Buddha, Buddhism, final goal, Happiness, illusion, master, Meditation, Mind, Photography, self, suffering, true self, Truth, Uncategorized, Zen

Q281. Can Zen help us to deal with our physical problems?

A. The physical problems that we experience due to aging, unexpected injuries from accidents and illnesses are, if not desirable, unavoidable challenges that all of us are subject to. The key point here is how to confront them. Our mind is to our body as a driver is to a car. In the same way that how long and how well a car runs depends upon the driver, our physical health counts on our mind.



Zen helps us to see everything as it is, so that we can avoid worsening situations by overreacting to them when faced with difficulties. For instance, there is a saying that the unreasonable fear of cancer is more dangerous than cancer itself. This is because the fear of cancer, if not surmounted, can harm patients more than cancer itself can. This is true when people can’t see things as they are. Zen meditation, by enabling us to see things as they are, helps us to know how to fear what ought to be feared and how not to fear what ought not to be feared. For that reason, I think Zen can help us to deal with our physical problems.


©Boo Ahm


All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway


Buddhism, Meditation, Practice, Zen

Q130. I’ve got some pain in my spine after more than ten years of meditation practice. Should I continue to practise in the same way?

A. Zen meditation is not about training our physical body; sitting upright for a long time is one of the most harmful postures to your backbone. Sitting upright can be a good posture for making strong concentration, but it is not a must. What is most essential is how to focus on your question. You can take a walk, sit leaning against something, or even lie on your back or side as long as you can make good concentration on your question. Despite having practised diligently, with good posture over a long period, you can’t be said to have practiced Zen meditation if you don’t have any change or new experience through strong concentration.


Don’t overwork yourself (your body) in the name of meditation practice.
Would you hit the horse or the cart when you want to move the cart?
You should hit the horse. Of course, sometimes you can hit the cart to make a sound that can give a spur to the horse. However, hitting the cart to the extent that it is broken, or out of order has nothing to do with your main purpose of moving the cart. That is not moving it but destroying it.
©Boo Ahm

All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway