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The Sound of the One Hand: 281 Zen Koans with Answers

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3.51  ·  Rating details ·  47 ratings  ·  5 reviews
281 Zen Koans with answers.
Paperback, 322 pages
Published January 26th 1976 by Basic Books (first published January 1st 1975)
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Khashayar Mohammadi
Frankly, I'm discombobulated by this book. I've heard countless times about books that are hard to comprehend; and while heavyweights like Hegel, Joyce, Lacan and Kant sit on thrones of "Incomprehensible Literature" I have rarely heard of Zen approached in such a way, which is a true mystery to me.

One can read a single book on Kant and grasp the basics of his philosophy, One can listen to lectures on Lacan, Hegel or Joyce and come out illuminated; but Zen creates profound questions, the answers
...more
Peycho Kanev
Mar 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
In clapping both hands a sound is heard; what is the sound of the one hand?

ANSWER
The pupil faces his master, takes a correct posture, and without a word, thrusts one hand forward.

MASTER
If it’s that convenient a thing, let me hear it too!

ANSWER
Without a word, the pupil slaps his master’s face.


The one hand—how far will it reach?
ANSWER
The pupil places his hand on the floor and says, “This is how far it goes.”


Why do birds shit on Buddha’s head?

ANSWER
“What the hell! Some damned bird shit on my head!”
...more
Karl Hallbjörnsson
A wonderful collection of koans. I'll say no more.
Christopher Bassett MD
Aug 29, 2019 rated it did not like it
Looking for a nice book of koans to ponder, saw this at the library. Even keeping in mind the bizarre nature of some koan “answers”, I still can’t imagine anyone finding anything of value here. It contains gems such as...

MASTER: Ha! You trespass!

ANSWER: “Stick.”

Pretty deep stuff. If you’re looking for Zen stories, something to make you reflect and think - as I was - try “Zen Flesh, Zen Bones.”
Ruth
Mar 18, 2012 added it
Loved this, would like to find a copy. Read it during college.
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NYRB Classics: The Sound of the One Hand: 281 Zen Koans with Answers 6 51 Aug 11, 2016 02:00PM  

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