Buddha, Buddhism, master, Meditation, Mind, One, Photography, Practice, present, student, true self, Truth, Uncategorized, Zen

Q305. It is said that we should know the mind prior to thinking. How can we know the mind prior to thinking?

A. ‘Have to know the mind prior to a thinking’ is a very common saying in Zen circles. This makes sense. The problem is that people, not grasping the point of the saying, follow the words: They struggle to divide their mind into two, and distinguish the mind prior to thinking from the mind after thinking.



The core teaching of Buddhism is non-duality, oneness. Your mind is not dual or multiple.  You should know that the mind which is producing thinking at this moment is not different and separate from the mind prior to thinking, but it is the very mind prior to thinking that you want to know. The mind that is reading this writing at this moment is the mind you should realise. There is no other mind than this.


Student: “What is the mind prior to thinking?”

Master: “Why do you ask me where your tongue is?”



©Boo Ahm


All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway

Buddha, Buddhism, compassion, Enlightenment, illusion, Meditation, Mind, Practice, root, self, suffering, true self, Truth, Uncategorized, Zen

Q233. What’s the best way to act if I find someone’s behaviour really irritating and distracting?

A. Try to associate everything good or bad with your practice. Imagine you are being tested by a master and remember the following. Everything is neutral. Everything is non-dual. Everything is created by your discrimination. Everything is an action of your true-self. See and hear it as an action of your true-self or a Dharma talk. If you get angry, you don’t have to remember all of these things but only one of them, and try to trace your anger to its root. When you are faced with irritating and distracting behaviour, it will disappear by itself if you don’t think of it as irritating and distracting.



Student: “How can I avoid getting angry?”

Master: “Why do you try to avoid your true-self? Getting angry is none other than the action of your true-self that you are anxious to see.”



©Boo Ahm


All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway

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

Q224. Does a plant have the true-self?

A. When you are not enlightened, you are not even sure whether or not you have the true-self, because you have not realised it through experience. When you are enlightened, there is nothing that doesn’t have the true-self since you realise that everything is from the true-self and non-dual. Everything, whether living or non-living, is to the true-self as all winds, whether a breeze or a storm, are to air.



Student: “What is the true-self like?”

Master: “All you see and hear is nothing but the true-self. It is the way it is.”

Student: “Why can’t I see the true-self instead of things?”

Master: “It’s because your eyes and ears are covered with the names of things.”



©Boo Ahm


All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway

Buddha, Buddhism, Enlightenment, final goal, God, Happiness, Meditation, Mind, One, Practice, Prayer, Religion, root, true self, Truth, Uncategorized, Zen

Q203. If I find myself affixed to a single path to truth: the path of prayer and praise, or the path of kindness and love, or the path of wisdom and meditation, or any other path of a singular mode, am I going in the wrong way?

A. No, you are not wrong at all. Feel free to choose any path that appeals to you and concentrate on seeking the root from which the path comes. Whichever path you may take, you will come to take the same way after all because they are from the same root, the truth that is not dual.



We should realise the fact that all other things, as well as all paths, are from the same root even though they may look different from each other. The root is the very truth. To realise what the root is should be the final goal of all religions.



©Boo Ahm


All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway