Never tell people who live in difficult life condition about what they should and shouldn’t eat

The realization of unconditional peace is not determined by what people eat or don’t eat, or whether one is eating ‘pure non-animal products vegetarian food’ or ‘animal products non-vegetarian food’.

By consuming ‘pure and clean food’ or ‘non-animal products vegetarian diet’ doesn’t guarantee that one is or will be free from ignorance, egoism, impurities, restlessness and suffering. Just like by performing many years of ‘yoga practice’ also doesn’t guarantee that one is free from ignorance and the by-products of ignorance. One might still be overpowered by the sense of self-righteousness, pride and superiority, and hence, be disturbed very much by what the mind perceives/recognizes as bad, wrong, negativity, inferiority, hurtful, offensive, insulting, disrespectful, undeserving, disappointing, painful sorrow, or suffering. People can be observing vegetarian diet due to cultural/religious practice for many years, and feel proud for being ‘compassionate vegetarian’ or being one of the member of a culture/religion, but still the mind might be not free from ignorance, egoism, impurities, restlessness and suffering.

People who consume ‘particular type of non-animal products vegetarian food’ with the sense of self-righteousness, pride and superiority, might be over-powered by self-righteousness and would criticize/condemn others who consume ‘animal products non-vegetarian food’, or vice versa. This is not part of the yoga practice.

Whether it’s part of the spiritual/cultural/religious/environmental/ethical practice, or due to some other reasons that people choose to adopt a particular type of food choice based on one’s thinking/belief/thoughtfulness/conscience, but we cannot tell or interfere with people what they should or shouldn’t eat, or ‘criticizing’ or ‘condemning’ those whom we think they don’t adopt ‘that particular type of food choice’ for some reasons, as we think that we are somehow more superior than others because of our superior food choice.

Just like we ourselves want to practice yoga, but we can’t go into people’s life and tell people what they should and shouldn’t practice, or how people should and shouldn’t think/believe/behave/act and react, and we can’t criticize/condemn anyone who don’t like yoga, or who don’t practice yoga, or who aren’t interested in yoga, or who don’t practice yoga as it is, even though we see yoga as something good and beneficial for many people, provided if people allow their minds to be open, unattached towards any particular thinking and belief that has been conditioning/influencing how they think, judge, feel, expect, act and react towards all the names and forms, as those who attached strongly onto their particular thinking and belief cannot be open to inquire the truth of other teachings/practice that are different from their own thinking and belief, as they would instantly reject and object what is different from and contradicted with their existing social/cultural/religious/spiritual thinking and belief, of what they think they know, and do not want to learn/inquire/know any further about other teachings/practice that they disagree with based on their own thinking and belief, as well as there’s fear towards knowing the truth of what if their own thinking and belief from young until now is not necessarily true, but people just blind-believing and blind-following those thinking and beliefs, and fear of ‘sin’ and ‘punishment’ due to ‘losing faith in their thinking and belief’, if they start questioning the truth of their thinking and belief. We can only share our knowledge and experience in yoga with those who are interested in yoga and they want to learn from our knowledge and experience, and they are ready to allow their minds to be open to inquire the truth of everything. Even so, we can’t expect anyone of them to practice yoga diligently as it is. It’s their own freedom and responsibility whether they want to practice yoga diligently as it is, or not, after we share the knowledge and experience with them.

People have the rights or freedom to choose what they want to eat or don’t eat, even if our minds feel disagree with and disturbed by other people’s choice of food consumption.

Although it’s everyone’s freedom if they want to interfere with other people’s life, but those who truly practice yoga will not be interested in interfering with other people’s life. Never tell people who live in difficult life condition, who are or have been going through many difficulties and hardship in life about what they should eat or shouldn’t eat. People might be suffering and dying from hunger and malnutrition or diseases, due to poverty and lack of educational background being bullied, discriminated and exploited by the commercial world, and most probably don’t make enough ‘money’ to buy/get enough food not to say ‘clean’ and ‘nutritious’ food even after working very hard for many hours a day. Imagine people who have a rather easy comfortable life, who don’t need to suffer much hardship and difficult condition in life, go around and tell other people who have no choice but have to be doing hard labour work with very low income for survival while struggling to provide food and shelter for oneself and/or the family about what they should eat and shouldn’t eat.

Keep one’s thinking/belief/practice/food choice/way of life to oneself, and respect other people’s different thinking/beliefs/practices/food choices/ways of life, even if they are contradicted with our thinking/belief/practice/food choice/way of life. If people want to follow our way of life/practice/food choice, that’s their freedom, but not because we expect and believe that everyone should be like us.

There’s nothing wrong if out of our own conscience/ethical reason that we want to adopt a particular type of food choice, but we also respect others for their different type of food choice, without criticizing/condemning other people’s choices of food consumption that we don’t like or don’t agree with, that we think is bad and wrong, unethical or unhealthy.

Go beyond the name and form of ‘vegetarian’ and ‘non-vegetarian’. It’s not who you are/what you are, as many people, including yoga enthusiasts like to say, “You are what you eat.” No doubt that food intake directly influences the energy field, the physical condition and the state of the mind, but the minds that have realized selflessness/namelessness/formlessness/attributelessness/non-separateness, it goes beyond all the identifications, names, forms, attributes, dualities, separateness, energy field, the physical condition, the state of the mind, good and bad karma, easy and difficult life condition, desirable and undesirable life experiences. It’s part of the teaching of yoga of ‘Transcending all the Gunas, energy field, names and forms, attributes/qualities, dualities, the physical condition and the states of the mind’. Whatever the mind thinks and identifies as ‘I’, is merely ignorance.

It’s one’s free-will, awareness and responsibility towards one’s liberation

Buddha didn’t go around trying to change other people’s thinking and behavior to be the way that he thought it should be, nor did he has intention trying to make the world a better place or to save the world from destruction.

He went around to disseminate the teachings and practice of Buddhism and allowed people to take up the practice, or not, through their own free-will, awareness and responsibility.

He didn’t criticize or condemn any kind of thinking and behavior that was under the influence of ignorance. He respected all beings as they were. He didn’t tell other people – The teachings of Buddhism was true and all the other teachings were false. He allowed everyone to realize the truth by themselves.

Buddha transformed and liberated himself. He didn’t try to transform or liberate other beings. He allowed everyone to transform and liberate themselves, or not.

Look into our own thinking and behavior – are we truly practicing the teachings of yoga or Buddhism?

It’s needless to identify oneself as a yogi or Buddhist if one truly practice the teachings of yoga or Buddhism.

It’s pointless to identify oneself as a yogi or Buddhist if one doesn’t practice the teachings of yoga or Buddhism.

Om shanti.

Want to practice yoga? (3)

Do we need to restrict or limit ourselves in social interactive conversation and activities when we take up yoga practice?

It depends on ourselves. Just like being a vegetarian or non-vegetarian doesn’t guarantee that one is peaceful and be free from ignorance and egoism, it’s the same as by observing any forms of yoga practice doesn’t guarantee that one will be free from ignorance and egoism, and is peaceful.

Of course all the observations exist to serve their purposes or assistance in aid to purify and calm the mind, to allow the mind to be able to perceive the truth of things as they are.

Without the practice of non-attachment, non-identification, desireless, and letting go of craving and aversion, one’s mind will always be affected, or disturbed, or influenced and determined by all the perceptions of names and forms, and is restless and have no peace, no matter how much external physical form of yoga practices we have been performing and attaining huge physical and mental benefits from the yoga practice. When the mind is restless and is under the influence of impurities, the mind is not able to see the truth of things as they are.

If we just want to practice yoga for attaining some physical and mental health and fitness benefits, then we don’t have to restrict or limit ourselves in social interactive conversation and activities.

If we practice yoga for mind conquest, for liberation to be free from ignorance and suffering, then we need to restrict or limit ourselves in social interactive conversation and activities, if our minds are easily being affected, or disturbed, or influenced by all the inputs of names and forms. For those who have achieved a strong foundation of the practice of non-attachment and non-identification, and are not easily be affected, or disturbed, or influenced by all the inputs of names and forms, then there’s no need to have such restriction, but they will still limit over stimulation to the mind as much as possible. Those who are completely be free from ignorance and egoism, and they are unaffected, or undisturbed, or uninfluenced by any inputs of names and forms, then they can mix freely into the society and engage in any forms of social conversations and activities, if they want, but they don’t have to, unless it’s necessary.

And hence, silent meditation retreat courses exist to serve this purpose to quiet the mind, to stop stimulating the mind, to move the mind away from worldly affairs, social interactions and activities. But, if we don’t know how to retreat ourselves in everyday life, our minds will always be restless being distracted and stimulated by all the inputs of names and forms.

In most conversations, many people like to ask or want to know about the past and the future. Most people want to be friendly by starting a social interactive conversation, where they want to talk about themselves and also to hear other people talk about their stuffs, they want to give their opinions and also to hear other people’s opinions, they want to know about other people and want to be known by other people as well.

There’s nothing wrong with the worldly social interactions between human beings. But in yoga practice, it’s about knowing oneself. It’s not about knowing other people or want to be known by other people. Minds that are conditioned by worldly thinking and ideas might think that it’s a form of selfishness when some people don’t show interest to know about others. But in yoga, one practices disinterest in worldly affairs as well as other people’s affair. It isn’t that yoga practitioners don’t care for what is happening to the world and other people, but one must take care of one’s mind first before one can care for the world and others efficiently.

When one’s mind is free from ignorance, egoism, attachment, identification, desires, craving, aversion and all sorts of impurities, and realizes unconditional love and peace in oneself, being firmly resting in peace undisturbed by all the qualities of names and forms, then naturally, without any intention or expectation, one will be contributing peace into the world by stop generating unrest and disharmony into the world. By taking care of oneself, to have peace in oneself, is actually loving and caring for the world and the society.

One must learn about oneself and know about oneself by quieting and purifying the mind through self-introspection and self-discipline, and then one will know how to love and care for oneself, before one can actually know about others, and love and care for others. The entire society will become more peaceful and harmony when everyone learns about oneself, knows oneself, and loves and cares for oneself.

On top of that, socializing, mingling and chit-chatting are good for worldly social interaction and public relation, but it is detrimental for yoga and meditation practice. Too much talking and social activities stimulate the thought waves and strengthens the worldly attachments, identifications and ideas, and empowering the desires of craving and aversion, if one hasn’t developed certain degrees of correct understanding about the mind, the ego and suffering.

We can list out what people usually talk about in a social conversation, and see how much our minds are being influenced and affected by all those daily conversations about worldly matters. And we might realize what is the cause for our minds being over stimulated and suffer from restlessness, and from where we have been accumulating lots of physical, emotional and mental tension that we need to de-stress or unwind ourselves from time to time. If we know how to stop generating tension into our body and mind, we don’t need to do anything special to unwind or relax.

Instead of exhausting energy in socializing or talking about worldly ideas and affairs, we conserve energy for practicing yoga. Talking about worldly ideas and affairs won’t help anyone to be free from worldly identifications and attachments towards worldly names and forms, and won’t make the world to be a better place. In fact, talking about this and that will stimulate the mind, and it doesn’t help to quiet the mind. Yoga and meditation practice is mainly to quiet the mind. The states of the world will change towards peace and harmony only if each and everyone who are existing and living in the world has self-awareness and self-control, to make an effort to change themselves to purify and quiet their minds, to be free from ignorance and egoism. The world is just what it is. It is neither good nor bad. It’s the occupants of the world that are projecting good and bad qualities into the world and contributing peace or unrest into the world under the influence of impurities. The one who is pure, being free from good and bad qualities, perceives the world as it is.

Yoga teaches about compassion, but it’s not about trying to please everyone to make them feel good, happy and comfortable, by giving them whatever they like and want. But it’s to allow everyone to be aware of what is going on in their minds, and realize the truth to be free from ignorance, and transcend suffering, realize unconditional love and peace that is not coming from anyone or anything outside this body and mind, but from within oneself unconditionally.

We learn to stay away from gossips, vain talks, conflicts, condemn, criticism, back-biting, and etc. When we have bad things to say about others, it’s not because others are being bad and wrong, but it’s because our minds are not pure. If our minds are pure, there’s no bad thing to say about others, even if we are aware of something that isn’t good and right about someone based on what our minds believe as good and bad, right and wrong. Worldly minded people might think that being silence towards things that are bad and wrong is supporting all those bad and wrong things. But, what people think and believe as good and bad, right and wrong, is very subjective, it’s not necessarily the truth of what things are. By being vocally and physically violent towards something that is bad and wrong won’t change the reality of those things being bad and wrong. But everyone must develop self-awareness and self-introspection in themselves to be aware of their own minds, to be initiative to make an effort to purify their own minds, to have self-discipline to restrict their physical and mental worldly activities, and have self-control over their own thinking, actions and speech.

By telling people that they are ignorant or wrong and bad, won’t make people stop being ignorant or wrong and bad. It has to come from their own self-awareness, self-introspection, self-discipline and self-control.

For many people, being direct and straightforward might be seen as bad attitude or weakness for social interaction in the society. Some people are always being friendly, polite and nice in front of some other people, but they can’t hold their tongues to complain and criticize about other people behind their backs. Of course that’s their freedom of thoughts, actions and speech. But, if we want to purify and silent our minds, we try to stay away from this type of mind habit of hypocrisy and back-biting as much as possible.

We purify our minds until there’s no ill-will or ill-thinking about anyone. There’s nothing to complain about or criticize anyone whether in front or behind their backs. When we criticize about others, it’s not because others are bad and wrong, or when we compliment others, it’s not because others are good and right, but it’s our mind being impure and project impurities of good and bad qualities onto everyone and everything that our minds perceive through the senses, under the influence of personal likes and dislikes, agreements and disagreements based on what our egoistic minds believe what things are.

Quieting the mind.

Om shanti

About insult or disrespectfulness…

There is a public dispute about some people took some nude photos on the top of a ‘sacred’ mountain and being blamed for the earthquake that has taken some lives and caused some damages.

Every living being is being born into this world naked.

When someone feels insulted or disrespected by something, it is the mind that projects the quality of ‘insult’ or ‘disrespectfulness’ onto certain names and forms that is responsible for the mind to feel being insulted or disrespected upon coming in contact with what the mind projects and believes as ‘insulting’ and ‘disrespectful’.

There are people who believe nakedness is something highly sacred. And there are people believe it is something truly insulting and disrespectful towards sacredness.

Whether the mind believes nakedness is something sacred or something insulting and disrespectful towards sacredness, it’s just something that the mind wants to believe what it is. Nakedness itself is neither sacred nor insulting towards sacredness.

If the mind is dirty, then nakedness meant something dirty for this being. But it is not what nakedness truly is.

If the mind is sacred, then nakedness meant something sacred for this being. But it is not what nakedness truly is.

Nakedness is just what it is.

Nakedness has no quality to be something ‘insulting’ or ‘disrespectful’, but coming from the mind thinks and believes that “being naked” is something ‘insulting’ and ‘disrespecting’, and it intentionally wants to be insulting or disrespectful by being naked to insult or disrespect others.

Something truly sacred or pure cannot be contaminated by any impurities.

If something claimed to be sacred can be offended and threatened by something that is ‘impure’, ‘insulting’ and disrespectful’, no one should go near to that thing that claimed to be sacred.

If the ‘God’ is ‘someone’ easily be offended and be threatened by impure and ignorant human being’s ignorant behavior, and will get very angry and will hurt those ignorant beings out of anger and hatred, what type of ‘God’ is this?

If a mind is not pure, full of evil and corrupted thinking and ill-will, this mind is being ‘disrespectful’ and ‘insulting’ within itself, towards itself, even if it puts on sufficient, respectful or decent clothing on the physical appearance.

Living in the world with so many different human beings with different thinking and beliefs, we should try to respect other people’s conditioned thinking and beliefs for what they think is respectfulness, appropriateness and sacredness.

That’s why some wise people try to stay away as much as possible from some other human beings to avoid unintentionally ‘insult’ or ‘disrespect’ certain people, and generate unnecessary tension.

Those who are pure will not have any interest to insult or disrespect anyone, nor be determined by other people’s intentional or unintentional insult or disrespectfulness.

