The most basic and yet most important teaching and practice of yoga and meditation is Self-inquiry to transcend the modification of the mind, to be free from ignorance and egoism and the consequences of ignorance and egoism – suffering. All the other different types of yoga practice is to help to purify and quiet the mind to allow the mind to perform the task of self-inquiry.
Self-inquiry is withdrawing the senses from the sense objects and turning the outgoing mind inward to attain self-realization and be free from ignorance.
There are lots of things that are beyond our knowledge or awareness, or there are many things that we don’t know, that are unknown to us.
There are things that we think we know, that we are aware of, but we might not truly understand or we don’t know whether it’s true or false.
There’s nothing wrong and it’s common that people will try to gain knowledge or accumulate information and data through reading and studying books on subjects that they are interested in. We might analyze and apply agreement or disagreement towards the knowledge of information that we come in contact with from reading books and hearing from others. But by gaining knowledge and accumulating information and data through reading and studying the knowledge or research coming from other people doesn’t determine that one will be free from ignorance and egoism and suffering.
There’s nothing wrong and it’s common as well that people like to ask some other people questions about things that they want to know with the intention to get some answers or explanations for things that they don’t know or don’t understand, in hope that it will clear their doubts. But by getting some answers or explanations from other people for all our questions won’t remove our ignorance because we will never know whether the answers that we get from other people are true or not.
For example, if we never come in contact with ‘apple’ before, but now, it comes to our knowledge or awareness for the first time, and we want to know what is this ‘apple’. We may ask other people, “I don’t know what is ‘apple’, can you tell me what is ‘apple’?” Even though other people try to explain to us what is ‘apple’ in details, and we could imagine or visualize about ‘apple’ from what other people described to us, but we will still don’t know exactly what it is until we come in contact with an apple, looking at it, holding it, smelling it, tasting it and digesting it. And our perception of the apple can be very different from other people. Some people think it’s tasty and they like it, while some people think it’s not tasty and they don’t like it. But the apple is just what it is. It is neither good nor not good. It has no intention or quality to be tasty or not tasty, or to make anyone like it or not.
It doesn’t matter whether we think something that we come in contact with is being perceived by our minds as something good or not good, and whether our minds like it or not, agree with it or not, all the names and forms are impermanent and selfless.
By hearing other people talk or teach about the practice of non-attachment and be unaffected or undisturbed by the perception of names and forms, will not take away attachment in us, and we will still be affected and disturbed by our own perception of names and forms, unless we develop non-attachment in us. By hearing other people talk or teach about selflessness, will not take away the egoism in us, unless we realize selflessness.
And hence, the answers that will clear all our doubts have to be coming from self-inquiry and self-realization.
By reading a lot of books about the things that interest us, or going for courses to learn about everything that we want to know also won’t free our mind from suffering and the cause of suffering, which is about dealing directly with the mind and its modification.
Whether we think there are many things that we don’t know or we think we know many things, it doesn’t determine that whether one will be peaceful and compassionate, or not, and it doesn’t affect the truth to be what it is. The truth of impermanence and selflessness in all the names and forms will still be what it is. The truth doesn’t change into something different from what it is, no matter we think we know about many things or we don’t know much.
Whether we think we know or don’t know about science, anatomy, biology, chemistry, physiology, psychology, dietary, nutrition, geology, astronomy, astrology, history, mathematics, architecture, engineering, sociology, politics, and so on, it doesn’t change the truth of impermanence and selflessness. It doesn’t determine that whether we will be peaceful and compassionate, and be free from ignorance, egoism and suffering, or not. Even doctors who know about medicines and how to treat many illnesses for other people and psychologists who study about psychology and treat psychology problems for others, are not necessarily be free from impurities and suffering, unless they realize the truth of suffering and be free from the cause of suffering.
Fitness instructors who are physically fit and healthy, and have the knowledge of fitness training and are endowed with creativity for designing motivative and effective fitness exercise routines to other people to train to become fit and healthy, are not necessarily be free from impurities and suffering, unless they realize the truth of suffering and be free from the cause of suffering.
Well-trained and certified yoga teachers who have the knowledge about the teachings and practice of yoga, who teach other people about the teachings and practice of yoga also are not necessarily be free from ignorance, egoism and suffering, unless they attain self-realization and be free from ignorance and egoism.
Meditate and realize.
May all be free.