I had a wonderful time in Hong Kong recently, spending with my old and new friends. They are known as the Wynners, some said that they are regarded as the Beatles of Asia. Their music is wonderful and sensational. It's beyond religions, cultures and traditions. I am not good at reading subtitles, substitles that say that there is no religion, it reminds me very much of my philosophy. I love music and anything that has no religious inclination. Any religion without the support of spirituality can be dangerous and poisonous. Spirituality should be the main thing, and religion can only be the gift wrapper, as I always say.

I was especially thrilled to be able to celebrate my dear friend Kenny Bee's birthday with him. It was a very special occasion because we are somehow very connected karmicly. He introduced me to one of his best friends Alan and also to others, they grew up together with their own music. It was a great experience to see people valuing their relationship with each other for such a long time, for them it has been 38 years. Relationship can only last because of mutual respect and understanding. Similarly, respect, understanding and thinking positively bring peace and harmony within yourself and to the rest of the world.

Interestingly, I told them quite spontaneously that, "I wish I'm not a Buddhist", as I really feel that way. Some of you will be shocked and some will be upset by this remark, but really, Buddhism as a philosophy truly should not be understood as a religious entity, therefore Buddhist teachers such as myself should be teaching about the methods to put spirituality into daily practice and not teaching or encouraging religious fanaticism. Even though I am in the outfit of a Buddhist teacher, I don't feel it is important to label myself as a Buddhist, because insisting that I am a Buddhist enhances the difference between me being a Buddhist and someone else being a non-Buddhist, and somehow this kind of differences encourages unnecessary competition, comparison and jealousy. To have mutual respect becomes more difficult. That's how countries end up in wars and friends become enemies.

Respect is very important because respect means a kind of appreciation. Appreciating others being different and appreciating different appearances and opinions are very positive attitude. Without respect, appreciation cannot survive. I told these things to my new friends. They seemed to be very happy, maybe this is a good sign that shows that they are open to the reality of religion and they are open to the reality of life. It is no wonder they are very successful and they are pretty much happy looking, even though some of them may be acting or pretending to be happy. Their success is due to their concept of openness. If your mind is open, satellite reception will be good. The mountains should not be there in order to get satellite reception. When there are a lot of religious fanatic beliefs, there won't be any reception whatsoever. Anyway, I am very happy that Kenny and his friends and family were receptive to my gossip that night.

To my understanding, unless religions are accompanied by spirituality or spiritual understanding, religions always have the language of this cannot be done and that cannot be done, and spirituality is always telling you that the sky is the limit. Whether you are practising religion or spirituality, you can tell from your own attitude. Some people are very positive about everything in life, I think we can say that they have positive spirits and therefore whatever things that they do, the encouraging atmosphere and spirit are always there. Some people are very negative about everything, so their attitude is: nothing can be done, even before they make the first step. Some people may even feel: why don't others do this, why should we be the ones doing? Or simply, they redirect all their responsibilities to others, to me this is of no fun and no challenge. One cannot develop oneself whether on the mundane or spiritual path. Experiential knowledge or understanding comes from the actual experience of doing or performing the activities and this can only be achieved through one's own experience and not through others' experiences. For example, if you are hungry, you have to eat the food, I cannot eat the food on your behalf, you have to be the one who is eating the food, not me, if you are hungry. I have to be the one eating the food if I am hungry. If you eat the food on my behalf, I will still be hungry.

In this case, I have to again thank Drukpa Vietnam for the encouraging response when they heard about our forthcoming Asian visit. In fact they responded almost immediately with so much positive energy, nothing seems to be impossible for them. There are many kinds of responses from different groups of people and individuals. Some are very positive and enthusiastic and I know for sure these people will do very well not only for the forthcoming programs but also long term for themselves. Some are critical and negative, that doesn't mean that they are careful, but that means that there is a sense of unwillingness to make an effort to go further. This is something to be watched, examined and corrected. Spiritual path is full of challenges, if you are positive and full of encouragement, you will make it. If you are not, then you are a failure before even starting. So instead of hesitating and building lots of mountains, just do it, don't wait! It is pointless listening to people who give negative issues and complaints or who are obstacles because these are the people who help you to build mountains to block your reception to blessing, to opportunities to advance on the spiritual path and to all the good things that you can achieve in life, and most importantly, to become obstacles to beneficial activities is the last thing anyone of us should do.

That's all I have to say. Good night for the time being!

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