A kōan is an issue that the master lays out to the pupil to check their progress. Even though the kōan can often seem like an absurd or illogical problem, Zen masters expect an answer from their pupils. In order to solve it, the disciples must detach themselves from common rational thinking as a way to enter into a higher thought and thus increase their level of consciousness to intuit what the master is actually asking them, which goes beyond the literal meaning of words.
The kōan are designed to cause a mental shock that causes an increase in consciousness or awakening. Zen masters often present and comment with their pupils about the kōan, and they sometimes focus on them during their meditation sessions. There are pupils who can meditate on a single kōanfor months or even years. The pupil shouldn’t turn to the master with his answer until he considers that he has given an adequate answer to it. In this way, the student will be demonstrating his learning and then he will be able to go on with his instruction process.
Each kōan has a hidden lesson about the most transcendent life aspects and its meditation raises our level of consciousness. When a kōan is formulated to a pupil, the master does not expect the pupil to know the correct answer but seeks evidence of his progress in Zen philosophy and application in his daily life.
This book formulates a series of kōan that combine with the use of mandala as an element of contemplation and concentration. A novel fusion that enhances the meditative effect of mandala with the introspective effect of the kōan, causing a great opening towards reflection of the world and one’s being.
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