Buddha, Buddhism, Koan, master, Photography, root, self, sutras, Truth, Uncategorized, Zen

Q357. How can I avoid going where I am going to die?

Billionaire investor Warren Buffett fielded questions at the annual shareholders meeting for his company Berkshire Hathaway. When asked about reflections and lessons learned in his long life, Warren Buffett referenced Charlie Munger, the 93-year-old vice chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, who says, “All I want to know is where I’m going to die so I’ll never go there.”

(Reference: NPR, May 6, 2017: ‘Oracle of Omaha’)


A. Student: “Can I know where I am going to die?”

Master: “Yes, you can.”

Student: “Where is it?”

Master: “It is where you are alive.”

Student: “How can I avoid going there?”

Master: “Don’t move even a step.”

Student: “Do you mean that I should stay here where I am alive now?”

Master: “Don’t stay here, either. Don’t you remember my saying that where you are going to die is where you are alive?”

Student: “Where should I stay if I should neither move a step nor stay where I am now?”

Master: “Don’t move at all, but don’t stay anywhere.”

Student: “How far is it?”

Master: “It can’t be nearer.”

Student: “Why is it so difficult to get there?”

Master: “Because you are going the wrong way.”

Student: “What is the right way?”

Master: “Get there quickly and directly.”

Student: “How can I get there quickly and directly?”

Master: “You already took the wrong way.”





Do you want to know where you don’t die?

It can’t be nearer.

The right way to there is invisible.

If it takes even a second to get there, it’s the wrong way.


©Boo Ahm


All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway

Buddha, Buddhism, emptiness, empty, Enlightenment, final goal, illusion, Meditation, Mind, Religion, root, self, true self, Truth, Uncategorized, Zen

Q217. What happens to our true-self when our bodies die? How can we, as living creatures, ever know this while we are still alive?

A. The reason why we can’t know what happens to our true-self when our bodies die, is that we can’t see the situation now, I think.

Let me ask you a question, ‘2 + 3 = (  )’. What is the suitable number for the blank? I am sure you know that the correct answer is ‘5’ because it is such a simple question. How can you work out the right answer when there is nothing visible, not even a number in the blank?



You know the right answer since you can clearly understand the visible thing, ‘2 + 3’. If you don’t understand even one of the three visible things, ‘2’, ‘+’, and ‘3’, you can’t know the appropriate number for the blank. Likewise, if you can see everything as really it is, clearly knowing all things that you see and hear, then you can perfectly perceive invisible things as clearly as if you saw them now, in the same way that you would know the right number for the blank, as clearly as if you saw the number ‘(5)’ written there.


©Boo Ahm

All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway

illusion, Koan, Meditation, Mind, Zen

Q74. What does ‘escape from the trap of birth and death’ mean?

A. Birth and death are like the right and the left. There is no fixed right side and no fixed left side. The right can be the left anytime and the other way around. Besides, when we are not conscious of right and left, there is neither the right nor the left.

Nobody can deny the fact that we are part of the whole universe. Then is the universe dead or alive? It’s neither alive nor dead. Then are we, part of it, alive or dead? Though we define a given part of universe as birth or death, actually there is no birth and no death unless we divide the universe into many with the imaginary lines we produce.


There is no birth and no death unless we are conscious of them. To conclude, to experience in person the fact that birth and death are nothing but an illusion, like the right and the left, is to escape from the trap of birth and death.

©Boo Ahm