Monday, August 28, 2006

Zen - Sufi Koan

One Instant.

One Instant is eternity;
eternity is the Now.

When you see through this one instant,
you see through the One Who Sees.

- Wu Men (1183-1260),
also known as Hui-k'ai

Translated by: Stephen Mitchell, from 'The Enlightened Heart'.

Basically a Koan is a paradoxical utterance used in Zen as a center of concentration in meditation. The paradoxical nature of Koans is essential to their function: The attempt to break down conceptual thought. Koans are constructed so that they do not succumb to conceptual analysis and thereby require a more direct response from the meditator or the reader.

It is this inability to provide a satisfactory conceptual response that constitutes the paradoxical nature of the Koan. Koans set up paradox situations in an attempt to provoke a non-conceptual response from meditators. Often it is the Zen Koan that runs very parallel to the paradoxical statements made by the Sufi Masters to hold great truths, thats often not possible to utter directly. The unspoken realities are often veiled by the mystic statements of the Sufis. Its very similar in that sense to Zen Koans. And Philosophically speaking, Zen and Sufi are almost like two brothers that readily speak and understand about the same reality.


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