Filed in Zen (Chan), Koans

Give and Take: On Studying Koans

Andrew Cooper chats with Gerry Shishin Wick Roshi, President and Spiritual Leader of Great Mountain Zen Center in Lafayette, Colorado.

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What are three good reasons for studying koans? First of all, koan study is an efficient and effective means to bring students to realization of their true self. Second, koans attract type A personalities and goal-oriented people to meditation. Third, they give you something to think about while meditating.© Alexander Tomlinson

What are three really bad reasons? See answer to question one.

Do you have a favorite koan?
I have many favorite koans, and it is hard to pick only one. I especially like case 20 in the Book of Equanimity, when Master Jizo asks Hogen what is the nature of his pilgrimage and Hogen replies, “I don't know.” Jizo then says, “Not knowing is most intimate.” Hearing that, Hogen experiences great enlightenment.

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