Buddha, Buddhism, Koan, master, Photography, root, self, sutras, Truth, Uncategorized, Zen

Q357. How can I avoid going where I am going to die?

Billionaire investor Warren Buffett fielded questions at the annual shareholders meeting for his company Berkshire Hathaway. When asked about reflections and lessons learned in his long life, Warren Buffett referenced Charlie Munger, the 93-year-old vice chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, who says, “All I want to know is where I’m going to die so I’ll never go there.”

(Reference: NPR, May 6, 2017: ‘Oracle of Omaha’)


A. Student: “Can I know where I am going to die?”

Master: “Yes, you can.”

Student: “Where is it?”

Master: “It is where you are alive.”

Student: “How can I avoid going there?”

Master: “Don’t move even a step.”

Student: “Do you mean that I should stay here where I am alive now?”

Master: “Don’t stay here, either. Don’t you remember my saying that where you are going to die is where you are alive?”

Student: “Where should I stay if I should neither move a step nor stay where I am now?”

Master: “Don’t move at all, but don’t stay anywhere.”

Student: “How far is it?”

Master: “It can’t be nearer.”

Student: “Why is it so difficult to get there?”

Master: “Because you are going the wrong way.”

Student: “What is the right way?”

Master: “Get there quickly and directly.”

Student: “How can I get there quickly and directly?”

Master: “You already took the wrong way.”





Do you want to know where you don’t die?

It can’t be nearer.

The right way to there is invisible.

If it takes even a second to get there, it’s the wrong way.


©Boo Ahm


All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway

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

Q268. Why do I neither understand any words of Zen, nor feel any advance or change, even though I have practiced calming my mind for over 30 years?

A. Practising hard is very important. However, what is more important is practising in the right way. Practising hard in the wrong way can lead you nowhere, or far away from your goal. For instance, after strong determination to reach London on foot from Manchester, you decide to walk 8 hours a day without fail. If you take the right path, you will be sure to get nearer and nearer your destination with time and reach there some day. If you, however, walk hard only in your garden, or in the opposite direction, no matter how hard and long you may walk, you will still be in the same place, your garden or farther away from your destination in spite of your vigorous effort.


So, checking whether you are taking the right way is as important as practising hard. You seem to have tried in vain to calm your mind by holding it firmly while not knowing what it is. The purpose of Zen meditation is not to keep your mind still but to realise what your mind is. Try to see what your mind is from now on instead of trying to calm it. If you see it clearly, you don’t have to try to calm it because it is always calm.




Student: “Why can’t I calm down my mind?”

Master: “Because you try to calm it down.”


©Boo Ahm


All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway

Buddha, Buddhism, Enlightenment, final goal, Meditation, Mind, mindful, mindfulness, Practice, present, Truth, Uncategorized, Zen

Q139. Do you think that all kinds of meditation can lead to enlightenment like the saying, ‘All roads lead to Rome’?

A. It is true that all roads lead to Rome. However, why have most people who have tried to reach Rome failed to do so? Even if we take the right road but go in the wrong direction we will never get to Rome. Only when we take the right road in the right direction can we reach Rome. If we go in the wrong direction, then the harder we try the further we will get from Rome.



Which road we should take doesn’t matter since all roads lead to Rome. However, in order to take the right road in the right direction, we should first of all know exactly where we are. The most important and the first thing to do in order to reach your destination, is to find out where you are standing when you are lost in a strange place. When you can realise your location, then your destination, Rome will reveal itself.
©Boo Ahm

All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway