Buddha, Buddhism, emptiness, empty, Enlightenment, final goal, illusion, Meditation, moment, Photography, root, self, true self, Truth, Uncategorized, Zen

Q325. At the moment I die or when I fall asleep, does the world cease to exist?

A. Who, or what, dies or falls asleep when you die or sleep? When everything is empty, which of ‘I’, ‘death’, ‘sleep’ and ‘the world’ is not empty? Saying that everything is empty means that all of them are empty, too.

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However, when your sleep is not empty, the places such as your bed, your room et cetera where you sleep are not empty, either. When they are not empty, things and people related to the places are also not empty. When the things and people related to the places are not empty, other things and people related to these things and these people are also not empty. If we keep expanding in this way, we reach the conclusion that if your sleep is not empty, all the world is not empty, either. So, ancient masters would say that when even a grain of dust is not empty but real, all the world is real.

 

Therefore, saying that the world is empty but your sleep isn’t makes no sense at all. When your sleep is not empty but real, the world is also real. When your sleep is empty, the world is empty. To sum up, when you think that you fall asleep, the world exists. When you, however, think that your falling asleep is empty, the world is empty as well. Whatever things may happen, whether they exist or not depends upon your view.

 

©Boo Ahm

 

All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway

Buddha, Buddhism, final goal, Happiness, illusion, master, Meditation, Mind, Photography, self, suffering, true self, Truth, Uncategorized, Zen

Q281. Can Zen help us to deal with our physical problems?

A. The physical problems that we experience due to aging, unexpected injuries from accidents and illnesses are, if not desirable, unavoidable challenges that all of us are subject to. The key point here is how to confront them. Our mind is to our body as a driver is to a car. In the same way that how long and how well a car runs depends upon the driver, our physical health counts on our mind.

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Zen helps us to see everything as it is, so that we can avoid worsening situations by overreacting to them when faced with difficulties. For instance, there is a saying that the unreasonable fear of cancer is more dangerous than cancer itself. This is because the fear of cancer, if not surmounted, can harm patients more than cancer itself can. This is true when people can’t see things as they are. Zen meditation, by enabling us to see things as they are, helps us to know how to fear what ought to be feared and how not to fear what ought not to be feared. For that reason, I think Zen can help us to deal with our physical problems.

 

©Boo Ahm

 

All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway

 

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

Q272. How can I escape from the three worlds: the world of greed, the world of form and the world of formlessness?

A. Above all, you ought to know not that you are in the three worlds, but that the three worlds are in you. As long as you try to escape from them while thinking that you are locked in them, you can’t succeed in escaping by any means.

 

To realise they are also nothing but illusions is to escape from them. However good or bad they look, they are no more than illusions produced by your imagination. The harder you try to escape from them, the firmer you will make them as long as you regard these illusions as real.

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Student: “How can I escape from the three worlds?”

Master: “Have you ever seen them?”

Student: “No.”

Master: “Then, you are not in them.”

 

 

©Boo Ahm

 

All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway

Buddha, Buddhism, emptiness, empty, Enlightenment, final goal, illusion, Meditation, Mind, Religion, root, self, true self, Truth, Uncategorized, Zen

Q217. What happens to our true-self when our bodies die? How can we, as living creatures, ever know this while we are still alive?

A. The reason why we can’t know what happens to our true-self when our bodies die, is that we can’t see the situation now, I think.

Let me ask you a question, ‘2 + 3 = (  )’. What is the suitable number for the blank? I am sure you know that the correct answer is ‘5’ because it is such a simple question. How can you work out the right answer when there is nothing visible, not even a number in the blank?

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You know the right answer since you can clearly understand the visible thing, ‘2 + 3’. If you don’t understand even one of the three visible things, ‘2’, ‘+’, and ‘3’, you can’t know the appropriate number for the blank. Likewise, if you can see everything as really it is, clearly knowing all things that you see and hear, then you can perfectly perceive invisible things as clearly as if you saw them now, in the same way that you would know the right number for the blank, as clearly as if you saw the number ‘(5)’ written there.

 

©Boo Ahm

All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway