After my last article on mondays, I have received quite a few answers that can be summarized in:
I liked it but its not a fable
To which I answered
A koan is not a fable
As in everything, there is a whole universe of knowledge of whose existence we don’t even think of…and that is something great, because it gives us the opportunity to grow more and more!
Some years ago I reached out and tried to learn about Zen philosophy and its methods.
In the global mind, we have the idea that Zen is being calm, being able to remain like that against all odds and that nothing affects you.
“Today I’m Zen”
“You have to be Zen”
“That is a very Zen person”
Surely we have heard or used these expressions. For all of us that are not savyy in the field….we are wrong.
In the next reflections we will talk about Zen philosophy, so today we’ll stick to koan.
A kōan is a story, dialogue, question, or statement, which is used in Zen-practice to provoke the “great doubt”, and test a student’s progress in Zen practice
On the other side, a fable is a Western concept.
Fable is a literary genre. A fable is a succinct fictional story, that features animals, mythical creatures, plants, inanimate objects or forces of nature which are anthropomorphized (given human qualities such as verbal communication), and that illustrates or leads to an interpretation of a moral lesson (a “moral”), which may at the end be added explicitly in a pithy maxim.
Hence, whilst the first is a tool to open your mind, the second has a role of promoting values or ideas in a simple and direct fashion.
Why are we atracted so much to fables?
That is stuff for another post!
Bonus for those who read all the way.
These are the best known Koan:
Does a falling tree make noise if nobody can hear it?
How does a one hand clap sound?
Do you find koan interesting? Did you know about them? Share in a comment.