A koan is a short story or a sentence that initially does not seem to make sense. It is a device used by Zen Buddhist monks to guide medidation.
Because of its paradoxical nature, a koan forces the mind not to think analytically but intuitively.
In the process of contemplation, turning the question over and over again in one’s head, one hopefully finds perspective and gains insight. And one day – some day – when the mind is clear and peaceful, an answer will come.
Not THE answer because there can be no absolute, unequivocal ONE to a koan. Zen practice tells us that the answers we arrive at may change as we ourselves change.
In other words, a koan is the perfect thing to think about when you’re sitting on the toilet with constipation.
It relaxes the muscles so that release is easier. The shit will probably come out of your butt ahead of an answer coming to your head. Enlightenment is bliss - but so is relieving yourself.
Not to worry – you’ll probably be back on the toilet bowl in 12 hours to have another go at the koan.
While I’m not shitting as I write, I find myself this Sunday afternoon with (as usual) nothing to do and The Buzz providing mindless prattle in the background. Perfect time to Zen.
One of the more famous koans is “What is the sound of one hand clapping?” .
Let me try and have a go at it.
I think (right now, at this moment)….to clap, one needs two hands. A hand by itself does not clap. No sound is produced. But that does not make the hand non-existent nor does it negate the movement that the hand is making. It just is not clapping. But, it’s something. Something is better than nothing.
I’m going to add “Koans” to my topic Labels for this blog. It should be interesting to revisit the question every now and then, or to have a go at other Koans, to track my progress towards Enlightenment (or regular bowel movement )
Care to have a go at this koan? What does your present state of consciousness tell you?