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Q344. What do you think of Easter in Christianity?

A. Easter is a Christian holiday when Christians remember the death of Jesus and his return to life. The death of Jesus means removing illusions, and his return to life means the revealing of the true-self. So, Easter is a great lesson that reminds us of the Christian teaching that we should remove illusions and see the true-self, the true Jesus.

The Bible describes well how the true-Jesus exists in Luke 24:15, 16: ‘As they walked and discussed, Jesus himself drew near and walked along with them; they saw him, but somehow did not recognise him.’ He is always with us wherever we are. He is with you even at this moment when you are reading this writing. The problem is that we don’t recognise him, because we are deluded by illusions. The purpose of Christianity is to recognise him. To recognise him is to attain eternal life in Christianity, or enlightenment in Buddhism.


True Easter is not a specific day of the year but the day when we can recognise the true-Jesus. Following the literal meaning is being deluded by illusions and far from the true teaching of Christ.

Student: “How can I see the true Jesus?”

Master: “Thank you for showing the true Jesus.”

©Boo Ahm


All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway

Buddha, Buddhism, Enlightenment, final goal, illusion, master, meditaion, Mind, mindful, Photography, Practice, Religion, root, student, sutras, true self, Truth, Uncategorized, Zen

Q342. “Why can’t I feel the same way as they did?”

A. The wind was blowing a temple flag, and two monks were arguing about the flag. One said, “The flag is moving.” The other said, “The wind is moving.” They could not agree, no matter how hard they debated. Then, the sixth patriarch, Huineng, happening to come by and overhearing this, said, “Not the wind, not the flag. It is the mind that is moving!” The two monks were struck with awe.


Student: “The two monks were struck with awe by the saying ‘The wind is moving’. Why can’t I feel the same way as they did?”

Master: “Because you think that he said ‘The mind is moving'”

Student: “What did he say?”

Master: “The mind is moving.”





Don’t regard an order to get out of a house as an invitation to go into another house.

The wise never enter any other house after getting out of a house.

You should stand alone in a barren field without any shelter to enter.

©Boo Ahm


All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway

Bible, illusion, love, meditaion, Photography, Religion, root, true self, Truth, Uncategorized, Zen

Q340. In the Bible, Proverbs 13:20 it says “You are the company that you keep.” What is this warning about?

A. If you are the company you keep, the company you keep is you. In other words, you are one with the company you keep. Whoever you keep as company, your company is you. Whoever you meet, a wise man, foolish man, a thief, a robber or an imposter, he is you. If he is a thief, he is a thief because you think he is a thief. If he is a wise man, he is a wise man because you think so. In other words, seeing a person as a thief means having an illusion of a thief in your mind.



This scripture means, therefore, that you should not discriminate when you meet people but see them as you or one with you. When you become one with others and other things, you can love your neighbours as yourself.


©Boo Ahm


All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway

Buddha, Buddhism, emptiness, empty, Enlightenment, final goal, Koan, master, meditaion, Photography, root, self, student, true self, Truth, Uncategorized, Zen

Q300. Student: “What is the true self like?”

A. Master: “It is not the shape of male or female.”




Don’t measure others by your yardstick.

It is the shape of male and female.



©Boo Ahm


All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathawa

Buddha, Buddhism, Enlightenment, final goal, illusion, master, meditaion, Mind, Photography, Practice, root, self, student, Truth, Uncategorized, Zen

Q269. Should I stop reading books on Zen meditation as told by masters?

A. You don’t have to stop reading books, but should not entirely depend on books for grasping the core meaning of the books. Think of reading books on Zen as listening to masters’ dharma talks. When you come across what seems to make no sense in reading books, try to find out the meaning through practice, not by reading other books.




To consult other books to understand problems from a book is like eating more food to digest some undigested food. When some undigested food remains in your stomach, you should try to digest it by taking digestive medicine, rather than eat other food. The digestive medicine means to practice.

