Nothing but selfless impermanent changes of names and forms

What is here?

This is what’s going on in the mind and how the body functions while asleep, or this is what the mind perceives through the senses and how the body functions while awake, or this is what’s going on in deep sleep, or this is beyond the function of the physical body and the modification of the mind (beyond the three states of sleep, awake and deep sleep) – Turiya. Constant selfless changes of names and forms arising/passing away or forming/deforming are happening according to the law of nature/cause and effect, selflessly, intentionlessly, in the awaking state, sleep state and deep sleep state, but not in Turiya, which is nameless, formless, attributeless, birthless, deathless, beginningless, endless, or mindless/void of modification of the mind/beyond the three states of the mind of the selfless and impermanent worldly life existence.

Upon the annihilation of the modification of the mind that come along with intellect, egoism and memory storage of mind modification/activities consciously and subconsciously, there is nothing here but selfless impermanent changes of names and forms. There’s neither ‘past’ nor ‘future’, neither ‘I’ nor ‘not I’, neither ‘good’ nor bad’, neither ‘right’ nor ‘wrong’, neither ‘positive’ nor ‘negative’, neither ‘meaningful’ nor ‘meaningless’, neither ‘enjoyable’ nor ‘non-enjoyable’, neither ‘desirable’ nor ‘non-desirable’, neither ‘agreeable’ nor ‘non-agreeable’, neither ‘attaching’ nor ‘detaching’. There’s no family or not family, friends or not friends, contribution or non-contribution, being selfish or being unselfish, there’s no father, no mother, no son, no daughter, no partner, no relatives, no suffering, no end of suffering, or all kinds of separateness and duality, where this is disagreed/rejected/disliked/condemned by many worldly egoistic minds/people as all these names and forms are what they think they are, where they exist as ‘somebody’ who has an individual self-existence/self-identity that possesses all those names and forms, that has a family/ancestor background and personal relationships with all and everything.

Human beings of higher evolution being endowed with an intellectual egoistic thinking mind that ceaselessly perceive, act and react, desire and don’t desire towards the mind perception of names and forms through the senses and processing all kinds of mind perception of sights, sounds, smells, tastes, sensations, feelings/emotions/thoughts/imagination/memories/connections/relationships/interactions under the veil of ignorance, that give rise to the idea of ‘I’, or the ego, that exists merely as a stream of continuous thought-current/though-wave, being there asserting/identifying as ‘I’, attaching, grasping, discriminating, asserting, liking, disliking, agreeing, disagreeing, aspiring, desiring, craving, longing, learning, knowing, remembering, forgetting, creating, building, connecting, mingling, socializing, interacting, procreating, accumulating, possessing, boring, fulfilling, accomplishing, exciting, enjoying, worrying, frustrating, dissatisfying, disappointing, regretting, hurting, saddening, grieving, sorrowing, depressing, suffering, and so on, reacting towards the names and forms/experiences that the mind perceives/experiences through the senses as well as reacting towards the names and forms/experiences that were being stored as memory, that keep flashing back in the mind in the only existence, NOW, while in-searching for satisfaction, meaningfulness, joy and happiness in the worldly life of impermanent names and forms/self-identity/relationships/achievements/enjoyments/conditions.

The mango tree exists selflessly, and from it, many fruits of mango are being produced selflessly, which possibly reproducing many other mango trees selflessly, that also possibly produce many more fruits of mango, selflessly. The mango tree and the fruits of mango are existing, changing and cease existing, or extinct due to the law of nature/cause and effect, selflessly. Even so, the mango tree and all other kinds of plant also have the selfless survival instinct of surviving and reproducing. Similarly, there is the selfless survival instinct in all living beings of humans, animals, birds, insects, fish and etc, not to say when the human’s mind is functioning under the veil of ignorance and an idea of ‘I’, or the ego, rejecting extinction or non-existence, craving/longing for continuous or prolonged existence. Due to ignorance, living beings in search for continuous or prolonged existence of a self-identity in the physical body and the thinking mind attaching to the quality of names and forms (relationships/activities/achievements/possessions/conditions) that are all selfless and impermanent, and hence, fear, dissatisfaction, meaninglessness and suffering arise in these living beings.

There are constant selfless and restless actions happening as part of the existence and function of the physical body and the thinking faculty that rely on nature providing energy/food/air/water/nutrients/minerals to be existing and functioning, going through forming, growing, balancing, fueling, burning fuel, refueling, hydrating, dehydrating, rehydrating, digesting, nurturing, regenerating, repairing, shitting, peeing, warming, cooling, sweating, decaying, aging, strengthening, weakening, restrengthening, sleeping, dreaming, awaking, perceiving, living, dying, and eventually stop functioning and decompose/deforming. Inevitably restless due to the existence and function of the physical body and the acting/reacting thinking faculty.

Only the minds that are aware of this restlessness would forgo being the slave of ignorance, egoism and restlessness, of pleasure/satisfaction and meaning/purpose seeking through the senses in the impermanent names and forms of a selfless worldly life existence which lead to ceaseless actions/reactions and consequences of actions, or cause and effect, or karma, that power/fuel the wheel/loop of births and deaths, and hence, there arise the intense yearning for liberation from all that, to be determined to attain Self-realization regardless of intense difficulty and obstacle.

Freeing the mind from ignorance and egoism, transcending the three states of the mind of countless births and deaths of restlessness, realize nameless, formless, attributeless, birthless, deathless, beginningless, endless Turiya, or Atman.

Karma – Cause and effect – Action and consequences of action

Those who know karma, or cause and effect, or action and the consequences of action, and have realized non-duality, selflessness, namelessness, formlessness, attributelessness, there’s no craving towards ‘good’ karma and there’s no aversion towards ‘bad’ karma. There’s neither ‘good’ karma nor ‘bad’ karma. Karma is not a belief. It’s just how things are. Whether people understand or don’t understand, agree with or disagree with karma, impermanence or selflessness, the truth of karma, impermanence and selflessness is still what it is. Just like all kinds of names and forms exist and cease existing due to cause and effect, and they are impermanent and selfless, all actions and the fruit of actions are also impermanent and selfless. All actions bring consequences of actions, maybe pleasant experiences, maybe unpleasant experiences. Karma/cause and effect is just being what it is. It’s neither good nor bad, neither right nor wrong, neither positive nor negative, neither agreeable nor disagreeable, neither enjoyment nor suffering, neither happiness nor unhappiness.

Those who think they know karma, and they haven’t transcended/gone beyond the modification of the mind that gives rise to duality, egoism, names and forms and quality, there’s attachment and identification towards actions and the fruit of actions, or cause and effect, or karma. There’s craving towards ‘good’ karma and aversion towards ‘bad’ karma. For them, karma is a belief where they think they believe in karma. They would think and believe that the accumulation of ‘good’ karma will bring happiness and pleasurable enjoyment and will be void of unhappiness and painful suffering, while the accumulation of ‘bad’ karma will bring unhappiness and painful suffering and will be void of happiness and pleasurable enjoyment. And what is good and bad for them is based on their particular social/cultural/spiritual/religious thinking and belief.

To those who are free from ignorance and egoism, karma or cause and effect is not a belief but it’s the truth of things along with impermanence and selflessness. There’s no attachment towards action as well as the pleasant or unpleasant consequences of action. The minds that are free from ignorance and egoism are undisturbed and undetermined by the actions and the fruit of actions, or cause and effect, or karma. There’s no judgment towards this and that action are good or bad, right or wrong that based on a particular social/cultural/spiritual/religious thinking and belief. There’s no expectation towards this is good action that will bring pleasant fruit of action, and that is bad action that will bring unpleasant fruit of action. It’s just action and the fruit of action, regardless of pleasant or unpleasant.

Only those who are not free from ignorance and egoism will have such idea or thinking about “This is my good/bad action, and this is my good/bad fruit of action. I am enjoying the pleasant fruit of good action and I am suffering from the unpleasant fruit of bad action.”

An apple seed brings the fruit of an apple tree.

An orange seed brings the fruit of an orange tree.

Apple seed won’t bring the fruit of orange tree and orange seed won’t bring the fruit of apple tree.

Neither apple or orange is ‘good’. Neither apple or orange is ‘bad’.

Different apple trees bring the fruit of different tastes and textures apples. Some like it sweeter and softer, while some like it tangier and crispier. Neither sweet and soft apples or tangy and crisp apples are ‘good’ or ‘bad’.

Different orange trees bring the fruit of different tastes oranges. Some like it sweeter, while some like it tangier. Neither sweet oranges or tangy oranges are ‘good’ or ‘bad’.

Some people like and enjoy eating apples and don’t like/don’t enjoy eating oranges, while some like and enjoy eating oranges and don’t like/don’t enjoy eating apples.

Neither the apples or oranges have the quality or intention to bring happiness or unhappiness, enjoyment or non-enjoyment to anyone who like or doesn’t like eating apples or oranges, who enjoy or doesn’t enjoy eating apples or oranges.

Many people who think and believe that they have been doing many ‘good’ actions and believe that they should be enjoying the fruit of ‘good’ karma derived from ‘good’ actions are not necessarily peaceful and happy being free from disturbs, hurts, disappointment, anger, fear and painful suffering. Peaceful and happy, or not, and being free from disturbs, hurts, disappointment, anger, fear and painful suffering, or not, is undetermined by actions and the fruit of actions, or cause and effect, or karma. It’s whether the mind is free from ignorance and egoism, or not. Some people have to go through many unpleasant experiences and don’t experience much pleasant experiences, but still can be peaceful as they are. Some people go through many pleasant experiences and don’t experience much unpleasant experiences, but are not necessarily peaceful.

Even if one strongly believes in one has lots of ‘bad’ karma as life is full of hardship, obstacles and difficulties, one can still be free and have peace, if one knows how to be free from ignorance and egoism. Even if one strongly believes in one has lots of ‘good’ karma as life is easy and comfortable, one won’t be free or peaceful, if one doesn’t know how to be free from ignorance and egoism.

Siddhartha Gautama Buddha, Gurus, and many saints and sages in the past had to go through many difficulties, challenges, threats, or unpleasant physical/mental/emotional painful experiences before they attained liberation, does that means they all had had lots of ‘bad karma’? If so, it’s not a bad thing at all having ‘bad karma’.

Inquire the truth of everything. Do not blind-believing, blind-following, blind-propagating, or blind-practicing anything.

Be free.

“He who is devoid of ‘mine-ness’ will not be bound by Karma whether he dwells in his house or wanders in a forest.” – Swami Sivananda

The importance of restricting worldly physical and mental activities

All kinds of yoga practice serve the purpose of changing the restless habits of the egoistic mind to render the mind calm and quiet to prepare the mind for meditation by weakening egoism of attachment, identification, desire of craving and aversion, judgment and expectation, and eventually annihilate egoism completely, rendering the mind pure and quiet being free from impurities and restlessness to see the truth as it is.

One of the important practice to change the restless habits of the mind to render the mind pure and quiet is by restricting the worldly physical and mental activities, even though it doesn’t guarantee that the mind will be free from ignorance and suffering, if the mind doesn’t know how to be free from egoism. Such as full body paralysis or unconsciousness doesn’t mean that the mind is free from ignorance and suffering.

Some yoga practitioners think that they don’t need to restrict the worldly physical and mental activities to silent the thought activities, as they believe that all their worldly physical and mental activities are good and righteous actions derived from good and righteous intention, and all these good and righteous actions will be transformed into virtues and merits that will only bring good karma in return and there won’t be any bad karma in the making, that all their life experiences will only be good, joyful, pleasant, desirable and enjoyable, and void of all kinds of suffering.

Some young, fit and healthy ‘yoga teachers’ even proclaim that by practicing yoga, their physical body can defy old age, decay, or illness. The physical body of Siddhartha Gautama Buddha and many enlightened Gurus in the past also had to go through the inevitable truth of impermanence and selflessness of decay, illness, old age and death/decomposition, even though the mind had attained liberation from the suffering of ignorance, egoism, impurities and restlessness.

One of the common reason for many yoga practitioners who ignore the importance of silencing the thought activities is, they (the ever restless mind) don’t like/want to be quiet, but instead, they want actions/stimulation endlessly. Not just that they aren’t interested in silencing the thought activities, but they enjoy or indulge in the restlessness of ceaseless worldly physical and mental activities. Restricting the mind from the worldly physical and mental activities appears to be meaningless, boring and suffering for the minds that enjoy ceaseless actions/stimulation all the time. After sitting quietly for a few minutes, the restless minds will start to be agitated and want to be in action as soon as possible, eagerly want to see, hear, talk, imagine, move, express, play, or interact. And that is the normal behavior of the untrained minds. Without judgment or expectation, don’t give up and keep practicing until the mind is resting in the silence of thought, action and speech.

Many would justify that by performing the yoga asana practice that they enjoy doing regularly is indeed a form of meditation in action, and their body and mind would feel good each time after the yoga asana practice, that makes them think that they have already reached the goal of yoga. That’s their freedom of thinking and action.

In the beginning of the process of purifying the mind, the mind can’t avoid needing some kind of stimulation to keep the mind busy. And hence, the yoga practice at this stage is to replace unwholesome activities with wholesome activities to keep the mind busy as well as improving the mind concentration, such as performing karma yoga, chanting and prayer, or pranayama and asana practice. These activities might generate momentary effects of calming the mind, but it doesn’t free the mind from restlessness completely. As there are those who are ‘addicted’ towards performing karma yoga, chanting and prayer, pranayama and asana practice, where the mind will be agitated or frustrated, or feel meaninglessness when it can’t perform karma yoga, chanting and prayer, pranayama and asana practice over a period of time. Though there’s nothing bad with that, but the mind is not free. Eventually, the mind needs to learn how to breakaway from the clinging/addiction towards both wholesome and unwholesome stimulation to keep busy, to learn to be at ease in silence. This doesn’t mean that one is discouraged from performing wholesome activities, but the mind is free from clinging/addiction onto performing actions to keep the mind busy with some kind of activities to avoid dullness, boredom, loneliness or the sense of meaninglessness. The mind is free as it is.

Make use of the yoga practice as a tool to render the mind pure and quiet to prepare the mind for meditation, but without attachment or addiction towards the yoga practice or the momentary effects deriving from the yoga practice.

Those who truly want to conquer the restless egoistic impure mind to free the mind from the root cause of suffering (renouncing both good and bad karma that give rise to ceaseless births and deaths of life existence of the impermanent and selfless body and mind), they understand that all goodness, pleasantness and enjoyment in this worldly life of names and forms are impermanent and selfless, including the momentary pleasant effects deriving from performing the yoga practice, and hence they are aware of the importance of attaining liberation from the suffering of ceaseless births and deaths of the impermanent and selfless body and mind, and so, they would take all the practice of silencing the thought activities seriously.

Being aware of the preciousness of the fleeting impermanent and selfless life existence of this body and mind to attain liberation from suffering, they renounce both good and bad karma to transcend ceaseless births and deaths, by realizing the essence of inaction in all actions from the realization of selflessness, non-separateness, oneness, namelessness, formlessness, attributelessness and intentionlessness.

Those who love their worldly life existence with all the physical and mental worldly activities that they enjoy very much, will stop at the intention of performing good actions that bring good karma/consequences in return, and won’t be interested in silencing the thought activities or the modification of the mind, to transcend the restless and ceaseless births and deaths of the impermanent and selfless existence and function of the body and mind. And that’s their freedom.

Suffering is not due to bad karma, but ignorance

Not everyone believe in karma, but there are quite some people believe in karma, especially in Asian culture.

A lot of time, people would relate or refer any kind of suffering as the result of bad karma (the consequences of bad actions). If someone is going through some kinds of difficult situation or very unpleasant condition or painful experiences in life, where the body and/or the mind has to go through certain difficulty or pain, people would say, “Oh, this is due to bad karma. And it’s good to go through suffering to burn-off the past accumulated bad karma.” Although by saying so, it might make the person who is suffering feels a little better and make it easier to deal with suffering, but most suffering is unnecessary and can be avoided if we know how to avoid behaving ignorantly.

People like to give their opinion and say, “Oh. Such a terrible bad karma exists in your family. Your family has to go through all these suffering is because of your family past bad karma. You all must have done lots of bad things in the past. That’s why your family has to suffer so much for it in this life.” This is such ignorant thinking and belief and saying.

Even good people who have been doing a lot of good and right actions, and didn’t do much bad or wrong in this world, and for those who believe that they have been accumulated lots of good karma in their past life are not excluded from experiencing physical, emotional and mental suffering if their minds are not free from ignorance and egoism. People like to say, “You are such a good person. You don’t deserve all these suffering. It must be bad karma from your past life.” And this is ignorant thinking and belief and saying.

For the strong ego, it would prefer to blame on past life bad karma for its suffering, than to acknowledge and admit that it’s due to its ignorance in the present.

Those who know about suffering and the cause of suffering do not blame on past life and bad karma. It’s ignorant behavior of actions and reactions in this life existence that people end up in many unnecessary suffering.

Most suffering is truly unnecessary, and the cause of these suffering is ignorance that gives rise to ignorant behavior, that leads to the consequences of ignorant behavior, which is unnecessary suffering that doesn’t has to be existing in the first place.

For example, if a person is suffering from an illness, which is treatable and not too complicated, if the illness is being treated properly and immediately, but for some reasons, due to ignorance, one is not getting the proper treatment immediately, and this person has to suffer more painful consequences that could be avoided in the first place, and/or it might be too late to do anything even though one tries to get the proper treatment later on.

Another example, one who ignores the little small problems that arise in life which could be solved easily and immediately, but for some reasons, due to ignorance, all the unattended little small problems would turn into serious unsolvable big problems. And it might be too late to do anything even if one realizes and regrets towards one’s ignorance.

Another example, one who knows that by mixing with those who have strong influence in getting into unnecessary troubles and by taking certain substances to get high can turn into addiction that would cause many forms of complication in health, life and relationship with others, but still want to take those substances to get high and hang out with those who have strong influence in getting into unnecessary troubles, and ends up in unnecessary suffering and troubles. That’s pure ignorance.

And for another example, due to the strong ego, one pushes the body and mind beyond its limitation to achieve what the ego wants to achieve, and causing unnecessary damages into the body and mind, losing one’s mobility and sanity, and requiring intensive care from others. This is not because bad karma. It’s purely ignorance.

Due to ignorance, egoism and impurities of dissatisfaction, disappointment, lust, desires, anger, hatred, jealousy, greed, hurt, guilt, offensiveness, defensiveness, pride, arrogance, fear and worry, and so on, one would generate actions and reactions that give rise to unnecessary suffering onto oneself and affecting others either directly or indirectly.

Even the most intelligent or virtue person in this world also can’t escape the fundamental suffering of a life existence that is under the function of the physical body and mind perception of names and forms that is subject to impermanent changes and selflessness (All the impermanent changes and perception of names and forms are not in the control of an ‘I’, or how ‘I’ would like it to be).

If one is free from ignorance, then even though one is going through some kind of physical and/or mental suffering, one will not generate or react with further ignorant reactions that would bring further ignorant consequences. One would know how to transcend or go beyond the difficult condition, or unpleasant and painful experiences with correct understanding, wisdom and compassion, and remain equanimous being at peace, being undisturbed or undetermined by it, while being aware of the difficult condition, or unpleasant and painful experiences are impermanent and it’s not ‘I’.

Past life and karma (whether good or bad, easy or difficult) doesn’t mean anything to the one who has realized unconditional peace and love, who is free from ignorance. There’s no fear or aversion towards difficult condition, or unpleasant and painful experiences. There’s no clinging or craving towards easy condition, or pleasant and enjoyable experiences.

‘Good’ actions = Good in return?

There are different types of ‘good’ actions. And thus the fruit, or the result, or the consequences of these ‘good’ actions are different from one another, or are not necessarily what we think they should be.

Such like, if we planted apple tree, apples will be the fruit of this tree. But, the taste, the fragrance, the texture, the appearance,the size and the shape of the apples are not necessarily what we think or expect it should be. As well as the time for the tree to have fruit can also be very different from what we think it should be.

Ever wondered why after we have done some ‘good’ actions, but the consequences of these ‘good’ actions were not necessarily ‘good’, or ‘nice’, or ‘happy’, as what we expected them should be?

Sometimes when we thought and believed that we did something ‘good’, based on what our mind believes what ‘good’ is, but it’s not necessarily the truth of what things really are. And thus even though we think and believe that what we do is ‘good’, but the fruit, or the consequences of this ‘good’ action turns out to be ‘not so good’.

Then there is something truly ‘good’, it doesn’t matter if our mind is not aware of, or doesn’t think that it is something ‘good’, and thus even though we don’t expect anything ‘good’ in return through this action that we aren’t aware that it’s something good, or don’t think it’s good, but still the fruit of this action is something ‘good’.

And then, there is ‘pure good’ actions and ‘impure good’ actions.

When we perform some ‘good’ actions with the ‘good’ intention to be doing something ‘good’, or, there’s identification of ‘I’ am a ‘good’ person, and ‘I’ am doing something ‘good’, and we have expectation towards the result or the fruit of our ‘good’ actions should be something ‘good’ in return, or, there’s expectation towards those who will be benefited from our ‘good’ actions that they should be benefited by our ‘good’ actions, and there’s attachment towards the reactions from other people especially those who are benefited from the actions, expect that they should be showing some acknowledgment, gratitude or thankfulness to us, or, we have discrimination towards who we like to be ‘good’ to, or, there’s selfish motivation behind all these ‘good’ actions, such like to attain some good and happy feelings, or to be acknowledged as good people and to generate some good impressions to our self-image, or to gain some commercial benefits from performing all these ‘good’ actions, or, there is desire of “I want to do good”, then even though they are ‘good’ actions, but they are ‘impure good’ actions. And thus, the fruit, or the consequences of these ‘good’ actions are not purely good as what we think it should be.

If we have the desire of “I want to do good.” to motivate us to be performing good actions, then if out of certain circumstances that we might not be able to perform the ‘good’ actions that we wanted to do, we (the ego) will be very disappointed, dissatisfied, frustrated, or unhappy.

And so, the ‘pure good’ actions are actions that are free from the influence of the egoism. They are actions that are being performed without attachment towards the actions and the fruit of the actions, thinking that this is an ‘good’ action and the fruit of this ‘good’ action should be something ‘good’ in return, and without the identification as the doer of the actions, nor there is identification of the ‘enjoyer’ of the fruit of the actions. There is no discrimination of who should be benefited from the actions. There’s no attachment towards the reactions from anyone, especially those who are benefited from the actions. There’s no ‘good’ intention to be doing something ‘good’, nor expectation that somebody will be benefited from this ‘good’ action, nor expectation for some appreciation or gratefulness from anyone, nor expectation towards the fruit of the actions should be something ‘good’ in return. There’s no selfish motivations that motivate us to be performing some good actions.

‘Pure good’ actions are being performed not because of the ego’s desire of “I want to be good and do good”, or “I want to do good actions that I like to do”. Although there’s nothing wrong with the ego wants to be good and do good. It’s very good indeed. But there will be some unpleasant reactions from the ego when its desire of “wants to be good and do good” is not being gratified the way that it wants to be gratified.

All actions are being performed out of compassion, without expectation towards the result, but allowing the fruit, or the result, or the consequences of our actions to be what they are, as they are.

There’s no discrimination of good beings or bad beings. There’s no influence of likes and dislikes, agreements and disagreements from the ego.

There’s no success or failure. There’s no good or bad. There’s no gain or loss. There’s no superiority or inferiority. There’s no pride and arrogance. There’s no disappointment and dissatisfaction. There’s no sense of achievement or accomplishment. There’s no fear and worry.

It is beyond meaningfulness and meaninglessness. We are not determined by whether we did some good actions, or whether how many good actions we can perform, to attain meaningfulness in life. Or else, if we are not able to perform some good actions (the way that we think it should be done), or we think we didn’t do any good actions or did very few good actions, we will be feeling meaningless in life. We judge ourselves as not good human beings, and feel bad, shameful and guilty about ourselves for being not good, or not good enough. This is not the teachings nor the practice of yoga and meditation.

In the teachings and practice of yoga and meditation, we just do our best without attachment, judgment, expectation and renounce the fruit of actions (whether there will be pleasant or unpleasant consequences that may or may not arise).

There’s no attachment towards the actions and the fruit of the actions. There’s no doer or enjoyer of the actions.

Sometimes even though the actions are ‘pure good’ actions, but the fruit of actions may be delayed to be ripened due to certain circumstances, it is not necessarily that it will bring immediate fruit of the actions. And even if we need to go through many unpleasant experiences, obstacles and difficulties before we see the fruit of ‘good’ actions, it doesn’t mean that we have done something ‘wrong’ or ‘bad’, or we didn’t do good, or we were not good enough.

Be free.

x x x x x x x x x x x x x

If we are truly practicing yoga and meditation, if we are truly compassionate, we will wish all beings will have peace and happiness, even though when we think some people didn’t perform any ‘good’ actions that we think they should be doing, or we think some people have done some ‘bad’ actions that we think they shouldn’t be doing, we will only wish them peace and happiness, and not out of our own anger and hatred, we are hoping that they will be ‘punished’ one day, or hope that they will be ‘suffering’ from the consequences of their actions and inactions.

Have peace in ourselves, be free from ill-will and ill-thinking.

The consequences of other people’s actions and inactions will be there as they are. We don’t need to have ill-will and ill-thinking, wish that there will be punishment or suffering for other people for their actions and inactions that we think is not good or is bad.

If out of anger and hatred we have ill-will and ill-thinking, we wish that there will be punishment or suffering for other people for their actions and inactions that we think is not good or is bad, then we are not any different from these people whom we think that they are not good, or are bad… Why generate such ‘bad’ karma to ourselves for some other people doing something that we think is not good or is bad?

Be happy.

Om shanti.

Action and inaction? To act or not to act?

Everything is an action.

Actionlessness is also an action.

Sitting quietly, not moving the body to be doing some physical movements, and not making any speech, is an action of restricting the physical action and speech.

Quieting the mind, bringing the mind to rest in the inner chamber of the heart, restricting it from running out to chase after objects of names and forms or desires, is an action of restricting the thought waves.

Everyone has to be performing some sorts of actions all the time consciously with certain amount of free will and self-effort, whether it is sleeping, dreaming, awaking, sitting, standing, walking, talking, thinking, worrying, speculating, planning, imagining, remembering, eating, playing, looking, hearing, smelling, tasting, feeling, reflecting, meditating, introspecting, and etc. On top of that there are lots of ceaseless autonomous actions are going on all the time in the physical body that are not in our will control (whether we are aware of it or not), like breathing, heartbeats, blood circulation, immunity, hormones secretion, regeneration, and etc.

There is not a single moment that the body and mind is not performing some sorts of actions, or there’s isn’t any actions at all, unless this body and mind ceased functioning or existing.

If we know about non-attachment or non-identification with the body and mind, if we are free from egoism, then all these actions is not different from inaction, which doesn’t generate karma, or cause and effect, or birth and death, even though there is some pleasant and unpleasant, or agreeable and disagreeable consequences derived from all these actions.

If we don’t know what is non-attachment or non-identification with the body and mind, if we are influenced by egoism to be performing all these actions, then all these actions will generate good and bad karma, or cause and effect, or birth and death, even if we choose not to act, it is still an action that will generate some consequences.

The difference in all actions (to act and not to act) is depending on the purity of the mind.

If the mind is influenced by egoism, attachment, ignorance and impurities, then all actions being performed through the body and mind (whether they are good or bad actions, to act and not to act) are influenced by egoism, attachment, ignorance and impurities, and will be bound by good and bad karma, and generate birth and death.

If the mind is free from egoism, attachment, ignorance and impurities, and is identical with the attributeless, nameless and formless Self, then all actions being performed through the body and mind (whether they are good or bad actions, to act and not to act) will not be bound by good and bad karma, and be free from birth and death.

Whether all these actions that we think and believe is good or bad, the consequences of these actions (to act or not to act) are not necessarily the way that we think it should be.

For example, if we think we have performed some ‘good’ and ‘right’ actions, and we should be receiving something ‘good’ in return, and we refer ‘good’ as something that is pleasant and happy, but then the consequences of our ‘good’ actions are not necessarily will be something pleasant and happy, as it can be something very unpleasant and unhappy.

If we think we didn’t do any ‘bad’ and ‘wrong’ actions, and we shouldn’t be receiving something ‘bad’ in return, and we refer ‘bad’ as something that is unpleasant and unhappy, but then the consequences of not generating any ‘bad’ actions is not necessarily will be something free from unpleasantness and unhappiness, as we still can be experiencing something unpleasant and unhappy, even when we think we didn’t do anything ‘bad’ and ‘wrong’ as what we think and believe.

This doesn’t mean that there is no good and bad karma at all, nor there is anything wrong with the law of karma, cause and effect.

It is about whether we are free from egoism and ignorance, or not. As what we think and believe what things are, is not necessarily the truth of what things really are. Our thinking and beliefs are being conditioned and limited by ignorance and incorrect information. By knowing a lot of things doesn’t guarantee that we are free from being ignorant about the truth of things.

The conditioned thinking and beliefs in our mind about what things are, whether ‘this is something good and right’, or ‘that is something bad and wrong’, is not necessary the truth of what things really are. As all these thinking and beliefs are based on relativity and subjectivity, unless the mind is completely be free from egoism, dualism, attachment, ignorance and impurities.

When the mind is free from egoism, dualism, attachment, ignorance and impurities, the mind will perceive the truth of names and forms as they are, free from qualities, differences or separateness that are generated by the mind, being conditioned by what the mind believes what things are. Everything is just being what it is. They are not something good or bad, positive or negative, happiness or suffering.

That’s why even if we think we have done something ‘good and right’, but it’s not necessarily the truth of what things are, and we expect some ‘good’, ‘pleasant’ and ‘happy’ consequences in return, but we will be so disappointed, when reality, or the result of our action of doing something ‘good and right’ doesn’t turn out the way that we think it should be.

If we think we haven’t done something ‘bad and wrong’, but it’s not necessarily the truth of what things are, and we expect there won’t be any ‘bad’, ‘unpleasant’ and ‘unhappy’ consequences in return, but we will be so disappointed, when reality, or the result of our action of not doing anything ‘bad and wrong’ doesn’t turn out the way that we think it should be.

In the end, it is about non-identification as the doer of the action nor the enjoyer of the fruit of the action. It is about non-attachment towards all actions being performed through this body and mind (to act and not to act) and renounce the fruit of action, without expectation of anything in return.

If we want or expect something good in return, or we don’t want any bad in return, and that desire motivates us to perform good actions, or demotivates us to perform bad actions (to act and not to act), even if there is something good and nothing bad in return, but we are not free from the bondage of karma, birth and death.

There’s nothing wrong with to act and not to act.

But we accept all the consequences of all actions (to act and not to act), as they are.

It is for sure that there will be consequences derived from any actions, but all these consequences is not about good or bad. They are not something good or bad. The consequences are just being what they are.

There are many other elements that will affect the outcome or result of any actions. It is not just about if we believe it is something good, then it will bring something good in return according to what we believe what is ‘good’ and ‘bad’.

Even if we have planted the same batch of seeds on a piece of land at one time, but still not all the seeds will grow at the same speed and in the same size and shape, nor will all plants bear fruits at the same time, nor the fruits from each plant will be ripen at the same time, nor all the fruits will look and taste the same. When we planted the same type of trees as our neighbours, we cannot expect the qualities of the trees that we planted on our piece of land will be exactly the same as our neighbour’s trees planted on their piece of land, even though we got the seeds from the same source, and the trees are getting the same amount of sunshine, and same amount of water from the same source.

Just like in the same religion, or spiritual practice, or cultural background, there are still many people having different types of thinking and understanding, personality and behavior, actions and reactions, and different degrees of ignorance and attachment. We cannot judge anyone or anything based on a specific names and forms, or based on certain action and reaction.

Om shanti.

Non-attachment? (2)

Non-attachment is nothing to do with how many things we have or don’t have, or how less things we have.

It is about being undetermined nor affected by all these impermanent names and forms.

It is not attached to this life existence and the functions of this body and mind.

It is not attached to the physical conditions, appearance and abilities.

It is not attached to the states of mind (elevation, calmness, depression).

It is not attached to the qualities of names and forms.

It is about not being affected, nor disturbed, nor influenced, nor determined by what the mind perceives through the senses of what it sees, hears, smells, tastes, touches and thinks, and not generate craving towards names and forms that the mind likes and agrees with, and not generate aversion towards names and forms that the mind dislikes and disagrees with.

It is not attached to the thinking and beliefs in the mind that is conditioned and limited by the impermanent qualities of names and forms, and contaminated by the craving and aversion coming from egoism and ignorance.

It is about letting go of the ego. As all attachments are derived from selfish desires, intention and expectation, craving and aversion of the ego towards what it wants and doesn’t want.

All kinds of unhappiness or suffering derive from attachments due to ignorance and egoism.

Remove ignorance and egoism brings us real non-attachment as well as realizing compassion, be free from restlessness, dissatisfaction, unhappiness or suffering, and be free from generating good and bad karma that binds us into countless birth and death.

Compassion is not separated from non-attachment, or egolessness, or selflessness.

Without non-attachment, all our actions and reactions are over-powered by fear, worry, anger, hatred, jealousy, possessiveness, self-protection, selfish desires, selfish intentions or motives, selfish expectation, and all sorts of irritation, frustration, agitation and depression. It is not possible to be compassionate when we are being over-powered by all these impurities due to attachments, ignorance and egoism.

There is no doubt that yoga practice is in life (it is not only to be found in seclusion), but it doesn’t mean that we indulge in gratifying all the craving and aversion of the egoistic mind, and being over-powered by the ego to achieve whatever the ego wants and doesn’t want. It is not yoga Sadhana, when we indulge in sensual enjoyments by keep feeding or giving what our body and mind wants and likes towards the worldly objects of names and forms, empowering the craving and aversion, or egoism. This is totally going against or towards the opposite direction of all yoga practice is to be eliminating the ego.

It is (egoistic lower)self-denial, and it’s not empowering the (egoistic lower)self. When the ego is completely vanished, there is no ‘I’, or ‘I am’, or ‘I want’, or ‘I don’t want’ attaching to all the actions and inactions coming from this body and mind, even if the intention or motive is ‘good’ and ‘kind’. It is not pure action that is free from the bondage of Karma, if we still ‘have’ good intention to motivate us to perform action or inaction.

The sun, the air, the water, the earth and the space have no (good or bad) intention to be performing ceaseless actions of giving, providing and supporting everything and all beings to be exist. They have no expectation that anything or any beings will be existing and be grateful because of their existence and contribution. They are not affected nor determined by the reactions (gratefulness and ungratefulness) of any beings towards their existence and contribution. They have no discrimination of good beings or evil beings. They give to all and everything. That is egolessness, selflessness, non-attachment, or compassion.

It is living in the world but not being affected, nor influenced, nor determined by the world, letting go of selfish desires and expectation, perform selfless service without discrimination, and surrender, or give up, or renounce the fruit of all our actions. This is harder than being secluded from the world, as there are so many temptations in the world of names and forms that will be distracting the person from performing his or her Sadhana ‘properly’.

It is not about trying to be a ‘hero’ or ‘world saver’ for humanity. That is an idea coming from the ego. Naturally when we take care of our Sadhana, when the ego is eliminated, there is unlimited and unconditional peace and love in ourselves. And with this unconditional peace and love in ourselves, we are benefiting the whole world, even without any intention nor expectation that the world will be benefited by this peace and love. Without the idea of ‘I am benefiting the world’, or ‘My existence and actions are benefiting the world’.

It is whenever the mind comes in contact with the objects of the senses, we let go of the egoism, craving and aversion towards all these names and forms.

That is real non-attachment.

It is not about ‘running away’ or ‘ throwing away’ all our duties and responsibilities, or what our egoistic mind thinks or believes as something not good, or unhappy, or suffering, or problems.

It is carry out all these duties, responsibilities, and being with what our mind believes as something not good, or unhappy, or suffering, or problems, but not being affected nor determined by all these names and forms.

It is being able to accept the reality as it is, not necessarily the way that we like it to be. Nor trying to control or change the reality that the mind doesn’t like, to be something that it likes it to be.

It is being able to love and accept all and everyone as they are, including ourselves, even if our mind dislikes or disagrees with certain qualities of names and forms that it thinks is imperfect or not good.

The one who really knows non-attachment, though moving or living in the world, but will not be moved nor influenced by the world.

Om shanti.

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 only 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 in my own imagination, 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 whom 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 whether 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 a 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 of ‘cultivation’ for the first time when my mother mentioned it to me after she came back from a meeting with a medium. Many Chinese like to go to a medium to seek advice or help when they have troubles. My sister and her husband needed the help from a medium as their life had come 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, as 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 life, if possible. But they didn’t know what ‘cultivation’ means. None in our family knew. 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.

Within that year, he died from falling off a 130 feet high platform at the age of thirty nine. No one knew what really happened and why or how 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 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 lot. 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. One time, in the car, he slapped her for crying. He shouted at her telling 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. 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.

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 registering 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 register 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 was being 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 their restaurant. The medium told them that only a Bomoh would know 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 anything a Bomoh 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 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 Chinese 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 such 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 wholesale, but none of these businesses worked out nicely for them. They ended up accumulating more and more debts instead.
They frequently came to my parents asking for money during their financial difficult times. 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 of money for 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 successfully 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 it should. 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, that we had to lived in poor condition because of that. 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 with certain skill 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 times 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 come 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 questioning 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 the 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 nature. Everyone who had come 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 help these 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 worst years. My parents, my elder brother, his wife and I had volunteer 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 people who were in need of help, 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 into 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 happened naturally. One day she found out from my mother and she asked me to read to her about 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 sought comfort from her in the past. She gave them Dhamma, money, food, clothing, books and shelter when they had 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 on the path of Buddhism, alone 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.

READ ON…

My life stories – Part 4

My life stories – Part 4
Stories from my past memories – childhood, family, friends, growing up, poverty, integrity, dreams come true, finding peace and happiness, Buddhism, Yoga, and now…

Since I was a little girl, I didn’t desire to have material things or enjoyments. I grew up in a simple family with very humble background. During the financial difficult moments, we didn’t even have the money to buy food. My parents had to borrow money from friends and relatives to survive those few years. I was grateful for every little thing we had and contented with everything as it was. But, if I really wanted something and willing to work hard on it, it would come to me.

On the opening day of my aerobics studio in Taman Sri Sentosa, one of my long time students introduced me to her cousin sister who was an astrologer. I wasn’t interested in astrology, but she walked up to me and told me that both my thoughts and my speech were very powerful, that I needed to be very careful for what I think and say, that I should only have good wishes and utter only kind words, whether I believe it, or not.

When I was a kid, I would have spontaneous thoughts and feelings about something good or bad about a person or a place, and most of the time I was right. Sometimes I would have vision of something that was going to happen before it actually happened. I really didn’t want to hurt anyone intentionally whenever I had some bad feelings or thinking about somebody. I tried to control my anger when I experienced something that would upset me. There were times when I was over-powered by anger and hatred I would have bad wishes for the people whom I was angry at, and bad things would be happening in their lives. When I realized the evil tendencies in me, I made a decision to develop self-control to overcome the impurities in my mind, and was determined to free myself from evil thinking and behavior.

During the time when I was unhappy and angry, I had wished or cursed many people with bad wishes intentionally. Most of the time my wishes would come true, which later made me felt guilty for making those bad wishes for other people and had caused them bad luck. I also had visions or feelings about something good might be happening and they came true as well.

After I came in contact with Buddhism teachings, I learned that everything happens according to their related karmic cause and effect, that there’s no one can interfere with others’ karma, that one can only creates good or bad karma for nobody, but oneself. We all are the creator of our own karma. We are the writer of our own fate and destiny, and the painter of the colour of our life. The thoughts or visions that I had were merely some forecasts about what was going to happen. It was like something or someone was trying to inform me, to guide me, to protect me and to prevent me from undesirable encountering.

The happenings around me whether they were good or bad, they were meant to happen because of the law of karma – cause and effect. I was just happened to be able to feel or know before it happened by having visions and feelings about them before they happened. But, all these happenings weren’t caused by me. Knowing this, I had stopped blaming myself for other people’s unfortunate or bad happenings. 

All these experiences were in the past and I left them there where they belonged. I had to forgive myself for being evil when I was very ignorant, as whether I had intentionally or unintentionally inflicted suffering onto other people’s life, I can’t go back to the past to undo anything. If I will be receiving some bad karma because of my past evil thoughts, actions and speech, I will accept them as they are and take full responsibility for the consequences of my own actions, if I was the one who was responsible for someone else’s suffering.

I learned that even if I was the one who was responsible for inflicting somebody’s unhappiness or suffering because of my bad wishes or curse onto them, it’s also part of their karma to experience such unhappiness or suffering, but just happened that I was the instrument. Most important was that I realized my wrong doings in the past and I truly repent. I forgave myself for hurting others whether intentionally or unintentionally, in thoughts, actions or speech. I also forgave those who had hurt me whether intentionally or unintentionally, and let go of the past and move on with better and clearer understanding, awareness and self-control.

I learned that even though I could predict things that were going to happen before they actually happened, I couldn’t change anything or stop things from happening and I couldn’t change other people’s karma. I knew that my mother was going to suffer stroke. I dreamt about half of her face was paralyzed one week before it actually happened. I felt very strong bad feelings about my father when he was injured in a work accident. I had bad feelings about my sister, my late brother-in-law and my brother when they suffered injuries in road accidents or before they were going to encounter some undesirable happenings.

The moment my brother came home to tell us that he was going into partnership with some friends to start a business, I knew that he would get into troubles. He did. He and two other good friends had joint venture to set up a precision mould engineering company as they didn’t want to work for others anymore and earn very little monthly salary. They wanted to be their own boss and earn bigger money. Not long after the joint venture started, one of his friends pulled out from the company. He was lucky. The problem began when the company started to receive a few big contracts that brought them a lot of money. The partner became greedy and ran away with the huge up front payments they received from the clients, and left my brother to present the products to their clients. And so, my brother had to borrowed lots of money from friends and relative to be able to pay the rentals and bills and to get the materials to finish his work. On top of that, he didn’t have any profits from all the works he had done as the partner had taken all the profits with him, and left my brother in lots of debts. Life was really difficult for my brother until today, but he didn’t give up. I saw him cried a few times when life was very hard. But, he was still cheerful and kept smiling most of the time.

I also knew that my brother-in-law was going to bring unhappiness or bad luck into our family. I told my parents about my unpleasant feelings the moment I first saw him on the day my sister brought him to our home to introduce him to our family. I was only eleven years old. Of course my parents ignored me. They thought I was just a child, that I was just talking nonsense. But soon, they realized I was right. Some times I could feel people I saw on the streets as well. There were many times when I thought of something spontaneously out of no where, it would come true.

One day a thought of a Walkman came into in my mind while I was at school in the classroom, and my mother handed me a Walkman when I came back home that evening. She said she had bought it for my brother as a birthday gift, but my brother didn’t want it because he didn’t like it. He wanted another brand. And so she gave it to me.

We seldom went out to restaurant for meals. One day I had a spontaneous desire or craving that I wanted to eat seafood which was too expensive for our family. A few days later, my wealthy uncle had invited us for a delicious seafood dinner in a restaurant.

I had visions of thieves coming into my aerobics studio the night before it actually happened. It helped me to prevent myself from loss of money or physical injury. Usually I didn’t go back home to sleep. I slept in the aerobics studio instead. Two weeks before the break in, out of intuition I asked my mother to bring home the cash that we kept in the studio and I started going back home to sleep. On the evening of the break-in, I actually saw shadows and images of people in the studio and the stairway while I was closing and leaving the studio. I had a strong feeling that a break-in would be happening.

The next morning when I arrived at the studio, there were many policemen already arrived and they told me that my studio and the office downstairs had been broken into. They asked me to check the aerobics studio if I had lost anything valuable. I lost nothing. Though it was a mess everywhere as the burglars searched for valuables, but they didn’t take anything. There’s no valuables for them to take. There were some smelly branded sports shoes of my clients if they wanted, but they didn’t take them. They didn’t damage anything else in my aerobics studio except the door-lock. The policemen said that I was very lucky because the office downstairs had lost a lot of cash and valuables.

One night I was at home by myself and out of a sudden I just felt like crying, and I couldn’t stop crying loudly for quite a long time. More than half an hour later, my sister called me from the hospital in Kuantan telling me that she suffered some physical injuries from a serious car accident. It was a head-on collision with another car, and the passenger on the other car died at the scene while the driver suffered serious spinal injury and both his legs squashed. One of my sister’s friend who was sitting at the back seat of the van she was driving also plunged out from the windscreen and landed on the other car. But my sister was so lucky that she only suffered a few cuts from the seat-belt with one of her shoulders dislocated and one of her feet broken. The other two people in my sister’s van only suffered minor injuries from the strong impact.

By having this sixth sense or intuition, I could change my own fate. I would know beforehand about something good or bad was going to happen to me. I had prevented many bad happenings onto myself. But, if it was about some other people such like my parents, or my sister and brothers, or my friends and the people on the street that I passed by, I could only know, but I couldn’t change their karma, unless they wanted to help themselves and did something to make changes.

One day, I realized all these visions and predictions had disturbed me more than what I could be benefited from it. I didn’t know how to deal with this sixth sense business at that time. It was really disturbing for me as I was too sensitive towards other people’s feelings and energy. When I told my friends about my visions about what was going to happen to them, they ignored me and stayed away from me. And when my predictions came true, they thought the bad things happening on them were coming from me and they were afraid to be friend with me. They thought I was weird and evil.

I knew that I wasn’t pure. I had intense anger and hatred. I really didn’t want to hurt anybody with bad wishes if I couldn’t control the anger in me. And so, I had made a wish for all these visions or sixth sense to go away. After that the visions had started to become less. But I continued to have feelings about places and people’s good and bad energy. Such like when I was being at a place full of unpleasant energy, I would feel dizzy and heaviness on my forehead, and that was my instinct telling me that I should leave the place immediately. Sometimes naturally I just walked away from certain people in the middle of a conversation, it didn’t matter if people thought I was very rude.

Besides having the sixth sense, I could control my dream when I was little. In my dreams, I knew that I was dreaming. I could control what I wanted to dream in my dreams. I could repeat or replay what I wanted to dream on the next day. I could have part one tonight and continued my dream on part two tomorrow, and so on. I could change the storyline of my dream. I could remember my dream clearly when I woke up. I liked to play with my dreams when I was small, but I don’t bother about what I dream now. I stopped playing with my dreams when I went through the unhappy stage in my life.

I had some dreams or ambitions when I was a little girl just like everyone else. I wanted to dance and sing to perform on stage in front of the world. I wanted to be a dance champion. I wanted to be a national champion for once in life. I wished I would be good enough to be qualified to compete in international dance competitions representing my own country. I wished to travel to many places in the world, especially France. I wished to live in the countryside and somewhere near to the beach. I wished to be happy. And it all come true one by one in my life.

When I was still a little girl, a fortune teller told my mother that my life would be very hard, that my dreams would never come true, that I would never win in any competitions no matter how talented I was, or how hard I tried. It also meant that I would never be a champion. She was right about my life being hard, but I had proved her wrong on the rest.

It’s true that I didn’t have good luck in any types of competition before I was twenty eight years old. At school, I won every time when I played badminton and ping pong matches among my classmate, but I never won when representing my class in inter-class competitions. I would get A+ for singing, but I was never chosen to represent my class in school singing competitions. I didn’t mind about win or loose, but I dreamt of being a champion one day. I was very passionate to be performing on stage and I would do my best in whatever I pursued.

Competitions are of two types. One is very professional with good judges and fair judgment where you will win if you are the best. Another type is non-professional competition with unfair judgment, buyer judges and things that are not very nice behind the competition where you may not win even though technically you are the best. Though there is one exception – you might be the best and the competition is fair, but you might not win because it isn’t your day to win, or you might not be the best, but you might win because it is your day to win.

I was around fifteen years old when I started to enter dance competitions even though I hadn’t went through any formal dance training. Some of my classmates went to dance lessons, but I was not so lucky. My parents couldn’t afford dance lessons for me. Though I wasn’t in the top three of the competitions, I got lots of cheers and supports from the audience and the judges. One of the judges told me that I had talent and I always won consolation prizes of hampers filled with crackers, chocolates, packet drinks and preserved fruit.

I took up an aerobics instructor’s course and started to teach aerobics classes as part time job after school. I gained more experiences and I entered a few aerobics dance competitions. Instead of consolation prizes I came in second or third place. But, I still hadn’t achieved my dream of being a champion. I took part in the first Malaysia national Fitaerobics championship in 1988 held in a ballroom of a five star hotel in Kuala Lumpur. There were many participants in that event, where all the participants were judged in the preliminary round where everyone following the instructors on stage to be doing an aerobics dance session. Sixteen participants who made it to the final round had to perform a two minutes self-choreographed aerobics dance routine with one of the random songs chose by the organizer, and I came in fourth place. The competition had been broadcasted on Malaysian television national channel and many of our villagers started to know about my participation in aerobics dance competitions. All these competition experiences were from 1985 – 1989. After that I didn’t enter any competitions until 1993.

It was the first official national aerobics championship organized by Reebok Malaysia in 1993. I came in fifth place. Technically I wasn’t good enough because I didn’t have the technical skill and didn’t have a good choreography even though I was flexible and energetic and good at dancing, but I wasn’t very good at aerobics dance that requires strength, speed and power. I didn’t have all these qualities at that time. Though my enthusiasm had drew the attention of the fitness affiliate of Reebok Malaysia. She also told me that I was talented, but I needed good coaching and training. I stopped competing after that because of heavy responsibility to support my parents financially.

Five years later I entered an aerobics marathon championship at the IOI Mall in Puchong. There were about forty participants. It didn’t require any choreography, but was judged on stamina, strength, flexibility and energetic performance. It was easy for me and I won. Though it wasn’t an official national event I tasted the feeling of becoming a champion for the first time. But it didn’t make me became arrogant. Since then my luck in competitions began to change. I had proven that the predictions of the fortune teller didn’t have to be true.

On the same day, there were a few professional aerobics instructors and national champions were performing at the national stadium in Bukit Jalil. Both our events were reported in the newspaper on the same page the next day. I had no idea that I would have the opportunity to be training and competing with these national champions later.

A few months later, the Reebok Malaysia fitness affiliate called me one day and told me that a few people were training for the upcoming First National Sport Aerobics Championship in the national gymnastic federation training center in Cheras. She asked me if I would be interested to enter the competition, but of course I had to learn what was sport aerobics first, and then had to train for it. Without any hesitation I told her I was very interested to do that. I knew that it was an opportunity for me to pursue my dreams. She gave me the contact details and since then I started my sport aerobics training with my mentor who was also my good friend.

He was the one who had helped me in making of my dreams come true – representing Malaysia on the stage of world championship in France and also won the Malaysian National Open Championship one month later. Usually anyone has to become a national champion before he or she can represent the country for world championship, but in my case it was the other way round. Strange, isn’t it? Without him, I wouldn’t had the chance to be entitled to participate in the world championship representing Malaysia and then won the Malaysian national championship later. I have to admit that there were other people who were better than me. But, it was my karma to be there and it was my day to win, and I was blessed to have my dreams come true. When I won the national champion, it was mainly due to good luck besides I had to work very hard on training for three hours a day, six days a week, for one whole year.

There weren’t many people participated in this first sport aerobics competition in Malaysian – only five of us. As usual, I only came in fourth place. I was happy enough for my performance – it was a lot better than before. I didn’t care so much about the placing. I learned how to do proper push-up and improved my overall fitness and choreography though I still wasn’t good enough for competitive competitions. I gained lots of experience and improvement through participating in that competition, and I really enjoyed the intensive training and the feelings of performing on stage. I would love to continue training in sport aerobics after that competition, but again, the responsibility towards my family had been a huge burden for me, as well as some other family issues at home, made it very difficult for me to have the focus for such intense training for competition. And so, I stopped training with them.

Meanwhile, I did some volunteering work in a Buddhist library in Taman Sri Sentosa. Somehow I had started giving Dhamma talk twice a month to the people who came to the library. In one of the talk, I had made a resolution in front of everyone who came to listen to the Dhamma talk that I wished to be a Malaysian champion one day and be qualified to enter the world championship within the next five years.

My mentor had went back to Australia for further study at that time. I thought that it was finished for me in sport aerobics competition. I was already thirty years old. I thought I was too old for any more intense training and competition because sport aerobics is really tough and requires a lot of intense physical fitness training. Though I thought I had to let go of sport aerobics I didn’t give up my dream to be a champion.

For the next few years I was busy with teaching aerobics classes and gave all the money that I earned to support my family.

Three years later, I got a phone call from my mentor. He was back from Australia. He said to me that he planned to retire from sport aerobics, but he would like to coach me if I was interested to train again for the upcoming national championship. Well, YES! Of course! I knew that if I won I could represent Malaysia in the world championship in France. I thought it might be my last chance to have my dream come true. My trainer laughed at me when I bought a lottery ticket hoping to win enough that I could go to France. Of course I didn’t win the lottery, but that didn’t stop me training for the national championship with him again.

We started training again. It was so hard in the beginning. I hadn’t done any training for a long time. But I was determined. We started training at my studio for a few days a week, for a few hours a day, and eventually we increased the training to six days a week. Sport aerobics is very different from normal aerobic dance. It requires a lot of strength, speed and power. There are artistic components, gymnastic elements and technical skills involved. We needed to choose a suitable piece of song or music and the choreography of the routine has to be artistically matching the song we used. We also had to be able to show appropriate and natural facial expressions to portray the artistic components of the choreography while performing the high energetic routine. After many months of intense training my flexibility improved so much that I could easily do the splits in any directions. I did hundreds and thousands of jumping jacks, high kicks, straddle jumps, free falls, standard push-ups and one-arm push-ups. I could hardly do four push up consecutively before the training, but after many months training I could easily do fifty. 

Initially the plan was he coached me to enter the individual women category. I was doing all the strength and flexibility training under his coaching and we choreographed the routine together with the song that I chose – “It’s Raining Men” by The Weather Girls. I always thought that he was so talented and he shouldn’t give up competing at his age. He was still very strong and flexible. He was the best in Malaysia for many years. He was Malaysian champion for many consecutive years and had achieved good result and ranking in world championship.

I suggested to him that he could do the training and practice the routine with me to motivate me to work harder. He agreed. As we practiced the routine together, we realized that the choreography was more suitable and much nicer as a partner routine than a single routine. I asked him to cancel his plan for retiring and to partner with me in that routine to enter the mixed pairs category. He loved that idea. And so, we worked together for many months thinking that there would be a national championship coming up. But it didn’t happen.

Just a few months before the world championship in June 2002, we were told that the national championship was cancelled because lack of sponsorship. But it didn’t stop us from training. In fact we trained even harder.

Being the national champion for the previous year he was qualified to represent Malaysia without the need of going through national championship selection if there wasn’t one. So he suggested that we should continued practice to enter the world championship. That’s how I was able to represent Malaysia and participated in the world championship. I didn’t even need to be a Malaysian champion to do that. I owed it to him. I also suggested to him, since we were going for the world championship, he should also prepared himself for the individual men category. He agreed with me.

Anyhow, the training wasn’t going smoothly all the time. I suffered injuries from time to time. But I didn’t give up. Injuries couldn’t stop me from training.

Doing the mixed pairs routine was definitely harder than doing a solo routine. In the solo routine one can just execute one’s highest ability of strength and flexibility. But in the mixed pairs routine, it was about teamwork and synchronization. Two people with different strength and flexibility had to learn to adjust a little to be synchronized with one another. It wasn’t about the ego showing off the best ability of oneself. It was about putting aside the tendency to show off one’s highest ability and lowering one’s ability to accommodate the partner who was less strong and less flexible. At the same time the weaker one would try to train harder to catch up with the stronger one. In our case, I was more flexible than my partner and he was stronger than me. We had no problem adjusting our ability to each other’s level.

Some of his friends had came to assist us in the training. Somehow one of my shoes kept falling off while we practiced which was a guarantee of points deduction. They told me that I needed to be good enough for partnering with him and I had to be good enough for Malaysia. And so, I worked really hard.

Just about two months before the world championship, one of his best friends who was also a Malaysian champion before, told him that I wasn’t good enough for him and would only make him look bad, that I should pull out of the competition so that he could focus on his own individual category. He came to tell me about that and asked me if I wanted to pull out. I was very disappointed and angry, but I kept my emotion down and I told him, “No.” I wanted to continue after so many months of intense training and it was only two more months to go. I knew I could do better. I was ready to worked harder. Luckily and thankfully he believed in me and ignored his friends’ criticism. We trained even harder, so hard that I suffered a few more injuries, but that could never stop me.

When we decided to go to France for the world championship I didn’t have enough money. I need about eight thousands Ringgit Malaysia for the entire trip. Somehow I didn’t have to support my parents anymore for a few months. My sister had received some compensation money for my late brother in-law’s death about ten years ago. He fell down from above 130 feet height and died immediately with all his bones broken into tiny pieces. Two days ago, I saw his face was blackened that I couldn’t see his features at all. I didn’t mention anything about it to my family until after he died from the work accident. Since my sister had the insurance money I was dismissed from giving all my money I earned to my parents for the next few months, and I could save enough money for France. After I came back from France, I had to continue to support my parents living because my sister had spent all the money within a few months because she had a lot of debts and continued to accumulate more debts from different banks.

The big day drew closer. We booked our flight ticket to France. I had never been on a plane before and I had never travelled any further than Singapore. To say I was excited about the trip would be an understatement.

We finally finished our full routine in one piece. When we practiced the routine we didn’t do the whole routine every time. We practiced part by part and kept practicing one part until we were good at that particular part mastering all the little details of the moves, and then we would add in another part. Imagine that we had to listen to one part of the song repeatedly over and over again. I even kept practicing in my dreams as I heard The Weather Girls while I slept.

Finally we arrived in France. There was a big parade the day before the competition, with teams from more than forty countries walking through the streets of Montpellier. While some teams had ten or twenty participants the Malaysian team had only two – just me and my partner. He held a board that said ‘MALAISIE’ and I proudly held our national flag – the Jalur Gemilang. It was a very emotional moment for me.

After we came back from the parade, we practiced our routine in a big hall with many other contestants from other countries doing the same. Everyone in the hall was a champion, except me. But I wasn’t nervous at all. I was very confident. The other contestants saw our routine and were very kind to inform us that part of our routine needed to be changed because it was against the rules.

It didn’t stop us anyway. Immediately we thought of some other steps and practiced it by hard. We practiced until late night when we were confident of the new steps. And the next morning, we were ready.

All the contestants were waiting backstage – waiting for their names to be called. I doubled check my shoes, lacing them tightly hoping that they wouldn’t fall off during the routine.

Just before they called our names we told each other, “No matter what happens, just keep going and do our best, and enjoy.”

Then our names were called. We hold each other hands and walked towards the stage.

As soon as I walked onto the stage seeing so many people in the stadium with many judges sitting in front of the stage, with many spotlights heading towards us, I told myself in my heart – my dream come true. There was nothing to be afraid of. Just do my best and enjoy the moment that I had always dreamt of.

The music started. Our routine went exactly as we had practiced.

Until one of my partner’s shoes came off.

Points will be deducted for sure. But it really didn’t matter. We didn’t panic and continued our routine as if nothing happened. In the beginning, there weren’t many people noticed that one of his shoes was missing from his foot but it was on the centre of the stage. We didn’t stop or make any mistakes or expression. We were very natural like nothing happened. But very soon, we could hear the crowds making noises as everyone in the whole stadium had stood up and watching us. They cheered for us and clapped to support us. We were so thrilled and so touched by the encouraging supports from the entire crowd in the stadium. We could hear all those cheers and claps. We danced more energetically. We finished the routine with the loudest cheers and applause.

Of course we didn’t win, but it didn’t matter. We came in tenth place out of thirteen teams. But we were very happy and satisfied with our performance even though there was an unexpected incident. I didn’t blamed him at all. How could I? He told me that of all the competitions he had done over the years it was the one his enjoyed the most. He already decided to retired and was very pleased to end his sport aerobics career on such a high note.

Dozens of people came to congratulated us for continuing despite the missing shoe, and afterwards, during the dinner, the Malaysian team’s missing shoe was discussed as one of the highlights of the day’s event. Later one of the judges told us that if there had been a prize for sportsmanship we certainly would have won it.

Other teams also had encountered their own problems on stage, but they scowled at each other and lost their concentration – affecting their performance and making more mistakes. But we just kept going as if nothing happened.

After the competition, we drove around the southern part of France and visited many beautiful places. It was my first time seeing so many sunflowers and lavenders on the fields, and also first time tasted the sweet cantaloupe. It was my first experience of cool climate, that we had to turn on the heater in the car. It was my childhood dream to be in France. I had two dreams come true together.

After two weeks in France, we came back to Malaysia. On the next day, my mentor told me that there was a national open championship coming up in the next month in Sibu, Sarawak, East Malaysia. Since I had been training regularly, I should keep it up and enter that competition as well. Why not? I hadn’t achieved my dream of becoming a Malaysian champion. But this time, I was really confident and without any pressure from anyone. I needed to make some changes to the routine because this competition has different rules. But it wasn’t a problem at all. My mentor continued to help me to change the routine. I prepared myself for my next dream to come true.

It’s going to be a tough competition because it was a mix individual competition where men and women compete in the same category. There was particularly a strong competitor, a young man who was many times champion for that particular championship. He was technically stronger than I. I knew he would win the competition, but I entered all the same. I had proven the fortune teller wrong, and already had my dreams come true in France.

I arrived in Sibu two days before the competition. On the day before the competition I learned that the previous champion had to pull out of the competition because one of his wrists was injured during training a week ago.

They say to catch a train you have to make the effort to go to the station. I certainly had some luck, but that luck would have meant nothing without those hours and hours of training and practice. I couldn’t have come so far if I hadn’t believed in myself and persevered in my training. The path had been very hard, but I had turned around what was supposed to be my pre-ordained fate, changing my life and my luck, and realizing my dreams of performing on international stage representing my country.

The first competitor did his routine. I was next. There were thirteen more contestants to go. I sat through their performances, eager to learn the final result. I knew I had done quite well, but there were two other competitors’ performances had both been very strong. Finally the results were announced. I stepped up on stage and was handed the trophy for becoming the new Malaysian national sport aerobics champion.

Because the organizer didn’t expect a woman to win, they had prepared a trophy with the title ‘Juara Lelaki’ – Men’s Champion. They scratched off the ‘Lelaki’ and left the ‘Juara’ when they learned that the winner for that year was a woman. But, actually it didn’t matter at all. I was really grateful for all the supporters there who gave me so much supports although majority of them were from Sarawak and Sabah to support their representatives. That was what sportsmanship is about.

Without all the coaching, helps and supports from my mentor I wouldn’t have my dreams come true even if I was strong and flexible and trained very hard. For all that he had done for me, he had never asked for any credits or acknowledgements. Most people will want to take credit for what they have done for others. If it’s something good people would say, “It was me. I did it!” But if it isn’t good people would either keep quiet or they would say, “It wasn’t me. I didn’t do it.” That’s how the ego reacts in everyday life. My mentor wasn’t just a champion, but he had lived the spirit of sportsmanship.

Thanks to my mentor and everyone who had involved directly and indirectly in making my dreams come true. May all of your dreams come true as well.

I wanted to live in the countryside and somewhere near to the beach. Here I am now teaching yoga and living in a simple but comfortable house in a small village surrounded by nature about a few minutes drive away from the beach.

I wanted to be happy, and I am happy.

I didn’t earn much money and live a very basic simple life, but whenever I need money for something, the money will come to me.

I had a feeling or prediction since I was a little girl. I believed that my future husband or life partner will be two years older than me and I always felt that he was somewhere faraway from where I was. And it’s so true. My husband is two years older than me and he is from Ireland, exactly on the other side of the world faraway from Malaysia. And it was meant to be for us to meet each other in India in an Ashram while studying yoga in the same course at the same time.

This is our 2 minutes sport aerobics routine “It’s raining men”

READ ON…

Audio – The practice of yoga

This is a mp3 audio file of one of the talks about the practice of yoga at the beginning of the yoga class.

http://www.yogaretreatmalaysia.com/yogatalk.mp3

Please click on the link above to download the mp3 file.

Om shanti.