Last year, we were about to make the final decision whether we weren’t going to have a Sangha gathering in 2022 February. It was a lot of pressure on us to make the decision. But at that time, the whole pandemic and travel restrictions situation were such that we were at one point considering whether we should have a virtual Sangha Gathering by zoom. I’m very happy and relieved that we didn’t take that route. Instead, we decided we want to postpone for one year in 2023 to have the physical Sangha gathering, and here we are, and I can assure you, it is so different.

And for those of you who are watching this at home [the session was live streamed on Facebook and YouTube], sorry you cannot be here, but it’s the next best thing you can do. You can always come back when your time and situation allow.

As we all know, AHYMSIN was envisaged and founded by our beloved Swami Veda as a spiritual family. He emphasized this many times. It is a family not an institution or an organization. So, it is a spiritual family to learn, practice, and spread the teachings of the sages of the Himalayas as interpreted by Gurudeva Swami Rama. It is a lineage, a tradition as Swami Veda summed up beautifully in his guru prayer.

हिरण्यगर्भादारब्धां शेषव्यासादिमध्यमाम्।
स्वामिश्रीरामपादान्तां वन्दे गुरुपरम्पराम्॥

hiraṇyagarbhād-ārabdhāṁ śeṣa-vyāsādi-madhyamām,

svāmiśrīrāma- pādāntāṁ vande guru paramparām.

So, it started in Hiranyagarbha, pass on to Patanjali, Vyasa and the other masters and down to Swami Rama. Therefore, we pay our respect to the guru lineage, guru parampara.

That explains the lineage that we’re holding, I think very, very succinctly and beautifully. And what about the teachings of the sages of the Himalayas? For me personally, I am very, very inspired by Swami Rama’s writing in his book, Living with the Himalayan Masters, in which he said freedom from fear is the first message from the sages. Let us think, freedom from fears. We have a lot of those in the past three years. Fears. And we will continue to have them. So, the first message is freedom from fears, and the second message from the Himalayan stages is to be aware of the reality within. The reality within, guru or mantras, the Lord, for the one who can realize the reality within, there shall be no fear at all. So, that is to me a very, very powerful summary of the teachings that we are pursuing here.

In the Buddhist tradition, we always pay our respect our homage to three jewels, three gems, the three most valuable things which are a Buddha, the teacher, the Dharma, teachings, and the Sangha, the community, the family. So, here in AHYMSIN, we have all three, we have the teachers, the gurus, we have the teachings, the messages from the sages, and we have us all, the community, the Sangha, we are the Sangha. You are the Sangha. I am Sangha. We are all members. So that is what AHYMSIN is all about. And I just very briefly share my thoughts with everyone today. Namaste. Thank you.

Editor’s Note:

Shi Hong has been appointed as the President of AHYMSIN by Swami Ritavan Bharati during the AHYMSIN Sangha Gathering 2023. He has previously served as the Senior Vice President of AHYMSIN from 2013-23. He is also a mantra initiator and a member of the AHYMSIN Spiritual Committee.

He has been sharing the teachings of the Himalayan Tradition in many countries, including India, Taiwan, Hong Kong, China, etc. Since 2007, he has also translated and published many of Swami Veda’s books into Chinese.

You may also want to read the transcript of Shi Hong’s talk on “What is AHYMSIN?” from the 2019 AHYMSIN Sangha Gathering.