koan


koan
/koh"ahn/, n., pl. koans, koan. Zen.
a nonsensical or paradoxical question to a student for which an answer is demanded, the stress of meditation on the question often being illuminating. Cf. mondo.
[1945-50; < Japn koan, earlier kou-an < MChin, equiv. to Chin gongàn public proposal]

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In Zen Buddhism, a brief paradoxical statement or question used as a discipline in meditation.

The effort to solve a koan is designed to exhaust the analytic intellect and the will, leaving the mind open for response on an intuitive level. There are about 1,700 traditional koans, which are based on anecdotes from ancient Zen masters. They include the well-known example "When both hands are clapped a sound is produced; listen to the sound of one hand clapping."

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Japanese  Kōan,  

      in Zen Buddhism of Japan, a succinct paradoxical statement or question used as a meditation discipline for novices, particularly in the Rinzai sect. The effort to “solve” a koan is intended to exhaust the analytic intellect and the egoistic will, readying the mind to entertain an appropriate response on the intuitive level. Each such exercise constitutes both a communication of some aspect of Zen experience and a test of the novice's competence.

      A characteristic example of the style is the well-known koan “When both hands are clapped a sound is produced; listen to the sound of one hand clapping.” Sometimes the koan is set in question-and-answer form, as in the question “What is Buddha?” and its answer, “Three pounds of flax.”

      Koans (from Chinese kung-an, literally “public notice,” or “public announcement”) are based on anecdotes of Zen (Chinese: Ch'an) masters. There are said to be 1,700 koans in all. The two major collections are the Pi-yen lu (Chinese: “Blue Cliff Records”; Japanese: Hekigan-roku), consisting of 100 koans selected and commented on by a Chinese priest, Yüan-wu, in 1125 on the basis of an earlier compilation; and the Wu-men kuan (Japanese: Mumon-kan), a collection of 48 koans compiled in 1228 by the Chinese priest Hui-k'ai (known also as Wu-men). Compare zazen. (zazen)

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

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  • Koan — Kōan (jap. 公案; chin. 公案, gōngàn, W. G. kung an „Öffentlicher Aushang“; hgl. 공안, gong an; viet. công án) ist im chinesischen Chan bzw. japanischen Zen Buddhismus eine Art (sehr) kurze Anekdote oder eine Sentenz, die eine beispiel oder lehrhafte… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Koan — Kōan Cette page d’homonymie répertorie les différents sujets et articles partageant un même nom. Le mot kōan peut désigner: L empereur Kōan, un empereur légendaire du Japon. un kōan, une courte phrase ou brève anecdote absurde ou paradoxale… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Kôan — Kōan Cette page d’homonymie répertorie les différents sujets et articles partageant un même nom. Le mot kōan peut désigner: L empereur Kōan, un empereur légendaire du Japon. un kōan, une courte phrase ou brève anecdote absurde ou paradoxale… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • koan — [kɔan, kɔɑ̃] n. m. invar. ÉTYM. Attesté mil. XXe; mot japonais. ❖ ♦ Didact. Paradoxe proposé par un maître zen à la méditation de son disciple (ex. d un koan classique : le maître frappe dans ses mains et demande : « Voilà le bruit des deux mains …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Kōan —   [japanisch »öffentliche Bekanntmachung«], im japanischen Zen Buddhismus Bezeichnung für Aussprüche, Fragen und Antworten der Zen Meister, deren Zentrum jeweils ein der Vernunft unzugängliches Paradoxon bildet. Die Kōan werden den Schülern… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • koan — [kō′än΄] n. pl. koans, koan [Jpn < kō, public + an, (a matter for) investigation, consideration] in Zen Buddhism, a verbal puzzle put to a student as a means to enlightenment …   English World dictionary

  • Koan — Koan,   Meditation …   Universal-Lexikon

  • koan — (n.) Zen paradox, 1946, from Japanese ko public + an matter for thought …   Etymology dictionary

  • Kōan — Ein Kōan (jap. 公案; chinesisch 公案 gōng àn, W. G. kung an ‚Öffentlicher Aushang‘; hgl. 공안, gong an; andere gebräuchliche Transkriptionen aus dem koreanischen: Kung an, Kungan; viet. công án) ist im chinesischen Chan bzw. japanischen Zen… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Kōan — Un kōan (公案; Japonés: kōan, del Chino: gōng àn) es, en la tradición zen, un problema que el maestro plantea al novicio para comprobar sus progresos. Muchas veces el kōan parece un problema absurdo, ilógico o banal. Para resolverlo el novicio debe …   Wikipedia Español


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