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.

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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, emptiness, empty, illusion, Meditation, Mind, One, Photography, Practice, root, Truth, Uncategorized, Zen

Q341. How should we understand this: ‘There is no connection whatsoever to our outside circumstances and what we feel’?

A. In the realm of form there is inevitable connection between our outside circumstances and what we feel. There is a theory called the butterfly effect that shows well how we influence and are influenced: A flap of a butterfly’s wings in Brazil can set off a tornado in Texas. We can’t avoid being connected to our outside circumstances regardless of whether we are conscious of the fact or not. For example, the price hike of oil in the Middle East can cause the prices of gas and petroleum products of your country to rise, which can lead you to feel the cost of living getting more expensive. In fact, how could you ask this question without the result of connection to your outside circumstances?

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However, in the realm of emptiness where you see everything as empty and feel oneness with all the universe, there is no connection between outside circumstances and what you feel, because, then, both outside circumstances and you yourself are empty and there is no division between them.

 

To conclude, there is connection between them in the realm of from, but not in the realm of emptiness. When we can see it in both ways, we can avoid being deluded by the illusions of connection in the realm of form.

 

©Boo Ahm

 

All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway

Buddha, Buddhism, emptiness, empty, master, Meditation, Photography, Practice, root, self, student, true self, Truth, Uncategorized, Zen

Q322. The main idea of Buddhism is ‘non-I’. What on earth are we if there is no ‘I’?

A. Saying that there is no ‘I’ means not that there is no ‘I’, but that there is nothing specific worth mentioning as ‘I’. However, if there were no your ‘I’, what would get your body to read this writing now?

 

In fact, ‘non-I’ is another expression of the fact that everything is empty and one. When everything is empty, everything is oneness as emptiness. When everything including you is oneness, oneness is part of you and you are part of oneness. When everything including you is oneness, there is nothing else but oneness. Then oneness is all and nothing else. This means that all is you and there is nothing else that is not you since oneness is you. When there is nothing else but you, all is you and you are all.

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In order for you to become you, there must be someone or something else that is not you that you can be discriminated from. When all is you and you are all, you are not you any more, just as red is not red any more when all is red. So ‘non-I’ means not that there is no ‘I’ at all but that there is only ‘I’. So, Buddha said, “In the whole universe, only I exist” when he was born.

 

Student: “What happens when there is no ‘I’?”

Master: “All becomes you.”

 

©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.

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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, emptiness, empty, Enlightenment, final goal, Koan, master, Meditation, Photography, Practice, student, true self, Truth, Uncategorized, Zen

Q291. Student: “How can I become one with the universe?”

A. Master: “You should melt everything and make it you.”

Student: “How can I do it?”

Master: “Make yourself melt into air.”

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Commentary:

When there is no ‘I’, there is nothing that is not ‘I’.

 

©Boo Ahm

 

All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway

Bible, Buddha, Buddhism, empty, Enlightenment, final goal, illusion, Koan, Meditation, One, Photography, Practice, Religion, root, self, true self, Truth, Uncategorized, Zen

Q283. Sometimes you say that we should remove all illusions, but sometimes you say there is nothing that is not the true-self. How can this be?

A. It’s true that everything is the true-self and there is nothing that is not the true-self. However, it is also true that everything is an illusion and there is nothing that is not an illusion. To remove illusions doesn’t mean to detach illusions from the true-self and throw them away to a remote place. If you happen to think this way, you are going in the opposite direction away from your goal because you separate illusions from the true-self and make them two.

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As we have mentioned many times, the purpose of Zen meditation is to realise oneness or non-duality. Jesus also said, “When you make the two one, and when you make the inside like the outside and the outside like the inside, and the above like the below, and when you make the male and the female one and the same, so that the male is not male nor the female female; then will you enter the kingdom.” To remove illusions means to realise the truth that all illusions are the true-self and both of them are one. Therefore, when we are not enlightened, that is, when we can’t see things as they are, everything is an illusion, but when we are enlightened, there is nothing that is not the true-self.

 

©Boo Ahm

 

All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway

Bible, Buddha, Buddhism, compassion, Enlightenment, final goal, love, master, Meditation, Photography, Practice, Religion, root, self, student, true self, Truth, Uncategorized, Zen

Q280. Why is Zen meditation selfish?

A. What makes you think Zen meditation is selfish? Do you happen to think so because Zen doesn’t emphasise compassion during the teaching, that is to say, that we should help the poor or those in trouble? Zen expresses the same message in a different way.

 

Zen teaches people that we are one with the poor and the weak, that is, they are part of us and we are part of them by getting people to realise the truth that we are oneness with all the universe, rather than say that we should help them.

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Which is the more appealing and more persuasive of the following two scenarios, “This boy lost his parents and has no food to eat and no shelter to live in. We should help him because he is likely to become a criminal and harm our society in the future if he is left uncared for now” or “Take a close look at this boy. This is part of you.”? This is what the Biblical scripture, ‘Love your neighbour as yourself’ means.

 

 

©Boo Ahm

 

All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway

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

Q252. Student: “What is Buddha?”

A. Master: “It’s in the Buddha hall.”

Student: “Isn’t it just a statue made of clay?”

Master: “Yes, it is.”

Student: “What is Buddha then?”

Master: “It’s in the Buddha hall.”

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Commentary:

It is a top secret.

Keep away all your acquaintances when looking and listening.

Look and listen by yourself.

 

©Boo Ahm

 

All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway

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

Q250. What is the true-self like?

A. It has neither a figure nor a root, but it is active all the time without staying anywhere. When you go, it makes your body go, when you sit down, it makes your body sit down, and whatever you do, speaking or keeping silent, it makes your body do it.

 

Although it moves in countless ways, it has no fixed rule. The harder you look for it, the farther away it is, and the harder you try to obtain it, the more you forsake it. It is with you at this moment as usual, and you can’t separate from it even for a second. The problem is that you don’t recognise it. So, it is called an open secret.

 

What is it that is making your body read this writing now? Once you realise what on earth it is and what it is like, you will have completed your practice.

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Student: “What is the true-self?”

Master: “Pardon?”

Student: “What is the true-self?”

Master: “Nothing else other than it.”

 

©Boo Ahm

 

All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway

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

Q249. Student: “What am I when my body is not me?”

A. Master: “It is not difficult to say, but I wonder if you will believe what I say.”

Student: “Of course, I will believe what you say.”

Master: “I am your son.”

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Commentary:

Master’s answer breaks all the world into pieces.

Who is master’s mother when he is older than his father?

 

©Boo Ahm

 

All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway