Buddha, Buddhism, Enlightenment, final goal, Happiness, Meditation, Photography, Practice, root, sutras, true self, Truth, Uncategorized, Zen

Q335. If everything is empty, is it important to actually attain enlightenment? After enlightenment, can you really hold on to it? Are you then walking around as ‘an enlightened being’? In my opinion, it’s impossible to sustain that experience because it’s empty. Is it a bit like trying to hold onto quick sand?

A. Enlightenment doesn’t mean ‘void’ or ‘valueless’ but means ‘perfection’, ‘perfect freedom’, ‘perfect happiness’ or ‘unlimited possibility’.

 

Attaining enlightenment is compared to a patient’s recovering perfectly from serious illness after taking good medicine. A patient is always ill wherever he is, whatever he does. He walks around as an ill being, and drinks tea as an ill being. However, once he has recovered perfectly from illness, he is well all the time whatever he does, wherever he is. He walks around as a healthy being and drinks tea as a healthy being. He is quite different from what he was when he was ill. He never wants to return to the previous state because he remembers how terrible he felt while ill and can feel how much happier he is now than before.

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The difference between attaining enlightenment and recovering from illness is that you, once getting enlightened, can’t return to the unenlightened state, while you can lose your health again if not taking care of it. Whatever you do, wherever you are, you are always in the state of enlightenment forever without any effort to stay in, or sustain the state. So, a Sutra says that once you pass the gate of enlightenment, the gate is closed behind you forever.

 

 

©Boo Ahm

 

All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway

Buddha, Buddhism, Enlightenment, final goal, Mind, root, self, true self, Truth, Uncategorized, Zen

Q180. Student: “What is the true-self?”

A. Master: “An old well.”

Student: “What is it like?”

Master: “Its bottom is invisible.”

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Commentary:

It is too deep to see the bottom of it.

It will quench your thirst forever if you drink it.

 

©Boo Ahm

All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway

Buddha, Buddhism, Enlightenment, final goal, illusion, Koan, master, Meditation, Mind, Practice, present, Religion, root, self, true self, Truth, Uncategorized, Zen

Q173. Where do we go after we die?

A. If you are anxious to know where you will go after death, you should know where you are now. How could you expect to know your future which is invisible, not knowing the present right before your eyes? Once you know where you are standing now, you can know not just where you will go after death but also where you were before you were born. In order to know where you are, you, first of all, should know what you are. How could you know where you are, not knowing what you are?

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Your true-self is not born and does not die. It has always been and will be the same without any change forever. It never changes at all. You are eternity itself. Death and birth are only illusions. The problem is that you are not aware of this truth because you can’t see things as they are. The end of Zen meditation is to experience the truth through your body.

Do you want to know where you will go after your death?
Watch carefully what you are stepping on.

 

©Boo Ahm

All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway