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There exist different 'takes' on the resolution of one kōan
July 5th, 2012

illustration (attribution, if any possible, is at the end of the article)

There exist different 'takes' on the resolution of one kōan.
In some traditions with extensive curricula, one has to learn kōan after kōan, their classical answers, interpretations, etc. Different kōans break different facets of ignorance…
In some other traditions, the insight from fully embodying one kōan, i.e. from completely embodying a question, a "don't know" open mind, makes 'solving' any other kōan irrelevant (the resulting experience would be of the same nirvāṇa…). Different kōans 'only' offer different entry points into the same Truth…

If you've gained some insight from the "cypress tree" kōan I recently commented on (, maybe you can test by yourself how the following feels:

Someone once sat #zen   for ten years. He was an old man. He had an interview with the Zen master and said, "Zen Master, I have a question. I have been sitting for ten years but enlightenment has not appeared."
The Zen master said "You don't want enlightenment so it has not appeared."
"No, no," said the student, "I want enlightenment but it hasn't appeared."
The Zen master said "So, you want enlightenment so it has not appeared. Go to the kitchen, drink cold water."

[After spending some time on this #koan  , you can always have a look at for some help. But remember: only embodying the question, enquiring 'what is,' will lead to insights… not reading the answers of others! Teachings provide vocabulary and tools and useful questions (and at times destroy naïve answers and misconceptions, to bring back the lost student to the question at hand) but ultimately the truth is beyond words] #buddhism   #dharma   #buddhistcircle