Koans

Koans John Smith 4/4/22 1:30 PM
RE: Koans Ni Nurta 4/4/22 2:25 PM
RE: Koans Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 4/4/22 4:38 PM
RE: Koans Ni Nurta 4/4/22 5:03 PM
RE: Koans terry 4/4/22 4:54 PM
RE: Koans terry 4/4/22 5:12 PM
RE: Koans terry 4/4/22 5:37 PM
RE: Koans terry 4/4/22 6:08 PM
RE: Koans George S 4/4/22 8:11 PM
RE: Koans terry 4/5/22 3:13 AM
RE: Koans terry 4/5/22 2:11 AM
RE: Koans terry 4/5/22 2:49 AM
RE: Koans Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 4/5/22 3:44 AM
RE: Koans terry 4/5/22 12:25 PM
RE: Koans terry 4/5/22 12:42 PM
RE: Koans terry 4/5/22 12:54 PM
RE: Koans terry 4/5/22 1:14 PM
RE: Koans terry 4/5/22 2:10 PM
RE: Koans Chrollo X 4/5/22 3:16 PM
RE: Koans George S 4/5/22 7:02 PM
RE: Koans terry 4/9/22 2:06 AM
RE: Koans Jim Smith 4/7/22 1:21 PM
RE: Koans Martin 4/7/22 3:29 PM
RE: Koans Chris M 4/7/22 1:51 PM
RE: Koans terry 4/9/22 1:38 AM
RE: Koans genaro 4/9/22 8:26 AM
RE: Koans terry 4/9/22 2:08 PM
RE: Koans terry 4/9/22 1:54 PM
RE: Koans Papa Che Dusko 4/9/22 1:57 PM
RE: Koans terry 4/9/22 2:14 PM
RE: Koans terry 4/9/22 2:18 PM
RE: Koans genaro 4/10/22 12:30 AM
RE: Koans terry 4/10/22 5:42 PM
RE: Koans genaro 4/11/22 9:48 AM
RE: Koans terry 4/11/22 1:34 PM
RE: Koans terry 4/11/22 1:49 PM
RE: Koans terry 4/11/22 2:31 PM
RE: Koans genaro 4/12/22 8:10 AM
RE: Koans terry 4/12/22 12:58 PM
RE: Koans terry 4/12/22 1:37 PM
RE: Koans genaro 4/12/22 1:39 PM
RE: Koans terry 4/15/22 2:12 PM
RE: Koans Chris M 4/15/22 2:20 PM
RE: Koans terry 4/11/22 1:18 PM
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RE: Koans terry 4/11/22 2:58 PM
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RE: Koans terry 4/15/22 2:17 PM
RE: Koans terry 4/15/22 2:46 PM
RE: Koans terry 4/15/22 2:58 PM
RE: Koans terry 4/15/22 5:08 PM
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RE: Koans terry 4/15/22 5:14 PM
RE: Koans terry 4/16/22 9:36 AM
RE: Koans terry 4/21/22 6:20 PM
John Smith, modified 2 Months ago at 4/4/22 1:30 PM
Created 2 Months ago at 4/4/22 1:29 PM

Koans

Posts: 9 Join Date: 2/21/22 Recent Posts
Can you post your favourite koans? 
I'm really curious about them. I assume the point is for the intellect to understand it's own ineffectiveness and futility of certain type of thinking given a particular problem? 
I googled for some and found this list (100 of them): http://www.buddhism.org/a-collection-of-100-koans/

Here's one I have mixed feelings for:
Case 9: Nansen Kills a Cat [1]Once the monks of the eastern and western Zen halls in Nansen’s temple were
quarrelling about a cat. As he saw this, Nansen held up the cat and said,
“You monks! If one of you can say a word, I will not slay the cat.”
No one could answer. Nansen cut the cat in two. Nansen told Joshu what had
happened, and asked him for his view. Joshu thereupon took his sandals, put
them upon his head and went away. Nansen said,
“If you had been there, I could have spared the cat.”
My first reaction was: "wow, that's stupid", then I thought: well, maybe I'm missing something, it's on a list emoticon. After getting past the first aversive reaction and the second of judging it as 'weird', the only approach I see is to somehow put myself in the situation and decipher the symbolic meaning of the story. Maybe it's a bad approach though and I will just waste time. What do you think?

Here's a classic one I found useful:
Two monks were arguing about a flag. One said: "The flag is moving."
The other said: "The wind is moving."The sixth patriach happened to be passing by. He told them: "Not the wind, not the flag; mind is moving."
I observed my solving process with this one and found few hidden assumptions I used to define movement and non-movement. Is that a good approach -- to go meta on the solving attempt?

Maybe someone can post a solved koan so I can understand the point better?
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Ni Nurta, modified 2 Months ago at 4/4/22 2:25 PM
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RE: Koans

Posts: 930 Join Date: 2/22/20 Recent Posts
Imho situation is stupid, your instinct is good.
See its Nansen's temple, no one dared to say anything to the master because they didn't feel they could say "don't" and also didn't know what they should say not being sure of masters intentions because they were paralyzed by the master's presence so they said nothing... except Joshu who said exactly "its was stupid" by not saying any words because words were at this time not useful and saying to this whole thing was stupid would be rude and inappropriate.
Even Nansen acted only because he said he would thinking monks would say the word and not wanting to look as someone who is not keeping his words he killed the cat.
Koan teaches you that some times stupid and bad things happen when people do not just say/do what they think/want and give in to fear of authorities.

And as you can imagine similar situations do happen in real world. Just turn on TV to any news channel and there is a good chance you get disturbing images of cat being cut in two...
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 2 Months ago at 4/4/22 4:38 PM
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RE: Koans

Posts: 6428 Join Date: 12/8/18 Recent Posts
Why would Nansen's image be more important than the cat's life? I wouldn't trust a teacher like that. 

​​​​​​​(Sorry that I don't have any favorite koans to post. )
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terry, modified 2 Months ago at 4/4/22 4:54 PM
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RE: Koans

Posts: 2185 Join Date: 8/7/17 Recent Posts
nansen is solomon offering to divide the baby...

the monks were arguing over whose cat it was, and nansen grabbed the cat and told the monks, "any of you can say a turning word and I won't divide the cat among you"...none of them could...nansen symbolically disposed of the cat...had joshu been there, he would have "saved" the cat, because joshu understood the solomonic dilemma, and the monks did not...

thus the story has survived as a koan about saving sentient beings...
(they're beyond saving)
(dust beneath the buddha's feet)


joshu immediately grasped what nansen knew and the monks did not, that the cat was one cat and could not be divided among separate interests...

(like schrodinger's cat, the feline is neither alive or dead, both divided and undivided...)
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Ni Nurta, modified 2 Months ago at 4/4/22 5:03 PM
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RE: Koans

Posts: 930 Join Date: 2/22/20 Recent Posts
Why would it be more important... by all means it shouldn't be, hence sandals on the head ;)

Of course Koans are like this densely packed meme, if you study them hard enough you will find more hidden meanings over time. You say you would not trust teacher like that... then it means you would not trust almost any teacher at all. Most are like that. Once person say A they keep saying A no matter what. Even if it means ignoring B and killing C. 

BTW.
Once the monks of the Western and Eastern Halls were arguing about a cat. Nansen, holding up the cat, said, “You monks! If you can say a word of Zen, I will spare the cat. Otherwise I will kill it.” No one could answer, so Nansen cut the cat in two. That evening, when Joshu returned, Nansen told him of the incident. Joshu thereupon took off his sandal, put it on his head, and walked off. Nansen said, “If you had been there, the cat would have been saved!”

The monks didn't know what to say. It is unclear if they didn't say anything or if it was not "Zen" enough but my own understanding would be that they could just say something, eg. "life" or "freedom for the cat" and the cat would live.

In either way somethign I need to ponder about more emoticon
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terry, modified 2 Months ago at 4/4/22 5:12 PM
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RE: Koans

Posts: 2185 Join Date: 8/7/17 Recent Posts
   Anything involving the sixth patriatch, you want to read the platform sutra. Hui neng made plain the method of zen, which is to bring up the absolute whenever the relative is mentioned, and to bring up the relative whenever the absolute is mentioned. The absolute is scorned as flowers of air, the relative as dusts. The mind is induced to stop.

   All koans are are stories put to the purpose of inducing a sense of nonduality, of the intrinsic connectedness of everything and its irreducible endlessness. The mind is an analog of the universe, a meter or gauge. A drop in the ocean; or the moon in a dewdrop. Both sides of the moon are dark, but one reflects light (and knows it not).

   So hui neng happens by the monks who have observed the flag blowing as a phenomenon. Is the object itself the phenomenon, or is the cause of the objects motion, the animator or creator, the phenomenon? This runs deep in buddhism and the buddhism of the period when koans were codified, the question of self-power vs other-power. For other-power there was the nembutsu, chanting the name of the buddha, invoking the help of god, of the cosmos, the Other. Self-power involved sutras and koans and practices involving a person actively walking a path. In nonduality there is no difference between self and other.

   The monks are told it is neither the cause nor the effect, but the one pearl which is responsible. One Mind.


  It would be hard for me to share a favorite koan, but I will probably try anyway, I love them greatly.

  More better you should tell me your favorites, anyone, and ask me to explain them (love to!).

   My one hand is clapping in the breeze...
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terry, modified 2 Months ago at 4/4/22 5:37 PM
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RE: Koans

Posts: 2185 Join Date: 8/7/17 Recent Posts
from stephen heine, Zen  Koans


case 23,, gateless gate

“Thinking of neither Good nor Evil”

Sixth patriarch Huineng was chased by head
monk Ming unto Dayu Peak. Seeing Ming
approaching, the patriarch placed the robe and
bowl on a rock and said, “This robe represents the
faith. Can it really become the subject of a contest?
Go ahead and take it away.”

Ming tried to pick up the robe, but it was as
immovable as a mountain.

Caught short by fear and trembling, Ming said,
“I came in pursuit of the dharma, not to get the
robe. I beg you, powerful master, to enlighten me
with your instruction.”

The sixth patriarch said, “Not thinking of good
and not thinking of evil, at this very moment,
what is the original face of head monk Ming?”
Ming immediately attained a great enlightenment
experience. His whole body was drenched with
sweat.

Ming wept and bowed, saying, “Besides the secret
words and secret meanings that were disclosed,
is there any other, still deeper meaning?” The
patriarch said, “What I have explained is not a
secret teaching. When you illuminate your own
original face, the inner meaning is manifest right
 here and now.”

Ming said, “I practiced in the assembly under
Huangmei for many years, but I was not able to
realize my own original face. Now, upon receiving
your instruction, I am like someone who drinks 
water and knows for himself whether it is cool or
warm. Powerful master, you are my teacher.” The
patriarch said, “In that case, let us both say we
have Huangmei as our teacher. Take care in
preserving your attainment.”


Wumen’s prose comment: Th e sixth patriarch rose to the occasion
to help out someone in his lineage by displaying the kindliness of a
grandmother. It is as though he peels a fresh lychee, removes the seed,
and places it in your mouth, so that all you need to do is swallow it
 whole.

Wumen’s verse:
There is no description, and no picture.
There is nothing to admire, so stop trying to grasp it.
The original face is never concealed;
When the whole world collapses, it will remain unharmed.
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terry, modified 2 Months ago at 4/4/22 6:08 PM
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RE: Koans

Posts: 2185 Join Date: 8/7/17 Recent Posts
 explaining koans is like explaining jokes, or poems,
the explanation is an admission of failure and
at best gives hints for further contemplation...

"the way that can be explained is not the true way..."

best just read lots of koans and think about them, let them work on you

enlightenment can't be copied...

​​​​​​​



from burton watson, the teachings of lin-chi


31

The Master was entering an army encampment to attend a
dinner when he saw one of the officers at the gate. He
pointed to the bare wooden gatepost and said, "A common
mortal or a sage?"

The officer had no reply.

The Master struck the gatepost and said, "Even if you
managed a reply, it would still be just a wooden post!" With
that he entered the camp.



41

A certain distinguished monk named Ting came to the Master 
for an interview and asked, "What is the basic meaning
of Buddhism?"

The Master got down from his chair, grabbed hold of him
and gave him a slap. Then he let him go.

Ting stood in a daze.

A monk standing nearby said, "Mr. Ting, why don't you
make a bow?"

As Ting was making a formal bow, he suddenly had a great
enlightenment.




66

When the Master arrived at Feng·lin's place, Feng-lin said,
"There's something I'd like to ask about - may I?"

The Master said, "How can you gouge out the flesh and
inflict a wound?"

Feng-lin said, "The sea moon shines, no shadows anywhere, 
yet the swimming fish by themselves manage to lose
their way."

The Master said, "Since the sea moon is without shadow,
how can the swimming fish lose their way?"

Feng-lin said, "Watch the wind and you'll know what kind
of waves will rise up. Sporting on the water, a country boat
spreads its saiL"

The Master said, "The solitary moon shines alone, river
and mountains hushed. I give one shout of laughter and
heaven and earth take fright."

Feng-lin said, “It's all right for you to use your three-inch
tongue to dazzle heaven and earth. But try saying one phrase
about the situation we face right now!"

The Master said, "If you meet a master swordsman on the
road, you have to give up your sword. But when the other
person is not a real poet, never present him with a poem."

Feng-lin at that point gave up.

The Master then wrote a poem:

The Great Way knows no like or different;
It can go west or east.
Sparks from a flint can't overtake it,
streaks of lightning would never reach that far.

Wei-shan asked Yang-shan, "If 'sparks from a flint can't
overtake it, streaks of lightning would never reach that far’
then how have all the wise men from ages past been able to
teach others?"

Yang-shan said, "What do you think, Reverend?"

Wei-shan said, "It's just that no words or explanations ever
get at the true meaning. "

Yang-shan said, "Not so!"

Wei-shan said, "Well, what do you think?"

Yang-shan said, "Officially nor a needle is allowed to pass,
but privately whole carts and horses get through!"
George S, modified 2 Months ago at 4/4/22 8:11 PM
Created 2 Months ago at 4/4/22 8:11 PM

RE: Koans

Posts: 2458 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
I like this one:

GUTEI'S FINGER
     Gutei raised his finger whenever he was asked a question about Zen. A boy attendant began to imitate him in this way. When a visitor asked the boy what his master had preached about, the boy raised his finger.
     Gutei heard about the boy's mischief, seized him and cut off his finger with a knife. As the boy screamed and ran out of the room, Gutei called to him. When the boy turned his head to Gutei, Gutei raised up his own finger. In that instant the boy was enlightened.
     When Gutei was about to die, he said to the assembled monks,"I received this one-finger Zen from Tenryu. I used it all my life and yet could not exhaust it" and then he passed away.

My interpretation: you won't get enlightened by imitating someone else who you think is enlightened.
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terry, modified 2 Months ago at 4/5/22 2:11 AM
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RE: Koans

Posts: 2185 Join Date: 8/7/17 Recent Posts
for george...


from dogen, shobogenzo:

One time a monk inquired of him, “Reverend Monk, I have heard you say that the whole universe throughout all its ten directions is one bright pearl. How am I, as a trainee, to understand the meaning of this?”

 Shibi answered, “Since the whole universe throughout all its ten directions is the One Bright Pearl, what use is there in trying to understand this with the intellect?”

However, the next day the Master asked this monk, “The whole universe throughout all its ten directions is the One Bright Pearl, so what do you think this means?”

The monk responded, “Since the whole universe throughout all its ten directions is the one bright pearl, what use is there in my trying to understand this with my intellect?”

Shibi replied, “It is indeed clear to me that, even though you are blindly looking into the demon’s cave within the pitch black mountains of ignorance, you are doing your training.”

​​​​​​​
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terry, modified 2 Months ago at 4/5/22 2:49 AM
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RE: Koans

Posts: 2185 Join Date: 8/7/17 Recent Posts
dogen (in shobogenzo) presents the following koan:
​​​​​​​

Rakuten was governor of Hangchow, he trained under Meditation Master Dōrin of
Chōka.

Rakuten once asked Dōrin, “Just what is the major intention of the Buddha Dharma?”

Dōrin replied, “Refrain from all evil whatsoever; uphold and practice all that is good.”

Rakuten remarked, “If that’s all there is to it, even a child of three knows how to say that!”

Dōrin replied, “Though a three-year-old child can say it, there are old men in their eighties who still cannot put it into practice.”

Upon hearing the matter put this way, Rakuten then bowed in gratitude.



part of dogen’s commentary:

Since Rakuten had not yet got wind of what Buddhism is really about, it is unlikely that he was truly acquainted with any three-year-olds or with what such a child is naturally capable of. If someone can truly understand a three-year-old, he will surely know all the Buddhas of the three temporal worlds. If someone does not yet know all the Buddhas of the three temporal worlds, how will he be able to understand a three-year-old? Do not imagine that you understand such a child just because you have met one face-to-face. Do not think that you do not know such a child just because you have not met one face-to-face. He who knows but a single mote of dust knows the whole world: he who fully comprehends one thing comprehends all the myriad things that comprise the universe. He who fails to comprehend all the myriad things will not comprehend even one of them. When someone has fully trained himself in this principle of comprehending and has reached full comprehension, he will not only see the myriad things that comprise the universe but will also see each one of them. This is why the person who studies one mote of dust will undoubtedly be studying the whole universe. To think that a three-year-old child cannot give voice to the Buddha Dharma or to think that a three-year-old is ‘cute’ is the height of foolishness. This is because clarifying what birth is and clarifying what death is constitutes the most important matter for a Buddhist monk.

A virtuous elder once said, “When you were born, you were provided with the lion’s roar.” Being provided with the lion’s roar is the meritorious fruit of a Tathagata’s turning of the Wheel of the Dharma: it is the turning of the Wheel of the Dharma. And another virtuous elder said, “The coming and going of birth and death is the Real Body of man.” Thus it is that clarifying what one’s True Body is and possessing the merit from the lion’s roar will indeed be the One Great Matter,* and I do not mean that the task is easy or simple. Hence, attempting to clarify what prompts the words and actions of a three-year-old is also the Great Cause for which we train, since it is the same—and yet not the same—as what prompts the words and actions of all the Buddhas in the three temporal worlds.

 Befuddled Rakuten had never heard what a three-year-old child had to say, and so he had never questioned himself as to what the Great Matter was. Instead, he made the kind of remark that he did. He did not hear what Dōrin was voicing, though It resounded louder than thunder. In speaking of That which cannot be put into words, Rakuten said, “Even a child of three knows how to say that!” Not only did he not hear the child’s lion roar, he also stumbled over the Master’s turning of the Wheel of the Dharma.

The Master, out of pity, could not give up on Rakuten and went on to say, “Though a three-year-old child can say it, there are old men in their eighties who still cannot put it into practice.” The heart of what he said exists in what a child of three can say, and this we must thoroughly investigate. Also, there is the practice which eighty-year-olds may not be doing, but which we must diligently engage in. What Dōrin has told us is that what the child is capable of saying has been entrusted to us, though it is not a task for a child, and what the old men were not able to practice has been entrusted to us, though it was not the task for old men such as these. In a similar way do we keep the Buddha’s Dharma in mind and take It as our foundation, so that we may make It our reason for training.
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terry, modified 2 Months ago at 4/5/22 3:13 AM
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RE: Koans

Posts: 2185 Join Date: 8/7/17 Recent Posts
The child was used to raising his finger in imitation of gutei. As the child was running away "bleeding" (from sharp criticism), gutei called to him and raised his finger. The boy raised his own finger in response, and seeing that it was now missing (his imitative zen discreditied), he experienced inimitable enlightenment. 

Zen is "a finger pointing at the moon." The boy mistook the finger for the moon and was corrected, to his great benefit.

The sharpness of the masters' zen knives is figurative, naturally.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 2 Months ago at 4/5/22 3:44 AM
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RE: Koans

Posts: 6428 Join Date: 12/8/18 Recent Posts
As a moderator, I would like to invite the use of "SPOILER ALERT" (or "EXPLANATION" or "INTERPRETATION" if you like that wording better) for parts of posts that contain explanations/interpretations of the koans. That way readers can choose their own experience of the thread. Those who wish to contemplate the koans on their own can do so, without spoilers, and those who would like to enjoy the explanations can do so as well. 

Linda "Polly Ester" Ö
DhO moderator
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terry, modified 2 Months ago at 4/5/22 12:25 PM
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RE: Koans

Posts: 2185 Join Date: 8/7/17 Recent Posts
A monk asked, "When Bimoku took Zenzaidoji's hand and showed him the infinitely small Buddha, what was it like?"
​​​​​​​
At that, Joshu took the monk's hand and asked, "What do you see?"
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terry, modified 2 Months ago at 4/5/22 12:42 PM
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RE: Koans

Posts: 2185 Join Date: 8/7/17 Recent Posts
from the teachings of lin-chi, trans burton watson...


"Followers of the Way, if you want to attain Buddhahood,
don't chase around after the ten thousand things. 'When
mind arises, various kinds of things arise; when mind is
extinguished, the various kinds of things are extinguished.'
If only the mind does not arise, then the ten thousand things
will be blameless.

"Neither in this world nor in any other world is there any
Buddha or any Dharma. There is nothing to appear before
you, and norhing that is lost. Even if there were something,
it would all be names, words, phrases, medicine to apply to
the ills of little children to placate them, words dealing with
mere surface matters. Moreover, these words and phrases do
not declare themselves as words and phrases. It is you here
before my eyes, who in clear and marvelous fashion observe,
perceive, hear, know, and shine your torch, who assign all
these various words and phrases.

"Fellow believers, only when you have committed the five
crimes that bring on the hell of incessant suffering will you
finally gain emancipation."
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terry, modified 2 Months ago at 4/5/22 12:54 PM
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RE: Koans

Posts: 2185 Join Date: 8/7/17 Recent Posts
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terry, modified 2 Months ago at 4/5/22 1:14 PM
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RE: Koans

Posts: 2185 Join Date: 8/7/17 Recent Posts
spoiler alert...involves commentary on the song...but its educational...


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ES55oH3yxzo
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terry, modified 2 Months ago at 4/5/22 2:10 PM
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RE: Koans

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Chrollo X, modified 2 Months ago at 4/5/22 3:16 PM
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RE: Koans

Posts: 56 Join Date: 1/11/22 Recent Posts
I wonder if koans are really worth the time being spent on? Are koans even Buddhism? What factors of the eighthfold path or seven factors of awakening, or the three trainings are koans helping to cultivate? Seems like a fun hobby though. 
George S, modified 2 Months ago at 4/5/22 7:02 PM
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RE: Koans

Posts: 2458 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
I would say they fall under insight training, but you are cutting straight to the punchline - THIS IS ALREADY IT. The risks of neglecting behavior and relaxation (as well as psychology) are well known. Check out r/zen to see the kind of shitshow that develops when people are overly focussed on (koan style) insight at the expense of the other trainings!
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Jim Smith, modified 2 Months ago at 4/7/22 1:21 PM
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RE: Koans

Posts: 1132 Join Date: 1/17/15 Recent Posts
My favorite type of koan is the kind that tries to trick you into a wrong way of thinking. It tests both your understanding and your mindfulness to think correctly.

My favorite instance of this koan is life.

It takes many forms, like when someone cuts you off while you are driving on the highway, or you over sleep and have to rush in the morning, etc etc. Can you maintain equanimity without obsessing (becoming lost in thought and carried away by emotions) and without suppressing (ignoring, denying,  unpleasant facts of reality and yourself)? Or are you like a gourd in a turbulent river - floating lightly on the surface no matter how turbulent the water - always serene?
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Chris M, modified 2 Months ago at 4/7/22 1:51 PM
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RE: Koans

Posts: 4417 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
I find living to be many, many. many such koans. To call it just one koan does life, and koans, a disservice.
Martin, modified 2 Months ago at 4/7/22 3:29 PM
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RE: Koans

Posts: 443 Join Date: 4/25/20 Recent Posts
....are you like a gourd in a turbulent river - floating lightly on the surface no matter how turbulent the water - always serene?


I am starting to see that an even better approach than being the gourd is to be the river.
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terry, modified 2 Months ago at 4/9/22 1:38 AM
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RE: Koans

Posts: 2185 Join Date: 8/7/17 Recent Posts
from zen koans by stephen heine



These dialogues illustrate each of the six structural elements of koan records, which are reflective of the two main levels of transcendental illumination: personal transformation, by emphasizing individual experience, and monastic transmission, by highlighting community management in relation to Zen’s behavioral codes.

This analysis is carried out in a way that recalls the traditional approach
​​​​​​​to interpretation, whereby Zen teachers would “raise” a case
by examining each word or phrase from historical and conceptual
perspectives. In the classic period, raising a case meant that a master
invited a special group of disciples to an interactive sermon in his
quarters, where he offered an interpretation true to the original
source while also taking poetic license to refashion its significance
in novel ways. 

From a contemporary standpoint, this type of interpretative
method is generally referred to as hermeneutics, an impartial yet
engaged form of reading and explaining a text, whether of religious,
literary, or cultural significance. The approach of hermeneutics is to
take a median position between textual exegesis, which fully accepts
the premises of a spiritual teaching in contrast with or defiance of
historiographical studies, and skeptical criticism, which points out 
inconsistencies but sometimes without appreciation for the original
intent of the mystical expressions. The hermeneutics of interpreting
koan cases is therefore at once neutral, or above the fray of sectarian
discord in pursuit of universal truth, and engaged, by getting down in
the weeds of the complexity and diversity of practical perspectives
and making comments based on particular circumstances and views.
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terry, modified 2 Months ago at 4/9/22 2:06 AM
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RE: Koans

Posts: 2185 Join Date: 8/7/17 Recent Posts
the 8fold path and the 7 factors are expedients which are abandoned when the one crosses over...

toys to amuse children...

yellow leaves are called gold-wrapped candy to entice the children from the burning house...

upon realization, one no longer needs a vehicle, and finds that a vehicle never was needed and indeed never existed as such...

koans illustrate the direct transmission of mind, symbolized by the case of the buddha presenting the congregation a flower, and kasyapa (afterwards "maha" kasyapa) smiled in realization...

if you can eat when hungry and sleep when tired, no need for factors and paths...

factors and paths are like the hole in a privy, or a shit-wiping stick...

if you meet buddhism, kill buddhism...

in this manner buddhism is realized...

t


from shobogenzo, dogen...


As Zen master Pao-ch’e of Mount Ma-yü was fanning himself, a monk
came up and said, “The nature of the wind is constancy. There is no
place it does not reach. Why use a fan?” Pao-ch’e answered,
“You only know the nature of the wind is constancy. You haven’t
yet grasped the meaning of its reaching every place.” 

“What is the meaning of its reaching every place?” asked the
monk. The master only fanned himself. The monk bowed deeply.

Verification of the Buddha Dharma, the authentic transmission of the
vital Way, is like this. To say that one should not use a fan because
the wind is constant, that there will be a wind even when one does
not use a fan, fails to understand both constancy and the nature of
the wind. It is because the nature of the wind is constancy that the
wind of the house of Buddhism reveals the great earth’s golden presence
and ripens the sweet milk of the long rivers.
genaro, modified 2 Months ago at 4/9/22 8:26 AM
Created 2 Months ago at 4/9/22 8:26 AM

RE: Koans

Posts: 113 Join Date: 11/23/19 Recent Posts
... a long time ago i read that koans developed in japan due to the dogma/ texts/ transmission being filtered through the blender of pali -> sanskrit ( + hindu mythology) -> tibetan (+ bon mytholgy) -> mandarin (+ chinese philospophy) -> japanese.  A literal process of chinese whispers. The end result being an inscrutable statement such as (ok I'm being satrircal here)  'far sharper than a hounds tooth it is to have a thankless serpent'.  And the story goes that the Zen monks would occasionally have a lightbulb/ facepalm moment when they realised 'That's WTF they meant'.

Looking at the above interpretations that appears to be fairly accurate.  Yet plain english (huh? japanese) could have saved a lot of effort???

Contraversial or not??
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terry, modified 2 Months ago at 4/9/22 1:54 PM
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RE: Koans

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why stop with plain english?

​​​​​​​why not use no words at all?
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 2 Months ago at 4/9/22 1:57 PM
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RE: Koans

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terry, modified 2 Months ago at 4/9/22 2:08 PM
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RE: Koans

Posts: 2185 Join Date: 8/7/17 Recent Posts
plain japanese translated into plain english...

note there is no real explanation at all...
​​​​​​​

from the zen teaching of huang po on the transmission of mind, trans blofeld:


27. Q: What is the Way and how must it be followed?
A: What sort of THING do you suppose the Way to be, that you should wish to FOLLOW it?
Q: What instructions have the Masters everywhere given for dhyana-practice and the study of the
Dharma?
A: Words used to attract the dull of wit are not to be relied on.
Q: If those teachings were meant for the dull-witted, I have yet to hear what Dharma has been taught to
those of really high capacity.
A: If they are really men of high capacity, where could they find people to follow? If they seek from
within themselves they will find nothing tangible; how much less can they find a Dharma worthy of
their attention elsewhere! Do not look to what is called the Dharma by preachers, for what sort of
Dharma could that be?
Q: If that is so, should we not seek for anything at all?
A: By conceding this, you would save yourself a lot of mental effort.
Q: But in this way everything would be eliminated. There cannot just be nothing.
A: Who called it nothing? Who was this fellow? But you wanted to SEEK for something.
Q: Since there is no need to seek, why do you also say that not everything is eliminated?
A: Not to seek is to rest tranquil. Who told you to eliminate anything? Look at the void in front of your
eyes. How can you produce it or eliminate it?
Q: If I could reach this Dharma, would it be like the void?
A: Morning and night I have explained to you that the Void is both One and Manifold. I said this as a
temporary expedient, but you are building up concepts from it.
Q: Do you mean that we should not form concepts as human beings normally do?
A: I have not prevented you; but concepts are related to the senses; and, when feeling takes place,
wisdom is shut out.
Q: Then should we avoid any feeling in relation to the Dharma?
A: Where no feeling arises, who can say that you are right?
Q: Why do you speak as though I was mistaken in all the questions I have asked Your Reverence?
A: You are a man who doesn't understand what is said to him. What is all this about being mistaken?
[Huang Po is obviously trying to help his questioner break away from the habit of thinking in terms of
concepts and logical categories. To do this, he is obliged to make his questioner seem wrong, whatever
he asks. We are reminded of the Buddha who, when questioned about such things as existence and
non-existence would reply 'Not this, not this.']
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terry, modified 2 Months ago at 4/9/22 2:14 PM
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RE: Koans

Posts: 2185 Join Date: 8/7/17 Recent Posts
​​​​​​​
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terry, modified 2 Months ago at 4/9/22 2:18 PM
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RE: Koans

Posts: 2185 Join Date: 8/7/17 Recent Posts
(my two apprentices, beauty and cutie, occasionally send each other blank text messages just to share love and  make aware they are thinking of each other...I just get hearts)
genaro, modified 2 Months ago at 4/10/22 12:30 AM
Created 2 Months ago at 4/10/22 12:30 AM

RE: Koans

Posts: 113 Join Date: 11/23/19 Recent Posts
so there's a strong current of emptiness in Zen? it's the solution of all koans??

yes ... huang po would tell me i'm wrong



(& I'm still trying to deal with papa che not posting smileys ... what was your :-D before you were born???)
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terry, modified 2 Months ago at 4/10/22 5:42 PM
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RE: Koans

Posts: 2185 Join Date: 8/7/17 Recent Posts
huang po might say, "You are a man who doesn't understand what is said to him. What is all this about being mistaken?"

emptiness is what is...zen redirects you to what is, that is, emptiness...

"look at the void right in front of you"


   The truth is one's self nature, buddha nature, is a nature - sentience itself, or "mind" - common to all beings. Even inanimate objects are not really inanimate because they exist within consciousness. Each consciousness is a grain of sand, a drop of water...an integral part of a whole, originally whole.

   What seems to be individual consciousness is a unique aspect of collective, global consciousness. When you know "I am" it means the same as every conscious being who knows "I am." Sentience is defined by "knowing the world" and the world is common to all, from the simplest cell to the most complex organism, the biosphere itself. The world is common sense.

   Knowing the world and manipulating the world are two different thngs. When our thinking is dominated by notions of good and bad, of preference and choice, we see objects, we see narrowly, as through a glass darkly. Give me the robe and bowl or I will take it by force. But is the dharma subject to a contest? The dharma is immaterial, and though "dharma" literally means "thing or object" it transcends objective thinking and refers us to nondualism.

   Nondualism abandons objective thinking, stops concerning mind with objectives, the attainment of good and avoidance of bad. Good and bad are opinions, and no one really gives a shit about your opinions. 

   For example, the end of the world is nigh (repent!). Is this a bad thiing? Narrowly we might think that it will surely suck for human beings. Nondually, it is a natural balance asserting itself, a healthy purgative. It's not like humans are actually important, like termites. The biosphere would be obviously much better off without us. So its a good thing. Every day is a good day.

terry


"The Wind Cries Mary"
(jimi hendrix experience)

After all the jacks are in their boxes
And the clowns have all gone to bed
You can hear happiness staggering on down the street
Footprints dressed in red

And the wind whispers, "Mary."

A broom is drearily sweeping
Up the broken pieces of yesterday's life
Somewhere a queen is weeping
Somewhere a king has no wife

And the wind—it cries, "Mary!"

The traffic lights—they turn, uh, blue tomorrow
And shine their emptiness down on my bed
The tiny island sags downstream
"Cause the life that lived is—is dead

And the wind screams, "Mary!"

Will the wind ever remember
The names it has blown in the past?
And with this crutch, its old age and its wisdom
It whipers, "No. This will be the last"

And the wind cries, "Mary!"
genaro, modified 2 Months ago at 4/11/22 9:48 AM
Created 2 Months ago at 4/11/22 9:48 AM

RE: Koans

Posts: 113 Join Date: 11/23/19 Recent Posts
Terry.... I smell politics so I'll avoid any further discusssions on Huang Po, Koans and Zen.

But the song....

I've no idea what you mean to convey by tacking on a song by Jimi Hendrix.  Looking at the words it's of the form of a classic pop song, sufficiently vague that vast numbers of people can project thier own meaning onto it and feel that they've been understood. Quoting those words to someone else will convey the someone else's meaning , not yours, so what are you trying to achieve?

(i Just get random noise from it, serpents teeth and thankless hounds and that kind of thing)
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terry, modified 2 Months ago at 4/11/22 1:18 PM
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RE: Koans

Posts: 2185 Join Date: 8/7/17 Recent Posts
SOMEONE ELSE'S BLUES
(David Bromberg)

When I woke up this morning, everything seemed all right.
My woman called me from New York City. She said, "Darlin', did you sleep well last night?"
She told me I got three checks in the mail. Hallelujah! I got a refund on my union dues.
But when I woke up this morning, I musta had someone else's blues.
I swear I don't know why. I don't know why I feel this way.
Well, I got, I got someone else's blues in the midst of an almost perfect day.

I don't owe anyone any more money. All my cavities are filled.
If I pull my hand outside my pocket too fast, I might drop a couple of fifty-dollar bills.
I got more dope than I can smoke. I got more chicks than I can use.
Somehow when I woke up the morning, I guess I had somebody else's blues.
I swear I don't know why. I don't know why I feel this way.
You know I got someone else's blues in the midst of an almost perfect day.

I swear I don't know who the man is that this trouble belongs to.
I wonder did he do a murder? Great God, what did that man do?
He's a no-good lying rascal, but I guess he's pretty smart,
Cuz he's outside havin' himself a real fine, sweet, happy time and his blues are right here, breaking my heart.
I swear I don't know why. I don't know why I feel this way.
I got someone else's blues in the midst of an almost perfect day.
 
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terry, modified 2 Months ago at 4/11/22 1:34 PM
Created 2 Months ago at 4/11/22 1:34 PM

RE: Koans

Posts: 2185 Join Date: 8/7/17 Recent Posts
what enmity is there between you and jimi hendrix?

(random noise indeed...you are a man who doesn't hear what is sung to him...)


the song is about attachment, and salvation, could have posted it on several threads...


its poetry by genius, you have a tin ear...


its related to the wind and flag koan, the wind is the nondual which doesn't remember names, yet whispers cries and screams...

the wind, which is god, names mary, the ubiquitous phenomenal woman of the gospels, earth to gods heaven, gestater of the christ, over and over...the son of god is born again and again in the moment, and no other name will ever need to be spoken...the winds conception is immaculate...

several verses are about clinging to the dead past...the wind has no memory...

should I chew everything up and spit it in your mouth?
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terry, modified 2 Months ago at 4/11/22 1:49 PM
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RE: Koans

Posts: 2185 Join Date: 8/7/17 Recent Posts
this is all zen talk, bra, nothing personal...

​​​​​​​could tack on a smiley...
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terry, modified 2 Months ago at 4/11/22 2:24 PM
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RE: Koans

Posts: 2185 Join Date: 8/7/17 Recent Posts
GNATS INSIDE THE WIND

Some gnats come from the grass to speak with Solomon.
“O Solomon, you are the champion of the oppressed.
You give justice to the little guys, and they don’t get
any littler than us! We are tiny metaphors
for frailty. Can you defend us?”

“Who has mistreated you?”

“Our complaint is against the wind.”

“Well,” says Solomon, “you have pretty voices,
you gnats, but remember, a judge cannot listen
to just one side. I must hear both litigants.”

“Of course,” agree the gnats.

“Summon the East Wind!” calls out Solomon,
and the wind arrives almost immediately.
What happened to the gnat plaintiffs? Gone.

Such is the way of every seeker who comes to complain
at the High Court. When the presence of God arrives,
where are the seekers? First there’s dying,
then union, like gnats inside the wind.


Excerpt From: Coleman Barks. “The Essential Rumi.” 
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terry, modified 2 Months ago at 4/11/22 2:31 PM
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RE: Koans

Posts: 2185 Join Date: 8/7/17 Recent Posts
The Master said, "The solitary moon shines alone, river
and mountains hushed. I give one shout of laughter and
heaven and earth take fright."
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terry, modified 2 Months ago at 4/11/22 2:58 PM
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RE: Koans

Posts: 2185 Join Date: 8/7/17 Recent Posts
zen is the sound of the wind in the pines when no wind is blowing...
genaro, modified 2 Months ago at 4/12/22 8:10 AM
Created 2 Months ago at 4/12/22 8:10 AM

RE: Koans

Posts: 113 Join Date: 11/23/19 Recent Posts
terry.... no problems w/ hendrix, i still have a copy of electric ladyland, sadly a CD rather than vinyl, shame they sanitised the cover art, it was of an era, yet in more modern times we get the same picture advertising soap.<br /><br />but I just wonder if he intended all your interpretations, shame we can't ask.<br /><br />When i said random noise i was trying to explain it was as if i'd been presented with a lot of hooks to hang my stuff on and i didn't really feel like complying.<br /><br />Was hendrix a zen monk? i doubt it given the way he died.&nbsp;&nbsp;
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terry, modified 2 Months ago at 4/12/22 12:36 PM
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RE: Koans

Posts: 2185 Join Date: 8/7/17 Recent Posts
the idea that koans make no sense and are meant to mystify is literally stupid
the koans are only understood when the depth of symbolism is appreciated

thus the emphasis on "the wind"


back to the wind and flag koan,

flying one's flag is the latent cause
or seed, self power
the wind blowing is the external cause
or nature, other power
the flag waving is the latent effect
or fruit, attainment, buddhahood

back to the master fanning himself,
external cause and latent cause are one
the nature of the wind, constancy
penetrates everywhere



​​​​​​​
from The Unfettered Mind – Writings of the Zen Master to the Sword Master, takuan soho


Given Form, Nature, Embodiment, Power and Function no matter what is done, it can be done at will. This is Latent Cause. If something is not done, it is to one's own detriment and there is nothing that cannot be done. Without both Latent Cause and External Cause, one will not likely get as far as the state of Buddhahood.

 The Chinese character for Latent Cause, for instance, is also read as "to depend on." This means that "depending on" one thing, various other things are obtained.

Planting the seed in the ground in spring is said to be the Latent Cause. And, though one has planted it firmly, if there is no help from the rain and dew, nothing will grow. The help of the rain and dew is said to be the External Cause. Depending on the help of the rain and dew, the plant will grow and there will be fruit in the fall. This is Latent Effect.

When the heart is filled 
And will not be put at rest 
My hopes will be
After a thousand sheaths
Of the honeysuckle vine


The meaning of this is that the setting up of the honeysuckle is the Latent Cause of getting married. Furthermore, the intermediation is said to be the External Cause, and, in the end, the couple becoming man and wife and prospering with children could be said to be an example of Latent Effect.

In the same way, if one would become a Buddha, if he does not first act in accordance with the Latent Cause, he will not reach the state of Buddhahood. Make discipline the Latent Cause, and later you will obtain the effect.

The word effect carries the meaning of "fruit." Depending on the planting of the Latent Cause in spring, one obtains the fruit in the fall. This is an example of the state of Buddhahood.

External Cause is seen in the above notes. 

The ship under sail
Has surely passed
The Cape of Wada,
Driven as it is
By the mountain winds of Muko.


The ship is the Latent Cause. The wind is the External Cause. Arriving at the other shore is the Latent Effect. Without the ship, one cannot reach the other shore. And, even though the ship exists, one cannot be without the External Cause of the wind. This is said to be the harmony of Latent Cause and External Cause. The mountain winds of Muko should be considered to be the External Cause. If one would become a Buddha, he cannot do without the discipline of the Latent Cause.
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terry, modified 2 Months ago at 4/12/22 12:58 PM
Created 2 Months ago at 4/12/22 12:58 PM

RE: Koans

Posts: 2185 Join Date: 8/7/17 Recent Posts
hendrix was murdered by the cia, ditto morrison...

nixon was an american putin...king richard/tricky dick

your political smell...


if you are too lazy to interpret poetry, don't claim it has no meaning...



tao te ching, trans feng


FORTY-ONE

The wise student hears of the Tao and practices it diligently.
The average student hears of the Tao and gives it thought now and again.
The foolish student hears of the Tao and laughs aloud.
If there were no laughter, the Tao would not be what it is.

Hence it is said:
The bright path seems dim;
Going forward seems like retreat;
The easy way seems hard;
The highest Virtue seems empty;
Great purity seems sullied;
A wealth of Virtue seems inadequate;
The strength of Virtue seems frail;
Real Virtue seems unreal;
The perfect square has no corners;
Great talents ripen late;
The highest notes are hard to hear;
The greatest form has no shape.
The Tao is hidden and without name.
The Tao alone nourishes and brings everything to fulfillment.



​​​​​​​

Jimi Hendrix

SWEET ANGEL (ANGEL)



TOLD ME A STORY YESTERDAY
ABOUT THE SWEET LOVE BETWEEN THE MOON AND THE DEEP BLUE SEA
AND WHEN IT WAS TIME FOR HER TO LEAVE SHE SPREAD HER WINGS HIGH OVER ME
AND SAID I SHALL RETURN TOMORROW

AND I SAID FLY ON MY SWEET ANGEL
FLY ON THROUGH THE SKY
FLY ON MY SWEET, SWEET ANGEL
TOMORROW I SHALL HAVE YOU BY MY SIDE

SURE ENOUGH THIS MORNIN' CAME TO ME
SILVER WINGS SILHOUETTED AGAINST THE GOLDEN ROSE OF TODAY'S SUNRISE
AND THE ANGEL SHE BENT DOWN AND TOLD ME
YOU'LL NEVER HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT THIS PLACE JUST WIPE YOUR WEEPIN' EYES
I'LL TAKE YOU WHERE YOU'VE NEVER BEEN, YOU CAN FLY
I LOOKED AROUND AND I THOUGHT

FLY ON MY LITTLE ANGEL
FLY ON THROUGH THE SKY
FLY ON MY SWEET ANGEL
TOMORROW I'LL BE BY YOUR SIDE
I GOT MY WINGS TO FLY

HAHA
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terry, modified 2 Months ago at 4/12/22 1:37 PM
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RE: Koans

Posts: 2185 Join Date: 8/7/17 Recent Posts
rip grandpa elliott, died mar 8

this is zen to me...


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3M3-lPQPQI0
genaro, modified 2 Months ago at 4/12/22 1:39 PM
Created 2 Months ago at 4/12/22 1:39 PM

RE: Koans

Posts: 113 Join Date: 11/23/19 Recent Posts
hendrix killed by the CIA?&nbsp; i don't think so.&nbsp; if they got JH how come tim leary survived? and ram dass???<br /><br />https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_of_Jimi_Hendrix&nbsp;<br /><br />FWIW Angel is one of the best songs, i use to have the album but someone nicked it. i liked the tunes more than the words, never paid that much attention to singing.&nbsp; but boy could he play guitar!<br /><br /> <blockquote><p> </p></blockquote><br /> 
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terry, modified 2 Months ago at 4/14/22 8:28 AM
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RE: Koans

Posts: 2185 Join Date: 8/7/17 Recent Posts
the answer
my friend
is blowin in the wind

​​​​​​​the answer is blowin in the wind
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terry, modified 2 Months ago at 4/14/22 8:35 AM
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RE: Koans

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terry, modified 2 Months ago at 4/15/22 2:12 PM
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RE: Koans

Posts: 2185 Join Date: 8/7/17 Recent Posts
why hendrix (read the coroner's report...he drowned, not choked, couldn't do that without help, plus there was a coverup) and not leary? cuz he was black, dummy...young, good looking, charismatic, made the counter culture look good...morrison was cremated right away, another coverup...<br /><br />the cia promoted drugs, ran the drugs into america by cia planes, helped prosecute the users, then used the proceeds for black ops...they thought lsd would make people passive and tune out...they really feared revolution, because they were little piggies and we knew it...leary was a useful idiot to the ruling cabal who came into power when they assassinated kennedy and ended the american democracy...<br /><br />wake up<br /><br /><a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wauzrPn0cfg">https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wauzrPn0cfg</a>
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terry, modified 2 Months ago at 4/15/22 2:17 PM
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RE: Koans

Posts: 2185 Join Date: 8/7/17 Recent Posts
zen is not koans...


from the center within, gyomay kubose



EMPTY-HANDED


In Buddhism it is said, "Go with empty hands." To go
empty-handed means to have no fixed ideas, no rigid plans.
It means to be ever-ready; whatever comes we will receive
it one hundred percent, do it one hundred percent.

Suppose you bring beautiful flowers or a box of candy to
a friend. Some might say that taking something with you
is not going empty-handed. However, empty-handed does not
mean nothing in the hands; it is a condition of the mind. You
simply want to give flowers out of real joy. There is no idea
of "I am giving; I will be thanked, or I am returning a favor."
There are no expectations. This is empty-handedness. Life as
it is, without speculation, without intention.

Emptiness or nothingness means that there is no manipulation and no planning by the you, which is the accumulation of your five senses. Both sides of the struggle: I want to, I don't want to, must be forgotten. So it is said, where there is enlightenment, there is no self. Where there is self, there is no enlightenment. Both self and non-self must disappear. When non-self is conceptualized as non-self, then it is not non-self.

Many people become attached to the idea of non-self and to
the idea of nothingness. But when we are attached to nothingness,
this kind of nothingness is not what Buddhism teaches.

True nothingness is to be fully aware.

In the fresh, creative life there are no rigid plans. But some people say, "Don't we have to plan for tomorrow, for next year?" Yes, we make plans, but they should only be tentative guidelines. To have "no plan" means that when you actually do something you put your whole life into it, whatever it is. The minute we say, "I must be selfless," then that is fixed, not free. Go at it with your total self. Let life take over. When we really do things the self is transcended. In that kind of life every moment is fresh. Every minute is creative. This is what empty-handed means.




LAUGHTER


Buddhism teaches us how to laugh about life. Laughter is
the basis of a healthy life. This laughter is hearty, total, and
from the abdomen. To smile is easy. It is only the surface of
life—above the neck. But to laugh! I remember the editor of
one of the religious newspapers in Japan. This man really could
laugh. If you had a problem, you didn't need counseling or
advice. Just being with him and hearing him laugh dissolved
the whole problem. Where did this healthy laugh come from?
It came from a true understanding of life.

This laughter is not laughter for fun. The laughter that
Buddhism points to is larger in scope and deeper in dimension.
People who become tense, melancholy, and have nervous
breakdowns—they cannot laugh. They are so involved in
"serious" things. But the reality of life is impermanence. The
Buddha taught that life is continuous change. Everything does
change, good things, bad things, pleasant things, and unpleasant
things—all are constantly flowing. All things are in the great
current of life, and here is a little man trying to keep something
and attach himself to something, thus creating misery. When
one sees how small he is, what a fool he is, a little man trying
to stem the whole tide of the universe—he then is able to
laugh.

Let's learn to laugh. We are too serious about little things.
We forget the larger perspective. We become attached to
things—a particular business, a particular person. We worry so
much about it. We are quite foolish beings. Attached to nonattachable
things. Even when we understand non-attachment,we become
attached to the idea of non-attachment. By depending upon
undependable things we create our own problems.
​​​​​​​
They seem big and we become frustrated. If we can laugh at
our little mistakes and then extend that and laugh at our own
basic ignorance—a big laugh, then this makes for a healthy life.
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Chris M, modified 2 Months ago at 4/15/22 2:20 PM
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RE: Koans

Posts: 4417 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
leary was a useful idiot to the ruling cabal who came into power when they assassinated kennedy and ended the american democracy...

Who are "they?" (Dare I ask.)
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terry, modified 2 Months ago at 4/15/22 2:46 PM
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RE: Koans

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op cit

​​​​​​​

TOKUSAN'S CANDLE


Tokusan was a great scholar of Buddhism. However, being
a sincere seeker, he came to see that he hadn't realized the
truth of Buddhism. During his travels he was directed to
Ryutan, a Buddhist teacher. Tokusan met with Ryutan and
asked many questions. Tokusan was amazed that there was
so much to be learned that was not in books. Their discussion
lasted late into the night. It was pitch dark when Tokusan
started to leave. He was in a strange part of the country so he
returned to Ryutan's study and said, "It is dark and there is no moon."
"Oh," said Ryutan, "You had better take a light with you." So
Ryutan lit a candle and handed it to Tokusan.

As Tokusan was about to step outside, Ryutan blew the candle
out! At that moment Tokusan's mind was opened; he understood.
The next day he burned all his scholarly notes and commentaries.

In this story, what did Tokusan understand? Tokusan was
a great scholar of Buddhism; he knew the teachings, all the
terminology, thoughts and ideas. He possessed them as though
they were his, but they were external things. They were not
his, instead he belonged to them! One cannot depend upon
external things. If one's peace or happiness depends upon
external things, then that kind of peace or happiness is fragile
and cannot be trusted. You have to find out in your own life
what Tokusan found. In our everyday life we depend on external
things: money, friends, good health, reputation. Most of our peace
and happiness is based on such external things. Then,
when life hits us hard we find nothing to help us. Buddhism
points to that which cannot be destroyed by
external means. One must have peace from within, from the
bottom of one's life. No one can find it for you. You must
find it for yourself. Since no one can give it to you, once you
have it no one can take it away. The light shines from within.
When Tokusan was given the candle, he depended upon it to
guide him on his way. However, Ryutan blew out the candle.
In your life you should not depend upon external "candles."
Yes, they do give off light but they are not dependable.

A wind might blow them out. What is to be done? Buddhism
teaches freedom, and freedom only comes when you are not
attached to external things. You must become yourself and
then you discover the true life which has an internal light that
can never be blown out.
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terry, modified 2 Months ago at 4/15/22 2:58 PM
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RE: Koans

Posts: 2185 Join Date: 8/7/17 Recent Posts
from the quran, sura 6

​​​​​​​

74. Lo! Abraham said
To his father Āzar:
"Takest thou idols for gods?
For I see thee
And thy people
In manifest error."


75. So also did We show
Abraham the power
And the laws of the heavens
And the earth, that he
Might (with understanding)
Have certitude.


76. When the night
Covered him over,
He saw a star:
He said: "This is my Lord."
But when it set,
He said: "I love not
Those that set."


77. When he saw the moon
Rising in splendour,
He said: "This is my Lord."
But when the moon set,
He said: "Unless my Lord
Guide me, I shall surely
Be among those
Who go astray.


78. When he saw the sun
Rising in splendour,
He said: "This is my Lord;
This is the greatest (of all)."
But when the sun set,
He said: "O my people!
I am indeed free
From your (guilt)
Of giving partners to God.


79. "For me, I have set
My face, firmly and truly,
Towards Him Who created
The heavens and the earth,
And never shall I give
Partners to God."


80. His people disputed
With him. He said:
"(Come) ye to dispute
With me, about God,
When He (Himself)
Hath guided me?
I fear not (the beings)
Ye associate with God:
Unless my Lord willeth,
(Nothing can happen).
My Lord comprehendeth
In His knowledge all things.
Will ye not (yourselves)
Be admonished?
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terry, modified 2 Months ago at 4/15/22 5:08 PM
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RE: Koans

Posts: 2185 Join Date: 8/7/17 Recent Posts
when you really get these symbols and their nature in reality, 

the awareness arises that everything you perceive realizes these essential symbols, these archetypes

blossoms in the hand of the buddha, skillful means


and reality amounts to the handful of colored pebbles whirled about in a kaleidoscope, endlessly fascinating, ultimately entropic

a handful of themes whirled about in samsara



procol harum:
​​​​​​​
She said, "There is no reason
And the truth is plain to see"
But I wandered through my playing cards
And would not let her be
One of sixteen vestal virgins
Who were leaving for the coast
And although my eyes were open
They might just as well have been closed

And so it was that later
As the miller told his tale
That her face, at first just ghostly
Turned a whiter shade of pale


"corners and doorways; corners and doorways..."
~miller
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terry, modified 2 Months ago at 4/15/22 5:13 PM
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RE: Koans

Posts: 2185 Join Date: 8/7/17 Recent Posts
<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_GwpWATKsMU">https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_GwpWATKsMU</a>
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terry, modified 2 Months ago at 4/15/22 5:14 PM
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RE: Koans

Posts: 2185 Join Date: 8/7/17 Recent Posts
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terry, modified 2 Months ago at 4/16/22 9:36 AM
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RE: Koans

Posts: 2185 Join Date: 8/7/17 Recent Posts
from the center within, gyomay kubose




SIMPLICITY


Buddhism means to learn simplicity. Life is simple and
therefore beautiful. It is just as birds sing and flowers bloom, 
very natural, very simple. Life should not be analyzed. The
intellect analyzes. But analysis and intellectualization will not
bring peace to life, will not bring enlightenment.

Enlightenment is the direct, intuitive knowing of who
one is. This is Buddhism. All the teachings can be reduced to:
know yourself. To know oneself is to know that this very self
is constantly changing. Life is a continuous becoming. It is
not something you possess. Realizing this, you live a new life
each day. Live life directly and simply. A flower is beautiful
because it blooms without pretension, without artificiality.
Blooming is reality; blooming is life. Blooming is the means
and the end. This is how it should be in your life, too. This
reminds me of a question someone asked Picasso, "Why do
you paint in such a way? It is so hard to understand!"

Picasso replied, "Don't ask me. Ask the bird why it sings."

Why do birds sing? Why do flowers bloom? Why does rain
fall? It is life's expression. Life is like a spring gushing forth
from within the earth. From the bottom of life, continuous
new life springs out—so simple, so clean. Live this pure life.
Drink at this spring of life and live accordingly, without
pretension, without artificiality. It is this kind of simplicity
that buddhism teaches.




BASHO'S STAFF


Zenji Basho, a famous Chinese Buddhist teacher, said to
his disciples, "If you have a staff, I will give you one; if you
don't have a staff, I will take it away from you."

The point of this story is concerned with the "staff."

What is the staff that Zenji Basho is talking about? Long ago,
traveling monks always carried a long stick or staff. It was used
for protection and as a guide. In some places there were no
roads; the staff was a protection against snakes and wild
animals that were plentiful in the woods. Also, when a monk
came to a stream he frequently didn't know how deep it was;
and he could cross using the staff to measure the depth. So a
staff, then, represents a guidepost. Everyone has a staff, even
modem man.

Do you have a staff? A guideline by which you live? If you
have one, you often become attached to this staff. If you
think, "I have a staff," then you become dependent on that
staff. This is what Basho is talking about. Zenji Basho is telling
you not to become attached. He is saying, "I will give you
the real staff." This real staff is formless and colorless. It is a
guideless guide, a staffless staff. This means that in the reality
of your life there is no rigid, unchanging truth. The truth is not
static. Truth is always dynamic.

Truth changes because everything changes. For example,
steak tastes good. Yes, generally speaking, steak is good, but
if you get an ulcer steak it is not good. Yesterday's truth may
not be true today. In order to overcome rigidity, Zenji Basho
points out that the way of Buddhism is to be free from "good
and bad," "having and not having," "is and is-not." You must
transcend duality because reality, life, truth are always changing.
This is the path to freedom and a continuously fresh, dynamic life.
Zenji Basho points to this path with his staffless staff.




MAPLE LEAF


Ryokan was an outstanding calligrapher and Zen monk.
During his lifetime he composed many poems. One of them
concerns a maple leaf on an autumn afternoon:

Maple leaf
showing front
showing back
falling down


In the Japanese language, this is very poetic. It suffers
somewhat when translated into English but the meaning can
still be understood. When Ryokan saw the maple leaf falling
he could not help but talk to that leaf and say, "How wonderful
​​​​​​​you are. You don't just show the front and try to hide the
back. How natural you are. I thought I was a monk with no
double life but I realize that there still exists in me a desire to
show the front and hide the back. But maple leaf, to you the
front and the back are just the same—no pretensions, no ego,
no artificiality. How nice. If I live like you, front and back do
not make any difference. I am I."

Ryokan was inspired by the maple leaf and bowed in
respect to it.
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terry, modified 2 Months ago at 4/21/22 6:20 PM
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RE: Koans

Posts: 2185 Join Date: 8/7/17 Recent Posts
so koans are part of an age old tradition of telling stories and jokes with spiritual meanings, designed to be passed along whether understood or not as inherently entertaining and/or portentous...

it was d t suzuki who popularized zen, along with the myth that zen koans were impenetrably mysterious and designed only to prevent the mind from working...

even dogen was occasionally mystified and projected meanings that were specious due to not knowing the context, as with this one...


q: what is the meaning of buddhism
a: three pounds of flax

this is absolutely typical zen method to confront the mythic with the mundane

"three pounds of hemp" cloth (not flax) was the standard issue to a monk for his robes, and the expression meant that the robes of a monk were the actual meaning of buddhism, much as a teddy bear is cloth and stuffing, and a baseball is a horsehide covered spheroid, and at the same time these objects have mythic dimensions...

the materiality of an object and its spiritual meaning in ordinary personal and social life cannot be separated...they are one cat..to analyze is to kill, like when you pull the wings off of a fly and it no fly...

t




from mcrae, seeing through zen

The answer to the...question...about the meaning of the word “Buddha,” has also generally been considered an example of the performative use of Chan illogicality, a non-sensical answer meant to knock the student off his accustomed spot and into a different realm of understanding. That this was the ultimate goal is not really in question, but the answer “three pounds of hemp” was not illogical at all in its original context, merely metaphoric: In the Tang dynasty this was the standard allotment of cloth for a set of monk’s robes—a colloquial usage that was forgotten by the Song, leading to amusing errors by the Japanese Zen master Dêgen (1200–53) and others, who labored to explain Zhaozhou’s apparent reference to “three pounds of sesame seeds”! In other words, when asked the meaning of the word “Buddha,” Zhaozhou responded, more or less, “A set of monk’s robes is all it takes.”


​​​​​​​

The Fly
William Blake - 1757-1827


Little fly,
Thy summer’s play
My thoughtless hand
Has brushed away.

Am not I
A fly like thee?
Or art not thou
A man like me?

For I dance
And drink and sing,
Till some blind hand
Shall brush my wing.

If thought is life
And strength and breath,
And the want
Of thought is death,

Then am I
A happy fly,
If I live,
Or if I die.