be free, be happy, be peaceful

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

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The gift of Dharma - solution to the problems in everybody and in the world

The world seems like having lots of problems now. But where do all these problems come from? 

No doubts that they are caused by ourselves, the human beings.

So what is the best solution to solve these problems? 


Because no matter how much we try to send the message out there to everyone about all the problems that we are facing now in the world and suggest many methods to help to solve or ease the problems, but if people are selfish and ignorant without wisdom, then there won't be much changes going on because people just don't care and will continue to create more problems while some other people are trying to clean up the mess that is already there. 

This is because ignorance is so strongly rooted in many people. Selfishness and thoughtlessness are the products of ignorance. In order to solve any problems efficiently, it is necessary to root out the cause of all kinds of problem.

The problems that we are having now in the world, are not really about people pollute the environment by using lots of plastic bags; or too many cars; or burning down the forest; or cutting down the trees; or pollution that come from factories; or people are harming other living beings by creating wars, riots, racism, hatred, religious conflicts and gangster fighting; or there are lots of crimes like robbery, rapes, assaults and murders done by coldhearted human beings.

All these 'damaging hurtful actions' are the reflection, or result, or symptom of ignorance. 

No doubt that all these happenings are causing damages to the environment and causing painful suffering for many people in the world, but we need to know what is the root cause for all these happenings, then only we can really solve the problems directly and efficiently. All these actions derived from ignorance in human beings. 

Ignorance is the root cause for all these meaningless stupid and evil actions done by many people who are responsible for all the consequences from their selfish actions, but everyone claimed that they did nothing wrong and they are not responsible for any damages. 

To eradicate ignorance, one needs to purify and quiet the mind to perform inquiry towards the truth of everything. The veil of ignorance vanish and wisdom is unveiled upon self-realization towards the truth of impermanence and selflessness in all and everything.

Everyone need to come in contact with dharma and practice dharma in life.

Dharma is universal. It's available and accessible for everyone who wish to realize wisdom and to eradicate ignorance from their mind, regardless of what type of personality, race, creed, religion, profession, nationality, young or old, men or women, smart or less smart.

The gift of dharma is for all living beings. It is more important and efficient than just by trying to tell people what they should do and should not do.

Because most people don't have the wisdom or conscience to understand how does one's actions can cause so much damage to themselves, other beings and the environment, and it is difficult for ignorant minds to be aware of their actions are contributing to the damages in the world, and hence, it is not easy to advise them about taking care of the welfare of the environment and not to harm other beings either intentionally or unintentionally.

People who have very strong ego will not like to listen to other people telling them what they should do and should not do. They rather will do the opposite way of what have been told, to show their arrogance, rebellion and stubbornness. They will ignore what they were told about should do and should not do. They will remain selfish, thoughtless and ignorant. Maybe in the beginning, some people will try to co-operate and do something beneficial that was being promoted in a campaign. But after a while, the campaign will cool off and no one cares anymore.

It is like there are many cases of deadly road accidents caused by reckless and irresponsible drivers in everywhere in the world. All these people are not just risking their own lives but also risking other people's lives. Due to selfishness and ignorance, people had caused so much painful sorrow to other people and their family and friends by causing injuries and deaths to those innocent people, either intentionally or unintentionally. Some of these irresponsible people knew that their behaviors were selfish and harmful. But due to anger and frustration towards other people or something undesirable that they experience and being unhappy with their own lives or angry with the world, people deliberately want to be selfish and meant to drive recklessly, with the intention of causing damages and/or hurting other people too. And they might or might not feel any regret or sorry about their actions at all.

Sometimes road accidents were not caused by the recklessness of the drivers, but because there were some mischievous or selfish people in the world who had intentionally or unintentionally create some obstructions such like double parking on the road side or put some foreign objects on the road that had caused accidents to happen. This was a very selfish act of irresponsibility and had caused painful suffering to some other innocent people. Some selfish ignorant people also use the road as a place to commit suicide, which is very irresponsible as well because they are taking some other innocent lives with them or cause injuries and damages to other people just because they don't want to live anymore. 

Most people did not know that their actions were so ignorant and selfish, and would cause damages to themselves and to other people too, because they are ignorant towards ignorance. Some people thought that they just want to have some fun and excitement to get rid of their boredom and to release their extra energy by doing exciting things, such like driving fast or making some ''stunt moves'' with their cars. There are many people who use hand phone while driving; or they are busy talking with the other passengers in the car; or their mind is busy thinking of some other things and not concentrating in driving and not paying any attentions on the road; or some people just don't have the good enough driving skill, such like not knowing how to use the indicator, or not obeying the traffic lights and signs; or people are just being impatient and wanted to drive fast even they have no reason to be fast.

Driving fast is not necessary dangerous if the driver is skillful enough and paying attention on the road, while some people might be driving too slow and could cause some accidents to happen as well. But sometimes, the machine is not in our control especially when the speed is too fast. Some people will be feeling regret and guilty throughout their whole life if they survived a car crash due to their selfishness and ignorance, and had caused injuries or deaths to some other people.

It is not because people have never seen or come across with a ''safety driving'' campaign before. 

