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Q. I am more than 70 years old. Am I too old to attain enlightenment?

Q. I am more than 70 years old. Am I too old to attain enlightenment?

A. Don’t let your age hold you back. No one knows when you will attain enlightenment. As I’ve always said, everything is neutral. Being 70 years old is not too late any more for Zen meditation than being 30 years old is early enough. Whether your age is disadvantageous to you, or in in your favour depends upon your view. If the idea that your death is not far away can inspire you to get more involved in practice, you can be said to have advantage over young people in their 30’s who are lazy in practising while thinking that they still have a lot of time left for practice. You, in fact, have more free time than the young since they have to spend most of their time working for a living. Your age can rather work to your advantage.

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Zen meditation is not an exercise for training your physical body but just to keep curiosity about what the essence of your being is. It doesn’t require any special act or posture that makes your body more tired than your usual activities do. You are often advised to sit upright and still, but it is not essential. Provided that you can keep the curiosity, any posture is fine, sitting, standing, lying or walking. Therefore, what you should be concerned about is not your age but your negative idea that you cannot attain enlightenment due to your age. You are never too old to attain enlightenment.

©Boo Ahm
All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway http://ow.ly/i/xmHJv

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