Eastern Thought & Lit Exercises

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Dictionary.com defines a koan as follows:

"A nonsensical or paradoxical question to a student for which an answer is demanded, the stress of meditation on the question often being illuminating."

This site is a catalogue of some koans, some original and some not. Feel free to read through some of them and think about what they mean and how they could possibly be solved.

What is your original face before you were born?

When you can do nothing, what can you do?

One day as Manjusri stood outside the gate, the Buddha called to him, "Manjusri, Manjusri, why do you not enter?"
Manjusri replied, "I do not see myself as outside. Why enter?"

How many lightbulbs does it take to change people?

What if we are the aliens?

If everything tastes like chicken, does chicken taste like everything?

If humans are mostly water, isn't the Earth mostly human?

If croutons are stale bread, why do they come in airtight packages?

Do geese get people bumps?

If somebody vanished without a trace, how do people know they are missing?

If time is money, are ATMs time machines?

Why do feet smell and noses run?

Why do we bake cookies and cook bacon?

Exercise Contract

Original list of exercises

Tao Te Ching

101 Zen Stones from Zen Flesh, Zen Bones

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