be free, be happy, be peaceful

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

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Home cooked vegetarian food recipe - Tomato Sauce

Tomato Sauce

1 kg tomatoes, washed. Cut a small cross on the base of the tomatoes, grill in oven for 20 minutes with the base facing up, then peel and blend.

1 medium size onion, chopped finely

(Optional) 2 small red chillies, remove seeds and sliced

2-3 cloves of garlic, chopped coarsely

2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar

Salt & black pepper to taste

A bit of cooking oil



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

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

When the oil is hot, sauté the onion, (optional chillies) and garlic until soft and fragrant.

Add in the tomatoes. Lower the heat once the tomato puree starts to boil. Stir occasionally until the tomatoes are well-cooked and the sauce thickens. This takes about 45-60 minutes.

Add salt, black pepper and balsamic vinegar. Stir well and remove from the heat.

Allow to cool, then blend into a smooth paste.

Use fresh or freeze for future use.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

It's all about our own practice, it's not about how and what other people practice...

Yoga practice is a self-cultivation through one's effort, self-control and self-discipline based on one's temperament, characteristics, needs and requirements. It has nothing to do with how much or how often other people perform their practice, or what do other people practice or don't practice, or how other people perform their practice, or what do other people achieve from their own practice.

We can't even compare with, or try to imitate the people who teach and guide us to perform our yoga practice (our yoga teachers). How do the teachers perform their practice, or what the teachers practice or don't practice, and what do the teachers achieve in their own practice, has nothing to do with the students own practice and achievements. It is not about the teacher being a role model, so that we can become like the teacher.

Just like medical treatments or prescriptions. Every patient is not necessarily having the same type of disease, nor will be receiving the same type of treatment or prescription. A doctor cannot prescribe one single treatment and drug for all types of disease, nor give the same dosage of drug for everyone with different types of condition. It is based on individual conditions, needs and reactions towards the medical treatments and prescriptions. And the doctor's personal health condition has nothing to do with the patients' health conditions.

By looking at other people eating some food, doesn't remove our hunger. What other people can digest with their body, and how other people react towards the same food, has nothing to do with our own digestion and reaction towards the same food.


By looking at and knowing about the teachers' yoga practice doesn't remove our ignorance, egoism and attachment, nor make us be free from suffering and unhappiness.

Om shanti.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Complain and blame others for our unhappiness?

When we complain about something that we experienced, where this experience was something that we didn't like and didn't agree with, and we feel disturbed and unhappy about it, it won't undo what had happened. But this action of complaining and blaming others for the unhappiness in us will generate more disturbance in oneself and in others whom we complain to, whether those who were involved directly or indirectly, or who were not involved at all in what we complain about.

It is one's own responsibility when we feel disturbed and unhappy about something that we don't like and disagree with. The thing is just being what it is. It has no intention nor quality to disturb us or to make us feel unhappy.

When we want to be happy, no one can stop us from being happy. No one can make us unhappy if we want to be happy.

If we want to be unhappy, no one can stop us from being unhappy. No one can make us happy if we want to be unhappy.

It is our own choice and freedom.

Observe. Let go. Have peace in oneself. Allow others to have peace. There's nothing to complain about.

Be happy.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Home cooked vegetarian food recipe - Mango & potato red curry

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

Mango & Potato Red Curry (serves 2-3 people)

5-6 medium-sized potatoes, peeled and cut into big chunks. Cook in boiling water for 5 minutes with 1 tablespoon of salt. Drain.

The flesh of 2 peeled slightly under-ripe mangoes cut into chunks.

2-3 tablespoons red curry paste - http://mengfoonglai.blogspot.com/2014/04/home-cooked-vegetarian-food-recipe_14.html

150 ml coconut milk

1/2 teaspoon of Mango Powder

1 cup of water

Salt & black pepper to taste

A few Thai Basil leaves or Laksa leaves (Optional)

x x x x x x x x x x x x
Heat up the wok, add coconut milk. Cook until the coconut milk is boiling. Add the red curry paste, stir evenly on a low to medium heat until the paste and coconut milk is thick and fragrant.

Add water and stir evenly for everything to mix well until boiling.

Add potatoes and stir well.

Add black pepper and salt.

Stir well on a medium heat until the sauce thickens. Stir in the mangoes. Cooked for about 1 minute and turn off the heat.

Add the Thai Basil leaves or Laksa leaves if available.

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

Serve hot.

It is very nice accompanied with fresh salads.

Bon Appétit!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Yoga?

The student said to the teacher, "For me, yoga is a fitness exercise. It is a business deal. I pay the money and I expect the customer service that I want. I don't want the real yoga like the one they do in the Ashrams in India. I don't agree with the teachings of yoga. I am a Christian."

The teacher replied, "Be happy. There's nothing wrong if anyone disagrees with the teachings and the practice of yoga, and don't want to practice yoga. Even if you have given some money or something to the teacher, the teacher cannot teach you anything, because you don't allow and don't want the teacher to teach yoga, as you don't want to learn and practice yoga. There are other people who come here to learn and practice yoga. The yoga classes here is about yoga. You don't have to attend this yoga class, if this is not the "yoga" that you want. You can take your money back and leave the yoga class now, if you wish."

