Green Koans

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Green Koans Case 16: The Great Being

In the Perfection of Wisdom in 8,000 Lines Sutra, Subhuti asks the Buddha, “Why do you refer to the Bodhisattva as a ‘Great Being’?” The Buddha replies, “The Bodhisattva is called “Great Being” because he will cause a great mass and collection of beings to achieve the highest.”  BACKGROUND: The Perfection of Wisdom in 8,000 […]

By Clark Strand
Green Koans with Clark Strand

Trike Daily Society & Environment

Green Koans with Clark Strand

Learn more about Zen Koans, paradoxical anecdotes or riddles, used in Zen Buddhism to provoke enlightenment. Each of these Koan cases is accompanied by commentary by Clark Strand, an ex-Rinzai Zen Buddhist monk and former Senior Editor of Tricycle. Green Koans Case 1: Shakyamuni Touches the Earth Green Koans Case 2: Shantideva’s Sword Green Koans Case 3: […]

By Clark Strand
Two Butterflies, by Seiko Morningstar

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Green Koans Case 3: The Great Compassionate One’s True Eye

  Case #3: The Great Compassionate One’s True Eye BACKGROUND: Mayu and Lin-chi (Rinzai) were 9th century Ch’an Buddhist monks. The Great Compassionate One is the bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara, also known as Kannon or Kuan-yin. He/she is often depicted in Buddhist art as having 1,000 arms and hands, each of which displays an eye at the center […]

By Clark Strand
Monju (Manjushri) by Seiko Morningstar

Trike DailySociety & Environment

Green Koans Case 2: Shantideva’s Sword

  Case #2: Shantideva’s Sword Once Shantideva became a bodyguard to King Arivishana. But unlike the other bodyguards, he managed to defeat the king’s enemies using only a wooden sword. “This man is an imposter!” the other bodyguards told the king. “How could he defend Your Highness using only a wooden sword?” Upon discovering that […]

By Clark Strand
View from Denisova Cave in southern Siberia, where archaeologists recently recovered mitochondrial DNA from the finger-bone of an early hominid

Trike DailySociety & Environment

Green Koans Case 1: Shakyamuni Touches the Earth

  Case #1: Shakyamuni Touches the Earth As Shakyamuni meditated beneath the bodhi tree, Mara pointed to the place where he sat and demanded, “Who witnesses your right to the seat of enlightenment?” Shakyamuni reached a finger down to touch the ground. “I call the Earth as my witness,” he replied.   BACKGROUND Mara’s name means “death” […]

By Clark Strand
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