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  1. Fellow bums, from time to time I receive pm inquiring about Xiao Yao Pai and my experiences since my initiation June, 2012. I am always happy to answer those, however, I am not online here on TTB as much as I used to be and a pm could sit in my inbox unread for some time. My idea for this thread is it will be able to answer many of the inquiries. The first concept on this thread will be about Mental Illusion. Here on TTB we have members from all over the world. Some are from America and Europe and many of these are brought up in the environment of western society, education, culture, and largely Christian. We have members from Asia that have been brought up with eastern culture, education, and largely Buddhist with some with Taoist influences. We have members from India that have been brought up with the caste system and perhaps many of them Hindu. What I am getting at is that where we are born and how we are taught forms our perceptions of what is normal and what is reality. When I was stationed in Turkey along the Syrian border, we were instructed about local customs. One of the things we were told was never to wave to anyone or hand anything to anyone with our left hand. This would be viewed as an insult. One day sure enough, I was wandering around and a child on a bicycle smiled and waved at me and without thinking about it, I naturally waved back but with my left hand. His facial expression changed from happy to hurt that quickly. I felt bad about it and I certainly didn’t intend to insult him. This is an example of the Mental Illusion I am talking about. Imagine that you had just eaten a delicious meal that had been prepared by new friends and then you found out that it had been made with dog, or rat, or snake. How are you going to feel about that? Will you get sick? Where I grew up this type of meal would not be expected but in many parts of the world folks do eat dog, rat, and snake. They eat these comfortably, while I would experience some serious reservations about it, or even have an adverse physical reaction to it. This is because of my conditioned upbringing and taught perceptions that cause mental blocks and mental illusions. These are just a couple of simple examples about mental illusions. Each of us have formed many of these mental illusions due to our mind being formed and conditioned by our local society, culture, and religion. And if we had been born into a different part of the world than we were, we would certainly have a much different perspective, personality, and a different set of mental illusions. So, our present self is not our true self, it is a self that has been conditioned and formed by our society, culture, family, education system, and by experiences.