- For other uses, see Koan
The kōan (Chinese: 公案; Korean: 공안, romanized: kong'an) are groupings of related questions and answers which are a paradox. The kōan may be a story which cannot be understood or explained easily.
History[change | change source]
Kōans originate in the sayings and events in the lives of wise men and legendary figures.
The kōan is a fundamental part of the history and practice of Zen Buddhism.
Select examples[change | change source]
- "Firewood becomes ash and it does not become firewood again".
- "The verbal and the nonverbal are like vines clinging to a tree".
Classical kōan collections[change | change source]
- Blue Cliff Record or Account of the Blue Montains Chinese: 碧巖錄; Japanese: Hekigan-roku, is a collection of 100 kōans compiled in 1125 by Yuanwu Keqin (圜悟克勤 1063–1135).
- The Book of Equanimity or Book of Serenity Chinese: 從容録; Japanese: 従容録, romanized: Shōyōroku is a collection of 100 Kōans compiled in the 12th century by Hongzhi Zhengjue (宏智正覺 1091–1157)
- The Gateless Gate or the Gate with no Entrance Chinese: 無門關; Japanese: Mumonkan is a collection of 48 kōans and commentaries published in 1228 by Chinese monk Wumen (無門 1183–1260). The title may be more accurately rendered as Gateless Barrier or Gateless Checkpoint.
References[change | change source]
- The English word comes from the Japanese pronunciation of the Chinese characters.
- Nussbaum, Louis-Frédéric. (2005). "Kōan" in Japan Encyclopedia, p. 535.
- Loori, John Daido. (2005). Sitting with Koans: Essential Writings on the Zen Practice of Koan Study, p. 128; Wu, Kuang-Ming. (2001). On Metaphoring: A Cultural Hermeneutic, p. 656.
- Crowley, Richard J. and Joyce C. Mills. (2001). Therapeutic Metaphors for Children and the Child Within, p. 8.
- Nussbaum, "Zen-shū" at pp. 1072-1073.
- Dogen, Eihei. (2011). Dogen's Genjo Koan: Three Commentaries, p. 68.
- Heine, Steven and Dale S. Wright. (2000). The Kōan: Texts and Contexts in Zen Buddhism, p. 186.
- Shōyōroku (in English)
- Hongzhi Zhengjue is also known as Wanshi Shōgaku
Other websites[change | change source]
- The Gateless Gate 48 Zen kōans compiled in the early 13th century
- Book of Serenity A collection of 100 kōans, originally compiled in the 12th century
- Life at the Monastery Archived 2011-12-25 at the Wayback Machine – a humorous look at kōans
- Zen Buddhism Koan Study Pages
- Koan Collections and Studies
- Short Zen Poems, Koans[permanent dead link] – Collection of modern koans.
- Zen Koans: Transcending Duality – a list of kōans
- What is the sound of one hand clapping?