Buddha, Buddhism, Enlightenment, final goal, Happiness, master, Meditation, Mind, One, Photography, Practice, root, self, student, true self, Truth, Uncategorized, Zen

Q363. Why did the pagan say that Buddha had cleared away the clouds of his mind and had made him enter into awakening?

A. A pagan asked Buddha, “Without words, without silence, will you tell me the true Self?” Buddha kept silent. The pagan bowed and thanked the Buddha, saying, “With compassion you have cleared away the clouds of my mind and have made me enter into awakening.” After he left, Ananda asked the Buddha what he had attained. The Buddha said, “A good horse runs even at a shadow of the whip.”

 

Student: “The pagan asked Buddha to tell him the true Self without words and without silence, but Buddha kept silent. Why did the pagan say that Buddha had cleared away the clouds of his mind and had made him enter into awakening?”

Master: “It is because you are deaf that you say that Buddha kept silent. What Buddha expounded sounded so loud that it broke the pagan’s eardrums.”

Student: “What is the shadow of the whip that Buddha mentioned when he was asked by Ananda?”

Master: “You are not a good horse.”

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Commentary:

The pagan and Ananda took the same medicine.

The former became well thanks to the medicine,

but the latter is giving dry coughs with it caught in his throat.

Why don’t you hear what Buddha expounded while hearing what the pagan said?

Why don’t you see the shadow of the whip that the pagan saw?

You are not only deaf but also blind.

 

©Boo Ahm

 

All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway

Buddha, Buddhism, emptiness, empty, Enlightenment, final goal, illusion, Meditation, Photography, Practice, suffering, true self, Truth, Uncategorized, Zen

Q347. My thoughts of doom and the resultant feelings of fear or terror have become almost constant. I am trying to overcome it in many ways, but the fear is too strong to overcome. What more can I do? Please tell me there’s nothing to fear.

A You are showing a good example of being deluded by illusions. You say that you are overwhelmed by the fear of doom. What is doom? The key problem here is that you don’t know what doom is even while suffering from the fear of it. You are being harassed by something imaginary drawn by you. Being pleased or troubled with imaginary figures, like this, is said to be being deluded by illusions, which can be compared to a dream. You are dreaming of being chased by the fear of doom. In fact, not only you but also all of us are dreaming in that we are being deluded by illusions. The reason why others don’t have such feelings of fear as yours is that each of us is dreaming a different dream. The best way to overcome the fear is to wake up from your dream, that is, to realise what you fear is.

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You seem likely to become a good Zen student because curiosity about the doom of death and illness was the starting point of Buddhism. Buddha, when young, had such strong curiosity concerning the doom of birth, ageing, illness and death that he gave up even his succession to the throne. His strong curiosity led him to enlightenment, which is to know clearly what the essence of these is. After enlightenment, he said that our life is like a dream and that we should wake up from the dream in order to attain eternal happiness.

 

What matters is not for me to tell you that there is nothing to fear but for you to realise it in person. I’d like to tell you to wake up from your nightmare instead of telling you that there is nothing to fear.

©Boo Ahm

 

All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway

Buddha, Buddhism, Enlightenment, final goal, Happiness, illusion, Meditation, Mind, Practice, Religion, true self, Truth, Uncategorized, Zen

Q188. How can we be reborn in the Pure Land?

A. Many people think that the Pure Land is a very special, heavenly place somewhere else other than the Earth where ardent believers will be reborn after death. In fact, the Pure Land is where you can go only when alive, not after death.

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The Pure Land symbolises our mind, our true-self free from illusions. Now we can be said to be living in an impure land in that our mind, the Pure Land, seems to be an impure land covered with illusions because of our discrimination.   To be reborn in the Pure Land doesn’t mean to be reborn somewhere else other than the Earth, but to realise your true-self or attain enlightenment. That is to realise the truth that we are already living in the Pure Land by removing illusions. Attaining enlightenment is compared to a rebirth since, after enlightenment, we start to live a different life from the life we have lived so far, free from birth and death.

 

Student: “Where is the Pure Land?”

Master: “You will be in an impure land the moment you seek it.”

 

©Boo Ahm

 

All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway