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

Buddha, Buddhism, Enlightenment, God, Koan, Meditation, Mind, One, Practice, Religion, Truth, Zen

Q39. Could you describe what we are when our body is not us?

A. In fact it is beyond description and can’t be reached through words, but it is not separate from words and can’t be explained without words. When reading a text, or hearing a talk about it, you should take it as more than words.

It is called the truth, the mind, the true nature, the true self, or the Buddha in Buddhism. In Christianity, it is referred to as the truth, the spirit in you, the word, the lord, or God – as John 8:32 says, “Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.”
Everything, whether living or non-living, or whether saints or sentient beings, belongs to nothing but the truth. The truth is neither blue nor yellow, and has neither any frame nor any form. It is neither existing nor non-existent, and since it is boundless like the empty air, not only does it have no inside and no outside but also it can’t be measured. It is with us all the time, and we can’t escape it even for a moment.

All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway.

Buddhism, Enlightenment, Mind, Truth, Zen

Q26. How can I attain a mind that abides nowhere?

A. Mind is boundless and formless. It is neither lacking nor surplus.
Don’t exert yourself to attain mind.
It is neither attainable, nor disposable.
If you were to attain mind, it would not be mind any more.
Don’t strive to clean or empty your mind.
That is to stain your mind.

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All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway.