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.




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

Buddha, Buddhism, emptiness, empty, Enlightenment, final goal, God, illusion, master, Meditation, Mind, Practice, root, self, sutras, true self, Truth, Uncategorized, Zen

Q244. How do I know if I am enlightened or not?

A. If you practice Zen meditation in the right way, you can experience small and big changes in the course of your practice. You can come across a moment when you feel a big unexplainable change. During this experience, feeling oneness with the whole universe, you realise simultaneously that everything is empty and you are eternity itself.



From then on, you can see things as form and emptiness at the same time. Then masters’ records, or the Sutras, read like your own stories, and you can understand them as clearly as if experiencing them through your whole body rather than understanding them with your head. Then, you have nothing to ask others since there is nothing that you don’t know. An ancient master once said, “When you are full after hearty food, you need not ask others whether or not you are full.” If you experience the changes mentioned above, you can be said to be enlightened even if you are not checked by a master.



©Boo Ahm


All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway

Buddha, Buddhism, Enlightenment, final goal, master, Meditation, Mind, Photography, Practice, Religion, root, self, student, true self, Truth, Uncategorized, Zen

Q234. Student: “How can I enjoy an eternal life without birth and death?”

A. Master: “Live in the land without light and shade.”

Student: “Where is the land?”

Master: “There.”

Student: “Where is there?”

Master: “There.”




You don’t have to dig the earth for gold with your hands full of gold.



©Boo Ahm


All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway