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

Q208. During my practice, I sometimes feel fear, as well as joy and bliss. Is this normal? How should I react to it?

A. It’s a very common feeling that you can experience during practice. Whatever scenes and whatever emotions, good or bad, neither avoid nor follow them. They are all illusions. Just try to trace them back to the root from which they come. The purpose of Zen meditation is to realise what the root of all illusions is. It is because you are making a little progress that you have such feelings. From now on, do think of them as a gate to the final goal, your true-self, and your practice will make big progress.



Student: “Sir, I feel fear during my practice.”

Master: “That is an action of your true-self.”

Student: “You said that fear is an illusion.”

Master: “It is when you don’t know that fear is an action of your true-self that it is an illusion.”



©Boo Ahm


All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway

Enlightenment, Meditation, One, Truth, Zen

Q48. When practising at home alone, how can I know whether I am doing well or not? Can I feel any change when doing well as told?

A. In the beginning you might feel it difficult to focus on your question, but it becomes easier and easier over time and the question will be internalised sooner or later.
Once your question becomes one with you, your practice feels very easy and even interesting, and you feel as if it is going on of itself, with little effort. Whatever you do, you feel your work is not separate from your practice, when we say work and practice are one. Then you start to feel what you couldn’t feel before: see and hear what you couldn’t see and hear before. For example, you can be surprised or shocked to hear a sound from a bird, a dog, a car, a person, the wind or anything. On hearing a sound, not knowing what it means, you feel it as the sound of the truth, feeling yourself becoming one with the universe. Sometimes you may feel as if your body has disappeared or collapsed down, becoming one with the universe. You are so happy at that moment that you might burst into tears.

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The feeling doesn’t last long but your practice seems to go better and you get more confidence. Experiencing such changes, you come to grasp the words ‘see with ears and hear with eyes’. What is most important here is that you must not be attached to them, nor must you try to avoid them.
No matter how good or marvellous things are that you may experience; you must not attach yourself to them, keeping it in mind that it is also no more than an illusion. You should not be attached even to enlightenment.

All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway.