The sky is just what it is

The sky is just what it is

It’s neither blue nor grey

It’s neither day nor night

It’s neither bright nor dark

It’s neither high nor low

It’s neither big nor small

It’s neither calm nor turbulent

The eyes can only see what they see

The eyes can’t see beyond what they can see

What the eyes see are not necessarily the truth of what they are

The mind can only knows what it knows

The mind can’t know beyond what it knows

What the mind knows are not necessarily the truth of what they are

And above all

The sky is not even ‘the sky’

‘I’ is not even I

Be free

Ignorance, egoism, suffering and selflessness, free from ignorance, egoism and suffering

Due to the ignorance in the mind, there is an existence in the mind perception of a self-identity of an individual being (the ego, what the mind thinks is ‘I’) that consists of the body and the mind, and many others would also include the soul, where they believe that the body and the mind is mortal and impermanent (The impermanent I), while the soul is immortal and infinite (The permanent I), even when people have no idea what is the soul and whether the soul exist or non-exist. Just because many different religious scriptures say so, and people would just believe that it must be true.

People believe that after the death of the body and the mind (decomposed / stop existing), the soul (the silent consciousness/witness that is infinite/immortal) will be responsible for the consequences of all the actions and inactions of the body and the mind from birth till death, and be judged by ‘God’, and be sent to heaven or hell, to enjoy or suffer, for all that is nothing to do with the soul, if it exists. For example, if the mind is evil and being the ‘driver’ or ‘master’ of the body, it performs evil actions through the body, and somehow, the innocent soul will be punished for those evil doings and be sent to hell to suffer. Again, it’s everyone’s freedom for what they believe or disbelieve. It’s also up to everyone’s self-inquiry into the truth of everything to know the truth to attain self-realization.

In Buddhism, Buddha never mentioned about God or the soul. There’s deliberate non-comment over the existence or non-existence of God and the soul. This itself is a great teaching, where Buddha didn’t interfere with people’s believe or disbelieve in God or the soul. It doesn’t matter. Whether someone believes God and the soul exist or non-exist, it doesn’t free this being from the perception or experience of suffering if there’s egoism.

Buddha taught everyone to inquire into the truth of everything through deep mind purification via the eight fold path, self-control, self-discipline, self-inquiry, desireless, non-attachment, observing and respecting the law of impermanence, selflessness, renunciation, and silence. If the mind experiences or perceives suffering, it’s in now. It’s neither in the past nor the future. This is important. It doesn’t matter people believe that there’s only one life, or there’s continuous transitions of life infinitely, the only existence is now, and liberation from suffering is neither in the past nor in the future, is in now. In one moment, the mind experiences suffering when there’s attachment, and in one moment this mind is free from suffering when there’s no attachment. Suffering and liberation from suffering has nothing to do with any beliefs that one inherited from birth or adopted later in life.

This self-identity (the ego) comes along with egoism of desires, attachment, identification, clinging, longing, intention and expectation, and it thinks it is the one who performs actions and it is the one who receives the fruit of actions, and it’s the one who enjoys and suffers, where all kinds of impurities of satisfaction/dissatisfaction, fulfillment/disappointment, contentment/greed, admiration/jealousy, calmness/anger, love/hatred, respect/discrimination, friendliness/animosity, joy/hurts, innocent/guilt, pleased/regret, pride/shamefulness, low self-esteem/arrogance, excitement/boredom, fullness/emptiness, meaningfulness/meaninglessness, courage/fear and peace/worry, and etc, arising and passing away in the mind reacting towards all the perception of names and forms through the senses, based on what ‘I’ think what things are, and what ‘I’ like and dislike, what ‘I’ agree and disagree with, what ‘I’ want and doesn’t want. The egoistic mind perceives suffering/emptiness/unhappiness/dissatisfaction, when some or all of its desires are not being gratified, and hence the ego desires to escape or avoid or be free from suffering/emptiness/unhappiness/dissatisfaction.

But then ignorance hinders the mind from knowing the truth of the root cause of suffering/emptiness/unhappiness/dissatisfaction, where it thinks all its suffering/emptiness/unhappiness/dissatisfaction is caused by the quality of the objects of names and forms that it comes in contact with (the presence of certain names and forms) or doesn’t come in contact with (the absence of certain names and forms), and the mind thinks that it could escape or avoid or be free from suffering/emptiness/unhappiness/dissatisfaction through continuously and determinedly gratifying all its desires, by experiencing or coming in contact with certain qualities of names and forms, that it likes and wants and agrees with, that it thinks they have the quality that contribute pleasure, satisfaction, meaningfulness and happiness, such like doing something that makes it feels good, satisfied, happy and meaningful, and smoking/eating/drinking/touching/smelling/hearing/seeing/watching/reading/imagining something that will make it feels good, satisfied, happy and meaningful, while avoiding the experience or contact with certain qualities of names and forms that the mind doesn’t like, doesn’t want and doesn’t agree with, that it thinks they have the quality that contribute unpleasantness, dissatisfaction, meaninglessness and unhappiness, that will make it feels disturbed, dissatisfied, unhappy or meaningless. And hence, the mind is suffering from restlessness.

The real cause of all suffering/emptiness/unhappiness/dissatisfaction is not in the quality of names and forms that the mind perceives or doesn’t perceive through the sense, but it’s the ignorance and egoism that generates the idea/existence of ‘I’ that attached onto and identifying with the body and the mind, and the soul (for those who believe in the soul), where there are desires of craving and aversion and attachment towards what the ego likes and dislikes, agrees and disagrees with, wants and doesn’t want. Suffering exists is due to the existence of desires and attachment in the mind. If desires and attachment cease existing in the mind, suffering doesn’t exist.

The impure minds might interpret selflessness as non-existence of ‘my’ worldly life existence, where they think if ‘I’ doesn’t exist, then ‘my’ entire worldly life existence consisting the body and the mind in this world doesn’t exist at all. If people think or believe that is the truth, they will think that they can just do whatever they like as it doesn’t matter because all these worldly life experiences are not real, and they won’t suffer for the consequences of their actions. And so, all kinds of human suffering are not real, or non-existing. They believe that this worldly life existence is one long dream or a continuous flow of many dreams. In dreams, we can do anything that we want, but once we woke up, we are not responsible for whatever we did or experienced in all the dreams. There’s no consequences of actions in dreams, where we could experience death and injury in dreams, we could kill other people and be killed by others, and still, once we woke up from the dreams, we are still alive and non-injured, and there’s no responsibility of any consequences of actions performed in the dreams, as none of those actions or experiences are real. It’s just mere imaginations of the mind. If they feel satisfied in this dream of a worldly existence, they hope to stay in the dream (live forever in this life existence), and will be reluctant to be awaken in a different reality that is unknown to them (death of this life existence or next life). And if they are dissatisfied with this dream, they hope to be awaken in a different but better reality that is unknown to them (heaven or a better life in a better world).

And if all worldly experiences are not real, and suffering are not real, then there’s no need to talk about any kind of practices to be free from suffering, where everyone would be more selfish and immoral, and wouldn’t have self-control to refrain one’s behavior from causing harm to oneself and others.

But then this ‘understanding’ doesn’t bring people liberation from the suffering of the consequences of their actions in their worldly life existence (An existence in now that is subject to impermanence and consequences of actions), as the body and the mind continues to experience suffering even though there is the ‘interpretation’, or ‘understanding’, or ‘idea’ in the mind about worldly life existence is just a dream, all is not real. In dreams, everything might not be logical and are disorientated most of the time, such like old memories and fresh memories and wild imaginations might appear together at one time in a dream, and it’s okay, as once we woke up, we will know that all those images/experiences are not real, no matter how scary or painful or excited or violence was the dream. But, in this worldly life existence, in now, one will be treated as mentally ill, if one’s mind perceives mixed up images of some old memories with fresh memories and wild imaginations, and believes that all these images are real, and this will influence one’s behavior and affect one’s relationship with other people. It doesn’t matter if one strongly believes or disbelieves that this life existence is just a dream, all is not real, but if suffering arise due to attachment, suffering is here, it doesn’t disappear if we don’t like or don’t want this suffering.

This ‘interpretation’ or ‘understanding’ of selflessness or non-existence of ‘I’, is the outcome of the impure ignorant minds attached onto and identifying with the body and the mind as ‘I’ or ‘Who I am’. And so, these minds couldn’t go beyond the understanding of the body and the mind are existing and functioning in this present moment, and it’s mortal and impermanent, but then the existence and the function of the body and the mind is selflessness, that there’s no ‘I’ existing as an individual being to be mastering or in control of the impermanent existence, function, condition and state of the body and the mind. It’s just the mind functioning and perceiving all kinds of names and forms through the senses in the present, and the mind might keep jumping back and forth between the past memories and future wild imaginations and the perceptions through the senses in the present, and all these thoughts perceptions/activities, whether pleasant or unpleasant, desired or undesired, the perceiver (the mind), the perceived (the objects of names and forms), the past memories, the present experiences and the future wild imaginations, are impermanent and there’s no ‘I’ in control of the impermanent changes. All these experiences are here, in now, the only existence. The past doesn’t exist in now, just some remembrance of past experiences. The future doesn’t exist, just some wild imaginations, and they all are impermanent, and there’s no ‘I’ existing as the perceiver or the experiencer of all the pleasant and unpleasant, desirable and undesirable experiences in the present, or remembrance of the past, or wild imaginations of the future, in now.

This ‘I’ that the mind think is ‘who/what I am’ doesn’t exist or non-exist. There is injury in the body, the mind perceives this sensation of pain in the body, in now, and this sensation of pain is impermanent, and there’s no ‘I’ am in pain, or ‘I’ am suffering from painful sensation. There’s no disappointment or dissatisfaction when this painful sensation is here. There is pleasant sensation in the body, the mind perceives this pleasant sensation in the body, in now, and this pleasant sensation is impermanent, and there’s no ‘I’ am pleasant, or ‘I’ am enjoying pleasant sensation. There’s no disappointment or dissatisfaction when this pleasant sensation changed into something else or disappeared.

Once the ego is annihilated, there’s no one there to initiate desires of craving or aversion towards all the perception of names and forms, and hence, there’s no tension or restlessness in the egoless and desireless mind, there’s no one here to react with dissatisfaction, disappointment, greed, jealousy, anger, hatred, pride, low self-esteem, animosity, hurts, regret, guilt, fear and worry, and etc. The mind is aware of all the perceptions of names and forms (the past memories, present moment and future imaginations), in now, but it’s free from tension and restlessness, or suffering. There’s no clinging or aversion towards all the names and forms that are present in now, and there’s no craving or longing or aversion towards names and forms that are absent in now. It’s at peace, disregards all the perception of names and forms being here, as what they are. And all these names and forms have no intention or quality to contribute pleasure or suffering to the mind. There’s no ‘I’ being there to enjoy or suffer. There are actions being performed through the body and the mind, and there are consequences of actions, but there is no ‘I’ being there performing actions and to enjoy or suffer for the consequences of actions.

Just like all the internal organs and every single cells in the body, they are performing actions ceaselessly to support the existence and function of this body until they are worn out, but there’s no egoism in each of them to discriminate each other, to like or dislike and agree or disagree with each other, to be superior or inferior than one another, to be identified as the performer of actions or the receiver of the fruit of actions. But this egoism exists in the thinking mind due to ignorance, that initiates all kinds of suffering to itself, which is truly unnecessary.

Be free.

The importance of self-inquiry and investigation of the truth of everything

Many people would have doubt towards something that are different from their own thinking and belief, or that are unknown/unfamiliar to them, but they don’t bother to investigate the truth of the existing thinking and belief in them that has been influencing how they perceive, act, react, behave and feel about all and everything. Different people perceive different reality in the same world due to the different thinking and belief in everyone. And it’s okay, as long as everyone keeps their own thinking, belief, perception of reality and their own opinion/point of view to themselves, and respect other people’s thinking, belief, perception of everything and opinion/point of view that are being different from theirs. But how many people would keep their perception of everything and point of view to themselves, without interfering with other people’s different perception of reality and opinion/point of view?

And hence, all kinds of disagreement, argument, fighting, conflict, discrimination, prejudice and unequal rights/treatments arise in the society, and then it turns into unrest, fear, offensiveness, defensiveness, animosity, hatred, abuse, bully, violence and war among people, areas and countries.

Never underestimate the power of ignorance and egoism.

Even the most educated, intelligent, knowledgeable, talented and skillful people in the world also might not be free from ignorance and egoism.

If it’s coming from somewhere, like religious books, school books, philosophical books and history books, written, edited and published by such and such famous writers, editors and publishers, or if it’s coming from certain people, like our parents, or elders, or school teachers, or religious teachers, or spiritual teachers, or famous teachers, or famous personalities and celebrities, or whom we think are good people, or our good friends, or our group leaders, or the leaders of a country or the world, or anyone whom we think they deserve respect and trust, then it must be true, and in order to show respectfulness, faith and loyalty, we shall not question the truth of it.

Out of nowhere or somewhere, for no reason or some reasons, someone created and told a story to some others many hundreds or thousands years ago, and the story was passed down from generations to generations, from places to places, and without any hesitation, people would believe that this story must be true, because it has been passing down through many generations to us, and many people from many places believe it’s true, and so, it must be true then.

Investigate the truth of the teachings of yoga, or all kinds of religious teachings, or all kinds of cultural and spiritual beliefs, or all kinds of philosophies of mankind. Do not blind-believing or blind-following any teachings from anyone and anywhere. Do not teach or preach any teachings to others just because that was what we were told by our teachers and from the books, or it has been existing since many hundreds or thousands years ago.

This is different from someone being skeptical and defensive all the time, being peaceless from having fear towards trusting anyone, or being unable to trust anyone or anything. Seeing the truth as it is has nothing to do with trusting anyone or anything, or not. There is no fear of being mistrusted anyone or anything, but merely seeing the truth of things as it is, without judgment or expectation based on any particular thinking and belief about what is ‘true’ and ‘untrue’, ‘right’ and ‘wrong’, or ‘good’ and ‘bad’.

The truth is still what it is, and it doesn’t get hurt and wouldn’t be damaged, whether we know or don’t know about it, whether we think we can or should ‘trust’ or ‘distrust’ it, and whether we like and agree with it, or not.

The teacher of truth finding doesn’t want anyone to ‘trust’ or ‘distrust’ him or his teachings. He doesn’t want anyone to believe and follow him. He doesn’t want to eliminate or change any of the existing thinking and belief in the world. He only advises everyone to purify one’s mind and inquire the truth of everything to attain self-realization. He doesn’t condemn or punish anyone who doesn’t follow his advice at all or doesn’t follow his advice as it is. Contemplate on this and be free.

No one can discipline our mind for us but the mind itself

No one can discipline our mind for us but the mind itself.

No one can purify our mind for us but the mind itself.

No one can do our practice for us but the mind itself.

No one can free the mind from ignorance and egoism for us but the mind itself.

No one can liberate the mind from suffering of anger, hatred, jealousy, greed, lust, pride, dissatisfaction, disappointment, fear and worry for us but the mind itself.

When the mind is free from ignorance and egoism and impurities, the mind will be peaceful as it is, undetermined by the good or bad condition of the body and the mind, the ups and downs of life experiences, the good and bad relationships with everyone, the good and bad condition of the world and the surrounding environment.

When one thinks and feels and says, “I am contented, happy and peaceful. I’m all good. Life is good. The part of the world where I live in is good. The people in my life are good and wonderful.” Know that this mind is not necessarily free. The mind might still be affected and disturbed by what the mind thinks and believes as ‘not good’, ‘bad’, ‘negative’, ‘suffering’ and ‘wrong’, based on the worldly thinking and belief that has been ingraining into their minds, influenced by many influences coming from everywhere (The parents, the society, the friends circle, the social network, the education, the religious teachings, the stories told by different people from everywhere, the researchers, the scientists, the philosophers, the medias, the politicians, the world leaders, and so on.)

There’s nothing abnormal or wrong for anyone to think and feel contended, happy and peaceful, when one perceives everything about oneself, as well as everything and everyone that are related to one’s life, is all good, is the way that how one would like it to be. Or, one should feel grateful when things are like this, and one should feel bad, angry, guilty and shameful when things are like that. And people would hurt themselves or others, in pursuit of a life that they think is ‘meaningful’, ‘fruitful’, ‘successful’ and ‘happy’, or people might hurt themselves and/or others when they think they should be feeling bad, angry, guilty and shameful about something. People manipulate or make use of other people’s feelings and emotions to be ‘doing’ something for them unwittingly. People stir up other people’s anger, hatred and fear to create a situation in the society that will allow them to achieve something that they want.

There are many minds don’t mind being ‘not free’, as they think and believe that that is what human life is about – achieving a life that what they think and believe as ‘meaningful’, ‘fruitful’, ‘successful’ and ‘happy’. They are ‘free’ in their own world when they feel contented and happy (as long as everything and everyone is the way that they like it to be, and all their desires are being gratified). That’s their freedom.

Minds that are deeply conditioned by particular thinking and belief to think, to behave, to act and react, to feel confident or not, to feel happy or not, to feel meaningful or not, and to feel good or bad, are easily being influenced by intentional manipulation from those who want to influence the people to think in certain ways and to believe in certain beliefs, so that they can get the support that they want from the people to be in power to achieve what they want to achieve in the world of selfish desires.

The yoga and meditation practice is to purify the mind, to free the mind from the pollution of conditional worldly thinking and belief, which is the product of ignorance and egoism, as well as the fuel that feeds ignorance and egoism. And all these worldly thinking and belief about what is a meaningful, fruitful, successful and happy life, how people should think and behave, act and react, and what people should believe in, are being manipulated by many impure selfish minds. If the mind is under the influence of ignorance and egoism, it is easily be manipulated and influenced by what they perceive through the senses of seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, touching and thinking, that are not necessarily the truth of what things are. No matter how intelligent that the mind thinks it is, it still can be manipulated and influenced by worldly conditional thinking and belief, without knowing that it has already been manipulated or influenced by them.

If one’s mind starts to reason/doubt/investigate the truth of the information that has been feeding to it from here and there, it will be hammered and threatened by worldly people around and from part of itself that is being conditioned to believe that ‘This is bad and evil!’, ‘This is wrong!’, ‘You are bad and evil!’, ‘You don’t deserve love and goodness!’, ‘You will be condemned to hell!’, ‘You will be punished and suffered!’, ‘You will bring shame and suffering to your family!’, and so on.

We can understand why many religious people or organizations or politicians or capitalists or business people don’t like it if people are being exposed to the teachings of BUDDHISM, YOGA and MEDITATION about SELF-INQUIRY to investigate the truth of everything and be free from worldly conditioned thinking and belief. When yoga is being commercialized with lots of ‘yoga products’ and ‘organic health and beauty related yogic products’, and there are many of the ‘yoga practitioners’, ‘yoga teachers’, or ‘yoga lovers’ are being influenced by it without knowing that they have become the ‘slaves’ of particular people or groups or organizations who are playing the mind games.

Yoga and meditation practice is to free the mind that has been conditioning by all these worldly thinking and belief. And thus, there is a very important part of the yoga and meditation practice that is being ignored or criticized by many worldly people, including those who think they love yoga and practice yoga, which is the practice of SILENCE, to be in solitude and seclusion for a sustained period of time (at least 5-6 years), to move away from the society, stop mixing with worldly people, stop engaging in worldly interactions and conversations, stop reading newspapers, novels and magazines, stop watching TV programs, advertisements and movies, stop all kinds of worldly contact and communication. It doesn’t matter whether the mind thinks these ‘inputs’ of the mind are true, or not true. By allowing the mind to be in silence and cleared out of all the worldly thinking and belief, be free from conditional judgment and expectation based on the worldly thinking and belief, the mind will be able to see the truth of things as it is. This sounds extreme or horrible for many people, but it is the most effective way to free the mind from being manipulated or influenced by ceaseless ‘inputs’ that are not the truth of what things are. Only those who are determined and are fearless to let go all the worldly thinking and belief as well as worldly identity with qualities of names and forms can truly practice yoga and meditation. Or else, everyone is just doing some forms of different styles and brands of ‘yoga exercises’ to feel good and look good.

Be free.

The advantage of silent meditation in stillness immediately after the yoga asana practice

All the different yoga practices exist to allow the living beings that function under the limited and conditioned mind perception of names and forms to be free from ignorance and all its by-products of egoism, attachment, identification, desire of craving and aversion, judgment, comparison, expectation, and impurities of lust, anger, hatred, jealousy, greed, dissatisfaction, disappointment, hurts, agitation, depression, defensiveness, offensiveness, possessiveness, frustration, irritation, fear, worry, sorrow, grief and restlessness. All these defilement are not separated from suffering.

Whether the beings will be liberated from suffering, or not, it’s up to the beings themselves whether they are determined to be free from suffering, and whether they are persistent to purify and quiet the mind to inquire into the truth of names and forms, to be free from ignorance and all the by-products of ignorance.

No doubt that the body and the mind will feel good after doing some forms of yoga practice (yoga asana, pranayama, chanting, kirtan, japa, concentration, relaxation, and etc) that serve the purpose of influencing the energy field or the states of the mind, mainly to balance and calming the restless mind, and to divert the mind away from worldly ideas, affairs and activities, to allow the mind to have a few moments of concentration and quietness. These precious few moments of the concentration and quietness of the mind is the best opportunity for further meditation in stillness.

The good feelings of the body and mind after doing some forms of yoga practice is impermanent and is not the goal of the yoga practice. People might mistake the concentration of the mind while doing some forms of physical movements and yoga poses as meditation. No doubt that concentration is the key that leads to meditation, but it is not meditation. In meditation, the mind goes beyond the body consciousness of pleasantness and unpleasantness. Time and space and causation doesn’t exist in meditation. There is no interaction with the world. That is beyond the mind is being in a state of concentration and being aware of pleasantness or unpleasantness while doing the yoga asana poses.

Yoga asana and pranayama practice serves the purpose of influencing the mind to render the mind calm and quiet and focus to prepare the mind for meditation, but in meditation practice, it doesn’t involve any actions to influence the mind, but it is to allow the mind to stand as a witness being aware of the reality and allowing the reality in the present moment to be what it is and allowing it to change as it is, without trying to interfere with the different states of the mind, without trying to change the reality into something different from what it is, without attachment, identification, judgment, expectation, craving and aversion. There’s not even an existence of ‘I’ to be identifying as “I am meditating.”

People are too busy with worldly life affairs and social activities. Many people devote some time to attend ‘yoga classes’ to do some yoga asana exercises, and their body and mind might feel good after that, but not many people would take the advantage or make use of the calmed and concentrated state of the mind derived from the yoga asana practice to meditate in stillness of thought, action and speech immediately after the yoga asana practice. People would give themselves reasonable excuse that there is something else that is more important that they need to attend or do immediately after the yoga class. Some said that “I like to meditate in motion while doing the yoga exercises or while being in the yoga asana poses, and meditation is not just limited to sitting quietly, and so, I don’t need to sit quietly for further meditation.”

It is true that meditation is not just about sitting quietly, it’s about the ability of being aware of the reality in the present moment, without being disturbed or determined by the reality, and going beyond the impermanent changes of the body and the function of the mind, going beyond all the perceptions of names and forms through the senses, without attachment, identification, craving and aversion, being free from ignorance, egoism and impurities, being free from fear and worry with the mind resting in its nature of unconditional peace, no matter the body is in motion or in stillness. But, what people don’t realize is that the main reason why they don’t want to sit quietly for meditation is because their restless minds don’t enjoy or don’t like to sit quietly without any physical movements and mental stimulation and interaction with the world of names and forms. The minds are impatience and will be in agitation or irritation for holding still and be quiet without any stimulation of inputs and outputs even just for a few moments. The minds are not free from aversion towards stillness and the unpleasantness that arise in the body and the mind from restricting the body and mind in stillness.

Even though people can attain some pleasant sensations or good feelings after the yoga practice especially the asana practice as they are getting a momentary relieve from stress or tension or soreness by stretching their body, improving blood circulation, energizing the entire system and relaxing the mind, but their minds might not be free from craving and aversion, which is the main part for the yoga practice, to free the mind from craving and aversion. This is also why there are people have been ‘practicing yoga’ for quite a long time, gaining all the benefits from doing the yoga asana practice, but they are not free from being disturbed by constant reaction of craving and aversion towards the names and forms that the mind perceives through the senses.

The yoga studios or centres might not have the ‘time’ and ‘space’ to extend the duration of the yoga class to allow the students to have a meditation session immediately after the yoga class. Some classes don’t even have enough time for final relaxation, not to say reserve extra time for meditation.

If the yoga studios or centres understand the importance of meditation, and they don’t mind giving the extra time and space for meditation for at least another half an hour, and people could devote their precious time to just sit quietly after the yoga class, there will be a great difference in their mind of silencing the mind without any inputs and outputs. But, it’s everyone own choice for what they want to do with their minds and their life. If people are just contented with momentary good feelings from doing some forms of yoga practice, but not interested in further into meditation to allow the mind to be silent, being away from worldly ideas, affairs and activities, that is their freedom.

Some people might have particular ‘idea’ about meditation, either they see ‘meditation’ as a way to ‘attain’ superpower so that they can have all their wishes come true, or they see ‘meditation’ as something ‘evil’ that against their religion belief or might pull them away from their religion belief. In that case, don’t call it ‘meditation’, but it’s just ‘sitting quietly observing the natural breath’, without expecting the fruit of the action of ‘sitting quietly observing the breath’. One will self-realize what ‘meditation’ is about if one is free from expectation towards the fruit of the action of ‘sitting quietly observing the breath’ and allowing the breath to be what it is.

Some people might say that their minds are not quiet or calmed for meditation after the yoga asana practice. If the yoga asana practice doesn’t serve the purpose of calming and quieting the mind for meditation, but stimulating the mind not allowing the mind to be quiet and calmed, then that is not really yoga practice, but just a form of worldly physical and mental activity.

Be free.

Yoga practice – why and how?

The practice of yoga is about the realization of unconditional peace which is the nature of all beings beyond the mind perception of all the different qualities of names and forms that generate separateness and discrimination among all beings which lead to restlessness or peacelessness and suffering.

The root cause of restlessness or peacelessness and suffering is ignorance and egoism.

The unconditional peace is unconditioned/undetermined by the impermanent qualities of names and forms (the law of birth and death), and is realized upon the annihilation of ignorance and egoism.

The annihilation of egoism is the realization of selflessness.

Compassion is the active force of selflessness that allow actions being performed without egoism of attachment, identification, desires of craving and aversion, and expectation. Just like the sun, the water, the wind, the earth and the space, or like all the internal organs in the physical body. There are specific functions in their existence to support one another, but there is no egoism in them to influence or to control or to identify with their functions/actions and the fruit of their functions/actions.

Ignorance is not knowing the truth of names and forms, and egoism is born out of ignorance. Egoism is the idea of ‘I’ exist as an individual being attached to certain qualities of names and forms to be identified as ‘I’, where all sorts of desires of craving and aversions arise due to this false identity of ‘I’. And all kinds of impurities of anger, hatred, jealousy, greed, dissatisfaction, disappointment, frustration, agitation, depression, hurts, offensiveness, defensiveness, fear and worry are born out of ungratified desires of craving and aversion. And hence, the mind is being in a state of restlessness or peacelessness and suffering. The mind appears to be not peaceful.

The ego, or who/what the mind thinks is ‘I’, is nothing but made up of mere pieces of BROKEN MEMORIES of all the perceptions of names and forms, life experiences, actions and reactions, feelings and emotions, imaginations, expectations, dreams and relationships with everyone and everything. What is not found in the memories, or beyond what the mind can recollect, there’s no ‘I’. People say, “This is not who you really are, you need to find/go back to your true identity of who you really are” or “This person is not what he/she appears to be, you need to find our his/her true identity of what he/she really is.” Everyone can ‘appear’ or ‘pretend’ to be what they are or what they want to be and they are being different on different timing and condition, whether intentionally or unintentionally, with their appearance, personality, mentality, vision, mood and behavior are changing from time to time, but there is not a permanent ‘I’ being there as “this is who I really am.”

There is no ‘existence of an individual identity of who you really are’ or ‘who I think is the real I’. When one realized the true nature of oneself beyond the existence of the body and the mind and the worldly identity that attached onto certain qualities of names and forms, it’s not about realizing my original self or a personal nature. It’s the limitless/non-separate/egoless/selfless/nameless/formless/attributeless nature in all and everyone. The mind will be free from separateness and discrimination, and all the impurities of anger, hatred, jealousy, greed, offensiveness, defensiveness, hurts, fear and worry that come along with the existence of separateness and discrimination.

When a person lost all his/her memories, all the relationships with everyone with all the past painful and uplifting life experiences, and the past accumulated knowledge have no impact on this person’s mind perception of himself/herself or his/her identity in the present. What is pride and arrogance about ‘I’ am knowledgeable or ‘I’ have great achievements? Subconsciously, this person might still be able to perform certain habitual actions without the memory of ‘how did I know how to do this’ and unwittingly react towards all the pleasant and unpleasant sensations that keep arising and passing away.

When a person feels bitter or hurt or angry about something unpleasant/painful that has happened on them, it is because of the attachment and identification towards all these memories of experiences that generates the reaction of bitterness or hurt or anger towards these experiences. The experiences and the memories of the experiences has no power to cause bitterness, hurt or anger. For example, if ‘I’ have no recollection/remembrance about something unpleasant or hurtful that has just happened, ‘I’ won’t feel ‘bitter’ or ‘hurt’ or ‘angry’. It is the continuous remembering what had happened that the mind recognizes as ‘unpleasant’ or ‘hurtful’ that causes the ego, or ‘I’, to continue to feel ‘disturbed’, and continuously react with ‘bitterness’, ‘hurt’ and ‘anger’.

All the past reactions of pleasant and unpleasant feelings and emotions towards all kinds of pleasant and unpleasant sensations arising and passing away that has been storing in the subconscious mind might come up to the surface of the mind without remembrance/recollection of when and how did these feelings and emotions exist in the first place, the mind can be trained to just observe and be aware of them without attachment or identification, without reaction of craving or aversion, and allowing them to pass away. This is what deep mind purification is about.

Yoga practice is to purify and quiet the mind, to allow the mind to be open, unconditioned by any conditional worldly thinking and belief, to allow the mind to see the truth of names and forms as it is, to be free from ignorance and egoism and all kinds of impurities that lead to restlessness or peacelessness and suffering.

The realization of unconditional peace of selflessness is beyond the different states of the mind. Different states of the mind conditioned by cause and effect are being projected in the mind and all states of the mind are impermanent, and it is not ‘I’. The mind projects restlessness. It is not ‘I’ am restless. The mind projects dullness. It is not ‘I’ am dull. The mind projects calmness. It is not ‘I’ am calm. The mind projects peacefulness. It is not ‘I’ am peaceful. The mind projects kindness. It is not ‘I’ am kind. The mind projects evilness. It is not ‘I’ am evil.

The mind is just what it is. It is neither good nor bad. It is neither perfect nor imperfect. It is neither pure nor impure. It is neither positive nor negative. It is neither wise nor unwise. Out of ignorance, the idea of ‘I’, ‘my’ and ‘mine’, and all kinds of ignorant thinking, attachment, identification, desires of craving and aversion arise in the mind that leads to the countless births and deaths of different states of the mind with all kinds of actions and reactions and the result/consequences/fruit of actions and reactions.

The big picture of the yoga and meditation practice is about purifying the mind to free the mind from the pollution of conditional worldly thinking and belief, which is the product of ignorance and egoism, as well as the fuel that feeds ignorance and egoism. And all these worldly thinking and belief about what is a meaningful life, how people should think and behave, act and react, and what people should believe in, are manipulated by many impure selfish minds. If the mind is under the influence of ignorance and egoism, it is easily be manipulated and influenced by what they perceive through the senses of seeing, reading, hearing, smelling, touching and thinking, that are not necessarily the truth of what things are. No matter how intelligent that the mind thinks it is, it still can be manipulated and influenced by worldly conditional thinking and belief, without knowing that it has already been manipulated or influenced by them.

Yoga and meditation practice is to free the mind that has been conditioning by all these worldly thinking and belief. And thus, there is a very important part of the yoga and meditation practice that is being ignored or criticized by many worldly people, including those who think they love yoga and practice yoga, which is the practice of SILENCE, to be in solitude and seclusion for a sustained period of time (at least 5-6 years), to move away from the society, stop mixing with worldly people, stop engaging in worldly interactions and conversations, stop reading newspapers, novels and magazines, stop watching TV programs, advertisements and movies, stop all kinds of worldly contact and communication. It doesn’t matter whether the mind thinks these ‘inputs’ of the mind are true, or not true. By allowing the mind to be in silence and cleared out of all the worldly thinking and belief, be free from conditional judgment and expectation based on the worldly thinking and belief, the mind will be able to see the truth of things as it is. This sounds extreme or horrible for many people, but it is the most effective way to free the mind from being manipulated or influenced by ceaseless ‘inputs’ that are not the truth of what things are. Only those who are determined and are fearless to let go all the worldly thinking and belief as well as worldly identity with qualities of names and forms can truly practice yoga and meditation. Or else, everyone is just doing some forms of different styles and brands of ‘yoga exercises’ to feel good and look good.

There are many different practices exist to help in the purification of the mind, and to quiet the restless mind. The process of the mind purification and quieting the restless mind via intense disciplines and restrictions (mainly of renunciation from worldly ideas, affairs and activities) can be very unpleasant and prolonged. And hence, the qualities or the abilities of non-attachment, non-identification, non-expectation, desireless, self-introspection, self-discipline, self-control, self-reliance, faith, determination, perseverance, acceptance, tolerance, forbearance, adjustment, adaptation and accommodation play an important role to allow the peace seekers to keep practicing/purifying the mind disregards all kinds of obstacles and difficulties, until the mind is completely be free from ignorance and egoism, and realize selflessness and compassion, and unconditional peace.

The realization of yoga, or unconditional peace, is not possible if the peace seekers are reluctant to let go conditional worldly thinking and beliefs, and all kinds of worldly and personal identifications. The mind is not opened to just seeing everything as it is, but it’s closed or limited by conditional worldly thinking and belief that influence how the mind perceives/understands everything. Whenever there’s judgment and expectation from the mind towards everything that it perceives through the senses of what it sees, hears, smells, tastes, touches and thinks, it is based on what the mind thinks and believes what things are and how everything should be. And the ego or the false identification of ‘I’ generates craving and aversion based on the likes and dislikes, agreements and disagreements of the egoism towards all the names and forms that the mind perceives through the senses, ceaselessly and restlessly. There’s no peace.

The realization of yoga, or unconditional peace, is nothing to do with what are the physical conditions, abilities and limitations, the thinking and belief, the intelligence, the talents, the skills of doing something, the creativity, the personality, the good and bad life experiences, the happy and unhappy feelings and emotions, whether one believes or disbelieves in God, religion or spirituality, and how much knowledge the mind knows or doesn’t know about this and that in this worldly life existence about humanity, spirituality, culture, religion, arts, music, fitness, health, technology, engineering, science, geology, history, mathematics, chemistry, physiology, biology, anatomy, psychology, and etc.

It is nothing to do with whether the mind thinks the world is a good or bad place, whether there are good things or bad things happening in the world, whether the world is full of happiness or unhappiness.

It is nothing to do with how much information about yoga, the teachings of yoga and the practice of yoga that people have been accumulating from reading, watching, hearing and ‘doing’.

People like to know/ask what type of yoga or yoga practice and their benefits, or how much and how long one has been ‘doing’ yoga, but all these doesn’t correlate with the realization of yoga or the liberation from suffering. One can be trying hard to clean up a dirty floor, but in the process of cleaning the floor, one can be creating more dirt onto the floor at the same time. One thinks that “Oh, I cleaned the floor already. The floor should be clean now after my effort of cleaning the floor.” but doesn’t aware that the floor is still dirty. The action of cleaning the floor doesn’t correlate with the cleanliness of the floor.

Be free.

The mind only knows what it knows, and what it doesn’t know, it doesn’t know…

What is precious for the dispassionate is being perceived as worthless for the worldly minded, and what is meaningless for the dispassionate is being perceived as meaningful for the worldly minded.

Noble yoga practice such like renouncing the world being dispassionate and disinterest towards worldly matters, activities and social interactions, and the observation of noble silence, seclusion and solitude restricting the mind’s inputs and outputs quieting the restless mind, to divert the entire energy and attention onto the sublimation of the mind, is being recognized or seen as ‘abnormal’, ‘wrong’, ‘not good’, ‘uncivilized’, ‘outdated’, ‘rude’, ‘selfish’, ‘unfriendly’, ‘uncaring’, ‘inhuman’, ‘crazy’, ‘unhappy’, ‘suffering’, and so on, by the worldly minded and so called ‘civilized’ society especially family, friends and relatives, including some of those who think they like yoga and are practicing yoga.

Everyone has the freedom of thinking, belief, opinion, expression, action, speech and way of life. What is ‘abnormal’ to the society, is very much based on something that is unfamiliar and unenjoyable for the majority, or something that is being different from the majority. Such like most people live a ‘normal’ life of mingling, mixing and socializing with other human beings building relationships, networks, connections, engaging in social interactions and activities. That is what they think is the progressive way of life to build a progressive world and society.

Meanwhile, there are some people who prefer to live a quiet life without mixing into the society. They have no intention to be different from anyone else, neither do they object or criticize other people’s way of life that are different from them. They are happy as they are and they don’t have to be doing something ‘fun’ or ‘enjoyable’ to make them feel happy or enjoying life. But those who attached strongly onto their particular thinking and belief and the way of life that they think is ‘normal’ and ‘good’, they might not know how to respect other human beings who are different from them, who live a way of life that is different from the majority. They expect every human beings should also follow the way of life that they think is ‘normal’ and ‘good’. If others are not interested in the way of life that they live, they will criticize these people who live a different way of life as ‘abnormal’, ‘not good’ or ‘wrong’.

They think that those who renounce the world, who stay away from the society to observe silence, seclusion and solitude, and being dispassionate and disinterest in worldly matters and social interactions and activities must be ‘mad’, ‘mentally sick’, ‘unhappy’, ‘miserable’, ‘lonely’ and ‘suffering’ people, because themselves don’t enjoy or don’t like being in silence, seclusion and solitude, or being by oneself without social mingling and interaction with some other human beings. They are like fish out of water. They will feel so uncomfortable, unhappy, miserable, lonely and suffer if they have to be away from mingling, socializing and interacting with some other human beings for a period of time. And so, this makes them think that those who observe silence, seclusion and solitude must be ‘crazy’, ‘mentally sick’, ‘unhappy’, ‘miserable’, ‘lonely’ and ‘suffering’.

The worldly minded expect all human beings should conform to their worldly thinking and beliefs about all human beings should act and react or behave according to what they believe as socially acceptable behavior and proper way of life.

Such like, they think and believe that people should live life passionately towards worldly social life and activities which they believe that is what a meaningful and happy life is about, or else, life must be meaningless, dull and unhappy for those who are dispassionate and disinterest towards worldly objects of names and forms. They think that people should be doing something that they believe as ‘fun’ and ‘enjoyable’ or achieving something that they think and believe as something ‘good and meaningful’ to be happy and meaningful, that will make them and other people to feel proud of themselves. This is nothing wrong and it’s their freedom of thinking and belief and what they want to do with their life.

“It’s abnormal to not mix into the society and not having ‘friends’ to socialize with or not being passionate towards anything. You must be so miserable and lonely.” People said.

“It’s crazy to not interact or do things with other human beings. It’s so ridiculous to not do something ‘fun’ and ‘enjoyable’ that will make you happy. You must be so unhappy and suffering.” And they said.

“It’s rude to not talking to another human being. This is so wrong, uncivilized, unfriendly and selfish behavior.” So they said.

These are so called ‘normal’ thinking and belief of the worldly minded. They label those who don’t think like them or don’t believe in what they believe, who don’t live life or do things like them, who don’t act and react or behave like them, as ‘abnormal’, ‘crazy’, or ‘uncivilized’ people.

Different minds find their own paths to transcend the modification of the mind. Different minds eliminate egoism and ignorance through different paths. Some yearn for ultimate liberation, while many don’t. And it’s okay.

There’s nothing to be argued about.

The mind only knows what it knows, and what it doesn’t know, it doesn’t know. And it’s okay.

Those who see the preciousness of renouncing worldly ideas, passionate desires, social interactions and activities, and turning the mind inward and enjoying the silence, have nothing to be argued about with those who don’t see what they see. They respect everyone to be what they are and have the freedom of thinking, belief, expression, opinion, judgment, behavior and way of life.

If majority people observe silence and take care of their own minds, and be free from egoism and ignorance, being free from desires, lust, greed, jealousy, resentment and fear, the world will be more peaceful having less human’s discrimination, prejudice, clashes, conflicts, arguments, crimes, hatred and violence, that are due to impure minds under the influence of ignorance and egoism. And this has nothing to do with ‘God’ or ‘religions’ or ‘spirituality’.

Om shanti.

“Let the world have its own ways. Mind your own affairs. Clean your mental factory. That man who does not interfere with others is the most peaceful man in the world.” – Swami Sivananda

Still looking for teachers?

The one who thinks one enjoys and suffers, is oneself.

The one who thinks one believes and disbelieves, is oneself.

The one who thinks one performs actions and inactions, is oneself.

The one who thinks one receives the fruit of actions and inactions, is oneself.

The one who is and isn’t aware of the impurities in one’s mind, is oneself.

The one who identifies with the impurities in one’s mind, is oneself.

The one who is over-powered by the impurities in one’s mind, is oneself.

The one who purifies and annihilates the impurities in one’s mind, is oneself.

The one who attaches and detaches, is oneself.

The one who is passionate and dispassionate, is oneself.

The one who is ignorant, is oneself.

The one who can free oneself from ignorance, is oneself.

The one who perceives good and bad, positive and negative, is oneself.

The one who goes beyond dualities, is oneself.

The one who perceives suffering, is oneself.

The one who can free oneself from suffering, is oneself.

The one who is and isn’t influenced by anger, hatred, jealousy, greed, lust and fear in oneself, is oneself.

The one who feeds and starves anger, hatred, jealousy, greed, lust and fear in oneself, is oneself.

The one who lacks of self-discipline and self-control, is oneself.

The one who is determine and persevere, is oneself.

The one whose mind is disturbed and restless, is oneself.

The one whose mind is calm and content, is oneself.

The one who meditates and realizes, is oneself.

What teachers are you still looking for?

‘Good people’?

The term ‘good’ might mean differently for different people. What is ‘good’ for some people might not be ‘good’ for some other people, and vice versa.

What happens when we recognize some people as ‘good people’, and we tell them, “You are a good person.”? Usually it’s when our minds perceive and feel touched by some qualities in these people which our minds recognize and agree as ‘good’ qualities based on the thinking and belief in our minds about what are ‘good’ qualities. What are ‘good’ qualities for some people might be different for some other people.

Most of the time, when people act and react or behave in the way that our minds like and agree with, our minds would identify and categorize these people as ‘good people’. For example, when someone gives us what we want, or when someone gives us the help that we needed, or when someone fulfills our desires, or when someone shows agreement/ approval/support/encouragement/appreciation/gratefulness/thankfulness towards something that is directly or indirectly concerning ourselves, our lives, our thinking, our beliefs, our values, our visions, and our actions, then our minds will react with delight, and will acknowledge and identify this person as one of the ‘good people’. We will tell this person, “Oh, you are such a good/nice/wonderful person.”

But what happens when people don’t act and react or behave in the way that our minds like and agree with, or they act and react or behave in the way that our minds dislike and disagree with, our minds would identify and categorize these people as ‘not good people’. What happens when a person doesn’t give us what we want, or doesn’t give us the help that we needed, or doesn’t fulfill our desires, or doesn’t show agreement/ approval/support/encouragement/appreciation/gratefulness/thankfulness towards something that is directly or indirectly concerning ourselves, our lives, our thinking, our beliefs, our values, our visions, and our actions? Our minds will react with dissatisfaction, disappointment, unhappiness and resentment. Our minds will categorize and identify this person as ‘not a good person’ or ‘not a nice person’, just because they don’t give us what we want or they give us what we don’t want, or our desires are not being gratified, or we are not getting what we like and want in the way that we think it should be or the way that we would like it to be.

This shows that in many cases, what our minds think and recognize and identify as ‘good people’ and ‘not good people’ can be impulsive judgments based on our desires of likes and dislikes, agreements and disagreements, and wants and don’t wants, and based on a particular thinking and beliefs about how people should and shouldn’t act and react or behave.

We can perform inquiry by applying this mind behavior of judging what is ‘good’ and ‘not good’ onto anything that we can think of – ‘good citizen’, ‘good teacher/student’, ‘good father/mother’, ‘good son/daughter’, ‘good brother/sister’, ‘good husband/wife’, ‘good friend/lover’, ‘good man/woman’, ‘good Buddhist/Christian/Muslim/Hindu/and others’, ‘good yogi’, and so on… And we will see, most of the time the judgment about what is ‘good’ and ‘not good’ is based on what pleases us, or not, according to our thinking and beliefs about how everyone should/shouldn’t behave, our personal likes and dislikes, agreements and disagreements, and the way that we think it should be and what we want them to be.

For example, when our teacher gives us what we like and want, we will say, “This is a good teacher.” and when our teacher doesn’t give us what we like and want, we will say, “This is not a good teacher.”
Or, when our husband/wife behave in the way that we want them to behave and gives us what we want, we will say, “You are a good husband/wife.” and when our husband/wife doesn’t behave in the way that we want them to behave and doesn’t give us what we want, we will say, “You are not a good husband/wife.”

When people feel happy and satisfied as they are pleased when we gratified all their desires and they tell us, “You are such a good/lovely/nice person.” we can ask them, “Let’s see if I couldn’t please you when I can’t gratify all your desires of what you want and don’t want, will you still think and say that I am a good/lovely/nice person?”

The teachings and practice of yoga and meditation is to free the mind from all sorts of worldly attachment and identification with qualities of names and forms, and be free from impulsive judgements based on desires of craving and aversion under the influence of personal thinking and beliefs.

‘Good people’ who ‘want’ to be good and do good, who want to be recognized/labeled as ‘good people’, are not necessarily ‘peaceful and happy’ if there is egoism, attachment, identification, desires of craving and aversion, and expectation. The possession of some ‘good’ qualities in oneself and the identification as ‘good people’ doesn’t determine that one will be peaceful and happy.

It doesn’t mean that one has to be in good mood and behave ‘nicely’ or ‘appropriately’ all the time, so that one will not be disqualified as ‘good people’. Those who do their best to be good and do good might not be always ‘right’ and ‘know best’ all the time, or won’t make any mistakes and bad decisions in life. It’s okay that we are not always right and we could be wrong some of the times, that we don’t know best, that we are not in good mood all the time or we might not behave ‘nicely’ and ‘appropriately’ some of the times, and that we might make mistakes and bad decisions in life, as long as we are aware of the ‘wrong’, ‘deficiency’, ‘bad mood’, ‘bad behavior’, ‘mistakes’ and ‘bad decisions’, without denial or self-criticism towards all these ‘not good’ qualities, without attachment and identification, and are not being over-powered by pride and arrogance to justify the ‘bad’ qualities relate to oneself, or try to blame some other people or things for the qualities that we don’t like about ourselves.

Most people growing up and living their entire lives being told or disciplined to be ‘good’, to do ‘good’ and to be ‘good people’, or to have a ‘good and meaningful life’ according to particular guidelines or standards about what is ‘good’ and ‘good people’, about what is ‘good and meaningful life’. Many people ended up being disappointed and unhappy with themselves or other people for not being able to be perfectly ‘good’ or live a ‘good and meaningful life’ as what they expect themselves and other people to be.

Peace and happiness is not determined by whether we think we are ‘good people’ or ‘not good people’ and whether we live a life that is ‘good and meaningful’, or not. It is whether we think we are ‘good’ and ‘good enough’, and having a ‘good and meaningful’ life, or not, there is no egoism, attachment, identification, desires of craving and aversion, and expectation. When we perform actions that we think and believe are ‘good’ actions or when we behave in the way that we think is ‘good’, it’s not because we want to be ‘good people’, or we want to live a ‘good and meaningful’ life. It’s not because we want to be recognized and acknowledged by ourselves or other people as ‘good people’.

There’s nothing wrong and it’s okay if other people don’t recognize/acknowledge us as ‘good people’ or they recognize/acknowledge us as ‘not good people’ when they feel unhappy, dissatisfied, disappointed and resent when we didn’t give them what they want, or didn’t fulfill their desires of craving and aversion, or we didn’t act and react or behave in the way that they expect us to be. That’s their freedom of reaction, thinking and expectation.

Everyone is just what they are, and they act and react or behave as they are. It’s neither good nor not good, neither nice nor not nice, neither right nor wrong.

Allowing everyone to be what they are, as what our minds think whether they are ‘good people’ or ‘not good people’, it’s not the truth of who they are. What our minds think and what other people think whether ourselves are ‘good people’ or ‘not good people’, it’s not the truth of who we are.

There’s no ‘I’ to be identify as ‘good people’ or ‘not good people’.

Be free.

The practice is in the moment observing or witnessing impermanent states of the mind

The states of the mind are impermanent. Whether it’s calmed or disturbed, kind or unkind, grateful or ungrateful, forgiving or unforgiving, positive or negative, happy or unhappy, it’s impermanent.

The practice is in the moment observing or witnessing impermanent states of the mind, without generate attachment, identification, judgment, expectation, craving or aversion towards any pleasant or unpleasant states of the mind.

Be free.

Self-inquiry – The path of yoga and meditation

The most basic and yet most important teaching and practice of yoga and meditation is Self-inquiry to transcend the modification of the mind, to be free from ignorance and egoism and the consequences of ignorance and egoism – suffering. All the other different types of yoga practice is to help to purify and quiet the mind to allow the mind to perform the task of self-inquiry.

Self-inquiry is withdrawing the senses from the sense objects and turning the outgoing mind inward to attain self-realization and be free from ignorance.

There are lots of things that are beyond our knowledge or awareness, or there are many things that we don’t know, that are unknown to us.

There are things that we think we know, that we are aware of, but we might not truly understand or we don’t know whether it’s true or false.

There’s nothing wrong and it’s common that people will try to gain knowledge or accumulate information and data through reading and studying books on subjects that they are interested in. We might analyze and apply agreement or disagreement towards the knowledge of information that we come in contact with from reading books and hearing from others. But by gaining knowledge and accumulating information and data through reading and studying the knowledge or research coming from other people doesn’t determine that one will be free from ignorance and egoism and suffering.

There’s nothing wrong and it’s common as well that people like to ask some other people questions about things that they want to know with the intention to get some answers or explanations for things that they don’t know or don’t understand, in hope that it will clear their doubts. But by getting some answers or explanations from other people for all our questions won’t remove our ignorance because we will never know whether the answers that we get from other people are true or not.

For example, if we never come in contact with ‘apple’ before, but now, it comes to our knowledge or awareness for the first time, and we want to know what is this ‘apple’. We may ask other people, “I don’t know what is ‘apple’, can you tell me what is ‘apple’?” Even though other people try to explain to us what is ‘apple’ in details, and we could imagine or visualize about ‘apple’ from what other people described to us, but we will still don’t know exactly what it is until we come in contact with an apple, looking at it, holding it, smelling it, tasting it and digesting it. And our perception of the apple can be very different from other people. Some people think it’s tasty and they like it, while some people think it’s not tasty and they don’t like it. But the apple is just what it is. It is neither good nor not good. It has no intention or quality to be tasty or not tasty, or to make anyone like it or not.

It doesn’t matter whether we think something that we come in contact with is being perceived by our minds as something good or not good, and whether our minds like it or not, agree with it or not, all the names and forms are impermanent and selfless.

By hearing other people talk or teach about the practice of non-attachment and be unaffected or undisturbed by the perception of names and forms, will not take away attachment in us, and we will still be affected and disturbed by our own perception of names and forms, unless we develop non-attachment in us. By hearing other people talk or teach about selflessness, will not take away the egoism in us, unless we realize selflessness.

And hence, the answers that will clear all our doubts have to be coming from self-inquiry and self-realization.

By reading a lot of books about the things that interest us, or going for courses to learn about everything that we want to know also won’t free our mind from suffering and the cause of suffering, which is about dealing directly with the mind and its modification.

Whether we think there are many things that we don’t know or we think we know many things, it doesn’t determine that whether one will be peaceful and compassionate, or not, and it doesn’t affect the truth to be what it is. The truth of impermanence and selflessness in all the names and forms will still be what it is. The truth doesn’t change into something different from what it is, no matter we think we know about many things or we don’t know much.

Whether we think we know or don’t know about science, anatomy, biology, chemistry, physiology, psychology, dietary, nutrition, geology, astronomy, astrology, history, mathematics, architecture, engineering, sociology, politics, and so on, it doesn’t change the truth of impermanence and selflessness. It doesn’t determine that whether we will be peaceful and compassionate, and be free from ignorance, egoism and suffering, or not. Even doctors who know about medicines and how to treat many illnesses for other people and psychologists who study about psychology and treat psychology problems for others, are not necessarily be free from impurities and suffering, unless they realize the truth of suffering and be free from the cause of suffering.

Fitness instructors who are physically fit and healthy, and have the knowledge of fitness training and are endowed with creativity for designing motivative and effective fitness exercise routines to other people to train to become fit and healthy, are not necessarily be free from impurities and suffering, unless they realize the truth of suffering and be free from the cause of suffering.

Well-trained and certified yoga teachers who have the knowledge about the teachings and practice of yoga, who teach other people about the teachings and practice of yoga also are not necessarily be free from ignorance, egoism and suffering, unless they attain self-realization and be free from ignorance and egoism.

Meditate and realize.

May all be free.

Different teachers, teachings and ways of practice for different minds

There are many different teachers, different forms of teachings, and different ways of practice to approach and cater different minds. It’s all about leading the impure egoistic minds towards the annihilation of egoism and ignorance and suffering.

In the beginning, when one still has confusion and doubts about the teachings of yoga and its practice, when one thinks and feels that one is not free, then one needs to go around to learn and practice yoga under the guidance of different teachers with different teachings and ways of practice, to find the path with particular teachings and way of practice that suits one best.

When one’s mind shows intense liking and agreement towards particular teachers and particular ways of practice, then naturally, one will ‘wish’ or ‘expect’ everyone else should also learn and practice yoga under these teachers or follow these ways of practice that one likes and agrees with. But it doesn’t mean that these teachers and the ways of practice are the best of all or suitable for all and everyone.

It’s common that people want to share something that they think is ‘great’ or ‘the best’ with other people, and they will try to ‘promote’ particular teachers or ways of practice that they like and agree with, to other people whom they know or don’t know.

There’s no best teacher or best teachings or best way of practice. Everyone finds their own teacher, the teachings and the way of practice that suits them best. And if one doesn’t see the ONE teacher in oneself, one will always have doubts even though one has been going to many ‘great’ teachers to learn and practice many different ways of ‘great’ practice, for a long time.

Everyone keeps their own personal liking and agreement towards particular teachers and ways of practice to themselves, and allowing others to find their own teachers and ways of practice, without interference or judgment or criticism towards other people’s preferences of different types of teachers and ways of practice.

Go beyond all the likes and dislikes, agreements and disagreements towards any particular teachers, teachings and ways of practice coming from the egoistic mind. The teachers, the teachings and the ways of practice that we don’t like and don’t agree with, are not necessarily that they are ‘bad’ and ‘no good’ for other people.

The one who has found the teacher in oneself, sees the teacher, the teachings and the practice in all and everything disregard the personal likes and dislikes, agreements and disagreements influenced by particular thinking and belief of the impure egoistic mind. One doesn’t need to go everywhere looking for any particular teachers, or teachings, or ways of practice. The teacher, the teachings and the practice is right here, right now. Those who haven’t found the ONE teacher in oneself, will have to keep looking out for ‘great’ teachers, ‘great’ teachings and ‘great’ ways of practice, to help and guide them onto the suitable path, until the minds are free from doubts and ignorance. Those who think they are very intelligent, spiritual and good beings are not necessarily be free from doubts and ignorance, and thus, they are still looking for someone or something, hoping to get the help and guidance that will clear all their doubts.

Mind our own practice. Take care our own mind. It’s nothing to do with other people’s minds and suffering, not even those whom we identify as our family, our parents, our partners, our children, our teachers who teach us yoga, or our students who learn yoga from us. And this is not being selfish. It’s compassion.

Everyone will meet their respective teacher, teachings and way of practice at the right time and right place.

Be free.

Yoga teachers and teaching yoga?

“Who can teach yoga?”

“Anybody, who knows what is yoga, who is peaceful and compassionate, who knows about impermanence and selflessness, who knows what is the cause of suffering and how to be free from suffering. It’s not necessarily someone who has been practicing yoga for a long time, who is strong and flexible to do many of the yoga asana poses, or who had attended ‘yoga teachers training course’, and obtained or possessed ‘internationally recognized’ yoga teacher certifications.”

“But, isn’t that all yoga teachers must have recognized yoga teachers certification to be allowed to teach yoga legally?”

“Do you think someone who is free from ignorance and suffering, who is peaceful and compassionate, has to attend some ‘yoga teachers training courses’ to be trained to be a ‘yoga teacher’, to be authorized by some ‘authorities’ and obtains ‘internationally recognized certifications’ sanctioned and approved by some ‘yoga associations’, and be allied to some ‘yoga alliances’, in order to radiate peace and be compassionate, to share the knowledge of yoga and guiding other beings to be free from ignorance and suffering? Is a person not allowed to be kind to other beings because this person hasn’t attended ‘kindness training’ and doesn’t have a recognized ‘certification of kindness’ sanctioned by a ‘kindness association or kindness alliance’?”

“I will not learn yoga from someone who hasn’t been through professional yoga teachers training, who doesn’t have ‘internationally recognized yoga teachers certification’. ‘Yoga teachers’ who don’t have a recognized certification are not allowed to teach yoga classes in many countries. Yoga centres in many countries only employ ‘internationally certified’ yoga teachers.”

“Isn’t that true… It’s your freedom of thinking and freedom of choice then.”

Whether people are well-educated and highly intelligent, or not, many would think that those who teach yoga must go through some forms of professional yoga teachers training to be qualified and certified as ‘yoga teachers’ before they are allowed to teach yoga, and they also think that only those who have been practicing yoga for quite a long time, who are physically strong and flexible to execute many of the yoga asana poses ‘beautifully’, or who have the ‘qualifications of a yoga teacher’, are qualified to attend yoga teachers training courses and be certified as ‘yoga teachers’ to conduct ‘yoga classes’ to teach yoga to other people.

These are the worldly ideas and values derived from conditioned thinking and belief under the influence of ignorance.

There are many ‘internationally certified and affiliated’ yoga teachers or instructors conduct many different types of ‘yoga classes’ everywhere in the world. Most of them teach yoga (asana) classes with different brand names according to the modules, styles and techniques that they learned from one or different types of ‘yoga schools’. Some might even invent their own brands, styles, sequences and techniques of ‘yoga’. Most of them even trademarked or copyrighted their new invention of ‘yoga’ that is adopted, modified and transformed from the traditional yoga practice. It’s normal that many people are confused and uncleared about the tradition of yoga of its practice and purpose.

“People tell me that I could do all the yoga poses easily and beautifully, that I am strong and flexible, and they say I should become a yoga teacher. Should I?”
“What do I need to do in order to become a yoga teacher?”
“Is there a minimum years of yoga practice in order to become a yoga teacher?”
“How many and which yoga asana poses that I need to be able to perform in order to become a yoga teacher and teach yoga?”
“Do I need an internationally recognized yoga teachers certification to teach yoga in this country?”
“Do these yoga schools and yoga teachers affiliated with internationally recognized yoga association and yoga alliance?”
“Do these yoga courses issue internationally recognized certifications approved and sanctioned by internationally recognized yoga association and yoga alliance?”

In the commercial world of ‘education systems’, ‘qualifications’ and ‘certifications’, a person is obliged to obtain and possess some sorts of qualifications and certifications issued and recognized by ‘internationally recognized’ yoga association and yoga alliance to work as a ‘yoga teacher’ or ‘yoga instructor’ to conduct yoga (asana) classes to be teaching safe and result orientated ‘yoga exercise’ to other people. No doubt that those who teach yoga exercise fitness classes are better off being conformed and regulated under certain ‘rules and regulations’ regulated by ‘those who know what they are doing’, so that they have the basic knowledge to provide safe and effective physical training for other people by teaching varieties of ‘yoga (asana) classes’ with different brands, styles, techniques and routines, that have been adopted and modified from the traditional yoga asana practice. But, yoga is not about teaching or participating in yoga asana exercise classes. Yoga poses, or asana practice is just one part of the many yoga practice to help to influence the mind, to render the mind calm and quiet for meditation. It’s not necessarily that people have to perform yoga asana practice to be practicing yoga, or to be peaceful and compassionate.

If people think teaching yoga to other people is about becoming a certified ‘yoga teacher’ by attending internationally recognized ‘yoga teachers training courses’ to attain ‘internationally recognized certification’ issued and sanctioned by internationally recognized ‘yoga association’ and ‘yoga alliance’, or one needs to go through some sorts of professional yoga teachers training to learn how to teach yoga in order to teach yoga, or how many years of yoga practice will qualify someone to be a yoga teacher, or a yoga teacher needs to have certain level of strength and flexibility to perform and demonstrate the yoga asana poses when teaching yoga classes, or teaching yoga is about training the students to push the body beyond its limitations to achieve maximum strength and flexibility, to be able to perform as many yoga asana poses as possible, and to execute the yoga poses in perfect alignment, or a person needs to have recognized certificate(s) to teach yoga, or teaching yoga means teaching different types of yoga asana classes labeled with different levels, brands and styles, then very obviously they don’t know what is yoga, and so, how can they teach yoga, even though they possess ‘internationally recognized’ yoga teachers certifications?

Teaching yoga is not about teaching yoga asana (fitness exercise) classes. It’s nothing to do with becoming a ‘yoga teacher’ by attending yoga teacher training courses to attain internationally recognized certifications or qualifications issued and sanctioned by ‘internationally recognized’ yoga association and yoga alliance, so that one can teach yoga exercise classes adopted from traditional yoga asana practice. It’s dealing with the mind and its modification, the function of the mind, the perception of names and forms (the worldly life existence), the states of the mind, the habits and behavior of the mind, the actions and reactions of the mind, the impurities of the mind, the ignorance and suffering of the mind, and the liberation of the mind.

Yoga practice is about the elimination of ignorance, egoism and impurities, to free the mind from being conditioned by worldly thinking and beliefs, to realize selflessness and unconditional peace beyond all the impermanent qualities of names and forms.

Unconditional peace and compassion is not determined by how good a person can execute the yoga poses, or how long a person has been performing the yoga asana practice, or what type of qualification or certification a person has obtained and possessed from attending yoga classes or courses from yoga schools.

Whether a being is liberated from ignorance and suffering, and is peaceful and compassionate, or not, it has nothing to do with ‘yoga associations’, ‘yoga alliance’, ‘yoga schools’, ‘yoga classes’, ‘yoga courses’, ‘yoga teachers training’, and ‘yoga teachers qualifications and certifications’.

There are some qualities which can determine a yoga aspirant – Viveka, Vairagya, Shat-sampat and Mumukshutva. And all these qualities has nothing to do with being in yoga class, attending yoga class, teaching yoga class, being strong and flexible, performing some yoga poses, yoga schools, yoga association, yoga alliance, yoga teachers training courses, and certifications. Yoga practice is about Vichara, to perform self-inquiry to know the truth of names and forms. One can learn and practice yoga anywhere, anytime. One can teach yoga anywhere, anytime. All the names and forms are teaching us yoga, it’s not limited to a human being who identifies himself/herself as ‘yoga teacher’. Anything and anyone and all our experiences that can teach us about impermanence and selflessness, that allow us to realize compassion and be compassionate, is our yoga teachers. In the end, both the teacher and the student is the mind itself.

The one who is free from ignorance and suffering, who is peaceful, wise and compassionate, doesn’t need to attend any ‘yoga teachers training courses’ to be trained to become a ‘yoga teacher’ to teach yoga. This being doesn’t need to be certified, authorized and approved by ‘yoga schools’, ‘yoga associations’, or ‘yoga alliance’ for being peaceful and compassionate, to radiate peace and compassion, and to guide other suffering beings onto the path of selflessness, attributelessness, namelessness and formlessness, to also realize unconditional peace and compassion. This being doesn’t need the title of ‘yoga teacher’, or naming the act of sharing the knowledge of unconditional peace and compassion as ‘teaching yoga’. It’s free from egoistic attachments and identifications of ‘I want to teach yoga’, ‘I teach yoga or yoga classes’, ‘I am a yoga teacher’, ‘I am an internationally qualified and certified yoga teacher’, ‘I am qualified and certified to teach yoga’, ‘I am a good and experienced yoga teacher’, or ‘I have been practicing and teaching yoga for xx years.’

The realization of ‘Selflessness’ which leads to unconditional peace and compassion is undetermined by all the worldly impermanent qualities of names and forms. It doesn’t belong to a particular being, species, gender, sexual orientation, age, social status, intellect, personality, behavior, impermanent states of the mind, physical appearance, physical condition, limitation and ability, worldly education and knowledge, worldly commercial ideas, thinking and beliefs, worldly achievements and contributions, personal belief, cultural belief, religious belief, spiritual practice, yoga class, yoga school, yoga association, yoga alliance, or how many years of yoga practice.

If people want to think and believe that they will only learn and practice ‘yoga’ under the guidance of a ‘yoga teacher’ who possesses and advertises ‘internationally recognized’ qualifications and certifications, and those who want to teach ‘yoga’ think that they need to possess ‘internationally recognized’ qualifications and certifications, and be authorized by ‘internationally recognized yoga associations and yoga alliance’ to teach ‘yoga’ to other people, then the ‘yoga’ that they practice and teach will be what they think what it is. There’s nothing wrong with that.

Yoga is not about achieving peace and happiness by having the life or the world to be the way that we like it to be, but, it’s realizing the unconditional peace being undetermined by all the impermanent good and bad qualities of names and forms, pleasant and unpleasant or desirable and undesirable experiences.

Whether a person is practicing yoga, or not, it’s not determined by being content and happy when everything is the way that we desire it to be, but, it is seen whether the mind is able to be peaceful and compassionate under any challenging, difficult, undesirable and discomfortable conditions and situations, being free from all sorts of impurities, ill-will and ill-thinking when everything is not the way that we like it to be

Be free.

Is it important to free the mind from ignorance and impurities?

Someone asked, “Is it important to free the mind from ignorance and impurities?”

It depends on ourselves, about what we want for ourselves in this impermanent life existence, and what we want to contribute to the world from this life existence.

Everyone has their freedom for what they want for their life, or what they want to do with their body and mind.

It’s our own choice whether we are aware of the ignorance and impurities in our minds and their influence towards our life experience, whether we want to do something about the cause of unhappiness and suffering, whether we want to free our minds from ignorance and impurities, to attain real freedom and peace.

Everyone has different ways of life and meanings of life to live up to. There’s no right and wrong, better or worse. It’s just personal choice and preference, and might be influenced by certain circumstances.

There are people who don’t mind being restless swaying in between happiness and unhappiness, satisfaction and dissatisfaction, elevation and depression, calmness and agitation, fulfillment and disappointment, and they enjoy being the slaves of passions, desires, craving and aversion.

There are people who are passionate towards the worldly life of impermanence and try to make the most out of it to enjoy life to the maximum, while they can.

There are people who spend most of their life time making a living, to survive and to feed their family.

If people are happy with that, they don’t need to do anything other than living a worldly life the way that they like it to be, or the way that they think life should be, while trying to accomplish what they think is their meanings of life.

Meanwhile there were/are people who didn’t/don’t practice yoga and meditation, but, they did/do many amazing things for themselves and for the world.

In yoga, to conquer one’s mind and attaining liberation from ignorance and suffering is being seen as the greatest meaning of life existence and the greatest contribution to the world. But, there are not many indeed.

Om shanti.

See things as they are…

People complicate about the ‘TRUTH’. They think the ‘TRUTH’ is something sacred, and belongs to a particular religion teaching and practice.

One doesn’t need to be educated and knowledgeable, or know how to read and write and count, or be able to stand on their head or hands, or perform a particular religion practice or ritual, or believe in ‘God’, or not, to know the truth of names and forms.

The truth of names and forms is very simple – it’s seeing everything as it is. It’s not a belief, or a teaching, or a philosophy. It doesn’t belong to any particular person, or being, or sect, or culture, or religion, or society. The truth is always the same truth that applies to all and everyone, disregards all the different qualities of names and forms. The truth of names and forms is simply IMPERMANENCE and SELFLESSNESS. It’s nothing to do with ‘God’, ‘religion’, ‘good and evil’, ‘right and wrong’, ‘happiness and unhappiness’, ‘knowledgeable and not knowledgeable’, ‘intelligent and not intelligent’.

Meanwhile the cause of suffering is ignorance towards the truth of names and forms. Highly knowledgeable and intelligent people are not necessarily be free from ignorance and suffering, if they attach onto their knowledge and intelligence, and have pride and arrogance towards what they think they know and who they think they are. Those who think they have been practicing yoga for many years and attended many yoga and meditation classes and courses, are not necessarily be free from ignorance and suffering. They might still be disturbed by the names and forms that they like and don’t like, agree and don’t agree with, and suffer from dissatisfaction, disappointment, frustration, agitation, restlessness, anger, hatred, jealousy, greed, feelings of hurt, loneliness, insult, humiliation, animosity, defensiveness, offensiveness, fear and worry. And it’s okay, because everyone takes their own time to evolve, as to be aware of the egoism in oneself, and the elimination of egoism is quite a challenging task and unpleasant journey.

Those who see the truth never argue or debate with those who don’t see the truth, and they can’t make others who don’t see the truth to see the truth. They allow everyone to see the truth, or not, and respect everyone has different perception of reality, thinking, belief, opinion and behavior from others.

But, if our minds are not free from ignorance and egoism, and attached onto certain thinking, beliefs, and accumulated knowledge, we don’t see the truth of things as it is, even though the truth is so simple. Our minds analyze everything based on particular thinking and belief, and judge everything based on what we think we know. What we don’t know, and what is different from our thinking and belief, we will deny, resist, or object. We don’t want the truth that is not something that we like and want. We expect the truth to be the way that we like it to be, or the way that we think it should be. We will argue and debate with others who have different perception of reality, thinking, belief, opinion and behavior from us, and try to convince others that we know better than others. These are the games of the egoism.

Those who know the truth, and they allow the truth to be what it is and are able to live in harmony with the truth, there’s no attachment towards all the impermanent names and forms, and knowing that ‘I’ doesn’t exist at all. And hence, suffering doesn’t arise in them.

Those who don’t know the truth, or those who don’t like the truth to be what it is, or are unable to live in harmony with the truth, but they want to challenge or go against the truth, and they want to control things or the world to be the way that they desire it to be, there’s attachment towards all the impermanent names and forms, and there’s identification with certain names and forms as ‘I’. And hence, suffering arise in them.

To see things as they are, we need to free the mind from being conditioned by particular culture, religion, philosophy, thinking, belief, and all kinds of knowledge about this and that we have been accumulating from here and there, to just observe the nature of everything that the mind perceives through the senses. It’s not difficult to see the truth of things, but it’s challenging for many egoistic minds to let go what we think we know and who we think we are. As the greatest hindrance that stop the mind from seeing the truth as it is, is what the mind thinks it knows and who it thinks it is.

Our minds are being conditioned to think and behave in certain ways, and to believe in certain values and beliefs influence by our family and cultural brought up, and school education. We might become more intelligent and knowledgeable through receiving all kinds of education and knowledge about this and that, but not only it’s actually feeding and empowering the egoism and ignorance in us, it’s also a great obstacle for us on the path of yoga to be free from egoism and ignorance. – “This is me. This is who I am. I am intelligent and knowledgeable. I am proud of what I know and who I am.” and we can never realize what is selflessness due to this great attachment towards the idea of ‘I’, what we think we know, and who we think we are, even though we think we have been practicing ‘yoga and meditation’ for many many years.

Be free.

Let go all kinds of worldly identifications

There is no freedom to be found in trying to seek recognition and approval from this society that consists of all kinds of different conditioned cultures, thinking and beliefs. There will always be disagreement, discrimination and hatred coming from different communities that are different from one another where they attached strongly onto their particular culture, thinking and beliefs, as all kinds of ignorance generated by ignorant minds will always exist in the world.

The law created by the worldly minded doesn’t stop anyone from experiencing discrimination and hatred from others who don’t like and don’t agree with the others who are different from them. Prosecution and imprisonment doesn’t stop the ignorant mind from being ignorant, discriminating and hating towards what is different from itself that it doesn’t like and doesn’t agree with. No matter how good and intelligent we think we are, it doesn’t determine that we are more superior than anyone else whom we don’t like and don’t agree with, whom we criticize and condemn.

One can only take care one’s mind to realize what is selflessness, attributelessness, namelessness and formlessness, through one’s effort, and be free from all kinds of worldly identifications with different qualities of names and forms, and let the world to be what it is. Allowing all the other minds to be influenced by ignorance, or be free from ignorance, evolve at their own cause and pace.

Those who truly want to know what is yoga, must be determined to meditate and realize what is selflessness, attributelessness, namelessness and formlessness. All kinds of benefits coming from the regular yoga practice are just some side-effects. They don’t give liberation without the realization of selflessness, attributelessness, namelessness and formlessness.

Beyond all the impermanent qualities of names and forms, conditioned worldly cultures, thinking and beliefs, and all sorts of worldly identities of who and what we think is ‘I’.

There is no ‘I’ or ‘not I’.

There is no ‘human beings’ or ‘not human beings’.

There is no ‘this nationality’ or ‘not this nationality’.

There is no ‘male’ or ‘not male’.

There is no ‘female’ or ‘not female’.

There is no ‘something not male and not female’ or ‘not something not male and not female’.

There is no ‘gay’ or ‘straight’ or ‘bi-sexual’.

There is no ‘married’ or ‘unmarried’.

There is no ‘friends’ or ‘not friends’.

There is no ‘alone’ or ‘not alone’.

There is no ‘religious’ or ‘not religious’.

There is no ‘spiritual’ or ‘not spiritual’.

There is no ‘good’ or ‘bad’.

There is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’.

There is no ‘positive’ or ‘negative’.

There is no ‘gain’ or ‘loss’.

There is no ‘success’ or ‘failure’.

There is no ‘superiority’ or ‘inferiority’.

There is no ‘yogi’ or ‘not yogi’.

It’s just impermanent qualities of names and forms that keep changing. The world is always running by many egoistic minds that are not free from ignorance and selfishness yet. Those minds that are free from ignorance, they don’t run the world. They let the world runs itself.

Inequality and discrimination and all kinds of impurities generated by many ignorant minds will always exist in this world of names and forms perceived by the mind under the influence of ignorance.

Only when one has gone beyond all the identifications with qualities of names and forms, and be free from ignorance, one will be in peace and harmony resting in one’s nameless and formless nature, transcending all the inequalities and discrimination derive from the mind perception of different qualities of names and forms, and be undetermined by all the other minds that are not free form ignorance yet.

Be free.

Inquire the truth of everything of what we’ve been told or informed that influence our thinking and behavior

Since we were new born babies, when we began to perceive the world of names and forms through the senses, we were told many stories and information about this is who we are and this is who we should become, or this is what we should do and shouldn’t do, or this is how we should behave and shouldn’t behave, or what is meaningfulness and meaninglessness, by our parents, care takers, relatives, neighbours, school teachers, religious teachers, spiritual teachers, friends, society, politicians, activists, icons, social and commercial medias, scientists, researchers, historians, artists, philosophers, and many others, as well as our own imagination.

Our minds are being conditioned to think, believe, and behave according to all these stories and information we’ve been told. Meanwhile our reasoning power also functions under the influence of these conditioned thinking and belief. All kinds of agreements and disagreements coming from our minds are based on this reasoning power that is influenced by these conditioned thinking and belief.

It doesn’t matter what our minds think and believe what things are and how things should be like, and what we agree and disagree with, the path of yoga and meditation is to inquire the truth of everything, including all the stories and information we have been told and informed by all and everyone, even if it’s coming from our most beloved people in our lives, or most respected human beings in the world.

And thus, the inquiry into the truth of everything is not done by the reasoning power of the intellectual minds that functions under the influence of the agreements and disagreements based on different types of conditioned thinking and beliefs, but, it’s through freeing the mind from attaching towards any kinds of thinking and beliefs, to allow the mind to be able to see the truth of things as it is, uninfluenced by any conditioned thinking and beliefs.

When one knows about this, one is not affected or determined by all kinds of psychological influential actions and speech coming from different types of individuals or groups for fulfilling their selfish purposes out of their self-interests. When one is free from the influence of all kinds of conditioned thinking and beliefs to think, to act, and to speak, that is the true freedom of thinking, action and speech.

A student may ask the teacher – What do you believe and don’t believe? or, Do you believe in this? But, what the teacher believes and doesn’t believe, and whether the teacher believes in this, or not, is nothing to do with the truth, or with the student’s realization of the truth. Realization of the truth doesn’t come from agreeing, accepting and adopting what the teachers, or other people believe or don’t believe.

May all be free.

Unconditional happiness beyond qualities of names and forms

Most people are looking for happiness, or want to be happy. Those who are happy, they don’t need to look for happiness, or desire to be happy. When we think and feel we want to be happy, it’s because we are not happy. We are not happy is because we think we are not free. We think we are not free is because ignorance.

Under the influence of ignorance, we think happiness is coming from freedom of thinking, action and speech, and doing what we like to do, be who we want to be, achieve what we want to achieve, receive love and support from other people, be acknowledged and approved by other people, have good health, good livelihood and good living condition, and being with people whom we loved and who love us. But, all these qualities of names and forms will only give us momentary happy feelings that are impermanent. We fall into great misery and painful sorrow when impermanence strikes, when we lose all the good qualities that we think will make us happy, if we are determined by all these names and forms to be who we are, to be happy, or not. It’s not the unconditional happiness that is beyond all the qualities of names and forms, when the mind is free from ignorance and egoism.

When we seek happiness through certain qualities of names and forms that we like and desire, and we will feel happy when we get what we like and want, it doesn’t mean that we won’t experience unhappiness anymore, or we will be free from impurities of anger, hatred, jealousy, greed, dissatisfaction, disappointment, pride, arrogance, feelings of hurt, guilt, regret, fear and worry. By achieving happiness through doing and getting what we like and want doesn’t mean that our surrounding living environment will be free from names and forms that we don’t like and don’t want. And thus our minds are constantly restless being in a mixture state of happiness and unhappiness. There’s no permanent satisfaction. The craving for what we desire and the aversion towards what we don’t desire is what hinders the mind from realizing the unconditional happiness beyond qualities of names and forms.

If we know how to be free from the desire of craving and aversion towards happiness and unhappiness that comes from ignorance and egoism, we will be happy as we are. We do not rely on any qualities of names and forms to be happy, or not. Even when there is restriction or limitation of thinking, action and speech, and we are unable to do what we like to do, unable to be who we want to be and not achieving what we want to achieve, or, we are not receiving love and support from other people, unacknowledged and disapproved by other people, not having good health, good livelihood and good living condition, and not able to be with people whom we loved and who love us, we are still happy as we are. This happiness isn’t determined by or coming from any qualities of names and forms.

Ignorance is not knowing the truth of names and forms.

To free the mind from ignorance, we need to free the mind from impurities. To free the mind from impurities, we need to free the mind from egoism. To free the mind from egoism, we need to free the mind from ignorance, as egoism derives from ignorance. It is a loop that has no beginning or ending.

Due to ignorance and egoism, the ego attached towards the impermanent physical condition and ability, the impermanent states of the mind, likes and dislikes, agreements and disagreements based on certain conditional thinking and belief, knowledge, achievements, possessions, and all kinds of relationships, to be identifying as ‘I’. This ‘I’ is constantly disturbed by the craving and aversion towards all these impermanent qualities of names and forms, and being restless and experience suffering when the craving and aversion is not being gratified the way that it likes it to be. The ego is determined by the gratification of its craving and aversion to be happy, or not. There is no possibility for contentment and peace, due to the truth of impermanence in all the names and forms, as well as this ‘I’ is a false understanding and identification. This constant restlessness hinders the mind to be free from ignorance.

That’s why it’s not an easy task to be free. But, it’s possible if we know how to discipline and purify the mind by restricting the mind activities and quieting the mind by moving the mind away from worldly objects of names and forms, to breakdown this loop of ignorance. And hence, retreat for observing silence exists to help to discipline and purify the mind efficiently.

Retreat for the observation of silence is to disconnect with our worldly life connections, family and friends, social interactions, habits, personal or religious and cultural belief and practice. It doesn’t mean that we abandon our life, family and friends, and our personal or religious and cultural belief and practice, but, it’s to allow our minds to have the opportunity to be free from the contact with the objects of names and forms that are directly and indirectly related to restlessness, distractions, cares and anxieties, and allowing the mind to be opened for contemplation on the truth.

It’s normal that people have fear towards letting go certain religious or non-religious thinking and belief that influence the way of life and conduct, self-image and personal identity. There is fear of the unknown consequences of letting go those thinking and belief. There is fear of exile, criticism and condemn from the ‘group’ that we think we belong to. There is fear of being unaccepted by the society. There is fear of non-existence. The ignorant minds constantly seek recognition, agreement, approval, support and acknowledgement from the society to be who we think we are, or who we want to be. This is one of the obstacles that hinders the mind to see the truth of names and forms as it is.

Those who have gone beyond the idea of ‘I’, or the identification with qualities of names and forms to be identifying as ‘I’, they don’t even attach onto their devotion towards the teachings and practice of yoga to identify oneself as ‘yogi’, not to say to attach onto certain conditional worldly thinking and belief. Meanwhile other beings can have the freedom of thinking to refer or label them as ‘yogi’.

Many people who think they love yoga and practice yoga might think and believe that yoga is to connect with all and everything. We think we need to connect with other people or something that we think is not ‘I’, which are separated from ‘I’, is ignorance. Upon the realization of selflessness and non-separateness, there’s no connection with anything that is not ‘I’, as there’s no ‘I’ that generates separateness. Just like when people think they want to make connection with God, it’s because they think they are something separated from God. Oneness is beyond connection that consists of more than one party.

The essential yoga practice of silence, is to retreat and disconnect the mind from the society and all sorts of worldly life connections and social activities. Retreat from worldly life connections and social activities, and isolation from other people including family and friends, help tremendously to turn the mind inward for self-introspection and self-inquiry to see the truth of names and forms, to be free from ignorance, and thus be free from unhappiness and suffering.

Though freeing the mind from ignorance is the greatest contribution to the society and world peace, the practice of silence in solitude and seclusion might appear to be ‘selfishness’, ‘anti-social’ or ‘abnormal behavior’ by the worldly minded people who attached to worldly life conditioned by certain thinking and beliefs about how human beings should and shouldn’t behave. Most minds would want to runaway after a few days of observing the practice of silence in solitude and seclusion, not to say to be completely cut off from the social world for many years.

In the tradition of yoga, to be isolated from the society and be in seclusion for a long period of time for at least five to six years is a very important observation. One should learn how to be happy and comfortable with oneself in solitude, being isolated from all other beings, before one mixes into the society, or gets involve in any kind of relationships with anyone, without expecting someone or something that is not ‘I’ to make us happy, or give us happiness. Or else we generate so much tension and unhappiness in ourselves and those whom we want to love and be loved.

When one is free from ignorance and egoism, one doesn’t need to be loved, be supported, be acknowledged, be approved, or be connected, to feel meaningful or be happy. One will be free whether being in a relationship, or not. There’s no loneliness. When one knows how to be happy as one is, the society will be benefited tremendously by the existence of this being, without any intention from this being to benefit anyone or anything.

But, many yoga practitioners nowadays who attached strongly to their worldly social life don’t just not interested in observing this traditional practice, but they condemn this practice. And that is their freedom of thinking, action and speech.

Be free.

Seeking freedom through the knowledge of life

Why does my family has to suffer so much even though they are really good and kind-hearted people? They don’t do bad things and they have helped many people whom they know and don’t know from the past until the present. They give and give without discrimination and never expect gratefulness or rewards in return for the kindness and friendliness they shown to others, or from those who receive kindness and friendliness from them. Friends and relatives and strangers took advantage of my family’s kindness and friendliness, until they got themselves into lots of unnecessary problems and troubles where everyone in the family is affected physically, mentally, emotionally and financially.

Why did my childhood best friend kill herself even though she had everything she ever wanted? She came from a wealthy family background. She was intelligent, highly educated and knowledgeable. She had a high paid job and was financially independent. She had a wide social network, friends and family in her life. She did all the activities that she liked to do and went for holidays in places that she liked to go. She also had her childhood dream came true about having her own children as the greatest achievement and happiness in life.

It’s because happiness and freedom from suffering is nothing to do with being good and kind-hearted, or do good and don’t do bad, or attaining high level of education and accumulating knowledge, or having high income and success in career, or having dreams come true and achieving whatever we want to achieve that we think it will make us happy, or give us happiness.

Education and knowledge might provide the useful information, facts and skills for people to do something in life to live and survive and interact with other beings in this world, and to build a society with all the high-tech conveniences coming from the latest technologies, engineering and inventions. They might help to improve quality of life and influence our way of life and conduct. But receiving education and accumulating knowledge as well as different types of qualifications and certifications doesn’t guarantee that the mind will be free from ignorance, confusion, corrupted thinking and selfishness, or know how to make wise decisions, or won’t behave selfishly and ignorantly, or won’t experience suffering and unhappiness.

Educated people are not necessarily be free from dissatisfaction, disappointment, anger, hatred, jealousy, greed, feelings of hurt, and fear, or won’t be engaging in immoral conducts and violent behavior. There’s no guarantee that those who have been receiving education on morality will uphold morality. It’s a personal awareness and conscience with self-control and self-restraint that one would refrain oneself from engaging in immoral conducts or activities.

For example, there are laws in some countries that would punish convicted thieves by cutting off their hand(s). The risk of getting their hands cut off will not stop the thieves from committing theft, although if the thieves are caught and prosecuted under those laws, it might be physically challenging for them to commit theft again without their hands. But, there are thieves that don’t need to perform theft at the scene personally, or with their hands physically, and theft are still existing everywhere and anytime. With their hands cut off under those laws might let them experience inconvenience in everyday life in return for their actions of stealing, just like how they cause financial, physical, mental and emotional damages and inconvenience to those whom they steal from, but it doesn’t necessarily remove greed from their minds, or stop them from stealing again and again. Those who disagree with inhumane treatment or physical punishment for criminal say that people needs to receive proper education to reduce crime rate in the society. But receiving proper education on ‘Do good and don’t do bad’ doesn’t necessarily will remove ignorance, greed, desires of craving and aversion, and the urge to cheat and steal from the criminal minds. Meanwhile, all kinds of inhumane treatment and physical punishment also don’t guarantee that the criminals would be free from ignorance and won’t commit crime again and again.

Living in the world of many ignorant minds that generate all kinds of stupidities in the society intentionally and unintentionally, we might feel frustrated and annoyed by many things that are not in our control to be the way that how we would like it to be. We feel angry or disturbed by some thinking and behavior that are contradicted with our thinking and belief about what is right and wrong, good and bad, acceptable and unacceptable, appropriateness and inappropriateness.

We think we are more intelligent than other people that we can change the world or the society to be the way we think it should be. The more we try to change the world to be the way that we want it to be, the more frustrated and disappointed we become. It’s because none can change another being’s ignorant behavior. None can free another being from ignorance. Study under the greatest teacher in the world and receiving all kinds of worldly knowledge also doesn’t guarantee that one will be free from ignorance and suffering. One can only change and improve oneself, and free oneself from ignorance through one’s effort of persistent self-discipline, self-control, self-awareness, self-inquiry and self-realization.

The cause of suffering and unhappiness is ignorance. Ignorance is not knowing the truth of life existence, or who we really are. Suffering, and the freedom from suffering is unrelated to whether we think we are good or not, knowledgeable or not, well-educated or not, religious or not, spiritual or not, well-cultured or not, and believing in God existence or not.

By learning, knowing and gathering lots of information, facts and skills about this and that doesn’t mean that the mind is free from ignorance. We can be highly educated and knowledgeable about many things in the world that we live in, we can read and write and speak many different languages, we can be kind-hearted, friendly and sociable, we can be doing many good actions and not doing anything that we believe as bad actions, we can be very talented and creative, but because of ignorance, we might still be determined, disturbed and affected by what we see, hear, smell, taste, touch and think, whether it’s something that we like or dislike, agree or disagree with, and we experience suffering of unhappiness, grief, frustration, irritation, depression, discontentment, disappointment, greed, anger, hatred, jealousy, pride, feelings of hurt, guilt, regret, animosity, humiliation, insult, ill-thinking, ill-will, doubt, fear and worry.

Knowing how to build a beautiful and practically functional house doesn’t guarantee one and those who live in the house will be peaceful and happy. Knowing how to save lives through advanced medical skills and effective medicines doesn’t guarantee one and those whose lives were saved will be free from ignorance, unhappiness and suffering. Those who perform charity and those who receive charity also doesn’t mean that they will be free from feelings of hurt, anger, jealousy, discontentment, disappointment, fear and worry, and be peaceful and happy.

It doesn’t matter who we think we are, or what we are, we will experience suffering and restlessness if the mind is functioning under the influence of ignorance.

Ignorance brings along egoism, attachment, identification, desires of craving and aversion, and all sorts of impurities which is why we experience suffering and restlessness. It is nothing to do with whether our lives, or the world, is the way that we think it should be, or not.

It doesn’t matter what kind of social status we think we have in the society, and what we know or don’t know, our minds constantly react towards all the perception of names and forms through the senses of what we see, hear, smell, taste, touch and think, based on the conditional thinking and belief in the mind under the influence of ignorance. Suffering and restlessness is the responsibility of the mind itself for being ignorant of the truth of names and forms, when it generates attachment, identification, craving and aversion towards all the impermanent names and forms that it perceives, or comes in contact with.

Whenever the mind comes in contact with the objects of names and forms that it likes and agrees with, it generates clinging and craving towards them. Whenever the mind comes in contact with the objects of names and forms that it dislikes and disagrees with, it generates aversion towards them. When the craving and aversion is not being gratified – when it is getting what it doesn’t like and doesn’t want; when it doesn’t get what it likes and wants; when it is losing what it likes and wants, the mind reacts with all sorts of impurities like dissatisfaction, disappointment, anger, hatred, jealousy, animosity, feelings of hurt, fear, worry, and so on. The mind is suffering from its own reactions of impurities.

By learning how to free the mind from ignorance and impurities, and attaining the knowledge of life through mind purification, self-inquiry and self-realization, will lead us to unconditional peace and happiness, disregards what is the condition of our lives and the situation of the world we live in. We will have peace and be happy as we are, undetermined by the impermanent changes of names and forms, pleasant and unpleasant experiences, and different types of thinking and behavior that our minds agree or disagree with. We adjust ourselves to adapt and accommodate any life conditions and situations, and not expecting life to change into something that can accommodate all our desires of craving and aversion.

If the mind is under the influence of ignorance and egoism, and generates attachment, identification, craving and aversion towards all the impermanent qualities of names and forms to be identifying as ‘I’ and ‘my life’, then even though everything might be the way that we like it to be, or nothing is the way that we don’t like it to be, our minds will still be restless and anxious if there is attachment towards what we like and don’t like, as we will have fear towards losing the things that we like and want, and we don’t want the things that we like and want to change into something that we don’t like and don’t want, even when they are not happening or don’t exist in the present moment. There is fear towards old age, sickness, separation from our loved ones, coming in contact with the ones whom we don’t like and disagree with, not getting what we want, losing what we like, getting what we don’t want, disability, and death. And everything will change and pass away, whether we like it, or not.

It is the awareness of being able to see the truth of things as it is and allowing the truth to be what it is, and being free from egoism, attachment, identification, craving and aversion and all sorts of impurities, that allow the mind to be in peace, disregards all the impermanent changes that are happening ceaselessly inside and outside this body and mind, which are not in the control of ‘I’ to be the way that how ‘I’ would like it to be. The body and mind depends on so many elements to be existing and functioning, they don’t belong to ‘I’, not to say all the pleasant and unpleasant experiences perceived through the senses.

We make use of the existing knowledge, information, facts, skills, talents and creativity that we have to perform actions that we think and believe would be beneficial to ourselves and the society, but without attachment towards our actions and the results of our actions. We are not determined by our actions and the results of our actions to be who we are. We just do our best for what we think is the best, and allow the world to evolve in its own way and rhythm.

Freedom from ignorance, egoism, attachment, identification, craving and aversion is the real freedom of unconditional peace and happiness beyond all the impermanent qualities of names and forms.

The world is just what it is. It is neither good nor bad, neither positive nor negative, neither a happy place nor a suffering place. It’s how the mind reacts towards all the names and forms that it perceives through the senses that generates the ignorance of duality, personal identity and separateness. All sorts of fear and anxieties arise from duality, personal identity and separateness. It’s not because of the names and forms that we perceive or experience are being bad, or wrong, or negative, or unhappiness, that generates restlessness and suffering in us. The attachment, the identification and the desires of craving and aversion towards all the names and forms that the mind believes as good and bad, right and wrong, positive and negative, happiness and unhappiness, is the real cause of suffering.

Suffering exists as long as the mind is under the influence of ignorance. Suffering doesn’t exist when the mind is free from ignorance.

Freedom of the mind is beyond the freedom of thinking, actions and speech in the society, or beyond any physical and mental limitations. We might be restricted by some forms of physical and mental limitations, and are unable to think, or do, or say what we would like to think, or do, or say in our personal life, or in the society, but it doesn’t stop us to achieve freedom of unconditional peace.

There is a saying of “Do what will make us happy” circulating in the world of social media. Somehow, freedom to do whatever we like to do that we think will make us happy, is not the real freedom, as there are people who find happiness, or enjoyment, or excitement in performing actions that hurt themselves or other beings, whether intentionally or unintentionally.

May all be free.

Contribution to the society or community?

Immerse into the path of self-transformation freeing one’s mind from ignorance, egoism, attachment, identification, craving and aversion, and be free from all sorts of impurities, is the greatest and truest contribution to the society or community, even without any intention to benefit anyone or to contribute anything. Other forms of contributions are secondary, and are impure and useless if one’s mind is still functioning under the influence of ignorance and impurities.

Under a pure mind being free from ignorance, egoism and impurities, one can have the wisdom and compassion towards life, to make the correct choices and perform actions that would bring more peace and harmony than unrest and disharmony to oneself and the society or community.