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

Q339. What is the True Dharma the Buddha entrusted to Mahakashyapa?

A. When Shakyamuni Buddha was at Vulture Peak, he held out a flower to his listeners. Everyone was silent. Only Mahakashyapa broke into a broad smile.

 

The Buddha said, “I have the True Dharma Eye, the Marvellous Mind of Nirvana, the True Form of the Formless, and the Subtle Dharma Gate, independent of words and transmitted beyond doctrine. This I have entrusted to Mahakashyapa.”

 

Student: “What is the True Dharma the Buddha entrusted to Mahakashyapa?”

Master: “Mahakashyapa broke into a smile.”

Student: “Why did he break into a smile when the Buddha held out a flower?”

Master: “Because he didn’t see the flower.”

SRH_1039a_thumb

 

 

Commentary:

Don’t be deluded to think that the Buddha entrusted the True Dharma to Mahakashyapa.

This is not what can be neither entrusted nor taken away.

Don’t be deluded by thinking that the Buddha held out a flower and Mahakashyapa broke into a smile at the flower.

Had he seen the flower, he would not have broken into a smile.

 

©Boo Ahm

 

All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway

Bible, Buddha, Buddhism, Enlightenment, final goal, God, master, Meditation, Photography, Practice, Religion, root, student, sutras, true self, Truth, Uncategorized, Zen

Q338. What does the story of Noah’s Ark in Genesis mean?

A. At that time Noah was the only person that followed God. People who, following Noah’s direction, got aboard the Ark could save their lives. So, the Ark symbolises God’s teaching to attain eternal life. Buddhism has a similar metaphor to this. Buddha compared his teaching to a boat by which we can cross the river of birth and death, and said that we should abandon the boat after crossing the river without being attached to it.

_SRH9927a_thumb

 

 

Student: “How can we board the boat to cross the river of birth and death?”

Master: “If you don’t board it, you can’t cross the river, but if you board it, you will sink under the water with it.”

 

©Boo Ahm

 

All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway

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

Q336. Every time an ancient Zen master gave a dharma talk, a certain old man would come to listen. He usually left after the talk, but one day he remained. The master asked, “Who is there?”

A. The man said, “I am not actually a human being. I lived and taught on this mountain at the time of Kashyapa Buddha. One day a student asked me, ‘Does a person who practises with great devotion still fall into cause and effect?’ I said to him, ‘No, such a person doesn’t.’ Because I said this I was reborn as a wild fox for five hundred lifetimes. Sir, please tell me the correct answer and free me from this wild fox’s body.”

Then he asked the master, “Does a person who practises with great devotion still fall into cause and effect?”

The master said, “He isn’t deluded by cause and effect.”

Immediately the man had great realisation.

My Pictures0192a_thumb

 

 

Student: “What answer would you have made if you had been in his shoes?”

Master: “I would have said, ‘Such a man doesn’t fall into cause and effect’.”

Student: “Why on earth do you copy the wrong answer?”

Master: “Because of cause and effect.”

Student: “What would the old man have become if he had given a correct answer?”

Master: “A fox.”

Student: “Why would he have become a fox if he had given a correct answer?”

Master: “Because of cause and effect.”

 

Commentary:

Everything is the gate to the enlightenment.

When you know clearly what cause and effect is,

it is also the gate to the enlightenment.

When you don’t know what it is,

it is a trap that turns you into a fox.

 

©Boo Ahm

 

All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway

Buddha, Buddhism, emptiness, empty, Enlightenment, illusion, Koan, master, Meditation, Photography, self, student, true self, Truth, Uncategorized, Zen

Q333. Student: “What is not changing when everything, including mountains and rivers, changes?”

A. Master: “Mountains and rivers.”

SRH_3196a_thumb

 

Commentary:

Master’s tongue is not long enough to say the answer.

You had better hear him with your eyes.

 

©Boo Ahm

 

All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway

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

Q332. What does Zen meditation have to do with reincarnation?

A. All our life we try to make good causes for good effects tomorrow. Trying your best to make yourself happy is trying to make good causes for good effects tomorrow. However, the key problem is that we don’t know what a good cause is and what a bad cause is, partly because our view of it varies according to our viewpoint and partly because what we think is a good cause very often turns out to bring a bad effect. So, we can’t help being worried about what effect we will get tomorrow even though we do our best to make good causes today. Furthermore, whatever good causes we may try to make, we can neither avoid death nor know what will happen to us after death. As a way of settling this challenging problem, primitive people would depend on the gods created by their imagination.

 

The purpose of Zen meditation is to help people to escape from the trap of reincarnation by realising that everything is empty. When everything is empty, not only birth and death but also transmigration and souls are empty illusions. Then reincarnation that means endless rebirth through transmigration of souls is also an empty illusion. In other words, Zen is to help people to free themselves from reincarnation by realising that reincarnation implies an endless cycle of illusions that feed on themselves and reproduce. So, to become free from reincarnation means to obtain eternal life or escape from the trap of life and death, which is also referred to as enlightenment in Buddhism.

 

_DSC1118a_thumb

 

Student: “What do you think you will be reborn as after your death?”

Master: “I couldn’t care less.”

Student: “What if you should be reborn as a cow after death?”

Master: “Not bad at all.”

Student: “How can you say being reborn as an animal is not bad at all?”

Master: “Because it is empty.”

 

©Boo Ahm

 

All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway

Buddha, Buddhism, illusion, master, Meditation, Photography, student, Truth, Uncategorized, Zen

Q330. Student: “Where is the land without light and shade?”

A. Master: “That’s where light and shade is.”

SRH_1057a_thumb

 

 

Commentary:

Light and shade is no other than the land without light and shade.

 

 

©Boo Ahm

 

All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway

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

Q327. Student: “How can I keep my plot of mind free from light and shade?”

A. Master: “Telling you the way is very easy. But I am afraid that I may induce you to make light and shade.”

Student: “Please, tell me the way.”

Master: “Everything is empty.”

Student: “I already know that, too.”

Master: “That is making light and shade in your plot.”

_srh2424a_thumb

 

Commentary:

However efficacious medicine may be, an internal medicine will cause trouble if put into eyes or ears.

 

©Boo Ahm

 

All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway

Buddha, Buddhism, illusion, Koan, master, Meditation, One, Photography, Practice, root, student, Truth, Uncategorized, Zen

Q324. Student: “How should I cultivate my plot of mind?”

A. Master: “Don’t try to pull out weeds by force, and never let crops take root.”

Student: “Why shouldn’t I pull weeds out by force?”

Master: “Because they become crops when not taking root.”

Student: “Why shouldn’t I let crops take root?”

Master: “Because they become weeds when taking root.”

Student: “What shall I do in order to carry out your teaching?”

Master: “Keep your plot free from light and shade.”

srh_7048a_thumb

 

Commentary:

Your plot is originally free from light and shade unless you make them.

 

©Boo Ahm

 

All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway

Buddha, Buddhism, Enlightenment, final goal, master, Meditation, Mind, moment, now, One, Photography, self, student, true self, Truth, Uncategorized, Zen

Q323. How long do I have to wait to see my true-self?

A. Don’t wait for it. A waiting mind can rather blind you. See it at this moment. While you spend time here waiting for it, it is also waiting for you in the same place.

 

An ancient master would say, “A foolish man doesn’t realise the true-self although he is with it all his life, just like a spoon or a fork doesn’t know the taste of food. However, a wise man realises the truth as soon as he listens to a Dharma talk, just like a tongue senses the taste of food.”

017_8036a_thumb

 

You have lived on it all your life, and you are chewing it every moment, even at this moment when you read this writing. Why don’t you see it at this moment?

 

Student: “What is the true-self, Sir?”

Master: “You already said it.”

Student: “What is it like?”

Master: “You already showed it.”

 

©Boo Ahm

 

All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway

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

Q322. The main idea of Buddhism is ‘non-I’. What on earth are we if there is no ‘I’?

A. Saying that there is no ‘I’ means not that there is no ‘I’, but that there is nothing specific worth mentioning as ‘I’. However, if there were no your ‘I’, what would get your body to read this writing now?

 

In fact, ‘non-I’ is another expression of the fact that everything is empty and one. When everything is empty, everything is oneness as emptiness. When everything including you is oneness, oneness is part of you and you are part of oneness. When everything including you is oneness, there is nothing else but oneness. Then oneness is all and nothing else. This means that all is you and there is nothing else that is not you since oneness is you. When there is nothing else but you, all is you and you are all.

017_8032a_thumb

In order for you to become you, there must be someone or something else that is not you that you can be discriminated from. When all is you and you are all, you are not you any more, just as red is not red any more when all is red. So ‘non-I’ means not that there is no ‘I’ at all but that there is only ‘I’. So, Buddha said, “In the whole universe, only I exist” when he was born.

 

Student: “What happens when there is no ‘I’?”

Master: “All becomes you.”

 

©Boo Ahm

 

All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway