There are koans used in Soto training, but differently from Rinzai -
more to hone the understanding of advanced students than to prod a
student towards an initial experience of non-duality.

Bill! describes the Rinzai training, where I have heard Mu or some
other intro koan is used to move the student towards a visceral
experience of non-duality.  After than, other koans are used to refine
and deepen the perspective gained from experiencing non-duality in a
more thorough and ongoing way.

The hitting with a stick is funnily different as well - in Rinzai,
they will strike you from front, so you can expect it.  In Soto, they
won't hit so often, but it will be from behind so you are surprised.
I've never sat where they used the sticks, I can't really comment.  My
teacher would sometimes bang stuff together to make a sudden loud
noise, which would energize people a bit.  She also kept it very cold
in the morning/winter.

Another difference is the speed of kinhin.  A pure Soto lineage will
walk very slowly, and only after 40 minutes or longer of sitting.
Rinzai I understand is 25 minutes of sitting and faster walking.  My
teacher in Maryland (in the Maezumi lineage), we sat for 25 minutes
and would sometimes walk faster, sometimes walk slower.

Also, a lot of US Zen training is from a dual-lineage, Sanbyo Kyodan
tradition, which uses a bit of each.  Maezumi Roshi was in that


On Fri, Oct 8, 2010 at 2:45 PM, Jody W. Ianuzzi <> wrote:
> Hello Mayka,
> Usually the slaps are given to awaken someone who has fallen asleep.  The
> enlightened awakening comes from inside.  You can get drowsy and less
> focused and the slap is to make you pay attention.  I don't think there are
> koans in soto but maybe someone more knowledgeable then me can answer.


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