be free, be happy, be peaceful

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

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Ignorance, egoism, suffering and selflessness

Due to the ignorance in the mind, there is an existence in the mind perception of a self-identity of an individual being (the ego, what the mind thinks is 'I') that consists of the body and the mind, and many others would also include the soul, where they believe that the body and the mind is mortal and impermanent (The impermanent I), while the soul is immortal and infinite (The permanent I), even when people have no idea what is the soul and whether the soul exist or non-exist. Just because many different religious scriptures say so, and people would just believe that it must be true.

People believe that after the death of the body and the mind (decomposed / stop existing), the soul (the silent consciousness/witness that is infinite/immortal) will be responsible for the consequences of all the actions and inactions of the body and the mind from birth till death, and be judged by 'God', and be sent to heaven or hell, to enjoy or suffer, for all that is nothing to do with the soul, if it exists. For example, if the mind is evil and being the 'driver' or 'master' of the body, it performs evil actions through the body, and somehow, the innocent soul will be punished for those evil doings and be sent to hell to suffer. Again, it's everyone's freedom for what they believe or disbelieve. It's also up to everyone's self-inquiry into the truth of everything to know the truth to attain self-realization.

In Buddhism, Buddha never mentioned about God or the soul. There's deliberate non-comment over the existence or non-existence of God and the soul. This itself is a great teaching, where Buddha didn't interfere with people's believe or disbelieve in God or the soul. It doesn't matter. Whether someone believes God and the soul exist or non-exist, it doesn't free this being from the perception or experience of suffering if there's egoism.

Buddha taught everyone to inquire into the truth of everything through deep mind purification via the eight fold path, self-control, self-discipline, self-inquiry, desireless, non-attachment, observing and respecting the law of impermanence, selflessness, renunciation, and silence. If the mind experiences or perceives suffering, it's in now. It's neither in the past nor the future. This is important. It doesn't matter people believe that there's only one life, or there's continuous transitions of life infinitely, the only existence is now, and liberation from suffering is neither in the past nor in the future, is in now. In one moment, the mind experiences suffering when there's attachment, and in one moment this mind is free from suffering when there's no attachment. Suffering and liberation from suffering has nothing to do with any beliefs that one inherited from birth or adopted later in life.

This self-identity (the ego) comes along with egoism of desires, attachment, identification, clinging, longing, intention and expectation, and it thinks it is the one who performs actions and it is the one who receives the fruit of actions, and it's the one who enjoys and suffers, where all kinds of impurities of satisfaction/dissatisfaction, fulfillment/disappointment, contentment/greed, admiration/jealousy, calmness/anger, love/hatred, respect/discrimination, friendliness/animosity, joy/hurts, innocent/guilt, pleased/regret, pride/shamefulness, low self-esteem/arrogance, excitement/boredom, fullness/emptiness, meaningfulness/meaninglessness, courage/fear and peace/worry, and etc, arising and passing away in the mind reacting towards all the perception of names and forms through the senses, based on what 'I' think what things are, and what 'I' like and dislike, what 'I' agree and disagree with, what 'I' want and doesn't want. The egoistic mind perceives suffering/emptiness/unhappiness/dissatisfaction, when some or all of its desires are not being gratified, and hence the ego desires to escape or avoid or be free from suffering/emptiness/unhappiness/dissatisfaction.

But then ignorance hinders the mind from knowing the truth of the root cause of suffering/emptiness/unhappiness/dissatisfaction, where it thinks all its suffering/emptiness/unhappiness/dissatisfaction is caused by the quality of the objects of names and forms that it comes in contact with (the presence of certain names and forms) or doesn't come in contact with (the absence of certain names and forms), and the mind thinks that it could escape or avoid or be free from suffering/emptiness/unhappiness/dissatisfaction through continuously and determinedly gratifying all its desires, by experiencing or coming in contact with certain qualities of names and forms, that it likes and wants and agrees with, that it thinks they have the quality that contribute pleasure, satisfaction, meaningfulness and happiness, such like doing something that makes it feels good, satisfied, happy and meaningful, and smoking/eating/drinking/touching/smelling/hearing/seeing/watching/reading/imagining something that will make it feels good, satisfied, happy and meaningful, while avoiding the experience or contact with certain qualities of names and forms that the mind doesn't like, doesn't want and doesn't agree with, that it thinks they have the quality that contribute unpleasantness, dissatisfaction, meaninglessness and unhappiness, that will make it feels disturbed, dissatisfied, unhappy or meaningless. And hence, the mind is suffering from restlessness.

The real cause of all suffering/emptiness/unhappiness/dissatisfaction is not in the quality of names and forms that the mind perceives or doesn't perceive through the sense, but it's the ignorance and egoism that generates the idea/existence of 'I' that attached onto and identifying with the body and the mind, and the soul (for those who believe in the soul), where there are desires of craving and aversion and attachment towards what the ego likes and dislikes, agrees and disagrees with, wants and doesn't want. Suffering exists is due to the existence of desires and attachment in the mind. If desires and attachment cease existing in the mind, suffering doesn't exist.

The impure minds might interpret selflessness as non-existence of 'my' worldly life existence, where they think if 'I' doesn't exist, then 'my' entire worldly life existence consisting the body and the mind in this world doesn't exist at all. If people think or believe that is the truth, they will think that they can just do whatever they like as it doesn't matter because all these worldly life experiences are not real, and they won't suffer for the consequences of their actions. And so, all kinds of human suffering are not real, or non-existing. They believe that this worldly life existence is one long dream or a continuous flow of many dreams. In dreams, we can do anything that we want, but once we woke up, we are not responsible for whatever we did or experienced in all the dreams. There's no consequences of actions in dreams, where we could experience death and injury in dreams, we could kill other people and be killed by others, and still, once we woke up from the dreams, we are still alive and non-injured, and there's no responsibility of any consequences of actions performed in the dreams, as none of those actions or experiences are real. It's just mere imaginations of the mind. If they feel satisfied in this dream of a worldly existence, they hope to stay in the dream (live forever in this life existence), and will be reluctant to be awaken in a different reality that is unknown to them (death of this life existence or next life). And if they are dissatisfied with this dream, they hope to be awaken in a different but better reality that is unknown to them (heaven or a better life in a better world).

And if all worldly experiences are not real, and suffering are not real, then there's no need to talk about any kind of practices to be free from suffering, where everyone would be more selfish and immoral, and wouldn't have self-control to refrain one's behavior from causing harm to oneself and others.

But then this 'understanding' doesn't bring people liberation from the suffering of the consequences of their actions in their worldly life existence (An existence in now that is subject to impermanence and consequences of actions), as the body and the mind continues to experience suffering even though there is the 'interpretation', or 'understanding', or 'idea' in the mind about worldly life existence is just a dream, all is not real. In dreams, everything might not be logical and are disorientated most of the time, such like old memories and fresh memories and wild imaginations might appear together at one time in a dream, and it's okay, as once we woke up, we will know that all those images/experiences are not real, no matter how scary or painful or excited or violence was the dream. But, in this worldly life existence, in now, one will be treated as mentally ill, if one's mind perceives mixed up images of some old memories with fresh memories and wild imaginations, and believes that all these images are real, and this will influence one's behavior and affect one's relationship with other people. It doesn't matter if one strongly believes or disbelieves that this life existence is just a dream, all is not real, but if suffering arise due to attachment, suffering is here, it doesn't disappear if we don't like or don't want this suffering.

This 'interpretation' or 'understanding' of selflessness or non-existence of 'I', is the outcome of the impure ignorant minds attached onto and identifying with the body and the mind as 'I' or 'Who I am'. And so, these minds couldn't go beyond the understanding of the body and the mind are existing and functioning in this present moment, and it's mortal and impermanent, but then the existence and the function of the body and the mind is selflessness, that there's no 'I' existing as an individual being to be mastering or in control of the impermanent existence, function, condition and state of the body and the mind. It's just the mind functioning and perceiving all kinds of names and forms through the senses in the present, and the mind might keep jumping back and forth between the past memories and future wild imaginations and the perceptions through the senses in the present, and all these thoughts perceptions/activities, whether pleasant or unpleasant, desired or undesired, the perceiver (the mind), the perceived (the objects of names and forms), the past memories, the present experiences and the future wild imaginations, are impermanent and there's no 'I' in control of the impermanent changes. All these experiences are here, in now, the only existence. The past doesn't exist in now, just some remembrance of past experiences. The future doesn't exist, just some wild imaginations, and they all are impermanent, and there's no 'I' existing as the perceiver or the experiencer of all the pleasant and unpleasant, desirable and undesirable experiences in the present, or remembrance of the past, or wild imaginations of the future, in now.

This 'I' that the mind think is 'who/what I am' doesn't exist or non-exist. There is injury in the body, the mind perceives this sensation of pain in the body, in now, and this sensation of pain is impermanent, and there's no 'I' am in pain, or 'I' am suffering from painful sensation. There's no disappointment or dissatisfaction when this painful sensation is here. There is pleasant sensation in the body, the mind perceives this pleasant sensation in the body, in now, and this pleasant sensation is impermanent, and there's no 'I' am pleasant, or 'I' am enjoying pleasant sensation. There's no disappointment or dissatisfaction when this pleasant sensation changed into something else or disappeared.

Once the ego is annihilated, there's no one there to initiate desires of craving or aversion towards all the perception of names and forms, and hence, there's no tension or restlessness in the egoless and desireless mind, there's no one here to react with dissatisfaction, disappointment, greed, jealousy, anger, hatred, pride, low self-esteem, animosity, hurts, regret, guilt, fear and worry, and etc. The mind is aware of all the perceptions of names and forms (the past memories, present moment and future imaginations), in now, but it's free from tension and restlessness, or suffering. There's no clinging or aversion towards all the names and forms that are present in now, and there's no craving or longing or aversion towards names and forms that are absent in now. It's at peace, disregards all the perception of names and forms being here, as what they are. And all these names and forms have no intention or quality to contribute pleasure or suffering to the mind. There's no 'I' being there to enjoy or suffer. There are actions being performed through the body and the mind, and there are consequences of actions, but there is no 'I' being there performing actions and to enjoy or suffer for the consequences of actions.

Just like all the internal organs and every single cells in the body, they are performing actions ceaselessly to support the existence and function of this body until they are worn out, but there's no egoism in each of them to discriminate each other, to like or dislike and agree or disagree with each other, to be superior or inferior than one another, to be identified as the performer of actions or the receiver of the fruit of actions. But this egoism exists in the thinking mind due to ignorance, that initiates all kinds of suffering to itself, which is truly unnecessary.

Be free.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Body image issue, where it shouldn't exist in the first place

In the areas where people are struggling everyday to attain the basic food and water resources to survive, to have a place to rest and be sheltered from harsh weather, to be free from hunger, thirst, exhaustion, discrimination, hatred, war and violence, there won't be such body image issue existing.

Meanwhile, in the modern commercialized society with higher technology and comfortable or fancy lifestyle, where economy and spending power is stable and strong, where basic and higher education came with various subjects and interests is accessible for everyone, where people have the luxury to indulge in physical and mental enjoyments of the senses of sights/visuals, sounds, smells, tastes, sensations and thoughts/ideas/creativity/imaginations, where food is easily and excessively available in various forms and tastes, where food has gone beyond being a basic necessity of life but becoming an enjoyment of taste, where water and electricity supply and various modern facilities are available easily, where clothing is no longer a basic material to keep warm and be protected from insects and cuts but plays as an important role for self-image and self-esteem, where people are being presented with different choices of lifestyle and leisure activities, where people are interested in promoting health, beauty and fitness, and put importance into personal and general hygiene, where people can travel easily from one place to another, where people can have dreams and ambitions to be fulfilled, where countless opportunities are available for everyone, but then ridiculously, many people are being troubled by body image issue, which is truly unnecessary.

It doesn't matter people are being knowledgeable, or intelligent, or talented and skillful in certain subjects, or highly educated, or having a successful career, or having a high profile in the community or society, or having a generous income and an easy comfortable high technology living standard, many people are being troubled very much by body image issue, unwittingly.

People's state of mind, the sense of meaningfulness, confidence, self-esteem, happiness and sense of self-worth and well-being are very much determined by the body image consists of facial features, skin condition, hair condition, physical appearance, body shape, body composition, physical condition, physical ability and achievement, that they like or dislike, satisfied or dissatisfied with, based on a particular standard that they set for themselves to comply to.

People get depressed when they think they have a body image issue, that they are dissatisfied with and dislike their facial features, skin condition, body hair, hair condition and style, physical appearance, body shape, physical condition and ability as it is, that they prefer or desire their body to be something different from what it is now, according to what they think is better, nicer, healthier, fitter, stronger, younger, prettier, or more attractive.

To counter this body image issue, most people will try to achieve the body image that they would like to have, that they think is the best body image, that would give them the sense of satisfaction and good feelings about their bodies and themselves.

Even many of the yoga classes in the world are emphasizing on promoting improvement in physical appearance, physical condition and ability, to boost people's self-esteem, confidence, sense of self-worth and well-being. And the yoga teachers/instructors aspire to portray a body image of 'good' or 'fit' or 'healthy' or 'attractive' or 'high performance' kind of physical appearance, condition and ability to inspire or motivate the yoga students to also achieve the similar form of body image (enhanced physical appearance, condition, ability and performance.) - "I can achieve this, so can you!" or "Yoga makes you look better and feel better!" But this is not the teaching and practice of yoga. This is empowering ignorance and egoism. It might give them momentary good feelings and confidence about their body and themselves (the ego) by achieving the kind of body image that they prefer, but it doesn't help people to be free from the suffering of low self-esteem and depression derived from attachment and identification with the impermanent physical appearance, condition and ability to be who they are. Once the quality of the body image that they like, that they attached onto and identified with, that makes them feel good and confident about themselves starts to change into something else or is no longer available due to impermanence, they will suffer from disappointment, dissatisfaction, self-hate, self-criticism, low self-esteem, depression, self-harm, and so on.

When people think they are disturbed by body image issue, that is mainly due to ignorance and egoism. There is great identification and attachment towards the physical body and all that is related to the physical body, to be 'I', or what they think is who they are.

Realize yoga or selflessness, be free from identification and attachment towards the physical body, and body image issues won't be existing at all. One will take good care of the well-being of the physical body, out of compassion, without attachment towards the impermanent physical appearance, condition and ability, without identification with the physical body as 'I', or 'Who I am'. Be kind to the body, live a healthy lifestyle to benefit the physical body, and allowing the physical body to improve and change to be what it is, as it is, without any egoistic desire or intention or expectation to make or transform or change the physical body to be the way that 'I' would like it to be, so that 'I' will feel good, happy, satisfied and confident about 'my' body and 'I'. This truly is loving our body, accepting the body as it is, while allowing all the changes to be there as they are, to be what they are.

Expecting the body to be the way that we like it to be, and constantly straining and forcing the physical body with intense physical training so that it will be able to do what we want it to do, and to look the way that we want it to look, to achieve the body image that we prefer/desire, is not loving our body, but it's the ego loving what it likes and wants. "I want my body to be like this or to be able to do that." Again, it's everyone's freedom for what they want to do with their body, and how they want to treat their body.

Be free.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Go beyond the sense of meaninglessness and meaningfulness

As long as the mind is still swaying in between the sense of meaninglessness and meaningfulness, rejecting the sense of meaninglessness and longing for the sense of meaningfulness, know that this is due to ignorance and egoism, and this mind is not free.

The ignorant egoistic mind is determined by the existence and non-existence of certain qualities of names and forms that generates either the sense of meaninglessness or the sense of meaningfulness. The mind recognizes and labels certain qualities of names and forms as 'meaningful' or 'meaningless', and has craving/longing towards what the mind recognizes and labels as 'meaningfulness' and has aversion towards what the mind recognizes and labels as 'meaninglessness'.

For the mind that is not free from ignorance and egoism, there will always be the perception of the sense of meaninglessness towards the existence or the absence of certain qualities of names and forms, which leads to the longing for the sense of meaningfulness that the mind thinks it can be found in certain qualities of names and forms, with the intention to be free from the sense of meaninglessness.

There's nothing wrong with enjoying and appreciating all the nice experiences that make us feel good and happy, and the companionship of nice people who are nice to us, who like and agree with us, who are like-minded as us, who share the similar thinking, belief and values. But, what happen when all these nice experiences and the companionship of the people whom we like and want to be with are not available to us or are absent for a period of time? The mind feels dissatisfied, disappointed, unhappy, depressed and meaningless. The mind misses all the nice experiences and companionship of people whom the mind likes and wants to be with and interact with. The mind experiences suffering. This mind is not free, even if this is a good mind with good behavior and good will.

Realize yoga, be liberated from ignorance and egoism, there's neither meaninglessness nor meaningfulness.

One enjoys and appreciates all the nice experiences and the companionship of other people who are like-minded, but one doesn't miss anything or anyone when all these names and forms are not existing/available. One doesn't miss any objects of names and forms of the senses of sights, sounds, smells, tastes, sensations or thoughts, that the mind likes and agrees with. One doesn't miss any activities that one would enjoy doing. One doesn't miss any particular interaction or connection with anyone. One doesn't miss anyone whom one loves and cares for. One doesn't miss any 'good' things and 'happy' experiences that are not existing/available, that are absent in the present moment, or indefinitely.

By advising other people who feel meaninglessness in life to do or achieve something that will give them the sense of meaningfulness doesn't help them to be free. It is not the teachings or practice of yoga.

Whenever the mind finds the sense of meaningfulness in certain objects or actions or experiences, may it be teaching yoga to other people, or the accomplishment in yoga practice, or doing charity works, or contribution to the less fortunate ones, or doing certain things that one feels accomplishment and satisfaction, or being treated with respect, love and kindness by other people, or living a higher quality of life, or having an intense faith towards 'God' or particular belief and practice, then know that this mind is not free. The mind that is free, is aware of all the perception of different qualities of names and forms, but there's no sense of meaninglessness or meaningfulness existing. There's no longing or missing towards something that the mind perceives as 'good' and 'meaningful'.

All the names and forms are impermanent (good or bad, meaningless or meaningful), and the liberated mind is not determined by any 'good' or 'bad', 'meaningless' or 'meaningful' actions or experiences or objects of names and forms, to be existing, to feel meaningless or meaningful.

This realization/liberation derives from the persist practice of silence being in solitude and seclusion for a prolonged period of time.

Be free.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

The importance of renouncing worldly life for those who want to realize yoga

Renunciation is an important part of yoga sadhana for those who are aware of the consequences of ignorance and egoism in oneself, who sincerely want to realize yoga to be free from ignorance and suffering. Those who just want to do some yoga exercise to gain some benefits to look good and feel good about oneself, who enjoy being passionate towards worldly life and social activities, who think ignorance doesn't exist in them, they don't have to follow the path of renunciation.

After learning and practicing yoga for some years having developed a certain degrees of non-attachment and correct understanding of the teachings and practice of yoga, yoga practitioners who want to realize yoga will have to eventually renounce the worldly life and retreat into solitude and seclusion for a prolonged period of time.

This is not about going for a short term of a few days or few weeks of yoga retreat holidays where people indulge in yoga related activities that they enjoy doing, that make people feel good and meaningful, spending time being with people who are like-minded, connecting and interacting with people who share the same ideas and values, while being able to stay connected and interacting with family and friends and the world, but it's about renouncing the worldly life of all sorts of relationships with people or animals or things and social activities, and retreating into solitude and seclusion for at least 5 - 6 years. Allow everyone and everything to be what they are, as they are, without interference with anyone or anything expecting/wishing them to be the way that we think they should be.

Renunciation from worldly life or retreating into solitude and seclusion for a prolonged period of time might be perceived by many people, including those who think they love yoga and are practicing yoga, as 'running away from life or the world', or 'being selfish and uncaring' towards family, friends and the society, as most minds are being conditioned by worldly thinking and belief of a strong attachment and identification towards certain values of life consist of family and friends, social interactions and worldly affairs.

Our worldly life consists of all relationships and things and activities is what we think is what we are, and we take all these names and forms to be the highest value/meaning of life existence (family and friends, culture and spirituality or religion, what we do or don't do, what we have or don't have, what we achieve and don't achieve, and what we contribute or don't contribute to the society). For many people, it's 'wrong', 'bad', 'inappropriate', 'inhuman', 'selfish' and 'crazy' to not connecting or interacting with family and friends, or the society. And it's okay. Everyone has the freedom for how they perceive and understand and think about everything.

But this is also why people perceive/experience all kinds of suffering in this worldly life existence. And it's okay, because people rather choose to go through suffering than to find out how to be free from suffering.

We might not like suffering and we don't want suffering or what we think and believe as 'wrong' or 'bad', but we are not aware of the root cause of all suffering, and we don't like or disagree with the teaching/practice that will lead us to realize the cause of suffering and how to be free from suffering, due to deep rooted ignorance and egoism.

At one moment, we feel good, happy, meaningful and contented when things are the way that we like it to be or how we think it should be, when our wishes and desires are being gratified. At another moment, we feel hurt, annoyed, frustrated, agitated, disappointed, dissatisfied, upset, unhappy, angry, hating, fear and worry when things are not the way that we like it to be or how we think it should be, when our wishes and desires are not being gratified. And we tell ourselves and others that this is life, this is human nature, this is normal for all human beings. But then, whether intentionally or unintentionally, we constantly do and say things that would cause damage and disharmony in oneself and in the world, out of hurt, annoyance, frustration, agitation, disappointment, dissatisfaction, upset, unhappiness, anger, hatred, animosity, fear and worry.

Whether we like and agree with it, or not, the entire practice of yoga is about the annihilation of egoism of attachment, identification and the desires of craving and aversion, to free the mind from impurities, to be free from ignorance, to transcend suffering.

Although one has been doing yoga practice for a long time and has heard about selflessness, but one cannot realize yoga (selflessness), if one doesn't work on freeing the mind from the egoistic attachment and identification with the worldly life existence as 'I', 'This is who and what I am', 'This is my body', 'This is my mind', 'This is my thinking/belief/culture/religion/ethnicity', 'This is my life', 'This is my family', 'These are my children', 'These are my friends', 'These are my brothers and sisters', 'This is where I belonged', 'This is my country', and 'This is my world'. All these names and forms are just what they are, they are impermanent, they don't belong to 'I', and they are not 'I'.

The ego constantly straining the body and the mind expecting the body and mind to be like this or like that, to be able to do this or that, to be able to achieve what 'I' like and what 'I' want. 'I' want my body and my mind to be like this, 'I' don't like them to be like that. 'I' want my body and my mind to be able to do this and achieve that. And we think we love our body and mind, but we don't. We just want the body and the mind to gratify all my desires or wishes of what I like and what I want.

When one realized yoga or selflessness, there's no separateness of 'I' and what the mind perceives as 'my family', 'my friends', 'my brothers and sisters', and so on. There's no 'We are one big family', 'We are all human beings', or 'We are connected together'. There's no 'we'.

Connection exists only when there is still the perception of separateness of different individuals, that two or more separate objects/particles/souls/beings connect together. Connection doesn't exist in oneness, or non-separateness. When there is connection, there is disconnection. It is still within the perception of duality. And the main teaching and practice of yoga is to realize non-duality, or oneness, or non-separateness. One doesn't need to stay connected with any other beings to feel that we are connected to each other.

Those who really want to know what is yoga, they will realize it when the mind experiences complete silence being in solitude and seclusion, being cut off from the worldly life of all relationships with everyone and everything, and worldly objects and activities that the mind loves and familiars with, for a prolonged period of time.

We like to say we love yoga and we think we have been practicing yoga for a long time, and we feel satisfied, confident, good and happy when our body becomes stronger and more flexible and is able to do many of the yoga asana poses that we want to be able to do, but then we would give ourselves many 'reasonable' excuses about why we don't need or don't want to renounce worldly life to cut off all the tendencies of all kinds of attachment, clinging, longing and craving.

Some yoga practitioners would have no difficulty to perform their daily routine of yoga asana and pranayama practice regularly, and gaining great improvement in physical health and fitness level, strength and flexibility and skill to perform many of the yoga asana poses, and attaining momentary good and happy feelings, sense of self-worth, confidence and meaningfulness in the mind due to the effects and achievements from performing the yoga practice regularly, being able to live the life that they want, but not many are interested in observing complete silence in solitude and seclusion for a prolonged period of time, to be isolated from people and things that they love and the worldly life and activities that they are familiar with. The ego needs to feel loved and be connected with the world, to feel good, happy, confident, or meaningful.

Some people will have no difficulty to go into a silent retreat centre for a few weeks, and stop connecting and interacting with other people and stop doing the activities that they like to do for that few weeks, as they know this is just a very short term restriction, but when the mind has to go through a prolonged period of time being cut off from people and things and activities that they love and like, there will be pain/suffering arise in the mind.

Meanwhile, some people might think that they have developed a good foundation of non-attachment and detachment, because they can let go certain things in life, but most probably that is because the mind has found some other new attachment to cling onto, such like new friends, or new relationships, or 'new toys' to play with, or new activities to do in life.

While some people love to go for weeks and months of 'yoga retreat', but know that most of the yoga retreats in the world are not about silencing the mind, but it is about living with a community that are like-minded, doing activities and interacting with other people who share the similar ideas and values, which makes the ego feels comfortable, good, happy and meaningful, but this doesn't help the mind to be free from ignorance and egoism.

Only when the mind can live in solitude and seclusion for a prolonged period of time, when the mind no longer needs to attach onto any beings or objects or activities to feel loved and connected, to feel good, happy, confident and meaningful about itself and life existence and the world, then this being can live and mix freely in the society, love everyone and everything unconditionally, care for humanity and benefit the world efficiently. There's no loneliness, boredom, longing, clinging, craving, dissatisfaction, incompleteness, emptiness, void, meaninglessness, or fear in this mind.

"Do good to others, help others, give love and care to others, because it is meaningful and it makes us feel good and happy for being able to do good and give help, love and care to others." - This is not the teaching of yoga at all. This is the ego needs to attach onto certain qualities of names and forms to feel good and happy and meaningful about itself and life existence. This is empowering the ego. It's not freedom. The one who is free from the ego, simply just do good, just give help, love and care to others, NOT because 'I' want to or need to feel good and happy and meaningful about myself and my life for being able to do good, to give help, love and care to others.

The minds that are free from ignorance and egoism remain equanimous, peaceful and kind towards all beings without discrimination under any difficult conditions, situations and circumstances. These minds don't need to renounce worldly life to retreat into solitude and seclusion, as they are free from egoism of attachment, identification, desires and impurities, and they are undisturbed/undetermined by all the perceptions of good and bad qualities of names and forms, and hence being free from all kinds of disturbs or suffering. These minds don't need to display any yoga asana poses through the physical body to show that they are practicing yoga.

Be free.

Monday, March 13, 2017

The importance of self-inquiry and investigation of the truth of everything

Many people would have doubt towards something that are different from their own thinking and belief, or that are unknown/unfamiliar to them, but they don't bother to investigate the truth of the existing thinking and belief in them that has been influencing how they perceive, act, react, behave and feel about all and everything. Different people perceive different reality in the same world due to the different thinking and belief in everyone. And it's okay, as long as everyone keeps their own thinking, belief, perception of reality and their own opinion/point of view to themselves, and respect other people's thinking, belief, perception of everything and opinion/point of view that are being different from theirs. But how many people would keep their perception of everything and point of view to themselves, without interfering with other people's different perception of reality and opinion/point of view?

And hence, all kinds of disagreement, argument, fighting, conflict, discrimination, prejudice and unequal rights/treatments arise in the society, and then it turns into unrest, fear, offensiveness, defensiveness, animosity, hatred, abuse, bully, violence and war among people, areas and countries.

Never underestimate the power of ignorance and egoism.

Even the most educated, intelligent, knowledgeable, talented and skillful people in the world also might not be free from ignorance and egoism.

If it's coming from somewhere, like religious books, school books, philosophical books and history books, written, edited and published by such and such famous writers, editors and publishers, or if it's coming from certain people, like our parents, or elders, or school teachers, or religious teachers, or spiritual teachers, or famous teachers, or famous personalities and celebrities, or whom we think are good people, or our good friends, or our group leaders, or the leaders of a country or the world, or anyone whom we think they deserve respect and trust, then it must be true, and in order to show respectfulness, faith and loyalty, we shall not question the truth of it.

Out of nowhere or somewhere, for no reason or some reasons, someone created and told a story to some others many hundreds or thousands years ago, and the story was passed down from generations to generations, from places to places, and without any hesitation, people would believe that this story must be true, because it has been passing down through many generations to us, and many people from many places believe it's true, and so, it must be true then.

Investigate the truth of the teachings of yoga, or all kinds of religious teachings, or all kinds of cultural and spiritual beliefs, or all kinds of philosophies of mankind. Do not blind-believing or blind-following any teachings from anyone and anywhere. Do not teach or preach any teachings to others just because that was what we were told by our teachers and from the books, or it has been existing since many hundreds or thousands years ago.

This is different from someone being skeptical and defensive all the time, being peaceless from having fear towards trusting anyone, or being unable to trust anyone or anything. Seeing the truth as it is has nothing to do with trusting anyone or anything, or not. There is no fear of being mistrusted anyone or anything, but merely seeing the truth of things as it is, without judgment or expectation based on any particular thinking and belief about what is 'true' and 'untrue', 'right' and 'wrong', or 'good' and 'bad'.

The truth is still what it is, and it doesn't get hurt and wouldn't be damaged, whether we know or don't know about it, whether we think we can or should 'trust' or 'distrust' it, and whether we like and agree with it, or not.

The teacher of truth finding doesn't want anyone to 'trust' or 'distrust' him or his teachings. He doesn't want anyone to believe and follow him. He doesn't want to eliminate or change any of the existing thinking and belief in the world. He only advises everyone to purify one's mind and inquire the truth of everything to attain self-realization. He doesn't condemn or punish anyone who doesn't follow his advice at all or doesn't follow his advice as it is. Contemplate on this and be free.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Let go the ego

The ego constantly expects or looks for acceptance, love, care, kindness, support, recognition, approval, acknowledgement, attention, companionship, friendship, interaction, cooperation, encouragement, appreciation, praise and compliment, or anything that make the ego feels good, confident, proud and meaningful about itself from other people, or the group that it thinks it belongs to, or the society, or the world.

This ego will hurt itself and/or others if it doesn't get what it's looking for, thinking and believing that all its unhappiness, disappointment, dissatisfaction, frustration, anger and hurt are caused by other people's bad and wrong behavior, or unkind, uncaring, unloving and unsupportive reaction and treatment, or inappreciation, or criticism, or unfriendliness, or selfishness, and so on.

Let go this ego. Be free from all these 'unnecessary' attachment, longing, clinging, expectation, craving and aversion.

The mind that is free from the ego doesn't need acceptance, love, support, recognition, approval, acknowledgement, attention, companionship, friendship, interaction, cooperation, encouragement, appreciation, praise and compliment from anyone, or any group, or the society, or the world, to feel good, confident, proud or meaningful. The mind is free as it is, peaceful as it is.

No one can free other people's minds from the ego. It has to come from within willingly and determinedly to let go the ego, the root cause of all 'suffering' and 'problems' of humanity.

No one is obliged to be kind, caring and loving to one another. Allow everyone to show love, care and kindness, or not. It's the attachment and expectation towards the worldly thinking and idea about "Human should be like this or like that, and shouldn't be like this or like that" that generates great disappointment in us towards what we think is 'bad', 'wrong', or 'inhumanity'. But what we think is 'bad', 'wrong', or 'inhumanity' has no power to disappoint anyone. Be free.

The ego is also the one who wants to feel being 'wanted' or 'needed' by others, that there are people want me or need me, that 'I' am good enough, that 'I' am able to give love and care or inspiration and motivation to others, which give a sense of pride and meaningfulness to itself. Otherwise, the ego will feel bad and meaningless about itself, thinking and feeling that it is unneeded or unwanted by others, that it is not good enough, that no body wants or needs love and care or inspiration and motivation from it.

Once the mind is free from the ego, one can love and care for others unconditionally, without identification and attachment towards the action of giving love and care to others or the result of the action. There's no expectation that people should be grateful and appreciative, or should show us love and care in return. One doesn't need other people's love and care and appreciation to feel loved, worthy or meaningful. One doesn't need to feel loved, worthy or meaningful, at all. There's no fear of being unloved, unworthy or meaninglessness. One does good to others, and loves and cares for others not because it will make 'me' feel good about 'myself' or expecting to receive love and care in return. And that is liberation.

Be kind, but don't expect other people also be kind.

Be loving, but don't expect other people also be loving.

Do good and don't do bad, but don't expect other people also do good and don't do bad.

Drive with attentiveness and following the rules, but don't expect other drivers also drive with attentiveness and following the same rules.

Love and peace to all.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Be strong?

One doesn't need to be strong or stay strong.

One just needs to embrace and accept oneself as one is.

Sometimes we think we are strong or strong enough, while sometimes we think we are not strong or not strong enough, and it's okay. We don't have to be strong at all, and we don't have to be able to stay strong all the time.

Sometimes there are things that the body or the mind can do or achieve, while sometimes there are things that the body or the mind can't do or achieve, and it's okay. The body and the mind don't have to be able to do or achieve all and everything all the time.

Most important, there is no attachment or identification with what the egoistic impure mind thinks and perceives about itself and/or others.

Whether the mind thinks 'I' am strong or not strong, and whether the body and the mind are able to do or achieve anything and everything, or not, all these qualities are impermanent, and it's not who we think we are. It's just the ego.

The ego is the one who enjoys and suffers, who wants that and doesn't want this, and who feels satisfy or dissatisfy, happy or unhappy, fulfilled or disappointed, calm or disturbed, love or hate, and who feels hurt, offended, insulted, humiliated, disrespected, annoyed, frustrated, threatened, insecure, oppressed, discriminated, belittled, lonely, meaningless, low self-esteem, unconfident, doubt, guilty, regret, shameful, and so on. It is the one who needs to possess or attach onto certain qualities of names and forms to feel good, proud, confident and meaningful about itself and life. It is the one who would do anything that might hurt the body and the mind and others in order to attain or fulfill or protect all its desires of want and doesn't want, or craving and aversion.

One just do one best within one's ability, making use of the present condition and ability of the body and the mind, to do and achieve what is possible, and let go what is impossible in the present moment, being free from egoism of attachment, identification, craving, aversion, judgment and expectation.

It is the ego that wants to be strong and stay strong. It is the ego that wants the body and the mind to be able to do and achieve all and everything that it desires. It is the ego that wants to believe that everything is possible and nothing is impossible.

Be free from this ego. Be kind to the body and the mind, by embracing and accepting the body and the mind as they are. They don't have to be good all the time. They don't have to be perfect or to be the way that the ego would like them to be. It is okay that sometimes there are things that are possible and sometimes there are things that are impossible. Such like, it is impossible to undo the past, or to control everything to be the way that the ego likes it to be. And it's okay.

It's just the ego that needs to achieve and attach onto some qualities of names and forms that it likes and wants (what it thinks and believes as good, positive, happiness, success and meaningful), and rejecting the qualities of names and forms that it doesn't like and doesn't want (what it thinks and believes as bad, negative, unhappiness, failure and meaningless). Be free from this ego, there's no need to depend on good qualities, good conditions, good abilities, good achievements, good results, good relationships, good life, good reputation, good image, good feelings, positive feedback, support and acknowledgement, to be peaceful, to be happy, to be confident, or to feel meaningful about the worldly life existence, or what we think is 'I'. There is no 'I'.

Be free from this ego, there's no 'I' being strong or not strong. There's no need to be strong. There's no need to be confident. There's no need to feel meaningful. It doesn't matter how is the world and how is life and whatever experiences we go through from birth to death in this life existence, there is peace, right here and now. And this is liberation.

Liberation is not about fighting, changing and eliminating what we think is bad, evil, unjust, inequality and wrong in the world. Whatever we think is bad, evil, unjust, inequality and wrong in the world, is the product/consequence of ignorance and egoism in all beings, including those who think they are good and right, who think they are better than others and deserve better treatments from others. None can fight or change or eliminate ignorance and egoism in other beings, to change or control the world to be the way that we think is all good, evil-less, just, equal and right. Not even Buddha or any Gurus can change or remove ignorance and egoism of others.

Liberation is being free from ignorance and egoism in one's mind. One will be peaceful as one is, which is nothing to do with whether the world and our life experience is all good, evil-less, just, equal and right, or not. It's being undisturbed and undetermined by the products/consequences of other people's ignorance and egoism.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Certificates for running and attending yoga courses?

Issuing and acquiring 'Certificates' for running and attending yoga courses are not yoga practice.

Yoga is nothing to do with 'certification', 'certificate', 'yoga alliance', 'yoga association', and so on.

All these names and forms are the products of ignorance, egoism, worldly ideas of identity, values, recognition, acknowledgment, fruit of actions, self/professional image and commercialism.

One doesn't need certificates to have peace and compassion, or to forbear and forgive, or to love all beings unconditionally, or to show or guide other beings towards peace and compassion.

Having many 'internationally recognized certifications' from attending yoga courses affiliated with 'yoga alliance', or having all the knowledge/information about different types of yoga practice and knowing how to perform all the different types of yoga practice, doesn't mean that we are, or will be free from ignorance and egoism and suffering. It doesn't guarantee that one is peaceful and compassionate, or be able to show or guide other beings towards peace and compassion.

We won't find certificates in self-realization of the truth.

We won't find certificates in silence of the mind.

We won't find certificates in selflessness and liberation from suffering.

Be free.


Sunday, March 5, 2017

Let go attachment, identification and expectation in all relationships

If we truly love those who are in all kinds of relationships with us, whom we think we love, and if we love them, we will wish everyone be peaceful and be happy while being in the relationships with us, then we need to let go attachment, identification and expectation towards ourselves, the relationships and the people in the relationships with us. Otherwise, whether intentionally or unintentionally, we will keep hurting ourselves and everyone whom we think we love, who are in a form of relationship/connection with us. There's no love. There's only possessiveness and endless selfish desires (towards the people whom we think we love and the relationships we have with everyone) waiting to be gratified.

Especially in love relationships, if a person truly loves us, we don't need to say or do anything to expect or control this person's behavior so that he or she will not or shall not do anything that is unkind or unloving or hurtful to us. If a person would do something that is unkind or unloving or hurtful to us, out of selfish desires, dissatisfaction, greed and lust, whether within or without our knowledge, then this person doesn't love us, even though this person thinks he or she loves us, and we love and care for this person very much, because this person doesn't even love himself or herself. They only love what they like and want (desires). In this case, we can let this person and the relationship with this person go, even though we love this person, but we don't have to be in a relationship with this person who doesn't love us or appreciate us. And more importantly, it's that we won't feel hurt by this person's unkind, unloving or hurtful behavior if we truly love this person as he is, as she is. We wish him or her love and peace, and let him or her go to chase after their desires that they like and want, which they can't get (enough) from being in a relationship with us. Meanwhile, we are happy and peaceful and live life meaningfully as we are, because we don't depend on other people's love and kindness or any relationships to make us feel happy or meaningful about ourselves and our life existence.

If we think we love this person very much, and we reluctant to let go this person and this relationship, but, at the same time we feel disturbed and hurt by this person's unkind, unloving and hurtful behavior, then this is our own responsibility, as we don't want to let go. This also means that we don't love this person either, we only love what we like and want, and we only want to possess this person to be 'mine', and to possess this person's love and the relationship with this person. We want him or her to behave in certain ways. We want our relationship with him or her to be in certain ways. We want him or her to love and treat us in certain ways. It's all about what we like and want. And when we don't get what we like and want, but we are getting what we don't like and don't want, or when what we like and want has changed into something that we don't like and don't want, or we are losing what we like and want, we feel disturbed and hurt, disappointed and angry. It's not because the person in the relationship with us is not loving or unkind, or their behavior is bad and wrong that is hurting us, or has the power to hurt us. It's our own attachment, identification and expectation that hurts our ego, which is unnecessary.

This is the same as in all our relationships with everyone and everything, whether it's with family, siblings, parents, children, friends, society, things, and the world that we live in. We think we love this and that. We think we love the world that we live in. And we constantly feel disturbed and hurt, disappointed and angry when people and things that we love, or the world that we love, are not the way that we like or want it to be. It's merely ignorance and egoism.

Be free, whether we have any kind of relationship with anyone, or not, and whether the relationships we have with everyone are good and long lasting, or not. There's no attachment, identification or expectation. There's no unfulfilled desires, dissatisfaction, disappointment, anger, hatred, jealousy, hurts, guilt, fear and worry.

Allow everyone to love us and be kind to us, and to be in a relationship with us, or not. Love everyone as they are, even though they don't love us, or they are unkind to us, or they don't want to be in a relationship (anymore) with us.

Be free.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Friendliness is about respecting everyone to be different from oneself, to be what they are, as they are

Friendliness doesn't necessarily mean making social contacts or personal friendships and hanging out together, connecting, interacting and socializing with other like-minded people. It is about respecting everyone, whom we know or don't know, to be different from oneself, to be what they are, as they are, being free from discrimination, judgment, expectation, superiority/inferiority and self-righteousness.

Those who are open-minded and free from egoism will not interfere with other people's thinking and belief that are different from them, and won't be disturbed or offended by other people's thinking and belief that one doesn't like and doesn't agree with, and have peace and harmony in oneself. And they allow other people to dislike or disagree with their thinking and belief, being undisturbed and not be offended or insulted by other people's dislike and disagreement towards oneself. But not many are open-minded and egoless. Lots of conflict, argument and violence derived from closed-minded and egoistic mind reactions towards what the ego doesn't like and doesn't agree with, being disturbed and offended by one's dislike and disagreement towards other people's thinking and belief that is different from oneself, or be disturbed and offended or insulted by other people's dislikes and disagreements towards one's thinking and belief which one thinks is right, or true, or superior.

Putting the blame onto other people's thinking and belief and behavior that our minds think and believe as wrong and bad, that we don't like and don't agree with, for the peacelessness and disharmony in us, is ignorance. It's how the ego reacts towards something that it doesn't like and doesn't agree with, that causes the peacelessness and disharmony in the mind.

In yoga or Buddhism, friendliness is the ability to be able to be aware of all the different qualities of names and forms in different people or beings, and be able to respect everyone as they are, even though we might not like or agree with them of their thinking, their beliefs, or their behavior, without judgment or criticism, without trying to change or control those whom we dislike or disagree with to be what we would like them to be, or to be the way that we think they should be. Instead, we have self-awareness, self-discipline and self-control over our own thoughts, actions and speech, being free from discrimination or prejudice that based on our personal likes and dislikes or agreements and disagreements influenced by our own personal thinking and belief about what things are and how things should be like.

One can keep one's personal thinking and belief as well as what one practices or doesn't practice to oneself, and allows other people or beings to have their own thinking and belief, and what they practice or don't practice that are different from oneself, without interfering with other people's freedom of thinking, actions and speech, even if their thinking, actions and speech might cause disturbs or harmful damages to themselves and other beings. But, allowing everyone to develop self-awareness, self-discipline and self-control over their own thoughts, actions and speech via self-realization for the well-being of themselves and others.

The pride and arrogance towards 'I' am better and more superior than all the others is why the ego constantly judging and criticizing and interfering with other people or beings that one doesn't like and doesn't agree with. The thinking and belief of 'I' am good and right, 'I' want the world to be good and right, 'I' want other people to be good and right, 'I' should correct these people or beings whom 'I' think they are not good and wrong, whom I think their thinking and belief and behavior are inferior than mine, is merely coming from the ego, it's not the teachings or the practice of yoga.

In yoga and Buddhism, if one truly wants to do good and be good and wants the world to be good, one focuses and works diligently on self-inquiry by taming and quieting one's mind through self-discipline and self-control, to be determined to free one's mind from ignorance and egoism, and allows everyone to be what they are, as they are, and allows the world to be what it is, as it is. If everyone knows this and frees their minds from ignorance and egoism, the world will be free from all kinds of discrimination, prejudice, hatred, jealousy, greed, possessiveness, fear, exploitation, conflict, war, or violence. All these affliction arise due to people want to interfere with other people's thinking, belief and behavior that one doesn't like and doesn't agree with.

Find out what really happens when there is conflict or argument or unrest between two people? May it be between the parents and their children, the husband and the wife, two friends, two strangers, two neighbours, two religions, two communities, or two countries. It's all deriving from ignorance and egoism and impurities of dissatisfaction, disappointment, anger, hatred, jealousy, greed, possessiveness, exploitation, selfish desires and expectations, feelings of hurt and insult, pride and arrogance, offensiveness and defensiveness, or fear and worry. It's not because one party is 'good and right' and the other party is 'bad and wrong'. If either one party is truly 'good and right', there's no conflict or argument at all. There will be peace and harmony in oneself even when the mind perceives and is aware of something is 'not good or wrong' based on the thinking and belief in one's mind.

If people want to believe or disbelieve in God, that's everyone's freedom.

Be truly friendly. Only when one knows what is true friendliness, one will also know what is compassion. Or else, even though one talks about and promotes compassion, and wants to be compassionate, but one couldn't be truly compassionate if one's mind isn't free from ignorance and egoism yet.

Be free.

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

Om shanti

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

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