Buddha, Buddhism, Enlightenment, final goal, illusion, Meditation, Mind, One, Photography, Practice, root, sex, sexual, true self, Truth, Uncategorized, Zen

Q 361.When we resolutely pursue our awakening, do situations arise within the illusion to deepen our practice? For example, Mara’s daughters came to tempt the Buddha, so was his attachment to sexual desire being tested? So, where we have very strong attachments, will these appear more powerfully in our life as an opportunity for us to deepen our practice?

A. In Zen we have a saying that the higher your practice is, the more powerful Mara (temptation) is. In fact, this is one of the sayings that are very often misinterpreted. Most people think that this saying means that the more your practice grows, the more powerful Mara becomes. We have this interpretation because we usually make good progress when we face a big challenge in our life as a test of our practice and try to overcome it. However, it is not true that the more your practice grows, the more powerful Mara becomes, because this would mean that as your practice became higher and higher, it would attract more and more powerful Mara.


The correct interpretation is that the greater your practice becomes, the more powerful Mara that you can surmount grows. The better your practice becomes, the more capable you become of surmounting Mara. Although you can overcome only a small Mara when your practice is weak, you can overcome much more powerful Mara when your practice develops. In other words, the richer you become, the larger and the more expensive the house that you can buy becomes. The stronger your muscles become, the heavier the weights that you can lift become.




Speaking of sexual desire, not only the Buddha but also we sentient beings have attachment to it. So, it was not that Mara’s daughters came to tempt the Buddha since his practice was of a high level, but rather that he could overcome the temptation of sexual desire which is one of the most difficult instinctual desires to surmount.


When faced with a challenge in your life, don’t think that your practice has brought it upon you, but look upon it as a test of your practice. Then your challenge will turn into your practice, and you can deepen your practice and solve your challenge at the same time. Two birds with one stone.


©Boo Ahm


All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway

Buddha, Buddhism, Enlightenment, master, Meditation, One, Photography, root, student, true self, Truth, Uncategorized, Zen

Q360.Why couldn’t Daitsus Chisho Buddha attain Buddhahood?

A. A monk asked Seijo, “Daitsu Chisho Buddha practiced Zen meditation for ten kalpas in a Meditation Hall but could not attain Buddhadood (enlightenment) because the true Self didn’t appear before him. Why was this?” Seijo said, “Your question is a very appropriate one!” The monk asked again, “Why couldn’t he attain Buddhahood in spite of such a long Zen meditation in the Meditation Hall?” Seijo replied, “Because he could not.”


Student: “Why did Seijo say, ‘Your question is a very appropriate one’ about his student’s question?”

Master: “Because the student was telling the truth.”

Student: “Why couldn’t Daitsus Chisho Buddha attain Buddhahood?”

Master: “Because he didn’t do wrong.”





All Sutras are only Mara’s talk to him who doesn’t recognise his own Dharma talk.

Even Mara’s talk is a Dharma talk to him who knows what he himself says.

It was because Daitsus Chisho Buddha couldn’t attain Buddhahood that he was admired.

He would have become a laughingstock if he had attained Buddhahood.

Water becomes ice at zero degrees, but ice becomes water at zero degrees.


©Boo Ahm


All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway