Buddha, Buddhism, Enlightenment, final goal, Meditation, Photography, Practice, root, self, Truth, Uncategorized, Zen

Q355. If everything is the true-self, even birds, are they nearer to enlightenment than humans because they kill only for food, not for pleasure?

A. In fact, whether we do good conduct or bad conduct is one thing and attaining enlightenment is another. You can make good karma by doing good conduct, but you can’t attain enlightenment by doing it. In other words, you might enjoy a temporarily better life as a result of good conduct, but you can’t get eternal happiness, or solve the matter of life and death.

According to the Sutras, one of Buddha’s students attained enlightenment although he had killed 99 people before becoming Buddha’s student.

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Doing good conduct, or making good karma, is compared to banking money little by little, and attaining enlightenment is likened to attaining eternal life and inexhaustible wealth. However how much money you may put aside in the bank, the money will run out some day. Above all, your wealth, no matter how great it is, becomes of no use to you once you pass away.

 

However, we become eternity itself by transcending life and death through enlightenment, which is called eternal life in Christianity. Christianity also says that we can’t enter heaven unless we believe in God, no matter how much good conduct we may do. ‘Believe in God’ here means to see God, which means to see everything as it is. This is to attain enlightenment in Buddhism.

 

Student: “Can I attain enlightenment by doing good things?”

Master: “No, not at all.”

Student: “Should I do bad things?”

Master: “Of course not.”

Student: “Then, what shall I do?”

Master: “Do nothing.”

Student: “How can we live without doing anything?”

Master: “Do good things, but don’t let even your right hand know what it does.”

 

©Boo Ahm

 

All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway

Bible, Buddha, Buddhism, Enlightenment, final goal, God, illusion, master, Meditation, Mind, Practice, Prayer, Religion, root, self, student, true self, Truth, Uncategorized, Zen

Q248. In the Bible, Matthew 5:48 it says, “You must be perfect – just as your Father in heaven is perfect.” How could we be perfect like God?

A. In fact, we have always been and will be perfect forever, and there is nothing imperfect. ‘Perfect’ and ‘imperfect’ are all the products of our discrimination. How could there be ‘good’ and ‘bad’, or ‘beautiful’ and ‘ugly’, without discrimination? It is because of our discrimination that all things including us look imperfect.

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To be perfect just as your Father in heaven is, means to realise the truth that you are perfect and not to turn ‘imperfect you’ into ‘perfect you’. In order to realise the truth, we must cease to discriminate, or remove illusions, and see everything as it is. Matthew 5:45 says, “He makes his sun shine on bad and good people alike, and gives rain to those who do good and to those who do evil.” This is showing that God also doesn’t discriminate between good and bad.

 

Student: “How can I be perfect like Buddha?”

Master: “Don’t stain yourself with ‘perfect’.”

 

 

©Boo Ahm

 

All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway

Buddha, Buddhism, Enlightenment, final goal, Meditation, Mind, Practice, root, self, student, Truth, Uncategorized, Zen

Q201. Student: “What is the true-self?”

A. Master: “Do good things and don’t do bad things.”

Student: “Even a five-year-old child could know it.”

Master: “Even though a five-year-old child can say it,

even an eighty-year-old man can’t easily put it into practice.”

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Commentary:

Don’t try to distinguish good things from bad things, but try to realise what their root is.

 

 

©Boo Ahm

 

All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway

emptiness, empty, Enlightenment, final goal, Happiness, illusion, Meditation, Mind, Practice, true self, Truth, Uncategorized, Zen

Q191. What is freedom from thoughts?

A. Freedom from thoughts is not to be free from thoughts but to be free from bad thoughts. It doesn’t mean to be free from good thoughts. Bad thoughts are the thoughts whose root we don’t know, which are called illusions. Good thoughts are the thoughts whose root we do know, which are called form. For instance, when we see pictures on a screen as pictures, while watching a movie, they are called form. However, if we see them as real, not pictures, they are referred to as illusions, which are the source of our suffering.

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To see things as they are, is to see things as form, which is like seeing pictures on a screen as pictures, knowing they are not real while enjoying them. When we can see things as they are, whatever thoughts you produce are good thoughts. Then, you are said to be free from thoughts.

 

©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.

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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

Buddhism, Enlightenment, final goal, illusion, Meditation, Mind, root, self, true self, Truth, Zen

Q124. I always struggle with continuous thoughts during meditation. Will they disappear with time?

A. No, they won’t disappear in that way. You can’t win the fight.
When a thought arises, you can’t lock it in even with thousands of locks, can’t tie it up even with thousands of ropes, or destroy it even with a heavy hammer.

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Don’t distinguish it as either good or bad, and also don’t try to stop it. Distinguishing between good and bad is adding one more thought to the existing thoughts, and trying to stop them is strengthening them. Fighting with thoughts is like fighting with shadows as long as you don’t realise the root. Leave them alone and just trace them back to their root. All the various thoughts are from the same root. The moment you realise the root of the thoughts, they will lose their power and change from your enemy to your servant.

©Boo Ahm

All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway