personality and characteristic. The law of nature is impermanent. Every beings thinking, belief and behavior can be changing from time to time. Our personality and interests might be changing from time to time. We learn to accept all the changes as it is, and love ourselves and other beings as we are, as they are.

May all beings be free, be happy, be peaceful.

Om shanti.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Healing process is happening constantly even if we don't have intention to heal anything...

The entire yoga and meditation practice is a purification process, or it has healing effects for physical, mental and emotional defilements, even if we have no intention at all to purify or to heal anything.

Just like each single cell in the physical body is unceasingly going through regeneration process, even if we are not aware of it. It is not in our control that how we want to regenerate this cell or that cell. It is happening naturally by itself.

That's why we don't really have to be intentionally to heal this or that, physically, mentally or emotionally, as healing process is happening from moment to moment. As we perform yoga and meditation practice, the energy fields within and without the body will perform its duty to heal anything that need to be healed, naturally. We don't really need to set any intention, nor to be troubled and worried, nor wishing for some healing process to be happening onto the body and mind.

Just perform all our yoga and meditation practice without expectation that it will bring us any healing effects or benefits in return, but allow the healing process and benefits to happen naturally by itself, as it is. There's no rush. There's no expectation that "I want all injuries, pain, illness, weakness, old age and death to go away...", nor "I don't want to have any injuries, pain, illness, weakness, old age and death...".

There's no craving towards good conditions. There's no aversion towards bad conditions. There's no fear and worry towards so called "bad" or "undesirable" conditions, such like illness, weakness, injuries, pain, old age and death, which is actually the truth of all living beings, and it's a natural process of the body and mind that we can't avoid.

It is being aware of the reality as it is, not necessary the way that we like or want it to be, and allow the reality to be what it is.

We cannot blame the universal consciousness for all the "bad" happenings and "undesirable" conditions that all beings have to go through. And the universal consciousness has nothing to do with all these things that we don't like and don't want, nor will the universal consciousness does something about it, or to change it into something that we prefer it to be. It is our own ignorance, egoism, attachment and desires, and came into being, forming body and mind with the function of the senses, having this life existence to reap the effect caused from our action and reaction. It's our own responsibility for all that our body and mind experiences in this life existence.

We do our best to try to attain and maintain the best condition of the body and mind as much as possible, by performing some physical exercises, spiritual practice, mental development practice, yoga and meditation practice regularly, and live a healthy lifestyle and observe a balanced diet, engage in wholesome activities, have self-control over our own action and speech or behavior, to benefit all beings, including ourselves. It is not because of having aversion, fear and worry towards old age, illness, injury, pain, weakness and death, or any "bad" conditions.

All the efforts that we spent to purify the mind and to improve the condition of the physical body is simply just to show appreciation towards this body and this mind, or this life existence, to make good use of this body and this mind, or this life existence to serve the universe, for humanity, for ourselves to evolve and to help other beings to evolve, out of compassion, without the intention or expectation that we will be receiving something good in return.

There is no need to have selfish desires and expectation to act as motivation force for us to perform actions or practice that will benefit the body and mind.

Totally surrender to the nature, or the universe, to take care of the result of our practice or our actions, or to heal anything that needs to be healed, and to bring us to ultimate freedom.

This impermanent body and mind is subject to impermanent changes. It is conditioned and limited by old age, illness, weakness, injury, pain, physical and emotional hurts, and death. And thus they need to go through certain healing process from time to time. But our birthless, deathless, attributeless true nature is not being conditioned nor limited by impermanent changes, old age, illness, weakness, injury, pain, hurts, or death. There's no need to have any healing process, as there is nothing that need to be healed.

And thus, realize our true nature, and stop identifying with the body and mind, let go of egoism and attachment, and be free.

It is also pointless to expect certain healing process to be happening when we attend some yoga and meditation classes, hoping to heal something that is hurtful in our body and mind, if we keep generate tension and inflict hurtful damages into our body and mind, physically, mentally and emotionally in our everyday life experiences with all sorts of impurities like anger, hatred, jealousy, ill will, petty-mindedness, fear and worry, etc, due to ignorance and attachment.

If we really wish for efficient and complete healing, we need to learn how to stop hurting our body and mind, stop generating tension nor inflict hurtful damages into our body and mind, by practicing non-attachment and letting go in everyday life, letting go of our ego, not being disturbed, nor affected, nor influenced, nor determined by all the qualities of names and forms that the mind perceives through the senses, and have love and peace in us. And then, naturally the body and mind will heal itself even without us intentionally to be engaged in any healing process.

The biggest “disease” that every being have from the beginning of this life existence, is IGNORANCE. This is the cause of all the other physical and mental illness. Remove this “disease” of ignorance by immersed our body and mind in consistent yoga and meditation practice without attachment, and surrender everything else to the universe to take care of it.

Om shanti.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Different types of "yoga"?

It doesn't matter what type(s) of "yoga" that we (our ego) prefer, that we like to learn and practice, most important it is NOT about trying to find out what are the differences to distinguish one from another to create separateness, nor to generate superiority or inferiority, nor to compete with one another to find out which is better, nor try to glorify the types of "yoga" that we prefer, and at the same time we criticize, or try to find faults in the other types of "yoga" that we (our ego) do not prefer.

Respect all, whether they are originated from old traditions, or they are "re-invented" by some people who prefer to have their own styles and branding, and marketing values.

In the end, it is our own effort and discipline to perform whatever practice to purify the mind, to remove ignorance and egoism, to realize selflessness/egolessness and unconditional peace and compassion, to transcend suffering and be free.

It is not about what type of "yoga" that we practice that will liberate us. It is not about being in competition with one another to see who is better, or who has "faster result" or "more efficient benefits" than the other ones.

It is not about what type of "yoga" can do better "business" and makes more profits than the other ones, and what type of "International Yoga Affiliations" recognized "certifications" or "qualifications" that they can provide to the many aspiring "yoga enthusiasts" to find a job called "teaching yoga".

It is also not about trying to become super human with super power and super fit physical body.

If it can allow us to know about our own mind and the ego, to realize the cause of suffering and the path to transcend suffering, to train the mind, to have control over our own mind, to be the master of our mind, to go beyond the mind, to purify the mind to remove impurities and ignorance, to bring the mind into the present, to quiet and silent the mind, to free the mind from anger, hatred, jealousy, greed, dissatisfaction, agitation, depression, ill will, fear and worry, to develop dispassion (Vairagya) and discrimination (Viveka), to eliminate the ego, to realize our true nature, to realize the truth of things, to realize unconditional peace and love, to be performing selfless service for ourselves and others, to go beyond action and inaction, to transcend duality, to realize namelessness and formlessness, and to be liberated from suffering, then it is all YOGA, and all is good, even if it is not being labelled or named as "yoga" or "yoga practice".

Om shanti.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Home cooked vegetarian food recipe - Stir-fried chillies eggplants or aubergines

Here is another new vegetarian cooking recipe for our yoga retreats guests here in Langkawi.

Stir-fried Chillies Eggplants or Aubergines (serve 2-3 people)

2-3 medium size eggplants or aubergines, rinse and halve lengthwise, then cut into about 1 cm thick slices

3 shallots, sliced thinly

4 small red chillies, remove seeds and sliced

2 dried chillies, remove seeds and sliced

2-3 cloves of garlic, chopped finely

2-3 slices of peeled ginger, sliced finely

Salt to taste

A bit of cooking oil

Some hot boiling water

x x x x x x x x x x x x

*Non-stick wok is very important in this recipe. I don't think it will work on a normal wok, if the eggplants keep sticking onto the wok.

Heat up the non-stick wok in medium heat. Add about 2 tablespoons of cooking oil.

When the oil is hot, add in sliced shallots, stir evenly until soft. Add in ginger, garlic, small red chillies and dried chillies. Stir-fry until fragrant.

Add in the eggplants or aubergines. Stir evenly. The eggplants will absorb the oil and look dry. Sprinkle some salt over the eggplants evenly, and stir well. Add tiny bits of hot boiling water and stir. Again the eggplants will absorb all the liquid and become dry. Add a little bit more water if needed, but not too much. It should be moist but dry.

Keep stirring or tossing until all the slices of eggplants cooked evenly, until the eggplants turn brown, almost slightly burnt.

Serve hot with rice or bread, or as a snack on its own.

Bon Appétit!

Home cooked vegetarian food recipe - Boiled or mashed potatoes

Here is another vegetarian dish that sometimes we prepare for our yoga retreats guests here in Langkawi.

Boiled or mashed potatoes (serves 3-4 people)

5-6 medium size potatoes

Salt

Water

2 level tablespoons of Mustard for boiled potatoes

Salted or unsalted Butter for mashed potatoes

x x x x x x x x x x x

Washed the potatoes nicely. For boiled potatoes, keep the skin. For mashed potatoes, peeled the skin.

Cut potatoes into chunks and put into a pot, add room temperature water until just enough to cover all the potatoes, add about 2 heaped teaspoons of salt, and cooked for about 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are cooked. If a knife sinks easily under its own weight into a potato, then it is cooked.

Drain the potatoes.

For boiled potatoes, mix with the mustards and serve hot. Add salt and pepper to taste.

For mashed potatoes, mashed the potatoes with a potato ricer or with a fork (if you don't have a potato ricer), while adding the butter (as you prefer). Serve hot. May add salt and pepper to taste. If you use salted butter, then you don't really need to add additional salt.

Bon Appétit!

Home cooked vegetarian food recipe - Oven Roasted Portobello or Button Mushrooms

Here is another vegetarian dish that sometimes we prepare for our yoga retreats guests here in Langkawi.

Oven Roasted Portobello or Button Mushrooms (serves 4 people)

4 big Portobello mushrooms, or 500 grams of button mushrooms or brown mushrooms

About 2 tablespoons of olive oil

4-6 cloves of whole garlic, peeled and lightly pounded

Salt and black pepper

x x x x x x x x x x x x

Rinse the mushrooms and drain off any excess water.

Put the Portobello mushrooms into an oven dish, with the stem facing up and cross cut the stem a bit.

Mix the garlic into the olive oil. And spread the garlic olive oil over the mushrooms. and sprinkle some salt and pepper over them. Sprinkle more olive oil if prefer.

If using button or brown mushrooms, then put them into a bowl. Mix them well with the garlic olive oil, salt and pepper. Then put them into the oven dish.

Put it into the oven cook for about 20 minutes (without preheat the oven) at 220 degrees Celsius.

Serve hot.

It is good to eat with some fresh mixed green salads, tomatoes, and potatoes dishes.

Bon Appétit!

Home cooked vegetarian food recipe - Stir-fried Crispy Broccoli

Here is another vegetarian dish that sometimes we prepare for our yoga retreats guests here in Langkawi.

Stir-fried Crispy Broccoli (serves 3-4 people)

I know there are some people don't like to eat Broccoli, just like me in the past, as the way of cooking makes a big difference in the taste and texture of Broccoli. But now I discovered an easy and tasty way of cooking Broccoli that even my husband also loves it, as back at home in Europe, usually Broccoli is prepared by boiling or steaming, and this makes the Broccoli tasteless and soggy which is one of the reasons why some people don't like to eat Broccoli, but it is such a fantastic nutritious vegetable if we know how to cook it.

Here is a simple way to cook it.

2 heads of Broccoli. Rinse well and Cut off the individual branches from the main stalk one by one. Leave out the main stalk. If the branches stem is thicker than our little finger then halve it into two parts. Or else keep the whole branch as one, this will keep the crunchiness after cooking. Keep off any excess water from the Broccoli (this is very important).

About 10 fresh baby sweet corn, halved

1 small red or green chilly, halved and remove seeds

Half of a yellow onion, chopped finely

4-5 cloves of garlic, chopped finely

2-3 slices of peeled ginger, and then shredded thinly

Salt and black pepper to taste

2 tablespoons of Sesame oil

A bit of hot boiling water

A bit of cooking oil

*Do not cover the vegetables, as the vegetables will become soggy.

*The flavor coming from onion, garlic or ginger can be altered as you like. You can just use either onion, or garlic, or ginger on its own, but increase the quantity of it. Or you can mix match onion and garlic. Or garlic and ginger. Or onion and ginger. They give different taste to the vegetables.

x x x x x x x x x x x x

Heat up a wok in medium heat. Add about 2 tablespoons of cooking oil.

When the oil is hot enough, add the chopped onion and stir evenly until soft. If it is too dry, then add a little bit more of cooking oil.

Add ginger for a few seconds, then add garlic and chilly, stir evenly until the garlic turn slightly golden, the onions are browned, then add the baby sweet corn. Add a pinch of salt and stir well for about 30 seconds.

Add Broccoli, quickly stir fry them mixing into the onion, garlic and ginger. Add about 1 heaped teaspoon of salt and half teaspoon of pepper (sprinkle them evenly over the broccoli), stir well. Add about 3-4 tablespoons of hot boiling water just to bring up some hot steam in the wok to cook the Broccoli evenly. Stir for a few seconds, you can see the Broccoli starts to change colour. Switch off the fire. Add in 2 tablespoons of sesame oil, stir well into each Broccoli branch. Add salt if needed. Remove from the wok and put into a bowl or a plate, and serve immediately, so that the Broccoli doesn't continue to cook sitting in the hot wok.

From the moment you put in the Broccoli, salt and pepper, a bit of hot boiling water and sesame oil, it should take less than 3 minutes. It has to be quick and keep stirring, so that the Broccoli cooked evenly and doesn't get over-cooked. It is okay to eat Broccoli even if it is slightly under-cooked. The whole cooking process is less than 10 minutes. So time yourselves. As the vegetable is best to be eaten as soon as it leaves the wok.

It should be crispy and tasty, especially when we cook with love and peace.

Do not worry if it is not salty enough, because we can add salt and pepper afterwards when it is served on the table.

It is very good eating with rice or just by itself as a snack.

I could eat a whole head of stir fried Broccoli each time. Hope you like it too.

Bon Appétit!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Home cooked vegetarian food recipe - Sambal Tempe (Tempeh)

Here is another vegetarian dish that sometimes we prepare for our yoga retreats guests here in Langkawi.

Sambal Tempe (Tempeh) - Sweet & sour spicy chilly paste
Can leave out the Tempe if you don't like Tempe or couldn't get Tempe.

1 packet of Tempe, chopped into tiny pieces, deep fried until crispy at medium heat, remove from oil. Drain off the excess oil and leave it to cool.

2 big yellow or red onions, sliced. Sautéed the sliced onion until the onion browned or softened. Keep aside.

To grind into paste -
About 15 shallots (you may use less or more as you like)
10-15 dried chillies, soaked and remove the seeds (it depends on how spicy you prefer)
5 big red chillies, remove the seeds
A few small red chillies (optional, it depends on how spicy you prefer)
4-5 cloves of garlic
3 inches cube of peeled ginger
2 inches cube of galangal
5-6 stalks of lemon grass (use only the first 2 inches from the root)
A bit of water for mixing

A bit of Tamarind juice (as you prefer, it depends on how sour you prefer)

About 4-5 teaspoons of brown sugar (as you prefer, it depends on how sweet you prefer)

About 30 curry leaves 

Salt to taste

A bit of hot boiling water (optional)

A bit of cooking oil

x x x x x x x x x x x x

Heat up the oil in a wok at medium heat, add curry leaves for a few seconds, and then the ground paste. Turn the fire to low heat. Keep stirring until it thickens or fragrant. This process takes a bit of time.

Add Tamarind juice, sautéed sliced onion, brown sugar and salt to taste. Stir evenly to avoid sticking at the bottom. Add a bit of hot boiling water if you think it is too thick.

Add fried Tempe. Stir evenly for another 10 minutes.

Add more Tamarind juice, or salt, or brown sugar if needed before turning off the heat. Adjust to your preferred taste.

Can be served hot or at room temperature. It is very good eating with Basmati rice or with fresh home made bread.

Serve with some other dishes like stir-fried vegetables or fresh salads.

Bon Appétit!

Home cooked vegetarian food recipe - Basmati Rice

Here is the Basmati rice that we usually serve to our yoga retreat guests here in Langkawi.

Basmati Rice (serve 3-4 people)

2 rice measurement cups of Basmati rice

4-5 slices of peeled ginger

A pinch of salt

1-2 Pandan leaves (tide into a knot)

A bit of thick coconut milk (optional)

Water

x x x x x x x x x x x x

Rinse the rice in the rice cooker pot (if you have one - it is not expensive and it's very convenient) for a few times.

Add in water until the water level is about 1 cm off the rice surface. It is easy when using the rice cooker as measurements are marked inside the pot to show you how much water you should add in.

Add in the sliced ginger, salt and Pandan leaves.

Wipe off the excess water on the outside of the pot before putting into the rice cooker.

Switch on the rice cooker. It will be ready in about 15-20 minutes. At this stage when the water is drying up, you may stir in a little bit of thick coconut milk, if you like. It is better if we leave the rice to sit for at least 5 minutes in the rice cooker after the switch popped to the keep warm mode.

Stir well and remove the ginger and Pandan leaves.

Serve hot.

Bon Appétit!

*If you don't have a rice cooker, then add the water until about 1 cm off the surface of the rice. Bring the rice to boil at medium to high heat until the water dries up. Switch off the heat and let it sits for another 5-10 minutes covered with lid.

Home cooked vegetarian food recipe - Vegetarian Green Curry

Here is another vegetarian dish that sometimes we prepare for our yoga retreat guests in Langkawi.

Vegetarian Green Curry (serves 4 people)

1 small size cauliflower cut into big pieces (this will keep the crunchiness of the cauliflower after cooked)

About 200 grams of long beans cut into about 1 inch size

About 15 fresh baby sweet corns (halved)

2 pieces of hard tofu cut into cubes

Half of a carrot (peeled) cut into strips of about the similar size of the cut long beans

8-10 cherry tomatoes

About 12 sweet peas

2 cups of coconut milk

About 30 curry leaves

3-4 stalks of lemon grass, lightly pounded

3-4 pieces of  kaffir lime leaves crushed with the hand

Salt to taste

A bit of cooking oil

To grind into paste -
4-5 stalks of lemon grass (use only the first 2 inches from the root)
about 3-4 shallots
about 1-2 cloves of garlic (optional if you do not like garlic)
about 2 inches cube of ginger
about 2 inches cube of galangal
about 2-3 big green chillies deseeded
about 2-3 small green chillies deseeded (optional, it depends on how spicy you prefer)
2-3 kaffir lime leaves (remove the stem of the leaves)
a bit of water for mixing

x x x x x x x x x x x x

Important tips - Never cover with lid, as the vegetable will loose its crunchiness. Unless you prefer soft vegetables for easier digestion.

Heat up the wok, add a bit of cooking oil. When the oil is hot enough at low heat, add in curry leaves for a few seconds and then the ground paste and the stalks of lemon grass, stir evenly until the paste thickened and fragrant. This will take a bit of time and patience.

Turn the heat up to medium.

Add in tofu and stir evenly. Sprinkle a bit of salt onto the tofu.

Add in baby sweet corns and stir evenly.

Add coconut milk. Add a bit of salt to taste. Turn the heat up to maximum. Stir evenly until boiling. Add crushed kaffir lime leaves.

Add cauliflower and carrots, stir evenly. After 1 minute, add the long beans and cherry tomatoes and cook for another 1 minute, stir evenly.

Switch off the fire, and immediately add in the sweet peas. Stir evenly.

Add salt to taste if needed.

Serve immediately, or else the vegetables will become soggy.

It is very nice to eat with Basmati rice.

Also it is very nice to have some raw Sengkuang or Yam Bean (remove the skin and cut into sticks) as a side dish. It helps to balance the spiciness of the chillies and the richness of the coconut milk.

Bon Appétit!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Wisdom, love and peace vs ignorance, anger and hatred...

Promote wisdom, love and peace, and NOT ignorance, anger and hatred...

Dissolve ignorance, anger and hatred with wisdom, love and peace.

Adding ignorance, anger and hatred into the "pot" of ignorance, anger and hatred will only intensify or increase all the ignorance, anger and hatred that are already there...

Most of us know about this, but sometimes we are not aware of ourselves are actually spreading, or distributing, or promoting more anger and hatred into the world while hoping the world will be a loving and peaceful place, be free from violence, anger and hatred.

How can we expect the world will be free from anger and hatred while we are being angry and hating, as well as we try to make or encourage more people to join us to be angry and hating towards certain issues or matters?

Om shanti.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Home cooked vegetarian food recipe - Rendang Potatoes

Here is another vegetarian dish that sometimes we prepare for our yoga retreat guests here in Langkawi.

Rendang Potatoes (serves 3-4 people)

5-6 medium size potatoes (peeled) cut into big chunks

1 medium size sweet potato (peeled) cut into smaller chunks (Some of them will melt into the sauce when it is well cooked for a long time)

A bit of Tamarind (Assam Jawa juice or dried Tamarind)

Either 3/4 cup of fresh grated coconut (pounded and lightly fried without oil until dried) , or half cup of dessicated coconut

4 cups of coconut milk

2 pieces of Turmeric leaf (Daun Kunyit)

1 teaspoon of brown sugar (to balance the sourness of tamarind and spiciness of chillies)

2 teaspoons of packet Rendang mix powder (if you can find the one without MSG)

Salt to taste

For grinding into a paste mixture -
10-12 shallots, about 3 inches cube ginger (you can use more if you like the taste of ginger), about 2 inches cube Galangal, 5-6 sticks of lemon grass (use only the beginning 2 inches from the root), a few dried or fresh small red chillies (depending on the preferred spiciness), a bit of Turmeric powder, a bit of water for mixing.

x x x x x x x x x x x x

Heat up the pot, add a bit of cooking oil and then the paste mixture, stir evenly in low to medium heat until the paste is thickening or the raw taste of onion is gone. Add in Rendang mix powder, stir well into the paste.

Add coconut milk, Turmeric leaf, Tamarind juice, grated coconut and stir evenly for everything to mix well until boiling.

Add brown sugar and a bit of salt. Stir well.

Add potatoes and sweet potatoes. Stir well.

Cover and stir occasionally to prevent burning at the bottom, in low to medium heat for about 30-35 minutes, or until the liquid thickens and the potatoes are well cooked. Add a bit of water if the liquid thickened too soon before the potatoes are well cooked. Add salt to taste before serving if needed.

This is a dish with thick and rich sauce coating the potatoes.

The well cooked potatoes and sweet potatoes gives natural sweetness and thickening effect to the dish, that's why I use only a bit of brown sugar and less grated coconut here, compared to the non-vegetarian chicken Rendang recipe.

Serve hot.

It is very nice eating with fresh salads. It's like a potatoes and fresh salad mix with Rendang dressings, instead of the usual salad dressing.

Bon Appétit!

Home cooked vegetarian food recipe - ABC soup

This is one of the home cooked vegetarian dishes that sometimes we prepare for our yoga retreat guests. This is a very simple nutritious and delicious soup. It is very comforting especially after sweating during the yoga asana practice in the hot climate of Malaysia. It also reminds us about our loving mother who cooks this soup regularly at home.


ABC soup (for 2 servings)

3 potatoes (washed and peeled) cut into chunks

2 carrot (washed and peeled) cut into chunks

2 big tomatoes (washed and cut into quarters, remove the )

Optional 1/4 of lemon juice (Add only if you like lemony taste in the soup)

1 yellow onion finely chopped

3-4 garlic cloves, chopped

Optional few slices of ginger (peeled)

Salt and black pepper

A bit of cooking oil

A bit of butter

About 1.5 litre of hot boiling water

x x x x x x x x x x x x x x

Heat up a bit of cooking oil and butter in the pot and sautéed the onion at low to medium heat patiently until it turns slightly brown.

Add in garlic and ginger, until the garlic and ginger fragrant and the onion browned.

Add potatoes and carrots, black pepper and a bit of salt. Cover and stir occasionally until fragrant at medium heat.

Add tomatoes and the lemon juice (optional). Cover and stir occasionally until everything soften, juicy and fragrant.

Add hot boiling water and cook for 40 - 50 minutes at low to medium heat, or until the liquid is a bit thickened or the soup is sweetened by all the ingredients, it is ready to serve. Add salt to taste.

It tastes better if you cooked it a few hours before serving. Let the soup sits for one or two hours, and then heat it up to boiling point again before serving.

Bon Appétit!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Happy Mother's Day!

For me, 'mother' is not just limited to the woman who gave birth to us, feeds us, protects us, guides us, supports us and loves us, but all the women who are endowed with unconditional love towards all beings without discrimination, without possessiveness, without hatred, without asking anything in return... As well as the nature which provides and supports all beings to be exist, unconditionally.

Love ourselves and have peace in ourselves, as well as accept and love our parents as they are, is the greatest gift to our parents to show our love and gratitude to them.

To all women, whether they have children, or yet to have children or not, Happy Mother's Day!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Wise leaders vs unwise leaders...

The wise leaders encourage the people to be wise, to be free from ignorance, so that they don't need to be troubled nor spend energy on dealing with ignorant issues derive from ignorance.

And everything runs smoothly by itself as the people act and react wisely, being free from ignorance. There is minimal problems. If there is any problems, the wise people will know how to solve all the problems by themselves and no need to trouble the leaders.

The unwise leaders encourage the people to remain ignorant, to be conditioned by ignorance, so that they will feel more superior and smarter than the people and the people will be depending on them. It makes them feel strong and powerful. But they have to be troubled all the time and have to spend tremendous energy to deal with ignorant issues derive from ignorance.

And everything becomes complicated as the people act and react ignorantly, being conditioned by ignorance. There will be many problems generated by the people, and they don't know how to solve the problems by themselves and have to trouble the leaders who seem to be "smarter" than them.

x x x x x x x x x x x x x x

This is the same situation in the yoga classes, yoga teachers and yoga students.

In real yoga classes, the selfless teachers who are free from selfish desires will teach the classes in a way that will allow all the students to be self-independent, to be free from ignorance, and to be their own teacher. So that the students don't need to keep coming back for attending classes, and develop self-discipline to perform their own practice without supervision. As the students are free from ignorance, there is minimal problems being generated in their life. If there is any problems, the students will be able to solve all their problems by themselves, and no need to depend on the teachers to give them instructions, or to help them to solve their problems.

This is completely different from commercialized yoga classes.

The teachers/instructors with selfish desires will teach the classes in a way that doesn't allow the students to be self-independent, unable to be free from ignorance, and unable to be their own teacher. So that the students will be depending on the teachers to give them instructions to perform their practice, or in need of the teachers to help them to solve their problems. This makes the teachers feel more superior than the students, and being important as being needed by the students. And due to commercial reasons, the yoga business depends very much on the students to keep coming back for attending classes, to keep their business running and to be profitable maximumly.

Om shanti.

Reflection from doing housework

Reflection to share with all from doing housework -

Sweeping the floor against the wind or with the fans on is useless...

There are many effective ways to clean up the floor, such like using a vacuum cleaner if there is electricity or if you have one, or else can wait until the wind ease off, or turn off the fans, or close all the windows and doors of the room. It is also useless to sweep the floor while somebody else keeps pouring dust everywhere while we sweep the floor.

It's wasting energy and frustrating if we want to clean the floor but the more we sweep and mop, the more dustier and dirty it is.

Never use dirty cloths or mops, nor using dirty water to wipe or mop the floor too. As this will only make the floor more dirty and messy...

If we try to mop the floor before we clean up the dust, the floor also will become very messy.

In the end, no matter how many times we try to clean the floor by sweeping and mopping, dust and dirt will continue to exist unceasingly. We need to keep sweeping and mopping regularly without getting unhappy, disappointed, angry and frustrated nor giving up on the action of cleaning.

Om shanti. Be happy.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Reflection from observing beetles...


There were many big and small beetles in our home especially during rainy season. Very often I found them dead in a large quantity in a specific place in the house.

One thing that makes me reflect about these beetles is, how come they could not come back up on their feet by themselves after they turn upside down. And they are often being upside down. Some of them eventually died out of hunger and thirst, I guess, or attacked and eaten by other insects, if they couldn't turn around by themselves for a long time.

Whenever I saw them lying on the floor on their back struggling to turn around to come back up on their feet, but they couldn't do it by themselves, I would give them a little help.

I wonder why they are being designed in such way that they couldn't come back up by their own effort, until somebody come to help or rescue them, or maybe a breeze that is strong enough to give them a blow to turn them around, or maybe a leaf fell on them and they could grab on to the leaf to get back on their feet. Or else there were many times when I saw them on the floor, they were already being attacked and eaten by other insects, mainly ants. This allows me to reflect on the truth about everything is impermanent. Everything will come to an end in its natural cause.

I think one thing is for sure, these beetles are here for us to know about compassion and to practice compassion (at least for me, it is). Without any discrimination whether they are friendly or unfriendly insects (I think some people might be afraid of them, or being disturbed by them especially when they appear in a large quantity in the house), without prejudice or expectation, just help them to get back on their feet, and without expectation that they will be grateful and say "thank you", or will give us anything in return. There is no language communication. There is no selfish desires. Merely give help to them just because we can. It's not because they are our friends, nor they are very nice to us, nor they will bring us some benefits. Even though sometimes their thorny feet might sting us when we try to pick them up. Just give help, and let go (non-attachment).

This is just my little reflection from observing them.

Om shanti.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Discrimination, prejudice and hatred...

Most of us would like to live in a peaceful environment for ourselves and the people whom we love. We would like the society to be free from crime, violence, injustice, hatred, prejudice and discrimination. We want to be free from insecurity, fear and worry.

When discrimination happens to us, we would like other people to stop being discriminative towards us, as being discriminated is really not a nice experience and it promotes restlessness in us. We will feel disturbed and are not peaceful.

We want to be treated equally and respectfully by everyone. But, are we also treating everyone in the world (with different types of beliefs, behavior, characteristics and personalities) equally and respectfully?

We will be angry with some people whom are being discriminative and prejudiced towards us, but think again, most probably we are not aware that sometimes we are doing the same thing to other beings as well.
 
We need to reflect on our own actions, reactions, thinking, speech and behavior to see if we are also being discriminative and prejudiced towards other beings without us being aware of it.

Being discriminative and prejudiced towards other people based on race, skin colour, religion, political views, belief, nationality, disability, education level, family background, inheritance, ranking, social status, job, income, lifestyle, gender, sexual orientation, age, physical condition and appearance, past behavior, or anything that we can think of, is something that we all need to empty out from ourselves, before we expect the world to be free from discrimination, prejudice and hatred.

When we start to react towards other people's inappropriate behavior by criticizing or condemning their behavior as bad and evil doings, and judging them as bad and evil beings, we are starting to behave just like these people whom we criticize and condemn. As those who really live in the truth, they won't criticize nor condemn anyone, not even the most evil being in the world. As there is no need to do so. As by criticize and condemn, it won't make these people to change their behaviors to become what we think they should become. It will only intensify repulsion and hatred in people's mind.

