Buddha, Buddhism, emptiness, empty, Enlightenment, final goal, Happiness, illusion, Meditation, Mind, Photography, Practice, root, true self, Truth, Uncategorized, Zen

Q275. I am a little frightened that I may fall into emptiness.

A. It may be due to the impression that comes from the stereotype of the word ’emptiness’ that you have such a feeling. Some people are worried that if they fall into emptiness, everybody they love comes to look like a shadow or a ghost, and that they may lose the feeling of love and connection they have shared with them so far. They may also think that everything will seem to be so valueless and useless because it looks empty to them. In the end, they are afraid that they are likely to become pessimistic.

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Don’t misunderstand emptiness. The word ’emptiness’ used in Zen doesn’t mean what you have imagined so far. Its meaning is much closer to freedom than to void in that we free ourselves from all the yokes of life. Having fear of falling into emptiness is like having fear of falling into great eternal happiness because you have never experienced such happiness. Emptiness is where you are from and are to return to, so that you may obtain eternal happiness. Don’t be afraid to face this unknown happiness.

 

 

©Boo Ahm

 

All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway

emptiness, empty, Enlightenment, final goal, Happiness, illusion, Meditation, Mind, Practice, true self, Truth, Uncategorized, Zen

Q191. What is freedom from thoughts?

A. Freedom from thoughts is not to be free from thoughts but to be free from bad thoughts. It doesn’t mean to be free from good thoughts. Bad thoughts are the thoughts whose root we don’t know, which are called illusions. Good thoughts are the thoughts whose root we do know, which are called form. For instance, when we see pictures on a screen as pictures, while watching a movie, they are called form. However, if we see them as real, not pictures, they are referred to as illusions, which are the source of our suffering.

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To see things as they are, is to see things as form, which is like seeing pictures on a screen as pictures, knowing they are not real while enjoying them. When we can see things as they are, whatever thoughts you produce are good thoughts. Then, you are said to be free from thoughts.

 

©Boo Ahm

 

All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway