Buddhism, Enlightenment, final goal, illusion, Meditation, Mind, root, self, true self, Truth, Zen

Q124. I always struggle with continuous thoughts during meditation. Will they disappear with time?

A. No, they won’t disappear in that way. You can’t win the fight.
When a thought arises, you can’t lock it in even with thousands of locks, can’t tie it up even with thousands of ropes, or destroy it even with a heavy hammer.

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Don’t distinguish it as either good or bad, and also don’t try to stop it. Distinguishing between good and bad is adding one more thought to the existing thoughts, and trying to stop them is strengthening them. Fighting with thoughts is like fighting with shadows as long as you don’t realise the root. Leave them alone and just trace them back to their root. All the various thoughts are from the same root. The moment you realise the root of the thoughts, they will lose their power and change from your enemy to your servant.

©Boo Ahm

All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway

Buddhism, Enlightenment, Meditation, Mind, Practice, Zen

Q18. Whenever I practice Zen meditation, a lot of thoughts and ideas prevent me from focusing my attention to my question. I spend most practice time struggling to get rid of the thoughts. How can I remove my thoughts and concentrate on my question?

A. Very good question. That is the most common problem we are faced with during practice. Even very old memories of your childhood you have forgotten so far come into your mind and keep you from focusing your attention to your question. Don’t try to stop your thinking or remove your thoughts. The harder you try to do away with the thoughts, the more thoughts will arise. So, don’t try to fight against your thoughts. You will lose the battle exhausted. If you repeat the same pattern many times, you will be so exhausted and discouraged that you might come to give up your practice in the long run. However, the solution to the problem is very simple and easy.

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Just trace back to the root which the thoughts stem from. When you are angry, just trace back to the root from which your anger comes out. The moment you see or reach the root, you will see yourself as you are, or reach your final goal. What an easy and nice practice this is! Then, the more thoughts come to you, the more practice you can do. Why should we struggle to remove our thoughts? In this way you can turn your problems into practice.

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