Buddha, Buddhism, emptiness, empty, illusion, Meditation, Mind, One, Photography, Practice, root, Truth, Uncategorized, Zen

Q341. How should we understand this: ‘There is no connection whatsoever to our outside circumstances and what we feel’?

A. In the realm of form there is inevitable connection between our outside circumstances and what we feel. There is a theory called the butterfly effect that shows well how we influence and are influenced: A flap of a butterfly’s wings in Brazil can set off a tornado in Texas. We can’t avoid being connected to our outside circumstances regardless of whether we are conscious of the fact or not. For example, the price hike of oil in the Middle East can cause the prices of gas and petroleum products of your country to rise, which can lead you to feel the cost of living getting more expensive. In fact, how could you ask this question without the result of connection to your outside circumstances?




However, in the realm of emptiness where you see everything as empty and feel oneness with all the universe, there is no connection between outside circumstances and what you feel, because, then, both outside circumstances and you yourself are empty and there is no division between them.


To conclude, there is connection between them in the realm of from, but not in the realm of emptiness. When we can see it in both ways, we can avoid being deluded by the illusions of connection in the realm of form.


©Boo Ahm


All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway

Enlightenment, Meditation, Mind, mindful, mindfulness, Zen

Q119. Does my mind use me or do I use my mind?

A. Does the air move the wind or does the wind move the air? The air is to the wind what your mind is to you. You and your mind are not two but one just like the air and the wind are. As the action of the air is the wind, so the action of your mind is you.

What matters here is that you think that you are separate from your mind and that you should cultivate your mind, just like taming a wild animal. Trying to cultivate your mind can make matters worse because it implies that you and your mind are separate from each other and the former tries to tame the latter. This is a very common mistake that people make because they don’t know what their mind is.


You should try to know what your mind is before trying to control it. How can you do that while not knowing what it is? The moment you realise your mind, you will feel oneness with your mind just as the wind is with the air.

©Boo Ahm

All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway

Buddha, Buddhism, Enlightenment, illusion, Meditation, Practice, true self, Truth, Zen

Q103. How can we feel oneness with our surroundings?

A. Why do you think we can’t feel oneness? The habit of labelling prevents us from feeling oneness. Labelling is drawing lines that divide one into many. When we label a thing as red, we separate it from what doesn’t look red. The label, ‘red’ is a line that divides one into what is red and what is not red. When labeling a thing as good, the label ‘good’ is a line that divides one into what is good and what is not good.


We have produced countless divisions and are so addicted to them that we have forgotten the root, the original shape that we come from. The labels or divisions are referred to as illusions in Buddhism because they are not real but imaginary. Zen meditation can be said to be a practice that makes many into one by eliminating all labels or illusions. The most common and difficult label to erase is ‘I’. In order to eliminate the ‘I’, you need to realise what you are when your body is not you. When we eliminate the imaginary line ‘I’, then we can feel oneness with our surroundings.

©Boo Ahm

All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway

Buddhism, Enlightenment, Meditation, One, Practice, Zen

Q16. How does Zen help us connect with the present moment and with people around us?

A. Why can’t we connect ourselves with the present moment and people around us now? The key problem is that we can’t see ourselves as we are, that is, we don’t know what we are. Therefore we can’t see things as they are, and we don’t know what the present moment is and what people around us are. How can you connect yourself with them when you don’t know not only yourself but also them? What you need now is to try to see yourself as you are. When you can see yourself as you are, you can see things as they are. Then you are free to connect yourself with the present moment and with people around you, or separate yourself from them.


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