Thursday, October 7, 2010

Reflection (向内看,改变自己)

This book entitled “Meeting A Himalayan Master” is related to a very famous book published years ago entitled “A Master in the Himalayan Mountain”. Master Veda is just the student of the author of the latter book, Master Rama. ““A Master in the Himalayan Mountain” gave an account on the learning journey of Master Rama who learnt from many masters who stayed in the Himalayan Mountain; all his masters were adepts in spiritual practice.

There were many practitioners who read “A Master in the Himalayan Mountain” in their early stage of cultivation. They were deeply influenced by the teachings that brought great joy to its readers.

The author of “Meeting A Himalayan Master”, Chen Ting Yu, first met Venerable Ananda, a Theravada monk, in New Delhi, India. This monk was the only person who was experienced in the exploration of the origin of Ganges River, and a great guide to help find the various Himalayan practitioners. The author felt very uncomfortable with Venerable Ananda initially due to his unconventional style, for the latter seemed overly passionate and talkative, who laughed aloud and walked briskly; so unlike the strict behavior of monks in general. The author was also curious about the reason why Venerable Ananda was so passionate about his search for the Himalayan masters. The author revered Venerable Ananda.

She asked him, “Venerable Ananda, why do you laugh so much and look so happy all the time?” Venerable Ananda told the author that he used to be an angry monk in the past, despite his efforts in recitations and prostrations daily, in search of happiness. Finally, he realized that the true source of happiness is within him, not without. He had been blaming others for their faults and, therefore, failed in his practice.

Where is the true source of happiness? Actually, the secret of happiness does not lie in requesting others to change but rather, requesting ourselves to change instead. The key point lies in “reflection”. It is that easy. You can do it.
The greatest gain of the author from her India trip was to have learnt about “reflection”. “Reflect inward, and understand oneself. Do not attempt to understand others but ourselves,” she said. You do not need to care too much about others but just try to understand yourself better. She said that the greatest yogi was born in India – Sakyamuni Buddha, who reflected inward and succeeded in attaining a full enlightenment.

The famous spiritual leader in India at present was Master Veda, who inherited the Himalayan Yoga School from his teacher, Master Rama, and became the caretaker of the yoga centres founded by his teacher. He said, “I am 75 years old but my forehead is wrinkle-free because I know the secret of the Himalayan facial cream!” The secret is – the mind of Master Veda is wrinkle-free. The practice of yoga is the reason for a wrinkle-free mind, for yoga beautifies the mind and frees it of wrinkles.

Most people tend to think that the bending of one’s body is the practice of yoga, and yoga only means physical exercises. But Master Veda said, “I really don’t know how to put my leg above my head! The true yoga is mind training.” We talked about mind training all the time, and that is the true yoga practice. Yoga practice does not mean putting your leg above your head, or attempting some difficult physical postures. Yoga means mind training.

Master Veda said if we want to practice truly, we must “achieve an inner success, in order to achieve an outer success.” Without the inner success, the outer success will never happen. This was a line often repeated by Master Veda that really touched her heart. The author had become a frequent grumbler due to work pressure all these years, not knowing what she truly wanted and not cherishing too many things in her life. However, Master Veda never asked her about her problems in her work, but only told her gently that the actual problem came from within her, not without. But she failed to see the point until she suffered too much in her work that she finally realized - the external world was a mere reflection of her own inner mind.

This is what I often said too. When you see the ugliness in your outer world, do not blame others but yourself. The external ugliness is a mere reflection of your inner mind. It is just like the experience of Venerable Ananda who used to be an unhappy man in the past, who found the rest offensive and himself constantly going against all odds. He felt great pain in life until he realized that the source of pain actually came from within him.

Actually, the secret lies in “changing oneself but not others.” So, when Venerable Ananda finally decided to face his own problem, he felt relieved and learnt to live at present; that is similar to one’s attaining a “sudden enlightenment”. He became a happy man ever since.

I have finished reading the whole book which talks about “mind training”. So, when you feel unhappy, do not blame others but to reflect inward and change yourself. When you have succeeded in changing your inner self, you will succeed in your undertakings in the outer world. However, at that point, you will realize that actually, the outer world has not changed – you are still you, I am still me, he is still him and your work is still your work… The same issues will continue to exist but you will find them somehow changed; you will now feel happy, joyful and peaceful. Everything you see seems beautiful. Everyone you meet seems to be a Buddha or a Bodhisattva. You will no longer blame others and accuse others of their faults. Your inner mind has changed, and the rest is just the reflection of your inner mind.
There is nothing new mentioned in this book. It is only about “reflecting inward, not outward”. That is what we have been talking about all the time. There is no other teaching. The Himalayan master only spoke about this teaching. If only you could master this teaching, you too can become another Himalayan master one day. What Master Veda wanted to share in this book is, in fact, very simple. But you are only lacking in one thing – “I can’t do it!” Your mind is still running wild, flip flopping, and you simply point your finger at others and put the blame on others when you are unhappy, forgetting to reflect inward. When you reach the end of your present life, you will feel regretful of your wrong behavior. By then, who can help you? I don’t know of anyone who can help you by then. So, before your present life comes to an end, please start reflecting inward and change yourself.