Om shanti.

Looking after our minds…

Yoga practice is looking after our minds particularly through observing certain observation and restriction of mental and physical activities to purify our thinking patterns, actions and speech in everyday life, besides performing some forms of physical and breathing exercises (Yoga Asana and Pranayama) to assist and support concentration and meditation practice (Dharana and Dhyana), to know the truth and be free from being determined or disturbed by the world of impermanent names and forms.

If our minds are highly sensitive towards all the names and forms that the mind perceives through the senses, and easily be affected by the pleasant and unpleasant qualities of name and form, and being restless being influenced and disturbed by the perceptions of names and forms, then we need to have certain degrees of limitation, or restriction, or filtration of what types of input that come in contact with the mind.

When the mind develops a strong foundation of non-attachment and non-identification, then all kinds of observation are unnecessary, and there’s no need of limitation, or restriction, or filtration of what types of input that come in contact with the mind.

The practice of disassociation and non-identification with any names and forms is our basic yoga practice.

The worldly minded minds will want to avoid this type of yoga practice, and criticize this type of practice as anti-social and ‘unhuman’. The worldly minded minds identify with the name and form of ‘human beings’ – “I am a human being. I am a good human being. Good human beings should have such and such qualities, should behave in such and such ways, or else we are bad human beings.” We don’t just expect ourselves as human beings we should behave in certain ways, but we also expect other ‘human beings’ also conform to our own projection and expectation, constantly generate separateness, conflicts, arguments, discrimination and hatred in oneself and others.

Yoga and meditation practice is not about strengthening or securing the worldly identification with certain qualities of name and form as this or that, but it’s to drop off any identifications with any names and forms, realize non-separateness, or oneness beyond all the qualities of name and form.

It’s the same as when we identify ourselves with a particular type of ‘origin’, ‘nation’, ‘culture’, ‘religion’, ‘ethnic’, ‘personality’, ‘professionalism’, ‘behavior’, ‘gender’, ‘sexual orientation’, ‘political group’, ‘social group’, ‘yoga practitioner’, ‘yoga teacher’, ‘yoga lineage’, or ‘yoga group’, we are not free.

Even by identifying oneself as a ‘divine being’ or ‘spiritual being’ is also not free from identification with qualities of name and form, and separateness.

Fear, discrimination (including discrimination of friends or not friends, human beings or non-human beings), pride and arrogance derive from separateness due to the identification with name and form. Unless we are free from fear, discrimination, pride and arrogance, there’s no discrimination of friends or not friends, human beings or non-human beings, or else we can’t be truly compassionate even though we would like to be a compassionate being.

Om shanti.

Righteousness, criticism and condemn…

Righteousness can cause a lot of damage and generates disharmony in our lives and in the society. It initiates dispute, argument, anger, hatred and unrest in a family, in relationships, in friendships and in the society, as everyone has different thinking and beliefs, and everyone has the freedom of speech and actions. For what? Just because there are ignorant and selfish people out there who didn’t behave correctly and righteously, and as a good citizen and human being, we are obliged to make sure everyone behave the way that we think they should behave? Does it worth to cause damage and disharmony in our lives for other people’s ignorance and ignorant behavior?

If we are truly compassionate, we do not cause further disharmony in our lives while expecting the world to be a better place, the way that we think it should be. How can we expect everyone in the world should think and behave, the same as ourselves?

Those who are truly compassionate will just perform the necessary actions without getting involve in the ignorance of other beings. As even by criticizing and condemning what and who we think are ignorant, will not remove the ignorance from anyone. Or else, Buddha could have just go around criticizing and condemning this and that being as his duty and responsibility as a good human being, and all ignorant beings would be free from ignorance, and the world would have be free from all kinds of ignorant beings with ignorant behavior.

If we think we are right and being righteous, we should criticize and condemn others for what we think is wrong and bad, but then why are we getting so upset when other people criticize and condemn us for what they think is wrong and bad, but we think is nothing wrong or bad?

Take a look into ourselves. When we get upset and angry with something that we don’t like, don’t want and don’t agree with, it is not coming from other people ignorance or ignorant behavior, but it is because we cannot have the reality the way that we want it to be. We are getting something that we don’t like and don’t want. We are not getting the thing that we like and want. It’s the craving and aversion in us that initiate the dissatisfaction, disappointment, frustration and anger in us. It is nothing to do with other people’s ignorant thinking and behavior.

We can be peaceful as we are, and do what we can do to maintain peace and harmony in ourselves and in others, and not by generate further disharmony among us and everyone else who are free to be different.

Think about it and be happy.

When we are aware of our mind is too busy with all sorts of imprints from all the worldly inputs that the mind being exposed to, then maybe it’s the time for retreating from the worldly affairs, names and forms, to take care our mind before it goes wild.

Have peace in oneself if we want peace in the world.

Om shanti.

Who is being compassionate?

“I am compassionate. I am a compassionate being. I am compassionate towards other beings suffering. I am disappointed, frustrated and angry with other people who are not compassionate towards other people suffering.”

“I am compassionate” doesn’t mean anything.

Before the egoism is eliminated, there’s no compassion. There might be sympathy and empathy, but it’s not compassion.

If the ego is absent upon annihilation of egoism, who is there to identify as a compassionate being and being compassionate, and condemn others for being compassionate-less?

Compassion is free from the influence of egoism and all the egoistic qualities and its side products of impurities.

Compassion is spontaneous and natural.

Compassion is unconditional without any discrimination.

Compassion is free from attachment and identification.

Compassion is free from intention and expectation.

Compassion is free from judgment, criticism, blame and condemn.

Compassion is free from influences of anger, frustration and disappointment.

Compassion is free from influences and discrimination of religion, politic, region, nationality, professionalism, gender, age, sexual orientation, cultural belief, background, behavior, physical and mental condition, personal interest and benefit, personal likes and dislikes, agreements and disagreements.

Compassion is undetermined by feelings and emotions, praise and condemn, compliment and criticism, success and failure.

Compassion is beyond separateness, qualities, names and forms, action and action-less.

Compassion is perform action (including action-less) without attachment, identification, intention, expectation, and renounce the fruit of all actions (including action-less).

There’s no “I am good. I want to be good. I want to do good. I perform good action. The result of my good action must be good.”

There’s no expectation “Everyone should be good, do good, perform good actions, and the result of good actions must be good.”

Perform all actions, abandon the doer-ship, and allow the fruit of actions to be what it is.

Even though we might not be completely compassionate, but it doesn’t matter. Just by intentionally doing some good actions to benefits other beings is already very good for humanity. We don’t have to be a superhero that can clear away all the suffering in the world. Even enlightened beings also cannot remove the ignorance and suffering in other beings. We can just do our best for what we can do, to be kind to ourselves and others, without attachment and expectation.

Be happy.

Righteousness, fearlessness, criticism and condemn…

There’s nothing wrong when people make criticism and condemn towards other people and things that they dislike and disagree with. That is their freedom of thinking, actions and speech.

Letting go of the desire to criticize and condemn, no matter what our mind think how right we are, and how wrong they are (those whom we dislike and disagree with), is one of the observations for yoga and meditation practitioners.

When some people might think that being righteous and supporting the freedom of speech means they should criticize and condemn anyone that they dislike and disagree with, to make a standpoint that they are good and right, and the one whom they criticize and condemn are bad and wrong, and to provoke ‘righteousness’ in others, to get supports from others to also criticize and condemn what and who they dislike and disagree with, it doesn’t matter if it will induce anger, hatred and violence in those whom they criticize and condemn, is an act of righteousness and fearlessness, then this is not the right discrimination and fearlessness that we are talking about in yoga and meditation practice.

This is pure ignorance, whether intentionally or unintentionally to provoke and induce anger, hatred, violence and disharmony between us and other beings who are different from us, whom we dislike and disagree with, whom we think they are wrong, and we are right, based on what our own thinking and beliefs about what is right and what is wrong.

It is the tendency of the egoism to criticize and condemn. ‘I’ am good and right, and what is oppose to what ‘I’ think and believe as good and right, is bad and wrong. As a righteous and good being, ‘I’ should criticize and condemn what ‘I’ believe is bad and wrong. It is the ego that doesn’t want to let go of the desire to be righteous, to be a critic, to be the one who has the right thinking and righteousness to teach other people a lesson, to punish other people for their wrong doing based on what our minds believes what things are and how people should think and behave.

For example, when one get so angry and hating others who criticize and condemn something that he/she strongly agrees with and believe in, and what he/she believes is so right and nothing bad, but one might not aware of himself/herself is constantly criticizing and condemning some other thing that he/she strongly disagrees with and what he/she believes is so wrong and nothing good.

If we want to help the world to be a more peaceful and harmony place, how can we constantly generate unrest and disharmony into the world by constantly generate criticism and condemn in action and speech that will bring more disharmony, anger and hatred among all beings who are different from one another than to bring more peace and harmony in oneself and into the society.
It’s purely the play of ignorance and egoism.

To help to maintain peace and harmony in the society, is by stop sharing or giving information (resources from somewhere) that will provoke disharmony, doubts, anger and hatred among the different diversities in the society. Meanwhile there are many people being unaware of themselves are being used by some politicians or medias to achieve what they want to achieve for their personal goals.

As yoga and meditation practitioners, while living among the society, if possible, one can learn to observe, unattached and uninvolved with the ‘games’ that worldly people are playing to gain their personal interests and benefits.

That was what the Gurus and teachers in the past had advised anyone who wants to practice yoga and meditation, to stay away from gossips, criticism, condemn, slander, back-biting and so on.

Use the time and energy that we spend on criticism and condemn to be performing our yoga and meditation practice will be more helpful for maintaining world peace.

Om shanti.

Yoga teachers, teaching yoga, and make a living…

Some yoga teachers are disturbed by doubt and guilt about whether it is alright for them to be able to make a living from teaching yoga by giving yoga classes or courses, as some ‘good’ people who are directly or indirectly involve in the world of yoga insist that there should be no fees charged, or there should be very minimal fees charged for giving yoga classes, as teaching yoga should be a selfless service or charity work, and most important is that part of the yoga practice is about perform selfless actions, and not expect anything in return. Even if there are fees charged (small or big amount), then all the profits from running yoga classes and courses should be given away for charity cause. They ‘expect’ yoga teachers should live on charity and begging, or they should have some other forms of livelihood or income (but not from teaching yoga by giving yoga classes) to support their life and living expenses. Or else it is wrong, or it’s a great sin, or bad karma to make a living from teaching yoga.

Not to say, there are many ‘yoga’ enthusiasts (who come from different backgrounds with different social or financial status) who are interested to take up yoga classes or yoga courses who actually think and believe that all yoga classes and yoga courses should be free, and they are reluctant to pay some fees, or only want to pay a little amount of fees that they think is sufficient to cover the cost for the yoga classes or courses, and they think yoga teachers should not make any profits or make a living from running yoga classes or courses. And they think and believe that all yoga teachers should be the role models for others to live a simple life with limited livelihood. And so, they believe yoga teachers don’t really need much money to live life, nor have any living expenses. And hence, they think yoga teachers don’t need to take any fees from teaching yoga.

There’s nothing wrong with those thinking and beliefs, coming from these people’s particular worldly point of view. Everyone is free to express what they think and believe, to criticize and to condemn other people whom they dislike and disagree with. But those who truly know what is yoga, they are aware of all the different points of views, but they will not criticize nor condemn anyone. If it is the truth, there’s nothing to be criticized about. If it is not the truth, it’s pointless to criticize someone who is being ignorant of ignorance in oneself.

Here are a few points to let anyone who directly or indirectly relates to this matter to reflect upon this matter and measure it by themselves.

Before we get into these information given below, take note that yoga practice is not limited in a yoga class or yoga course in a particular name and form, or at a particular time and space. Yoga and the practice of yoga is unlimited by names and forms, time and space. It exists everywhere and anytime. Everything and everyone can be teaching us yoga to realize the truth, it’s not necessarily has to be a human being who is graduated from yoga teachers training course and bears the title of ‘yoga teacher’, and is ‘certified’ and ‘qualified’ to teach yoga to others.

1.) Most people who identify themselves as ‘yoga teachers’ in the world nowadays are not really teaching yoga, but they are fitness instructors who teach yoga asana exercise classes under many different styles, names and forms. And so, they are not limited by the above ‘observations’ at all. They can charge fees as high as they like, depending on their cost for conducting classes and their ‘qualifications’, ‘teaching experience’, ‘competency’, ‘unique teaching skills and flair’, ‘creativity’, and of course, ‘popularity’ and ‘demand’. It’s a legal and healthy livelihood. It’s a very meaningful job that can enhance ones physical and mental health and fitness, as well as to encourage many others to have a healthier and active lifestyle by igniting great enthusiasm in these people to do some yoga asana exercises regularly.

They deserve to make enough money to pay back their cost to acquire the knowledge of the yoga asana exercises and learning the teaching skill and technique, and to attain various certificates and qualifications recognized by such and such international yoga affiliations to qualified them to teach yoga asana exercise classes to the public by continuously attending ‘yoga courses’ and ‘yoga workshops’ regularly to maintain and upgrade their professionalism in teaching yoga asana exercise classes, to ensure safe and effective yoga asana exercises, as well as fun and enjoyable innovative yoga asana exercise classes to be delivered to their students or clients. They are constantly being judged and evaluated by the clients as well as the employer, and they are either unwillingly or willingly being in competition with the other yoga fitness instructors.

On top of that they need to be able to make enough income to support their everyday life expenses on food, living space, transportation, holidays, entertainments, social activities, continuing education and learning, and for some people, they might even need to support their family, or helping out relatives and friends financially. And they also need to have some extra money to allow them to perform charity, or to be able to participate in some forms of volunteering works to contribute to the society once in a while.

There’s nothing wrong, or sinful, or bad karma in this at all.

No one can criticize or condemn them for anything as they are not teaching yoga.

2.) Yoga, the teachings of yoga, the yoga practice and Dharma are not for sale. It is not a trading object that can be exchanged or trade in for something else. It is not possible to make ‘yoga’ into a worldly business and make profit out of it. No one owns yoga, nor has authority over yoga, but it exists in all and everyone waiting to be realized. ‘Yoga classes’, or ‘yoga courses’, or ‘yoga asana exercise classes’ are something different. They can be made into a business to make some profits out of it, whether we think it’s okay, or it’s not okay. And those who really teach yoga don’t identify themselves with any names and forms. Neither they will call themselves ‘yoga teachers’. There are no yoga teachers. They are just instruments for performing the actions of transmitting the teachings of yoga to others.

3.) What’s the difference between fees and donations? It doesn’t matter they are in the form of money or in some other exchangeable forms, it is something that we show gratitude to somebody who gives us, or shares with us something that is invaluable which cannot be bought with money, whether the receivers are selfless and don’t expect anything in return, or they are not selfless and they expect something in return. Why is it if it’s ‘fees’, it is ‘not okay’, but if it’s ‘donations’, it is ‘okay’? Is it that if we think yoga teachers are supposed to be selfless beings, that they should be performing selfless service, and they shouldn’t expect or receive anything in return, and that allows us to take them for granted?

4.) Many of those who think and believe that yoga teachers should live in poverty and live on charity or begging, are not necessarily that they can’t afford to pay the fees or donations, but they are being stingy and just want to have ‘free’ or ‘cheap’ yoga exercise classes. So that they can keep their money for other expenses to support their social activities and life enjoyments. They think the yoga teacher doesn’t deserve more than what they think they want to ‘pay’. What are these people with such mentality learning and practicing when they claim themselves as yoga enthusiasts who love yoga (or yoga exercises more precisely) very much and want to learn yoga under a teacher, but they don’t respect the teacher or know how to appreciate the invaluable yoga teachings and practice at all?

Humility and respect oneself and others are the basis of yoga practice. We need to learn how to be free from arrogance, defensiveness and offensiveness, to respect all without discrimination of personal likes and dislikes, agreements and disagreements based on what our minds believe how things should be like, not to say to show humility and respect towards someone who teaches and guides us about the teachings and practice of yoga.

Those who are truly humble and sincere to learn yoga from a teacher will naturally want to contribute and support the living of the teacher. Even when the teacher doesn’t expect or doesn’t want to be respected or served by the students, they will respect and serve the teacher out of their own free will. The students will be performing selfless service to serve the teacher even after they have contribute something or support the living of the teacher. Nowadays, many people who say they want to learn yoga, they don’t know anything about this precious value of yoga – to eliminate egoism. The students complain and criticize about their teachers when they are not getting what they want, or are being dissatisfied about something that they don’t like or disagree with. They are not learning or practicing yoga at all. They expect the teacher to be in certain ways with certain professional image and behavior. They expect the teacher to give them something in return that they like and want, which they think it should worth the similar value of money that they have given to the teacher. They want the teacher to serve them or treat them with some sorts of customer service and gratifying their desires of craving and aversion, as they have given some fees or donations to the teacher.

5.) People who pay some fees for yoga classes or courses, may drop out half way of the course when it becomes quite challenging physically and mentally, or when they didn’t get what they expect to be getting from the yoga classes, even if they know that their money will be ‘wasted’. Not to say those who pay no fees or very little fees for yoga classes or courses, may easily drop out half way of the course when it becomes quite challenging physically and mentally, or when they didn’t get what they expect to be getting from the yoga classes, as they know they won’t be ‘wasting’ much money.

6.) When ‘real’ yoga teachers who teach yoga by giving yoga classes or courses at a specific time and place to allow people to come together to learn and practice yoga, they don’t sell us yoga or Dharma, or the realization of the truth, or liberation, or peace and compassion. They can’t. Even if they want to ‘sell’ us yoga or Dharma, or the realization of the truth, or liberation, or peace and compassion, we can’t ‘buy’ it and ‘have’ it, no matter how much money we have.

7.) The fees or donations (whether it is a fixed amount or ‘donate as you wish’) that the yoga teachers receive from those who participate (or not participate) in their classes or courses, are for the time, effort and costs to make the classes or courses available, to show their gratitude and support to the teachers and to Dharma by paying some fees or donate some donations to allow some other people to be able to come together at a particular time and place, to learn and practice yoga or Dharma. And everyone has to work very hard individually to attain their own realization and salvation, it doesn’t matter the amount of fees or donations is big or small.

It doesn’t mean that if the amount of fees or donations is big, they’ll get faster and more efficient results and greater achievements, and if the amount of fees or donations is smaller, they’ll get slower and less efficient results and smaller achievements. Or vice versa. And above all, yoga is not about the results or achievements, and it’s nothing to do with fees or donations.

8.) The fees or donations that we pay or donate to ‘real’ yoga teachers who teach yoga, not just some yoga asana exercise fitness classes, is also a form of charity act come from us to allow these yoga teachers (who allow the yoga classes to be available to us, and to share the great knowledge of yoga of how to be free from ignorance and suffering, to realize unconditional love and peace, it’s not just about doing some fitness exercise routines) to support their lives, and for them to have the time and space to perform their personal practice to attain higher realization, apart from giving their time to teach classes to others. They also need to have some sorts of livelihood to support themselves, their lives and all other necessary expenses to perform their duties and responsibilities towards themselves and towards those who depend on them in lives financially, physically or mentally.

9.) Why should yoga teachers (or more precisely, experienced yoga practitioners who teach yoga to others) live in poverty, be homeless, or to survive under poor and insufficient conditions, solely depend on begging or receiving ‘charity’ from other people, to prove that they practice ‘detachment’, or ‘non-attachment’, or ‘non-possessiveness’, or they are ‘super human beings’? What is the real meaning and practice of detachment, non-attachment and non-possessiveness? What does yoga or yoga practitioners has anything to do with ‘super human beings’? Even enlightened beings will also witness or go through the law of impermanence through the existence of the physical body and mind. Their bodies will decay, experiences changes, old age, illness, pain, discomforts, and eventually decomposition or death. There are constant thoughts arising and passing away in their mind. But they are not associated with, or be determined or disturbed by the ceaseless changes of names and forms.

10.) Should the yoga teachers who teach yoga be limited by the above ‘observations’, and be criticized and condemned by ‘certain people’ who think they know about yoga more than other people, and they think they have the authority on yoga and all that is related to yoga, to give them the superiority to condemn the yoga teachers who teach yoga, who are able to make a living and be financially independent from giving yoga classes or courses, and don’t need to spend the rest of their time and energy in a worldly job for livelihood, or don’t need to depend on charity or begging from others? Isn’t that a great thing for people (including those who teach yoga to others) to have a better quality of life with the right livelihood that will benefits oneself and others? While in another point of view, the yoga students are being given the opportunity to perform charity by supporting the livelihood of the yoga teachers by giving some fees or donations to the teachers.

11.) Why should ‘real’ yoga teachers who know what is yoga be bothered or determined by the criticism and condemn by these people? Those who have realized yoga, they have gone beyond egoism and worldly image, ideas and values.

12.) Even when ‘real’ yoga teachers give yoga classes or courses to teach yoga to others, whether with or without fees, it also cannot guarantee that all the students or clients will be satisfied, or will appreciate, or will be benefited from their teaching, or will be free from ignorance and suffering.

13.) Of course, there are also some ‘yoga teachers’ who do not really interested to teach yoga to others, nor do they care for the well-beings of anyone but themselves, as their main motive or objective to give ‘yoga classes’, or ‘yoga asana exercise classes’ is solely about getting some profits, to attain name and fame. But there’s also nothing to be criticized about, as some people maybe enjoying their classes very much and are benefited from attending their classes, even though they don’t have intention to benefit anyone at all. And these people see them as their greatest ‘Gurus’ and they are willingly to ‘donate’ part of or all their money to their ‘Gurus’.

14.) ‘Real’ yogis who know yoga, are not obliged to teach yoga to anyone. They don’t have to give yoga classes or courses to anyone even if there are ‘high profits’ in return, or even if we beg them to teach us. And if they do teach us yoga whether by giving yoga classes or courses, or not, and there’s profit in return, it doesn’t mean that they are not ‘real’ yogis, or they are ‘bad’ yogis. Some ‘spiritual’ people think and believe that ‘money is evil’, and so, yogis can only take food from begging and should not touch money, or receive money from anyone, or else they become evil.

Money is like everything else, it is neither evil nor good. Whether touching money, or not, it doesn’t make one a yogi or not, be free from ignorance, or not. Money is just pieces of commercial papers for the convenience of the worldly society to exchange goods and services while living in this materialistic commercial world. It depends on the purity of mind whether the money will be used wisely, or not. Don’t have any money or not using money also cannot guarantee that one is free from ignorance, egoism, greed and attachment. Having money or using money doesn’t determine that one is not free from ignorance, egoism, greed and attachment.

15.) Does by not taking any fees, or taking less money, or charging lower fees than other people, will make us better yogis or yoga teachers than the others who take some fees, or take more money, or charge higher fees?

16.) Who are we to judge or to condemn anyone, including judging and condemn ourselves, anyway?

17.) Why is it those who don’t really teach yoga cannot be condemned for not teaching yoga the way that we think it should be, as they are not teaching yoga at all, but those who truly teach yoga could be condemned for teaching yoga not the way that we think it should be? It doesn’t make sense in yoga. Though it totally makes sense for the ignorant and worldly minded ones.

18.) How does selflessness and selfless service be determined by getting something in return, or not? It’s about not attach to the actions and the fruit of actions. Undisturbed and undetermined by the fruit of actions to be peaceful, happy, confident, or meaningful, or not. Who says anything about not having anything in return? There will be something in return naturally whenever there are actions being performed, but it’s not necessarily the way that we think it should be or how we like it to be, and there’s no identification or attachment towards the actions or the fruit of actions to be who ‘I’ am. There is no ‘I’ existing to be the doer of actions. There is no ‘I’ existing to be the enjoyer of the fruit of actions, or to be receiving the fruit of actions. It doesn’t mean that after actions are being performed there is no fruit of actions in return. All actions including inactions, will bear the fruit of actions.

19.) Some might think that those who are using the information/teachings from the Scriptures to teach yoga to others, or those who have realized unconditional love and peace through their own self-realization and share the knowledge with others, or those who are using the yoga asana exercises to teach fitness exercise classes, and make a living out of it, is like ‘stealing’ something from ‘God’ and sell it to make profits.

Well, just like some scientists knew how to harvest the sunlight, the wind, the water to make use of them for mostly good reasons and generate electricity from them, and some people make some profits out of that, some people also get some livelihood out of it, while many people are benefited from it for the convenience coming from the availability of electricity in our modern lives.

Does that mean everyone who involve with harvesting the elements of fire, wind and water to generate electricity, working in the fields, and all the consumers of electricity are robbers and sinful?

While there might be people who think that since the resource is coming from ‘God’ or nature, it should be free, no one should make any profits from it, we shouldn’t pay anything for using the electricity?

‘God’ must be very proud of these Scientists to have such invention to utilize the resources from ‘God’ and turn them into something great and beneficial for all and everyone, as well as some people can make a living out of utilizing these resources.

In the modern society, many people’s livelihood and everyday living depend a lot on the availability and convenience of electricity being supply to their villages, cities, homes, factories, farms, offices and shops. Some people insist not to use the electricity for some ethical reasons, and that is their own choice.

20.) Some people labelled the yoga in yoga classes being taught without fees as ‘non-commercial’, and the yoga being taught in yoga classes with fees as ‘commercial’. Does that mean the teachings of yoga being taught in both commercial and non-commercial yoga classes will be different, although there might be different intentions behind it? There’s no guarantee that there won’t be any impure intention in the non-commercial yoga classes, nor there must be impure intention in the commercial yoga classes. Non-commercial yoga classes doesn’t guarantee all the yoga students will be free from ignorance and egoism. And it doesn’t mean that all the students in the commercial yoga classes will not be free from ignorance and egoism. If yoga being taught in the commercial yoga classes can bring certain awareness to the society, and more people are becoming more aware of their minds, and learn how to be kind to themselves and to others, what’s so wrong with the commercial yoga classes then? Unless there are corruptions exist in the yoga classes among the teachers and the students, it doesn’t matter if it is non-commercial or commercial yoga classes, then there’s something is going against the teachings of yoga.

Now, it’s up to us, whether to add something else onto these information, or to take away some of these information that we think are irrelevant, to figure out the truth through our own self-inquiry.

Om shanti.

Criticism

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If what others say or criticize about us is true, why are we unhappy?

If what others say or criticize about us is not true, then we shouldn’t be unhappy at all.

And so, either what others say about us is true or not true, there’s no reason for us to be unhappy.

It is just a reaction coming from the egoism if the mind feels unhappy about something, it’s all because it is something that the ego doesn’t like, doesn’t want, and doesn’t agree with.

A well-trained mind free from egoism will not react the same.

Be happy.