Silence upon realization of selflessness and compassion

As the world evolves towards what most people believe as higher quality of life with higher standard of living, somehow the teaching/practice of ‘silence’ in Yoga and Buddhism is being neglected, or abandoned, or denied, or criticized. And there’s nothing wrong with that, as that’s the way it goes.

It’s not easy for the impure egoistic passionate minds (that are being conditioned by worldly ideas, thinking and belief to think and behave, to aspire and inspire, to live life, to socialize and interact, to accumulate connections and relationships, to feel happy, confident, proud and meaningful) to penetrate the subtle meaning of silence. In many cases, silence would be perceived by the worldly egoistic passionate minds as ‘cowardliness’, ‘non-action/improper action’, ‘weakness’, ‘submissive towards other’s people bad and wrongful behavior’, or ‘passively encouraging evilness, bad ideas and wrong doings’. There’s nothing wrong with this common worldly thinking and belief, action and reaction.

Only the dispassionate minds could penetrate the subtle reason/meaning/action/practice of silence in the teachings of Yoga and Buddhism, where it’s beyond restraining the speech organ, physical and mental activities, or restraining the senses from going out chasing after the objects of the senses, but real silence comes naturally and effortlessly out of compassion upon realization of selflessness knowing what is going on in the mind of all the restless and selfless modifications of the mind perception of names and forms, egoism and the by-products of egoism, separateness, all forms of impurities, actions and reactions, intentions and expectations, aspirations and inspirations, enjoyment and suffering.

It’s being aware of and acknowledging the ignorance in one’s mind. It’s seeing the ignorance in this mind which is not any different from the ignorance in other minds. It’s seeing the truth of “the impermanent and selfless worldly life existence of the body and mind functioning and perceiving all the impermanent and selfless names and forms” as it is.

The highest Yoga Sadhana is forbearance to forbear the mind perception of unpleasantness, disagreement, undesirable experiences, constraint, selfless changes, difficulties, obstacles, challenging condition and situation, insult, humiliation, threat and hurt without violence, animosity, ill-will, anger and hatred, which include non-craving, non-aversion, non-justification, non-retaliation, non-contentious, non-bashing, non-criticism, non-judgment, non-expectation, and so on, upon experiencing what the worldly thinking and belief categorizes as stupid, selfish, unjust, bad, undeserving, wrongful, hurtful, unkind, harsh, cruel, unreasonable, provoking, or mischievous treatment/behaviors from others, especially if it’s coming from those whom we love, who are in some kind of relationship with us.

Upon realization of the truth of names and forms, the mind perception of suffering and the root cause of suffering vanished, or being free from ignorance and the consequences of ignorance – all kinds of suffering, all forms of yoga practice including forbearance become irrelevant or useless. It is needless to practice forbearance to forbear anything, as the mind has gone beyond all the modifications of the mind perception of duality, separateness and the worldly ideas, thinking, belief, actions and reactions. It is needless to practice yoga to free the mind from ignorance, egoism, impurities, restlessness and suffering, as the mind is free as it is.

After going through a prolong and unpleasant process of mind purification, the minds that are rendered pure and quiet are able to see the truth of names and forms as it is, realizing oneness/non-separateness among all the different qualities of names and forms, and the relation between silence, selflessness, compassion and non-violence, being free from the ego (the idea of ‘I’ exists as an individual being) and egoism, and the mind perception of ‘hurt and suffering’ vanished. There’s no need to ‘forbear’ something ‘hurtful and suffering’. There’s no need to be ‘healed’ from ‘hurt and suffering’. The mind is resting in silence peacefully, naturally and effortlessly, even under the great criticism/attack from many other passionate egoistic minds (those who identify themselves as ‘good people’ empowered by the sense of self-righteousness) in the world discouraging, condemning and disagreeing with the action/practice of silence.

There’s nothing wrong with most minds think and believe that people/human beings/mankind should react with ‘Intolerance and discouragement towards bad and wrongful treatments/behaviors’, to fight back and attack the ‘bad and evil beings’, to obtain revenge/justice/relief for themselves being ‘the victims’ of other people’s bad and wrongful treatments/behaviors, as that is how all the impure egoistic minds understand and being conditioned to react in certain ways upon receiving treatments/behaviors from others that the minds perceive, think and believe as ‘undeserving’, ‘shouldn’t’, ‘wrongful’ and ‘bad’.

To contemplate on this teaching –

Let’s say, there’s a couple who think they love each other and are committed to be a couple.

One of them behaves in the way that most minds/people would perceive, categorize, think and believe as terrible, bad, wrongful, or hurtful.

It’s normal that the other person will react and feel dissatisfaction, disappointment, unhappiness, anger, or hurt by the partner’s bad, hurtful and wrongful behavior.

Out of dissatisfaction, disappointment, unhappiness, anger, or hurt, this person has the urge to complain to other people about “My partner is so bad and terrible. He/she is like this and like that. He/she did this and did that. I love him/her so much. I am so nice to him/her, but this is how he/she behaves in return for my love and care. I don’t deserve to be treated like this.”

This person has the freedom to express his/her frustration, dissatisfaction, disappointment, unhappiness, anger and hurt, to do and say what he/she wants to do and say, but then it only indicates that this person doesn’t love the partner at all, when he/she would think and react in such way, and would do and say things that would hurt the partner in return out of the frustration, dissatisfaction, disappointment, unhappiness, anger, or hurt that he/she strongly convinced that it’s caused by the partner’s being unloving and unkind with his/her bad, undeserving, hurtful and wrongful treatments/behaviors.

If the partner reacts with dissatisfaction, disappointment, unhappiness, anger, or hurt towards this person’s action, and would react by doing and saying something that would hurt this person in return, then this also indicates that the partner also doesn’t love this person.

Both of them don’t love each other at all. They only love what they desire. They would have ill-thinking and ill-will towards each other, and would hurt each other when they don’t get what they like and want from one another, but they are getting what they don’t like and don’t want from one another.

If a person loves the partner, he/she will love him/her as he/she is, and won’t do or say anything with the intention of deliberately to ‘hurt’ him/her, even when the person receives so called ‘bad’, ‘wrongful’, or ‘hurtful’ treatment/behavior from the partner.

If the partner loves this person, he /she won’t be doing anything intentionally to ‘hurt’ his/her partner or the relationship. He/she will love the partner as he/she is, even when knowing that this person doesn’t love him/her, as he/she would do and say things to ‘hurt’ their partner when they are dissatisfied, unhappy, angry or feel hurt by something that they don’t like and don’t want. The partner won’t retaliate by doing or saying anything with the intention of deliberately to ‘hurt’ him/her in return for this person’s action of complaining to other people about the partner being ‘bad’ and ‘terrible’.

There’s nothing wrong when one knows/realizes that oneself doesn’t love the partner or anyone. “Because I don’t love you, that’s why I would do things that will hurt you and our relationship, or I would want to hurt you in return for thinking and believing that I am hurt by you and your bad, wrong and hurtful behavior.”

The thinking of “I love you so much, I am so loving to you. I deserve to be loved by you and I should be receiving loving treatment. I am very disappointed, unhappy, angry and hurt by your bad, wrongful and hurtful behavior that I don’t deserve. I need to tell other people about how bad, wrongful and hurtful you are, because it will make me feel better by getting support and agreement from others to also agree with me that I am good and you are bad, that I am right and you are wrong, and that’s why I am the ‘victim’ of other people’s hurtful behavior and I need/deserve support and sympathy from others.” is the cause of misery arising in the mind.

The realization of “I am unhappy, dissatisfied, disappointed, frustrated, angry and hurt is because I don’t love you, I only love what I like and want, and I am not getting what I like and want from you, but I am getting what I don’t like and don’t want from you.” is what allows the mind to be liberated from misery. There’s no need to ‘complain’, or ‘condemn’, or ‘redeem justice’.

It doesn’t mean that one allows other people to abuse one’s body and mind, but one doesn’t need to be disturbed or determined by other people’s unloving or unkind treatments/behaviors. One can let go of the partner and the relationship in peace. It’s when one couldn’t let go the partner and the relationship for some reasons, and hence, one is peaceless and suffering being ‘engaged’ or ‘stuck’ in a loveless relationship that is not the way that one would like it to be.

The thinking of “We are kind and loving people, and believing that we love other people and are kind to other people, but at the same time, thinking that we are somehow hurt by other people whom we ‘love’ very much. Believing and expecting that all mankind ‘should’ be loving and kind to one another.” is the cause of ‘hurt and suffering’. If we truly know what is love and how to love, we love everyone as they are, we love everything as it is. There’s no ‘hurt and suffering’ regardless of how other people think, feel, behave, act and react, and how things are.

It’s great liberation either when the mind realizes it doesn’t love anyone, and there’s nothing wrong for being loveless, or when the mind realizes unconditional love and loves everyone and everything as it is, without expecting everyone and everything has to be in certain ways, that everyone has to be kind and loving to one another, or has to be grateful, appreciative and thankful for goodness and other people’s love and kindness. One is free to love and give without possessiveness and ill-feelings/resentment, being free from egoism of attachment, identification, craving, aversion, judgment and expectation.

There’s nothing wrong when other people don’t love us, or don’t want to love us. Everyone has the freedom to love, or not to love anyone. Just that when there’s no love, people will do and say things that will hurt one another when their minds are being over-powered by dissatisfaction, disappointment, feelings of hurt and anger, including hurting people whom they think they ‘love’ very much, whether intentionally or unintentionally. There’s nothing wrong if we feel unhappy, disappointed, hurt and angry when we are not loved by those whom we would like to be loved by them, and we would feel hurt by their unloving treatments/behaviors towards us, but that thinking and reaction is merely due to ignorance in our minds.

It’s the craving and clinging towards ‘love and affection’ and ‘receiving loving treatments’ and ‘attaining a loving relationship’ to feel love, happy, confident, worthy, proud and meaningful about ‘I’ and ‘my life’ that causing suffering exist in the mind.

We feel disappointed, unhappy, angry and hurt is because things are not the way that we would like it to be. We didn’t get the ‘love and affection’ that we expect to be receiving from others, or be loved/sympathized/accepted/acknowledged/understood/supported/treated by others the way that we would like it to be, the way that we think it should be, to attain the sense of love, self-esteem, purpose, confidence, pride, happiness, completeness and meaningfulness, to be ‘who I am’.

If ‘yoga teachers’ truly want to help other beings/people to be free from the suffering of hurts/disappointment/anger/painful sorrow/grief/resentment/fear/loneliness/depression, it’s not by empowering the ignorance and egoism in others through ‘being a good listener listening to their complaints’, or ‘giving them the love and support that they are looking/craving for’, or ‘prescribing them with different types of healing practice’, or ‘being the healer that claimed to be able to heal their minds/souls from all kinds of hurts and suffering’, but it’s to give them the Dhamma, that will allow them to purify their own minds via their own self-effort and self-discipline, to attain self-realization to realize/see the truth of all the names and forms, to know what is going on in the mind, to know the root cause of all suffering, and free their own minds from ignorance, egoism and impurities. Buddha didn’t ‘take away’ the ignorance and impurities from people’s mind, neither did Buddha ‘heal’ other people from their hurts and suffering, but Buddha just gave the Dhamma to those who came to him for ‘guidance how to be free from suffering’, and allowing everyone whether to practice and free their own mind from ignorance and suffering, or not.

Those who live in the truth, they are peaceful and free as it is, regardless of whether there’s love or loveless towards others who restlessly act and react under the influence of ignorance, egoism and impurities, and would hurt oneself and others whether intentionally or unintentionally. There’s no need to forbear, or forgive, or let go anything, as they are free from disturbed, disappointment, resentment, anger, hatred and hurts. It’s everyone’s own responsibility to be aware of what is going on in their own minds and whether there’s self-control over their own actions and reactions, or not.

Be free.

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It’s everyone’s freedom whether to receive or reject the gift of Dhamma

Many people like to attend ‘yoga retreat’ are not about giving importance towards the yoga practice to be learning and practicing yoga under the guidance of a yoga teacher who teaches yoga, to leave their ego and worldly habits behind for a period of time, to quiet and silent the mind, to learn how to apply the teachings of yoga into the yoga asana practice, as well as applying the yoga practice/teachings or the Dhamma practically into everyday life while living in the society, to free the mind from ignorance, egoism and impurities.

Instead, they expect to be doing some form of yoga exercises/practice as a leisure activity while on a holiday that includes yoga and other holiday activities, where they expect the resort/staff/teachers to conduct/provide/lead/instruct/teach the yoga exercise sessions the way that they like it to be, in a resort style holiday environment, being away from any duties and responsibilities, and condition and situation in their everyday life that they don’t like and don’t want, to be indulging in pleasurable enjoyment of the senses of sights, sounds, smells, tastes, sensations and visualization, to be enjoying VIP treatments, resort facilities and services.

They are not interested to practice yoga in a simple place where it’s not much different from everyday life condition for most people, or even more challenging for those who live a comfortable lifestyle where everything is conveniently available and accessible and being served by other people all the time, but one needs to perform daily tasks to take care of one’s everyday living, just like in everyday life, but with additional restrictions of a more disciplined daily routine and limited social activities, or without personal assistant or servant to bring them what they want whenever they want, while learning and practicing yoga under the guidance of a yoga teacher who teaches yoga, so that when they go back into their everyday life, they can implement the yoga teachings/practice or the Dhamma into their everyday life while performing all their duties and responsibilities towards themselves and others, without the sense of superiority or inferiority, pride and arrogance, and dealing with all kinds of condition and situation that are not necessarily the way that they like it to be, be free from craving and aversion, without the need to runaway from what they don’t like or don’t want, and developing stronger self-discipline and reducing social activities to quiet the restless mind while living in the society, and realize unconditional peace that is beyond the impermanent qualities of names and forms, undetermined by time and space, causation, condition and situation.

If people feel that they can only have peace or practice yoga in a comfortable environment with very little distraction and without the need to deal with any discomfortable challenging condition and situation, and they find that it’s very difficult for them to have peace or practice yoga in everyday life as there are lots of distractions and have to deal with many discomfortable challenging condition and situation in everyday life, then they haven’t learn anything at all, even though they feel good and happy to practice yoga or do some yoga asana exercises in a comfortable distraction-less environment. A real yoga retreat should allow people to learn how to implement the teachings of yoga into everyday life and practice yoga and have peace under any condition and situation, with correct understanding, awareness, self-discipline, self-control, non-attachment, non-identification, non-craving, non-aversion, non-judgment and non-expectation.

It’s everyone’s freedom whether they want to receive or reject the gift of Dhamma and whether they want to practice yoga, or not. Even some yoga teachers are not really practicing yoga, although they have been doing different styles of yoga asana practice and teaching different styles of yoga exercise classes for many years. And it’s okay as everyone takes their own time to evolve. It doesn’t matter after many years of doing and teaching yoga exercise, the mind is still not free from ignorance and egoism, and being over-powered by impurities.

Many people who like to do the yoga asana exercises regularly are not necessarily interested in the yoga teachings and practice about silencing the mind and the elimination of ignorance, egoism and impurities. That’s their freedom. Even though many of them have been following some yoga teachers to be doing yoga asana exercises for some time or a long time, their minds are not necessarily be free from the desire of craving and aversion, and easily be disturbed and determined by the gratification of craving and aversion, and be influenced by impurities of dissatisfaction, disappointment, frustration, irritation, anger, hatred, jealousy, greed, hurts, regret, guilt, offensiveness, defensiveness, animosity, ill-will, ill-thinking, pride, arrogance, agitation, depression, fear and worry, and so on, being restless or peaceless.

A teacher presents the same teaching or Dhamma to different people at the same time, some people take it and practice and realize and be free, while some people reject the Dhamma, as that is not what they like and want and agree with, they only want to do something that they like and want to do, to gratify their desire of craving and aversion, to enjoy and to feel good. And that’s their freedom.

It’s not the teacher is being good or not good. It’s not the Dhamma is something good or not good. The teacher and the Dhamma are just what they are. They are neither good nor not good, but it’s the people themselves, whether they want to take it, or not, and through their own effort of practice and attain self-realization, or not, that allows them to be free, or not. Whether the people want to take the Dhamma and practice and realize yoga, or they don’t like and don’t want to practice the Dhamma, it’s not the responsibility of the teacher or the Dhamma.

Egoistic mind will try to runaway from something that it’s experiencing now, that it doesn’t familiar with, doesn’t feel comfortable, doesn’t like, doesn’t want and doesn’t agree with, that is different from or contradicted with one’s thinking and belief and familiar worldly habits.

Those who teach yoga, they do not try to please the people who are learning and practicing yoga with them, or in anyway, to boost or empower or feed the ignorance and egoism of the people. But to guide the people to see or know what is going on in their own minds, develop awareness, self-discipline and self-control to deal with their own mind, to free their mind from ignorance, egoism and impurities through their own effort to purify and silent their impure restless mind, to see the truth of things as it is. Compassion is not about trying to make people happy by gratifying their desires of craving and aversion, but to allow them to know the root cause of a disturbed mind, or the source of unhappiness and suffering, even if they have to go through discomfort and unpleasantness.

The practice of yoga and the coming in contact with the Dhamma is not as pleasant as many people thought it is. The Dhamma might appear to be very different or contradicted with the worldly cultural, social and religious thinking, belief and practice. To realize Dhamma one has to let go attachment and identification towards the worldly cultural, social and religious thinking, belief and practice, to allow the mind to be open. Those who have strong attachment and identification with the worldly cultural, social and religious thinking, belief and practice would likely generate great disagreement, rejection or aversion towards the Dhamma. There are lots of impurities bubble up onto the body and the mind to be eliminated on the path of yoga towards the annihilation of ignorance, egoism and impurities. There will be lots of physical, mental and emotional discomfort arising and passing away. And it might take a long time for the mind to be purified to the deepest level. It requires lots of courage, patience, perseverance, determination, tolerance. forbearance, acceptance, adjustment, adaptation and accommodation. It’s quite an unpleasant or painful and even scary process for most minds, and many minds don’t like to confront with this and rather to runaway from any unpleasantness or hardship. They just want to do the parts of the yoga practice that would give rise to momentary relaxation and good feelings, to gratify their desires of craving and aversion.

Those who truly practice yoga learn how to confront with what the mind perceives as unfamiliar, discomfortable and challenging condition and situation, with compassion, patience, perseverance, determination, tolerance, forbearance, acceptance, adjustment, adaptation and accommodation, without attachment, identification, craving, aversion, judgment, or expectation.

Only through letting go all kinds of attachment and identification, and the desire of craving and aversion towards the pleasant and unpleasant mind perception of names and forms, not by pushing or running away from something that the mind doesn’t like and doesn’t want, that is discomfortable or challenging for the mind, will allow the mind to go beyond all the qualities of names and forms and be free from being disturbed or determined by all the different qualities of names and forms that the mind perceives as pleasant or unpleasant experiences, positive or negative experiences, that the mind likes or dislikes, wants and doesn’t want.

Letting go and pushing away are two different things.

Letting go is unattached towards all the qualities of names and forms, allowing the unpleasant experiences to be there as they are, or allowing the pleasant experiences to be absent in this present moment, but remain at peace, without craving for something that is pleasant but it’s not here, without aversion towards something that is here that is unpleasant, being undisturbed or undetermined by them. The mind is peaceful as it is regardless all the mind perceptions of pleasantness and unpleasantness, being free from disturbs due to ignorance, egoism and impurities.

While pushing away is do not allow any unpleasant experiences to be there, and expecting pleasant experiences to be available in the present the way that it likes it to be, and are being disturbed or determined by the presence of unpleasant experiences that the mind doesn’t like and doesn’t want, and the absence of pleasant experiences that the mind likes and wants. The mind is restless or peaceless being over-powered by frustration, dissatisfaction, disappointment, unhappiness, anger, regret, ill-thinking, animosity, anxiety, fear and worry.

Be free.

Desires?

Whenever we feel unhappy or disappointed, ask ourselves, “What’s really going on?”

We will see that it is deriving from unfulfilled desires. We have some desires that are not being gratified the way that we like it to be.

There’s no problems.

It’s just that we couldn’t let go of desires, we are not free from desires, and we are still very much influenced by desires of wants and don’t wants, including the desires of wanting something good and positive, and don’t want something that is opposed to good and positive.

Om shanti.

Craving and aversion – The source of restlessness, unhappiness and suffering…

Suffering, unhappiness, anger, hatred, greed, jealousy, hurts, dissatisfaction, disappointment, frustration, pride, arrogance, fear and worry are all derived from craving and aversion.

Without craving and aversion, there is no unhappiness and suffering.

When there’s an identification with the egoistic mind as who we think we are, or “I”, and the mind is being over-powered by craving and aversion, we’ll crave for the things that we agree with, that we like and want, and we’ll reject the things that we don’t agree with, that we don’t like and don’t want.

Before we come in contact with anything that we don’t like and don’t want, but we are already full of aversion, tension, negativity, fear and worries that we might come in contact with the things that we don’t like and don’t want. So restless and have no peace.

When we come in contact with the things that we don’t agree with, that we don’t like and don’t want, we’ll get so irritated, unhappy, frustrated, angry, dissatisfied and disappointed. Even after we get rid of the things that we don’t like and don’t want, we are still not peaceful, because we attach onto the past unhappy and unpleasant experience that generates a strong aversion that we don’t want to come in contact with the same experiences or objects again. Full of tension of fear and worry that come from strong aversion.

Before we get the things that we like and want, we are restless and have no peace. We are full of dissatisfaction, greed and craving for the things that we don’t have which we like and want to have.

When we don’t get the things that we like and want, we’ll get so unhappy, frustrated, angry, dissatisfied, disappointed, and jealous towards others who have the things that we like and want.

When we finally get the things that we like and want, we’ll attach to these impermanent objects of names and forms, generate craving and clinging onto them. We have no peace even though we get the things that we like and want, because we’ll be over-powered by pride and arrogance that derived from the achievement of the things that we like and want, but at the same time, we also have fear and worry that these things that we like and want will change and disappear, and this will cause us losing the fantastic sensation of being proud and arrogant that derived from achieving the things that we like and want. We have strong rejection or aversion that we don’t want these things to change and disappear. We don’t allow them to change and refuse to let them go when impermanence strikes. This is impossible under the law of nature – the Truth of things – Impermanence. We’ll be so disappointed and dissatisfied when the pleasant sensations disappeared upon losing the things that we like and want because of impermanence.

And so, no matter we get the things that we like and want, or not, and whether we don’t get the things that we don’t like and don’t want, we will always be dissatisfied, not peaceful, restless, anxious, and have fear and worry.

If we can let go craving and aversion, we can fully enjoy what we have in the present moment now, without fear and worry of losing it or it will change. We can appreciate and enjoy everything as it is, not necessarily the way that we want it to be, but we are able to accept everything to be the way as it is, from moment to moment. Without craving for the things that we don’t have in the present moment now, and without clinging onto the things that we have in the present moment now. We also won’t have rejection or aversion towards the things that we don’t like and don’t want. We allow everything to be here existing temporary in this same space of the universe of where we are, whether it is something that we like or don’t like, want or don’t want, agree or disagree with. We allow impermanence to be happening from moment to moment. We accept the changes of the conditions and qualities of names and forms of everything as it is.

This is true freedom. Real liberation. Being free from anger, hatred, jealousy, greed, hurts, dissatisfaction, disappointment, frustration, anxiety, pride, arrogance, fear and worry.

We can have likes and dislikes, agreements and disagreements. We don’t have to like the things that we don’t like, and we don’t have to agree with the things that we don’t agree with. But, without the attachment towards the things that we like and don’t like, agree and disagree with. Without craving and aversion towards all the names and forms that we like and don’t like, agree and disagree with. And thus, we will be free from all the impurities that arise due to craving and aversion.

When we don’t have the things that we like and want, but we are free from greed, disappointment, dissatisfaction or craving for these things that we like and want. We are fine, and still peaceful and happy.

If we are not coming in contact with the things that we don’t like and don’t want, there’s no fear and worry that we will come in contact with these things that we don’t like and don’t want. We are fine, and still peaceful and happy.

When we come in contact with the things that we don’t like and don’t agree with, we don’t have disappointment, anger and hatred towards these things that we don’t like and don’t agree with. We are fine, and still peaceful and happy.

When we get the things that we like and want, we don’t have fear and worry that these things will change and disappear. We will appreciate and enjoy all these things that we like and want while it is here, but we allow impermanence to be happening and able to let them go in peace when they change and disappear.

When we know the Truth of things as it is, that everything is impermanent, we won’t have strong attachment towards all these names and forms. When we know what is non-duality, namelessness, formlessness and attributeless, there is no attachment towards all the qualities of names and forms, whether we think they are good or bad. When there is no attachment, there is no need of “letting go”. There is no craving for something “good” and there is no aversion towards something “bad”. There is neither “good” nor “bad”.

Changes, impermanence, being with the things that we don’t like, separation from the things that we like and love, old age, sickness, discomfort, pain, injuries, weakness, decay, death or decomposition of this physical body are not something “bad” or “horrible”. When we stopped judging or labeling all these things as something “bad” and “horrible”, there won’t be craving for something “good”, and there’s no aversion towards something “bad” and “horrible”. And thus there is no fear, no worry. There’s no anxiety or restlessness that come from craving for the things that are being labelled as “good” and aversion towards the things that are being labelled as “not good”.

Without craving and aversion, there’s no fear and worry. Absence of fear and worry is peace.

We accept ourselves and other beings in this present moment now as we are, as they are. We are contented and peaceful. At the same time, we can perform actions for the well-beings of ourselves and other beings out of selflessness and compassion, and allow the result of our actions to be what it is and allow improvement or changes to happen naturally. Without attachment towards our actions and the result of the actions. Without selfish desires or intentions, judgment, comparison and expectation. Without the influence of likes and dislikes, agreements and disagreements that come from the impure egoistic mind.

We don’t need to depend or rely on doing something “good” or not doing something “not good”, to have peace. We don’t need to be in specific “good” place or “nice” environment, to have peace. Peace is here, when there’s no craving and aversion, fear and worry. Wherever we are, whatever we do and don’t do, peace is always here in us.

When we realize the real peace in our true nature free from ignorance, egoism and impurities, we don’t need to do something or go somewhere to attain peace, or to be in peace. We don’t need to depend on doing the things that we like to do to have peace. Whatever we do or don’t do, wherever we go or don’t go, we are always peaceful as we are.

This real peace never increase or decrease, never change or disappear. This real peace is unconditional and unlimited by the impermanent condition and ability of this physical body, the state of the mind, the energy fields and elements, the actions and inactions of this body and mind. Neither does it be conditioned or limited by the qualities of names and forms that we come in contact with, or by the condition of the environment. It is beyond all the perception of names and forms and the qualities of good and bad, positive and negative.

Nothing can make us happy. Nothing can make us suffer. Nothing can give us peace. Nothing can take away the peace in us.

Letting go of attachments, craving and aversion in our everyday life whenever the mind comes in contact with the objects of the senses, is our yoga and meditation practice to realize eternal unconditional peace. This is nothing to do with whether our body is strong and flexible, or not, or in good health, or not, or whether we can perform the yoga asana poses perfectly, or not, or we can chant the Sanskrit prayers in perfect pronunciation, or not, or we know all the asana poses and their names, or not, or know about all the bones and muscle tissues in the physical body or not, or whether we can speak, read and write perfectly, or not, or whether there are people like us and agree with us, or not, or whether we have been through many courses, retreats and workshops, or not, or whether we have one or many “International yoga affiliation” recognized certification, or not.

There is no need a piece of paper to qualified and certified us to realize the peace in us and to share this peace and wisdom with all other beings. There is no need one or many pieces of papers to show anyone that we are peaceful and we want to show loving kindness to other beings, when we realized selflessness and compassion.

There are people who have never come in contact with yoga asana practice, meditation practice, or yoga philosophy, but it doesn’t stop them from realizing the peace in them and be selfless and compassionate, if they know what is non-attachment and be free from the ego, craving and aversion. Peace, love and compassion doesn’t belong to particular religion, or practice, or belief. Peace, compassion and wisdom exists in everyone, disregards what are the differences of conditions, qualities, names and forms. A very weak and sick or paralyzed person can also have peace and be free from “suffering”.

Even if we practice yoga asana and meditation everyday, and name ourselves as “yogis”, it’s not necessarily that we will be peaceful and be free from anger, hatred, jealousy, hurts, fear and worry, if we do not know what is non-attachment and be free from the ego, craving and aversion.

Realize this real peace and be free. Be truly content and happy, unconditionally.

My life stories – Part 5

My life stories – Part 5
Stories from my past memories – childhood, family, friends, growing up, poverty, integrity, dreams come true, finding peace and happiness, Buddhism, Yoga, and now…

I always liked to stretch my body since I was little. Whenever my body felt tired or there’s some tightness or soreness I would stretch my body until all the discomforts went away. I felt so good every time after I stretched. I didn’t know that those stretches were related to yoga poses before I was introduced to yoga. I wasn’t exposed to anything about yoga until I took up the aerobics instructor course at the yoga and aerobics dance academy when I was fifteen years old. But the yoga classes at that place were only doing some yoga poses as fitness exercise classes and the teacher didn’t talk about yoga philosophy at all. I also didn’t know what was Buddhism.

My journey into yoga and Buddhism began when I first experienced disappointment, anger, hatred, frustration and unhappiness in my early childhood. I wanted to look for the way out from unhappiness and in search for the meaning of life after being depressed and frustrated for a couple of years. Most people will only think about how to transcend suffering when they experience unhappiness and disappointment beyond what they can tolerate. Everyone is looking for happiness and don’t want to have unhappiness. But we tend to get lost and confused while trying to live a happy life or have a better living condition. We end up becoming more frustrated, dissatisfied, disappointed, angry, upset and depressed.

My family was like most Chinese. We prayed to different Chinese gods and would have an altar at home for offering incense, light, flowers, water and food to all the gods and our past ancestors. Most of us were praying to a god named The Goddess Of Mercy. We didn’t know that this god was actually the great compassionate Bodhisattva Guan Yin Pu Xa, who was an enlightened being as mentioned in the teachings of Buddhism. We didn’t know what was Buddhism or its philosophy and practices. We prayed to many different gods, but with one intention – asking for protection and blessing from them. We didn’t know what was Karma, cause and effect or the path of self-transformation.

Every time I saw pictures or statues of any gods, I would bow and pay respect to them. I was told by my parents to do so. They said gods protect us from bad things and bless us with good fortune and we must thank them by bowing and pay respect to them. I wasn’t expecting to get anything from gods because I didn’t have desire for material things or enjoyments in life. But I felt very strong connection with gods and spiritual beings when I was growing up. In the past, I believed in gods and spiritual beings that they were good beings and they were my friends and protectors. I always put my palms together and bowed to them to express thankfulness for looking after me and my family. If I stopped believing in spiritual beings and gods, it’s okay. Because If they truly exist and they are wise, selfless and kind beings, they won’t get unhappy or upset if people don’t believe in them or stop believing in them. Just like, if we truly love someone, we allow this person to love us, or not. We won’t feel hurt or get angry when someone we love doesn’t love us, or when someone who used to love us, but has stopped loving us. We only wish this person peace and happiness, it doesn’t matter this person loves us, or not.

There’s nothing wrong when people have certain beliefs that they follow to be their guidance as a way of living, whether they believe in spiritual beings or not, whether they think God exists or not. It’s just a way of thinking and living. Whether people believe in spiritual beings and God, or not, it doesn’t determine that whether they are wise and kind and peaceful, or not.

Every time when someone asked me about my religion, I would tell them my religion was Buddhism because I am Chinese. I thought all Chinese are Buddhists and all Indians are Hindus and all Malays are Muslims. I was so ignorant. Someone must had told me that I am a Buddhist because I am a Chinese. That was my incorrect understanding before I got to know more about Buddhism and what was a religion.

I heard the word ‘cultivation’ for the first time when my mother mentioned it to me after she came back from a meeting with a medium. My sister and her husband needed the help from a medium as their live had came to a critical point where they couldn’t make a living at all no matter how hard they tried in whatever they did. The medium told my mother that he couldn’t read my brother-in-law’s palms to read his destiny, and said that his palms and face were covered in heavy dark energy, that he would die very soon.

The medium told my sister and her husband that they had to ‘cultivate’ a lot of good actions to accumulate merits and virtues urgently to change their luck and try to save my brother-in-law’s live if possible. But they didn’t know what ‘cultivation’ meant. My brother-in-law didn’t know how to control his bad temper and violent behavior. He didn’t make any efforts to ‘cultivate’ any good actions and couldn’t change his destiny.

Less than a year later, he died from falling off a 130 feet high platform at the age of thirty nine. No one knew what really happened and why he fell. There wasn’t anyone with him when it happened. He was working for a two months contract for a construction company and it was his last few days of work. He was cleaning the inside of a giant red and white striped chimney at an oil refinery in Klang. My sister came back from the hospital and told us that she could hardly recognize him as his body and face were swollen with all his bones were smashed into tiny pieces.

My brother-in-law was a man who liked to hunt and drink a lots. He grew up drinking beers and other alcohols ever since he was a little boy. He always boasted about how his parents fed him with beers since he was just a toddler. He claimed that it was their family’s special tradition. He also fed his own children with beer when they were just a few months old. His temper was extremely bad. The Chinese said that alcohol increases the heat in our blood and aggravates the fire of anger. They also said that a person with fiery temper like him shouldn’t go near anything that was related to fire. But somehow he liked cooking and worked as a cook for a few restaurants before. He always ended up conflicting with his boss or his co-workers, and he would threaten to kill them with his hunting knife or hunting gun.

When his daughter was just a few months old he caned her because she was crying. Another time, in the car, he slapped her for crying. He shouted at her asking her to stop crying, but she couldn’t stop crying. He hit her so hard in the face that she permanently lost the hearing in one ear. She was still a small little girl. Her jaw was dislocated as well. Even to this day her mouth tilts to one side when she talks. He always argued with my sister over financial matters. When he got very angry he would smash things and kick the furniture, the walls and doors. The shouting and banging and crying in their house could be heard from far away. My heart pounded and tears fell down my cheeks. I hated him. I wished that he would leave us alone. I wished that he would die.

Later in life, I started to understand that his bad temper and mood swing with uncontrollable anger and violent behavior could be related to what he had went through in his previous marriage when he was younger before he knew my sister.

He came from a renowned family in a small town somewhere in Perak. His family was quite wealthy before his father died. But then things were not the same after his father was gone. They owned a small old oil palm estate near to their house. He grew up as a Christian and was English educated. He was married at very young age. He had a daughter and a son from his first marriage, and the ex-wife was from another renowned wealthy family. Her father was one of the rich and famous business men in Malaysia at that time. My sister said that he had loved his ex-wife and children very much.

Unfortunately, his ex-wife was being unfaithful to him and had an affair with his best friend. One day he came home early from work and saw the ex-wife and his best friend were in their bedroom, on their bed, naked. He got really angry and went crazy, and had a huge quarrel and fight with the wife and her lover, in front of their young children. His wife grabbed the two children who were seven and five at that time, and sped off in their car. The car lost control not too far from their house. The ex-wife suffered serious head and spinal injury and multiple broken bones, and had to be hospitalized for six months under the intensive care. While the son died at the scene instantly from being plunged into the steering wheel, and the daughter had suffered serious injury with one broken arm and one broken leg from being plunged out of the car‘s windscreen. He was very angry, but at the same time, being deeply guilty and depressed for the whole incident. Since then he drank even more and suffered from serious mood swing.

The ex-wife had blamed him for the death of their son and hated him. He had filed a divorce, but the ex-wife didn’t want to give consent and the case went to the court and had been prolonged for a long time. Somehow he managed to kept the daughter with him. Before he met my sister, he had tried a few relationships with some women with the intention of looking for a good step mother for the daughter, but all the relationships didn’t last long, as the daughter didn’t like those women to be her step mother. He was a very handsome young man, and many women were attracted to him. He had no difficulty to find a girlfriend at all. Somehow he met my sister and they had fallen in with love with each other. Surprisingly, the daughter didn’t reject my sister, and so they got married under the Chinese tradition ceremony, without registered themselves at the city hall marriage council because he wasn’t legally divorced yet. After many years later he finally got the divorce approval from the court because the ex-wife finally gave her consent and signed the divorce paper, as she wanted to get married with another man at that time. But then my sister thought that it wasn’t necessary for them to registered their marriage legally. And that had given my sister some problems with the husband’s family when her husband died.

Not long after my sister had been in a relationship with my brother-in-law, she resigned from her many years office job to run a seafood restaurant with him on Pangkor Island. They joined venture with his uncle to set up the restaurant. The restaurant was built on top of a leasehold land with a beautiful beach front location. In the beginning there were quite many people patronizing the restaurant and they made some good profits shared among the three of them. Somehow a few months later, they realized that his uncle had been taking money from the cash machine without informing them. They went to talk to his uncle and ended up in a quarrel and my brother-in-law kicked his uncle out of the business. From then on, their business was becoming very bad. They didn’t understand why. There were many tourists passing by their restaurant everyday, but nobody would come in, as if their restaurant was invisible.

A few months passed by and they were losing more and more money. At the same time, there was some itchy rash started to appear on my brother-in-law’s body every day after midnight, and it became more serious night after night. Someone told them that they should try to look for a medium to find out what was happening to him and their restaurant. And so, they went to a medium and found out that his uncle had saved hatred towards my brother-in-law and had asked a Bomoh to put a curse on him and his restaurant. The medium told them that only a Bomoh knew how to help them. And so they had asked a Bomoh to help them to remove the curse. The Bomoh realized it was a very serious curse that my brother-in-law would die very soon. And immediately, the Bomoh had went to their restaurant together with my sister and my brother-in-law. He brought along a live chicken with him. 

When they arrived at the restaurant, the Bomoh cut the throat of the chicken while chanting some prayers and let the chicken walked free with blood dripping down its throat to bring them around the restaurant, until the chicken stopped walking and dropped dead at a place right in front of the restaurant. Then the Bomoh started to dig into the sand, and dug out a piece of human shaped steal plate with a lime being nailed onto it with a thick needle. My brother-in-law’s name and his date of birth were also being engraved onto the steal plate. The thick needle was started to rust as well. Immediately the Bomoh made some prayers and blessed my brother-in-law and the restaurant with some water. And then he told them that the curse was cleared, but my brother-in-law had to take shower with water mixed with some flowers and lime leaves for the next few weeks. The Bomoh said that they were lucky enough to have discovered this earlier, or else when the needle went completely rusted, my brother-in-law would have no possibility to be alive. But before the Bomoh left, he also told them that whoever had been cursed by a Bomoh’s curse, would be having bad luck for the rest of their life. And there wasn’t any Bomohs could do about it.

Miraclely, my brother-in-law stopped having the rash from that day onward, but the bad luck never stopped following him. Though there were people starting to come into the restaurant, but the business wasn’t good enough to cover their cost. And so, they closed the restaurant and came back to Kuala Lumpur hoping to make a living, which turned out to be very difficult for them. they had to borrow money from family and friends to have food on the table.

Anyway, my sister was never welcomed by his family. My sister’s mother-in-law didn’t like her at all. One of the main reason that the husband’s family didn’t like her was because my sister had came from a lower class family background, and she also didn’t know any of the Chinese traditions which was being observed in her husband’s conservative family. My sister’s elder daughter was less than one year old when they lived with the husband’s family for about a year, as they couldn’t make a living at that time and had to depend on his family’s help. Because of this, my sister’s mother-in-law believed that my sister was a bad luck carrier and they treated my sister like a servant for the family. My sister was always being scolded for not being able to do things the right way or the proper way according to their family’s traditional cultural belief. From washing the laundry, to cleaning the house and cooking for the family, to the way she talked, walked, stood, sat, and the eating and serving manners on the dining table, she was being criticized and shouted at, all the time. If it was me in her shoes, they wouldn’t have the chance to treat a person in such way as I wouldn’t allow something like that to happen to myself. But my sister was a very patient and angry-less person. She needed to protect her baby daughter as well. She swallowed all those ill-treatments in silence and keeping her head down all the time.

My sister had tried to find work in offices again to make a living, but somehow he didn’t like her to work. He wasn’t happy about my sister being the family finance provider while himself couldn’t have a stable income, and so he would prefer to borrow money from family and friends instead. And so, my sister tried to make a living together with him by venturing into a few small businesses like selling Bak-Kut-Teh at food court, selling fried noodles in the night market, selling vegetables in the morning market, and growing beansprout for wholesaling, but none of these businesses worked out nicely for them. They ended up accumulating more and more debts instead.

They always came to my parents asking for money during their financial difficult moments. So my parents wanted to help them to get the money to start a business, without realizing that their kind intention to help my sister had dragged themselves into financial problem later.

In desperation to help my sister, my mother had involved in a ‘villagers’ money scheme’. This was very popular among the Chinese community in rural villages at that time, but it was also illegal. The idea was the villagers joined together to help among themselves financially, especially when someone needed a lump sum for an emergency or starting a business. Instead of borrowing money with high interest rate from the bank, they helped each other by gathering money through the scheme. Every member would contribute a fixed amount of money to the scheme every month. They would select a person who was trustworthy to be the head of the group to collect and safeguard the monthly gathered money and organize fortnightly or monthly meetings. My mother had always been selected as the head of the group, as everyone trusted her and she had been very helpful to all the villagers.

My mother would organize the monthly meetings at different timing and in different houses to avoid the police’s attention. Those who were in need of money would turn up in the meeting for that month and bid for the gathered money. The one who had succeeded bidding for the money would continue to contribute to the monthly lump sum for other members who would bid for it in the next meetings. Everyone should pay back what they had taken in a fixed amount bit by bit, month by month. Unfortunately, many of them were dishonest. They had took the lump sum, but they didn’t want to pay back every month as promised. And so, my mother had to take out money from her own pocket every month to cover the missing money.

She couldn’t go to the police because it was illegal. My parents were very kind and softhearted people. And all these people who didn’t pay back the money they had taken were my parents long time friends and fellow villagers. Every time when my mother went to collect money from them, they would give excuses that their business was bad or someone at home was sick, that they had not enough money to pay back after taking other people’s contribution.

My parents were very responsible people and they sympathized with the other people who had been contributing money, but still waiting for their turn to bid for the lump sum. So my mother had to use a big part of the household income from my father’s monthly salary to cover the missing money. There were many months, she had to cover as much as 1,400 Ringgit per month which was more than what my father earned every month. It was a lot of money for us at that time, and this situation lasted for a couple of years. My sister had her own financial problem. My elder brother was working in a precision mould engineering company and had a very low salary which he gave it all to my parents to help out our living expenses, to have food on the table.

I am always very grateful for my brother’s generosity. Though he’s an honest hardworking man, and a very good son to my parents, and a good friend to many people, but life was very hard on him. He went through lots of hardships for many many years until today.

My second elder brother and I were still studying in school. We were very disturbed by our family financial problem We were very upset and angry because we thought we were robbed by those greedy and dishonest people and we had to lived in poor condition. My parents were very compassionate and forgiving. They didn’t save hatred towards those people who had robbed our money and left us living in a state of poverty. Especially my mother. When she passed away in the end of 2006, she looked like she was smiling and looked so peaceful. She always told me that it was okay for other people to be in debt with us, but we never wanted to be in debt with anyone.

It was also during those couple of years I went into seclusion. I didn’t want to talk to my family and I secluded myself to stay away from friends and people. I was full of anger and hatred.

Though I was always one of the top students, my school studies had started to decline dramatically. I started teaching aerobics classes and decided to leave school before I finished the final year. I had never regret about that decision. I am happy and contented with what I have experienced and learned in life so far. I am glad and grateful for what I am doing now which is a very meaningful thing to do. I learned that in our schools, no body taught us how to be happy and peaceful in life. They taught us how to read and write and count, and how to make a living and be successful in life, where all these things are not a guarantee of peace and happiness.

I’m so glad that during those difficult moments I didn’t do anything stupid to ruin my life that I will regret for the rest of my life. At that time, Madonna and Buddhism had came into my life when I needed them most. One was there to encourage me to have hopes and dreams and never give up. The biggest inspiration from Madonna was from watching her concert’s video – Virgin Tour. And the other one was there to teach me how to change the conditions of my life and take control over my own fate and destiny, and to know what is true happiness and how to attain it. Buddhism also taught me to be open-minded and questioned the truth of everything.

While I was teaching aerobics exercise classes in my own aerobics dance studio I came to know a wonderful lady who came for aerobics classes. She was a sincere Buddhist and she started a Buddhist library in her house in Taman Sri Sentosa a couple of years later. She had helped many people who had came to her for help in many ways.

She told me that the Buddhist library will be finished one day. She said to me that it didn’t matter whether there would be thousands of people coming to the library looking for her help or one day people would stop coming. Her prediction came true a few years later. The library had to close down due to karmic reasons according to the law of cause and effect. Everyone who had came to the library before had deserted her and condemned her. But I continued to respect her because I knew she did nothing wrong and she had performed lots of selfless service to the people. She knew what she was doing and she told me that she forgave everyone with her great compassionate heart.

She was there to help everyone in my family during our worse years. My parents, my elder brother, his wife and I had volunteered to help out in the Buddhist library. Twice a month on the new moon day and the full moon day, we helped her to prepare and cook vegetarian meal for the people who came to the library and I would be the emcee for the chanting session after the vegetarian meal. That was how I started to become an occasional vegetarian.

During some other days, my mother and my brother would send her to different places in our van to help the needy people or to get the things for the library. I also helped to wrap the Buddhism books and arrange them on the book shelves. I read many Buddhism books from the library and I came across books written by Ajahn Chah. He was a great teacher to me, even though I didn’t meet him personally in this life time. But it didn’t matter because I never feel separated from all the Dhamma teachers.

I also helped to record chanting session in cassette tapes to be distributed among the people who were interested in the chanting session, so that they could have chanting session at home everyday. I had duplicated thousands and thousands of cassette tapes for the library.

Though my English was very limited she had asked me to translate some Chinese Dhamma into simple English for the people who weren’t Chinese educated. It was about the six fold path of the Bodhisattva. Since then, without any intentions, I started to write about Dhamma in Chinese everyday for almost a year. I had no intention to write anything, but it came naturally. One day she found out from my mother and she asked me to read to her of what I had written. Afterwards she asked me to give Dhamma talks from what I have written after the chanting session. All these experiences in the Buddhist library was another great learning process for me.

The Buddhist Library frequently organized visiting trips to many old folks and children homes. Seeing the sick and unfortunate people in the old folks and children homes was another transformational experience for me to cultivate compassion and gratitude. Anyone who always complains a lot about life and feel meaningless and unhappy about themselves or the world, they should frequently visit old folks and children homes, or be volunteers in places like these. It will change their perception and perspective about life and how they feel about themselves.

After the library stopped operating, many people came to me trying to speak bad about her. I just gave them a smile and didn’t want to get involved in any of the gossips and criticisms. All these people came to her when they needed help and comfort in the past. She gave them Dhamma, money, food, clothing, books and shelter when they had encountered mental and emotional problems, and family and financial crisis. She had to fight with evil spirits while trying to help those who were disturbed by evil spirits. But she didn’t complain about all these ungrateful people and move on in her journey in Buddhism by herself.

I haven’t seen her for years since I moved out from Taman Sri Sentosa. But I believe she is fine wherever she is.

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