Opening a Gateless Gate (and other such puzzles)

A koan / quan / kwan is a riddle that Zen Buddhists use during meditation to help them unravel greater truths about the world and about themselves.

Zen masters have been testing their students with these stories, questions, or phrases for centuries. Many koans can be traced back to the collections of sayings amassed by Chinese priests in the 12th and 13th centuries.

Koans may seem like paradoxes at first glance. It is up to the Zen student to tease out their meaning. Often, after a prolonged and exhausting intellectual struggle, the student realises that the koan is actually meant to be understood by the spirit and by intuition.


Is it the wind that moves, the flag that moves, or the mind that moves?

What is the sound of one hand clapping?

What was your original face before you were born?

When you can do nothing, what can you do?

When the many are reduced to one, to what is the one reduced?

What is the colour of wind?





  1. The wind,flag and mind….. like everything in life it is what we want to see even if it goes against popular belief

    I like these koans so will try out my own spin on them …hahaha

    Liked by 1 person


  2. In which lies love, the head or the heart or alas a mortal game
    To where lies pain, the soul, mind or percieved wrong
    In what lies death, that of mental adsence or the fading of psyical form

    What is it to be human, as I am that in all but who I know I am…

    Liked by 1 person


  3. I am a fan of these thought provoking questions. I always trail off into thoughts. More than anything they get me thinking of the interconnected nature of everything. The flag, and the many reduced to one in particular.

    Liked by 1 person


  4. This is food for thought for a lifetime and I don’t expect to get the answers to those questions in this life. What can I say, I’m fucked up zen. Completely and hopelessly befuddled! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person


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