Bible, Buddha, Buddhism, emptiness, empty, illusion, master, Meditation, Photography, Practice, Religion, student, suffering, Uncategorized, Zen

Q289. Why should we give without expecting anything in return?

A. When you give help to someone, you should not expect anything in return for it but rather forget it. If you do expect anything, then it is not help but business disguised as help. This may result in your harming yourself later.


If you remember the favour you bestowed on someone and expect something in return, you are more likely to feel disappointed, or even betrayed by his refusal when you ask him for help than you would be if you did not give him any help. You are also likely to be less grateful when you are helped because you are apt to take his help for granted, rather than thank him for it, while thinking of it as repayment of the debt he owes you for your help. In the end, your help will cause you anger or unhappiness, or deprive you of happiness. It’s like your hurting yourself.



So, ancient masters always advised people to do without doing. When you realise that everything is empty and think that your help is also empty, you can be said to help without helping. As an expedient means to teach how to do without doing, they would say, “Don’t even let your right hand know what it did, not to mention your left hand.”



©Boo Ahm


All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway

Buddha, Buddhism, Meditation, Mind, Practice, Religion, root, self, true self, Truth, Uncategorized, Zen

Q242. What would they think of people?

A. People think that a cow is very beneficial and that a snake is very harmful because the former gives us milk, sometimes working power and even gives its body as food, but the latter makes poison and can harm us with it. It is said that we should be altruistic like a cow.


A cow has no intention to sacrifice itself to help people although it produces milk and has a huge body and a lot of power.

A snake has no intention to harm people although it produces poison.

It is only because of people’s discrimination that a cow is helpful and a snake is harmful.

What would they think of people?



©Boo Ahm


All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway

Bible, Buddha, Buddhism, desire, emptiness, empty, final goal, God, illusion, Meditation, Prayer, root, true self, Truth, Uncategorized, Zen

Q211. Why doesn’t God listen to me when I cry to him for help?

A. It is not that God doesn’t listen to you, but that you are deaf to him because you are involved in listening to only your familiar noises. It is not that he hides himself from you, but that you are blind to him since you are preoccupied in keeping company only with familiar figures. He sometimes whispers and sometimes shouts. He sometimes shakes you, from time to time pushes you and once in a while pulls you. It is not God but you that are to blame for not receiving help from him. If you can cut off all images and names, his voice and figure will sound and look clear to you.


©Boo Ahm


All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway


Buddhism, Meditation, One, Practice, Religion, Truth, Zen

Q30. When we help others we get such a great feeling….is this just us patting oneself on the back, or is it because that we are all one and by helping others we truly are helping our self?

A. If you get a great feeling, as most people do, it is likely to be a kind of sense of accomplishment. We have been taught and told to help others in need since our kindergarten days. However, we usually feel that we have not helped others as much as we think we should, and we always feel guilty or burdened unconsciously, for it as though we didn’t do our homework. When we help others, we get a kind of accomplishment we would feel when no one but I in the class did the homework in our school days and, enjoying secret pride, we pat ourselves on the back just like our teachers did to us.

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Let me ask you a question. Do you happen to get such a great feeling when you feed yourself? In fact, if you had helped others because you felt oneness with them, you would have felt it natural rather than great. The Bible says, “When you help others, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand does.” However, Zen books say, “When you help others, don’t let even your right hand know what your right hand does.” This is a saying that shows the essence of Zen. You should not have even the idea that you helped someone. You should feel as natural as if you buy yourself lunch, when you serve a nice lunch to a hungry man. That is, to love your neighbours as yourself – just like the Bible says.

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