Buddha, Buddhism, final goal, illusion, Mind, Practice, true self, Truth, Uncategorized, Zen

Q181. What shall I do when I can’t concentrate on the question?

A. People who start Zen meditation can find it somewhat difficult to concentrate on the question in the beginning. You don’t have to be concerned about the matter since that is a very common phenomenon for beginners.

In fact, you should know that this is rather a good time to practise because what you are seeking is revealing itself. The root of the idea that you can’t concentrate on the question is the very thing that you should realise.



If you, while thinking that you can’t concentrate on you question, take the idea as true, you are being tricked by the illusion. You, however, are practising well if you try to find out where the idea comes from, because the purpose of our practice is to realise the root, or the source of our thoughts.

Try to focus on your question. When your concentration is very weak and it occurs to you that you don’t practice well, don’t agree with the idea but trace the thought back to the root from which it comes. Sooner or later you will find yourself absorbed in the question.



©Boo Ahm


All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway

Buddhism, Meditation, Practice, Zen

Q130. I’ve got some pain in my spine after more than ten years of meditation practice. Should I continue to practise in the same way?

A. Zen meditation is not about training our physical body; sitting upright for a long time is one of the most harmful postures to your backbone. Sitting upright can be a good posture for making strong concentration, but it is not a must. What is most essential is how to focus on your question. You can take a walk, sit leaning against something, or even lie on your back or side as long as you can make good concentration on your question. Despite having practised diligently, with good posture over a long period, you can’t be said to have practiced Zen meditation if you don’t have any change or new experience through strong concentration.


Don’t overwork yourself (your body) in the name of meditation practice.
Would you hit the horse or the cart when you want to move the cart?
You should hit the horse. Of course, sometimes you can hit the cart to make a sound that can give a spur to the horse. However, hitting the cart to the extent that it is broken, or out of order has nothing to do with your main purpose of moving the cart. That is not moving it but destroying it.
©Boo Ahm

All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway