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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 uncomfortable/unpleasant sensations, feelings and thoughts that arise in the body and in the mind.

Control over the senses of the sight, the hearing, 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 state of neither painful suffering nor pleasurable enjoyment. Because both mind perception of suffering and enjoyment are also transitory, or impermanent.

Cheerfulness, patience, courage, willpower, determination, perseverance, acceptance, adaptation, adjustment, forgiveness, loving kindness, self-independent, 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 or identification 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 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 present 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 return to the true nature of everything, the Self – the infinite 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 state of liberation which is attributeless, nameless and formless without any identifications.

May we all (the selfless modification of the mind, of the impure egoistic perceptive thinking faculty powered by energy, where grasping/attachment arise unwittingly/ceaselessly attaching
towards impermanent qualities of names and forms, generating the false/illusive individual identification of 'I', or what the thinking mind thinks is who I am, 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 and passing away (both subject and object/the perceiver and the perceived).

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