Questions tagged [koans]

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4 answers
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How to do the Koan study?

I want to work on the Koan,'What was your original face before you were born' and 'Who am I',How do I go about it. Should I constantly ask myself this question? Should I write it down? How is the ...
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2 votes
1 answer
65 views

Is there a "canon" of Zen Koans?

There are lots of Koans on the internet, but I am not sure if there is some sort of process that a Koan must go through, or if there is some sort of list of Koans that are taught and that new ones are ...
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5 votes
3 answers
783 views

What is the Buddhist view in Socratic questioning?

From Socratic questioning – Wikipedia: Socratic questioning is a form of disciplined questioning that can be used to pursue thought in many directions and for many purposes, including: to explore ...
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5 answers
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Bodhidharma leaving for china

What prompted the great BodhiDharma to go to China to spread his teachings- why not at home in the first place. Was he the founder of kalari payattu which has become somewhat unknown to us?
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4 votes
2 answers
260 views

How do kōans work?

A kōan (公案?) (/ˈkoʊ.ɑːn/; Chinese: 公案; pinyin: gōng'àn; Korean: 공안 (kong'an); Vietnamese: công án) is a story, dialogue, question, or statement, (1) which is used in Zen practice to provoke the "great ...
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5 votes
5 answers
288 views

Not-Buddhism is the highest level of Buddhism?

I'm new here. I have a question regarding "Not-Buddhism" as the highest level of Buddhism. I'm not sure where is the source, but this is the koan. Tozan said to his monks, "You monks should know ...
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  • 275
4 votes
4 answers
338 views

Book of zen kōans

I am looking for a book of kōans that contains things like the following: Nasreddin Khodja commanded his disciples, when he sneezed, to salute him by clapping their hands and crying out: "Haïr ...
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5 votes
4 answers
174 views

Which materials exist on the construction and origin of kōans?

A further question: is there an online community that creates kōans? Thank you so much! John
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  • 51
6 votes
1 answer
313 views

Koans for beginner - dos and don'ts?

I like studying Buddhism, especially Prasangika, but I find I sometimes get kind of conceptual. I practice shamata every day, but if a beginner like myself wants to try meditation/mindfulness with ...
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  • 2,653
4 votes
3 answers
261 views

What happens after the great doubt of koan practice?

I read that koan practice is meant to create doubt. But what happens when the koan has been passed? Does doubt end, or begin again, or get literally "shattered"? Does the practitioner experience a ...
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3 votes
3 answers
430 views

Zen koans, is there any point in thinking about them?

Or must we just count our breaths and repeat the phrase? I was asked I think "what is your original face" - and I think it's the way / tao, but that's just something that occurred to me, I wrote down ...
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4 votes
1 answer
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Can you help me identify this English translation of The Gateless Gate?

Over the years, as I have seen various commentaries on koans, I've become aware that the quoted text seems to always derive from one of a very few English translations, but the translation concerned ...
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7 votes
1 answer
555 views

What kind of harm can koan answers cause to one's practice?

In a recent meta discussion some people expressed the opinion that giving koan answers may be detrimental to one's practice. In what way, exactly? And if it is so, why did many Buddhists publish koan ...
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  • 2,660
7 votes
3 answers
2k views

The Buddha-nature of a dog

I keep seeing the following koan: A monk asked Zhàozhōu, "Does a dog have Buddha nature or not?" Zhaozhou said, "Wú". What does this mean and why is it important? More specifically: Does "Wú" ...
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  • 2,660
8 votes
2 answers
115 views

What is the role of kōans in contemporary Buddhism?

I have a copy of The Iron Flute that I use to study individual kōans, and read the analysis provided. I feel like this provides me with some good insight, but it also feels... backwards. How are ...
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