Undigested knowledge is to your enlightenment as undigested food is to your body. Just as what we need is not more food but digestive medicine when we suffer from indigestion, so it is not more books but practice that we need for our undigested knowledge.


©Boo Ahm


All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway

Buddha, Buddhism, emptiness, empty, Enlightenment, final goal, illusion, Koan, master, meditaion, Mind, Photography, Practice, root, self, student, true self, Truth, Uncategorized, Zen

Q267. Student: “What is the matter when the gate won’t open, however hard I try to open it?”

A. Master: “It’s already open”




If you stick to ‘open’, it’s already locked.



©Boo Ahm


All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway

Happiness, illusion, master, meditaion, Mind, mindful, mindfulness, now, Practice, Truth, Uncategorized, Zen

Q155. Why did masters say, “Don’t try to do good things”?

A. When you have a stick, can you remove either end of it? Even if you cut off one end of it, there will still remain two ends even though the stick becomes a little shorter. No matter how many times you may cut off either end of it, you will still have both ends and find that the middle part becomes the end. The fact is that you can’t avoid having one end as long as you have the other end. This shows that there is no fixed end and that any part can be an end according to circumstances.



When we have an intention to do something good, we can’t avoid having an idea of something bad because there can’t be a good thing without a bad thing. As long as we have an intention to do good things, we can’t avoid discriminating things. Discriminating things is against the purpose of Zen meditation.
So masters said “Don’t try to do good things” in order to advise their students not to have discriminating minds.

©Boo Ahm

All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway

Bible, Buddha, Buddhism, Enlightenment, final goal, God, Happiness, meditaion, Mind, mindful, mindfulness, Practice, Prayer, Religion, root, Uncategorized, Zen

Q154. How do you think Zen meditation can help Christians to overcome original sin?

A. According to the Bible, man can’t have eternal happiness or find salvation because of the original sin he committed in the beginning of time. The sin was eating the fruit of the tree of life, and as a result, our mind became discriminating, which prevents us from seeing God. The Bible says that we can be forgiven for the sin and find salvation only by believing in God.

To find salvation means to return to the original state prior to eating the fruit. And to believe in God means to see God, just as the old saying goes, ‘Seeing is believing’. Seeing God is possible by removing the discriminating mind.


The Sutras say that whatever good things we may do, we can’t enjoy eternal happiness without life and death, even though we can enjoy temporary happiness, unless we realise the true-self by removing the discriminating mind.

The core teachings of Christianity and Buddhism are the same in that we can enjoy eternal happiness by eliminating the discriminating mind. Zen meditation is a practice to remove the discriminating mind.

So, to help Christians to remove their discriminating mind is to help them to overcome original sin.

Enlightenment, final goal, meditaion, true self, Truth, Zen

Q111. What are you when your body is not you?

A. Come again tomorrow.
I can’t tell you the answer today because I am not well today.


Come again tomorrow?
Don’t be fooled any more by the master.
His answer would be the same even if you were to come to him hundreds of times again.
If I were given the answer, I would say to him, “I am not asking him who is not well.”

©Boo Ahm

All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway

final goal, meditaion, root, self, true self, Zen

Q110. What shall I do when I have hatred for my friend for no particular reason?

A. Loving someone and hating someone, or loving someone today and hating him tomorrow, and the other way around is the way we live our lives. You don’t have to be worried about the fact that you hate your friend. The key point here is that you don’t know the root of the hatred you have for your friend. Saying you hate your friend, you actually don’t know who it is that hates your friend and who your friend is because you don’t know what you are. In brief, you don’t know who hates whom.


Either trace back your hatred of your friend to its root, or ask yourself what makes your body hate him, instead of repressing emotion. When reaching the root, that is finding the answer to the question, you will realise all emotions you feel are only illusions and then you can accept everything you experience like seeing a movie.

©Boo Ahm

All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway