Kōan

one hand claping

A kōan [koh-ahn] is a fundamental part of the history and lore of Zen Buddhism. It consists of a story, dialogue, question, or statement, the meaning of which cannot be understood by rational thinking but may be accessible through intuition. One widely known kōan is ‘what is the sound of one hand clapping.’ The word kōan, the name by which practice is known to the West, comes from the Japanese pronunciation of the Chinese characters.

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