All these ''safety driving'' campaigns and ''dangerous reckless driving will cause painful suffering, injuries and deaths'' campaigns were being held and advertised almost everywhere in the world, and in all the countries where they have roads and cars, to educate the people and to advise the people to drive safely and responsibly for their own lives and the lives of others. But how come there are still so many serious road accidents happening everywhere and all the times? What is the root cause for all these suffering?

It is the ignorance and selfishness that is deep rooted in everyone's mind. People are not thoughtful for other people and are not aware of their actions could be so harmful and deadly. People are driving while they are arguing with family or friends; people drive after taking alcohol or drugs; people drive while talking or texting on the hand phone; people drive while listening to loud and exciting music; people are busy doing something else instead of paying attention on the road, and so on.

If these people have some awareness or wisdom; if they have a little bit of thoughtfulness for other people and for themselves; or if they have a little bit of patience, then they won't be risking their lives and the lives of others too.

People are ignorant because they have not come across with dharma, or they come in contact with dharma but they don't like the teachings of dharma for their own reasons. No one likes to listen to dharma talks unless they are interested in becoming a better person who does less damages to oneself and others; or want to realize the truth of everything; or want to come out from miseries and be peaceful and happy unconditionally. 

If we can plant the seed of dharma into people's mind, then slowly and eventually people will unleash the wisdom within themselves layer by layer, either wittingly or unwittingly, and slowly it will eradicate ignorance and selfishness from people's mind. People will start to realize what is going on in their own minds and have awareness, and will start to do something beneficial for themselves and other living beings, and for the welfare of the world unconditionally and non-discriminatively. And this selfless action is being done by people out of wisdom or correct understanding. People do it willingly out of awareness and not because they were being told by other people or the authority to behave or don't behave in certain way. 

If all the world leaders and religion leaders are wise, compassionate and selfless, there will be less violence and painful suffering due to discrimination, racism, prejudice, corruption, wars and killings. 

If all the educators, teachers and leaders of the society are wise, compassionate and selfless, there will be less crimes and hurtful happenings in our society and daily lives. 

If every human being is wise, compassionate and selfless, there will be less unhappiness, anger, hatred, jealousy, lies, conflicts, depression, heart broken and heartache in our personal lives.

If everybody is wise, compassionate and selfless, this world is a heaven on earth.

Why do so many people turn to alcohol and drugs, committing crimes and hurting other people? It is because they are angry, frustrated, discontent, not peaceful and very unhappy.

And why are they so unhappy?

It's because of ignorance without wisdom. Anger, hatred, jealousy, greed, lust and arrogance that create irritation; frustration; dissatisfaction; disappointment and unhappiness, are the impurities that sprung from ignorance. When a person is unhappy, he or she will cause unhappiness to other people around him or her; and then these people also become unhappy and will cause more unhappiness to some other people around them.

At the end these unhappiness will eventually come back to him or her, who had caused this unhappiness at the beginning.

It is never ending of unhappiness starting from one person and keep growing into a big wheel of unhappiness involving many other people; starting from one point of the wheel and it will come back to the same point again. People are becoming more selfish because they are angry with other people's selfishness! The more selfish a person becomes, the stronger the ignorance is within him or her. What a big wheel of selfishness and ignorance growing bigger and bigger.

If every human being is observing right understanding and right livelihood, and attain self-realization towards the truth of everything via self-inquiry, then everywhere will be filled with unconditional love and kindness, instead of fear, anger, hatred and violence, although we all still have to go through the inevitable natural process of hunger, thirst, old age, illness, weakness and death. 

If we have wisdom, we will know that the nature of all and everything is selflessness that is never been born and never dies. It is not determined or affected by the selfless impermanent changes of decay, old age, illness, pain or death to the limited conditional physical body and thinking mind. All and everything are identical with the infinite selfless Self, or the selfless universal consciousness, never increase and never decrease, without a beginning and without an end. By knowing this, there's no fear and worry at all.

When a person or a mind has realized the truth of impermanence and selflessness, and is entirely detached from or unattached towards all the names and forms in this world, this mind is not affected by all the impermanent elements and dualities in this world. There is no more arguments or debates. But if a person has not realized the truth of impermanence and selflessness, and is attached towards the names and forms either strongly or just a little, then this mind is still bound by the perception of duality in this world. This mind will be influenced, affected, determined and disturbed by all the impermanent elements and dualities in this world.

We need to contemplate on the dharma that we have come in contact with, reason it, practice it, inquire the truth of it, and realize the truth of names and forms by ourselves, then we will truly understand and know what the ancient dharma teachers had been trying to tell us and teach us actually. 

May we all realize wisdom individually to help the world to be a better place for all beings to live in.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Yoga teacher and right education

Right education is so important for our younger generations because they are our future leaders of the world. If they have the correct understanding and thinking, if they are selfless and wise, then there will be positive changes in the world later, individually, socially, environmentally or politically, and so on.

But unfortunately, lots of selfish and ignorant political influenced people have taken advantage of the school education and social media network to manipulate and corrupt the minds of these young people, implanting corrupted information, thinking and belief, selfishness, pride, discrimination, racism, anger, hatred and untruthfulness into these naive young minds, to achieve certain political agenda. Swami Sivananda advised - Do not read newspapers and magazines, as most of these public medias especially in the present time are under the selfish influence of many selfish greedy beings in the world to manipulate the community of the world to be in certain way that is favorable to achieve their selfish agenda, either based on particular political, religious or commercial value. In the present time, not just that newspapers and magazines are full of selfish influences, but even the school education in some countries are no longer what it supposed to be, but are functioning under the great influence of particular political and religious body, that doesn't help the world to be free from discrimination, prejudice, racism and hatred.

Yoga teachings and its practice is a form of universal education for all beings, physically and mentally. It's the correct education that would benefit the entire world unconditionally, regardless of all the different qualities of name and form that everyone possess and don't possess. It depends very much on the teacher's intention and his or her understanding towards yoga, practicing yoga and teaching yoga, whether it's aiming for self-realization to know thyself, to be free from ignorance, egoism and suffering, or not.

As yoga teachers, we need to be able to disseminate the real teachings of yoga, which is based on the elimination of ignorance, egoism and impurities, self-inquiry towards the truth of everything, to realize selflessness and compassion. It requires the quality of openness, truthfulness, dispassion, discrimination of real and unreal, self-control, discipline, right conduct, equanimity, humility, right thinking and right effort.

In order to disseminate the teachings of yoga and its practice, we should be able to practice what we teach, and teach what we realized from practicing the teachings through direct experience, and not just preaching what we have heard from our Guru, or what we have read from books, but without direct practice and understanding in ourselves.

We ourselves need to be open to inquire the truth of everything and have the correct understanding, self-control, dispassion, discrimination of real and unreal, equanimity, humility, right conduct, right thinking and right effort. Then only we can guide the students and encourage them to inquire the truth of everything and practice what is taught in the Scripture.

We need to know the teaching of Vedanta - the yoga philosophy, and practice it by hard sincerely in everyday life. Then only we can disseminate the teachings to the people who want to learn from us, who want to know about yoga and its teachings and meanings.

We need to have very strong faith in the Scripture of this ancient teaching of self-realization. We need to be humble and confident towards the teachings and our own practice too, then only we can guide the students to be humble and confident towards the teachings and their practice.

Having pride and arrogance in us by attaching onto the name and form of being a yoga teacher will not help the students to be free from ignorance and egoism, to attain self-realization towards selflessness and compassion.

We need to have certain degrees of understanding in the Vedanta, then only we can share this knowledge with all the people who wish to know the real meaning of yoga and its practice.

We need to be humble, free from pride and arrogance. We need to be unattached towards all our action, practice, duty and responsibility, and renouncing the results or outcomes of our action and practice - the fruit of actions, such as the achievements of the students, praise and criticism, and be free from all kinds of expectation.

We need to know how to purify our own self (the mind), our thoughts, actions and speech, before we can guide the students to do so. Purification of the mind is the constant practice throughout the entire life existence every moment.

We need to eradicate lustful and evil thoughts, minimize our desires of craving and aversion, be able to confront with our own feelings and emotions without judgment, and eliminate the ego. Then only we can guide the students to do the same and help them in their daily practice.

We should be truthful and selfless in our everyday life, not just having an image of a yoga teacher in front of the students preaching truthfulness and selflessness, but then being untruthful and egoistic outside the classes. Then only the students can respect and practice the teachings of yoga that we deliver to them.

If we ourselves do not practice and inquire the truth of what the Scripture said or what our Guru taught us, then what are we teaching to the students in the yoga class actually?

Merely be able to perform many yoga asana postures and teaching others to do many yoga asana postures, but without practice Vedanta in everyday life, will not help ourselves and anyone else to come out from misery or suffering and to attain unconditional peace.

Some people complain that they are still very unhappy and didn't get any correct understanding about yoga after attending yoga classes for some time. Although they had been benefited from the yoga asana exercises to improve their physical strength and flexibility, fitness level and physical health condition, but they have no correct understanding towards the teachings of Vedanta, and hence, they don't know how to deal with difficulties, mental and emotional problems in life. Some even turned to alcohol and drugs to make themselves feel better by the end of the day, to get by everyday, by attaining the momentary numbness or excitement from the effect of the alcohol and drugs, to escape from their problems for a few moments.

After the effect of the alcohol and drugs fades away, they continue feeling dissatisfied, disappointed, depressed and unhappy with themselves, their lives, and other people and happenings in the world.

Some people are deeply unhappy and angry with the world and their lives. It's not their fault and there's nothing wrong. It's just that they don't know or don't understand what is going on in their minds. Many young people growing up being 'educated' to be angry, discriminating and hating towards certain things. Unless these minds be initiated to inquire into the truth of everything, and be free from the influence of particular selfish beings that has been manipulating them to think in certain way and to believe in certain things. Otherwise, the world will continue to be full of discrimination, prejudice and hatred. Some people are not interested in promoting peace and harmony among all beings, but only interested in hoarding and protecting their power and wealth.

By practicing the teachings of Vedanta in everyday life can help many people to free themselves (their minds) from the cause of misery, suffering, anger, disappointment, hurts, frustration and unhappiness, by knowing what is going on in their minds.

No doubt that after performing a well-paced and well-balanced yoga asana session completed with a final relaxation will induce a certain degrees of clarity, peacefulness or calmness into our minds and re-energizing the bodily system, and the body and the mind will feel good and fresh momentarily. But if without practicing the teachings of Vedanta in our daily lives, we will still be caught in worldly attachment, identification, desires of craving and aversion and expectation deriving from egoism and ignorance.

Our emotion is going up and down all the time, or the mind is in a state of restlessness being determined or influenced by the different desirable and undesirable experiences that we encounter every moments in life, of what the mind perceives through the senses.

We might still be unwittingly generating lots of evil and negative thoughts, performing ignorant actions and speaking ignorant speech out of ignorance.

This will continue to create further tension and negativity into our mind and the bodily system, as we continue getting caught up in the daily ups and downs in life, even though we have gained some benefits from doing the yoga asana and relaxation practice, and all these effects of the yoga asana and relaxation practice are impermanent.

When we go to a traditional yoga class, sometimes the teacher does not teach any yoga asana practice at all, but only giving discourse on the teachings of Vedanta or the mind purification techniques to the students which will benefit them in life. People who really want to practice yoga should make an effort to practice the teachings of Vedanta in their everyday life.

After some time, the students would realize that they have becoming happier, being more patient, wise and compassionate when dealing with the challenges in their everyday lives. They are more loving and kind when being with their family and friends. Their family and friends might also notice the changes in them and be influenced by their cheerfulness, tolerance, wisdom and compassion.

This is what we call the yoga practice or the right education.

It allows the people to know and change themselves, to have a little or significant positive changes in their thoughts, actions and speech. It removes their suffering deriving from ignorance, and bring peace and harmony into their lives. They know how to accept themselves as they are and accept everyone and everything as they are, even though nothing is perfect. They become selfless and understanding human beings full of compassion and have self-control all the time.

Everyone takes their own time to evolve. It doesn't matter slow or fast, but at least it is moving towards positive evolution.

There are some good and real yoga teachers out there. They know what they are doing and are propagating the real meaning of yoga to many people in the world, and helping the world to be a better and happier place for everyone to live in, to be sharing this space in the universe, selflessly.

I am thankful for them being in the world. I pay respect and bow to these great teachers. 

May all beings attain true happiness and true freedom.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Morality and self control

Due to the different cultures and beliefs of the different people in different areas in the world, we all might have different standard of the meaning of ‘morality’. But self control is the main subject here. Because at the end it doesn’t matter what type of morality we are practicing, it is the self control that matter most. Without self control, there is no morality at all.

Here, we are talking about the right conduct that is given in the teachings of Yoga and Buddhism. They both are similar teaching. Although one talks about 'God', and the other doesn’t. But when we understood that the nature of everything is the same and no difference at all between existence and non-existence, life and death, happiness and suffering, we will understand that it is doesn’t matter if people think and believe that there is a 'God' or there is no 'God'.

To those who believe in 'God' existence, 'God' is infinite and indescribable. We all are depending on a source that provide different elements for all and everything to be existing in this world. Lives are depending very much on the elements that which are not in our own control. We are all the same when we have pain, sorrow, hurt, disappointment, anger, jealousy, greed, wickedness, selfishness, aggressiveness, fear, worry, passion, lust, ignorance, arrogance, happiness, joy, love, compassion, good will and evil will, and all types of feelings and emotions, whether there is 'God' or no 'God', whether we believe in 'God' or don’t believe in 'God'.

We should respect everyone’s belief and disbelief, and no need to argue or debate about 'God' and no 'God', 'your God', 'his God' or 'my God'. If there is a 'God', it does not belong to anybody or be restricted to any name and form that we human beings project onto it. It doesn’t belong to any church, or temple, or any name and form that we give to the places or buildings that people go for prayers, rituals and contemplation.

'God' is what it is. It is not mine, not yours, not theirs. It is everyone’s guardian, parent, friend, lover, companion, healer, teacher or anything agreeable and disagreeable that we would like it to be. Everyone deserves 'God'. It doesn’t matter when we think ourselves or others are good or not good. Because if it's really 'God', it is all pervading and inclusive, all love and compassion, all powerful and infinite.

If we want to attain or realize 'God', we need to purify our impurities and remove the differentiation or separateness deriving from the perception of duality. We need to know what is selflessness, non-separateness, intentionless, non-duality, without qualities, namelessness and formlessness. If we don’t understand what all these terms are, then we are building up an invisible wall between 'God' and us, which prevents us to realize 'God', or to know what is 'God'. When we are being disturbed, hurt, disappointed and angered by something, we thought that 'God' didn’t or doesn't love us. We would question 'God' about why did it allow so much sufferings and unfair happenings in the world. 'God' is always here within and without all and everything regardless of whether sometimes we are good and happy, and sometimes we are not so good and unhappy. Even when we are still full of impurities and ignorance, when we are being imperfect, whether our body is clean or dirty, whether we are sleeping or awake, 'God' has never left us, it is always with us, guiding us and shows us the way to see 'God' or feel 'God' in us, beyond names and forms not perceived through these fleshy eyes. Because 'God' is selfless, nameless and formless without attributes. We can’t perceive 'God' through the fleshy eyes and the intellectual thinking mind. Whether we believe there’s a 'God', or not, it is always there unmoved or unaffected by our little impure ignorant mind existing and functioning under impermanent qualities, names and forms. It doesn’t matter what languages that we know and speak, what cultures that we have, what religions that we are talking about, 'God' is still the same 'God', at anytime and anywhere.

When we know what is 'God', or what is selflessness, or the nature of names and forms, or the truth of existence, there's only unlimited love, peace, joy, compassion and wisdom in us. There is no word that can express that in definite, except being silent. We would repent all our past wrong doings, but at the same time also forgiving ourselves for being imperfect and letting the past go and move on. We would not ask anything from 'God' if we truly know what is 'God' that exists in all and everything. It's the one same nature of all and everything. We would see 'God' in everything and in everyone. We would be content. It is only when we don’t know what is 'God', and would feel separation from 'God', then we will pray to 'God' and ask for 'God's blessings or forgiveness.

'God' doesn’t live in a restricted building or only be existing at some specific places in the world. It is everywhere and anywhere at all time, from ancient to the future, from before the beginning of existence to the period of existence and to destruction and after destruction. It is within us and without us. It is all pervading, all presence and all knowledge. It is NOW, and there's only NOW. It is what selflessness and impermanence is about. It is how everything arising, changing and passing away, governed by the nature law of cause and effect.

How can 'God' be limited or restricted by us, human beings, into certain quality, name and form? How can 'God' be limited in some impermanent buildings so called church, or temple, or mosque, comparing to this vast space of unlimited endless universe?

If we believe there is a 'God', and we believe in 'God' and love 'God', how can we own 'God' selfishly and limit 'God' of its love, power, knowledge, presence and infinity? How can we use 'God's name to hurt, condemn, punish and torture other human beings or live forms, and cause injury, fear and painful sorrow to others, physically and mentally? Or, taking away innocent lives through wars, violence and killings under humans generated differences/separateness/discrimination of boundary, caste, creed, status and different names of religion?

Some people need a 'God' to be their guide in life, or else they will be lost in this ocean of ignorance, miseries and distractions.

Some people might have created their own belief to be their guide to suit their own temperament and convenience, and some people might have realized the nature of everything, or the Dhamma, or the selfless Self, to be the refuge, and be resting in unconditional peace.

Are we not the same when death comes to us? Are we not the same when we are angry and have hatred? Are we all not the same when we cry or laugh? Are we all not the same when we want to love someone and want to be loved?

Are we all not breathing the same air from the same space in the same universe?

Are we all not being alive by eating the food and drinking the water coming from the same earth with the same sun shining on us?

Does the sun only shines on certain people under specific religion, and not to the others?

Is the air that we breathe in only accessible for ‘good’ people and not for ‘bad’ people?

Does the earth only let certain human beings to step on it, to live on it and to put so much shit and rubbish on it, and not to other human beings who have different beliefs and religions, or have no any particular religion belief?

When we lost someone that we loved so much, isn’t it the same painful sorrow for everyone under different religions, skin colours, castes, languages, genders, beliefs, cultures, nationalities, achievements, and levels of education and knowledge?

When we suffer headache, toothache, injuries or sickness, are we all not the same having painful sensations and have fear towards death and the unknown?

Every religion or spiritual teachings or philosophy talks about morality, or self control, more precisely. Morality under certain religious teachings or cultural beliefs is something leaning towards self-righteousness, which is not part of the teachings and practice of yoga or buddhism.

If we have established a firm self control over our own thoughts, speech and actions, we all are the same regardless of what we believe or disbelieve in.

We will check all our outgoing thoughts, before we generate any physical speech and action. So that we will not harm or hurt anyone’s feelings, and will not create painful sorrow for other people, intentionally or unintentionally.

There's nothing wrong when some people are indulging in passion and lust, or indulging in alcohol and drugs. It is their own freedom and choice, to live the type of life that they want, and to do whatever they like to do with their life existence. They are taking responsibility of the consequences from their lifestyle and doings, they are responsible for themselves and their well being, and if they have self control, they do not hurt others physically or emotionally at all, intentionally or unintentionally.

There are people who steal, rob, rape, assault, kill, cheat and lie to the people that they don’t know.

There are people who made their family and friends or their loved ones as the victim of their lust, greed and lies.

And there are so many stories of painful sorrow in broken relationships and broken families due to disloyalty and unfaithfulness derived from uncontrolled passionate lust and greedy desire. There are so many victims of rape, assault, accidents and diseases derived from irresponsible sexual activities, alcohol and drugs abuse. There are also too many unnecessary suffering and destruction in the world deriving from selfish corrupted politicians or world leaders or governments.

We should think carefully where do all these unhappiness, pain and suffering come from?

Usually when a person smokes cigarette, it will cause another person suffers from lungs cancer through breathing in the second hand smoke. Can we say that it has got nothing to do with the person who smokes and this person doesn’t have to take any responsibility for the suffering of the person who got sick due to his action?

We all contribute so much pain and suffering to other people regardless of whether we are aware of it, or not, and most of the time we are ignorant of it.

We won’t feel or understand the pain of others until we ourselves suffer the similar type of pain.

But why do we let ourselves hurting ourselves and some others, ruin the well-being of our body and take away the clarity of our mind by being the slave of lust, greed and untruthfulness, and abusing our body and mind with alcohol and drugs? This is not just harming our own self but also we might hurt someone else and causing painful sorrow to somebody and their loved ones.

When come to Yoga practitioner or Yoga teacher, what is the meaning of our practice if we do not have self control, being over-powered by passion, lust and greedy desire, not being truthful and honest, indulging in random uncommitted sexual activities with multiple partners without love and responsibility, or indulging in alcohol and drugs abuse?

Some Yoga teachers are having love/sexual affair with their students while propagating that it's unconditional love without attachment, or non-possessiveness in intimate love affair. The teacher is full of passion and lust, as well as the students are full of passion and lust, from sharing to caring to touching to caressing, from the floor of the Yoga studio ending up on the bed of the teacher or the students.

Maybe this is neither right nor wrong, but it is not Yoga class, but passionate lust, sexuality and intercourse class. There’s nothing wrong in the enthusiasm to learn about all these human's activity. But definitely this has got nothing to do with purity, dispassion, renunciation, self control and self realization. It is just not Yoga class or yoga practice.

There is nothing wrong if both parties are single, or already divorced without any existing commitment or relationship with another person, and they both like each other and want to be with each other, and maybe committing to share their life together, learning from each other, growing together, building a happy family and live the same way of life. That’s very good.

But if the teacher or the students are already committed to somebody, then this love affair or lustful action will hurt their spouse or partner’s feelings.

What worst is that if the teacher is sleeping with one student on one day, and another day is sleeping with another student. It doesn’t matter if they all know about it and agree with the circumstances of their action or activities, and no one is getting hurt.

They justify that this is "love to all without attachment, without possessiveness".
What love to all? Only lustful sexual enjoyment is the intention behind this action. While non-attachment and non-possessiveness is not about engaging in multiple intimate relationship without commitment or responsibility.

Sexuality is nothing wrong. Passion is nothing wrong too. We all are human beings born with this instinct of passion and sexuality. But the only difference between a Yoga practitioner and a non-Yoga practitioner is, having self control or without self control, and having correct understanding or without correct understanding.

What is Yoga practice then? Sexual activities? Sensual enjoyments? Passion and lust is our 'God' and religion/spirituality?

What worst of worst is that when the student is sleeping with the teacher’s spouse or lover, and the teacher is allowing it, so that the teacher can also be free to sleep with anyone else, including his or her students.

This is very confusing for the people who come to them trying to learn Yoga. If these people have not established in basic correct understanding yet, they will think that this is Yoga – random sexual relationship/non-committed love affair. This is really creating a big misconception about Yoga into the people’s mind. If random sexual relationship can lead us towards self-realization or liberation from ignorance and suffering, Buddha and all our yoga Gurus wouldn't be so strongly emphasized about the practice of Brahmacharya.

As Yoga teachers who teach and guide others about the teachings and practice of yoga, shouldn’t we show some respect to our Gurus’ teaching? Shouldn’t we be a role model to be uplifting the observation of self control, right understanding and right conduct of those who come to us for learning Yoga sincerely? Shouldn’t we have strong establishment in our own practice and have great value and respect for self-control and dispassion?

I apologize, if some of you might get offended reading this article whether you agree or disagree. The teaching and practice of yoga and buddhism is about one true religion for all, which is about purity, compassion and wisdom, we all are equal, the same and no differences. Neither good nor bad and neither right nor wrong, or non-duality doesn't mean that we can kill somebody recklessly, or indulging in irresponsible lustful desires or alcohol/drug abuse, and hurt someone selfishly. It is about going beyond the duality of good and bad, and transcending happiness and suffering. It is not committing in any evil actions and not longing for accumulating good karma from doing good actions.

It doesn’t matter if some people say that they don’t have any religion or don’t believe in spirituality at all, but maybe they are more spiritual than many people who call themselves religious/spiritual human beings and belong to a particular religion/spirituality. Not having a particular religion or not believing in spirituality doesn’t mean that a person is non-spiritual or immoral. They are all just some impermanent conditional names and forms.

Just because it is called ‘religion’ or ’spirituality’, it should not be limited by the name and form to justify whether someone is religious or spiritual, or not. It is something within all and everything regardless of whether we are aware of it, or not, recognize it, or not, calling it a religion or spirituality, or not.

It is the unconditional love, peace, compassion and wisdom that everyone has, but might not be aware of it due to ignorance and egoism.

We should respect that everyone is free to do what they want to do and think what they like to think, even if they intentionally harm themselves or others, but everyone will be responsible for their own every single action.

Everyone is free to do what they like and be responsible for themselves, however, please be aware so that our actions will not hurt other people and create painful sorrow for others, it doesn’t matter if they are our loved ones or people that we don’t know, if we are sincere in walking the path of Yoga or Buddhism, to be free from ignorance and the consequences of ignorance.

May we all develop correct understanding and disseminate peace and happiness in this world.

Monday, June 1, 2009

unconditional love

What is love if we have no patience and compassion?

Without patience and compassion, we will so easily be agitated when our loved ones don't do things that we like or agree with, and instead they do things that we don't like and don't agree with. We will be so irritated if they can't do what they have been asked to do on time or in the way that we wanted them to do it.

If we are selfish, and have no detachment from our likes and dislikes, we will be so unhappy if our loved ones are sick and not feeling well, and they need us to feed them, clean them and serve them, sacrificing our personal free time and to put aside the things that we are doing in order to take care of them.

We will also be unhappy if they are not as intelligent as we are and they are slow in learning and slow in motion. If we don't have patience, understanding, tolerance, acceptance, detachment and compassion then we will easily become angry if they do not meet our expectations.

Unconditional love consists of patience, forbearance, tolerance, forgive, selflessness, humility, generosity, perseverance, independence, equality, respect, trust, courage, faith, compassion, cheerfulness and not giving up.

A person without patience cannot be a good learner, good parent, good son or daughter, good husband or wife, good lover, good employer, good leader, good friend or good teacher.

We need to be able to forgive and be patient when our loved ones make mistakes (anyway who doesn't make mistakes, including our own selves) or when they haven't delivered what they promised.

When our loved ones fall sick we should be able to withstand discomfort and be tolerant and selfless. They depend on our love and cares; they need special attention throughout the day and night. We need to sacrifice our own free time, withstand tiredness and give our love and care without expecting any reward in return.

We should not be annoyed or frustrated (although it is normal to have feelings like these) when the sick person complains due to the extreme discomfort of sickness and when after taking so much medicine (drugs) they become very weak physically and emotionally. They might not have the same personality that they usually have. They may not be as cheerful and confident as they were.

We should be compassionate towards the fact that they are suffering pain and discomfort.

In extreme cases, we need to deal with shit, urine, blood, pus, bad smells, vomit and other difficult and challenging situations.

We should never forget our parents and should not abandon them to old folk's home when they are old and sick. That's the time we should give special attention to them no matter how hard it is and to repay their love and care for us when we were young and depended on their nurturing and guidance.

They are the people to whom we owe the greatest debt, and it doesn't matter if they scolded us often or spanked us in the past, or had high expectations of us, or we thought that they didn't love us at all - from our memories of the past when we were young.

But how can we remember everything that had happened so long ago? Usually we will only remember something that was very traumatic such like the pain and hatred that we had when we were being scolded, spanked, and were being restricted from doing things that we like. But we may have forgotten all the affections that our parents had gave us at other time beside all those "tortures", and forgot about their loving cares for us especially when we were sick.

Our parents had brought us up and take care of us when we were young and needed supervision. They had feed us, cleaned us, warmed our body when it was cold, cooled down our body when it was too hot. They had supported us, guided us, and encouraged us when we were growing into adulthood. They gave us extra love and care when we were sick. They even sucked the snot or phlegm out from our nose and mouth so that we would not choked or suffocated.

How could we show disgust and not care for them now, when they are old and sick, and need our love, special care and attention?

No wonder why many people always say that once we became parents having our own child then only we will know the love that our parents had gave us and we can understand the hardships that our parents had went through while having us as their children.

Only then we will be grateful and appreciate what our parents did for us in the past along with all the scoldings and spankings.

There's no meaning at all if we are kind and do a lot of good to other people, show love and care to our lover and friends, or show sympathy to the people that we don't know at all, but we cannot even forgive our own parents for those memories that they had hurt us, made us unhappy and suffered, and thus we are reluctant to show love to them and not want to care for them when they are old and sick.

A person who doesn't love and care for his own parents but doing lots of charity in the world and kind to others is not a noble person at all.

Indeed, when we renounce the world to concentrate on the spiritual path to attain enlightenment is the greatest gift and best repay for our parents' love and care. But that doesn't mean that we should ignore our parents and neglect them when they need care taking, while at the same time we are doing selfless karma Yoga in caring for others especially the old people and the sick people out there.

It doesn't matter if our parents had did something terribly wrong to us and had hurt our feelings deeply, we should be able to forgive them for whatever they did to us.

And we should show them love instead of continuous hatred. Because at the end they are just some other human beings that had did some mistakes in life.

If compassion and forgiveness are our motto and we are learning to forgive many other people out there who had intentionally or unintentionally hurt us, then why can't we forgive our parents as well?

We will not be regret if we can forgive the people (whom we felt angry and upset about in the past) at this present moment now and set ourselves free from the burden of anger, hatred and guilt.

We will get instant relief and have peace and love filling up our heart.

We can now move on in life without being disturbed by those unhappy old memories. They cannot affect our emotion anymore and we will be full of confidence to do what we want to do now.

But definitely we will be regret one day later when we realized that this is such a stupid ignorant action that we had hold on tightly for so long, making ourselves and the people who had hurt us feel so unhappy and not at peace in most of our life time for something that doesn't exist anymore.

And the people who we didn't forgive while they were still alive, will die without peace of mind because they didn't get forgiveness from us, unless they can't even remember or know that they had ever hurt us in the past.

This will continue to haunt us for the rest of our life if we cannot forgive and continue carrying the anger and hatred deep inside our heart, even though the people that we hate so much and angry about had passed away a long long time ago.

We ourselves are not at peace if we cannot forgive and let go the anger and hatred towards somebody. It doesn't matter whether those people know that they had hurt us or not.

And so, while these people are still around and we are still here, why not we forgive them and let them know by showing love and compassion towards them and everybody will be at peace instantly.

What is love when a person only wants to share happiness of others and cannot share their unhappiness?

It doesn't matter if it is a friendship, or a love relationship, or between parents and children, or between siblings.

Such like the parents will only like the children when they are well behave, happy without crying and do what the parents wanted them to do. But the parents will be angry and unhappy and don't like the children when they are naughty (normal behaviour - children cannot sit still and like to explore things and learn unless they are sick or having some kind of mental difficulty). Parents also don't like it when they are unhappy and crying (due to sickness and discomfort) and don't do the things that the parents wanted them to do (very normal and common).

Parents should understand that they don't own the children. Children have their own life and thinking. They have their own likes and dislikes, needs and wants.

Parents should take the responsibility to raise the children, give love and care, guide them and support them until they are independent in life. But not by restricting them to do what we want them to do and mould them into what we want them to be. And when the time comes, we have to let them go to live their own life.

If a person will only want to be with us while we are at good health, strong and in good mood to enjoy everything in life together but don't want to be with us when we are sick, need care taking and in bad mood, then this person is not a true friend at all because he or she is a selfish person and is not sincere.

A person has to be a true friend to the other person before he or she takes the commitment as the spouse or partner to that person, or being a parent, or being a son or a daughter, or being a good friend.

A friend who will try to avoid us or don't care for us while we are in distressed and need help, is not a true friend.

We should forgive these people also if one day we found out that they are not true friend and not being there for us when we needed them. Because we shouldn't have any expectation towards anybody or asking for love in return when we share and give love and care to someone.

In a love relationship, what is love if we are attracted to the beautiful appearance and sexuality of the other person and have intense desire to be with that person but we will not like to be with this person anymore when this external beauty changed and the sexuality is not there anymore due to illness, injury or old age?

If we fall in love with the personality, the look, the smell, the touch, the voice, and the thinking of a person, which are impermanent and always changing from time to time, and what will happen to this feeling of love when all these things or qualities that we loved so much about that person had changed and not the same anymore?

If we love someone when he or she is happy, charming and nice to us, but what happen to this feeling of love when he or she is unhappy, grumpy, not charming and don't have the mood and time to be nice to us?

Most of us will be feeling upset and don't like these changes very much, and will start generate hatred instead of love.

This type of love comes from the ego. It changes according to the likes and dislikes of the ego. Unfortunately the likes and dislikes of the ego is changing all the time. Today it likes someone with the qualities like this, and tomorrow it likes someone with the qualities like that. Or when the qualities that the ego likes very much about another person are not there anymore, the ego will be unhappy and doesn't like that.

That's why lots of people start to feel bored and not in love with their lover anymore after being together for some times. Because their ego is getting bored and want something else.

If we identified with our ego, we will be changing partner all the time, or into so many relationships and breaking up so many times.

If the love relationship is based on this type of love, it will not last long and will end up in painful sorrow.

How can we say we love someone if we only love that person when he or she is looking good, feeling good, and fulfill all our needs and wants, but we don't love he or she anymore and feeling disgust when he or she is not good looking, not feeling good and cannot fulfill our needs and wants anymore due to sickness or injury and instead we have to take care of his or her needs and wants? Or we don't like he or she anymore is merely because the change of his or her personality, which is very normal and common to all?

True love is unconditioned by the likes and dislikes of the ego.

It is selfless, ego-less, passionless and boundless.

This type of true love will only bring happiness to ourselves and others, and we shall be able to let go when the time comes and not generate any painful sorrow.

Because everything including good and happy relationship will have to come to an end in this temporary life time.

May we all enjoy and appreciate the good and happy relationships with our parents, children, spouse or partner, friends and anyone else. As well as our relationship with nature and the environment, including plants and animals.

We always take from nature but how often that we realize this, feel grateful and give back something nice to nature and care for the environment?

But before that, we must enjoy and appreciate being with our own self, and love ourselves and our life but remain humble and selfless towards other people.

Our knowledge in the world, skill in doing business and some other talents are not the factors that contribute to our true happiness and a good life.

A good life doesn't mean it has to be very comfortable or luxurious type of living, but having good friends, good relationships with everyone, good relationship with the environment and all the things in it, meeting nice people and feeling meaningful in life, fully utilise our knowledge and talent to help others and share joy and happiness.

It is our pure heart, sincerity, truthfulness, selflessness, wisdom, love and compassion that bring us true happiness and a good life. When we are kind to others, when we are generous to share with others, when we don't have bad thoughts or bad intentions towards others, when we don't have fear and worries, and then all the people that we meet and all the things that happen in our life will be kind to us and lead us to a meaningful and happy life.

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About Yoga

Know thyself. Everything is impermanent and selfless. There is no 'I'. There is no 'I am selfless'/'I am not selfless'. There is no 'I am hurt'/'I need to be healed from hurt'. Non-blind believing, non-blind following, non-blind practicing and non-blind propagating, but be open-minded to inquire the truth of everything. Be free. Be peaceful. Be happy.

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