Q. In the evening we can see the most powerful star and in the morning we can see the same star. Or is it the same star?

A. Well no, because one is the evening star, and one is the morning star. Buddhism says that we should not be deluded by words, names because they are no more than imaginary labels used to classify things, not the essence of the things. In the same way, the evening star and the morning star are merely names. More strictly speaking, even if scientists, after studying and analysing the star, describe it with a lot of chemical and astronomical terms, all the terms used to identity the star are nothing but imaginary labels created by human beings.

The star has never itself said that it is a star, or that it consists of any such chemical elements. The star, whether the morning star or the evening star, is a star not because it is a star in essence, but because we human beings think of it as a star and call it as such. This is why the Buddha said, “Although I’ve attained enlightenment due to the star, it is not a star any longer after enlightenment.”

©Boo Ahm

All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway

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