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

Q265. What am I when my body is not me?

A. Remove all the labels attached to you by others. Remove all words that can describe your identity. Let’s suppose you are a sixty-year-old British man named John who is living in London. When you say that you were born in London sixty years ago, what is left when all the labels are removed? ‘You’ or ‘I’, ‘were born’, ‘in London’, ‘sixty’, ‘years’ and ‘ago’ all are labels. You still have a lot of labels to represent your identity such as your parents, your job, your school records and so on. You think that you are human being, which is also an artificially coined label. Remove all artificial labels and see what is left, whatever it is. That’s it. What is it?

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Master: “What is left now?”

Student: “Nothing is left.”

Master: “If nothing were left, what would be saying, ‘Nothing is left’?”

 

©Boo Ahm

 

All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway

Buddha, Buddhism, emptiness, empty, Enlightenment, final goal, illusion, master, Meditation, Mind, One, Practice, Religion, root, true self, Truth, Uncategorized, Zen

Q262. The phrase ‘Striving to reach London while staying in London’ doesn’t make any sense to me. What does it mean?

A. The purpose of Zen meditation is to experience emptiness in person. London is a symbol of emptiness and reaching London means to experience emptiness. It means, in other words, that we are trying to experience emptiness while being emptiness itself. Reaching emptiness is realising the truth that we ourselves are emptiness, not reaching it by moving towards it.

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In order to see whether you grasp these words clearly, ask yourself the following question.

 

Student: “How do you feel when you realise emptiness?”

Master: “I’ll be wrong if I answer your question.”

 

 

©Boo Ahm

 

All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway