emptiness, empty, Enlightenment, final goal, Happiness, illusion, Meditation, Mind, Practice, true self, Truth, Uncategorized, Zen

Q191. What is freedom from thoughts?

A. Freedom from thoughts is not to be free from thoughts but to be free from bad thoughts. It doesn’t mean to be free from good thoughts. Bad thoughts are the thoughts whose root we don’t know, which are called illusions. Good thoughts are the thoughts whose root we do know, which are called form. For instance, when we see pictures on a screen as pictures, while watching a movie, they are called form. However, if we see them as real, not pictures, they are referred to as illusions, which are the source of our suffering.

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To see things as they are, is to see things as form, which is like seeing pictures on a screen as pictures, knowing they are not real while enjoying them. When we can see things as they are, whatever thoughts you produce are good thoughts. Then, you are said to be free from thoughts.

 

©Boo Ahm

 

All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway

 

Buddha, Buddhism, Enlightenment, final goal, Meditation, Practice, true self, Truth, Uncategorized, Zen

Q140. What should I do when I encounter a question during practice or when reading something about Zen?

A. First of all, never try to satisfy your curiosity about Zen or enlightenment by reading books. When you hit upon a question during practice or when reading books concerning Zen, don’t depend on books for the answer to your question. The books will present you with new questions, which will lead you to read more books and they will pose yet more questions. This will be endless. That is like trying to meet your hunger with pictures of food. You can not reach the final goal through reading books any more than you can satisfy your hunger by looking at pictures of food.

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When you encounter a question beyond your understanding, ask yourself the question rather than consult another book. It might take some time, but you will never fail to get the right answer from yourself. So, ancient Masters would say that reading for a day is not as valuable as practising for an hour.
Remember that Buddha attained enlightenment not by reading books but by practice. When he was asked by his disciples on his deathbed how they should practice after he passed away, he replied, “You should practice depending on the lantern of yourself and the Dharma”.

©Boo Ahm

All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway