Buddha, Buddhism, desire, emptiness, empty, Enlightenment, final goal, master, Meditation, Photography, root, self, true self, Truth, Uncategorized, Zen

Q266. How can I be free from all past karma if causation is inevitable?

A. ‘Cause and effect’ is a rule for explaining the world of form. No one can escape it. Buddha, while alive, said that he himself couldn’t avoid it as well as long as living in the world of form. To become free from karma is not to remove, or do away with it, but to realise that karma is empty.

Let’s suppose there is a golden cup. It can be dented, or crushed when dropped from a height, or hit on a hard thing. It is dented in just the same way regardless of whether a foolish man drops it or Buddha does. This is called karma, or cause and effect.

To be free from karma is not to remove it, but to change our view of it.

People who see the cup only as a cup, without realising that its essence is gold, will get upset and disappointed when the cup loses its form of a cup, or is disfigured by any number of causes such as dropping or hitting it. Thinking that all of its value is gone, they are sometimes so frustrated that they may even give it up.


However, those who are aware that the cup is made of gold know that the essence and its intrinsic value never change regardless of what form it takes on. They are not swayed by the change of the form of it because they know that the essence of the cup is not the form of a cup but gold itself, and that there is no change at all in the essence. To realise the emptiness of things and not to be swayed by the change of them is said to be freedom from karma.


©Boo Ahm


All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway

Buddha, Buddhism, Enlightenment, final goal, Koan, master, Meditation, student, Truth, Uncategorized, Zen

Q141. Student: “Where are you when your body is not you?”

A. Master: (Pointing to the tea cup before him) “It’s in the cup.”
Student: (After looking very closely into the cup.) “There is nothing in it, Sir!”
Master: (Looking into the cup) “It’s here.”


Master is showing it clearly.
Why is the student jumping into the cup?
Where is ‘here’?
©Boo Ahm

All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway

Buddha, Buddhism, Enlightenment, final goal, illusion, meditaion, Meditation, self, true self, Truth, Zen

Q109. If everything is the true-self, can I say that I am looking at my true-self while looking at this cup?

A. No, you can’t, because you are looking at a cup. As long as you see a cup as a cup, you can’t say that you see your true-self. Seeing a cup as a cup means seeing a car as a car and a person as a person, which means that all the labels or lines dividing one into many still remain. Your eyes, it is said, are covered with illusions or you are an open-eyed blind man.


The Buddha said, “If you realise that form is not form, you will see your true-self.”
Being able to see the cup as non-cup means that a car is not a car, a person is not a person any more to you and you are not you because all illusions have disappeared. The disappearance of all illusions means the disappearance of the lines that divide one into many. When all the lines disappear, many become one. There is no seer and no seen and no speaker and no listener in the situation where a cup is not a cup. It can be said that the seer is one with the seen, and speaker is one with the listener. There is nothing to mention, and speech is not speech any more here. Then everything, it is said, is the true-self. To experience this through your body in person is to realise the true-self.
©Boo Ahm

All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway