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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.

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