When we criticize or condemn other people for any inappropriate behavior, because we think we are better human beings than them, not to say if we are also behaving the same, then we are not any different from those whom we criticize or condemn.

Sometimes we have discrimination among ourselves in the same race, not to say being racist towards other race that are different from us. Discrimination also exists in the same family or in the same religion, not to say discrimination exists towards those that are different from each other.

There is no doubt that discrimination and hatred promotes unrest, insecurity and fear in people's mind. But if we realize unconditional peace and love in us, all this unrest, insecurity and fear will not arise in us even though discrimination and hatred exist in our society.

Discrimination, prejudice and hatred derive from craving and aversion of the egoistic mind towards what our ego likes and dislikes, agrees and disagrees with. And out of ignorance, we have attachments towards the qualities of names and forms. We will have judgment and comparison towards the different qualities of names and forms. Fear and insecurity arise due to attachment towards these qualities of names and forms. We have great frustration and disappointment when our craving and aversion, or our expectation are not being gratified.

Because of fear and insecurity, we want to think and feel that we are more superior than other people, and we don't want to think and feel that we are inferior than other people.

When we are free from egoism and ignorance, when we realize the truth of names and forms, we don't need to be more superior than anyone nor don't want to be inferior than anyone. Beyond all the different qualities of names and forms, beyond all the different types of thinking, beliefs and behavior, we all are the same, when we see the truth in everything. There is no superiority nor inferiority. There is no good nor evil. And thus there is no fear towards "evil" beings or "evil" doings.

Being discriminative towards other people's racist behavior and speech is not any different from being a "racist" ourselves. We need to learn to accept and respect everyone as they are, even if some people are being racist, prejudiced and discriminative towards us or other people.

Everyone has the freedom to say or do whatever they want to say or do... We want to fight for freedom of speech and be free to have our own cultural beliefs, but how come we discriminate and criticize other people who say things that we disagree with and don't like to hear, and who have different cultural beliefs that we disagree with and don't like about?

If we really practice Dhamma, we will stop discrimination and hatred towards other people who behave the way that we don't agree with, or else that will make us not any different from those whom we think they are wrong or not good.

Accept and respect everyone as they are, even if they are being discriminative, prejudiced and hating towards us. It doesn't mean that we have to agree with them, or support them for their behavior, or allow ourselves to be harassed and insulted by abusive words, speech or behavior. But we don't have to be affected, or disturbed, or influenced, or determined by other people's abusive and insulting speech and behavior, neither we start to behave exactly the same like them.

When somebody makes a statement about us like this, "You are bad...", that is only his or her own point of views, it is not the truth of what we are. Why bother being determined and getting upset by somebody's subjective opinion and judgment? There is no need of justification as well. How other people want to think is their freedom, but we don't have to be determined by other people's thinking.

Let everyone take responsibility for the consequences of their own thinking, speech, actions or behavior... We don't have to react towards other people inappropriate thinking, speech, actions or behavior. It doesn't mean that we don't care for what is happening in the world. We can act wisely, out of compassion, without attachment towards our actions and the fruit of our actions, without being affected nor influenced by other people's wrong doings.

Just like keeping the house clean everyday. No matter how many times we try to clean the house everyday, dust and dirt keeps coming back. If we want to live in the house, we have to keep cleaning it without getting frustrated, or disappointed, or exhausted. Until the house, or the dust and dirt stop existing, then there is no need of cleaning anymore.

We cannot expect everyone to act and react the same way that we act and react, as everyone has very different types of beliefs, thinking, behavior, personalities and values or meanings of life. We cannot expect other people to be pure and endowed with perfect morality and ethical values, without any defilements or unrighteous behavior...

We, ourselves are not perfectly pure nor completely be free from defilements yet, how can we judge and criticize, or discriminate those whom we think they are bad and evil?

If we really want to improve our society or the world that we are living in, we must change ourselves and purify ourselves, remove ignorance, impurities and egoism in us. We must endowed with unconditional peace and compassion, able to be kind and compassionate towards all beings without discrimination, prejudice or hatred, including those who are promoting discrimination, prejudice or hatred in the society.

It doesn't matter how unfair, or injustice, or insulting is other people treating us, we can still be nice and kind to everyone without being disturbed, nor affected, nor influenced, nor determined by their respective behavior.

It is certainly not about, "You are nice to me, and I will be nice to you...", or "If you are not supporting me, I will not be nice to you...", or "You disagree with me, and so you are not my friend...", or "I am nice to you, so you have to be nice to me...", or "You are not nice to me, so why do I have to be nice to you...", or "You hate me, I hate you too..."

All these are ideas come of petty-mindedness and out of ignorance and egoism.

It all has to start with ourselves. Fill ourselves with peace, love, compassion and wisdom or correct understanding. Radiate peace, love, compassion and wisdom into the surroundings. Smile and be friendly to everyone without any selfish intentions or desires, without discrimination, prejudice or hatred, without expectation towards other people's reactions and behavior. Respect all beings as they are...

Develop magnanimity, kind wishes, forgiveness, courage, faith, loving kindness, calmness, generosity, nobility, patience, tolerance, adjustment, adaptation, accommodation and acceptance, which help to eliminate egoism and ignorance. Let go of petty-mindedness, ill will, discrimination, prejudice, selfish intentions or desires, expectation, anger, hatred, fear, jealousy, greed, disappointment, and all sorts of impurities that derive from ignorance and egoism.

Every moment in our hearts, we wish the world, "May all beings be happy, be free" including those beings whom we think they are bad and evil. As they are the one who needed to be free from ignorance, to be free from suffering, and then there will be less a being in the world that generates harmful effects and negativities into the world.

We cannot change or control other people to think and behave the way that we think they should think and behave, but we can change ourselves, and develop the noble qualities that can influence other people to reflect upon themselves or their behavior, and touching people's heart with great compassionate love and wisdom, so that other people can also develop the awareness of seeing the ignorance in themselves, and out of their own free will, they want to change themselves, to let go of egoism, to remove ignorance, and have control over their own thoughts, speech and actions.

Keep purifying our mind, remove egoism and ignorance, and realize unconditional peace, love, compassion and wisdom in ourselves.

Do our best. Perform all our duties and responsibilities, out of compassion towards ourselves and other beings, and let go of the result of our actions.

