How do we explain the unexplainable? This question has inspired numerous myths, religious practices and scientific inquiries. But Zen Buddhists practicing throughout China from the 9th to 13th century asked a different question – why do we need an explanation? Puqun Li details the bewildering and ambiguous philosophical thought experiments these Buddhists called Zen koans.
A kōan (公案) (/ˈkoʊæn, -ɑːn/; Chinese: 公案) is a story, dialogue, question, or statement which is used in Zen practice to provoke the “great doubt” and to practice or test a student’s progress in Zen.
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