ED, The phrase 'work on them' to me means to use the koan as a technique to halt the manifestation of your discriminating mind. It is best done with a teacher in whom you do indeed need to have faith. Any teacher-student relationship must be based on respect and faith. The student must respect the teacher and have faith that he knows what he's doing; and the teacher has to respect the student and have faith that his motives are pure.
However, there is no 'meaning' to a koan, especially a 'private' or eclectic meaning. A koan just a tool. It is like a mantra or a chant. There is no meaning to the mantra or chant. Or bowing. There is no meaning to the bow. Or even zazen. There is no meaning to zazen. All of these are just tools or techniques used in conjunction with a teacher or by yourself, to quiet and eventually dissolve your discriminating mind to reveal Buddha Nature. Of all the techniques I cited above (zazen, mantra, chanting, bowing, koans) the one that I personally believe is the most teacher-student dependent is koans. All the others you can more easily do on your own. You can do koans on your own. Here's how: Make a recording saying "No Way! Go back to your cushion and work on it some more." And anytime you think you understand the koan just play that recording. That might just work for you. I guess another way to put it is the process of 'working on' a koan is best done with a teacher. When the koan is 'resolved' (has enabled you to realize Buddha Nature) you won't need a teacher to validate that or pat you on the head and say 'Good job'. Doing that is just a formality. It's like going through college and getting a diploma. The diploma doesn't make you any more knowledgeable, but it is a formal validation of your achievement and is necessary in the business world, just as receiving validation from a Zen Master is necessary in the religious world. Just sitting (zazen) is always the best advice. It worked for Shakyamuni! ...Bill! From: Zen_Forum@yahoogroups.com [mailto:zen_fo...@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of ED Sent: Saturday, November 27, 2010 9:15 AM To: Zen_Forum@yahoogroups.com Subject: Re: [Zen] Perhaps Bill, By 'work on' them, you undoubtedly mean resolve the koan with the non-discursive mind. The consequence of this is that the 'meaning' of koans is *private*, and a koan's ineffable meaning is known to the Master only. This fact grants the Zen Master sole and incontestable power to pronounce judgment on whether a koan has been resolved by the the student or not - and his judgment is beyond appeal. Therefore, the koan-resolving practice is based on a total and blind faith in the roshi. --ED --- In Zen_Forum@yahoogroups.com, <billsm...@...> wrote: > > Mayka, > > Here is a link to one of the most well known collection of koans THE GATELESS GATE: > > http://www.ibiblio.org/zen/cgi-bin/koan-index.pl > > There' absolutely no problem with just reading and enjoying these. You don't have to "work on them' and in fact shouldn't try if you're not working with a competent zen teacher. > >...Bill! __________ Information from ESET NOD32 Antivirus, version of virus signature database 5652 (20101126) __________ The message was checked by ESET NOD32 Antivirus. http://www.eset.com __________ Information from ESET NOD32 Antivirus, version of virus signature database 5652 (20101126) __________ The message was checked by ESET NOD32 Antivirus. http://www.eset.com ------------------------------------ Current Book Discussion: any Zen book that you recently have read or are reading! Talk about it today!Yahoo! Groups Links <*> To visit your group on the web, go to: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Zen_Forum/ <*> Your email settings: Individual Email | Traditional <*> To change settings online go to: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Zen_Forum/join (Yahoo! ID required) <*> To change settings via email: zen_forum-dig...@yahoogroups.com zen_forum-fullfeatu...@yahoogroups.com <*> To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to: zen_forum-unsubscr...@yahoogroups.com <*> Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to: http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/