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Would you share a favored koan?

Came across this one via Fallout 3, apparently known as The Moon Cannot Be Stolen:

Ryokan, a Zen master, lived the simplest kind of life in a little hut at the foot of a mountain. One evening a thief visited the hut only to discover there was nothing to steal. Ryokan returned and caught him. “You have come a long way to visit me,” he told the prowler, “and you should not return empty-handed. Please take my clothes as a gift.” The thief was bewildered. He took the clothes and slunk away. Ryokan sat naked, watching the moon. “Poor fellow,” he mused, “I wish I could have given him this beautiful moon."

Posted - October 17, 2017


  • 492
    I think it's been the opposite with me.
    When I was a teenager, I bought a donut after feeling hungry. I was with a friend, my age, and once we got outside he took the donut from my hands and taunted me with it, keeping it away from me. Once I got the donut back, I threw it on the ground and stomped on it. I told him, if I can't have the donut I paid for, neither can you.
      October 18, 2017 4:38 AM MDT

  • 1191
    And then you became my Zen master. I'm pretty sure Ryokan would've beaten up the thief if there were a donut involved.
      October 18, 2017 4:58 AM MDT

  • 22659

    i had to look up the definition of the word. :)

    I enjoyed your description and antibiotic's answer.

    The closest thing I can think of, at the moment (and it probably is not an accurate example but I do like the song) are some lyrics from singer/songwriter Johnny Nash's song "There Are More Questions than Answers" :

    "There are more questions than answers.
    And the more I find out, the less I know."

    EDIT: My answer is maybe more of a paradox than a koan, I guess.

    This post was edited by WelbyQuentin at November 13, 2020 4:15 AM MST
      November 12, 2020 9:39 PM MST

  • 1191
    Just like it takes an athlete, a physicist, a dancer or a musician to know the difficulty of what they do, it must be wise to have the right questions!
      November 13, 2020 3:54 AM MST

  • 22659

    I know I'm still on that wisdom journey.
      November 13, 2020 8:21 PM MST

  • 339
      November 13, 2020 4:54 AM MST

  • 1191
    True -- Enlightened is she who makes the cone her own.
      November 13, 2020 5:16 AM MST