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.

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Feedback for yoga teachers?

There’s nothing abnormal or wrong for the ‘yoga students’ to provide feedback to the ‘yoga teachers’ who conduct the ‘yoga classes’ for them to learn and practice yoga, and it’s normal for the ‘yoga teachers’ who conduct the ‘yoga classes’ would appreciate feedback from the ‘yoga students’ as part of the worldly thinking or ideas about ways to improve or evolve.

Just that it’s moving away from the teachings and practice of yoga about eliminating the egoism. This is part of the plays of egoism. It actually ‘holds back’ the mind from going beyond the perception of duality. It empowers attachment and identification with qualities of names and forms, as well as attachment and identification with the actions and the result of the actions.

A ‘yoga teacher’ who ‘teaches’ yoga to other beings should be able to be aware of the modification of one’s mind and the actions and reactions, without attachment and identification with all these names and forms. There’s no attachment or expectation towards one’s action of teaching yoga to other beings and the results or consequences of the action of teaching. The ‘yoga teacher’ allows the ‘yoga students’ to develop awareness towards the modification of their own minds, and to act and react in their own way, or to express their thoughts/ideas/suggestions/advice out of their own perspective, or not, towards the process of transmitting or receiving the teachings of yoga to or from other beings.

It’s not about – “I know I am a good yoga teacher and I can teach good yoga classes, and so, I don’t need any feedback, suggestions or advice on how to be a better yoga teacher to give better yoga classes.” or “I don’t know whether I am a good yoga teacher, or not. Or whether I teach good yoga classes, or not. I need feedback/suggestion/advice from the students or other people to tell me whether I am good or not good, or how I can improve myself to be better yoga teacher to teach better yoga classes.” As yoga really is nothing to do with all these names and forms. One can be identified or acknowledged as a ‘very good’ yoga teacher who can teach ‘very good’ yoga classes, but that doesn’t mean that this yoga teacher is free from ignorance and egoism, or, vice versa.

This is nothing to do with ‘pride’ and ‘arrogance’ or ‘humility’, ‘improvement’, ‘constant learning’, or ‘the way how it should be’. Feedback/suggestion/advice coming from minds that are not free from ignorance, egoism, duality and qualities of names and forms, is irrelevant towards one’s mind evolution towards selflessness. The minds that are free from ignorance, egoism, duality and qualities of names and forms, don’t ‘require’ or ‘provide’ feedback/suggestion/advice. As peace and compassion is nothing to do with whether the teacher is a ‘good’ yoga teacher who teaches ‘good’ yoga classes, or whether the yoga students are ‘good’ yoga students who perform their ‘yoga practice’ or ‘yoga poses’ ‘correctly’ and ‘perfectly’, or not. Just like to be able to let go of attachment, it’s just ‘let go’. There’s no thinking about “how to let go”, “how fast or slow to let go”, or “one should let go in this way or that way which is the ‘good’ or ‘right’ way”.

In a ‘yoga asana class’, whether it’s a group class or a private individual class, there are countless mind reactions arise from different states of minds and different physical conditions. At one moment, the mind and the body is at ease with the practice, and in another moment, the mind and the body is not at ease with the practice. And this changes from moment to moment. For the same practice, different minds and different bodies react differently. One might suggest that the practice is too rush or too intense, another might suggest the practice is too slow or too gentle, while another might suggest that the practice is just nice, it’s not too rush and not too slow or it’s not too intense and not too gentle.

Teaching ‘yoga classes’ is not about trying to gratify everyone’s craving and aversion towards their personal likes and dislikes towards the style, or type, or way of practice, and to adapt to the familiarity or habit of each individual. It’s not about trying to be a ‘good’ yoga teacher to teach ‘good’ yoga classes to create ‘good’ yoga students to achieve ‘good performances’ or ‘good results’. It’s about doing one’s best making use of one’s opportunity, ability and knowledge, without attachment and identification towards one’s action and the results or consequences of action. It doesn’t matter if one’s mind or other minds think or judge that ‘this action’ or ‘the result of this action’ is ‘good’ or ‘not good’. It’s about guiding the students towards the annihilation of ignorance and egoism.

A ‘yoga teacher’ or ‘yoga student’ will never be free from ignorance and egoism, if this ‘yoga teacher’ or ‘yoga student’ is still ‘teaching’ and ‘learning’ yoga according to the ‘ways’ of the worldly modification/thinking/ideas of the egoistic mind.

There is no egoistic intention or identification of “I am here to teach or share yoga with other beings”, not to say, “I am, or I want to be a ‘good’ yoga teacher who can teach or share ‘good’ yoga classes to other beings.”

Realize the essence of the teachings of yoga about selflessness, non-attachment, non-identification, non-duality, non-separateness, attributelessness, namelessness and formlessness, and be free.

‘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.

Yoga in life?

Yoga in life is not about doing some yoga exercises or yoga poses anywhere and anytime, beyond the yoga classes/schools/centres/studios/rooms. It’s about whether the mind is able to remain equanimous under any challenging conditions and situations, or not. It’s about whether the mind is open towards (or unattached onto) all the pleasant and unpleasant, agreeable and disagreeable, desirable and undesirable life experiences being free from craving and aversion, or not. It’s about being aware of any impurities in the mind without identification or association with them, without being over-powered by them, without judgment, and allowing them to arise, change and pass away. It’s about taking the responsibility to perform necessary actions and making wise decisions in difficult circumstances under a calm mind reflecting wisdom and compassion without fear, fault finding, blame, guilt or regret, beyond the worldly conditioned thinking, belief, and judgment.

It’s not about setting positive intention or aspiration, hoping that everything in life or the world, to be the way that we like it to be, or the way that we think it should be.

The varieties of yoga practice that exist under certain names and forms which are limited and restricted by time and space, impermanence, conditions, limitations, conveniences, appropriateness, religious or cultural beliefs, are there to help and prepare the mind to be open – unattaching towards any thinking and belief, and respecting all kinds of different names and forms to be what they are.

If one’s mind is not open, then one is not ready yet to receive and practice the teachings of yoga in life. As one’s mind will constantly be disturbed by the judgments towards everything based on the worldly thinking and belief under the influence of the personal likes and dislikes, the subjective agreements and disagreements that influence how the mind reacts towards all the desired and undesired experiences or everything that the mind comes in contact with, of what it sees, hears, smells, tastes, touches and thinks.

Just like when the mind is being conditioned to believe in certain thinking and beliefs about what to think and how to behave, and it expects everyone should also think and behave in accordance to those thinking and beliefs, then this mind will always be disturbed by something that it comes in contact with which it thinks and believes as ‘bad’, ‘wrong’ and ‘negative’, which it doesn’t want, dislikes and disagrees with. The mind is disturbed by its desires of craving and aversion. It is disturbed when things are not the way that it likes them to be, or, when things are the way that it doesn’t like them to be.

It is the mind’s responsibility on how it perceives, interprets, understands and reacts towards all kinds of life experiences, whether it’s our own experiences or it’s about other people’s experiences. If the mind is not open, the mind will be disturbed and upset by some experiences that the mind perceives, believes and judges as ‘negative’, ‘wrong’ and ‘bad’. It isn’t that the objects that the mind comes in contact with are being ‘negative’, ‘wrong’ or ‘bad’ that is causing the disturbance or upset in the mind. It’s how the mind being conditioned to react towards all the perceptions of names and forms based on the desires of craving and aversion, the personal likes and dislikes, the subjective agreements and disagreements conditioned by what the mind thinks and believes what things are, and the expectation of the mind towards everything about how things should be like.

If one wants to know what the teachings of yoga in life is about, then allow the mind to be open, and be free from judgment, expectation, personal likes and dislikes, agreements and disagreements. Then one will be able to see that everything in life is teaching us yoga and allowing us to practice and realize yoga. One becomes one’s own teacher.

There are ceaseless happenings in our life and around us, from moment to moment, whether it’s something pleasant or unpleasant, whether it’s something desired or undesired, whether it’s about ourselves or other people, whether it’s someone we know or don’t know and like or don’t like, and whether it’s somewhere near or far away. All that comes to our knowledge or awareness, or all the perceptions of names and forms, is here teaching us yoga and allowing us to practice and realize yoga, to be free from ignorance and realize unconditional peace.

It’s all happening in the mind, unlimited by causation, time and space, the worldly knowledge and experiences, the thinking and beliefs, the worldly self-image and identifications, the states of the mind, the impermanent physical conditions, limitations and abilities, the qualities of names and forms, the lineage of yoga, the yoga poses, the yoga mats, the yoga attires and accessories, the yoga books, the yoga classes, the yoga schools, the yoga teachers, the yoga certifications, and so on.

Be free.