08 November 2007

The Idea of Progress Has the Answers You Seek


Grant Miller asks, "What is the sound of one hand clapping?"

And the Idea of Progress responds.

"What is the sound of one hand clapping?" is what is referred to as a Zen kōan, which is a story or phrase designed to shed wisdom in a way that can't be explained logically. It is perhaps the most famous of all kōans.

But what is the answer? Does it have one?

Yes it does.

The question would typically be asked by a monk of a neophyte. The correct answer is to raise one hand, palm forward.

One hand clapping.

(And believe it or not, I didn't have to look that up)

EDIT: Reading the Wikipedia article on kōans, I was reminded of another famous one (and my favorite). A monk asks a novice, "Does a dog have the Buddha-nature?" and the novice responds, "Woof!" (Technically, he says "Wú!" which means 'none' or 'nothing,' but also sounds like a dog barking)

9 comments:

pistols at dawn said...

Sometimes I think Buddhism is a really strange mix between subtle brilliance and the biggest crock in the history of time.

Catherinette Singleton said...

Here's a question for you: why won't you love me?

yllwdaisies said...

Does that kitty have lead paint on it?

The Guv'ner said...

I thought it was a euphemism for uh...you know. The naughties in the Netherlands.

The Idea Of Progress said...

Catherinette: The answer is simple. I have no love to give.

yllwdaisies: Yes.

Guv: You may refer to...you know...as anything you wish.

Suzel's Sass said...

You are all wise. I am in awe of your wisdom. I am in awe of your one hand clapping kitty cookie jar. Can I have that for Christmas?

Leonesse said...

Thank you, Grasshopper. You have learned well. Go forth and teach to the unenlightened.

Grant Miller said...

No. Wrong. The sound of one hand clapping is that sound your hand makes when you do the "gimme" move where you slap your fingertips agains the palm of your hand. Try it. You can hear it.

Catherinette Singleton said...

That's not what you said the other night. . .