An old Zen koan

In meeting a man along the way, greet him neither with words nor with silence. Now tell me, how will you greet him?
— An old Zen koan

http://www.tricycle.com/feature/meeting-man-way?page=0,0

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, which is used in Zen practice to provoke the “great doubt” and test a student’s progress in Zen practice. – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/K%C5%8Dan

Examples of traditional kōans[edit]
Does a dog have Buddha-nature[edit]
Main article: Mu (negative)
A monk asked Zhàozhōu, “Does a dog have Buddha nature or not?” Zhaozhou said, “Wú”.

(“Zhaozhou” is rendered as “Chao-chou” in Wade-Giles, and pronounced “Joshu” in Japanese. “Wu” appears as “mu” in Japanese, meaning “no”, “not”, “nonbeing”, or “without” in English. This is a fragment of Case #1 of the Wúménguān. However, another koan presents a longer version, in which Zhaozhou answered “yes” in response to the same question asked by a different monk: see Case #18 of the Book of Serenity.)

The sound of one hand[edit]
Two hands clap and there is a sound. What is the sound of one hand? (隻手声あり、その声を聞け)

— Hakuin Ekaku
Victor Hori comments:

…in the beginning a monk first thinks a kōan is an inert object upon which to focus attention; after a long period of consecutive repetition, one realizes that the kōan is also a dynamic activity, the very activity of seeking an answer to the kōan. The kōan is both the object being sought and the relentless seeking itself. In a kōan, the self sees the self not directly but under the guise of the kōan … When one realizes (“makes real”) this identity, then two hands have become one. The practitioner becomes the kōan that he or she is trying to understand. That is the sound of one hand.[web 6]

Original Face[edit]
Main article: Original face
Huìnéng asked Hui Ming, “Without thinking of good or evil, show me your original face before your mother and father were born.” (This is a fragment of case #23 of the Wumenguan.)

Killing the Buddha[edit]
If you meet the Buddha, kill him. (逢佛殺佛)

— Linji
Thinking about the Buddha as an entity or deity is delusion, not awakening. One must destroy the preconception of the Buddha as separate and external before one can become internally as their own Buddha. Zen master Shunryu Suzuki wrote in Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind during an introduction to Zazen,

Kill the Buddha if the Buddha exists somewhere else. Kill the Buddha, because you should resume your own Buddha nature.

One is only able to see a Buddha as he exists in separation from Buddha, the mind of the practitioner is thus still holding onto apparent duality.

Other koans[edit]
A student asked Master Yun-Men (A.D. 949) “Not even a thought has arisen; is there still a sin or not?” Master replied, “Mount Sumeru!”
A monk asked Dongshan Shouchu, “What is Buddha?” Dongshan said, “Three pounds of flax.” (This is a fragment of case #18 of the Wumenguan as well as case #12 of the Blue Cliff Record.)
A monk asked Zhaozhou, “What is the meaning of the ancestral teacher’s (i.e., Bodhidharma’s) coming from the west?” Zhaozhou said, “The cypress tree in front of the hall.” (This is a fragment of case #37 of the Wumenguan as well as case #47 of the Book of Serenity.)

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Author: Roger - Dr Roger Prentice

Now I write, teach and coach mainly about 21stC 'interfaith as inter-spirituality' - and how we can grow closer to our True Self. . As anyone who knows anything about IPF will realize my energy is curtailed - so I am concentrating primarily on 'inter-spirituality'. . In the past I would have said that: . 1) I run courses and give talks at conferences and in universities and colleges in the UK, China, USA, Canada, Scandinavia etc. . 2) I provide materials, outlines and lessons for Schools. . 3) My range of interests include personal development, learning and teaching, photography and film, the arts generally, spirituality and educational practice and theory. . 4) At the same time I continue developing the human-centred studies SunWALK PDS (People Development System) - a whole-person, high-achievement model for individuals, and for use in, NGOs, schools and other organizations. . 5) The key question that continues to animate me and my work remains, "What is it to be fully and positively human?" . Contact me via onesummit AT gmail DOT com (replace At with@ etc.). . All good wishes Roger (Dr Roger Prentice) . For those interested; My first degree is in English and Education. My masters is in Adult and Community Education. My doctorate presented a new holistic meta-model of education called SunWALK.

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