be free, be happy, be peaceful

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

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

About Compassion And Wisdom

Compassion and wisdom is the path of yoga and Buddhism. We need to cultivate these two elements in our heart to overpower the selfishness and ignorance in us. Without compassion and wisdom, we will see lots of unhappy happenings, wrong and evil doings in the world, and easily get irritated, frustrated, disappointed, angry and upset about lots of things that we come in contact with in life.

All the knowledge that we can get from this world cannot guarantee us happiness nor it will remove ignorance or suffering from us. Only wisdom can remove ignorance, unhappiness and suffering in us. With wisdom, we can understand the truth of everything – the law of karma and the impermanence. And it allows us to be able to accept the truth as it is, and to be able to let go any attachments. Without attachment, there is no good or evil, comfortable or uncomfortable, likes or dislikes, craving or aversion, happiness or unhappiness.

Compassion and wisdom is not something to be gained or studied from the outside. It is within us all the time. It is the true nature of our higher Self. We just need to purify the impurities in us, removing the veils of impurities and we will realize this compassion and wisdom in us. We are the compassion and wisdom. It is not separated from us. But under the veil of ignorance, we can’t see our Self clearly. And thus we are separated from compassion and wisdom, and feel emptiness and lack of love, and feel the need to be loved by other beings. When we realize that we are the love itself, we can share this love with other beings without any limits and conditions, and never get exhausted. And this is compassion.

When we realize this compassion and wisdom in us, we will be full and content. We don’t feel lack of anything. There is no need for us to look for love or fulfillment from the outside to fill up the emptiness in our hearts when we haven’t realized the compassion and wisdom in us yet. Once we realized our true nature and reconnect with the compassion and wisdom in us, we don’t have to depend on anything out there to make us happy or to feel good about ourselves. Nothing out there will make us unhappy or feel bad about ourselves. Because we are not attached to the ego anymore. It is only when we are still attached strongly to the ego, we will have the feeling of being separated from the compassion and wisdom, and thus we think we need something or to do something in life to make us happy or to feel good about ourselves. We will see many faults and imperfections in other beings and being affected or disturbed by other beings’ behavior and how they treat other beings especially towards us – ourselves. We will be upset, angry, frustrated, disappointed and dissatisfied about this and that, about the behavior and reactions of other beings. We will have lots of moanings and complaints. We will think that we are better than all these “imperfect” and “selfish” beings, and trying to convince these beings to change their attitude and they should behave the way that we think it should be, and be nice and kind to us and other beings the way that we think it should be. We will be so unhappy when other people not listening to us or not respecting us. We will think that we are the victims of other people’s selfishness and ignorance. Most of the time, we will be blaming other people for our unhappiness and suffering.

This is due to lack of compassion and wisdom in us. We are attaching strongly to the ego. Our ego is feeling “hurt”, “angry”, “upset”, “unhappy” and “disappointed”. If we know how to step back from the reactions of the ego towards how other beings behave and react, we won’t be judging anything and won’t be affected or disturbed by anything at all. It is not about what other beings do and don’t do, should do and shouldn’t do. It is about our own ego is feeling offended, being challenged or insulted, and getting irritated and frustrated.

Once we let go the attachment towards the ego, we will be fine and peaceful all the time disregard what do other beings do or don’t do, and it doesn’t matter what is happening in our lives, in our body and in the mind.

When we are compassionate, we will forgive other beings for their imperfection, ignorance and selfishness. We can see the cause of suffering in all these beings, that they are imperfect, ignorant and selfish, and thus they are behaving ignorantly and selfishly. We feel sympathy for them and only have good wishes and kind thoughts for these beings. We can accept everyone and everything as it is. Not trying to find faults in other beings, but to see the goodness in them.

We are imperfect too. How can we judge other beings being imperfect and cannot accept their imperfection? If I am unhappy and angry about how other beings treat me, that means my ego is not feeling good. It felt insulted, annoyed, disrespected and unattended. This means I, myself am not compassionate and forgiving enough to accept that these beings are actually very unhappy in their hearts and are suffering now, and thus they are treating other people in a selfish way, and they are going to suffer more later on for being selfish and ignorant now. And so, if we really are compassionate and selfless, we will be wishing these beings happiness and peace, and not being angry or upset with them, and not to give them any more hard times. They are unkind and unfriendly towards other beings is because they are very unhappy deep in their hearts. They are in suffering. Be compassionate towards their suffering.

If I start to get angry and complain about them, I am not any different from them. I am also one of them. I am selfish, ignorant and is suffering from deep unhappiness.

If I choose to do lots of activities and make myself feeling tired and exhausted, and can’t perform any of my other responsibilities anymore, I can’t be unhappy and angry when I ask other people to replace me and carry out my responsibilities for me to help me out, and the person refuses to help. People have no obligation to give help to anybody. If people do help other people is out of their own free will and generosity. We can’t be unhappy and angry about other people being reluctant to give help or not generous. We need to know our own responsibilities and be responsible for our own responsibilities. We should blame our own self if we cannot carry out our responsibilities and should not depend on other people’s help, just because we don’t know how to manage our time and energy usage. Be happy.

It is very good that we want to be compassionate and selfless, but we cannot ask or tell other people to be compassionate and selfless, and being very angry and unhappy about other beings have no compassion and being selfish. It is all up to each individual to be compassionate and selfless or not. Everyone has the freedom to be compassionate and nice or not.

When we ask any helps from somebody, and are being rejected or people are being unfriendly and not helpful, we cannot be angry or upset about that at all, nor should we complain about other people’s unfriendliness and selfishness. It is because when we feel unhappy or upset about a situation like that, is because we have expectation towards other people’s reactions and behavior. We think that everyone is obliged to give help whenever somebody is asking helps from them. Or else we will judge them as bad people, selfish and unfriendly. The unhappiness is all comes from our own self, our attachment towards the ego and the happenings that are irritating the ego. The ego felt insulted, rejected, disrespected, being treated badly and unfriendly. This is nothing to do with other people’s behavior or reactions.

It is like when we give help to somebody out of our own free will, not because somebody asked us to do so, and our kind act is rejected by that person, we cannot be unhappy or upset about it and complain that the person is ungrateful. It is like when we want to give something to other people and they refuse to accept our gift, we cannot be unhappy and upset about it or feel bad about ourselves thinking that why they don’t want to accept our gift or is it because they don’t like us? All these unhappiness is coming from the attachment towards our ego. Our ego is feeling upset, unhappy, rejected, disrespected, insulted or ignored.

Give and let go. Be compassionate and wise. Be happy.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Live Yoga

Many people do yoga or practice yoga asana everywhere in the world nowadays. It is a very good thing. It doesn’t matter if people are doing it for spiritual enlightenment and peacefulness, or as a fitness training to improve strength and flexibility, or as an exercise for good health, or as a hobby for passing time, or as a slimming program to achieve a desirable body image, or the combination of the above all. Because even if there is no yoga philosophy being mentioned in a yoga asana class, the exercises of different asana poses and the breathing exercise will still have an effect on the body and the mind. It helps to relax the body and calming the mind. It gives fresh energy into the system and brings cheerfulness or positivity into people’s personality. It is really great. It is life transforming even when we didn’t have the intention to transform anything.

For people who are really into yoga and wish to go deeper into the actual practice of the teachings and to cultivate the meanings of yoga, then we are not just talking about doing a few hours of asana practice or going for some regular yoga sessions in a yoga class and do some yoga once in a while or everyday, but we are actually live yoga every moment in our lives even when we are asleep.

Yoga is not so much about the ability of the physical body to perform some asana poses and it is not about the strength and flexibility of the physical body at all. The asana practice and breathing exercise is just a tool for us to influence the body and the mind for us to be able to practice concentration and meditation with a calm mind and having a strong and healthy body for us to perform all the practices for our own spiritual growth and to engage in selfless service to benefit other beings.

Yoga is every moment in our life, in our heart, practicing concentration and awareness on what we are doing at the present moment now, letting go the past instantly from moment to moment, not projecting into the future, not having fears and worries, remain peaceful and calm all the time unaffected/uninfluenced/undisturbed by what we see, hear, smell, taste, touch and think. We stand as a witness towards all the thoughts, feelings and sensations that is happening in the body and the mind all the time and stop identify ourselves with the body and the mind. We also observe all the phenomena of impermanence that is happening in our life and in the world and not being affected or disturbed by them. We practice detachment from the ego, the likes and dislikes, the cravings and aversions from moment to moment. We practice cheerfulness, fearlessness, determination, perseverance, tolerance, acceptance, adjustment, adaptation, accommodation, humility, forgiveness, patience, loving kindness and compassion in our heart, in our thoughts, actions and speech in our daily lives.

Our self-confidence and happiness is not determined by what we can do and cannot do. It has got nothing to do with all the names and forms or activities or happenings in our lives and in the world. It is not about us feeling good or feeling bad about ourselves or about other people. It is not determined by all our feelings and thoughts. It is the true confidence and real happiness that come from within, not from the outside world of many names and forms.

We are always content with simplicity and worry-less. We are not being lead by our body, the mind or the ego. We are not being determined by the ever-changing mood swing or mix feelings in the heart and not being controlled by the craving and aversion of the body and the mind. We are not being determined by the impermanent conditions of the physical body, its ability and its state of health, and remain peaceful, calm and content all the time. We accept the conditions of our body and the mind as they are, as it is, at this present moment now for what we can do and cannot do, for what we did and haven’t done. We accept the world and everyone as they are, not trying to interfere, or to control, or to change the law of karma and the impermanence. We can do our best for the benefits of the world and to share wisdom and knowledge with all the living beings, and be kind and compassionate towards all beings and give what we can give, do what we can do, but remain unattached to all our efforts and the results. We should be wise, compassionate and generous to give and share, and do everything without any intentions or differentiations, just like the sun, the space, the air, the water and the earth provide everything to all but without any intentions or differentiations of likes or dislikes, favorable or not favorable, good beings or bad beings, spiritual or not spiritual, wise or ignorant, healthy or not healthy, fit or not fit, beautiful or not beautiful, young or old, men or women, friends or enemies, can move or cannot move, normal or abnormal, and all other qualities of different names and forms etc. And above all, give without any expectations of the result. Just give and let go. Not attached to the actions and the fruit of action.

We also let go any judgments, comparisons, competitions, criticisms, and vandalisms. We only have good wishes and good will for all beings. We are not affected or disturbed by other people’s judgment, comparison, competition, criticism and vandalism. We don’t mind about all these things and not pay any interests in what other people do and don’t do. It doesn’t mean that we don’t care, but simply because we cannot control how other people want to think, act and speak. We can only control our own thoughts, actions and speech, and watch our own mind all the times, minding about our own practice of what we should do and should not do.

We are totally aware of the wrong doings or evil doings that is happening in the world, but we don’t have to be influenced or affected or disturbed by them. We don’t have to be irritated, agitated, frustrated, angry or hate, and disappointed by all these happenings. But we can try our best to prevent more wrong doings and evil doings in the world, and to share the knowledge of selflessness and educate people about the awareness of right conducts, right views, right thinking, right thoughts, right actions, right speech, right living hood, right understanding, and be kind, be compassionate, be selfless and be wise. We can perform all these selfless service for mankind and humanity, but remain calm, peaceful, happy, cheerful and energetic. Most important is detached from our efforts and the results.

We cannot stop the earth from spinning. We cannot stop anyone from being good or being bad. We cannot interfere, control or change the law of impermanence and the karma of other people, we can only control or change our own karma and accepting the law of impermanence. Once we were born, we cannot avoid growth, changes, weakening, decaying, old age, illness and death to this physical body. We cannot stop other people from feeling happy or unhappy, doing good or doing bad, but we can choose to be happy or unhappy, to do good or do bad, in ourselves.

It is up to each individual to be aware, to change, to evolve, to improve, to be happy, to be kind, to be compassionate, to be wise, to be selfless and to know the Truth. We can only help the world by engaging in selfless service sharing the wisdom and educating the people with right knowledge, sending our compassionate thought waves and good will into the world to all beings wishing all beings peace, selflessness, compassionate and wise. Do whatever we can with our thoughts, actions and speech for the well-being of all but without attaching to it. Be happy, be free. Be ourselves, be true.

We do not just “do” yoga for a few hours a day. We live yoga every moment in our lives, like the breathing and the heartbeat, unceasingly even when we are asleep. Keep purifying our mind, watching our mind, detaching from our mind, the ego and the senses, be kind and compassionate to all and to our own self. Not attached to all the names and forms – fame, wealth, health, appearance, knowledge, titles, achievements, relationships, success or failure, good or bad feelings, happiness and unhappiness, likes and dislikes, craving and aversion, praise and censure, birth and death, past and future. Not attached to “I”, “myself’, “my life”, “my believe”, “my practice”, “my understanding”, “my knowledge”, “my achievement”, and “my world”; not attached to all beings, happenings, good and evil, and the world.

Live yoga.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

About Neti Neti

Neti neti, not this not this…

This is a negation process of all the qualities and all the names and forms, and what left is who or what we really are?

We can start with anything that we think who we are. Start from the grossest to the subtlest. Like the name, the title, the body, the mind, the ego, the intellect, the thoughts, the feelings, the sensations, the memories, the imaginations, the senses, the awaking state, the dream state, the deep sleep state, the personality, the character, the success, the achievement, the past life, the present life, the future life, the breath, the heartbeat, the energy, the egg, the sperm, the cell, the atom, the flesh, the bones, the organs, the blood, the hormone, the glands, the nerves, the brains, the muscles, the skin, our image in the mirror, the social status, the educational level, the knowledge, the emotion, the likes and dislikes, the anger, the hatred, the passion, the jealousy, the relationship, the responsibility, the duty, the son, the daughter, the brother, the sister, a man, a woman, a human being, the father, the mother, the husband, the wife, the friend, the student, the teacher, the believer, the good, the bad, the happiness, the unhappiness, the elements, the giver, the receiver, the strong, the weak, the good looking, the not good looking, the fat, the skinny, the champion, the fastest, the wise, the ignorant, the younger us, the older us, the present us, the qualities, the intentions, the will power, the courage, the self-esteem, the self-confidence, the faith, and whatever that we can think of within the limited perception of this mind. And see who we really are; why are we here; where did we come from and what are we becoming?

What we couldn’t negate after negating everything, is who I am.

Somebody argues about this theory and that theory, and believe himself or herself is this or that. There is nothing wrong with that, be happy. Never think too much until we lost our mind. Never argue until we lost our sanity. Simplicity is always easier and happier than complexity. If being happy in life is ultimately what we are looking for, then be happy no matters what we believe in, and it really doesn’t matter who we really are. If knowing the truth is what we are looking for, then be happy in the path and free ourselves from ignorance. If knowing the truth will make us feel very unhappy about ourselves and life existence, then what is the meaning of knowing the truth? And if this “truth” can make us very unhappy, then it is not really the truth either in that case. If any beliefs or practices is going to make life more complicated and suffer, then why do we still practice them? Some people gone mad or became crazy in the path looking for the truth. That is due to not knowing how to stay detached from everything that arise in the path.

Some people attached strongly to what they think is righteousness and became very angry and saved hatred towards other people that don’t have the same belief or same thinking as they have. There are wars and killings everywhere due to different beliefs or religions. This is madness. What is “righteousness” when it is promoting anger and hatred, propagating killings and destruction of love, peace and harmony?

What is the meaning of trying to create a better world and community to bring happiness to other people but we are not happy about ourselves and not happy about many things in life and in the world. How can we guide others to happiness if we ourselves are not happy and full of anger? We can share happiness with others only if we are happy, or else what are we sharing with other people? attachment? disharmony? anger? hatred? unhappiness? frustration? disappointment?

We can try to help others to transform their consciousness from the deep conditioned programming of the mind and free their hearts from delusions to create a better quality of living community and to help to generate more happier hearts and souls by educating them with wisdom, but we cannot attach to our effort and its result. We can only try our best and let go, and be happy. May all beings including “this” being be happy.

Yoga And Buddhism

The essential teachings of yoga and Buddhism is about selflessness, impermanence, the wheel of birth and death, transcending suffering, and egoism and ignorance as the root cause of suffering.

Cultivate detachment, non-attachment, non-identification, dispassion, renunciation, right discrimination towards the real and unreal, purification, loving kindness, charity, generosity, selfless service, eradication of the impurities of anger, hatred, jealousy, passionate lustful desire, greed, pride and arrogance.

Practice self-control over the thoughts, actions and speech, control over the sexual desire/sexual energy, universal common sense, right conduct, right view, right understanding, positive thinking, gratitude, patience, perseverance, tolerance, adaptation, acceptance, adjustment and accommodation.

Following the middle path, finding a Guru/teacher, renunciation from worldly life, retreat from worldly sensual pleasure and material enjoyments.

Detach from likes and dislikes, craving and aversion.

Philosophy about selflessness/non-separateness/oneness/equality/non-dualism, the consciousness, the perceiver and the perceived, mind perceptions of names and forms, limitations and conditions of life existence and the physical body, and the bondage of ceaseless and restless selfless impermanent changes – governed by the nature's law of cause and effect.

Practice about mind purification, quieting the restless modification of the mind, disciplining the senses, concentration, meditation, self-reliance, self-discipline, fearlessness, faith under direct experience, self-inquiry, self-realization, truthfulness, calmness, compassion and wisdom.

Everything is non-self or selfless/existence of life or object depends on energy and the element of ether, fire, earth, wind and water.

Practice control and withdrawal of the senses from the objects, stand as a witness towards the worldly phenomena and impermanence, non-identification with the body and the mind, non-attachment towards actions/renounce from the fruit of actions.

Philosophy about namelessness and formlessness, attributelessness, silence, samadhi, consciousness and subconsciousness, transcending good and evil, positive and negative, right and wrong based on worldly egoistic thinking and belief.

The nature of all and everything, the selfless universal consciousness, or the universal selfless Self, is pure existence, pure knowledge, pure bliss, peaceful silence, oneness/non-separateness – universal consciousness and individual consciousness is the same consciousness.

Practice eradication of mental defilement or corruption, do good and stop doing bad, non-harming, non-violence, simplicity, contentment, Satsanga/company of the wise, right livelihood, right thinking, right actions, right speech, Mauna/silence.

Controlling the thought waves/thought activties, practice one-pointedness of the mind, stilling the thought waves.

Philosophy about food energy influencing the states of the mind, and controlling the basic craving of hunger and thirst.

Seeing and accepting the truth in everything as it is, being at the present moment from moment to moment, letting go the past and the future. The only reality is the present moment now. The past is just histories and memories. The future is just wild imaginations projecting into the future.

The path of self-realization/enlightenment, is knowing the ultimate Truth – who am I? or What is 'I'? Beyond existence and non-existence. Transcending time, space and causation.

Wisdom and self-realization is arising from within, not coming from the outside, not from studying, but from purification and eradication of the ignorance, egoism and impurities in our mind and stilling the thought waves.

And thus, we can see there are many paths with different practices under different names and forms and terminologies, but they all came from the same origin/root and will lead us back to the same place/our real refuge/eternal peace. If we don’t know what is non-attachment and non-identification, or namelessness and formlessness, then we will not know and understand what is non-dualism, selflessness and oneness. We will only see lots of differences in this and that, but we cannot see beyond all the differences of names and forms, that everything is one same consciousness and there is no differences in the nature of everything - selflessness and impermanence.

One of the habits of the mind is to find faults and differences in everything, and have judgment and comparison towards everything. But this is the biggest hindrance in the path towards realizing the Truth. It is bringing the mind further away from the Truth. We can never grasp what is non-duality, selflessness and oneness. One of the ways to understand this teaching of oneness from the wise, is to let go any judgments, comparisons and faults finding towards everything. Accept everything as it is. Quiet the mind. And then we will start to see the truth of no differences/oneness/non-separateness beyond all the names and forms.

If we are becoming more calm, cheerful, positive, fearless and worry-less, not being affected by our likes and dislikes, and having less cravings and aversions, then know that we are on the right path. If we are becoming more grumpy, agitated, unhappy, depressed, negative, full of fear and worries, easily being affected by our likes and dislikes, and having more cravings and aversions, then know that we have moved away from the right path. If so, just be aware, let go the past, move back onto the right path, and move on with more vigor and correct understanding. There is no need to keep watching other people’s practice and progression, but always be aware of our own practice and progression on the path, without attachment, identification, judgment, comparison or expectation.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

About Generosity And Charity

Generosity is a great virtue. Eventually it will lead us to unleash the great compassion in us. Generosity or charity is not limited only in material or financial givings but also all the good and kind thoughts, and any acts or speech that is kind, cheerful, thoughtful, motivating, uplifting, encouraging, constructive and supportive towards self-improvement and total well-being, as well as promoting love, peace and harmony among all beings unselfishly are all acts of generosity and charity.

It is also a practice that will counteract stinginess and possession of things, and will remove ill-will, greed and attachment. It will bring light, warmth, love, peace and joy in our hearts. It will open up our hearts to receive unlimited goodness and knowledge that will lead us to self-realization.

Real generosity is unlimited and unconditioned by names, forms, time, space and causation. Any acts of giving and sharing without any selfish intention behind the act is a form of generosity. Such like sharing yoga and dharma with all; giving knowledge to the people, disregard they are young or old, smart or not smart, rich or poor, men or women, educated or non-educated, good or bad behavior; protecting nature and the environment; giving comforts and provide shelter for the suffering one; be a good listener for the distressed and disturbed; serve the sick people and old people; help those who are in need of helps; help to maintain or clear up some dangerous objects on the road for the safety of other road users; help to remove any obstacles in other people’s lives or in the spiritual path; make things easier for other people to improve their livings or show the path for anyone who want to evolve spiritually; give up the comfortable seat for some other people; Offer food and water to the hungry and thirsty beings including human beings and non-human beings; be forgiving and compassionate towards older people and young children that is dependent on our care taking and guidance; bring joy and happiness into people’s hearts; engage in selfless service to serve all in any fields and etc. It is not just about giving things but also love and care, compassion and wisdom.

It is like the sun, the space, the air, the water and the earth provide unceasingly, unlimited and unconditioned by all the names and forms, they give all the needs for life existence in the world without any intentions nor expectations.

Being generous towards all beings without any discrimination of beings that we like or don’t like; or beings that we know or don’t know; and beings that we think they are good beings or bad beings, is the true and greatest generosity.

If we only be generous towards particular beings that we like, and not want to be generous to the other beings who we don’t like, then this is generosity under the influence of selfishness of the ego. Like some people are being generous towards their spouse but not generous towards their own parents due to some personal reasons. Some other people are generous towards their close family members but not so generous towards those that are not within the family. Some people are very generous towards their friends but not to their own family members. Some people are generous towards many people but not towards their enemies or people that they don’t like.

There is nothing wrong about that but it is not the real generosity that we are talking about and want to practice in yoga or Buddhism. The real generosity is not affected or influenced by the ego, the likes and dislikes. There is no superiority or inferiority and all are equal under the real compassion and true generosity. There is no such idea that we are better and stronger beings, and that we can afford and are capable to give, and so we think we should give to the beings that are weaker and less fortunate than us but not to the people that are similar with us or are stronger and better than us. And nor should we have the idea that we are weaker and less fortunate than other people, and we should be waiting for other people who are stronger and better than us to provide helps or give us charity.

Everyone has different needs, weakness and strength. Some people are not lack of material and financial enjoyment but maybe they are in need of comforts for their disturbed mind and need wisdom to deal with fears and worries. Some people are strong physically but weak emotionally. Some people are lack of good health or material enjoyment but are very strong emotionally and spiritually. Some people are lack of worldly knowledge but are very wise with wisdom. Anyone can give, everyone can be generous to all beings at anytime, anyhow and anywhere, including being kind and generous towards our own self.

Generosity or charity should not be limited and conditioned by the social or financial status, the educational level, the experiences in life, the age, the sex, the creed or the ability of action and speech of both the giver and the receiver. People who are disabled physically or mentally still can give and share. Not to say people who are fit and healthy, who can see, can hear, can smell, can taste, can feel, can touch, can think, can move our arms and legs, can breath, can eat, can talk, can walk, can run, can go anywhere and can do so many things, we all can easily give and share whatever that is available to share with this physical body and the mind through our thoughts, actions and speech.

There is no selfish intention behind the act of real generosity or charity and also there is no expectation for any selfish rewards in return.

It is non-identification with the doer of the act of generosity. It is nameless and formless, where there is no differentiation about how much time and effort that has been spent in the act of giving nor there is any weighing about the amount and quality of what has been given. Nor there is any concerns about the people who receive the charity is being grateful and appreciate or not; nor is the people being benefited from the charity or not. It is being done with pure intention out of loving kindness and sincerity. The act of real generosity or charity is untouched by karma. It is renounced from the fruit of action. It is non-action in action.

If after giving and sharing, we felt uneasy or unhappy or upset or regret about it due to the entire process was not perfect, maybe our effort and sincerity was being rejected or unappreciated or being misunderstood or was being taken for granted, then no matters how sincere were we trying to give and share, it is still not true generosity. It is being conditioned by our ego and the attachment towards all the names and forms. Just give and let go. Don’t mind at all about the results, maybe it will be great, maybe it will be a disaster. Most important is we did it out of pure heart, intentionless and without any expectations. Everything that we do shall be “empty”. No body is “giving” anything, no body is “receiving” anything, and nothing was being “given” or “received”. Every incident happens due to a cause. That is real generosity and charity, true giving and sharing.

May all beings be happy in both “giving” and “receiving”.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

About Satyam - Truthfulness

Truthfulness is the embodiment of the Self. The Self is the ultimate truth because it is the knower as well as the source of everything. Everything manifests from the Self and will dissolve in the Self. But the Self itself is untouched or unaffected by anything although everything manifests from it.

We all want to know the truth of everything. We don’t want to be in doubt and we are fear of the unknown and are dissatisfied with our limited and conditioned intellect. If we know the Self, we will know the truth of everything, and we will be free from doubts and fears; and there will be no more dissatisfaction.

The basis of everything is truthfulness. Without truthfulness, there is no meanings in everything. When we tell lies, all our words are meaningless. When we are being hypocrite, all our actions and speech has no real meanings, they all are just acting and lies. That’s the truth of it – being untrue.

Knowledge based on truth. If it is not true and is incorrect, it is not real knowledge but false information. The truth of the false knowledge is untrue. It still has the truth in itself.

Real relationships are based on truthfulness. What is love when someone doesn’t really love the other person but telling him or her this sentence of “I love you”? And the truth in this “love” is there is no love at all. It still has its own truth in it.

A good relationship is based on trust and love. Without truthfulness, there is no trust. Without trust, there is no real love but full of jealousy and doubts. What is the meaning of the relationship then?

For some people, sometimes the truth of things can be very uncomfortable or unacceptable or painful for them. Some people prefer not knowing the truth and live in their own self-imagining world and having their own expectation towards everything hoping everything will be exactly as what they want it to be.

Sometimes not knowing the truth is not a bad idea either, if the truth can cause serious damages to our hearts. But this is not the path of salvation – to be free from miseries completely.

The path of salvation is to be able to know the truth and accept the truth as it is. That will really free us from suffering, clear our doubts and fears. It is identifying with the wisdom itself. The knower is the wisdom to know itself.

Without truthfulness in our actions and speech in our conducts is not a sin or a crime, but it is an obstacle in the path that hinders us to see the Truth, to attain self-realization. Without truthfulness, how can we know the truth?

Self-realization is nothing but knowing the Truth. Truth is enlightenment. Without truthfulness, the state of “enlightenment” is not real.

We can deny or negate all beings and everything that we perceive in the mind, and say that all these are not real. We can say that the entire world, the life existence, the body, the mind, and whatever being perceived in the past and now is unreal, as all are selfless and impermanent without solid permanent existence, but we cannot deny the existence of the silent witness that is the knower of all these phenomena arising and passing away. And the knower of all the phenomena before, during and after the manifestation of selfless impermanent names and forms arising, changing and passing away, is the Self, the ultimate truth itself.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

About Forgiveness

Real forgiveness is unconditional. When something happened and we felt hurt, angry and unhappy, but we don’t want to be unhappy, and want to be free from anger and being hurt, we need to be able to forgive and let go… In unconditional forgiveness, we do not expect other people to be sincere to ask for forgiveness from us, or be regretful for what they had did, but, we forgive everyone including ourselves for being imperfect, and let go of any anger and hatred that arised and accumulated due to we cannot forgive and let go of what had happened…

Practicing unconditional forgiveness or to forgive and let go unconditionally, is initially about being kind to ourselves, and then is about being compassionate towards other beings who had intentionally or unintentionally inflicted the anger, pain or unhappiness in us.

Usually when someone intentionally inflicts unhappiness or generates tensions onto somebody else, it is because he or she is very unhappy and is suffering from anger, hatred and dissatisfaction. We should be compassionate towards them, show them peace and loving kindness, share love and happiness with them, and not being angry with them.

If somebody unintentionally inflicts unhappiness or generates tensions onto somebody else, then why do we still want to be angry and unhappy about it, since it is just an intention-less act comes from beings without the awareness that their action might cause somebody else discomforts… We should be compassionate towards them and show them peace and loving kindness, share love and happiness with them, and not being angry with them as well.

And so, whether anybody had intentionally or unintentionally inflicted any unhappiness or tensions onto somebody else, we should be compassionate towards them, and show them peace and loving kindness to ease their painful suffering that had caused them doing such ignorant action, and not being angry and hating towards anybody at all…

If we are being angry and unhappy about somebody or some undesirable happenings, we are the first one who is getting hurt and will bring harmful effects into our body and the mind. And if we extend this anger or unhappiness onto some other people, we will be hurting other people too. If we don’t know how to forgive and let go, we are actually hurting our own self, and bringing painful suffering to ourselves and others as well.

If we can forgive other people’s imperfections and wrong doings, we actually prevent ourselves and other people from getting further harms into the body and the mind. But first of all, we need to be able to forgive ourselves for our own imperfections and mistakes, then only we can forgive other people’s imperfections and mistakes.

In order to be able to forgive ourselves for being imperfect and accept ourselves as we are, we need to know how to accept ourselves as we are for what we can do and cannot do; for what we had did and haven’t done yet; be able to let go of the past instantly without any judgments, comparisons, criticisms and expectations. We also need to know how to not attach to all the names and forms, and know what is renounce from the fruit of our actions; not identify with the thoughts, feelings and sensations; know how to observe all the thoughts, feelings and sensations without associate with them or react to them, and let them go. We need to be able to accept ourselves as we are, without judgment and expectation, then only we can accept other people as they are, without judgment and expectation… Not expecting other people will be the way that we want them to be.

In order to be able to accept ourselves as we are and accept other people as they are, we need to know how to accept everything in the world as it is; not trying to interfere with the law of nature; not trying to control anything to be the way that we want them to be. At the same time, we also need to allow both “good” and “not good” things to be exist in this same space of the universe. We don’t possess the universe. Everyone and everything has the rights to be exist in this space of the universe just like ourselves being here.

And to start with, we practice observing the natural breath. Just be aware of the natural breath. Be aware of the air coming in and going out from the nostrils during the inhalation and exhalation. Accept the breath as it is. Not trying to interfere, or to control, or to change the pattern or the rhythm of the breath. Let go of any judgments, comparisons and expectations towards the breath and the result of observing the breath.

After inhalation, we have to exhale. After exhalation, we need to inhale. If we try to just inhale and not exhale, we will be in suffering. If we try to just exhale and not inhale, we will be in suffering too. If we try to not inhale nor exhale, we will be in great suffering. What we can do is, allow the breath to be what it is, allowing the inhalation to happen and allowing the exhalation to happen naturally. This is the law of impermanence. Having birth, we need to allow growth, old age, decaying, illness and death to happen, and accept all the different changes in our body and in the mind as it is, from moment to moment. Sometimes we feel good, sometimes we feel bad. Sometimes we have negative thoughts, sometimes we have positive thoughts. Sometimes we experience comfortable sensations, sometimes we experience uncomfortable sensations. Sometimes we act and speak selfishly, but sometimes we act and speak unselfishly. Sometimes we are wise and clear minded, but sometimes we are ignorant and confused in the mind.

Know that we are not the body, we are not the mind. We do not identify with them, and not generate reaction towards what the mind and body is experiencing from moment to moment, nor associate with them. We stand as a witness towards all the changes that is happening in our body and in the mind. We let all these phenomena manifest themselves; stay for a while; they will change and disappear – unceasingly arising and passing away. And then we extend this practice of being an observer, observing all the happenings out there in the world. Everything happens for a reason. If there is no such cause, there will be no such effect. If there is such effect, it is because there is such cause. We all are responsible for all the happenings in our lives and in the world.

Once we understand this, and are able to accept everything as it is, then we can accept ourselves as we are and accept other people as they are without any strong attachment towards all the conflicts and unhappiness that is happening among us and other people, or in any relationships. We are able to forgive and let go. The past is already gone, we can’t go back to the past to change or undo what had happened. Let them be and let them go. The future has not arrived yet, it doesn’t exist in the reality of this present moment. The present moment now is constantly changing from moment to moment.

If earlier I felt very bad, it doesn’t mean that I will continue to feel bad forever. If I was very angry earlier, it doesn’t mean that I will be angry forever. Either I will become more angry or less angry, and sooner or later this feeling of anger will disappear. Especially if we divert our attention onto something else. We can try and experience the truth of impermanence. Try to stay sad and angry for a long time. It will be so tiring and the intensity will becoming less and less. It doesn’t stay constantly the same unchanged. It’s the same for any happy feelings and excitement. They all don’t last long, and will change and disappear. Even the state of calmness is impermanent. If we know how to transcend these three states of the mind (agitation, depression and calmness), we will be free and be at peace all the time.

If we know the truth of impermanence, and able to accept the law of impermanence as it is, we will not have any attachment towards any names and forms, including both happy and unhappy events. We also won’t have any judgments, comparisons, criticisms and expectations towards ourselves and other people.

Once we let go of judgments and expectations towards ourselves and other people, we will be free from anger, irritation, frustration, dissatisfaction and disappointment. And thus we don’t even need to forgive anybody for any unhappy events, or against-our-wish happenings. If we know how to accept the reality of everything as it is, we don’t need to forgive anyone or anything. Because there is nothing there that we need to forgive or need to be letting go. It is only when we cannot accept the truth of thing as it is, because it is not the way that we want it to be, we will be angry, upset, dissatisfied and unhappy.

But if we still be disturbed, affected and determined by all the qualities of names and forms, and still have anger, unhappiness, disappointment and getting upset about someone or something, then we need to cultivate forgiveness to heal ourselves, to be kind to ourselves, and be compassionate towards all beings including those who had inflicted pain and suffering onto us, intentionally or unintentionally…

What is the meaning of being so upset or unhappy about some other people doing something wrong and bad, and make ourselves be in misery due to other people’s ignorance? We don’t have to. Let other people’s wrong doings and ignorance be with their respective owner, and not carry other people’s unhappiness and ignorance into our hearts. Be happy and let go. Life is too precious to waste our time and energy in conflicts, unhappiness, anger and hatred.

Whether other people sincerely ask for our forgiveness or not, we should forgive all and everything that had hurt us intentionally or unintentionally. This is actually being kind and compassionate towards ourselves and other beings. Wish all beings (including ourselves) be free from anger, hatred and guilt, and be at peace…

If we cannot forgive and cannot let go, we will never be in peace… Why do we want to hurt ourselves by being unforgiving and refuse to let go? Free ourselves from anger and hatred is true liberation… Whether other people want to forgive us for our imperfections, and free themselves from anger and hatred or not, even after we asked for forgiveness from them sincerely, that is their own freedom and choices, if they want to continue to be angry and unhappy, and don’t want to forgive and let go… We should respect their freedom to be angry and unhappy, and allow them to be angry and unhappy. We don’t have to feel unhappy and guilty if other people cannot forgive us and cannot let go of their anger and hatred towards us… Let them be what they want to be… When we ourselves are free from anger and hatred, then only we can share love and peace with other people…

If we ourselves cannot forgive and let go, how can we expect other people to forgive and let go? And if we can forgive and let go, then we won’t be bother about what other people did and didn’t do, and whether other people can forgive and let go or not. We can’t be angry with other people who are angry with us for what we have done and cannot forgive us… They have the rights to be angry and unforgiving, and be unhappy and not peaceful… It is their own responsibility to cultivate compassion and be compassionate towards themselves, and practice compassion towards other people, and to forgive and let go, and be in peace…

It is our own responsibility to be compassionate towards ourselves and other beings, to forgive and let go, and be in peace…

Be happy.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

About Purna - Whole

The Self is whole, full and without any qualities. And thus it is difficult for the impure mind to perceive the Self. Everything that we perceive through our senses in the mind is not perfect, non-self and impermanent. The intellect can only perceive something that is with names and forms. Something which is beyond names and forms is unknown to the intellect. But once the mind is purified, we will know that this Self in us and in every beings are the same pure consciousness, unlimited and unconditioned, unborn, undecay and undestructable. We will know that we are not the body, not the mind, not the intellect, not the ego, not the breathing, not the heartbeat, not the thoughts, not the feelings, not the senses, not the sensations and not all the names and forms that we can perceive through the senses. And thus we will be free from the bondage of all the names and forms, such like birth and death, fears and worries, likes and dislikes, cravings and aversions, happiness and unhappiness.

We all are different under the perception of the mind. We look different, behave differently; we think, speak and act differently. But after take away all the qualities of different names and forms, we all are the same consciousness but having different levels of impurities and self-control.

All the yoga practices like observances, restraints, asana, pranayama, detachment, concentration and meditation is to prepare ourselves to go beyond all the qualities of names and forms, and to be able to see our true Self with the eyes of wisdom.

Once we are beyond all the names and forms; and all the dualities, we will be silent, speechless, no more arguments and doubts. Because we cannot describe something which is beyond the perception of the impure mind and the limited intellect.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

One Day Yoga Workshop

Full day, full on yoga workshop

You can choose to join a one day relaxed or intensive yoga workshop (6.30am - 7.30pm) which includes Asana, Pranayama, Meditation, Kriyas, and a strength and flexibility session for the intensive yoga workshop.

One-day intensive yoga workshop outline

  • 6.30 Jala Neti
  • 6.45 Pranayama & Guided Meditation
  • 7.45 Break
  • 8.15 Yoga class
  • 10.45 Free time
  • 14.30 Strength and flexibility workshop
  • 16.30 Break
  • 17.00 Yoga class & Guided meditation
  • 19.30 End
Workshop fee - 700 rm inclusive of water refill and neti pot.

One-day relaxed yoga workshop outline

  • 6.30 Jala Neti
  • 6.45 Pranayama & Guided Meditation
  • 7.45 Break
  • 8.15 Yoga class
  • 10.45 Free time
  • 17.00 Yoga class & Guided meditation
  • 19.30 End
Workshop fee - 550 rm inclusive of water refill and neti pot.

Please book at least one week in advance.

Yoga mats will be provided. Help reduce unnecessary plastic waste by bringing your water bottle for refill. We keep our workshops deliberately small to ensure that you receive individual attention.

Contact us on for further details.

A few things to keep in mind before booking your yoga workshop

  • Yoga can help with many ailments, but if you have any particular concerns or health issues, or are suffering from any illness or injury, we advise you to consult a qualified medical practitioner beforehand.
  • The intensive yoga workshop is quite demanding physically and mentally and as such is more suitable for yoga practitioners who already have some experience and wish to go deeper in their practice.
  • It is important to refrain from eating at least two hours before class and not to drink at least 30 minutes before class. We strongly discourage drinking anything during Asana practice; however, it is important to drink plenty of water after your session.
  • You should wear loose-fitting, comfortable clothing, preferably made of natural fibres. Bring a towel, a sense of humour and an open-minded willingness to learn.
  • For your own peace of mind, and out of respect for other participants, we request that your telephone be kept switched off during classes and ideally for the entire duration of the workshop. Please refrain from using perfume or strong smelling deodorants. We expect our course participants to be non-smokers - at least for the duration of the workshop.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

About Birth And Death

Birth and death is happening every moment within our body. All the thoughts, feelings, sensations, regeneration of cells, each heart beat and each breath are arising and passing away from moment to moment. Birth and death is not just about living beings being born and die. It is the impermanence of everything. The present moment is both the past and the future. It is a continuous stream of selfless impermanent existence of names and forms from moment to moment. The past moment is not separated from the present moment or the next moment.

People celebrate births, but are very fearful and mourning towards deaths. Death is being seen as something bad or sad. Everyone has a strong survival instinct to avoid injury and death towards this physical body. This is due to not knowing the true nature of living beings.

If there is birth, there will be death. If we want to be free from death, we need to know how to be free from birth. When there is no birth, there is no death. It is the same for other things. If we want to be free from unhappiness or suffering, we need to know how to transcend happiness. If we are still looking for happiness; and want to have happiness, we will not be free from unhappiness.

Under the teachings of yoga and buddhism, the source of all selfless impermanent existence of names and forms is untouched by birth and death (Impermanence). Birth and death only happen onto the physical body, the mind, the energy, the elements and all the things that is under certain names and forms. The Self or universal consciousness is beginningless and endless. It has no birth and no death, no qualities, no intentions, and untouched by time, space and causation. It is unlimited and unconditioned. It is pure existence. It is the embodiment of unconditional peace, no colours, no shapes, no sounds, no smells, no tastes, no feels, no thoughts, no elements, no energy, no inside, and no outside. When the mind realized selflessness, being free from the idea of 'I' or the ego, it is not distinct from and it is identical with the Self, there's no fear and worry at all. There is no difference between birth and death of restless impermanent changes. It is beyond birth and death, good and evil.

Some people couldn’t grasp this state of selflessness, attributelessness, namelessness and formlessness. The minds understand that as all kinds of names and forms, including this thinking mind that is perceiving a worldly life existence in this present moment now, do not exist at all. They misunderstood about selflessness or non-self. The minds think that it means there is no existence of anything at all and the entire world of names and forms stop existing upon enlightenment. When the mind is still full of impurities and the intellect is impure and couldn’t perceive something that is beyond names and forms, people will have this great fear about losing themselves in meditation. Selflessness is the nature of all and everything, living beings and non-living beings or objects. Upon the annihilation of the selfish ego or the impure lower self-identity, all and everything is identical with the Self or the universal selfless pure consciousness, pure existence, pure bliss and pure knowledge. Non-self is about all and everything that is changing impermanently and selflessly, where everything that the mind perceives through the senses, including the body and the modification of the mind that the ignorant mind identifies as 'I', are not in its control and there is no certainty and solid permanent existence in all these names and forms. Nothing in this selfless impermanent world can exist without the supportive energy and the elements of space, fire, water, air and earth. Names and forms cannot exist independently.

May all beings be blessed with pure intellect to be able to grasp or realize this selfless Self or universal consciousness, where all and everything arising from, resting upon, changing and passing away, that is undetermined and unaffected by birth and death (restless impermanence), happiness and unhappiness, good and evil.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

About Guru Or Teacher

Everyone and everything is our guru or teachers. Our body, the mind, the intellect, the ego, the breath, the entire life existence, the birth and death of every moment, the impermanence, happiness, suffering, and everything that we are experiencing is our guru or teachers. But above all, the greatest guru is our Self.

Before a person know the path, he or she needs a guide (guru or teacher) to show him or her the path, and give him or her some advices and how to deal with obstacles. But after that it is up to the person itself to walk the path all by himself or herself. But he or she is never alone because there are many others on the path as well.

Anybody, good beings or not good beings, they all are our teachers. We learn from observing and experiencing. But need not burn ourselves till death to know how is the painful sensation cause by being burnt by fire.

If on the path, we meet some good company (Satsanga) who can uplift us in this spiritual path, then it will be very nice. And if we meet some bad company (Kutsanga) who are pulling us down from the spiritual path, then it will be a great opportunity to test our firmness, faith and determination. It is not bad either.

No matters how great or enlightened is our teacher; and we are being taught about lots of great knowledge and wisdom, it is still up to our own self to walk the path and experience what has been taught by our teacher; to know the Truth by our own self and receive the fruit of all our actions by our own self alone.

Somebody said honey is sweet and salt is salty. But if we haven’t tasted honey and salt before, we won’t know how sweet is the honey and how salty is the salt.

If I am hungry and thirsty, I have to eat and drink to make the hunger and thirst to go away. Some other people are eating and drinking won’t take away our hunger and thirst.

If I am ignorant and have lots of impurities; and create lots of unhappiness for myself, and thus I feel unhappy and not somebody else. Like wise, someone is ignorant and has impurities; and creates lots of unhappiness for himself or herself and not somebody else, unless somebody else willingly want to be affected or influenced by this person’s unhappiness and become unhappy as well.

But if I do bad and create bad karma, I will reap the karma all by myself. No one else, not our guru, our parents, our friends, our partner, our children or an enlightened being can replace me and suffer for me. If I suffer illness and experience great pain in my body, no one else can suffer that for me. When death comes upon this physical body, no one can replace me nor can I escape death.

If I have only the happy seeds, then all my experiences in my life will be happy and joyful. If I have only the unhappy seeds, then all my experiences in my life will be unhappy and sad. But for most of us, we are having the combination of both happy and unhappy seeds. Sometimes we experience happiness and other times we experience unhappiness.

May all beings be happy and found this great guru or teacher in our hearts.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

About Sensual Pleasure And Worldly Enjoyment

First, there is nothing wrong with sensual pleasure and worldly enjoyment. It is the attachment towards these things; the forever unsatisfied greedy desires and cravings; and the dishonest way of attaining these enjoyment are the problems makers for us.

Secondly, if we really are in search for salvation or to attain self-realization, we do need to have self-control in all these enjoyment and not let them controlling us. We can enjoy all these things but without the attachment towards all these enjoyment. But not many people can do this in reality because the temptation for sensual pleasure and worldly enjoyment is so great in this world. Some times we thought we can stay detached and enjoy everything, but in fact we are being lured into strong attachment towards all these enjoyment and suffer in the end.

If a person has very strong and determined detachment towards everything, then there is no problems at all for him or her to be in the world and live a worldly life as everyone does. But deep in his or her heart is unaffected, uninfluenced and undisturbed by all the sensual pleasure and worldly enjoyment. He or she is not being controlled by the cravings and aversions; and is free from suffering.

If a person has not yet established in firm detachment, then he or she needs to be away from sensual pleasure and worldly enjoyment to avoid being affected, influenced or disturbed by all these things. Or else, he or she will be neglecting his or her responsibility towards himself or herself for self-realization; by getting lost in the indulgence in sensual pleasure and worldly enjoyment.

Most important is that we are not attaching to our likes and dislikes; cravings and aversions; and know how to let go.

For many people who are not interested in self-realization, they will see the sensual pleasure and worldly enjoyment as something meaningful and a need in life. They will be forever chasing after all these things and see all these enjoyment as a status of their successful achievements in life. There is nothing wrong about this as long as nobody is being hurt or harmed in this pursue of temporary happiness of worldly enjoyments. Be happy.

But for the people who are in search for self-realization, they will see all these sensual pleasure and worldly enjoyment are very temporary; unsatisfied; empty and meaningless. And thus, they show disgust with sensual pleasure and worldly enjoyment. They will aim for the higher purpose of life; or the attainment of true and lasting happiness of self-realization. Be happy too.

Some people are beyond both worldly life of enjoyment and spiritual life of detachment. That’s very rare and great achievement, Om shanti.

If we are not firm in our resolution for the pursue in attaining self-realization, then some times we might feel unhappy or disatisfy with ourselves and our spiritual practice of detachment, self-control and self-discipline. We might feel lack of motivation to continue our practice and our faith will be shattered. We will be defeated by the temptation of the worldly enjoyment and by our greed for lustful desires. We will forget our initial goal and just want to have some temporary excitement of sensual pleasure to fill up the emptiness in our heart.

If we decided to give up spiritual practice of observances and restraints; and do not want to have self-control anymore, be happy. Do not let our self-worth and happiness being determined by what we do and don’t do. If we can live a worldly enjoyment life and being happy, why not? The aim of yoga and Buddhism is to be happy in life, transcending both happiness and suffering; and transcending all the names and forms. But if our actions in pursuing worldly enjoyment will bring disharmony and unhappiness to ourselves and to other living beings, then there is no meanings at all in having all these enjoyment but at the same time we are creating lots of bad karma and suffering for ourselves. If we are capable of getting lots of goodness and prosperity in life honestly and we are generous in sharing these worldly attainments in life with others who are less fortunate, then that is very nice. Dharma or wisdom never defines that being rich and prosperous in life is something bad or not good. It is a reflection of a person’s past good karma. If this person is generous in sharing with others, then this good karma will bring this person more goodness and prosperity in life.

We all are like those stubborn rats in our home. They will continue to walk into the traps that people set up for them because they want to eat the bait in the rat’s trap. Hunger and thirst is the basic craving for all living beings. How many of us are busy in life trying to make lots of money just to satisfy our cravings for the enjoyment of eating and drinking? I guess there must be many. Some times we feel that there is nothing else more meaningful than eating and drinking because at least we can really put it into our body and they have become part of our body. What we eat and drink is forming what we are. Everything else don’t belong to us at all except the food and drinks that we consumed and enjoyed; and are feeding our body and can give us the energy to enjoy all other things in life. Or else, if we can’t even enjoy our food and drinks, life will be so empty and meaningless.

And so, if at this stage (feeling meaningless about life), we can develop strong disgust about life and want to search for long lasting and meaningful happiness, and it will become a powerful ignition for us to focus in the spiritual quest for self-realization. But not let this meaningless and emptiness that we felt about life bring us down and lost in depression and negative thinking. Be positive and direct our attention in life towards self-realization then.

May we all be happy no matters we are in the path of pursuing self-realization or at the edge of the path, doubting and unsure about what is the meaning of life.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

About Fasting

Eating and drinking is part of the survival need which is also a basic craving in us. It is a necessity for us to eat and drink for survival. But other than those who have not enough food and are starving in daily life, for most of us who live in a well developed nation where food and drinks are easily available, eating and drinking is no longer just for survival, but as an enjoyment in life under the influence of likes and dislikes, or desire of craving and aversion. It is not just a necessity, but a “want” towards lots of diversities and choices. 
There is nothing wrong at all for anyone who wants to enjoy life indulging in food and drinks, and feel happy by eating and drinking for pleasure or to chase away boredom and the sense of emptiness in life. It is better than doing something that will hurt others for fun and enjoyment, and to chase away boredom and the sense of emptiness in life by getting involved in harmful activities. We enjoy food and drinks with gratitude and appreciation, to appreciate this life existence of this body and mind, to do something meaningful and good for humanity and other beings, especially engaging in the path towards enlightenment, or liberation from ignorance.

If we do not know how to be free from the craving for certain tastes that we like and the aversion towards certain tastes that we don’t like, then we will be experiencing dissatisfaction, irritation, frustration, and some kind of impurities in us. If we are being over-powered by our greed and desire towards the enjoyment of food and drinks, being led by our desire of craving and aversion, then we won’t have peace as our mind will always be agitated or disturbed by the greed and
ungratified desire of craving and aversion.

Fasting for a day or a few days once in a while under great care and correct methods is an effective purification process for the body and the mind. It is one of the ways to control our greed and desire of craving and aversion, and developing strong willpower and determination. It's not so much about 'starving' the body, but it's more about starving the restless modification of the mind.

When a person reduce the food intake (energy), the entire body system is actually having a break from unceasing overload work. It is an overhaul for the entire body system. At the same time, the mind will slow down as well. And this is a good time for us to learn and to know about ourselves or to recognize what is the mind, the ego and the intellect?; How does the mind work?; How does food and drinks affect our mentality and emotion?; How much food and drinks had taken our time and effort in life?; How strong is our craving over-powering our mind?; How do we behave when the desire of craving and aversion is not being gratified?; And how strong is our willpower and determination?

Fasting is also allowing us to experience the suffering of those people who are starving without food; and to develop appreciation, gratitude, detachment and contentment in us; as well as compassion towards other beings that are not as lucky as we are.

But most important is whether the motive behind fasting is having the correct attitude or not. Whether it is for self-development and spiritual growth; or it is for enhancing the ego and attachment towards the physical body because we want to slim down our body to have a desirable body image. Some people are fanatic about the body image and starve themselves – Anorexia.

Fasting without correct understanding and correct methods will not bring any spiritual growth but will be harming the condition of the body and the mind as well. Some people will get into depressing mood if not eating correctly or fast for too long. Some people get too low energy and the mind is dulled and can’t function properly (can’t think or memorize or work efficiently).

Eating healthy food and less amount in every meal is better than not eating at all for a long period of time. It is not so good for the body system especially when after the fast finished, we tend to eat a lot more than usual to replace the loss of our food intake or to gratify the body craving for food after many days not eating enough.

When we eat without the attachment towards the body and the ego, we are offering the food to the deity of fire which governs the digestive system in the body to maintain the life of this physical body for us to evolve spiritually and to attain enlightenment.

There are many reasons why people fast. For religion practices; for protesting something; for purification; for health; for penance; for developing divine qualities; for body image; for detoxification; for self-control, and etc. No matters what is the reason for fasting, may all be happy and appreciate this body and this life to do good and be kind to ourselves and to others.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

About Relaxation

We need relaxation because we have lots of tension and stress in our body and the mind (physically, emotionally and mentally). If we know how to stop generating tension and stress into the body and the mind, we don’t need to do anything to achieve relaxation at all.

Even when we try to escape from our life, our living environment, our family, our relationships, our job, our responsibilities and our daily routines, and go for a holiday on traveling, we will still end up with different types of tension and stress.

Even though yoga practice is supposed to release tension and stress, but due to not knowing the real meaning of yoga practice, we are building up tension in our body and the mind instead of releasing the tension from the system when we try to perform the asana exercises or pranayama. This is due to we are trying too hard to be perfect or good in our performance and having judgment, comparison, competition, criticism and expectation towards ourselves and other people while doing the practice. It is because we still haven’t detached from identification with our body, the mind and the ego yet. We are still caught up in the differentiation of dualities about whether we are good or not good; whether we are flexible or not flexible; whether we are strong or not strong; or whether we are capable to perform certain poses or not.

If we know how to relax our body and the mind while we are doing the yoga practice without generating any tension into the body and the mind, and then our body and the mind can absorb the benefit from our practice much efficiently. We can concentrate better and can remember what we have learn in the class as well.

And throughout the entire session of yoga practice of asana and pranayama; concentration and meditation, we need enough rest or relaxation in between each practices for the energy in our body to be restored and rebalanced before we move into another position or practice. All the practices should be done in a relaxed manner and not rushing to finish the practice as soon as possible due to impatience or wanting to do something else.

We should never strain ourselves in all the practices just because we put some pressure onto ourselves for our performance because the ego wants to challenge the body to go beyond its limitation.

At the end of our practice, it is very important to lie down or sit for 10 to 20 minutes to appreciate the calmness and peacefulness that we attained from our practice just by observing the breath without trying to interfere or to control or to change the rhythm or the pattern of the breathing. Learn to be an observer; be aware of the breathing and accept the breath as it is. If the breathing is slow, let it be slow. If the breathing is fast, let it be fast. The breath itself is not slow or fast. It has no intention to be slow or fast. It is the mind having the differentiation of slow and fast; compares the breaths and judges the breath as slow or fast. By observing the breath and accept the breath as it is without any comparison and judgment will bring us calmness and peacefulness in the mind. And thus the body and the mind is getting a very efficient relaxation.

Even in everyday life, we learn to be aware of the present moment; being concentrate on where we are and what we are doing; let go the past instantly from moment to moment; and not let the mind wonders to the past and the future; and remain equanomous unaffected or not disturbed by all the happenings in the world and in our body, and then we will not generate any tension or stress into our body and the mind. We will be at peace.

May we all learn to stop generate tension and stress into the system, and that is the most effective relaxation that we can get, even though throughout the day every moment in our life, our body and the mind is receiving lots of different inputs without us being aware of it. But we can avoid putting extra tension and stress into our body and the mind by letting go all the thoughts, feelings and sensations; and not to identify or associate with them.

Friday, January 1, 2010

About Tapas - Austerity

Tapas (austerity) is all the persevered practice that help the mind to achieve mind purification, one-pointedness in concentration and meditation towards attaining self-realization or enlightenment. It doesn’t mean extreme hardship or disciplinary in the path of yoga or selflessness. But it is having the correct understanding about what is self-control over the thoughts, actions and speech; how to restrain or withdraw the senses from going out chasing after the objects of the senses, how to purify the intellect and eliminate the ego; how to perform self-inquiry towards the truth of everything, and to have self-reliance, self-discipline and strong determination in the path towards self-realization.

It is about non-attachment towards all the worldly objects, affairs, relationships, experiences, sensual enjoyments and material enjoyments. It is non-attachment towards all the dualities; names and forms; comfort and discomfort; likes and dislikes; agreements and disagreements, to be free from the desire of craving and aversion. And to develop strong willpower to control the anger, hatred, jealousy, greed, lust and arrogance. It is to be the master of the chariot of the mind, the senses, the intellect and the ego; and not being the slave of these defilement.

It is all the practices that can help the mind to be quiet/still to remove the veil of ignorance, to allow insight/wisdom to arise to know the truth of the impermanent and selfless existence of names and forms, and the non-existing 'I'.

Observing the basic Yama and Niyama (observance and restraint – things that we should do and shouldn’t do that help to purify the intellect, quiet the modification of the mind, and eliminate the ego and egoism) is Tapas.

Living a simple (nothing to do with the trend of minimalism) and self-reliant way of life is Tapas. Withstand/Forbear all the impermanent uncomfortable/unpleasant sensations, feelings and thoughts that arise in the body and in the mind.

Control over the senses of the sight, the sound, the smell, the taste, the touch/sensation, and the thinking, by letting go desire of craving and aversion towards the objects of names and forms. Without craving towards the objects that the mind likes and enjoys; and without aversion towards the objects that the mind doesn’t like and doesn't enjoy, is Tapas. It is not attaching onto the perception of painful suffering and pleasurable enjoyment, or unhappiness and happiness. It is transcending both suffering and pleasurable enjoyment, or unhappiness and happiness. It is the middle path. Enlightenment is not attained through the experience of painful suffering or pleasurable enjoyment. It is realizing the truth of everything is neither painful suffering nor pleasurable enjoyment. Both mind perception of painful suffering and pleasurable enjoyment are also transitory, or impermanent.

Cheerfulness, patience, courage, willpower, determination, perseverance, acceptance, adaptation, adjustment, forgiveness, loving kindness, self-independence, self-discipline, positive thinking, correct understanding, tranquility, detachment and non-attachment are the fuel for us to walk the path towards self-realization; and to perform all the practices like Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi. All these practices are Tapas.

Performing selfless service (karma yoga) of all kinds of actions either for oneself or for others, without attachment, identification or expectation towards the action and the fruit of action is Tapas.

Devote the impermanent and selfless existence of this present moment to realize 'God' for those who believe in god existence, or Atman, or the universal birthless/deathless/nameless/formless/infinite consciousness for those who disbelieve in god existence, and seeing God/Atman/
the universal birthless/deathless/nameless/formless/infinite consciousness in everyone and everything, where the nature of all names and forms, including this one, is not separated/distinct from God/Atman/the universal birthless/deathless/nameless/formless/infinite consciousness, is Tapas.

For householders, being indifferent towards family or not family, friends or not friends, disseminate wisdom and compassion towards all and everyone unconditionally, while performing necessary actions to look after the well-being of the family or the surrounding environment, as well as looking after one's physical body and one's thinking mind, without attachment, identification, desire of craving and aversion, judgment and expectation, is Tapas.

It is not about starving ourselves till death, or torturing our physical body till injured. It is appreciating this impermanent and selfless life existence, the body, the mind and the senses for being here to experiment so many impermanent and selfless names and forms without attachment/identification/desire/judgment/expectation; and to realize what is selflessness; unconditional love and peace; compassion and wisdom; and realize the true nature of everything, the selfless Self – the infinite selfless universal consciousness, which is attributeless, nameless and formless, without negativity and positivity, without good and evil, without birth and death, without beginning and ending; unlimited and unconditioned by time, space and causation.

From the state of impure intellect/understanding, and working ourselves towards the state of purified intellect/understanding; and all the actions that we do or don’t do along the path towards self-realization are Tapas (austerity). And it is all about mind purification, discipline, self-control, non-attachment, non-identification, non-craving, non-aversion, non-judgment, non-expectation, dispassion, renunciation, and silence. All these qualities/practices allow insight/wisdom to arise within the mind, to see the truth of things as it is.

The dawn of wisdom is the end of ignorance and suffering. It is the liberation or freedom that is unconditional beyond names and forms, beyond the limited conditional selfless impermanent physical body and modification of the mind - attributeless, nameless, formless, changeless, timeless, beginningless, endless.

May we all (the selfless modification of the mind, of the impure egoistic perceptive cognitive intellectual thinking faculty powered by energy, where grasping/attachment arise unwittingly/ceaselessly attaching
towards the perception of impermanent qualities of names and forms, empowering the false/illusive individual identity of 'I', or what the thinking mind thinks is 'I', out of ignorance) observe Tapas, and be free from all limited impermanent selfless conditions.
There is no I. It's just impermanent selfless names and forms arising, changing and passing away governed by the nature's law of cause and effect (regardless of living beings and non-living objects, subject and object or the perceiver and the perceived).

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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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