Buddha, Buddhism, emptiness, empty, master, Meditation, One, Photography, root, self, suffering, true self, Truth, Uncategorized, Zen

Q359. Is death the end of life or a new start?

A. It is both at the same time. Is this moment the end of your past life or the start of your future? Whether it is the starting line or the finishing line depends on your view. There is no beginning without end and no end without beginning, which is like left and right in that there is no left without right and no right without left. In fact, beginning and end, and right and left are all imaginary labels produced by you, and they can be changed anytime according to your perspective.


Ask yourself what death is instead of whether it is the end or a new start. Ask yourself whether you are alive or dead. If you are alive now, were you alive or dead 500 years ago before your birth? If you had been dead then, it would mean that something dead became a living thing like you. If you had been nothing then, it would mean that nothing became something. Does it make sense? Furthermore, no one can deny the truth that we are part of the universe. And the universe is neither alive nor dead. It means that we are not dead and not alive as well.


If there is no beginning and no end, death is neither beginning nor end. When there is no start and no end, birth is neither start nor end, either. In brief, birth and death are also imaginary labels like start and end.


Student: “Is death the end of life or a new start?”

Master: “Are you right or left?”


©Boo Ahm


All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway

Buddha, Buddhism, Enlightenment, final goal, Happiness, illusion, master, Meditation, Mind, One, root, self, student, true self, Truth, Uncategorized, Zen

Q200. How can I discard ignorance and attain wisdom?

A. Don’t try in vain to abandon one and attain the other. It’s like trying to discard the left and attain only the right. In fact, both are one when you know them. They only look separate and different from each other when you don’t know them. Try to realise what the ignorance is that you think you have, rather than striving to attain the wisdom you think you don’t have. Wisdom is none other than to know what ignorance is. Becoming Buddha is realising what a sentient being is.



Student: “What shall I do when I have a thief in my house?”

Master: “Once you know him, he is not an enemy any longer.”



©Boo Ahm


All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway

Buddha, Buddhism, Enlightenment, final goal, illusion, Meditation, Mind, Practice, true self, Truth, Uncategorized, Zen

Q185. How can I be on the middle path?

A. The best way to be in the middle is to eliminate either of both extremes. If you remove either of them, the other disappears by itself, because they exist relying on each other. The right, for example, can’t exist without the left, and the left can’t exist without the right. There can’t be wrong without right and the other way around.


However, don’t make the mistake of wasting your efforts to remove either of them by force. You can never succeed in removing them in that way because they are illusionary and not real. The only way to remove them is to realise the truth that the extremes are not real things but just illusions created by your discrimination. When we don’t think of the right and the left, there is no right side and no left side. Only when we fix one side as the left does the opposite side become the right. Therefore, once you realise that one extreme is not real but illusionary, the other extreme disappears by itself.


©Boo Ahm

All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway

Buddha, Buddhism, God, illusion, Meditation, Practice, Religion, Truth, Zen

Q133. Do heaven and hell really exist?

A. Heaven is to hell what right is to left. As there is no left without the right and no right without the left, so there is no hell without heaven and no heaven without hell. In fact there is no fixed right or left, and whether something is the right or the left depends on beholder’s view. What is the right to someone can be the left to someone else. Likewise, what is heaven to someone can be hell to someone else. What is hell today can be heaven tomorrow and the other way around.


As long as we believe that heaven is one thing and hell is another, we are tricked by illusions of heaven and hell. What we pursue is not to avoid hell and go to heaven, but to realise the fact that both of them are illusions. That is called the middle path without extremes; no good and bad nor right and wrong.

©Boo Ahm

All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway