Everyday Buddhism: Making Everyday Better

Everyday Buddhism 11 - Koans: Reaching the Limit of Thought

Aug. 20, 2018

Up for a fun challenge? In this podcast, I talk about my love of Zen Koans, as one of the rarest practices for 'messing with' your conceptual mind and shaking your false trust in the stability of what we think is 'knowledge.'

A koan is, in essence, a problem that can't be solved by the intellect. In trying to understand it, you run up against the limitations of thought and, hopefully, tap into a direct and non-verbal awareness of reality. Most people think of koans as riddles or puzzles to solve. It's not about that. The deal with koans is that they are about "I don't know."

Koans expose us to the fact that we are so stuffed with concepts and snared by thinking that we can't see what's right in front of us ... in the kitchen ... in the garden ... the desk ... out our window ... on a familiar walk. These are the places where koans leap from. Through koans we get a glimpse into how to let the world come to us in whatever shape it takes.

   

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