Q. Should we enjoy earthly pleasures, such as food, or is this simply being distracted by illusions?

A. Once a layman asked a master, “Should I have meat and alcohol?” The master answered, “Having them is a government salary and not having them is the blessing of the Buddha.”

‘Having them’ here implies to have them without realising that both the action of having them and the meat and alcohol, the objects of having, are empty. ‘A government salary’ symbolises karma since a government salary is the result of the cause, working for government. ‘Not having them’ means having them whilst being aware that everything is empty, which is referred to as eating without eating, which is the blessing of the Buddha since it is beyond making karma.

In short, what is more important than whether you do something or not is whether you are aware that what you are doing is empty. You should remember that the purpose of Buddhism is not to restrict our freedom but to give us perfect freedom. Whether you should enjoy earthly pleasures or not is up to you.

©Boo Ahm

All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway

#zen #meditation #zenmeditation #enlightened #enlightenment #zenfools #photography

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