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

Q349. If bubbles in a bottle of water are the true Self, as well as the bottle itself and its surroundings, how can the true Self contain the true Self? Which of these elements represents the true Self? Or is it everything?

A. The true-self is non-duality, oneness. There is nothing that is not the true-self, which is often compared to the universe. Bubbles, bottle, water and surroundings are all part of the universe. Which of them doesn’t belong to the universe? It is because you separate them from the universe by putting labels or drawing imaginary lines on them that you think that the universe contains them. In fact, it is impossible to break or tear the universe whatever we may do, because even we who try to break it are the universe itself. Even when things change or are changed into other forms whether visible or invisible, their changes are part of the universe as well.



To conclude, there is nothing that is not the true-self. The reason why you think that a bottle contains water is that you put different labels on them. I’d like to recommend that you think over the phrase ‘You should be able to put Mt. Everest into a grain of mustard seed’.

©Boo Ahm


All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway

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