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Koan Psychology Definition

This koan becomes a touchstone of our practice: it is a place to express our doubts, cultivate great doubts, allow the revelation of great faith and focus our great energy. [52] Another perspective of Zen koans that is sometimes overlooked is the importance of koans in understanding interpersonal relationships. Zen dialogue is a process of spiritual polishing or adopting a rough mind around the edges, making it smooth, attentive and useful. Koan cases express a calm serenity, combined with a spontaneous flexibility obtained through Zen realization; They are designed to sharpen the mind and highlight its maximum performance and utility. They reflect an orchestration of rituals that use both verbal and physical symbols and interact with the social order of medieval East Asia, but they can be interpreted and applied to today`s professional environment. Whenever a situation arises that creates an interpersonal challenge or can generate conflict, the records show that you can control whether you catch a thief with the appropriate strategies or let him escape. In this little moment, the sky is won or lost. Let the game begin! Hakuin Ekaku, the revitalizer of the 17th century Rinzai school, taught several practices that serve to correct physical and mental imbalances caused by incorrect or excessive koan practice, among other things. The “soft butter” method (nanso no ho) and the “introspection method” (naikan no ho) involve the cultivation of Ki centered on tanden (Chinese: dantian).

These practices are described in the works of Hakuin Orategama and Yasen Kanna and are still taught today in some Rinzai lineages. It will take 10 years to solve all the kōans […] in the sōdō. After solving all the koans, the student can leave the sōdō and live alone, but he is still not considered roshi. For this, he must follow another ten years of training, called “go-go-no-shugyō” in Japanese. Literally, it means “practice according to Satori/enlightenment,” but Fukushima preferred the translation “special practice.” Fukushima would explain that the student is building a “religious figure” during this decade. It is a kind of period that serves to test whether the student is really able to live in a normal society and apply his understanding of the koan to everyday life after living in an environment that can be quite surreal and detached from the life of the rest of humanity. Usually, during this decade, the student lives in a small parish temple, not in a formally trained monastery. [web 4] At the end of koan training, gogo no shugyo, post-satori training is required:[90] A koan is a riddle or puzzle that Zen Buddhists use during meditation to help them unravel greater truths about the world and themselves. Musō Soseki (1275-1351), a Japanese contemporary of Zhongfeng Mingben, relativizes the use of koans. [69] The study of koans had become popular in Japan due to the influence of Chinese masters such as Zhongfeng Mingben.

Although Musō Soseki belonged to the Rinzai school, he also made extensive use of richi (teaching) and explained sutras instead of kikan (koan). According to Musō Soseki, both are upaya, “skillful means” designed to educate students. [69] Musō Soseki called the two shōkogyu “little jewels,” tools to help the disciple reach Satori. [69] [Note 8] A koan is neither meaningless nor an enigma. Responding with an answer is not the goal. It is up to the teacher to decide when the student has understood the koan correctly. Revelation can take the form of a smile or a look in the eye, or simply observing their posture as they struggle and eventually surrender to judgment. Like the words and deeds of other religious patriarchs in other world religions, these “cases” have been collected with many commentaries in books such as The Blue Cliff Record and The Book of Serenity. They show in snapshots the transmission of teaching directly from teacher to student, rather than through sacred texts or rituals (despite hundreds of koans, rules and rituals). That they are enigmatic and ambiguous does not mean that they are incomprehensible. Many more or less resemble fables, such as the oft-told story of the monk who carries a beautiful woman on a patch of mud and then reprimands his young companion for taking her on the road.