Q. If illusion is preventing us from enlightenment, should finding beauty just be as much of a hindrance as the negativity?

A. Finding beauty is also finding an illusion. When we look for beauty, what does beauty mean? The standard of beauty varies depending on individual perspectives and culture. It changes with time even in the same culture. In short, beauty is an imaginary concept, not a concrete thing, which is referred to as an illusion in Buddhism. However, Buddhism doesn’t discourage us from pursuing beauty but encourages us to realise something called the true-Self that is beyond beauty, while pursuing beauty.

Student: “What is it that is beyond beauty?”

Master: “It is beyond ugliness.”

©Boo Ahm

All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway

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