22
   

What is the sound of one hand clapping?

 
 
Cyracuz
 
  1  
Reply Fri 29 Apr, 2011 01:53 am
@JLNobody,
Thanks JL.
I think it probably was because of some intellectual principle, but I remember thinking about this years ago, and then I had an experience that made me understand how this is a non-issue. I was practicing a piece of music, and as usual, when I had learned it, and when my body had learned it, I was playing almost meditatively, not really thinking about it. Then the question of one hand clapping entered my mind, and I realized that even though I could think about this, there was no way to actually do it. I can use only one of my hands on the guitar, and it still sounds like something, but one hand clapping... What is the sound of a guitar that is not being played?
But this also is just a deconstructed recount of an experience. I feel I could talk all day and never quite get to the point.
coluber2001
 
  1  
Reply Fri 29 Apr, 2011 12:43 pm
People on spiritual quests can drive themselves nuts asking questions like this koan. It's purpose is literally to drive one "out of one's mind," one's normal time-centered mind into transcendence, as JL says. It works, but the spiritual experience can be addictive. "But, eventually you just have to shut up," as Alan Watts said. That's the true purpose, to stop you from seeking the eternal and realizing that it's always here. It's something like a dog that finally gives up chasing its own tail.
coluber2001
 
  1  
Reply Fri 29 Apr, 2011 12:48 pm
That reminds me of a quote from Black Elk, an Oglala Sioux, which is just about my favorite religious statement: "Birds make their nests in circles, for theirs is the same religion as ours."
0 Replies
 
Cyracuz
 
  1  
Reply Fri 29 Apr, 2011 01:01 pm
@coluber2001,
One very valuable lesson this one taught me was that even though you can formulate many questions, that doesn't mean the questions are any good, or even valid. I have a book I found at a used books store for the equivalent of $2, and the first part of the book is a conversation between the author who calls himself Bob and a krishnaitt, Srila Prabhupada. One of the things they talk about is the importance of asking good questions in order to get good answers. The title of the book translates to "Timeless Wisdom", and in my opinion it is a good title for it.
0 Replies
 
Doubt doubt
 
  2  
Reply Fri 29 Apr, 2011 05:39 pm
@Cyracuz,
Ha. I see you still have not looked up absurd in the dictionary yet. The one hand clapping question is a trick question. Idiots will ponder this for years. The answer is simple and should take no time at all to come too. the answer is That the question is absurd (real meaning of absurd. not your incorrect concept.) Clapping is the act of two hands hitting each other. If you manage to make a sound with one hand it is not clapping. Its like asking what does a four sided circle look like. Its an absurdity and thus can not be answered. Now please comment on my grammar as i know you have nothing of relevance to add.

Wittgenstein
Cyracuz
 
  1  
Reply Fri 29 Apr, 2011 05:57 pm
@Doubt doubt,
What a miserable creature you must be.... I feel pity...
Doubt doubt
 
  -1  
Reply Fri 29 Apr, 2011 07:25 pm
@Cyracuz,
No i love the chance you offer me to point out your stupidity. again you just slander me while providing no relevant information. You talked about my bad grammar so i decided to look at your posts and point out how thoughtless they are. all you have is personal attacks and to spread.if any one is miserable it is you. this started when i corrected you. your response was that my thought do not matter because my grammar is bad. I am now going to show the readers that i know more about everything than you do. except grammar that is. I think you are so funny. how could i be miserable with such a funny guy to correct.
roger
 
  1  
Reply Fri 29 Apr, 2011 08:25 pm
@Doubt doubt,
Thanks for another wonderfully valuable post.

Rolling Eyes
0 Replies
 
Cyracuz
 
  1  
Reply Sat 30 Apr, 2011 01:55 am
@Doubt doubt,
Yeh... I saw no reason to comment on your opinion of quantum physics. But keep this up, and see what happens...
0 Replies
 
Devish Devil Dog
 
  1  
Reply Mon 16 Jan, 2012 07:10 pm
@contrex,
I am jealous, EVERYBODY calls me a Vain prating coxcomb! Seriously in the end it is a matter of pointing at the moon. You ask me "Where is the moon" when I point to it, you say "all I see is your finger" and I reply "not my finger, but where my finger is pointing" then too there are the questions you ask to quiet someone who talks too much such as the infamous "Answer Yes or No, any other reply will be considered No, have you ever tasted a sweeter pe*is than mine?" Then one enjoys the silence.

As for the Trinity? I recall hearing "Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness" and "And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you."

When we begin our education there are pictures on the wall for us to begin to see what can't be seen, and to open the imagination wider. The same holds with scripture, it is not enough to learn what to think but how to think. I say to you your heart is in your chest and you reply "Are you sure I can't see it" and I reply "you can trust me on this, without a heart circulation would be difficult without artificial means, you have a heart."

When it comes to religion, some have found it a way to political power and control, those who say "only my interpretation is correct are telling you, become my sheep, do not think, I shall do that for you". Read and study in groups, yes, but make no one your master. For myself I say I am neither shepherd nor sheep but a FREEMAN.
0 Replies
 
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Tue 17 Jan, 2012 10:05 am
This is a KOAN, but it is treated here as if if were an ordinary question. Out of its institutional context it is not only a meaningless question it is also a useless one.
0 Replies
 
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Tue 17 Jan, 2012 10:07 am
This is a KOAN, but it is treated here as an ordinary question. Out of its institutional context it is not only meaningless it is also useless.
0 Replies
 
G H
 
  1  
Reply Tue 17 Jan, 2012 04:51 pm
@Ogitoc groe sum,
Quote:
Id like to hear what other people think the answer is to this zen koan.

More literally, just what is the potential result of an unpaired object trying to disturb a medium by itself? Especially if the medium is restricted and visible, unlike open air?

Fill a wide, flat, shallow pan with water. Jab a finger or pencil-like object in the middle of it, straight down and quickly, once. Watch how the wave from the disturbance bounces back from the pan wall and returns center-wards. Continuously jab the object and you create an interference pattern as the outgoing oscillations collide with the rebounding incoming oscillations.

Meaningless? Probably so, but lock a New-Ager with a dash of marketing sense in a room for weeks with only this activity as a pastime, and listen to what kind of doctrine or revelation he/she emerges with to snare a gullible passerby with.
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Tue 17 Jan, 2012 09:05 pm
@G H,
I say there is no "answer" to this koan (as if the koan were simply a question). The context of the koan puts the student in a situation wherein he must "answer" it by means of demonstrating his or her true nature. He does not address the koan as such; she responds to the situation of the moment with the teacher; it's the authenticity of his behavior not the accuracy of his answer that matters. As such, all the koans (and there are hundreds of them) are interchangeable.
Some "scholars" of zen might say that they are all different and perhaps ranked in degrees of difficulty. Ha!
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Tue 17 Jan, 2012 09:12 pm
Gutei spent his time alone in the mountains, meditating and chanting the Kannongyō, the twenty-fifth chapter of the Lotus Sutra. One day, he was visited by a young nun who lived nearby. The nun challenged Gutei to utter a word of Zen, but—when he proved unable to do so—she left. Having spent so much time in meditation and study, Gutei became dismayed at his inability to say a single word of Zen to the nun.

Shortly afterwards, Tenryū paid Gutei a visit. Gutei realized that his inability to answer the nun was due to his lack of understanding, and asked Tenryū to teach him. Tenryū held up his finger, and at that moment Gutei was enlightened.

Gutei is famous for the following story, which appears as a kōan in various collections. The version here ("Gutei's Finger") is from the Mumonkan, in the translation by Nyogen Senzaki and Paul Reps .

Gutei raised his finger whenever he was asked a question about Zen. A boy attendant began to imitate him in this way. When anyone asked the boy what his master had preached about, the boy would raise his finger.

Gutei heard about the boy's mischief. He seized him and cut off his finger. The boy cried and ran away. Gutei called and stopped him. When the boy turned his head to Gutei, Gutei raised up his own finger. In that instant the boy was enlightened.

When Gutei was about to pass from this world he gathered his monks around him. "I attained my finger-Zen," he said, "from my teacher Tenryū, and in my whole life I could not exhaust it." Then he passed away.

Mumon's comment: Enlightenment, which Gutei and the boy attained, has nothing to do with a finger. If anyone clings to a finger, Tenryū will be so disappointed that he will annihilate Gutei, the boy and the clinger all together.

Wikipedia
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Tue 17 Jan, 2012 10:25 pm
@edgarblythe,
Yes, don't attach to any answer or "word of Zen." I once had a teacher who gave me the finger. Now I understand. Wink
0 Replies
 
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Tue 17 Jan, 2012 10:25 pm
@edgarblythe,
Yes, don't attach to any answer or "word of Zen." I once had a teacher who gave me the finger. Now I understand. Wink
0 Replies
 
G H
 
  1  
Reply Wed 18 Jan, 2012 12:20 pm
@JLNobody,
Quote:
I say there is no "answer" to this koan (as if the koan were simply a question).

I agree, in its original context or origin. But it never ceases to amaze me where people can run with even an erroneous take on something. Perhaps even serendipitous, at times -- I shouldn't presume that misadventures always yield crankhood.
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Wed 18 Jan, 2012 02:41 pm
@G H,
Yes, good perspective. Creativity and serendipity have many unexpected sources. Painters (especially abstract painters) should welcome all their "missteps and errors" Who knows where they might lead? Right now I am working on a painting that is very frustrating, but I assume that it has promise--promise I can't anticipate yet.
0 Replies
 
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Wed 18 Jan, 2012 02:41 pm
@G H,
Yes, good perspective. Creativity and serendipity have many unexpected sources. Painters (especially abstract painters) should welcome all their "missteps and errors" Who knows where they might lead? Right now I am working on a painting that is very frustrating, but I assume that it has promise--promise I can't anticipate yet.
 

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