It is not through anger, hatred, discrimination, violence, oppression or control, to change the society, or to make the world to be a better place. But it is through peace, love, compassion and wisdom in ourselves, that can help to bring awareness and reflection in other people, to allow them to see themselves, to be aware of their own ignorance and ignorant behaviors, and they willingly to change themselves on their own free will. This is how the world will change, when everyone starts to change themselves.

It takes great amount of love, peace, patience, forbearance, perseverance, determination, will power, courage and faith to help the world to evolve, to eliminate evilness, and to promote goodness. Most importantly, it starts with ourselves. We shine as an embodiment of unconditional love and peace, if we wish the best for the world.

Om shanti.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Serve, love, give, purify, meditate, realize...

This motto is the essence of the teachings of Swami Sivananda.

If we want to know what is yoga and what is the practice of yoga, then this motto is a simple way to find out what they are.

Serve, love, give, purify, meditate, realize

Selfless service, non-attachment, unconditional love, renounce the fruit of actions, Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana and Dhyana are the basic practice for us to purify the mind to realize the Truth.

The entire yoga practice is about realizing compassion and wisdom... Or in another terms, to be free from egoism and ignorance.

All our yoga practice is for purifying the mind, to remove ignorance and to eliminate the ego.

If our mind is not purified, ignorance is not removed and the ego is not eliminated, then no matter how many hours or  years we have been "practicing yoga", and how much "physical and mental benefits" that we have attained from performing the "yoga practice", it doesn't determine anything. We are still not free.

It doesn't matter if we have an external Guru or teacher, or it doesn't matter if our Guru or teacher is enlightened or famous, it is our own effort and practice that will determine whether we are practicing yoga or not, and whether we will realize the Truth or not, and whether we will be liberated from ignorance, and be free from sufferings that derive from being ignorant...

Perform all our yoga practice, duties and responsibilities without attachment, identification, intention, judgment or expectation, and be free.

Do our best and let go.

Om shanti.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

祝福大家和平面对逆境...

请不要对外劳歧视,生气,憎恨或埋怨。他们也和我们一样,为了生存和理想而来到这里。他们也是整个 宇宙的一份子,与我们任何一个人豪无分别。

心怀贪念的人利用这些外劳来协助成就他们自己自私自利计划和意愿,而这些外劳也在利用这些心属不正的人所提供给他们的机会,希望有更好的生活环境和机会。

我们全部人类生活在这个地球上,大家都是逰子,都在寻找一个落脚的地方建立家园。我们在反抗别人对我们的歧视,为何我们却在歧视这些外劳呢?我们只不过比他们早一些到达这里落脚和建立家园。

如果我们要得到所有人的支持和合作,我们要以友善,真诚,和谐,包容与尊敬的态度来对待这些外劳。

我们在争取公平对待之时,我们自己有没有公平待人

把仇视的心境和态度丢掉吧。

如果不能丢掉仇视的心境和态度,没有公平的礼待或尊敬他人,那又如何可以得到他人的友谊,支持,信任和互相尊重呢?这只会增加他人对我们不满与反感。

到最后,我们全部人都被那些自私自利的小人利用了来成就他们的计划和意愿。


祝福大家和平面对逆境。也祝福所有全体人们和谐共同相处,无分国界,种族,肤色,信仰,身份,地位与语言。

Om Shanti, Shanti, Shanti.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Compassion? (Things that our ego doesn't like to hear...)

Different minds might have different understandings or definitions about what is compassion.

The weaker is our ego, the easier for us to be compassionate. The stronger is our ego, the more difficult for us to be compassionate. That's why our ego doesn't like to hear or know anything about "compassion", as compassion is the disappearance of the ego (selfishness).

By hearing or reading about "compassion", or talk about compassion doesn't really make us become compassionate. Merely by performing some good actions does not necessary mean that we are compassionate, if we have attachment, selfish intention, desire and expectation that motivate us to perform good actions. There is identification as the doer of actions. There is attachment towards the fruit of the actions. Good actions that are being performed out of compassion, is free from attachment, selfish intention, desire and expectation. There is no identification as the doer of actions. There is no attachment towards the fruit of the actions.

Compassion is our true nature. It is who we really are, whether we realize it or not.

In the end, we need to realize compassion through our own selves, then only we will know what is compassion and be free. Be free from restlessness, unhappiness, frustration, irritation, anger, hatred, disappointment, dissatisfaction, fear and worry, that derive from not knowing what is compassion (or not knowing who we really are), and which is the reason why we do not know how to be compassionate towards ourselves. If we couldn't be compassionate towards ourselves, how could we be compassionate towards other beings? If we cannot accept ourselves as we are, and constantly criticize ourselves for being imperfect, then how can we accept other beings as they are, and stop criticize other beings for being imperfect?

In the path of unconditional peace and love, compassion is not just about performing some good actions. It is also about refrain from performing any evil actions. It's not just about being kind to other living beings, but it is also being kind to ourselves. It's because just by performing good actions and being kind to other living beings, it doesn't guarantee us peace and freedom. We might still be influenced by ignorance and not knowing the truth of things, and be disturbed by impurities like anger and hatred, pride and arrogance, dissatisfaction and disappointment, fear and worry that derive from attachment towards the qualities of good and bad, and be over-powered by craving and aversion.

Due to ignorance, we will be disturbed by the qualities of names and forms that we experience in life.

Due to the influence of selfish desires (craving and aversion), we might engage in performing some evil actions that will hurt others and ourselves. And this shows that we do not know how to love ourselves.

Compassion, which relieves us from all kinds of impurities, painful sorrow and miseries, is also about purifying the mind, realizing the truth of things and being able to accept the reality of everything as it is, and able to accept everyone and everything as it is without attachment, judgment, comparison, prejudice, discrimination, expectation, craving or aversion.

It is being free from egoism and impurities that arise from egoism.

It is being free from selfish desires, craving and aversion.

It is being free from ignorance.

It is being free from attachment towards the qualities of names and forms.

It is realizing namelessness and formlessness, or non-duality. It is going beyond the qualities of names and forms, good and bad, positive and negative, happiness and suffering.

It is being free from anger and hatred, dissatisfaction and disappointment, fear and worry that derive from attachment towards the qualities of names and forms (craving and aversion towards objects and qualities that we like and dislike, agree and disagree with), and having the idea of possessiveness (such like the idea of my life, my body, my thinking, my feelings, my family, my friends, my country, my culture, my religion, my job, my wealth, my health, my things, my pride, my name, and etc).

It is unconditional loving kindness towards ourselves and other beings that endowed with correct knowledge, or right understanding, or wisdom.

It is about self-acceptance, know how to love ourselves unconditionally, be kind to ourselves and have peace in us. As when we know how to accept and love ourselves as we are, be kind to ourselves, and have peace in us, we won't be generating any negativities in ourselves, nor into the world. We won't be in painful sorrow or suffering that arise from attachment towards the qualities of names and forms that derives from being ignorant about the truth of things.

There is no ill will, nor argument, nor criticism, nor condemn about anything or anyone that is different from us and what we disagree with. There is no aversion towards any thinking, believes, behaviors, actions and speech that are contradicting with what our mind believes what things are.

It is about tolerance, adjustment, adaptation, accommodation and acceptance. Even if everyone is being influenced by ignorance and egoism, and behaves in the complete opposite way of loving kindness, peace and compassion, we clearly understand why all these beings act and react in such ways, and accept that everyone has the freedom to be what they are, and behave the way that they want to behave. We cannot enforce or control other beings about how they should behave, or how to think and what to believe.

We allow everything (both "good" and "bad" elements) to be exist in the same space of the universe. There is no possessiveness. We don't own this space of the universe. There is no such expectation towards the world hoping that "There is only good things, there is no bad things. Everyone is good and is doing good actions only, and there are no evil beings doing any evil actions", or "The world will not be a suffering place. The world will only be a happy place". As this is not the teaching of Yoga and Buddhism. The teachings of Yoga and Buddhism is about accepting the truth as it is. We can be aware of all the good and bad elements, but no one (not even the enlightened beings) can change or control anyone or the world to be the way that we like it to be, or the way that we think it should be.

Although we cannot change the world to be the way that we like it to be, but we can contribute peace and love into the world by changing ourselves, and realize peace and love in us, being undisturbed nor affected by the qualities of names and forms that the mind perceives through the senses. If ourselves are not peaceful, and have no love and kindness in us, then how can we expect the world to be peaceful and expect other beings to be kind and loving?

Everyone needs to realize ignorance in ourselves, and through our own free will, we want to change ourselves and we want to remove ignorance in us. We can only do our best in performing all our duties and responsibilities, perform our own spiritual practice and evolve towards highest realization of unconditional peace and love. By changing ourselves, and realize unconditional peace and love in us, then naturally we are helping the world to change and improve. By being peaceful, and vibrate peace and love into the world, we are benefiting the world.

Compassion is also knowing the truth of impermanence and accepting the impermanent changes as they are, from moment to moment. Things exist, and will stop existing. Everything keeps arising and passing away. But at the same time, we perform necessary actions out of compassion, without expectation, without attachment towards the actions and the fruit of actions, and allow the fruit of actions to be what it is, not necessary the way that we expect or like it to be...

It is also knowing the limitations of names and forms, including this perishable and limited physical body and the egoistic intellectual thinking mind, that are conditioned and limited by time, space and causation. Knowing that the body and mind belongs to the energy and elements. It doesn't belong to us, and it is not who we really are. And at the same time, knowing the unlimited and unconditioned true nature of everything, which is beyond the body, the senses, the mind, the thinking, the feelings and emotions, which is beyond dualities and qualities of good and evil, positive and negative, happiness and suffering.

In the process of learning and performing the yoga asana poses, we learn about the limitations of the physical body and the influence of the ego, and allow us to be able to accept the present condition and abilities, and the limitations of the physical body as it is. At the same time, we perform all the yoga practice without expectation towards the result of the practice, but allowing the result to happen naturally as it is. We allow improvement to happen naturally without expecting any benefits from performing the yoga practice.

We allow physical health condition, stamina, strength and flexibility to improve naturally as we practice yoga asana and breathing exercises regularly, without attachment, without craving towards some pleasant experiences, without aversion towards some unpleasant experiences. As all these physical benefits that come from performing the yoga asana practice and breathing exercises are just a side effect of the yoga practice. It is not the objective of our yoga practice. All these yoga practice allow us to develop the inner strength and flexibility, or the divine qualities that will bring us to the realization of unconditional peace and compassion. It helps to purify the energy fields in the physical body and thus purifying the mind, which helps to remove ignorance or impurities.

Perform all our duties and responsibilities in the world but do not neglect our greatest duty towards our own selves and the universe, which is Self-inquiry, realizing who we really are, and be free from being conditioned by the impure mind and the limited physical body...

That will definitely helps the world to become a better place.

By expecting other people to change into somebody whom we like them to be, or trying to control other people to be the way that we want them to be, will only generate tension, frustration and disappointment in ourselves. Further more, this will also trigger negativities (anger, hatred, aversion) in other people whom we want to control or change them, just because we don't like and don't agree with them and their thinking, believes and behaviors.

Compassion is not different from, or not separated from fearlessness. Fear comes from the wrong identification with the body and mind as us, and having attachment towards all the things that are not us or don't belong to us. This wrong identification and attachment gives rise to the idea of possessiveness, and we will try to protect what we think is "I" and all that belongs to "I". Out of fear of losing the people and things that we love and which we think they belong to us, we will have fear towards some other living beings (people, animals, insects etc), thinking that they might hurt "I" or "my loved ones", or might cause harmful effect and damage to "my life", or "my health", or "my belongings", and so, I will attack these living beings, before they will hurt "I" and damage something that belongs to "I". This is ignorance and selfishness.

We cannot be truly compassionate when we have fear and have self-protection toward ourselves and what we think that are belong to us, due to egoism or selfishness, or influenced by craving and aversion, anger and hatred, prejudice, dualism, discrimination, selfish desires, selfish expectation and possessiveness, even though we try to perform many good actions and try not to perform any evil actions, or try to be kind to other beings, as we will be miserable, constantly being affected and determined by the result of our actions and inactions, as well as being disturbed by other people (bad) actions and (good) inactions. We will be very unhappy, angry, frustrated and disappointed when our expectations and desires are not being gratified, or when the result of our actions didn't turn out the way that we expect or like it to be.

Constantly contemplate on this teaching about compassion or selflessness, and be free. So that we can help the world to improve to be a better place.

Om shanti.

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About Yoga

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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