Buddha, Buddhism, Enlightenment, Truth, Uncategorized, Zen

​Q299. Is faith a stepping stone for or an obstacle to enlightenment?

A. Right faith and wrong faith are to your enlightenment as good food and bad food are to your health. Right faith is said to be a cornerstone rather than a stepping stone for enlightenment, which is very essential on the way to enlightenment. Wrong faith leads you in the opposite direction from your goal.

Right faith means a combination of the belief in the truth that you are a perfect and eternal being, determination to realise the truth by all means and the confidence that you can realise the truth. In fact, right faith is the foundation of Zen and it is impossible to attain enlightenment without right faith.

Wrong faith in Zen is to believe that there is an absolute being such as Buddha, or God somewhere else and that we have to depend on him for our eternal life or happiness since we are imperfect. That is no other than idol worship, or primitive religion. This means that we are deluded by imaginary figures created by our imagination. Producing imaginary figures is an obstacle to enlightenment because removing imaginary figures is the essence of Zen.

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

Bible, Buddha, Buddhism, emptiness, empty, Enlightenment, final goal, God, illusion, Meditation, Mind, Practice, Prayer, Religion, root, self, true self, Truth, Uncategorized, Zen

Q179. You say that the Sutras are not different from the Bible. Could you interpret ‘Jesus’s walking on the water’ from the Bible in your view?

A. Water represents our illusions. ‘Walking on the water’ symbolises ‘living free from the trap of illusions’, that is, Jesus didn’t sink in illusions, which means he was not fooled by them. The scenario that they were fishing in the water is symbolising our life that we are leading in illusions. The fact that Peter started walking on the water to Jesus means that he had a strong faith in Jesus and believed the water to be an illusion, even though he didn’t realise the truth himself. The scene, where noticing the strong wind, Peter was afraid and started to sink down in the water means that he didn’t realise the wind was also an illusion because he was not enlightened.



©Boo Ahm


All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway

Bible, Buddha, Buddhism, Enlightenment, God, Happiness, love, Meditation, Mind, Practice, Prayer, Religion, true self, Truth, Uncategorized, Zen

Q178. Isn’t Zen meditation against Christianity? Do I have to cease being Christian in order to practice Zen meditation?

A. I never ask people to change their religions or cease keeping their religions, but encourage them to be better adherents of their religions than before. I tell people to realise what the object of their faith is, whether God or Buddha in order that they may be better followers of their religions.



Saying that you believe in Buddha or God without knowing what or who they are, is affronting them, not paying homage to them. Let’s suppose there is a person who always says that he loves you. He doesn’t know you, and never tries to find out where you are and what you are like. However, he always wants you to help him. Does his love for you make sense? That is blind faith and idol worship. There is an old saying, ‘Seeing is believing’. Only when you can see them can you have true faith in God or Buddha and be a genuine believer in your religion.


©Boo Ahm


All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway