Suffering is not due to bad karma, but ignorance

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The difference between non-attachment and positive thinking

It’s good and helpful to develop positive thinking especially when the mind is being influenced by negative thinking that generates unnecessary tension, fear, worry or unhappiness in the mind and further projecting all these impurities through speech and action into the environment in the relationships with others in everyday life.

Positive thinking is part of the many yoga practice, but it’s not the goal or the end of yoga practice, as the mind is still not free from attachment and identification towards names and forms that the mind perceives as positive and negative, and there is craving and clinging towards what the mind perceives as positive, and there’s aversion towards what the mind perceives as negative. The mind is not free from desire, duality and separateness. There’s desire of craving or longing for positiveness or goodness and there’s clinging onto positiveness or goodness with intention or expectation to control the reality to be the way that the mind thinks it should be and likes it to be.

There’s nothing wrong with “Think positively and optimistically, and everything will be good in your life and you can achieve anything that you want.” especially for the minds that are easily be disturbed or determined by names and forms that the worldly thinking and belief categorized as bad, negative, unhappiness and wrong. Just that the mind is not free from desires, even though the mind would feel happy and satisfied when the desires are being gratified, and its impermanent. Then pride might arise in this mind, “I am superhuman. I have superpower. I can control everything to be the way that I like it to be.” This mind is not free. And it’s okay, if that is what the mind wants. It’s everyone’s freedom for how the mind thinks and what it wants.

The mind that is free, is undetermined by gratifying desires of likes and dislikes, wants and don’t wants, to be happy, confident, meaningful or peaceful. It is peaceful as it is, undetermined by the world or the worldly thinking and belief, ideas and values, good and bad condition and situation.

Non-attachment is nothing to do with positive thinking. The mind that knows non-attachment doesn’t need to think positively. The thinking is just what it is. It is neither positive nor negative.

It’s about unattached towards what the intellect recognizes as positive or negative, good or bad, happiness and unhappiness, right and wrong. Undisturbed or undetermined by all the perceptions of name and form that are pleasant or unpleasant. Without attachment or identification towards the different states of the mind or the mind activities. Without intention or expectation towards the perceived reality to control the reality to be the way that the mind likes it to be. Allowing the reality to be what it is, and allowing the reality to change as it is.

The mind is free from being determined by coming in contact with positiveness and goodness and not coming in contact with negativeness and badness, to be peaceful. The mind is peaceful as it is.

The mind is free from desire, duality and separateness. Knowing that the quality of positiveness and negativeness are both impermanent. But, beyond positiveness and negativeness, is unconditional peace, that is undetermined by the qualities of name and form that the mind perceives through the senses, whether it’s positive or negative elements, good or bad condition and situation, and desirable/pleasant or undesirable/unpleasant life experiences.

If the reality is nice and pleasant, let it be. It will change, and allow it to change, without intention or expectation to control the reality not to be bad and negative.
If the reality is not nice and unpleasant, let it be. It will change, and allow it to change, without intention or expectation to control the reality to be all good and positive.

There are actions being performed out of compassion in everyday life, but there’s no attachment, identification, desires, intention or expectation towards the action and the fruit of action. There are beneficial actions being performed but there’s no intention or expectation that the fruit of actions will be all good and positive, or nothing bad and negative. Allowing the fruit of action to be what it is.

There’s no identification with all the impermanent changes of names and forms to be existing as ‘I’.

Life might be good and easy, enjoy and appreciate without attachment. It’s impermanent, and it doesn’t matter.
Life might be not so good and full of difficulties, but it’s okay. It’s impermanent, and it doesn’t matter.

Be free.

Compassion and wisdom – How to be free from suffering

Many people asked, “How to be free from suffering, especially suffering that is inflicted by other people’s ignorant behavior out of ignorance?”

Only through self-realized compassion and wisdom can free one’s mind from suffering. Obtaining sympathy and empathy from others can only console the mind for momentary relief, but it doesn’t free the mind from the root cause of suffering – Ignorance, egoism and impurities. It doesn’t matter what kind of suffering that the mind thinks it is suffering from, it’s all out of ignorance. The mind who thinks it is experiencing suffering, the object of suffering, and the cause suffering, may it be something physically, mentally or emotionally unpleasant or hurtful inflicted by others, intentionally and unintentionally, or it’s due to some unforeseen circumstances, are all the products of ignorance.

Even the liberated, compassionate and wise Buddha also couldn’t free other beings from suffering. He could only give them the teachings and it’s up to everyone’s own awareness, effort, perseverance, self-inquiry and self-realization to free one’s mind from ignorance, egoism and impurities, and thus, be free from suffering.

When there is a thinking of “I am the victim of suffering” and “I am the victim of the cause of suffering”, where there is an identification from the mind being identified as the sufferer, and there is attachment and judgment towards the suffering and what the mind thinks is the cause of suffering, this mind won’t be able to see the truth of the suffering and the cause of suffering. And hence, the mind couldn’t be free from suffering even though there are plenty of sympathy and empathy coming from other people towards this mind that it thinks it is suffering from some kind of suffering.

Compassion and wisdom allows the mind to stand as a third party looking into the mind that thinks it is the sufferer or an victim, the suffering and the cause of suffering, WITHOUT egoism of judgment, attachment, identification, desires of craving and aversion, intention or expectation. It allows the mind to see the truth of the existence of the sufferer or the victim, the object of suffering and the cause of suffering, as it is.

When the mind experiences something that the mind doesn’t like, doesn’t agree with and doesn’t want, there arise suffering in this mind. When the mind doesn’t experience something that it likes, agrees with and wants, there arise suffering in this mind. When the mind losing something that it likes, agrees with and wants, there arise suffering in this mind. It’s all in the mind from the mind, it’s not coming from the objects of name and form that the mind is experiencing. It’s the mind rejecting the reality that it perceives or experiences that is not the way that the mind likes and wants it to be, but is the way that the mind doesn’t like and doesn’t want, that is why suffering exists in the mind. It’s egoism of attachment and identification towards the physical body and the thinking mind, that generate great fear and aversion towards having bad condition, not having good condition, losing good condition, physical and mental limitation, loneliness, decay, weakness, injury, sickness, pain, hunger, thirst, disability, old age, separation from people and things that we love, the unknown, insecurity, and death. The mind is suffering from peacelessness or restlessness of ungratified desires of craving and aversion, dissatisfaction, greed, lust, passion, disappointment, anger, hatred, hurt, animosity, hostility, humiliation, pride, arrogance, ill-will, ill-thinking, violence, fear and worry, and etc.

Out of fear, craving and aversion, there’s violence, unrest, war, killing, sexual assault, hostility, discrimination, hatred, corruption, and all sorts of human-made ignorant happenings in this world.

And hence, out of wisdom, the mind realizes that all suffering are deriving from impurities born out of ignorance and egoism of attachment, identification, desires of craving and aversion, judgment and expectation. It’s really nothing to do with the objects of name and form that the mind experiences/perceives which the mind thinks are ‘bad’, ‘horrible’, ‘undeserving’, ‘wrong’, ‘hurtful’, ‘negative’ or ‘suffering’, that the impure mind thinks it’s the cause of its suffering.

And out of compassion from this mind towards itself that is under the influence of the ignorant thinking about itself is the sufferer or an victim, and being compassionate towards the mind perception of suffering and the cause of suffering, this mind is able to let go the thinking about itself as the sufferer or the victim and what it used to perceive as ‘suffering’, and thus, the sufferer, the suffering and the cause of suffering all disappear from the mind that is wise and compassionate. And knowing that whether they are pleasant or unpleasant sensations, desirable or undesirable experiences, enjoyable or hurtful experiences, happy or unhappy experiences, deserving or undeserving experiences, present or past experiences, they all have no quality or intention to be something pleasurable or suffering, and they are impermanent, and it’s not ‘I’.

‘I’ am not the sufferer, the sufferer is not ‘I’. ‘I’ am not the suffering, the suffering is not ‘I’. ‘I am not the cause of suffering, the cause of suffering is not ‘I’. There’s neither ‘I’ exists to be suffering, or there is suffering existing, or there’s a suffering ‘I’ needs to be free from suffering. There might be painful and unpleasant sensations or limitation in the body due to injury or sickness, but there is awareness knowing that the body is not ‘I’, ‘I’ am not the body. And the body and the painful sensations or the injury or the sickness or the function of the body are all impermanent. There’s no identification or attachment towards the impermanent changes of the body and life existence. There’s no fear or aversion towards painful and unpleasant sensations, injury, sickness, separation from people and things that we love, and death or the end of this life existence. And hence, suffering doesn’t arise in the liberated mind.

It’s the intense aversion towards something that the mind recognizes as ‘bad’, ‘negative’, ‘horrible’, ‘unhappy’, hurtful’, ‘unpleasant’, ‘wrong’, ‘undeserving’, ‘sad’, ‘fearful’, or ‘suffering’, that the mind doesn’t like or doesn’t agree with and doesn’t want, that intensify the ‘suffering’ state of the mind. If the mind is free from craving or aversion towards any names and forms that are pleasant or unpleasant, then the mind will be aware of something is not nice, or greatly unpleasant, or not right that the mind is experiencing through the physical body, but the mind won’t perceive it as an suffering, and knowing that this is impermanent, and it’s needless to hold on onto this unpleasant experience, and allow the memory of this experience to be there, without pushing it away, and this memory has no power or quality to make the mind suffers, unless the mind allows itself to be continuously be disturbed or determined by this memory, and suffers.

When the mind is endowed with compassion and wisdom, this mind will know that all kinds of hurtful or painful experiences inflicted by human beings are deriving from ignorant behavior out of ignorance, whether intentionally or unintentionally. There’s no need to blame oneself or others by thinking that “I am a victim of other people’s ignorant behavior. And I am in great suffering because of other people’s ignorant behavior out of ignorance.” or “It’s because I am not good, that’s why I am experiencing this and I am suffering.” Because, the wisdom will allow the mind to understand, “I am not ignorant to behave ignorantly. Somebody else is ignorant to behave ignorantly. Why do I have to suffer for other people’s ignorant behavior out of ignorance? I don’t have to, even though there might be some damages or painful sensations inflicted onto this body and mind caused by other people’s ignorant behavior out of ignorance. If I allow myself to be suffering for other people’s ignorant behavior out of ignorance and generating further damages to this body and mind due to anger and hatred, then it’s out of my ignorance.” And out of compassion towards this body and mind that is physically, mentally and emotionally be affected by other people’s ignorant behavior out of ignorance, this mind will let go and move on without resentment, anger, hatred, hurt, guilt or blame. This mind doesn’t even need to forgive anyone or anything, as there’s no anger or hatred or resentment or hurt in this mind. This doesn’t mean that this mind is allowing or encouraging other people to be ignorant to perform ignorant behavior onto this body and mind.

By telling the people who are under the influence of ignorance about the damages and pain that they have done onto other people’s body and mind won’t undo what had happened and won’t remove the ignorance from the people’s mind. It has to come from everyone’s self-aware and self-realize towards the ignorance in them and the consequences of ignorant behavior, and out of their own free-will and self-control, they want to be free from ignorance and stop behaving ignorantly. If people are free from ignorance, they won’t behave ignorantly in the first place. And because of ignorance, they are ignorant towards their ignorant behavior, and continue to be ignorant, even though they are being pointed out that they are ignorant.

Out of our own ignorance, we can tell the wise about something that we think is ignorant about them, “You are ignorant. What you do is so ignorant.” And the wise won’t be disturbed, and it’s our own ignorance for having such statement towards the wise who are not ignorant at all. But we can’t tell this to the ignorant, even if it’s out of good intention trying to bring awareness to someone about their ignorance and their ignorant thinking, actions and behavior, it’s because of ignorance, they will be very offended, disturbed and upset, as the ignorant are being ignorant towards the ignorance in their minds. By telling those who are under the influence of ignorance that they are ignorant, won’t take away the ignorance in them. And so, it’s pointless to tell anyone whom we think they are ignorant that they are ignorant and to stop being ignorant, whether they are really ignorant, or not, because the wise are not ignorant at all, and the ignorant will still be ignorant.

Whether those who inflict ignorant actions out of ignorance onto other people will finally receive the consequences of their actions, or not, and whether they will repent and apologize, or not, it really doesn’t matter to the liberated minds and it’s not their intention to make them suffer or be punished for their actions out of ignorance.

If the mind needs to see the ignorant people to suffer or be punished for their ignorant actions, to feel better and satisfied, then this mind is not free, even though it might feel better and satisfied in this present moment by gratifying its desire of wishing the ignorant people to suffer or be punished for their ignorant actions, as this mind is also under the influence of ignorance and egoism and impurities.

May all be free.

Taming the urge to express the thought activities through speech and action

Yoga Chitta Vritti Nirodha – Yoga is the restraint/annihilation of the modification of the mind – The entire worldly idea of ‘I’ and life existence cease existing. The perception of separateness and duality of good and bad, right and wrong, positive and negative, happiness and unhappiness, enjoyment and suffering, birth and death, and so on, vanished.

This is an important practice in yoga to silent the mind by stop feeding the thought current or thought activities by restraining the mind from projecting or expressing the thinking via speech and action. It’s the practice of awareness, non-attachment and letting go that eventually leads to complete silence or the annihilation of the entire worldly idea of ‘I’ and life existence. People who are passionate towards worldly idea of life existence, who aspire to build a positive world that is free from what they think is negative, would interpret this practice as oppression or suppression or degradation of the mind or human life existence or humanity, which the worldly minded think it’s something inhuman, abnormal, unhealthy, non-progressive and wrong. Those who are not interested in yoga and meditation practice, who are passionate about worldly idea of life existence, they don’t need to perform this practice. Those who think they are free from suffering or they don’t mind suffering, or who had transcended suffering, also don’t need to perform this practice.

Even the teachings and practice of yoga can be something ‘good’ and ‘amazing’ for some people, but it can also be something ‘not good’ and ‘wrong’ for many other people. It’s up to everyone on how the mind perceives and reacts towards everything, and whether the mind needs the teachings and practice of yoga to realize unconditional peace.

The practice of silencing the mind is greatly contradicted with the existing worldly ideas and values that emphasize on empowering self-identification, self-worth, self-development, personal and global achievement, and social community development, where people think human beings should progress forward by constant stimulating their minds and projecting their thoughts freely through expressing their ideas and feelings via speech and action, especially if it’s something ‘good’, ‘right’ and ‘positive’ according to the thinking and belief consists of certain worldly ideas and values, cultural and religious belief and practice that people think it would benefit all humanity.

What most worldly minds don’t realize is that silencing the mind is the greatest form of serving humanity. There’s less a being under the influence of ignorance to generate ignorant actions into the world. All the higher technologies and engineering derived from high creativity and intelligence, doesn’t remove the ignorance, egoism and impurities in people’s mind and it doesn’t make the world to be free from what the impure minds recognize as ‘bad’, ‘negative’, ‘unhappiness’, ‘wrong’, ‘suffering’, and all sorts of ‘fear’ and ‘violence’. People can enjoy the higher technology to live longer or younger or healthier or to enjoy higher standard of living and lifestyle, but it doesn’t guarantee that the mind will be free from suffering, if the mind is not free from ignorance, egoism and impurities. As the highest technology also can’t alter the truth of impermanence. People will still hurt each other out of fear, in order to survive or to protect themselves and their loved ones and what they think is ‘good’, if the mind is not free from ignorance.

Many people who are interested in doing some form of yoga exercises regularly are either ignorant towards this teaching and practice, as the yoga teachers don’t teach this teaching in the yoga exercise classes, or, people know, but they don’t like and disagree with this teaching and practice. Whether people know or don’t know, like or dislike, agree or disagree, this is what yoga is about – Annihilation of mind activities.

The worldly idea of life existence appears when the mind moves, where there is habitual attachment and reaction towards the mind perception of names and forms through the senses. The worldly idea of life existence disappears when the mind is stilled, where there is pure awareness of mind perceptions without attachment, identification, desires of craving and aversion, judgement, intention or expectation.

A lot of time, the thinking and judgment from the impure mind is only partially true, or may not be true at all. The mind reaction of likes and dislikes, agreements and disagreements, is also the by-product of ignorance, being influenced by egoism and impurities.

There’s nothing wrong when the mind thinks and believes that it has some ‘good’, ‘right’ and ‘positive’ qualities, ideas and values that are worth to be shared with the world, and there is strong urge to project what it thinks and believes as ‘good’, ‘right’ and ‘positive’ through speech and action, thinking that this would bring positive goodness to the society or the world, so that other people will also be inspired or be endowed with the same qualities, ideas and values. There’s good and generous intention or aspiration to share something great with the world to inspire others.

Everyone has the freedom to express their thinking through speech and action, there’s nothing wrong and it really doesn’t matter to those who are free from the influence of ignorance and egoism because they will not be affected or disturbed by other people’s thinking, ideas or feelings being projected through their speech and action. But in reality, there are many minds functioning under the influence of ignorance and egoism, that are not free from being disturbed by ungratified desires, likes and dislikes, agreements and disagreements, who will be disturbed or intimidated or offended or hurt by other people of their thinking, ideas and feelings. Again, there’s nothing wrong with people expressing their thinking freely, as well as it’s people’s freedom and responsibility for how people react towards other people’s thinking, ideas and feelings. Just that impure minds can get very confused when being disturbed or intimidated, and might unwittingly or spontaneously hurt themselves or others out of the disturbed and confused state of the mind.

For example, there are women who don’t have or don’t want to have children would express their ideas or feelings about how ‘good’ and ‘blessed’ for them to have the joy of not having children. While the women who have or want to have children would express their ideas or feelings about how ‘good’ and ‘blessed’ for them to have the joy of having children. And sometimes, they might mock each other for justifying their respective ideology is somehow more superior or better than the other.

There’s nothing wrong with both different ideas or feelings towards the joy of having or not having children. It’s all good that some women find joy in not having children, while some women find joy in having children, as long as there’s no attachment or identification towards this idea or value to be who they are. Then it doesn’t matter whether they have or don’t have children, they are fine, being undetermined by any ideology to feel worthy, happy, confident, or meaningful, or not.

There are women who think and believe that having children is something ‘good’ and ‘blessed’, and they would love to have children, but for some reasons they couldn’t have any children, or they have children, but it’s not the way that they like it to be, and their minds are being in a state of suffering due to ungratified desires. Under the imbalanced state of the mind, they would feel greatly disturbed when women who have children keep boasting about their joy of having children, thinking that it’s something good and positive to inspire and encourage other women to also have the joy of having children, but it’s actually generating great disturbance for the women who would love to have children but they couldn’t. And then, there are some women who have children, but for some reasons, they feel regret about having children, and their minds are being in a state of dissatisfaction, frustration and regret, they might feel more disturbed for having children that they don’t really want, when the women who don’t have children keep boasting about their joy of not having children.

It’s not the fault of the people who boast or share about their thinking, values and feelings, when other people attach onto whatever they perceive and react towards what they perceive, taking other people’s expression of thinking and point of view seriously and personally, and feel disturbed or intimidated or hurt. Though there are many minds that are easily be affected, disturbed and intimidated by other people’s freedom of expression. For the mind that is free, it won’t be affected or disturbed or intimidated by other people’s freedom of expression. This mind doesn’t need to stay away from something that the worldly minded perceive as ‘bad’, ‘negative’, ‘unhappiness’, ‘depressing’, or ‘meaninglessness’.

When the mind starts to develop awareness, correct understanding and compassion, it’s okay for the mind to have particular thinking and belief towards particular ideas or values, but it doesn’t need to project/express these ideas or values to inspire other people to also take up these values and ideas, even though the mind strongly believes that they are something ‘good’, ‘right’ and ‘positive’. Allowing everyone to have their own version of ideas and values, and it’s needless to boast about anything trying to inspire other people to be the same as ‘I’, to achieve what ‘I’ achieve, to live life as ‘I’ live. “I am happy. You should be like me, and you will be happy too.” But what is ‘good’ for ‘I’ might be something ‘painful’ for other people.

When teaching a yoga asana class, the yoga teacher can’t tell the students, “I can do this, so can you.” or “Nothing is impossible. You can do and achieve anything that you want.” to inspire or encourage the students to be able to do what the yoga teacher can do, because it’s not true. Not everyone has the similar physical structure, condition, ability and limitation to be able to perform the same action. People who take the teacher’s words seriously and force themselves beyond their limitation but still couldn’t achieve what they want to achieve, they might hurt themselves out of great expectation and disappointment. It’s okay that there are things that are impossible to reach or achieve due to certain circumstances. And it’s okay if people can’t perform certain actions due to certain limitation even after many years of practice and attempts. People don’t have to be able to do everything that the yoga teacher or other people can do, to have peace, or be compassionate, or to forgive someone or something that is hurtful. But the ability to go beyond all the ability and disability of the body and the mind, accepting the reality as it is, while performing actions without attachment or identification towards the actions and the fruit of actions, and allowing impermanent changes to be there as they are, that will allow the mind to be peaceful, compassionate and forgiving. And it’s okay if many people couldn’t realize this after many years of practice, and still be disturbed and determined by all the names and forms.

By accepting the reality in this present moment now, that the mind is not free, and it’s okay, and it’s impermanent and it’s not ‘I’, and without judgment or disappointment, keep practicing, without attachment or expectation towards the practice and the fruit of practice, and that is already what yoga is about.

For example, high performance and continuous achievement in any field is being perceived as something ‘good’ and ‘positive’ in the world. There’s nothing wrong with the idea of high performance and continuous achievement individually and globally, and many people can keep up with that idea with not much difficulty, but there are people couldn’t meet up with the expectation of high performance and continuous achievement, and they keep forcing the capability of the body and mind beyond its limitation to attain higher and higher performance and achievement until the function of the body and mind eventually breakdown, harming the entire body systems and suffered from restlessness, depression or insanity.

People can just do their best within their own capability, without trying to achieve what the world think is ‘good’ and ‘positive’, without pushing or forcing the body and mind beyond its limitation to compete with themselves or others to attain the sense of self-worth, achievement, confidence or meaningfulness, and without losing the clarity and sanity of the mind.

For the untrained mind, there are thought activities or thinking in the mind reacting towards the perception of names and forms, whether there is likes or dislikes and agreements or disagreements towards the perceived names and forms in the form of thinking, and naturally, there’s an urge to project/materialize this thinking through the speech and action, either intentionally or unintentionally. There’s an urge to express, to comment, to justify, to fight back, to argue, to attack, to revenge, to intimidate, to oppose, to criticize, to condemn, to aspire, to inspire, to admire, to love, to appreciate, to praise, to possess, or to control, and so on.

For the mind that has developed strong foundation in non-attachment and letting go, there is awareness towards the thought activities of the mind perception of names and forms of sight, sound, smell, taste, sensation and thinking/imagination/feeling, even though there might be likes and dislikes, agreements and disagreements in the form of thinking due to the intellectual thought processing and recognizing the perceived names and forms, but it’s not necessarily that the thinking has to be projected/expressed/materialized through speech and action. In the end, all likes and dislikes, agreements and disagreements in the form of thinking also will drop off. There are necessary actions being performed, without intention, attachment, identification, desires, judgment or expectation. Allowing the fruit of actions to be there as it is, allowing all the names and forms to be there as they are, and allowing them to change as they are.

There might be many intellectuals in the world would disagree with this or are against towards Silence of the mind. And that is their freedom of thinking and reaction.

This is what yoga practice is about – Yoga Chitta Vritti Nirodha

And it’s nothing to do with the physical condition, ability and limitation to do the yoga poses. It’s nothing to do with the knowledge of anatomy and physiology, or the precise physical alignment and different techniques on performing the yoga poses, or how one looks and feels in the yoga poses, or what are the names and benefits of the yoga poses, or the different types of qualifications and certifications sanctioned by such and such internationally recognized yoga alliance or association.

The mind that is free from impurities, ignorance and egoism, and is peaceful as it is being free from suffering, doesn’t need to be recognized, acknowledged, approved, authorized, or certified by anyone or any group, or any higher consciousness.

Be free.

Yoga retreat for developing self-discipline, self-restraint, self-reliance, forbearance and simplicity

Many people who are interested in doing regular yoga exercises as a form of health and fitness activity, they might also interested in participating in yoga retreats once in a while. And there are many yoga retreats everywhere in the world that would cater the demands and expectations of those who want to participate in yoga retreats.

Some people are looking for yoga retreats that allow them to learn about yoga and to be focusing and immersed into the traditional yoga practice for a period of time, to develop self-discipline and self-practice in everyday life, to free the mind from ignorance, egoism and impurities, to realize unconditional love and peace that is beyond all the qualities of name and form, undetermined by life experiences, condition and situation, physical and mental ability, achievements and enjoyments. While many others are looking for yoga retreats that allow them to gratify the desires of craving and aversion, to be in a comfortable and desirable environment that emphasize on indulgence of the senses, self-pampering and socializing, that makes them feel satisfied, pleased, good, relaxed and peaceful, even though it’s impermanent.

Whether the retreat organizers are aware or unaware of it, most yoga retreats are not really about the yoga practice of guiding the yoga enthusiasts/practitioners into the yoga practice of annihilating ignorance and egoism to free the mind from the root cause of suffering – the desires of craving and aversion, but it’s actually providing the opportunity for empowering ignorance and egoism through gratifying their desires of craving and aversion, giving them momentary satisfaction and good feelings via pleasurable physical, sensual and mental enjoyments, by giving the mind what it wants and not giving the mind what it doesn’t want.

Most people are not really interested in the yoga practice of developing self-discipline, self-restraint, self-reliance, forbearance and simplicity, to free the mind from ignorance, egoism, and the desires of craving and aversion through participating in yoga retreats that allow the participants to learn about the essential teachings of yoga, to focus and immerse into the traditional yoga practice of annihilating ignorance, egoism and impurities, while not pushing away but confronting any impurity, difficulty, discomfort, fear, or blockage that the mind doesn’t like to confront with, that the mind would rather runaway from.

Most people are more interested in yoga retreats with holiday resort facilities that provide many types of pleasurable activities, facilities, services and enjoyments of sight, sound, taste, smell, sensation, and imagination, that emphasize on self-indulgence, self-pampering and socializing, to temporarily escape from what the mind thinks is ‘negative’, ‘unpleasantness’, ‘discomfortable’, ‘difficult’, ‘depressing’, ‘disturbing’ or ‘non-enjoyment’ in everyday life, to be in a relaxing comfortable environment that would gratified the desires of craving and aversion, to be doing activities that they enjoy doing, to be indulging in sensual pleasurable enjoyments, to be pampered physically and mentally, beside attending daily yoga exercise sessions, to feel good, relaxed, satisfied and pleased.

