Q. What is the difference between not being deluded by illusions and being detached from the world?

A. Not being deluded by illusions means to know what the essence of everything, including ourselves, is. Let’s suppose that you play with two five-year-old boys, flying paper planes. One boy is very preoccupied with flying his plane, whilst the other is not as involved in playing because he is more interested in watching cartoon films instead. By accident the paper planes land in a puddle and became unavailable. The boy who is crazy about flying his plane bursts into tears, but the other boy who is not so interested doesn’t. Of course, you don’t, either.

There is a big difference between the reason why the boy doesn’t cry and the reason why you don’t. The reason why you don’t cry is not that you are not as aware of the value of the plane as the crying boy is, but that you are not deluded by the illusion of the plane because you can see the essence of the plane: It is made of paper, and a new one can be made easily. In fact, you know much more about paper, the essence of the paper plane; how necessary and useful it is in our daily life and what disastrous things would happen if it suddenly disappeared.

This boy isn’t frustrated because he is detached from the planes in the same way that you are, but because he doesn’t have much concern about paper planes. However, if in the future, he happens to become crazy about playing with paper planes, he is likely to become like the crying boy.

©Boo Ahm

All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway

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