Friday, 10 October 2014

Zen Riddles are Strange

Zen Riddle #1 - bell: Blogger Ref

How do you stop a temple bell 100 miles away?
Here's the answer....(Show/Hide)

Want more riddles? Choose one!
#16-bridge #3-stars #4-boat

...but easy to solve.

Zen riddles are complicated questions about everything.
Forget about logic and jump out of the riddle. That's it!

The answer of the riddles doesn't matter: say something creative, the mad the better. Done.

There are only very more few rules for answering these riddles who're sometimes called Koans, Zen Koans or Buddhist koans.

You want to find answers yourself? Want to know the rules of the riddle-koan-game? Try !

Buddha history

Buddhist Koan
"Cut a tree five hundred miles away from you. Cut it right now!!"

Sounds impossible?

Right. Zen koans ask for the impossible to be done on the spot!

The solution has to be as mad and paradoxical as the riddle is.

Let's try a mad reaction to the cutting tree riddle: "Great job. Let's have a beer!"

That's a multi-purpose reaction to many Zen koans.

Unfortunately some people, especially Zen masters, may not want to have a beer with you. That's sad, but that's how they are.

Buddha history

What gives life meaning
Okay, to satisfy those guys who can't accept your creativity there is a "way of the rules".
  • First rule to solve Zen koans: Look for THINGS, mentioned in the riddle.
  • Second rule: Look for ACTION mentioned in the riddle.
  • Third rule: Look for the uttering of HOLY actors.
There's no holiness in the riddle above, but tree, saw or axe are "things" and cutting is "action".

Produce a combination of the first and second rules:

Move your hand with the saw back and forth and hum while cutting the tree.

This time the Zen master smiles thinly and nods.

Now you've a good chance to go for the next Koan or for some Zen practice at Meditation Hall

Besides madness and rule-driven solutions there other more simple Koan answers. On the cutting the distant tree riddle just say: "Yes, a tree is green" or move your arms like branches of a tree.

Enough of cutting trees.
Let's try another Koan, a dog riddle: Why did your dog bark throughout the night?

the way of Zen

Koan Practice
Stupid question. Who knows why a dog barks? They bark, that's all.

But Zen riddles are not about explaining, but about the madness of everything.

"Let's have a beer", is again a good solution to the barking dog riddle. But as I said, not everybody appreciates creativity. Bark yourself, walk on hands and knees, lift one leg and piss, that may be more acceptable.

Why? Remember the rules? Let's try: What are the "things" of the riddle? Yes, the dog and the night. What is the action? Barking. Right? Combine them and there's another answer: Bow wow.

the way of Zen

Zen Koans
Other creative answers: "The moon is shining." Or: sniff and say: "Here's a stinking dog around."

Or just walk carefully: Step, step, step. Why? Don't ask. It just came in my mind.

In normal life this kind of reactions on a question or a problem would be seen as childish or mad. In Zen it's a sign of maturity.

Finding out how to answer a riddle or koan can be time consuming, even if you follow my wonderful instructions.

You may look for help by Zen books that comment on koans, one 's smarter then the other.

Don't hope for solutions, you'll only be showered with vain and confusing Zen-talk.

Traditional Zen-people insist on the secrecy of riddle and koan solutions.
They believe in decoding hundreds of koans by somebody leads to enlightenment. Ok. Fine.

Good luck.

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