Buddha, Buddhism, Enlightenment, final goal, Photography, root, self, suffering, true self, Truth, Uncategorized, Zen

Q329. Why does Zen compare us sentient beings to a patient?

A. As soon as we are born, we are all doomed to an incurable illness, ageing, which leads to death, that no one can avoid. While we have many kinds of painkillers for the illness, there is no medicine to cure it. Whenever we feel the pain of hunger, we take a painkiller, food.



However, over the course of time, the illness worsens to the extent that no painkiller can help us, and leads us to death in the end. Therefore, we sentient beings are compared to a patient. The purpose of Zen is to help people to be cured of the fatal illness, ageing. So, ancient masters would refer to enlightenment as the solution to the matter of birth and death.


©Boo Ahm


All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway

Buddha, Buddhism, emptiness, empty, illusion, Meditation, moment, present, root, Truth, Uncategorized, Zen

Q328. Is everything empty because it is always changing and not everlasting?

A. Absolutely not. Everything is empty not because it is always changing and not everlasting but because it doesn’t have its own fixed nature unless you grant it labels such as hard, soft, fragile, flexible et cetera. Emptiness is the state without any label or imaginary line, where there is no time.



Time is a typical imaginary line. When there is no time, no change can take place since change means the passage of time. When there is no change, there is no life and death. Therefore, when you experience the truth that you are emptiness itself, you are said to escape from the yoke of life and death.


©Boo Ahm


All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway

Buddha, Buddhism, Happiness, Meditation, Photography, Practice, root, self, student, true self, Truth, Uncategorized, Zen

Q284. How many hours a day should I practice?

A. The more the better, but you should never allow your practice to a make mess of not only your normal life but also your Zen meditation by practising too hard. In the beginning, in order to get used to keeping the question, you had better make it a rule to practice for at least an hour a day at a set time everyday, for example, before going to bed or immediately after waking up. However, once you have learned how to keep the question, you need not confine your practice to a given period of time and be bound by time since time is a typical illusion which we should remove.



Then, erase all time lines from your mind and think that you practice all the time forever. Identify yourself with the question. Then whatever you do, your question will do it. Your question, for example, will drink tea when you drink tea, and your question will chat even when you chat. Then, your practice will go on by itself. Until you reach this stage, practice at least an hour a day and try to keep the question all the time.



©Boo Ahm


All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway

Buddha, Buddhism, emptiness, empty, Enlightenment, final goal, illusion, master, Mind, moment, Practice, present, student, true self, Truth, Uncategorized, Zen

Q229. I practise Zen meditation no more than two hours a day. My problem is that my busy life doesn’t allow me to practise as much as I want. Could you recommend any way to help with my practice?

A. Remove all your time lines. They are only imaginary lines created by your imagination. There is no fixed time in the universe. Time is a typical illusion. Remove all time lines and you will become eternity itself. Think of eternity as your practice and you will become practice itself. Then, whatever you may do, whether eating, talking, or working, just question what makes your body do it. That is practice. In other words, you make yourself one with the question or your practice. Then, you can practise 24-hours a day 7-days a week. You can’t stop practising.



Student: “What is the best way to practise well?”

Master: “Don’t practise.”

Student: “Why do you tell me not to practise when I ask you the best way to practise?”

Master: “If you practise 24-hours a day, your practice is not practice any longer. That is true practice.”



©Boo Ahm


All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway