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What is the sound of one hand clapping?

 
 
contrex
 
  1  
Reply Sun 16 Aug, 2009 07:20 am
@Francis,
Francis, you are going to hell...
Francis
 
  1  
Reply Sun 16 Aug, 2009 07:22 am
@contrex,
As long as they are there with me..
0 Replies
 
Ogitoc groe sum
 
  1  
Reply Sun 16 Aug, 2009 08:16 am
@contrex,
correct, but there is a sound.
0 Replies
 
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Sun 16 Aug, 2009 09:27 pm
Why do you ask?
0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Sun 16 Aug, 2009 09:35 pm
I once tried to clap with one hand, but I missed.
0 Replies
 
Merry Andrew
 
  1  
Reply Sun 16 Aug, 2009 09:38 pm
I'm inclined to agree with fresco. And with Niels Bohr. And a lot of other people, too, come to think of it.
0 Replies
 
potato smeller
 
  1  
Reply Sun 24 Apr, 2011 05:09 pm
@Ogitoc groe sum,
Whoever made this up did not know anything. I can clap with one hand easy i'll e-mail you for proof. E-mail is [email protected] Smile ancient mystery solved.
0 Replies
 
Cyracuz
 
  1  
Reply Sun 24 Apr, 2011 05:13 pm
@Ogitoc groe sum,
Mu


(just adding this line because a2k won't let me post only 2 letters... )
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Sun 24 Apr, 2011 11:04 pm
A koan (the kind of puzzle of which the sound of two hands is an example) is a tool (upaya) for zen "education" in the Rinzai tradition. The monk sits for hours forcusing with all his strength on a riddle/paradox that cannot be "solved". At regular intervals the monk meets with the teacher (master) to show the progress made on the assigned puzzle (there are hundreds of them). He does not "solve" it in the usual sense, but a kind of psychospiritual "resolution" may be achieved after time. This resolution has to do with a radical shift in the entire perspective of the monk (in his relation to his experience of self and his world) not with the accuracy of his answer to a question in the usual sense of the term.
The koan helps maintain in meditation an open readiness of mind--since there is no way to actually engage the koan because of its radically illogical and paradoxical nature--a posture that promotes greater openness and equanimity in life. It has been called a pressure cooker approach to the development of enlightenment. I've had encounters with three koans and I prefer the less structured mindfulness (satipathana and vipassana) approaches of the Soto zen school.
roger
 
  1  
Reply Mon 25 Apr, 2011 12:03 am
@Cyracuz,
I generally smack the space bar a few times. One character is as good as another.
Cyracuz
 
  1  
Reply Mon 25 Apr, 2011 12:08 am
@roger,
aha.. Thanks for the tip. I just assumed that wasn't counted as characters.
0 Replies
 
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 Apr, 2011 11:12 pm
@JLNobody,
Oh, did you hear of the monk who, in response to the question What is the sound of one hand, slapped his master on the cheek?
It didn't pass muster, that day, but the next day it did.
0 Replies
 
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 Apr, 2011 11:13 pm
@JLNobody,
Oh, did you hear of the monk who, in response to the question What is the sound of one hand, slapped his master on the cheek?
It didn't pass muster that day, but the next day it did.
Cyracuz
 
  1  
Reply Thu 28 Apr, 2011 12:49 am
@JLNobody,
I'd love to hear more of how it played out Smile
JLNobody
 
  2  
Reply Thu 28 Apr, 2011 04:43 pm
@Cyracuz,
Well, I think it didn't "pass muster" because the monk was being conceptual (or clever). The point of a koan is not to have an intellectual problem to "solve" but to have a mental circumstance/posture in which you are forced to transcend to a new (non-dualistic) perspective or resolution of existential contradictions. Something like that.
Cyracuz
 
  1  
Reply Thu 28 Apr, 2011 04:59 pm
@JLNobody,
That's how I understood it from your previous explanation in this thread. But why did it pass the muster the next day?

When I encountered the question of the sound of one hand clapping I immediately thought of it as a non-issue, or a question that sounds reasonable because it is grammatically correct and sounds "genuine". But it is a bit like asking what is outside everything. That was why I answered Mu .
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Thu 28 Apr, 2011 08:17 pm
@Cyracuz,
If you answered "mu" because it embodied some intellectual principle the master would most likely detect that and reject your response. If you intone "mu" as a genuine expression of your existence/reality at that moment, an expression that finallly has nothing to do with the meaning of the koan per se, the master might accept it and pass you on to another koan. Maybe not.
Of course the koan is a non-issue outside the context of the zen encounter. But if you accept the premises of the encounter, if you permit yourself to enter the trap, to become engaged then you must free yourself from it, but you won't so long as you expect the master to free you by accepting your response. I think he passes you when he realizes that you have already freed yourself by transcending the trap. Easier said than done, because the master has ways to keep you engaged.
I think your mu was an enlightened response, even if the master rejects it.
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Thu 28 Apr, 2011 08:36 pm
I used to read Zen Flesh, Zen Bones, every two or three years. While I did not solve any koans, it brought me comfort, of sorts.
dyslexia
 
  1  
Reply Thu 28 Apr, 2011 08:51 pm
@JLNobody,
enlightenment don't know what it is. if it did it wouldn't be enlightenment.
0 Replies
 
JLNobody
 
  2  
Reply Thu 28 Apr, 2011 09:44 pm
@edgarblythe,
Hi, guys. Edgar, in the sixties and seventies I used to read the zen literature, especially the works of writers like Alan Watts for the feeling of "enlightenment" (or comfort) it gave me. It was a kind of fix. Now my "fix" is a half-hour of meditation (shikantaza) every morning. With that I don't feel a need for "enligtenment". And Dyslexia has become my koan.
0 Replies
 
 

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