Om shanti.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Ignorance?

Ignorance?
  • The root cause of suffering and unhappiness.
  • Identifying with the impermanent qualities of names and forms as who we are, which we are not.
  • Seeing the unreal as real, and seeing the real as unreal.
  • Not knowing the truth of who "I" am.
  • Forsake Dharma (which is in harmony with the law of nature), and embrace Adharma (which goes against the law of nature).
  • Attachment towards worldly self-image or worldly identity that attached to and identifies with certain qualities of names and forms.
  • Attachment towards all our actions and the fruit of the actions.
  • Natural habit of the mind which constantly and autonomously reacts without awareness towards the objects of the senses, being influenced by egoism, attachments, likes and dislikes, agreements and disagreements, craving and aversion, dualism, selfish desires, selfish intention, selfish expectation, and impurities like anger, hatred, jealousy, greed, dissatisfaction, disappointment, pride, arrogance, feelings of hurt, animosity, ill-will, fear and worry.
  • Seeking freedom, satisfaction, confidence, meaningfulness, love, peace and happiness from without (of the impermanent qualities of names and forms).
  • Being ignorant about ignorance.

Ignorance has nothing to do with the amount of accumulated worldly knowledge, level of intelligence, level of education, religious beliefs, living skills, physical condition and abilities, years of yoga practice, years of teaching yoga, years of studying about the teachings of yoga, social status, financial status, achievements in life, academic, career or relationships. As ignorance, egoism, attachment and impurities are not determined by all these qualities of names and forms. It doesn't matter who or what we think we are and how we are, we still can be influenced very much by ignorance, egoism, attachment and impurities, and have no peace, constantly being disturbed, affected, influenced and determined by all the qualities of names and forms that the mind perceives through the senses of what it sees, hears, smells, tastes, touches and thinks/believes.

We only know what we know, and see what we see. What is beyond our knowledge and sight, we don't know and we don't see. We cannot argue with anyone who doesn't know what we know, who doesn't see what we see. When we realize what others haven't realized, when we see what others don't see, there is no argument with anyone nor criticism about things that others don't know and don't see.

Be open-minded. Be free.

Om shanti.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra



Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra

Om Tryambakam Yajamahe
Sugandhim Pushtivardhanam
Urvarukamiva Bandhanan
Mrityor Mukshiya Maamritat

Om Shantih, Shantih, Shantih

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Take a break, have a silent moment...

"What do you do for recreation?"

"What do you do to relax or unwind yourself?"

If we know how to avoid underusing or overusing the body and the mind, there's no such need to relax or unwind the body and the mind.

The well-trained mind unattached to the qualities of names and forms, it will not be disturbed nor affected by the objects of names and forms that it perceives from moment to moment, it won't be in a state of stressed nor being restless, it doesn't need to be relaxed or to be unwind. If the mind is being in the present moment now, free from craving and aversion, free from duality and separateness, there's no boredom or loneliness. It doesn't need to be doing something "special" or "additional" for recreation, stimulation or entertainment to get rid of boredom and loneliness, or to feel good and meaningful. The mind is at ease and content as it is. The mind doesn't run outward to chase after objects of names and forms.

There are so many things going on in the untrained mind, constantly receiving inputs and sending outputs through the senses, sense organs and the organs of action (mouth, feet, hands, organ of excretion and organ of procreation), as well as it keeps wandering to the past memories and future anticipations.

We might think we are like this, "I don't talk much. I am a quiet person. I like quietness..." But, in truth, our mind is so noisy. We can't stop talking most of the time, whether verbally or mentally. The mind is so busy, so wild, so passionate, so restless, so stimulated, so ambitious, so many plans, so much desires, so many things wants to say, so many things wants to do, so many things wants to achieve, and so on.

If we truly want to conquer our own mind to realize unconditional peace, especially if our mind is the type that easily be disturbed, and gets irritated and annoyed by what the ego doesn't like to see or hear, or easily be offended by what the ego doesn't agree with, then it will be conducive for us to reduce talking, or minimize engaging in social conversation, as our mind will be influenced and disturbed by the action of talking, and be disturbed, agitated or depressed by the content of the conversation due to the undisciplined egoistic mind reacts towards what it likes and dislikes, agrees and disagrees with. The mind is in the state of restlessness all the time, being busy thinking, analyzing, judging, comparing, remembering, longing, anticipating, speculating, projecting, expecting, and so on.

The ego wants to assert itself and be acknowledged, "I have some opinions and points of view. I have something to say. I agree with this, and I don't agree with that. I think it should be like this. Listen to me. Why won't you listen to me? Why won't you agree with me? Why won't you believe me? Why do you want to argue with me?" And so on.

If we truly want to practice yoga and meditation, then be persevered and determined to quiet the mind. Allow the mind to have a break from restlessness. Talk less. Reduce the mind activities. Concentrate the mind on fewer objects for start, and then render it to be one-pointedness concentrating at one single object in time. Silent the mind. And peace will surface.

Om shanti.

Home cooked vegetarian food recipe - Stir-fried long-beans

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

Stir fried long-beans (serve 2-3 people)

300 grams of long-beans. Washed and cut into 3 cm long strips.

1 teaspoon mustard seeds

1 handful curry leaves

2 dried chillies. Washed, dried, cut into half and deseeded.

1 heap teaspoon ginger paste

1 level teaspoon turmeric powder

1 level teaspoon salt (adjust to taste)

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Cooking oil


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

Heat up the pot at medium high heat. Add a bit of cooking oil.

When the oil is hot, add mustard seeds, curry leaves and dried chilies. Stir evenly until the oil fragrant. Add in turmeric powder, stir well and add in long beans, salt and black pepper.

Stir evenly for about 2-3 minutes. Do not cover.

Turn off the heat.

Do not over cooked the long bean. It should be a little bit crunchy.

Serve hot with rice.

Bon Appétit!

Friday, May 2, 2014

Worldly knowledge?

There's nothing wrong with accumulating worldly knowledge about this or that. Although worldly knowledge doesn't guarantee us peace and compassion, or be free from ignorance, egoism, impurities, unhappiness or suffering.

We can make good use of the knowledge that we have, to be doing something great and meaningful for ourselves and other beings in this life.

Worldly knowledge allows us to be able to create something, or to be doing something, which will give us certain degrees of satisfaction and meaningfulness, but it doesn't guarantee us that we will be free from being disturbed or determined by qualities of names and forms, and be free from anger, hatred, jealousy, pride, arrogance, disappointment, dissatisfaction, feelings of hurt, ill-will, ill-thinking, fear and worry.

For example, it is very good and useful, if we have the knowledge and skill to design and build a house. After building a functional house for ourselves or for somebody else, we will feel there's some happiness, joy, achievement, success, satisfaction and meaningfulness. The house can provide shelter for those who live in it, but, it doesn't guarantee us peace and happiness, nor will make all our doubts, craving, aversion, fear and worry disappear. No matter we have a big house or small house, luxury house or simple house, or we have no house at all, we will be peaceful as we are, if we are free from ignorance, egoism and attachment. But, if we are not free from ignorance, egoism and attachment, then no matter we have a big house or small house, luxury house or simple house, or we have no house at all, we will not have peace.

Knowledge is neither good nor bad. It depends on how we use it and the purity of our mind. We can be using knowledge to be doing something beneficial, creative and constructive for ourselves and others, but sometimes we can be using knowledge to be doing something that will generate disharmony or hurt to ourselves and other beings.

Make good use of the knowledge, but not being determined by the knowledge to be who we are. Be free from egoism, attachment, pride and arrogance.

Om shanti.

"Do you think non-attachment is possible?"

"Do you think non-attachment is possible?" Someone asked.

What if somebody tells us "No."

Does this prove to us that non-attachment is impossible, or unrealistic, or impractical? Nope.

What if somebody tells us "Yes."

Does this guarantee and assure us that we will be free from doubts, attachment, egoism and ignorance, and will not be disturbed, nor affected, nor influenced, nor determined by all the qualities of names and forms? Nope.

What if somebody tells us "It depends on each individual's effort and determination to purify the mind, to free the mind from all kinds of desires, restlessness, egoism and ignorance, to turn the mind inward, to allow the mind to perceive the truth of names and forms as they are, without being contaminated nor influenced by any impurities or conditioned and limited thinking and beliefs. Only through oneself realizing the truth of things as they are, not being influenced by any thinking and beliefs in the mind, then naturally one doesn't even need to practice non-attachment, as there won't be any attachment towards any names and forms will arise in the liberated mind."

Will this answer clear all our doubts and make all our attachment, fear and worry disappear? Nope.


It doesn't matter what answer we get,  we will still need to find out the answer of our doubts, or find out the truth through our own effort, through our own direct experience and realize the truth by ourselves, to clear all our doubts.

Whether other people or our teacher is completely be free from ignorance, egoism and attachment or not, it's nothing to do with our own practice of letting go of attachment, nor has anything to do with our own realization of the truth, or our own liberation from ignorance, egoism and attachment.
That's why in (serious) silent meditation retreat, we are basically being on our own to contemplate upon the truth, through observing noble silence throughout the entire retreat. There's no conversation, nor interaction, nor discussion about this and that. Talking and discussing about non-attachment doesn't free us from ignorance, egoism and attachment, nor will give us liberation.

Whatever doubts we have, the only answer that will remove all our doubts is to turn the outgoing mind inward, and find the answer from within, and it's not coming from somebody else telling us about what they know or don't know, nor it's coming from reading books with all the information about this and that.

Even if a liberated being is right in front of us, and talks to us about Dharma (The truth), it still won't remove our doubts or ignorance, unless we realize the truth by ourselves, through our own effort of self-inquiry or contemplation.

Silent the mind, and meditate...

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

About Me

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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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