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

Q256. What does ‘being like a mirror’ mean?

A. An ancient master said, “Everybody has a mirror. An unenlightened person’s life is like a monkey looking in a mirror, but an enlightened person’s is like a mirror looking at a monkey.” A monkey, when looking in a mirror, mistakes its reflection as another monkey and tries in vain to do something with it. However, a mirror, when something or someone is before it, just reflects the thing or the person as it is or as they are. It neither names, evaluates nor loves or hates it or them. In other words, it never discriminates. So, ‘being like a mirror’ represents the undiscriminating mind of the enlightened.



Student: “How do you feel when you are like a mirror?”

Master: “I become a big liar if I answer your question.”


©Boo Ahm


All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway

Buddha, Buddhism, Enlightenment, final goal, master, Meditation, Mind, Practice, present, Religion, root, sexual, true self, Truth, Uncategorized, Zen

Q230. My former master gave emphasis to sitting meditation. Do I have to sit for practice?

A. Zen meditation is not sitting itself but keeping your question. Sitting meditation is not the end but one of the means. No matter how long you may sit, it is far from Zen meditation if you don’t keep your question. Even dancing or singing, however, can be a good practice if you can keep questioning what is making your body dance or sing while dancing and singing. In fact, your posture doesn’t matter, whether sitting, standing, lying or walking, if you can keep the question.




Let me introduce a dialogue between an ancient master and his student:


One day, seeing his student sitting on the rock behind the temple, the master started to grind a brick against the rock before his student.


Student: “Sir, what are you doing with the brick?”

Master: “I am making a mirror out of a brick.”

Student: “How is it possible to make a mirror by grinding a brick?”

Master: “What are you doing now?”

Student: “I am trying to attain enlightenment.”

Master: “How is it possible to attain enlightenment by sitting?”

Student: “What shall I do then?”

Master: “Which is right, to hit the horse or hit the cart in order to move the load?”


©Boo Ahm


All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway