Awakin Readings

Every week, we post a reading from various wisdom traditions, to provoke insights and deeper reflection. Each thought is also accompanied by an illustration and an audio recordings (and often translations in other languages). Explore and enjoy!

Life May Itself Be A Koan

--Rachel Naomi Remen (Mar 23, 2020)

Consider the Zen practice of the koan, the question or problem proposed by Zen masters to each other or by masters to students. The koan is a dilemma, a mystery which the rational mind cannot solve. The key to the resolution of a koan is a shift in the being of the student which allows for a new understanding of the question itself.  In presenting a koan, the teacher engages the student with mystery in a highly personal way. By putting the habitual mind into a place of stuckness, a sort of fruitful darkness, we may inadvertently step back into that fertile and pregnant place of not-knowing called in Zen "beginner's mind". [...] The resolution of a koan requires a certain trust of mystery, a faith that there is an answer which will come in time. When the answer...

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