An Agile Koan – If You Meet Buddha on the Road, Kill Him | Think Different
Ran into the term "koan" in a NYT article a couple weeks ago, had to look it up, and one thing led to another. A koan is a Buddhist saying that. Like a true reformer, Linji railed most against his own recent practices. He proceeded to denounce If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him! If you meet the. A kōan (公案) is a story, dialogue, question, or statement which is used in Zen practice to provoke the "great doubt" and test a.
One looked at the enlightened activities of one's lineal forebears in order to understand one's own identity [ Contemporary koan-use[ edit ] In China and Korea, "observing the phrase" is still the sole form of koan-practice, though Seung Sahn used the Rinzai-style of koan-practice in his Kwan Um School of Zen.
The desired "spontaneity" expressed by enlightened masters required a thorough study of Chinese language and poetry. Senior monks were supposed to compose Chinese verse in a complex style of matched counterpoints known as bienli wen. It took a lot of literary and intellectual skills for a monk to succeed in this system. These monasteries developed "more accessible methods of koan instruction".
By standardizing the koan-curriculum every generation of students proceeded to the same series of koans. They contain both the koan-curricula and the standardized answers.
“If You Meet the Buddha on the Road, Kill Him”
A series of questions is given, to be asked by the master. The answers are also given by the master, to be memorized by the student. This is not the consciousness of the enlightened Zen master. Hakuin's well-known koan, "Two hands clap and there is a sound, what is the sound of one hand?
If You Meet The Buddha On The Road, Kill Him
The koan asks, you know what duality is, now what is nonduality? In "What is your original face before your mother and father were born? This is obvious to someone versed in the Chinese tradition, where so much philosophical thought is presented in the imagery of paired opposites.
The phrase "your original face" alludes to the original nonduality. Students are instructed to concentrate on the "word-head", like the phrase "mu". Day and night work intently at it.
Do not attempt nihilistic or dualistic interpretations. It builds up "strong internal pressure gidannever stopping knocking from within at the door of [the] mind, demanding to be resolved".
You try to vomit it out, but you can't. Analysing the koan for its literal meaning won't lead to insight, though understanding the context from which koans emerged can make them more intelligible.
For example, when a monk asked Zhaozhou Joshu "does a dog have Buddha-nature or not? Realization of this is the insight; the response to the koan [ When the monk realizes that the koan is not merely an object of consciousness but is also he himself as the activity of seeking an answer to the koan, then subject and object are no longer separate and distinct [ We become holy fools, with the power to keep the journey going despite wounds or set-backs or even enlightenment itself! The false idol is any form that hangs around too long and gets fossilized.
God is not dead. He simply went elsewhere because you were too boring. This sacred energy is hiding inside us because we have been too boring.
Kōan - Wikipedia
We need to shake ourselves awake. The world is not a frozen thought, but a dynamic feeling, a heroic expression, a comic guffaw. Our bones are too serious inside us. Even our funny bone is serious.
We need to loosen up. Shake up your bones. Unloosen the straightjacket that society has strapped around your soul. You encounter me standing on one leg. You approach me to get a better look. I am trickster-fabulous with my coyote-throat and crow-tongue, with my Thunderbird wings and smoking-mirror skin.
I am whispering unspoken truths to power when you draw near. You ask me my name and I open my moon-eye, keeping my sun-eye closed. I am Blessed Buffoon. I am Charlatan Shaman. I am Prankster Pope.
I am Mystic Muppet.