Zen Buddhist Koans -
The Enlightenment Saga

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In theory Zen buddhist koans are stories about nothing else but enlightenment.

  • The koan stories describe strange actions of medieval Chinese monks who in one way or another became "deeply enlightened".

  • Zen koans This is no koan, not at all.

  • Today this process is much more formalised.

  • The Zen master knows the meaning of all and every koans because (by definition) he's enlightened

  • The Zen student has to meditate with hundreds of koans in order to become enlightened himself.

  • Enlightenment is said to be a sudden experienced while meditating about a koan.
These basic believes in buddhist koans and enlightenment are part of the religious orthodoxy in Zen Buddhism.

If you're just looking for Koan examples and their answers go to Zen Koans.

The reality of Zen Buddhist Koans


Like always in the realm of religion, Zen believes and faith are different from reality.


Zen riddle How do you answer this koan?


Zen quotes
B A N G !

Koans are not too difficult to answer.


Here's an example.
The question "What is the sound of one hand clapping?" is a rather well-known Zen Koan and often used as an initiation for Zen students.

It sounds difficult because its impossible to clap just one hand, isn't it?

The answer is nevertheless quite simple.

How do you clap both your hands? You lift both arms and clash the hands together, don't you?

Try this movement again, but with one arm and hand only .
That's it, the "sound" of one hand clapping.
There are more Koan examples and simple rules how to deal with them.

You want more? There are 30 basic Koans, lots of ancient Koans
and the famous 48 Koans of 13th century Chinese master Wumen Hukai (jap.: Mummon).
Or find a sample of Koan questions from visitors of this site and my answers here!

You may send your own question about Buddhist Koans and Zen to me. I'll answer via e-mail.



Read more about the buddhist koans and their Chinese origin!.

Last but not least: download one of my free ebooks, that gives you the answers to most popular Zen Buddhist Koans.

Don't forget, koans are stories about action, not talking.
The actors are always a senile and vain know-it-all teacher and you are the clever student.

Make a slap-stick out of every encounter with the master.



The decoding of a Zen riddle or koan is time consuming even with further instructions.

Zen quotes

A catch phrase of Zen

You may be tempted to read Zen books that comment on Zen koans, one 's smarter than the other.

But you won't find any solutions for a koan but get showered with vain and confusing Zen-talk.

The Zen hierarchies insists on the secrecy of koan solutions.

They still believe in decoding hundreds of koans leads a student's enlightenment. Ok. Fine. Here is the alternative.

Use the below form of "Free Zen Riddle and Koan Service"
  • to get a solution (sometimes more than one) for a certain riddle or koan
  • to discuss the decoding of riddles, koans or a koan answers
  • to get some more information about riddles or buddhist koans


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Koans and Riddles are no secrets any more
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