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: The Great Compassionate One’s True Eye

Green Koans Case 4: One-Page Dharma

Green Koans Case 5: The Person of the Way

Green Koans Case 6: The Green Yogi

Green Koans Case 7: Rain of the Law

Green Koans Case 8: Bashō’s Last Words

Green Koans Case 9: General Stone Tiger

Green Koans Case 10: Joshu’s Oak Tree

Green Koans Case 11: A Brahmin Takes a Bath

Green Koans Case 12: The Original Face

Green Koans Case 13: Seki’s Amida

Green Koans Case 14: Avalokiteshvara Becomes a Bee

Green Koans Case 15: The Second Watch of the Night

Green Koans Case 16: The Great Being

Green Koans Case 17: The Color of Insight

Green Koans Case 18: Fear No Evil

Green Koans Case 19: One Small Candle

Green Koans Case 20: Indra’s Grass Stalk

Green Koans Case 21: Blue Mountains Walking

Green Koans Case 22: Handing Down the Lotus

Green Koans Case 23: Run, Rabbit, Run!

Green Koans Case 24: Not Born Again

Green Koans Case 25: Keichu the Wheelmaker

Green Koans Case 26: Ryutan Blows Out a Light

Green Koans Case 27: What Time Is It Now?

Green Koans Case 28: The Buddha’s Union

Green Koans Case 29: Makiguchi Refuses to Lecture

Green Koans Case 31: Daito’s Raincoat

Green Koans Case 32: The Buddha’s Mission

Green Koans Case 33: The Evil Person

Green Koans Case 34: Keeping it Simple

Green Koans Case 35: Into the Wild

Green Koans Case 36: P’ang Splits Wood

Green Koans Case 37: Myoe’s Letter to Japan

Green Koans Case 38: Ajaan Lee refuses to bow

Green Koans Case 39: The Great Natural Way

Green Koans Case 40: The Gift of Rice

Green Koans Case 41: The Meaning of Suffering

Green Koans Case 42: Hui-ke Offers His Arm

Green Koans Case 43: Jōshū’s “Mu”

Green Koans Case 44: On Killing

Green Koans Case 45: The Perfection of Wisdom in One Letter

Green Koans Case 46: A Tree Joins the Monastery

Green Koans Case 47: Rikyū’s “Only This”

Green Koans Case 48: Ta Tsung Makes a Stool

Green Koans Case 49: Myōe Saves a Bee

Green Koans Case 50: Dōgen’s Eyes and Nose

Green Koans Case 51: Soen’s One World 

Green Koans Case 52: Yen-shou’s Sand Stupa

Green Koans Case 53: Shakyamuni’s World on Fire

Green Koans Case 54: Nichiren’s One-Eyed Turtle

Green Koans Case 55: Kashyapa’s Teaching Sign

Green Koans Case 56: No Fence to the West

Green Koans Case 57: Shakyamuni’s Ignorant Man

Green Koans Case 58: Tōhta’s Haunted Sea

Green Koans Case 59: The Happy Buddhist

Green Koans Case 60: Dogen’s To-Do List

Green Koans Case 61: The Naked Dharma

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