Zen master Hakuin: his comment on ‘the sound of one hand clapping’

What is the Sound of a Single Hand?

When you clap together both hands a sharp sound is heard; when you raise the one hand there is neither sound nor smell…

If conceptions and discriminations are not mixed within it and it is quite apart from seeing, hearing, perceiving, and knowing, and if while walking, standing, sitting, and reclining, you proceed straightforwardly without interruption in the study of this koan, then in the place where reason is exhausted and words are ended, you will suddenly pluck out the karmic root of birth and death and break down the cave of ignorance.

Hakuin’s own explanation, as translated by Phillip Yampolksy in The Zen Master Hakuin: Selected Writings, pg. 164

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RP I particularly like the phrase ‘breakdown of the cave of ignorance’. Of course we are inevitably reminded of Plato’s allegory of the Cave – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allegory_of_the_Cave

I recall that in one of his early books Guy Claxton refers to a Zen teacher who asked why Westerners go East in their spiritual search when what is to be found lies in our ancient teachers, such as Plato.

Of course it is delicious and delightful to juxtapose teachings from East and West!

SEE – http://oook.info/easia/onehand.html

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Author: Roger - Dr Roger Prentice

Now I write, teach & coach mainly about 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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