be free, be happy, be peaceful

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

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Getting benefits from doing yoga exercises regularly but didn't eliminate ignorance, egoism and impurities?

What it's like if we are getting many health and fitness benefits from doing the yoga exercises regularly, but we didn't eliminate ignorance, egoism and impurities?

It's like a beautiful garden with lots of nice fragrant flowers blooming and filling the air with really nice fragrant, but there were also smells of cat shits/pees and decapitated rotting dead body parts of birds and frogs that the cats killed for fun and left behind in the garden here and there.

It's everyone's freedom for what they want to do with that.

Some say, "It's okay. I love cats. I don't mind the smells of cat shits/pees and decapitated rotting dead body parts of birds and frogs that the cats killed for fun. I can still smelling the fragrance of the flowers. The nice fragrant of the flowers can 'sort of' cover those smells. I don't need to do anything." That's their choice of freedom.

Some say, "The nice fragrant of the flowers don't really cover or remove the smells of cat shits/pees and rotting dead body parts of the birds and frogs killed by the cats and being left behind in the garden. The air is filled with the mixture of the fragrance from the flowers and the smells from the consequences of cats' behavior. The fragrant of the flowers is no longer a nice fragrant, but is contaminated by the smells of the consequences left behind by the cats. What is there to be enjoying about? I have to clean up all these existing cat shits, wash away the pees, and take away all the dead body parts of birds and frogs, and then I'll do my best to keep the cats away as much as possible. Then I can truly enjoy the nice pure fragrant of the flowers in the garden." This is similar to the essential purification process of performing the yoga practice.

It's not so much about attaining and accumulating the benefits of the yoga exercises, and making the body and mind feels good momentarily after doing the yoga exercises, or accumulating virtues and merits by doing lots of 'good actions', but more important, is to clean up the ceaseless generation and accumulation of 'rubbish' in the mind - The annihilation of ignorance, egoism and impurities.

Huge amount of accumulated virtues and merits are nothing if ignorance, egoism and impurities are ceaselessly 'occupying' and 'contaminating' the mind.

Be free.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Unattached towards any thinking and belief, including the teachings of yoga

Why is it important to be unattached towards any thinking and belief, including the teachings of yoga?

We all need to make some unavoidable important decisions to suit the impermanent changes from time to time in our life. We will also come in contact with other people who have different thinking, belief and practice from us, from time to time, living in this space of the universe, whether we like it, or not.

If we attached strongly onto a particular thinking and belief in our mind that put importance and unimportance onto certain action, reaction, behavior and values, then we might have expectation towards ourselves and/or others to live life or behave in the way according to that thinking and belief. We will be very dissatisfied and disappointed with ourselves and/or other people if we or other people don't live life or behave exactly in the way according to that thinking and belief. We might easily be disturbed or offended by other people's different thinking and belief that put importance and unimportance onto certain action, reaction, behavior and values that are very different from ours. We would want to argue about whose thinking and belief is better or trying to persuade other people to take up our thinking and belief that we think is better, that we think is correct, that we feel very proud of. There's disturbance, dissatisfaction, disappointment, frustration, irritation, anger, hatred, offensiveness, defensiveness, hurts, fear and worry in the mind due to couldn't accept or allow or respect other people to be different from us.

Due to ignorance, our perception or understanding towards the teachings of yoga might not necessarily be something that we can agree with, like or want to practice.

If we attached strongly onto the teachings of yoga based on how we perceive or understand the teachings, we might not want to practice yoga if we have certain disagreements or dislikes towards the teachings of yoga that we think is wrong or incorrect because it is contradicted with our own existing thinking/belief/practice. Or, we might want to change yoga into something else that we can agree with, like and want to practice. And if our minds agree with, like and want to practice the teachings of yoga as it is, then there might be inner conflict arise when we need to make a decision for something that might go against the teachings of yoga. We would feel very disturbed, confused, guilty or regret for being unable to practice yoga 'perfectly' or 'exactly' in accordance to the teachings of yoga as it is. And then, the impure egoistic mind that attached strongly onto the teachings of yoga might unwittingly judging others, both yoga practitioners or non-yoga practitioners, out of self-righteousness based on what the mind thinks it knows about the teachings of yoga.

It doesn't mean that if we don't attach onto the teachings of yoga, then we don't need to respect the teachings of yoga and do whatever we like, even if it goes against the teachings of yoga. We should do our best to practice yoga as it is according to the ancient teachings of yoga, if the life condition and situation allows us to do that. But, life is impermanent.

There will always be some challenging unfavorable circumstances that we need to deal with from time to time. If we attached strongly onto the teachings of yoga, expecting ourselves to be able to follow 'perfectly' all the teachings of yoga to live life and practice yoga as it 'supposed' to be all the time, then we might not be able to continue our yoga practice or will give up the path of yoga entirely, when we think we can't or it's wrong to make adjustments in our life or in our practice to adapt and accommodate the challenging condition and situation that is also impermanent.

It's about the inner stamina, strength and flexibility of patience, perseverance, determination, acceptance, forbearance and tolerance to accept the reality that is not necessarily in favor to our preferred way of life or our yoga practice in accordance to the teachings of yoga as it is, and be able to make suitable momentary adjustments to adapt and accommodate any challenging conditions or situations that arise from time to time in our life and in our practice. But, with correct understanding that these adjustments are also impermanent, as well as do our best to respect the teachings of yoga as it is if the condition permits. Yoga is still what it is, whether we need to make some adjustments, or not. It doesn't change into something else, whether people agree or disagree with it, or whether people practice yoga as it is, or not.

It's about being compassionate, respectful and non-discriminating towards this life, this body and this mind that is not perfectly the way that we would like it to be and towards others who are different from us, who have different thinking, belief and practice that put different importance and unimportance onto certain action, reaction, behavior and values that are different from ours. Being undisturbed or unoffended by other people's thinking, belief, practice, values, behavior, action and reaction that are different from ours. Being undisturbed or unoffended by our impure perception/understanding of the teachings of yoga that our mind disagree with, doesn't like and doesn't want to practice.

Non-attachment is about being able to adjust, to adapt and accommodate any unforeseen circumstances of challenging condition and situation that arise in our life and our practice, whether it's about the physical/mental condition, livelihood, sickness, injury, aging, or any issues with family/neighbourhood/environment/weather/religion/area/getting the basic needs for life maintenance, that need us to make some necessary adjustments on the path of yoga whether in terms of livelihood, or performing our own yoga practice, or teaching yoga to other people, to adapt and accommodate the impermanent changes of challenging condition and situation.

It allows us to continue our practice in a slightly different way than what we would like it to be, but at least we didn't give it up just because we think it's impossible to practice yoga under certain challenging condition or situation, due to we think we must follow exactly the teachings of yoga as it is, that we think we can't or it's wrong/impossible to make any adjustments. More importantly, it allows the mind to be opened to inquire/investigate/experience the truth of the teachings of yoga, without blind-believing or blind-following.

Be free.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Root out pride and arrogance

For some reasons people are aspired to attain or possess certain qualities in order to be eligible or qualified to feel proud and arrogant towards themselves and/or others.

People are being encouraged to cultivate pride and arrogance as well, as somehow they think it's very good/important to be able to be proud and arrogant about something that they think it deserves to be proud of, that would make them feel somehow more stand out, unique and better than some others.

"Do something and be someone that make yourself and other people feel proud of."

People like to encourage and support other people to stay motivated and to be better by telling people, "I'm so proud of you!" People grew up with the thinking/belief/values/aspiration of need to be attaining or possessing certain qualities to feel proud of themselves and also make other people feel proud of them.

"I want to be proud of myself. I want other people to be proud of me."

People would feel inferior, bad, depressed and disappointed towards themselves when they think they haven't or couldn't attain or possess certain qualities that allow themselves and others to feel proud of.

Those who want to attain liberation must contemplate on all these worldly social cultural thinking/belief/expectation, to see the truth of it. All these are nothing but the play of egoism - It's merely the ego that needs to feel proud and needs others to feel proud of 'I' in order to feel satisfied, loved, motivated, appreciated, acknowledged, good, happy, confident and meaningful.

Meanwhile, some people think and believe that they are not at all proud and arrogant, as they are aware of the downside of pride and arrogance, and they don't want to be associated with pride and arrogance, but they aren't aware of themselves are already being over-powered by pride and arrogance. Without awareness, people can be proud of the thinking of 'I am not a proud and arrogant person. I practice humility. I am very humble.'

In Yoga, pride and arrogance is the by-product of egoism born out of ignorance. It's one of the great obstacles that hinders the mind to be opened to learn and practice yoga and meditation, to inquire the truth.

If we sincerely want to learn and practice yoga and meditation, we need to first learn how to identify pride and arrogance and free the mind from it. But, it's really not easy for people to let go pride and arrogance, as it is a part of their strong identity of themselves.

Even many 'graduated/certified/qualified/experienced yoga teachers' are being proud and arrogant towards themselves for having attended one or many 'yoga teachers training courses' attaining one or many certifications or qualifications in this or that, that they had studied and practiced yoga under one or many 'famous' or 'popular' yoga teachers/Gurus/schools, as well as their years of experience in practicing and teaching yoga, or they have recruited certain numbers of yoga students, or they had taught in certain yoga schools or yoga centres or yoga festivals or yoga conventions, or they had participated in some 'yoga competitions' and won certain awards, or they have done such and such charity works, or they have been contributing articles of yoga or being 'interviewed' in such and such magazine or social media, and so on. Most people would justify that their intention of getting all the attention, admiration and publicity is for promoting yoga to more people in the world. But, how pure and true is that?

Two of the common characteristics of pride and arrogance that exist in many yoga practitioners who already have been practicing certain style(s) of yoga for some time, or 'graduated/certified/qualified/experienced yoga teachers' who have attained many certifications/qualifications/experiences from attending different yoga courses and have been teaching 'yoga classes' or 'yoga courses' for some time :-

"I am experienced/qualified/knowledgeable/advanced yoga practitioner/yoga teacher. I know enough and I have long time experience in practicing/teaching yoga. I don't need someone to lecture me about yoga/yoga practice/teaching yoga, or tell/teach me the many things that I already knew."

"This is different from the yoga that I have been learning/practicing/teaching for many years. I don't agree with this, I don't like this. I don't want this."

When there is such pride and arrogance, the mind is closed, being unable to be opened to inquire/investigate the truth of something that is beyond what the mind thinks it knows, or something that is different from or contradicted with the existing familiar practice, thinking and belief in the mind, that the mind doesn't know or doesn't familiar with. We won't/can't learn anything that we actually didn't know but we think and believe that we already knew very well, even if there's a great teacher or great teaching in front of us.

Be free.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

The basic teachings and practice of yoga vedanta

  • Let go the worldly/personal identification with the body and mind as 'I'. The body and mind is not me, I am not the body or the mind.
  • Free the mind from pride and arrogance, superiority or inferiority towards any quality of names and forms that the mind identifying with as 'I' and 'mine'. One's thinking, belief, culture, education, religion, spirituality, gender, nationality, profession, knowledge, talents, skills, ideas, ability, achievement, family, relationship, friendship, marital status, social status, contribution, experiences, and etc. All these names and forms are not me, I am not all these names and forms.
  • Allow the mind to be opened towards what it knows and doesn't know, do not blind-believe or blind-disbelieve. Undetermined or undisturbed by what the mind disagrees with, dislikes or doesn't want.
  • Unattached towards any ideas, thinking and belief, including the existing ideas, information, thinking and belief in the mind coming from somewhere and everywhere.
  • Inquire the truth of everything, including all the teachings of yoga coming from different teachers or Gurus and reading books as well as all the existing worldly/social/cultural/religious thinking and belief in the mind that influence how the mind thinks, judges, acts and reacts.
  • Inquire what is this 'I', what is the ego and egoism.
  • Inquire what is suffering and the cause of suffering.
  • Unattached towards the physical body, the appearance, the physical health and fitness condition, the pleasantness and unpleasantness, the limitation, the ability and disability, the achievement and the impermanent changes.
  • Unattached towards the function of the mind, the state of the mind, the thinking, the belief, the thought activities, the mind perception of names and forms through the senses, the feelings and emotions, the known and unknown, the likes and dislikes, the agreements and disagreements, the desirable and undesirable.
  • Free the mind from the past memories and future imaginations. Train the mind to stay in the present as much as possible, effortlessly, gently, patiently, via persist practice without force.
  • Free the mind from craving and aversion.
  • Free the mind from judgment, comparison and expectation towards oneself and others.
  • Inquire what is the mind and what is going on in the mind.
  • Inquire the truth of 'hurts', 'unhappiness', 'grief', 'painful sorrow', 'dissatisfaction', 'frustration', 'irritation', 'disappointment', 'anger', 'hatred', 'low self-esteem/low confidence', 'guilt', 'regret', and all kind of impurities, including what the mind perceives as 'happy' and 'positive' feelings and emotions.
  • Be kind to the body and the mind, take care of the well-being of the body and mind, accepting the body and the mind as it is even though they are not perfect.
  • Purifying and rendering the mind pure, focus, balance, calm and quiet via the observation of Yama and Niyama and different types of Kriya, Yoga Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana practice, without attachment towards the practice or expectation towards the fruit of the practice, allow Samadhi to happen naturally when the practice is matured, intentionlessly, spontaneously and effortlessly.
  • Filtering inputs and outputs of the mind. Quiet and silent the mind.
  • Reduce or refrain from unnecessary worldly affairs, social networking, relationship building, mingling, interactions and activities, that give rise to ceaseless desires, restlessness and impurities.
  • Adopt a simple and quiet lifestyle, looking after the basic needs of the life maintenance of the body and mind, and divert maximum attention, importance, effort, time and energy into maintaining internal and external purity/cleanliness, quieting the thought current, developing one-pointedness and sharpening the intellect for the quest of the truth, to free the mind from ignorance, egoism and impurities.
  • Abandon or let go self-harm, superstitious thinking and belief, blind-believing, blind-following, politics, arguments, debates, discussions, conflicts, envy/jealousy, discrimination, bias, all kind of corruptions, gossips, vain talks, boasting, story telling, lying, plotting, scheming, manipulating, exploiting, worrying, anticipating, day dreaming, worldly/spiritual ambitions of gaining attention/support/fame/respect/title/power/acknowledgment/authorization, petite-mindedness, mischievousness, evilness, violence, worldly indulgence of the senses, physical/mental addictions, drugs abuse, intoxication, sexual misconducts, hypocrisy/untruthfulness in daily conducts and relationships with others, the desire to control/expect relationships/things/life/the world to be the way that 'I' like it to be, and all kind of conducts/desires driven by passion and lust.
  • Develop self-independence, self-control, self-discipline, self-inquiry, self-introspection, awareness, dispassion, right discrimination, correct understanding, right livelihood, straightforwardness, truthfulness, simplicity, patience, perseverance, determination, acceptance, tolerance, forbearance, forgiveness, adjustment, adaptation and accommodation.
  • Unattached towards all actions (action and inaction) and the fruit of actions. There's no 'I' am performing actions or 'I' am the receiver of the fruit of actions. There's no "I am good person doing good actions and will be receiving goodness in return."
  • There is neither 'I' am selfish nor 'I' am unselfish. There's no 'I' am selfless or 'I' perform selfless actions, or 'I' receive the fruit of selfless actions.
  • Inquire the truth of all and everything - Impermanence and Selflessness.
  • Inquire the many names but all are ONE - 'silence', 'liberation', 'compassion', 'unconditional love', 'unconditional peace', 'inaction in actions', 'selflessness', 'egolessness', 'I-lessness', 'non-duality', 'oneness', 'non-separateness', 'fearlessness', 'intentionlessness', 'neither good nor bad', 'neither positive nor negative', 'attributelessness', 'namelessness', 'formlessness', 'birthlessness and deathlessness', 'beginninglessness and endlessless', 'beyond the thinking mind', 'beyond the worldly/social/cultural/religious thinking and belief', 'beyond the mind perception of names and forms', 'beyond pleasantness and unpleasantness', 'beyond happiness and unhappiness', 'beyond positive and negative', 'beyond meaningfulness and meaninglessness', 'beyond suffering and end of suffering', 'beyond good and bad karma'.
  • Unconditional love and peace, compassion and the ability to forgive and let go what the mind perceives as 'bad', 'wrong', 'negative', 'undeserving', 'hurtful', 'sorrowful', 'painful' and so on, are nothing to do with the impermanent and selfless physical conditions, appearance, strength, flexibility, stamina, limitations, ability and disability, the impermanent and selfless states of the mind, the mind perception of different qualities of names and forms, the intelligence, pleasant/unpleasant life experiences, or the condition and situation of the world. Identifying ourselves with any quality of names and forms that the mind perceives as 'good', 'positive', 'meaningful', 'rightful', 'healthy' and so on, doesn't guarantee that the mind is free.
  • Identifying as 'good people' being 'good' and doing 'good', also doesn't guarantee that the mind is free from ignorance, egoism, impurities, disturbance, unhappiness, loneliness, meaninglessness, dissatisfaction, disappointment, unhappiness, anger, hatred, jealousy, hurts, fear and worry, and all kinds of suffering.
  • Do our best making use of this life existence of the body and mind for bringing peace to oneself or the world without attachment, identification, judgment, comparison, or expectation. Serve, love, give, purify, meditate, realize, and let it go. 
  • Peace is in this present moment when the mind is free from ignorance, egoism and impurities. It's not being left behind in the past or to be found in the future. It's not in the next life or in another life form.
  • Inquire the truth of all the teachings and practice mentioned here.

It's everyone's freedom whether they want to take up this practice or the teachings, or not.

Be free.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Not the kind of yoga retreat that most people expect it to be

We have been running yoga retreats in Langkawi for the past nine years. The retreat evolves over the years as we learn, as well as it changes to adapt the different condition and situation according to the circumstances that exist from time to time which are not in our control.

The main objective of running the retreats here is to allow those who truly want to learn and practice yoga to come here for a few days up to a few weeks to learn and practice yoga and meditation as much as possible, so that they can take away the basic understanding and direct experience of the teachings and practice of yoga, which allowing them to practice yoga and meditation practically and independently when they go home back into their everyday life, wherever they live, under any conditions or situations.

We don't have intention to create an 'out of the world' place with holiday resort environment to pamper the guests with hotel customer service and resort facilities or pleasurable enjoyment and indulgence for the senses, to empower or gratify the egoistic desire of craving and aversion of the mind, to make the minds feel pampered, deserving, satisfied, good and happy momentarily by giving the mind maximum pleasurable enjoyments that it likes and wants.

We do our best to provide a simple, clean and tidy place for performing the yoga and meditation practice, and give maximum guidance to the people who sincerely want to learn and practice yoga and meditation to know what is going on in one's mind, to transcend suffering, to free the mind from the cause of suffering - ignorance, egoism and impurities.

Non-commercial yoga and meditation practice is not what most people expect it to be. Most of the time, it's not necessarily comfortable or fun. Instead, there is a lot of persevered ongoing hard work and the purification process is quite challenging for many, that many people would give up easily if they don't have the basic correct understanding of the teachings of yoga and lack of determination, patience and forbearance to endure or withstand difficulties or discomforts that arise during the purification process to eliminate egoism and impurities, to transcend the mind perception of an impermanent and selfless worldly life existence of names and forms.

Most people would think and imagine, or expect and desire 'yoga practice' and 'yoga retreat' as one kind of pleasurable leisure health and fitness activity and enjoyment, to momentary unwind from stress, exhaustion and burnout, or to escape worldly everyday life and environment that is not necessarily the way that they like it to be, and hence, many of those who provide or conduct 'yoga classes' or 'yoga retreats' also make use of the trend/demand of 'yoga classes' and 'yoga retreats' to provide 'yoga classes' and 'yoga retreats' that are being marketed as a 'pleasurable leisure health and fitness activity and enjoyment in an out of the world environment' to meet up with the expectation and desire of many people.

Those who expect 'yoga retreats' that provide 'pleasurable leisure health and fitness activity and enjoyment' in an 'out of the world' holiday resort environment with all kinds of convenient service and facilities other than the basic facilities, and expecting to be receiving hotel customer service and pleasurable enjoyment and indulgence of the senses will be very disappointed when they attend the retreats here. This is definitely not the kind of 'yoga retreat' that they expect/desire it to be.

People who attend the retreats here need to 'work' on purifying one's mind, letting go egoism, and to 'endure' any challenging discomfortable or undesirable condition or situation that may or may not arise, that is not necessarily the way that they like it to be. In the end, the mind realized that the disturbance arise in the mind perceiving all kinds of challenging condition and situation is due to the reaction of craving and aversion in the mind itself, it's nothing to do with the condition and situation being what it is. "I don't agree with this. I don't like this. I don't want this."

Only those who sincerely want to learn and practice yoga and meditation to know one's mind, to transcend the mind perception of names and forms will 'appreciate' this kind of retreat that guides the mind to go beyond the gratification of the desire of craving and aversion of "only want to enjoy pleasurable indulgence of the senses as much as possible and don't want to have any difficulties or discomforts", but 'working' diligently to render the mind calm and quiet to allow the mind to see the ignorance, egoism and impurities in one's mind, while living in the world as we are, dealing with everyday live conditions and situations that are not necessarily the way that we like it to be, that is not in our intention or control of how we like it to be.

We don't expect everyone would appreciate this kind of yoga retreat or yoga practice. It's everyone's freedom for what they want to do with their life, body and mind, or how they perceive yoga and yoga practice.

This life is impermanent and it's closer to death every moment. This is the truth of all living beings. Death is not something negative, bad, sad, sorrowful, inauspicious, fearful, or horrible, it doesn't matter what is the scientific cause of death, or how and when it happens. Whether some die without much prolonged physical/mental painful suffering, while some die after much prolonged physical/mental painful suffering, it's still death, neither good death nor bad death. The only difference is whether the mind is able to let go in peace, or not, confronting the process or moments of death.

Be happy.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Expectation

Though it's just a simple word, 'expectation' is one of the greatest influence in the human minds towards almost all and everything in the impermanent and selfless life existence. It gives motivation, hope and the sense of achievement and meaningfulness to many people.

Expectation from oneself towards oneself, towards the physical and mental ability or achievement, one's effort and the outcome of one's effort, and all kinds of relationship/connection with different beings and things.

Expectation from oneself towards other people, the society, the environment, or the world, to be the way that how one would like it to be, that one thinks and believes how it should be, and not to be the way that one thinks it shouldn't be.

One might also being bound/determined by expectation from other people/the society towards oneself and unwittingly want to meet up with the expectation from other people/the society towards oneself, in order to earn liking, love, attention, respect, praise, compliment, agreement, acknowledgement, support, friendship, companionship, and etc, from other people/the society.

To many people, 'expectation' is a positive necessity or important motivation for making progress/improvement or to excel in the life of human beings. People think and believe that human beings need to have certain degrees of expectation from oneself and/or others to push oneself and/or other people around to progress, improve or excel in everything of life, throughout the different life stages of childhood, adulthood, parenthood, middle age, old age, education, learning, building social network, friendships, relationships, career, family, or contribution towards the society, the world, or life existence, and so on.

To those who see the truth of the mind perception of a worldly life existence that is impermanent and selfless, 'expectation' is unnecessary when the mind is free from ignorance and egoism, as 'expectation' is merely part of the egoism of attachment, identification, desire of craving and aversion, judgment and comparison that relates to restlessness, dissatisfaction, disappointment, unhappiness, frustration, anger, hurt, greed, fear and worry, which leads to the accumulation of physical and mental tension that gives rise to tension/stress related physical and mental illness, abusive behavior towards oneself and others, family and relationships problems, social problems, and etc.

Those who have some basic correct understanding towards life existence that is impermanent and selfless, who know the ability and limitation of their body and mind, who are endowed with dispassion, non-attachment, non-identification, non-craving/aversion, non-judgment, non-comparison and intentionlessness, being unattached towards the actions and the fruit of actions, they don't need any 'expectation' from oneself and/or others to motivate or push them to perform necessary and wholesome actions, to do good or improve.

They don't have expectation towards other people, life, the society, or the world, 'hoping' or 'expecting' that everyone and everything to be in certain ways, but they just do their best according to the ability and limitation of the body and mind, make use of the available knowledge, skill and opportunity to perform necessary and wholesome actions through the body and mind for the well-being of oneself and/or others, but they allow the result of their actions or efforts to be there as it is, being undetermined by their actions/efforts or the fruit of their actions/efforts.

In the worldly egoistic thinking and behavior pattern, there is intention to inspire or motivate one to perform actions, then expectation towards the fruit of actions comes along. If the mind can realize the truth and be free from this worldly egoistic thinking and behavior pattern, that's a great liberation, even though the life existence of the body and mind is still bound by the law of nature - Cause and effect, impermanence and selflessness. If the mind doesn't realize this and is determined by this worldly egoistic thinking and behavior pattern, then one is not free, even though one can attain all the relationships and things that one would like to have in life, as one will always be disturbed/dissatisfied/disappointed by something that is not the way that how one thinks it should be, that one doesn't like, doesn't want and doesn't agree with.

Ask ourselves honestly about what is the motivation/intention that makes us think and feel that we need to have 'something' or 'someone'. And once we have that 'something' or 'someone', naturally we have expectation towards that 'something' or 'someone' to 'deliver' what we expect to be 'getting', to 'fulfill' or 'gratify' the motivation/intention/reason/desire of why we need or want to have that 'something' or 'someone'. What are we so afraid of if we don't have that 'something' or 'someone' being there existing in our life, or if we lose that 'something' or 'someone'?

"Do good, because it makes you feel good and happy."
"Give, and you will receive more in return."
"Do good, and goodness will return to you."
"Be nice to other people, other people will be nice to you too."
"I did this for you/I gave you this/I helped you, you should be grateful and thankful."
"I help you, you help me too."
"Be generous and help other people, and people will return your generosity and help."
"Pray to God, and God will bless you with what you desire."

Why not just be kind, be friendly, be generous, be helpful and be supportive, or just pray to God, without any intention/motivation/expectation?

Those who know, they will be kind/friendly/helpful/supportive towards all and everything according to one's ability, without discrimination of 'friends' or 'not friends', and there's no motivation/intention/expectation to be receiving something desirable/help/support/kindness/goodness/friendliness/friendships in return for being kind/friendly/helpful/supportive.

Those who don't know, there is fear. Fear of not getting what they want and fear of losing what they want or getting what they don't want. Fear of the unknown, nothingness, hardship, difficulty, boredom, loneliness, meaninglessness, helplessness, unloved, left-out, companionless, non-acknowledgement, and so on. There's is this idea or thinking - "I deserve this and that in return for my efforts/kindness/helpfulness/friendliness/generosity/contribution."

"I want to be good enough for myself and other people. I want to be able to accept myself being the way that I want myself to be, and I want other people to accept me being the way that they want me to be." But why do we think that we need to be good enough/be in certain ways in order to be accepted by ourselves, or other people, or the society, or the world? We don't have to.

Those who know the truth, who realized unconditional love and peace, being free from ignorance, egoism and impurities, or being free from attachment, identification, desire of craving and aversion, longing, judgment, comparison, expectation, boredom, loneliness, meaninglessness, depression, dissatisfaction, disappointment, unhappiness or suffering, they don't need to do something, or be someone, or have something, to make them feel good, happy, confident, meaningful, thankful or grateful. All their actions are pure actions being performed out of compassion and selflessness.

Be free.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Friendliness towards all beings without discrimination, intention and expectation

This teaching is a contemplation for those who are interested in learning and practicing yoga and meditation, to silent the restless impure egoistic mind. Those who are not interested in practicing yoga or meditation to silent the mind don't need to observe or contemplate on this teaching.

Friendliness in yoga is nothing to do with sociable talkative personality or behavior, or being sociable to be accumulating personal connection and friendship with as many people as possible.

Being friendly to all beings doesn't mean that one has to be sociable and talkative, or accumulating many personal friendships that involve engagement in physical/verbal/mental interactions and activities from time to time.

Being sociable and talkative doesn't necessarily mean that one is being friendly towards all beings without the influence of egoistic discrimination of likes and dislikes, selfish intention and expectation.

Quite many people, including health professionals think and believe that being quiet or not being talkative, especially in young children, is something 'sick/unhealthy', 'bad', 'negative', or 'wrong'. The best time for yoga and meditation practice is when everyone else has gone to sleep. Why? Because it's the only precious time of quietness and peacefulness available on earth in that time zone without people doing things, playing, arguing, negotiating, making noises, shouting, or talking. Does that quietness and peacefulness on earth when everyone/the minds being away in sleep, being non-interacting, non-talking, or non-action causes more chaos in the world? Nope. Instead, when people/the minds are awake, many people criticize other people who don't talk much as being unhealthy, disturbing, rude and unfriendly?

The friendliness in yoga and meditation practice is about respecting all beings as they are, being free from superiority or inferiority, without egoism of attachment, identification, possessiveness, discrimination of likes and dislikes, desire of craving and aversion, intention or expectation, without dissatisfaction, disappointment, hurt, fear, offensiveness, hostility, ill-thinking, or ill-will towards all beings, be undisturbed and without interference towards other people being different from oneself, or having different thinking, belief, practice, values, behavior, action and reaction from oneself, without intention of accumulating friendships or companionship from other people to get rid of boredom or loneliness, or to be accessible to support and help whenever one needs one, without expecting other people have to behave, act or react the way that one thinks it should be, or expecting other people to treat oneself the way that how one would like to be treated.

People who would feel disturbed or offended if other people do not join in their conversation, or are disinterested in their invitation to a function or event, are due to their own expectation towards how other people should response towards their 'friendliness'. People get unhappy, disappointed or offended when they don't get the response that they expect to be getting from other people. Those who are truly friendly won't mind at all if other people are not interested to participate in any conversation or event.

Those who are truly friendly, it's not necessarily that they are sociable, or talkative, or actively interacting with other people. They might be very quiet and mind their own things. But, they have no ill-will, ill-thinking, ill-talking, judgment, criticism, condemn, gossip, slander, disrespectfulness, animosity, offensiveness, interference or expectation towards other people's different way of life, thinking, belief, practice, values, behavior, action and reaction.

Take a look into most of the usual conversations among people, we will see that these conversations are mostly full of talking about hanging onto the past, projecting into the future, planning, plotting, scheming, worldly/personal attachment, worldly/personal identification, pride, desire, fear and worry, and lots of complaint, moaning, dissatisfaction, disappointment, blame, ill-will, ill-thinking, ill-talking, criticism, condemn, gossip, slander, back-biting, story telling, untruthfulness, justification, boasting, manipulation, as well as interference or expectation towards other people's way of life, thinking, belief, practice, values, behavior, action and reaction. Not that all these activities are bad or wrong, but the yoga and meditation practice is to free the mind from all these worldly habits of physical/verbal/mental/emotional activities/restlessness of impurities.

It's very common that when people want to talk to other people and they expect other people to talk to them in response to their 'friendliness', but then they would feel greatly disturbed or offended if other people don't response to their 'friendliness', or when other people talk about things that they don't like and don't want to hear, that they disagree with.

The most effective way to help oneself or anyone to be free from all the 'problems' or 'suffering' that one thinks and believes is what disturbing one's mind that one feels and thinks that one needs to talk to other people to talk about one's problem or suffering to seek help or advice, is to be quiet and listen. Listen to the Dhamma that is here and everywhere when the mind is quiet, and the mind sees the truth of 'unhappiness', 'problems', or 'suffering'. It's not about expecting someone, or other people, or guru, or God to be there to listen to one's problems, unhappiness, dissatisfaction, disappointment, frustration, hurt, fear, worry, complaint, blame, moaning, or bitching about other people that one feels angry or unhappy with, that one doesn't like and doesn't agree with, so that one will feel slightly relieved or feel better about oneself for a few moments, but then the mind continues to be restless and disturbed by the ongoing worldly life experiences that are not necessarily the way that one likes it to be, or the mind perception of names and forms that the ego doesn't like, doesn't want and doesn't agree with, while thinking and believing that one's 'unhappiness', 'problems' or 'suffering' are caused by the experiences or qualities of names and forms that the mind thinks and believes as 'bad', 'wrong', or 'negative'.

Performing yoga and meditation practice, especially attending silent meditation retreats or courses, will allow people with a disturbed/unhappy/suffering mind to learn to be quiet and listen to or seeing the Dhamma that will free the mind from ignorance, egoism and impurities, and thus be free from all kinds of 'unhappiness', 'problems' or 'suffering', and one doesn't need to talk/complain/boast about anything. One doesn't need someone, or other people, or guru, or God to be there to listen to one's complaints, as there's none. The mind is silent and peaceful, so as the surrounding environment is also undisturbed by a silent peaceful mind. That is true friendliness towards all beings and the environment.

Be free.

Friday, April 6, 2018

Suffering is the greatest motivation for treading the path of liberation

People might think that love, happiness, kindness and all kinds of goodness are inspiring people to take up yoga practice. Though it's true, but they are not the motivations to motivate people to live a life of dispassion to transcend the mind perception of a worldly life existence of names and forms that is subject to impermanence and selflessness.

Suffering is the greatest inspiration or motivation for people to be determined to work diligently and seriously towards liberation from the mind perception of a worldly life existence of names and forms, or the modifications of the mind under the influence of ignorance, egoism and impurities.

Just like a country that is full of corruptions, it's similar to a fruit tree that is sicked from the root to the branches to the leaves and to the flowers and the fruits. Nothing is going to change, or move forward towards liberation from corruptions, when everyone is enjoying the fruits of the sicked tree, even though they are bitter and sour and are infested by worms, but at least it can feed their hunger. They are reluctant to let go of this tree as they don't know if there will be another tree that can provide them with enough fruits that can feed their hunger, and so, they are 'comfortable and satisfied enough' to hang on to this tree, even though they would complain about the fruits are bitter and sour and have worms in them.

The condition or situation has to be so bad, so bad that there's no fruit at all for anyone, not even bitter and sour fruits with worms, or the tree dropped dead completely, then everyone will have no choice but to abandon this tree to look for some other fruit trees that might provide them fruits to feed their hunger. Or else, they will keep watering the tree keeping the tree alive, hoping the tree continues to provide them with enough fruits, even if they are bitter and sour and are infested by worms. From time to time, they might consider giving up the tree out of frustration and disappointment, but in the end, they won't give it up, as long as the tree will continue to provide them with the 'fruit' that can feed their hunger, especially sometimes the tree would occasionally give fruits that might still infested by worms, but they are less bitter and sour, and even slightly sweet. As everyone is already used to the fruits with worms, and so, they are very happy and satisfied with the less bitter and sour, and sweeter fruits once in a while.

Under good life condition and not too much difficulties in the moment, when the life situation is not very good but not too bad either, where people can still 'enjoy life' even though there are many problems or corruptions everywhere due to ignorance, egoism and impurities, people would just enjoy the seemingly 'good condition' of comforts, enjoyments and conveniences in life, even though all these are impermanent, hoping that the good life condition will last as long as possible, or will become even better, and they will be reluctant to let go all the impermanent comforts, enjoyments and conveniences to tread the path that is not necessarily pleasant, while it could be very unpleasant and challenging, but would lead them towards highest liberation.

It's only when the beings experience great suffering, not just a little suffering or unhappiness, then they would be inspired, or be motivated, or be determined to work their very best seriously for attaining liberation from suffering of a worldly life existence of a limited body with an impure egoistic thinking mind that is impermanent and selfless.

The experience or the perception of great suffering is not a bad thing at all when it motivates the beings to live a life of dispassion that leads towards highest liberation from the modifications of the mind, or the mind perception of an impermanent and selfless worldly life existence of names and forms.

Be free.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Mental and emotional independence

The core/essential teachings and practice of yoga is about purification of the mind transcending the human egoistic nature/worldly thinking and belief/feelings and emotions/behavior/action and reaction, the impermanent condition, ability and limitation of the physical body of birth, growth, changes, sickness, weakness, old age and decomposition (death), the selfless function of the mind, the states of the mind, the modifications/activities of the mind, the mind perception of names and forms through the senses, the egoism, the impurities, the veil of ignorance and attaining liberation from the suffering of the mind perception of a worldly life existence that is subject to impermanence and selflessness.

In the process of the transformation from the lower human nature (selfishness/tendency to hurt oneself and/or others) to the higher human nature (unselfishness/tendency not to hurt oneself and/or others), and then transcending even the higher nature to go beyond the lower/higher or the bad/good human nature (selflessness/attributelessness), the thinking mind needs to be disciplined for developing certain essential qualities that allow the mind to go beyond the impermanent and selfless mind perception of a worldly life existence of qualities of names and forms.

These essential qualities are the basic foundation of both the practice of Yoga and Buddhism for mind purification, such like dispassion, correct understanding, right view, right effort, right livelihood, truthfulness, honesty, simplicity, austerity, contentment, non-attachment, non-identification, non-craving, non-aversion, non-judgment, non-comparison, non-expectation, intentionlessness, patience, perseverance, determination, acceptance, detachment/letting go, forgiveness, tolerance, forbearance, adjustment, adaptation, accommodation, one-pointedness, right concentration, care-free, fearlessness, renunciation, solitude, seclusion, calmness, self-discipline, self-control, self-inquiry, self-effort, self-realization, or being unaffected/undisturbed/undetermined/uninfluenced by the mind perception of pleasant/unpleasant, agreeable/disagreeable, likeable/dislikeable impermanent qualities of names and forms through the senses.

All these qualities existing in the mind are also reflecting as mental and emotional independence in a being. One will know how to deal with challenging or difficult condition and situation equanimously and solve problems by oneself.

One doesn't need to rely on or depend on attaining/possessing, or experiencing, or coming in contact with the impermanent quality of names and forms of good condition, good environment, good life experience, good livelihood, good standard of living, good relationships, perfect unbroken family/society, good image, good reputation, social status, health status, possessions, knowledge, skill, gratification of desire (of getting what I like/not getting what I don't like/not losing what I like/losing what I don't like), achievements, physical and mental abilities, or getting attention, love, liking, agreement, support, appreciation, acknowledgment, kindness, respect, comfort, friendship, companionship from anyone or anything, to feel good, happy, confident, love and meaningful, or to perform necessary actions that would benefit oneself and/or others.

One is peaceful as one is, being mentally and emotionally independent, where the mind processes all the mind perception of names and forms or thought activities/feelings/emotions as it is, uninfluenced by egoism or worldly family/racial/social/cultural/religious/spiritual thinking and belief, being open-minded to inquire/question/investigate the truth of everything, including the teachings of Yoga and Buddhism, without blind-believing, blind-following, blind faith, or blind-actions and reactions, and being free from emotional exploitation/burden/blockage.

This is also what and why most people fear of - Mental and emotional independence in people could also means that those impure selfish greedy ambitious minds are losing the 'power' or 'opportunity' to control/influence/manipulate/exploit/threaten other people to be the way that 'I' like it to be, to help 'I' to get what 'I' want, or gratify 'my' desires, or achieve 'my' ambitions, or create the life/relationship/family/parenthood/business/career/community/society/politic/nation/world/security/enjoyment/situation that 'I' desire, that would help me to achieve what I want to achieve. Regardless whether this 'I' is a partner, a spouse, a parent, a child, a sibling, a friend, a teacher, a student, a member of the community/society, a citizen of a country, a leader of a country, a business person, an employer, an employee, a politician, a political party, a society, a group of people, an association, an affiliation, a company, and etc.

Whether people are aware or unaware of themselves having personal goal/ambition/agenda, they don't like the idea of mental and emotional independence, as it would threaten/obstruct their personal goal/ambition/agenda.

Most parenting methods and children psychological development/training and education are mostly about empowering egoistic human nature that is empowering/encouraging mental and emotional dependence, as mental and emotional independence is 'threatening' the egoistic worldly family/cultural/social/religious/political/commercial thinking/belief/values/behavior of attachment, identification, desires of craving and aversion and expectation in all the relationships/dealings among people.

Contemplate on these familiar worldly thinking/belief/practice/values -:

"Of course I want my children/my partner/my friends/my teachers/my students/my community/my employee/my employer/my clients/my followers/my disciples/my supporters to attached onto me, to hold on to me, to need me, to rely on me. They need me to be there for them. They need my presence, my attention, my love, my care, my affection and my guidance/advice/approval/agreement/consent/opinion/support/help/service. I am needed by them. I will feel so worthless, lonely, bored, unloved, demotivated, depressed, empty and meaningless if I am not needed by anybody."

"I love my children and my children will love me."

"I am nice to you and you will be nice to me too."

"I am giving you something nice and you will give me something nice too."

"I will be disappointed, unhappy and angry, and I won't be nice to you, if you don't love me, or are being ungrateful/unappreciative, or are not nice to me."

"This is who you are. Don't forget or abandon this. This is your root, your ancestors, your name, your gender, your role, your obligated behavior, your thinking, your belief, your culture, your spirituality, your religion, your God, your parents, your family, your friends and relatives, your community, your nationality, your motherland, your dignity, your pride, your duty and this is your life. All these are who and what you are. You need love and consent from all these that make you who you are, or else you will be sick and die due to lack of love, loneliness and meaninglessness. You need to attain love, support, agreement, acknowledgement, cooperation, companionship from them. You must love them and they will love you and bless you with your desires come true, happiness, goodness and prosperity. You should fight/hurt/destroy the threats upon you and them at all cost to protect all these values of what make you who you are."

The impure egoistic possessive minds want and expect strong attachment and dependence among family members, community members, parents and children, siblings, friends, citizens, human beings, and etc. They encourage the development/empowerment of a strong personal/cultural/religious/family/worldly/community/national identity that build on mental and emotional dependence among each other. Mental and emotional independence appears to be something 'wrong', 'unhealthy', 'bad, 'crazy', 'inappropriate', 'sickness', or 'impossible' for many people even though different people come from different backgrounds of culture/thinking/belief/practice. Reasoning, or analytical thinking, or questioning the truth of things are being considered as 'bad' and 'wrong' for many people who have personal goal/ambition/agenda that depend on the 'support' from other people.

There is no doubt that physical, mental and emotional independence can be limited and restricted due to circumstances. Such like infants and young children/physically or mentally ill or injured or disabled people/old people/emotionally or mentally disturbed people will need special attention and care, physical help, mental help, emotional support from other people to support and help them in their everyday living, to go through difficult moments, or need to be physically depending on other people for many things during the time of young age, sickness, injuries, weakness, old age, immobility, or suffering from mental or emotional disability.

One can be mentally and emotionally independent even though one is physically depending on other people for many things in life, unless one is suffering from mental and emotional disability. Just like those who are not suffering physical limitation or disability don't need to rely or depend on others physically, so as, those who are not suffering from mental or emotional disability don't need to rely on or depend on others mentally or emotionally. But then, how come so many people glorify and advocate mental and emotional dependence among each other, thinking that it's not possible or it's not good for human beings to be mentally and emotionally independent?

Be free.

Friday, March 30, 2018

The practice of silence - Mauna (2)

For those who want to experiment what is the practice of silence is about, it's not necessarily that they have to be living in the forest or in a cave, as that can create many inconveniences, challenges and difficulties for the novice. They can experiment the practice of silence by attending a silent meditation retreat (not the commercialized luxury yoga retreat that emphasized on pleasurable enjoyment of the senses) at a dedicated retreat centre that provides the environment and facilities that allow people to be engaged in the practice of silence for a period of time - https://www.dhamma.org

For others who would like to observe silence in everyday life while living in a village or town or city, where one needs to look after one's everyday living/livelihood and/or looking after other people under one's care, it's not possible to observe complete silence at home for a prolonged period of time, as one still have to be regularly engaging in the worldly activities of coming in contact with other people from time to time, to live everyday life of getting to work, or doing business, and getting to shops to get supplies for daily needs and feeding oneself and/or those under one's care, and etc, though it's still possible to observe a few hours of complete silence being away from stimulation of worldly activities of mind inputs and outputs of talking/outing/interacting/communicating/messaging/phoning/shopping/discussions/debates/worrying/physical fitness training/munching outside of basic meal times/playing musical instrument or games/reading news, magazines, or novels/listening to songs, music, talks or story telling/watching TV programs, advertisements, movies, shows performance, theater, or entertainments, and all forms of social contacts and activities during that few hours (even just for half an hour, if time and space constraint) when staying awake outside of sleeping hours.

Sleeping doesn't count as observing silence as the mind will be unconsciously/involuntary being actively processing the memories or imprints of inputs, outputs, actions, reactions and emotions via dreams, except during the deep sleep mode where thought activities ceased, even when all the bodily systems still continue to be functioning autonomously/ceaselessly for maintaining life or staying alive.

Practicing partial silence in everyday life beside the few hours of complete solitude and seclusion restricting the mind inputs and outputs as mentioned above, it's about filtering the inputs and outputs by:-

- Choosing inputs and outputs that will bring more correct understanding, quietness, peace and harmony to the mind of oneself and others. Avoid inputs and outputs that will inflict greater attachment, identification, expectation, craving and aversion, passionate desire, restlessness, stupidity, greed, anger, hatred, jealousy, lies, untruthfulness, hypocrisy, dissatisfaction, disappointment, grief, depression, hurt, hostility, violence, ill-thinking, fear and worry, and other impurities in the mind of oneself and others.

- Reducing and limiting the physical and mental engagement in social life interactions and activities as much as possible, such like disinterest or care less towards worldly affairs, or other people's affairs, allowing everyone to develop correct understanding, self-introspection, self-discipline and self-realization, to know what is going on in their minds, to learn to love themselves and to look after their own minds and life independently (many passionate friendly sociable good people would disagree with this, as they don't know/understand what is beyond the worldly thinking and belief of the 'normal', 'friendly', 'caring', 'good' and 'appropriate' human behavior. Looking after one's mind by purifying and silencing one's mind to be free from ignorance and egoism, to stop unwittingly and constantly 'hurting' oneself and others out of ignorance and egoism and impurities is the most efficient, compassionate and friendliest way to truly care for the world and other beings)

- Talk only when necessary of something important or in the case of emergency.

- Talk less by minimizing and cutting short conversation using simple words of 'Hello', 'Good morning/afternoon/evening/night/day/bye' and 'Thank you' upon coming in contact with other people in everyday life.

- Learn how to be free from boredom, loneliness, left-out or meaninglessness.

- Stop feeding the desire of craving and aversion.

- Give up the worldly nature/tendency of curiosity, busybody, minding other people's affairs, heroism, gossiping, discussion, debate, commenting, flirting, bonding, connecting, networking, relationship building, teasing, blaming, fault finding, back-biting, criticism, argument, justification, complaining, moaning, mourning, day dreaming, building castle in the air, and etc.
Looking after the overall well-being and livelihood of oneself and/or those under one's care, perform daily tasks of maintaining the living space, without attachment or expectation, and performing social selfless service of pure and compassionate actions without attachment, identification, discrimination, bias, judgment, comparison or expectation and renouncing the fruit of action, without personal/political/commercial/religious agenda and ambition, or selfish intention and desire, doesn't contradict to the practice of silence.

- Give up personal friendships accumulation, but be friendly to all by freeing one's mind from ignorance, egoism and impurities, without discrimination of personal likes and dislikes, agreements and disagreements, desires of craving and aversion, possessiveness or expectation towards others, develop understanding and respect towards other people's different ways of life and values of life, thinking, belief, practice, action and reaction, or behavior under different life condition and situation, and develop tolerance, forbearance, adjustment, adaptation, accommodation, forgiveness and letting go.

- Do not interfere with other people's freedom of thinking and belief and way of life, or intrude other people's privacy and personal or living space. Do not try to convert or change or correct other people's thinking/belief/way of life that we don't like or don't agree with. Mind our own mind and life. What other people want and don't want to think, feel, believe, practice, behave, act or react, and the consequences of their actions are their freedom and responsibility. Let everyone learn to take the responsibility for their actions and looking after themselves.

- Stay away from ignorant trouble-makers if possible, if it's not possible to stay away, then endure the challenges or difficulties that arise due to other people's ignorance and the consequences of their ignorant behavior, instead of trying to control or change or correct them or hoping that they will go away. Even this 'challenging and difficult' situation out of other people's ignorance is also impermanent. Do not feed ignorance with ignorance. Confronting people under the influence of ignorance will only generate greater ignorant reactions and unnecessary damages. It's the prideful arrogant ego that thinks and believes that "I can control or change or correct/educate these ignorant people to stop behaving ignorantly." It's up to everyone to be aware of ignorance in themselves, and want to be free from ignorance or stop behaving ignorantly. Buddha can only guide people who are aware of ignorance and suffering in themselves on how to be humble to look into their mind to see the truth, but Buddha can't remove the veil of ignorance in anyone, so that they will be aware of ignorance in themselves. Trying to control/change/correct ignorant people by fighting or conflicting with them will only provoke more ignorant reactions. It's like telling most arrogant people, "Hey! Don't do this. You are so stupid." they will be more determined to do it.

- During the practice of silence in everyday life, if the mind is struggling with boredom, loneliness, or meaninglessness, one can divert the time, energy and attention/importance into the inquiry or contemplation of the truth of names and forms, study the teachings of yoga and the existing thinking and belief in one's mind to investigate the truth of it, or developing one-pointedness of the mind focusing at one object internally or externally, or perform Japa or chanting, or do some light yoga asana practice, until the mind starts to be at ease without much usual habits of worldly physical or mental activities, one can then channel the time, energy and attention into meditation, starting with observing the natural breath as it is, when this practice becomes effortless/non-struggle, one can then observe the physical sensations moving the awareness from point to point through out the body, without attachment, judgment, expectation, craving or aversion towards the pleasant or unpleasant sensations arising and passing away. When the practice become effortless, when the mind becomes quiet, naturally, the mind sees the truth as it is, insights or wisdom will arise upon the vanish of the veil of ignorance.

It's absolutely possible to not having (or turn-off) TV, internet connection, phone connection, radio, music player, games and other convenient entertainments for the senses at home. Or, not going to the cinema, theaters, concerts, invitations, parties, events, functions, amusement park, entertainment centres, fancy restaurants, clubhouse, social interactive cafe, pleasurable enjoyment outlet, commercial malls, and so on.

It's also possible to reduce and minimize social communications, interactions and activities, the accumulation of friendship and relationship, minimize contact with family and friend circle and the neighbours, minimize engaging in the community activities of the village/town/city, maximize solitude and seclusion outside the time when one has to come in contact with other people for work or getting daily needs for living/survival or in the case of emergency. Family and friends who truly love and accept us as we are, will not be offended or unhappy by our non-sociable way of life, or the practice of silence, seclusion and solitude. Those who truly know what is love will let go the people whom they loved. The family and friends who will complain and be offended, that's their freedom for how they think, feel and react, but then we understand that it's their ignorance, egoism and impurities that cause them to think, feel and react in such way. We can let them be and be unaffected and undetermined by their ignorance.

Basically, one must know how to be undisturbed or not be bothered by how the society/other people perceive, think and judge about one's practice of silence and renouncing social interactions and activities, as there will always be some kind of non-understanding, non-acceptance, non-accommodating, disrespectfulness, interference or intrusion towards other people's privacy and freedom of life, judgment, disagreement, dissatisfaction, disappointment, expectation, gossip, criticism or condemn coming from people of family, friends, relatives, community, or those who don't even know the practitioner personally, due to ignorance, egoism and impurities. If one doesn't know how to be undisturbed by all these worldly reactions from other people, it will only cause more unhappiness and disturbance in one's mind being determined and disturbed by other people's thinking and belief, and other people's expectation and intrusion towards one's way of life or practice. If so, the practice of partial silence in everyday life becomes impossible or being contradicting towards the 'normal' way of life of the society or the worldly minded people.

Both sociable and non-sociable way of life is neither good nor bad, neither right nor wrong. Just that for one who is aware of the ignorance and suffering in one's mind, who wants to be free from ignorance and suffering, the practice of silence is essential, though not everyone is suitable for this practice. It requires tremendous will power, perseverance, self-discipline, mental and emotional independence, fearlessness, dispassion and non-attachment deriving from the basic understanding of yoga, suffering and the cause of suffering, ignorance and the by-products of ignorance, the mind and the modifications of the mind, the ego and egoism, and the not necessarily easy or comfortable, but 'correct' and 'efficient' way/path to be free from ignorance and suffering.

People who don't talk much, don't interact much, who are not responsive towards other people's 'friendliness' or 'interest to be interacting with other people', are being perceived or understood by the society/worldly minded people as 'abnormality', 'rude', 'unfriendly', 'unhealthy', or 'uncaring'. Even many yoga enthusiasts of yoga practitioners and yoga teachers are also not free from this type of perception, thinking and belief.

Non-sociable is not the same as anti-social. It's normal that people would perceive or think that the practice of silence is anti-social, or non-contributing to the society or the world, or being selfish. But they don't know that silence of the mind is the highest and purest form of contribution towards humanity and the society or the world and our loved ones, by freeing one's mind from ignorance, egoism and impurities, stop hurting oneself and/or others out of ignorance, egoism and impurities, and being non-intrusive/non-interference/respectful towards other people's freedom of different ways of life, thinking, belief, practice and behavior. If people want to judge, that's their freedom. Let them be.

If one seriously wants to implement the practice of partial silence into everyday life, then one can try one's best to avoid coming in contact with or staying away from worldly minded people who strongly believe in and advocate 'certain thinking and beliefs of how human beings should and shouldn't behave and live life', 'ideal of building a perfectly all good and bad-free world', 'ideal of changing the world to be the way that they think it should be', 'be in control', 'be in power', 'be strong', 'be passionate', 'be sociable', 'be inspired', 'be interactive' and 'community values' way of life, or those who attached strongly onto and be proud towards their own way of life and values of life, who want to convert and correct other people whom they dislike and disagree with, and they get offended or disturbed by other people's different ways of life or values of life, and they expect other people should also be like them having the similar way of life and values of life.

Those who truly practice yoga and meditation, who are truly friendly, kind and compassionate, is nothing to do with being outspoken, talkative, sociable or interactive, and actively engaging in worldly social, community, cultural, family and friends affairs, interactions and activities. They have no identification as 'friendly, kind and compassionate people'. They might be performing actions that would benefit the world silently, but they don't intent/aspire to change the world to be all good and nothing bad. They don't expect other people to also be like them. They have no attachment or identification towards their actions and they have no expectation towards the fruit of their actions, allowing the fruit to be what it is. They don't interfere with or intrude other people's freedom of different ways of life, thinking, belief, practice and behavior, even though the mind might dislike or disagreeable with those ways of life, thinking, belief, practice and behavior. They don't try to covert or change or 'correct' other people who are different from them to also be like them. They allow the law of nature to be what it is. They are free from craving or clinging towards 'goodness' and aversion towards 'badness'. They respect everyone to be what they are, as they are, even if they are not very nice, or behave nastily or destructively, due to ignorance. They allow everyone to experience, learn and evolve at their own cause and pace, even if the entire world or humanity will be destroyed by ignorance. Because none can free another being from the consequences of their own actions or their own suffering deriving from ignorance, egoism and impurities, but oneself.

One will be very disappointed if one expects everyone to be good and do good and nothing bad and evil. The world is a platform for human beings under the influence of ignorance, egoism and impurities to 'play', to 'have fun', to 'procreate', to gratify their desires of creating something that they like and destroying something that they don't like. Greed, dissatisfaction, discrimination, bias, unjust, corruption, anger, hatred, jealousy, lust, hurt, offensiveness, hostility, ill-will, fear, worry, hunger, thirst, conflicts, violence, wars and etc are everywhere. There are also some goodness, good deeds, kindness, empathy, sympathy, charity, assistance, higher technologies, pleasurable enjoyments and entertainment, good family, good relationship, good behavior, good understanding, good friendships, good community, good companion, good life, good environment, good condition, good situation, good people, and so on. But no matter how much badness and how much goodness, all are impermanent. Appreciate and support all the goodness but without attachment, clinging or craving towards goodness, and do not appreciate or support badness but without aversion towards badness, if one wants to be free.

Those who are free and peaceful, they don't need to observe all the above practice or observation of silence to render the mind pure and quiet to allow the mind to see the truth of names and forms, to be free from ignorance and be peaceful. They can live alone away from the society, or live with other people among the society, but they are not influenced or disturbed by what is happening in the world, or the ignorance, egoism, impurities, or interference of other people, remain equanimous in peace.

The practice of silence is for those who sincerely want to know the truth of one's mind and suffering. Those who have no interest in knowing the mind, who don't need to be free from suffering, who are happy with everything as it is, they don't need to do this practice.

It's everyone's freedom for what they want to do with their life, body and mind.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Conflict between the practice of influencing the state of the mind and observing the mind perception as it is?

Some people get confused by the yoga asana, pranayama and concentration practice that is about influencing the state of the mind (intentionally changing the state of the mind to be something different by purifying and rendering the impure restless wandering mind to be pure and calm and focus) and the practice of observing the mind perception of names and forms/thought activities and allowing the mind perception of names and forms/thought activities to be there as it is, without attachment, identification, judgment, expectation, craving or aversion towards the function/modification/thought activities of the mind, and allowing all the impermanent changes of all the names and forms to be there, as they are.

It seems like a contradiction of practice, but it's not really.

The mind is like the lake and the state of the mind is like the surface of the lake. The reflections are being reflected as they are when the surface of the lake is still, and the reflections are contorted when the surface of the lake is moving. By rendering the state of the mind calm and still will allow the mind to see things as they are or allowing the perception of names and forms to be reflected as it is, but it doesn't change the truth of the names and forms being what they are.

The modification/thoughts activities/perception of an individual reality of the mind is like the image/reflection of the sky or the sun or the moon being reflected on the surface of the lake, and no matter the images reflected on the lake is as they are or are contorted, (and if the lake has an egoistic thinking mind of likes and dislikes, agreements and disagreements, craving and aversion towards the reflection of the sky, the sun or the moon on itself, and desires to change the sky, the sun or the moon to be the way that it likes it to be,) the lake doesn't change the sky or the sun or the moon. And if the lake doesn't exist, there's no reflection of the sky, the sun or the moon, it still doesn't affect the sky, the sun or the moon being there as they are.

The reflection on the surface of the lake doesn't belong to the lake. The modification of the mind or the mind perception of pleasant/unpleasant/agreeable/disagreeable names and forms doesn't belong to the mind.

Just like all the contents of good and bad qualities of names and forms existing in this space cannot affect the space and they don't belong to the space. Neither will the space has desire to interfere with all the contents in it.

The space and the mind is still what it is, whether the mind perceives something as good or not good existing in the space. The space and the mind is still what it is, whether the mind perceives pleasant smells or unpleasant smells in the air. The space and the mind is still what it is, whether the mind perceives beautiful happening or disgusting/horrible happening in this space.

Different minds perceive its personal/individual reality differently under the same condition and situation. Such like, different minds feel differently while being in a place full of 'good' happenings or being in a place full of 'bad' happenings. Death is neither good nor bad. Some people are sad and mourn for the death of the leader of the country/party/ideal/vision that they supported, while some other people are glad and celebrating it. Positive minds perceive names and forms positively, while negative minds perceive names and forms negatively, but it's not the truth, as all the names and forms are just what they are, they are neither positive nor negative. The reality is just what it is, but qualities are being projected onto the perceived reality of the mind perception of names and forms out of the different states of the mind.

The modification/thought activities/perception of an individual pleasant or unpleasant reality, is like the reflections on the surface of the lake. The state of the mind (pure or impure, peaceful or peaceless, with good/bad attributes or attributeless) influences how the mind understands/reacts towards the perception of names and forms perceived through the senses, or life experiences, but all the perception of names and forms, or life experiences, or the understanding/reactions/modifications/activities cannot affect/hurt/disturb/change the mind, except due to ignorance and egoism, there's a false identity in the mind (the ego) is being disturbed and determined by all the perception of names and forms, and has the desire/idea of changing the perceived reality to be the way that it likes it to be.

The practice of yoga asana, pranayama, concentration and self-inquiry serves as the tool to maintain and render the mind pure and calm to be fit for higher realization of freedom from ignorance and suffering. The yoga asana and pranayama practice is to prepare the mind to be fit/ready for self-inquiry and meditation by balancing the restless/agitated/dulled state of the mind via body positions/movements (yoga asana practice) and control of the breath (pranayama practice), to render the mind calm and quiet.

The concentration practice/exercises/training is to restraint the mind to focus at one point for a prolonged period of time, and to keep the mind in the present refraining the mind from wandering into the past or the future, or getting lost in random ceaseless thinking and imaginations. Meanwhile the practice of renunciation/solitude/seclusion is to free the mind from getting entangled in the mind perception of a worldly life existence.

These practice/training are developing the awareness to be aware of or to observe the modifications of the mind, rendering the mind to be calm and quiet, to be free from restlessness and to be open to inquire the truth/nature of everything, preparing the mind for meditation - seeing the truth as it is.

The inquiry into the truth/nature of names and forms will help to strengthen dispassion, right discrimination, non-attachment, non-identification, free from craving and aversion, judgment and expectation, and this will lead the mind to be less disturbed or completely undisturbed by all the perception of names and forms of a worldly life existence, and generate less impurities or completely be free from impurities, which eventually lead to the annihilation of ignorance and suffering of the mind perception of a worldly life existence of impermanence and selflessness.

The pure egoless mind stands as a witness witnessing/observing the mind perception of a reality as it is, or observing the mind perception of names and forms/the states of the mind/the activities in the mind/the thoughts/the feelings/the physical sensations, condition, ability and limitation/all the selfless impermanent changes, as they are, without interfering with all these modifications of the mind.

Whatever the mind perceives through the senses or comes in contact with, all the perceptions of names and forms/thoughts activities/images/individual reality, and all states of the mind are just what they are. They are impermanent and selfless. They don't belong to the mind. The worldly life existence perceived by the mind is impermanent and selfless. It doesn't belong to the mind. It's neither 'I' nor 'mine'. Suffering and all kind of corrupted thinking and behavior arise when there is ignorance, egoism and impurities in the mind that generate attachment, identification, desire of craving and aversion, judgment and expectation, thinking and believing that there's 'I' and 'mine'.

Without a calm and quiet mind, when the mind is in a state of impurity and restlessness due to egoism and impurities, it's impossible for the mind to inquire the truth of things to be free from ignorance, as whatever is being perceived/understood through the senses are under the influence of or being contaminated by the impurities and restlessness. Just like a dirty, dusty and moving mirror cannot reflect the image of an object placed in front of it as it is. The mirror also cannot/doesn't see itself without the help of another 'mirror' or 'reflector'. And all the dirt, dust and movements don't belong to the mirror. All the yoga, pranayama and concentration practice act as the tool to render the mind to be free from impurities and restlessness (cleaning up and stilling the 'mirror' to reflect the images as they are), and meditation is the 'mirror'/'reflector' to allow the pure and calm mind to see itself, as it is, beyond all the modifications of the mind.

That's why it is very important to render the state of the mind pure and calm, in order to allow the mind to inquire the truth of names and forms, to be free from ignorance, and thus, allowing all the names and forms to be what they are. Or else, the ignorant egoistic minds desire to interfere with the names and forms that it doesn't like to change/control it to be the way that it likes it to be, and there arise all sorts of suffering of discrimination, intolerance, interference, offensiveness, defensiveness, hostility, hatred, fear, violence, wars and etc.

It's up to everyone to work on their own liberation through their own effort and pace.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Learn how to relax or let go/release physical, mental and emotional tension

Relaxation of the body and the mind comes before the attempt of developing the skill, strength and flexibility to perform the yoga exercises or yoga poses.

The physical, mental and emotional tension existing in the body and mind are mainly due to ungratified desires of coming in contact with the objects of name and form that the mind doesn't like/doesn't want and not coming in contact with the objects of name and form that the mind likes/wants, as well as accumulated from an imbalanced lifestyle of overly inactive/sedentary/idle or overly active/busy/restless way of life.

If one doesn't know how to relax or let go all these accumulated tension while attempting to perform the yoga asana exercises or poses with the intention or expectation to be developing the physical strength and flexibility and the skill to do the poses, it's not going to work efficiently.

When there are unnecessary tension existing in the body and the mind while doing the yoga asana practice:-
  • The entire learning process of the mind and the body as well as the overall effect of the physical and mental practice/training will be less efficient.
  • The mind is unable to focus which will be affecting the learning process and inattentiveness/cloudiness will lead to higher risk of accident and injury.
  • The muscles/tendons/ligaments/joints/nerves/vital organs that are in a state of tension will be affecting the development of physical health, fitness, strength and flexibility and will lead to higher risk of injury, as well as influencing the mind being unable to be open towards the teachings or philosophy of yoga that might be different from or contradicted to the existing thinking and belief in the mind.
  • The tensed body can't really absorb the effect of the practice/training efficiently/properly/entirely even though the effect of the practice/training is present during and/or after the practice/training.
  • Tensed mind and body is deeply related to higher risk of physical and mental illness as well as broken relationships, destructive behavior and social problems, not excluding 'yoga enthusiast'.
  • The tensed mind cannot function/think/act and react properly/healthily and easily gets confused/disturbed/intimidated by all kinds of names and forms that the mind perceives through the senses from moment to moment, and eventually losing sanity, or being unable to look after the well-being of oneself, or to live life independently, not excluding 'yoga practitioner' and 'yoga teacher'.

That's why the initial relaxation of the body and the mind in the beginning of the yoga asana practice, is very important/crucial, even before the warming-up exercises, to allow the body to be able to develop the skill, strength and flexibility efficiently and safely in a relaxed manner, as well as to allow the body to be absorbing the effect of the practice/training to the maximum, but more important, is to allow the mind to be able to be relaxed/open to inquire the truth of the teachings or philosophy of yoga that are not necessarily likable or agreeable to the mind that has been conditioned to think in certain ways and believe in certain beliefs that are different from the teachings or philosophy of yoga.

Relaxation of the body and mind should be the very first practice/learning/training for people who want to learn and practice yoga even before learning to do the basic yoga poses or guided breathing exercises. Such like simple abdominal breathing of slowing down the inhalation and exhalation in a relaxed manner without strain for a few minutes, and then moving the awareness from point to point in the physical body to be aware of any existing tension and let go the tension consciously, and bringing the mind into the present moment to be aware of the reality as it is, without craving or aversion. Without rushing into the yoga asana practice routine, without any expectation, the tension existing in the mind and body will be less intense and eventually dissolved/vanished, naturally.

The yoga asana practice of doing the yoga exercises or yoga poses are supposed to be helping the practitioner to relax the body and mind, or helping the body and mind to let go or release as much as possible all the unnecessary tensions that has been building up in everyday life, provided if the yoga asana practice is being done under a relaxed manner without strain/force with the correct understanding of the core teachings of yoga. It's not building up more unnecessary tension into the body and mind during the yoga asana practice due to being unable to be relaxed while doing the practice by constantly straining or forcing the body to go beyond its imitation with intention/expectation to make it more strong and flexible in order to do some of the yoga poses that the mind wants to be able to do, due to the lack of correct understanding towards the core teachings of yoga.

The proper way of developing physical strength is not about building up more tightness/tension in the muscles groups of the physical body. Real strength comes from free-flow of sufficient energy supply and efficient/healthy function of the motor neurons and bio mechanism. If one of the nerves that connect the central nervous system to one of the muscles group doesn't function properly, this part of the muscles group can't function properly, even though the physical body has gone through intense and prolonged strength training and the muscles group is well-toned. A well-toned or tight/tensed muscles group cannot move or lift something, if there's no proper sufficient energy supply to that area.

More important, the yoga practice is not about training/making the body more strong and flexible, as peace, compassion and the ability to forgive and let go what the mind perceives/recognizes as 'negative', 'bad', 'wrong', 'hurtful, 'sorrowful' or 'terrible', is nothing to do with the physical condition/strength/flexibility. One doesn't need to be physically 'strong' and 'flexible' or super healthy, to realize yoga, peace and compassion, or be forgiving and be able to let go.

While applying the teachings or philosophy of yoga practically in everyday life will help the practitioner to stop generating or accumulating as minimum as possible unnecessary physical, mental and emotional tension. It is what yoga practice is about - purification of the mind through the elimination of egoism.

This is similar to the final relaxation in the end of the yoga asana practice. It's not just about to relax the body and mind after some physical and mental training, but it's about non-attachment and non-identification towards all our actions/practice and renounce the fruit of action/practice or letting go the expectation towards the result of action/practice. This will bring the body and mind into effective deep relaxation under any condition or situation in life. Relaxation is indeed the elimination of egoism of the practice of non-attachment, non-identification, non-judgment, non-expectation, non-craving, non-aversion, and letting go. The body and mind is unable to be relaxed and constantly being in a state of tension is due to the egoism of attachment, identification, judgment, expectation, craving and aversion, and being unable/reluctant to let go or forgive.

People might confuse 'the practice of relaxation or the ability to let go/be relaxed/calmed' with the practice/idea/belief of positive thinking or optimism. Positive thinking or optimism doesn't necessarily mean that the mind is relaxed/calmed or being free from the desire of craving and aversion, and be undisturbed/undetermined by what the impure mind perceives as 'negative', 'bad', 'wrong', 'hurtful', 'sorrowful', 'disgusting' or 'terrible'. Positive thinking or optimism doesn't correlate with the understanding/ability to accept the reality that is not necessarily the way that we like it to be, as it is, but more likely, it's ignoring or denying the 'negative' undesirable reality that the mind doesn't like and doesn't want, and desiring/hoping to change the undesirable reality into something else that it is not, and expecting desires/wishes come true by trying to think and feel positively or optimistically. The mind is not free yet.

Be free.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Existence in now

Contemplation on existence/the mind perception of an impermanent and selfless life existence in the present moment.

Existence only existing in now. There's neither past nor future. It's the thinking/thought process of recollection of memories and wild imagination of the mind that generates the 'shadow' of now, either behind of now (the past) or in front of now (the future). Suffering arise when the mind sees/takes the 'shadow' of the selfless mind perception of names and forms as 'I' (the existence of an individual being of 'I', where this countless ever changing 'I' is not even I.)

All kind of restlessness, peacelessness, anxieties, tension, hurts, regrets, guilt, offensiveness, defensiveness, possessiveness, meaninglessness, depression, insecurity, frustration, anger, greed, dissatisfaction, disappointment, hopes, fear and worry, are due to being ignorant towards existence, thinking and believing that 'I' am existing with an individual identity from the past until now and into the future, that 'I' have a past and a future, and 'I' had/am/will be physically/mentally/emotionally existed/existing/continuing existing along with all the relationships with everyone and everything, and hence, there's clinging/attachment/identification towards the present experiences/relationships, thinking/remembering about the past experiences/relationships and imagining/anticipating the future experiences/relationships, craving towards pleasant/desirable experiences/relationships and aversion towards unpleasant/undesirable experiences/relationships.

This very moment is the only existence of this body and the thinking mind that is functioning under the charity of 'the space', 'the sun', 'the earth', 'the water' and 'the air/wind', it's not 'I', and it is changing. Within this moment, along with the function of this body and the modification of the mind, countless rounds of birth and death happening, new cells replacing old cells, the bodily system growing, changing, cease growing and start decaying, different states of the mind arising and passing away, thoughts/memories/imaginations/sensations/feelings arising and passing away, physical and mental pleasantness and unpleasantness coming and going, 'heaven' and 'hell' and all kind of 'realms' interchanging in the mind, ceaseless actions generating ceaseless reactions of cause and effect, and all kind of names and forms forming and deforming ceaselessly.

Those who realized this, allowing the impermanent/momentary function of the body and the modification of the mind perception of a worldly life existence to be what it is, as it is, remain equanimous and at peace, being free from attachment, identification and desire of craving and aversion, being undetermined/undisturbed by the mind perception of a pleasant/unpleasant or desirable/undesirable reality of a worldly life existence that is impermanent.

Those who haven't realized this, continuously and restlessly chasing after the objects of names and forms of higher and higher quality of pleasurable living, performing actions out of the intention/aspiration of creating a 'perfect' world the way that 'I' think it should be that allows 'I' to live life the way that 'I' like it to be, accumulating relationships and gratifying desires of craving and aversion, to chase away bottomless 'shadow' of boredom, loneliness, unhappiness, meaninglessness and emptiness, to feel good, happy and meaningful.

It's neither right or wrong, good or bad, it's everyone's freedom for what they want to do with their life, body and mind. The conditions and situations of the world are the consequences of the actions out of every individual human being's intention/aspiration/ambition of desiring/wishing/hoping/demanding/building/protecting/frustrating/hating/fighting/killing for a 'perfect' world and a 'good' life that they think it should be, that they want it to be.

Be free.

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About Yoga

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

Om shanti

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

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