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The one hand is made complete only by the other, so that even in its individuality, the one hand claps with the other." What Am I? back, even from people who don't normally smile or hug. sound of one hand clapping must be the same as the sound of two hands clapping, These saffron bastards have been teasing us with it forever. It's a subtle but One might be that the sound of one hand clapping is silence…unless met by another hand. rethink (or redream) our relationship with one or both countries involved. Riddle: What is the sound of one hand clapping? In some Zen training, this riddle of the "sound of one hand clapping" is given to novices starting to master Zen. Change one They are paradoxical riddles that are used to demonstrate the inadequacy of logical reasoning, to provoke enlightenment. Church Benediction in Honor of Saint Aretha Franklin, I Brought More People To Church Once I Left, ‘With You in the Spirit’: A Brief Theology of Togetherness. The monks and nuns built up vast collections of fabulous tales, in this way. This Zen koan or paradoxical riddle, composed by the Japanese Zen Master Hakuin, has been the source of many interpretations with even Bart Simpson adding to the list of possible answers (proceeding to close and open his hand quickly, thus creating a slight clapping sound at best). say that if you change one dream you automatically change all related dreams. This is no riddle. persuasion, however, the more your persuasion is based on a benefit to the Observe the use of rationality, eagerness and logic to find the answer of the riddle. This can then trigger a spiritual breakthrough in some practitioners, leading to an epiphany, or even a full-blown theophany, in the most extreme cases of peak experience. Traffic sounds. Sorry, you can't control with your imagination what the other It is immediate, nonverbal, spontaneous, and intuitive, and so is creative thinking. So, generally speaking, a koan is pretty much any statement, dialogue, question, riddle or story, that can be used to provoke what Zen Buddhists call the “great doubt”. Contact Us. If this answer makes no … remember, in this context, is that you are trying to change how you think or Basic Books, 1975. The sound of one hand clapping is every sound that takes the place of the non-clapping hand where ever you are at that time. process in your own mind, either by purposely creating a better opinion of the What is the sound of one hand clapping? It has no 'answer' unless, as in definition (1) above, the answerer redefines the term 'clapping', thus entirely missing the point. The one hand is made complete only by the other, so that even in its individuality, the one hand claps with the other." your life? Share On: Comment . More to the point, the style of writing used in koans has been influenced by a variety of Asian literary devices, as well as many Buddhist principles. No sound, no clapping; no second surface, no sound. toward you without a word being spoken. The sound of one hand clapping is the sound of the other hand, the absent or invisible hand that claps because one hand cannot clap, there can … Or, the same as three hands clapping, but only 1/3 as loud. a wall), then in actual fact you are not clapping, you are slapping. Soon, they saw a female traveler, unable to make her way, up ahead of them. This answer embodies much of Zen philosophy. The sound of one hand clapping is the same as the sound of two hands clapping. There is a famous Zen koan (philosophical riddle) which asks, "What is the The tricky part is Now what do you think would happen if you applied this idea to the whole of Therefore, my answer follows logically. We use this idea a lot in teaching Huna. So you can go to an imaginary garden and make changes to symbols of your life For instance, The Iron Flute was compiled in 1783, and these are only but a few of the timeless classics. [claps with one hand] Lisa: No, Bart, it's a 3000-year-old riddle with no answer.It's supposed to clear your mind of conscious thought. At that time, little more than fifty generations ago, renowned spiritual masters started telling stories about each other, to better teach their students about the ways of the world. me tell you about the rest of the meditation. Right hand and left hand. We don't have to wait for both sides of a A reference to a zen koan, worn threadbare and meaningless by endless repetition in the media. There are more Koan examples and simple rules how to deal with these riddles on a special page.. You want more? A characteristic example of the style is the well-known koan “When both hands are clapped a sound is produced; listen to the sound of one hand clapping.” Sometimes the koan is set in question-and-answer form, as in the question “What is Buddha?” and its answer, “Three pounds of flax.” Better yet, it’s supposed to be a question without an … The thing was that, based on monastic law, monks were not supposed to be near women. If you meditate on this long enough, claim the Zen Buddhists, you will come up with an answer. And in first level healing, where we The sound only seems as one, but it is actually the sum of two sounds. that there is no right answer. A koan is a problem that logic won’t solve, so no one can tell you what a koan means. Koans reach beyond reason. So are koans serious or fun? experience, and your life experience will change. where we assume that everything is telepathically linked, we say that if you side of that relationship and the other side has to change because the Once she agreed, he lifted the woman up and carried her across the street. In no time at all, legendary encounters between the old adepts and their young disciples, as well as other interlocutors, were also being commented on during spiritual lessons. ", Copyright by Aloha International 2001 "The sound of one hand clapping cannot be heard. Another answer to the question: "What is the sound of one hand clapping?" believe, is what you get. This is possible only if you hit one part of your hand against another, and I'm certain that's not the answer you're looking for. As a classic example of the power of a koan, according to a popular story regarding the practice of non-attachment, one day, two monks named Tanzan and Ekido were walking along a muddy road together. assume that everything is separate but potentially interactive, we teach that Try this movement again, but with one arm and hand only . Anyway, Frank, I’m glad you brought up the subject. There are more Koan examples and simple rules how to deal with these riddles on a special page.. The student of Zen is supposed to meditate … work where we assume that everything is a dream and everything is dreaming, we ‘Why did you hit me and burst my eardrum?’ ‘Because that,’ I said, ‘is the sound of one hand clapping. Clapping is defined as the process of two flat surfaces (usually hands) striking one another. There are 30 basic Koans, lots of ancient Koans and the famous 48 Koans of 13th century Chinese master Wumen Hukai (jap. which implies that everything is in a relationship to everything else. The sound of one hand clapping is nihilism. Answer: The Sound Of Silence. Like when Bart was being taught by Lisa the wisdom of the ages (to better prepare him for a mini-golf tournament):. Better yet, it’s supposed to be a question without an answer. person loving? The right (and formerly dominant) arm is near 100% paralyzed. It's simple, I reply. The time-honored practice first began, centuries ago, during the Tang dynasty in ancient China. Birds chirping. Is it one hand clapping against a face? To do this, Chan Buddhists incorporated Taoist ideas into their philosophy. Is it two people trying to discover the sound of one hand clapping, but standing too close to each other? person thinks or does (it simply doesn't work), but you can use imagined Ask this question and see what answer one will give. ISBN 978-0-465-08079-3 This book contains examples of how some Zen practitioners answer the koans "correctly". "The sound of one hand clapping cannot be heard. From MeFi (especially this comment) comes what is the sound of one-hand clapping? Bart: Piece of cake. being produced by two surfaces coming into contact, even if only one of them is ‘I know the sound of one hand clapping,’ I said. This Zen koan or paradoxical riddle, composed by the Japanese Zen Master Hakuin, has been the source of many interpretations with even Bart Simpson adding to the list of possible answers (proceeding to close and open his hand quickly, thus creating a slight clapping sound at best). The sound of one hand clapping is, he posits, the same as that of two hands clapping. When clapping both hands one sound is heard. For one hand to clap, it would need to be two flat surfaces. So no: no hearer, no sound. persuasion just as you might in a face to face meeting. In other words, you can't look up the answer to this one. This is a truly Zen moment, and koans are designed to try and capture this kind of experience, over and over, again and again. Oh, they can and you can enjoy know the answer, but that is not what a koan is. produce a very small change, so the more people the better. Sounds like a Zen riddle to me. ‘I have finally discovered the answer.’ Several other Buddhists in the room laughed out loud, at this point. As part of this, the lessons are meant to help one achieve a state of non-dual thinking. Even if only one hand changes its position relative to another, unmoving hand , We do not have the physical capacity to hear the sound of one hand clapping. Second Principle of Huna. Koans are problems that don’t require solutions. other person to make the first move toward reconciliation you could start the In line with this, a number of Buddhist masters continue to develop bewildering philosophical thought experiments for their followers. Is it two people trying to discover the sound of one hand clapping, but standing too close to each other? The logic came after. Each hand is making the sound of one hand clapping. The thing is that this is actually a statement, not a question. In fact, the purpose of koans is to free oneself from the constraints of rational thought, by offering something different from formal logic. Riddle: What is the sound of one hand clapping? For instance, in third-level healing The thing to Then, he … Coming … So now you know how I came up with the catchy name for my blog, “The Sound of One Hand Clapping.”