Buddha, Buddhism, desire, master, Meditation, Mind, Photography, Practice, Religion, self, student, true self, Truth, Uncategorized, Zen

Q308. Desire comes from the thoughts we cling to. What is the difference between desire and a goal? Humanity will never progress without having a goal to grow in life, which is the law of nature.

A. A goal comes from desire. It is a concrete expression of your desire. I never tell you not to have desire or a goal in your life. As you said, your desire is the motive to develop the world into a better place to live in. You love your family, and your goal in life is to make enough money to help them to enjoy an easy and comfortable life. Love is also another expression of desire.

 

The key problem is that we don’t control desire but are controlled by it. And we have seen what miserable and even disastrous things it can lead us to do when our life is run by our desire.

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What I mean is not that desire is bad and that you should not have it, but that we should be able to drive our desire instead of being driven by it through realising the root of your desire. When, aware of the root of your desire, you can run your desire instead of being run by it, your desire is called compassion. What Zen says is not that we should not have desire but that you should turn it into compassion, wise desire.

©Boo Ahm

 

All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway

Buddha, Buddhism, emptiness, empty, Enlightenment, final goal, master, Meditation, Mind, Photography, Practice, student, Truth, Uncategorized, Zen

Q292. During practice I can keep my mind silent without any thoughts but I can neither stop thinking nor keep my mind calm when not practising.

A. Trying to keep your mind calm by stopping thoughts from arising without knowing where they are from, is like trying to remove weeds by cutting their leaves, while leaving their roots intact. Just as you will be bothered again by new weeds from the remaining roots sooner or later, so you cannot get permanent calmness without realising the root of your thoughts, or illusions. Then, the silent state with no thoughts becomes another illusion.

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Masters’ words “keep your mind calm by stopping thinking” has two meanings: One is before enlightenment and the other is after enlightenment. The former is to have less thoughts by focusing all your attention to your question. The latter, the end of Zen, doesn’t mean literally to stop thinking but not to be deluded by thoughts through realising the truth that everything is empty. Once realising the truth, your mind becomes calm by itself regardless of whether you think or not, because you are not deluded by your thoughts. Masters would say, “You may have as many weeds as you want, but never let them take root.” Then you can enjoy calmness all the time no matter how many thoughts you may have because you are aware that they are empty.

©Boo Ahm

 

All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway

Bible, Buddha, Buddhism, compassion, God, Meditation, Mind, Religion, root, sex, sexual, true self, Truth, Uncategorized, Zen

Q260. Why do you think that some Christians and Catholics deny and even detest homosexuals?

A. If they think that God is always perfect and everything is created by Him, they should accept the fact that homosexuals are created by God as well. To deny them is to deny God. If God, as they say, is perfect, He never makes a mistake. Then everything made by Him is perfect. To speak ill of homosexuals for being what they are is to find fault with what is created by God and blame Him for His error. That means that they don’t believe in God’s perfection.

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When God made homosexuals what they are, He had His intention. What they are is the exact expression of God’s intention. The reason why they deny and detest homosexuals is that they are still lacking faith in God and don’t know His intention. Finding fault with and even cursing the perfect work by the greatest artist reveals their inability to appreciate His masterpiece, which runs counter to their belief that God is perfect.

Instead of showing their own self-contradiction, they had better try to know what God created homosexuals for.

 

©Boo Ahm

 

All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway

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

Q259. How can I grasp the core meaning of the Sutras?

A. What do you think the core teaching of the Sutras is? It is enlightenment. What all the Sutras say is nothing but how to attain enlightenment and what enlightenment is like, nothing else. If you are to grasp the core teaching of Buddha, don’t look for it in the Sutras. The Sutras are only like a map or an arrow pointing to your destination. They are not the place itself that you want to reach.

 

Don’t think of Zen meditation as being apart from the Sutras. Zen meditation is an expedient means to grasp the core teaching of the Sutras. The Sutras are maps and Zen is to move towards the destination indicated by the maps. So, the best way to grasp the core meaning of the Sutras is to experience what the Sutras say through practice.

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Student: “How can I grasp the core meaning of the Sutras?”

Master: “Discard all the Sutras.”

 

 

©Boo Ahm

 

All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway

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

Q258. Master: “When a guest comes, you should take care of him, but when a thief comes, you should turn him away.”

A. Student: “What is a guest?”

Master: “Just passed by.”

Student: “What is a thief?”

Master: “A guest.”

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Commentary:

What you think is a guest is a thief, and what you think is a thief is a guest.

 

©Boo Ahm

 

All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway

Bible, Buddha, Buddhism, Enlightenment, final goal, God, illusion, master, Meditation, Mind, Practice, Prayer, Religion, root, self, sutras, true self, Truth, Uncategorized, Zen

Q257. I have been a Christian for over 20 years and believed that God is perfect. Why does He make my life so troublesome?

A. If you have true faith in God and His perfection, you should not think that your life is troublesome. Thinking that your life is problematic is contrary to the truth that God never makes any mistakes since He is perfect. When He made you what you are, He had his intention. What you are is the exact expression of his intention. The reason why you think that your life is spoiled and troublesome is that you don’t understand his intention. Instead of blaming God for making your life troublesome, you had better try to know what God intends you to be like.

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Student: “Why does God make my life so hard?”

Master: “Why don’t you ask God in person?”

 

©Boo Ahm

 

All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway

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

Q256. What does ‘being like a mirror’ mean?

A. An ancient master said, “Everybody has a mirror. An unenlightened person’s life is like a monkey looking in a mirror, but an enlightened person’s is like a mirror looking at a monkey.” A monkey, when looking in a mirror, mistakes its reflection as another monkey and tries in vain to do something with it. However, a mirror, when something or someone is before it, just reflects the thing or the person as it is or as they are. It neither names, evaluates nor loves or hates it or them. In other words, it never discriminates. So, ‘being like a mirror’ represents the undiscriminating mind of the enlightened.

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Student: “How do you feel when you are like a mirror?”

Master: “I become a big liar if I answer your question.”

 

©Boo Ahm

 

All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway

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

Q254. You always advise us not to follow language, but how can we understand you unless we follow your language?

A. There is a well-known saying ‘If following words, you will fall into the hell. If not grasping the meaning of words, you will be deluded’. When I tell you not to follow my language, I don’t mean that you should ignore my language but that you should not follow the superficial meaning of it.

 

When pointing to the moon, we can use a finger, a wooden stick, a plastic stick or an iron stick. We can point to the moon even with a fork or a knife if we are asked what the moon is in the middle of eating. Regrettably, people pay all their attention only to studying and analysing the things used to point to the moon: what they are made of, how old they are, what shape they are and so on.

 

When I use a lot of different words and expressions to point to the true-self, my language is like the things above used to point to the moon. If you accept my words in the way you understand general knowledge, you are like a person who studies the stick or the spoon used to point to the moon. Then, you are said to follow or be deceived by language. If you are deceived by language like this, you will be immersed in illusions and even all Sutras and the Bible will become illusions.

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Student: “What’s the true-self?”

Master: “Don’t follow my language.”

 

 

©Boo Ahm

 

All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway

Buddha, Buddhism, Enlightenment, illusion, master, Meditation, Mind, Photography, Practice, present, student, true self, Truth, Uncategorized, Zen

Q253. What is the best posture for Zen meditation?

A. There is no fixed best posture for Zen meditation even though sitting upright is commonly said to be the best posture, especially for novices. The best posture is the posture that can enable you to focus all your attention to your question.

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Student: “What is the best posture for Zen practice?”

Master: “Don’t sit. Don’t stand. Don’t lie down.”

Student: “What posture shall I take then?”

Master: “Any posture that helps you focus on the question is the best because your true-self neither sits, lies, nor stands.”

 

 

©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