This type of yoga retreats that emphasize on pleasurable physical and mental enjoyments in a comfortable pampering environment are great for those who feel that there is a need to be temporarily moving away from everyday life where they have to carry out their duties and responsibilities, and dealing with all kinds of people whom are not like-minded, and situations and things that are not the way that they like it to be, that make them feel disturbed, frustrated, exhausted, drained, stressed or tensed, that they need to participate in a ‘retreat’ from time to time, to unwind and relaxed, even though it’s just a momentary relief derived from being away from what their mind perceives as undesirable disturbing environment or something that they don’t like, but to be in a desirable pleasant environment, while engaging in some activities that they like to do, the way that they like it to be, that make them feel good.

Though this is not what yoga practice is about, there’s nothing wrong with most yoga retreats in the world are of this kind as they are many people want and need this kind of yoga retreats. And it’s everyone’s freedom for what they like and want. It’s a business, where you give the customers what they like and want, to make them feel satisfied and happy, and to make sure they will continue to come back again and again to support your business.

The yoga retreats that are about yoga, the teachings and the practice, allow the participants to learn about their own mind and the root cause of suffering, and to practically immerse into the yoga practice of freeing the mind from ignorance to allow the mind to see the truth of things as it is, and freeing the mind from egoism through the practice of non-attachment, non-identification, non-craving, non-aversion, non-judgment and non-expectation, while developing self-discipline, self-restraint, self-reliance, forbearance, simplicity, wisdom and compassion, to become their own teacher to perform self-practice that is beyond time and space, that allow them to live in the world as they are, perform all their duties and responsibilities, without attachment or identification towards the body and mind, the actions and the fruit of actions, without being disturbed or determined by all kinds of life experiences, people, situations and things that are not necessarily the way that they like it to be, allowing them to deal with ‘difficult’ and ‘challenging’ condition and situation with wisdom and compassion, that allow them to be able to let go what the mind used to perceive as ‘negative’, ‘bad’, ‘disturbing’, ‘frustrating’, ‘exhausting’, ‘depressing’, ‘hurtful’, or ‘stressful’, that they know how to partially retreat themselves in everyday life to conserve energy for performing yoga practice and to silent the mind, that they know how to minimize or stop generating and accumulating tension or stress, that there’s no need to participate in a ‘retreat’ to be away from everyday life to unwind or relaxed as there’s minimal or no tension and stress building up, and realize unconditional peace that is beyond the qualities of name and form, and all kinds of condition and situation.

A yoga retreat that allows people to develop correct understanding, awareness, self-practice, self-discipline, self-restraint, self-reliance, forbearance, adjustment, adaptation, accommodation, simplicity, dispassion, wisdom and compassion, that eventually people don’t need to participate in any ‘retreat’ to retreat from everyday life experiences that are not the way that we like it to be of what the impure mind recognizes as ‘negative’, ‘bad’, ‘difficult’, ‘hurtful’, ‘distressing’, ‘disturbing’, ‘frustrating’, ‘depressing’, ‘discomfortable’, ‘non-enjoyable’, ‘unpleasant’, or ‘exhausting’. The mind is peaceful as it is and wherever it is, undetermined by the qualities of name and form, and all kinds of life experiences and impermanent changes, conditions and situations. One doesn’t need to go to a special place, or be with special people, or do special activities, or to participate in any kind of ‘retreats’ to find relaxation, calmness and peace that is determined by certain qualities of name and form, experience, activity, condition and situation, that is impermanent.

This type of yoga retreat is great for those who are looking for real peace or unconditional peace being free from ignorance and egoism through persevered discipline and restraint of one’s mind activities, but it’s not favorable for business. As there will be physical, mental and emotional unpleasantness during the purification process under going intensive yoga practice to eliminate ignorance and egoism. There will be rejection and disgust coming from the ignorant egoistic mind that doesn’t like to be disciplined or restrained. There’s disagreement and aversion coming from the egoistic mind towards the teachings of yoga that is different from the thinking and belief in the mind. And hence, this type of retreats are less popular, and are being criticized by those who expect pleasurable enjoyments, comfortable conveniences, customer service and social interactions in ‘yoga retreats’. Those who guide others onto the path of yoga don’t take it as a business, and hence, it doesn’t matter.