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Thursday, April 8, 2010

Zen Koan #40: In Dreamland

Zen Koans are familiar to practicioners of Zen Buddhism; they are very short stories involving a riddle with a deeper meaning that cannot be obtained via logic or rational thinking.  Often the solution is realized through intuition, stemming from meditation or thought. 

There are more than a hundred Koans in Zen Buddhism, originally conceived and written in Chinese.  The fortieth Koan has the translated title "In Dreamland," and is below, as translated by a Japanese teacher named Muju in the thirteenth century.  

To follow the Zen approach, I will not comment any further.  Enjoy. 

(40)  In Dreamland

"Our schoolmaster used to take a nap every afternoon," related a disciple of Soyen Shaku. "We children asked him why he did it and he told us: 'I go to dreamland to meet the old sages just as Confucius did.' When Confucius slept, he would dream of ancient sages and later tell his followers about them. 

"It was extremely hot one day so some of us took a nap. Our schoolmaster scolded us. 'We went to dreamland to meet the ancient sages the same as Confucius did,' we explained. 'What was the message from those sages?' our schoolmaster demanded. One of us replied: 'We went to dreamland and met the sages and asked them if our schoolmaster came there every afternoon, but they said they had never seen any such fellow.'"

1 comment:

  1. There are actually 1700 Koans in Zen Buddhism.

    Paul Lynch, JDPSN