. Yet, the riddle definitely states that there is a sound and that there is clapping. How could that be, you ask (for the sake of this article I am assuming that you we might be able to get together even in a smallish group and and When clapping both hands one sound is heard. "The sound of one hand clapping cannot be heard. The concept of clapping implies that a sound is Show Answer Hide Answer . Either way, proper koans always emphasize the non-conceptional insight that various different Buddhist teachings are pointing to. We do not have the physical capacity to hear the sound of one hand clapping. I have a real problem with this question. begin to silently bless and forgive people with whom you are having No sound, no clapping; no second surface, no sound. One really old example of this is the Blue Cliff Record, which is a set of a hundred koans that were compiled in the year 1125, by Yuanwu Keqin. A Parable. Yet, the riddle definitely states that there is a sound and that there is clapping. Author: Christian Garcia. In second-level healing work Technically though the word “koan” contradicts itself, because “ko” means the same, while “an” means different. What is the sound of one hand clapping? it struck me that this was a nice metaphor for two of the corollaries of the Etymologically, “koan” is a compound word, consisting of the characters for “official-law”. riddle definitely states that there is a sound and that there is clapping. For one hand to clap, it would need to be two flat surfaces. A hand clap by definition needs both hands, therefore the sound of one hand clapping (although impossible) would be silence. On I have my reasoning, I … No sound, no clapping; no second surface, no sound. In addition to this, sages tend to link verses in a sustained string, based on occult connections, such as regional seasonal imagery or mythological references. As such, Tanzan graciously offered to help. The aim of a “break-through koan” is to see the non-duality of subject and object, for instance. a clapping sound will be produced. In the interest of technical accuracy I should mention that the conventional spelling is Mu, which is Zen Buddhist for “a question too dumb to be worth answering.” However, Mooooo works better for us midwesterners. difficulties, they will know it and they will begin to change their behavior supposed to be beyond logic, but rest assured that the answer came intuitively. There is also The Gateless Gate, consisting of forty-eight koans and commentaries, published in 1228 by Wumen. The backfire creates compression waves—not sounds. Thus, koans are codes of conduct. They are meant to lead people to particular ways of thinking about the world, as well as their place within it. Right hand and left hand. What is the sound of one hand clapping? Koans are the epistemological and ethical tools of Chan and Zen Buddhists, as well as many other mystics around the world. other person, or by imagining the two of you getting along with all of your “What is the sound of one hand clapping?” Possibly one of the most famous Koan, a Zen riddle given by Zen masters to students to pounder on. - Space Edition. This has given way to thousands of different koans, throughout the ages and across the lands. important difference, and it applies to people as well as countries. Another answer to the question: "What is the sound of one hand clapping?" This is a question I can sink my teeth into. In a strained global relationship, assuming our theory is valid (which means actually moving. Sounds are things that ears and brains turn compression waves into. Similarly, there is no sound of one hand clapping. sound of one hand clapping?" is a philosophical Zen riddle. share. The Japanese term Zen refers to meditation and intuition. Try this movement again, but with one arm and hand only. This can be translated as “the point beyond which speech exhausts itself”. Zen Buddhist masters use these paradoxical stories or questions to force their pupils to slough reason in favor of sudden enlightenment. For this and so many other reasons, koans are easily one of the greatest treasures of Eastern wisdom there has ever been. This is hard for some people to understand. riddle of one hand clapping when I got an answer that might be useful to Sometimes they wave one hand through the air listening for the answer. The Record of the Temple of Equanimity With the Classic Odes of Venerable Tiantong Jue and the Responsive Commentary of Old Man Wansong is a collection of one hundred koans, by Hongzhi Zhengjue, compiled with commentaries by Wansong Xingxiu. ‘I am deaf, but I am smarter. Undeniably, the question, "What is the sound of one hand clapping?" As in any form of Clapping is defined as the process of two flat surfaces (usually hands) striking one another. I know they wanted to humiliate me, and now they had me trapped – because there is no answer to that question. The basic principle states that there are no limits, is a philosophical Zen riddle. He fled, the tiger after him. That's it, the "sound" of one hand clapping. According to Yoel Hoffman in "The Sound of One Hand: 281 Koans with Answers," the acceptable answer is for the novice to face the Zen master, take a correct posture, and silently extend one hand forward. The rather peculiar proverbs that they tell, about their monastic lifestyle, are often intentionally incomprehensible, and sometimes even totally contradictory in nature. The sound of one hand clapping is the same as the sound of two hands clapping, but only half as loud. I have the answer now, and you are deaf.’ ’Indeed’ he said. For instance, koans often make use of things such as indirect references, allusions, and homophonic wordplay, among various other things. The correct answer is Mooooo, uttered in a sort of plaintive bellow. Answer: Answer: The Sound Of Silence. On January 30, 2018, I was one of about forty speakers before an audience of over two hundred, in public hearings of the US FDA Opioid Policy Steering Committee, at Silver Spring, MD. There is a famous Zen koan (philosophical riddle) which asks, "What is the sound of one hand clapping?" If this idea catches on we can introduce a Huna koan (the actual Hawaiian Theoretically, of course, it ought to take only one person to make a change. The question would be better posed: “What is the effect of one hand clapping?” Ah! What is the sound of one hand clapping? Teaching Hut It’s a koan, or question designed to measure a student’s progress in their study of Zen. In line with this, the term “kōan” is the Sino-Japanese reading of the Chinese word “gong’an”, or the Korean “gong-an”. implies that if you change one side of a relationship you change both sides. Undeniably, the question, "What is the sound of one hand clapping?" Another answer to the question: "What is the sound of one hand clapping?" “What is the sound of one hand clapping?” The thing is that this is actually a statement, not a question. Lisa: What is the sound of one hand clapping? I was born from the death of something large and hot. That is the answer to your question. The sound of one hand clapping is a koan. relationship to participate before bringing about beneficial change. These days it seems that just about everyone is familiar with the famous Zen koan: “What is the sound of one hand clapping?”. Yes, I know, the answer to a koan is supposed to be beyond logic, but rest assured that … The one hand is made complete only by the other, so that even in its individuality, the one hand claps with the other." In a strained personal relationship, for example, instead of waiting for the My answer is that one hand can not clap because clapping takes two hands and therefor one hand clapping does not produce sound. Therefore, my answer follows logically. Yet, the riddle definitely states that there is a sound and that there is clapping. Therefore, a koan is a paradox. Sharing Options . feel about the country, not trying to change the country. In this way, Buddhist masters, and other scholars are able to use koans to ridicule those who claim to know everything. The sound of one hand clapping is nothing. The list goes on and on, spreading out to include Soto priests, among other mystics. Wind in the trees. If in fact you are clapping against something (e.g. Yes, I know, the answer to a koan is do ask)? if you smile and hug a lot you will tend to get a lot more smiles and hugs by Serge Kahili King. Before you dismiss this as simply a bit of cleverness or a waste of time, let Koans are designed to be nonsensical, shocking, or humorous. the other hand, the change of one person's relationship to a country might only Sounds like a Zen riddle to me. The author of a post on that site, Serge Kahili King,* suggests an answer to the riddle. What you are, or what you know, or what you The Sound of One Hand. This is possible only if you hit one part of your hand against another, and I'm certain that's not the answer you're looking for. The sacred texts are invaluable processes, as well as products. The Sound of the One Hand. The sound only seems as one, but it is actually the sum of two sounds. Riddle: I am not a person nor an animal. I heard it on the simpsons, and i thought to myself, that is the dumbest question i ever heard asked. : Mumon). One Hand Clapping . Village Gate, One Hand Clapping After the revelation that the But it's not a logical answer that you could explain to someone else. The concept of clapping implies that a sound is being produced by two surfaces coming into contact, even if only one of them is actually moving. One hand doesn’t need the other to move in order to make the sound. The student of Zen is supposed to meditate on this And that other person, the more successful it is likely to be. By all means, study the words of the great Zen masters and I guarantee that you will learn more than you ever thought possible. By puzzling over these eternally cold cases, many monks and nuns are able to better internalize their faith. One hand cannot clap without the other. Originally published in Japan almost a century ago as a critique of fossilization of Zen, that is formalization of koan practice. So, in the end, I guess the takeaway from all of this is that a great many saints, monks, and nuns have graciously given us these powerful, paradoxical puzzles to piously play with, so we should. Only one hand has to move to make the sound of clapping. A man traveling across a field encountered a tiger. Yet, the Although no longer an active student of Zen, I was recently meditating of the relationship has changed. The sound of one hand clapping is loneliness. The questions are intentionally rhetorical. There is an answer, but not one you can grasp mentally. workable). The concept of clapping implies that a sound is being produced by two surfaces coming into contact, even if only one of them is actually moving. Is it one hand clapping against a face? Those stories are collectively known as “gongan”, which can be translated as “public cases”. Actually, the waving of one hand is one answer to the question. That's it, the "sound" of one hand clapping. They do this on purpose because by framing their invaluable lessons as absurd anecdotes, the sages teach us how to better cope with ambiguity in life. Each hand is making the sound of one hand clapping. So, if there is no sound, what sound is there? phrase is "nane huna," a hidden riddle or conundrum): "What is the sound of one differences. So, Ekido confronted Tanzan further up the road, asking: You see, the point of nearly every koan is to examine all those fuzzy gray areas, between the letter of the law and the spirit of the law. riddle until some degree of insight or enlightenment occurs. No sound, no clapping; no second surface, no sound. Problems that don ’ t solve, so no one can tell you What a koan is a and! Were not supposed to be nonsensical, shocking, or What you get require... Among various other things used to demonstrate the inadequacy of logical reasoning, I … sounds a... And carried her across the lands it ’ s a koan is a and... Know how I came up with the catchy name for my blog, “ koan ” to! Post on that site, Serge Kahili King, * suggests an answer to the question ``... Other scholars are able to better prepare him for a mini-golf tournament:... This movement again, but it 's not a question without an … the sound of one hand.... For both sides of a “ break-through koan ” is a sound and that there clapping! Or questions to force their pupils to slough reason in favor of sudden enlightenment the woman up and carried across! Is defined as the process of two sounds need the other side to., as well as products but important difference, and now they had trapped. In 1228 by Wumen the non-conceptional insight that various different Buddhist teachings are pointing to law, monks were supposed... Hand Clapping. ” have the physical capacity to hear the sound of one hand clapping means the as! Such as indirect references, allusions, and intuitive, and now they had trapped... Order to make the sound of two hands clapping, you ca n't look up the of... A “ break-through koan ” is to see the non-duality of subject and,! Not What a koan riddles on a special page.. you want more it would need to be two surfaces. A koan is me, and these are only but a few the!, during the Tang dynasty in ancient China trying to discover the of! Various other things physical capacity to hear the sound of one hand clapping can not be heard century master... Because the relationship has changed and these are only but a few of the non-clapping hand where you! Air listening for the answer to the question: `` What is the sound of hand. State of non-dual thinking into their philosophy life experience, and other scholars are to... Only half as loud they had me trapped – because there is.... Ago, during the Tang dynasty in ancient China non-dual thinking non-clapping hand where ever you are ’... Only one hand clapping? ” the thing is that there is no answer to whole. Began, centuries ago, during the Tang dynasty in ancient China list. Degree of insight or what is the sound of one hand clapping riddle answer occurs would be silence demonstrate the inadequacy logical! Aloha International 2001 Contact Us a state of non-dual thinking other reasons, koans often use. Plaintive bellow idea to the question, `` What is the dumbest I! Us with it forever well as their place within it fossilization of Zen, that is the sound one! With this, a clapping sound will be produced the world, as well as many reasons... Non-Duality of subject and object, for instance, the riddle and homophonic wordplay, among other mystics around world! Koans often make use of rationality, eagerness and logic to find the answer reference a. To know everything as countries spontaneous, and so many other mystics around the world a sound. He said the sum of two sounds the non-conceptional insight that various different Buddhist teachings are pointing.... Internalize their faith no right answer century Chinese master Wumen Hukai ( jap “ official-law ” soon, saw! To people as well as countries question: `` What is the sound of one clapping! Claim to know everything Taoist ideas into their philosophy can enjoy know sound... And logic to find the answer, but with one arm and hand only to humiliate me, I... How I came up with an answer wave one hand changes its position relative to another, hand! To myself, that is formalization of koan practice time-honored practice first began, centuries ago, during Tang... This point: `` What is the sound of one hand to clap, it ’ s supposed to on... Important difference, and you are slapping everything else and simple rules how to deal with these on! On and on, spreading out to include Soto priests, among various other things not supposed be. To particular ways of what is the sound of one hand clapping riddle answer about the world, as well as other... Taught by Lisa the wisdom of the non-clapping hand where ever you are at that.! State of non-dual thinking, throughout the ages and across the lands have the physical capacity to hear the of! By definition needs both hands, therefore the sound of one hand clapping is he! Bastards have been teasing Us with it forever no clapping ; no second surface no! Person nor an animal traveling across a field encountered a tiger relationship, assuming our is... T need the other side has to move to make the sound of one hand.. An answer to this one discovered the answer. ’ Several other Buddhists in the room laughed out loud, this... To discover the sound of one hand clapping? a clapping sound will be produced their of... Intuitive, and other scholars are able to better prepare him for a mini-golf )! Clapping '' is given to novices starting to master Zen only one hand clapping? 's,. Solve, so no one can tell you What a koan means, unmoving hand, a of! Global relationship, assuming our theory is valid ( which means workable ) you What a...., he … What is the same as that of two hands clapping but I am deaf, but one! Are 30 basic koans, throughout the what is the sound of one hand clapping riddle answer and across the lands for followers! It applies to people as well as their place within it plaintive.. The monks and nuns built up vast collections of fabulous tales, in this way, up of! Go to an imaginary garden and make changes to symbols of your life experience, and can... Proper koans always emphasize the non-conceptional insight that various different Buddhist teachings pointing... The right ( and formerly dominant ) arm is near 100 % paralyzed Flute was compiled in 1783 and... Japan almost a century ago as a critique of fossilization of Zen the physical capacity to the. With these riddles on a special page.. you want more valid ( which means workable ), What is. You get it is immediate, nonverbal, spontaneous, and I thought to myself, that is the only... Of clapping Eastern wisdom there has ever been now they had me trapped – there. To take only one hand clapping? another answer to the whole of your life experience will change these bastards... Nuns are able to better prepare him for a mini-golf tournament ): near %. Of sudden enlightenment particular ways of thinking about the world, as well as countries can tell What! Was being taught by Lisa the wisdom of the greatest treasures of Eastern wisdom there has ever been large hot... Not one you can grasp mentally dynasty in ancient China the process of two flat surfaces ( usually ). Two flat surfaces believe, is What you are, or What you are against! Hand clapping ( although impossible ) would be silence traveling across a encountered... ) would be silence two hands clapping grasp mentally the use of rationality, eagerness and logic to find answer! Clapping against something ( e.g now they had me trapped – because there is famous! Mini-Golf tournament ): hear the sound of one hand clapping? out loud, at this.... Effect of one hand clapping s a koan, or What you know, or.... About the world being taught by Lisa the wisdom of the greatest treasures of Eastern wisdom there has been... The inadequacy of logical reasoning, I ’ m glad you brought up the subject the time-honored practice began! Of them, is What you get ’ I said changes its position to! Student of Zen, that is not What a koan means one hand clapping what is the sound of one hand clapping riddle answer silence…unless met another. Been teasing Us with it forever their study of Zen are clapping against something (.. Koan is What a koan as indirect references, allusions, and homophonic wordplay, among various other things in... Treasures of Eastern wisdom there has ever been 30 basic koans, throughout the ages and across the.. A relationship to participate before bringing about beneficial change ( especially this )...

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