WHAT IS A KOAN EXERCISE? “This is something that we the Gnostics must deeply study.
KOAN is the Japanese pronunciation of the Chinese phrase KUNG-AN, whose original sense is: “Document of an official agreement on the desk.” It is ostensible that ZEN Buddhists give to the KOAN a totally different meaning. It’s obvious that they designate the KOAN as a certain mystical dialogue between Teacher and disciple.
For example: Certain monk asked Teacher TUNG SHAN, Who is the Buddha? The teacher responded strangely: “Three Chin (a measurement) of linen”.
A Buddhist monk asked Teacher CIAO CHOU: “What sense has the arrival of the BODDHISATTWA from the west? The answer was: “The cypress that is in the garden.” Enigmatic answer, right? All these famous previously narrated histories are a KOAN.
It is clear and manifest that a KOAN designates a ZEN history, a ZEN problem.
- Who recites the name of the Buddha?
- If all the things are reduced to the unit. What is the unit reduced to?
- It is not the mind, it is not the Buddha, it is nothing.