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Koans and intellectual hallucinations

Koans have to deal with what I would like to call ‘intellectual hallucinations’ which is an unfounded notion or impression of what a koan means. In addition, koans are purposely meant to drive the intellect crazy; bringing the Zen student...
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Unlocking the mystery of Zen

Religion / Buddhism : The Zennist

Looking at Zen koans and koan-like passages from the aspect of pure Mind is the only way to unlock the mystery of Zen. Take, for example, the koan Joshu’s Dog. To answer this koan it is necessary to know how...

The living meaning of Zen

Religion / Buddhism : The Zennist

As far as some koans go, we could just as well ignore the question, for example, "What is the living meaning of Zen" (from Cleary's book, Unlocking the Zen Koan, 167). Joshu's (Zhaoshou) answer is sufficient. "The cypress tree in...

What is a Koan ?

Religion : Huffington Post: Religion

Koans are the special short questions of spiritual masters in the Chan and Zen traditions. (Chinese Chan became Japanese Zen). Some seventeen hundred koans have lasted for over a thousand years and have been itemized in various coll...

The mystical koan

Religion / Buddhism : The Zennist

Buddhist scholars who investigate Zen have not had an easy time with koans, especially the notion of hua-t’ou which some scholars believe has no meaning. I find this a bit surprising given that the term is clearly defined in Shaw’s....

Before the koan traps us, driving us crazy

Religion / Buddhism : The Zennist

The belief that a koan’s answer lies in some ingenious kind of interpretation is, frankly, absurd, even running counter to Zen’s real aim. Most koans are, in fact, designed to wring out our human predisposition to decipher the koan ...


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