Kung-ans, Gōng'àns, 公案

Stories, Anecdotes, Dialogues, Public Record or Cases, Interactions, Parables, Questions, Puzzles, Challenges, Inquiries
Non-Rational or Beyond-Rational Zen (Chan) Buddhist Meditation/Contemplation Techniques
Teaching, Learning, and Practices Using Zen (Rinzai and Soto Zen) Koans
Contemplation, Rumination, Meditation, Introspection, Reflection, Thought
, Intuition, Mulling, Study, Immersion, Consideration
Purpose:  Insight, Understanding, Realization, Change of Heart, Awakening, Enlightenment


Research by Michael P. Garofalo

The Librarian of Gushen Grove 
Valley Spirit Center, Red Bluff, California



Information     Bibliography     Quotations     Index     Links     Resources     Reading List

Yunmen's Staff Turns Into a Dragon and Swallows the Universe

Cloud Hands Blog     Buddhism     Paramitas     Taoism     Virtues     Philosophy







Koans:  General Information


"The Japanese term kōan is the Sino-Japanese reading of the Chinese word gong'an (Chinese: 公案; pinyin: gōng'àn; Wade–Giles: kung-an; literally: "public case"). The term is a compound word, consisting of the characters "public; official; governmental; common; collective; fair; equitable" and "table; desk; (law) case; record; file; plan; proposal."  According to the Yuan Dynasty Zen master Zhongfeng Mingben (中峰明本 1263–1323), gōng'àn originated as an abbreviation of gōngfǔ zhī àndú (公府之案牘, Japanese kōfu no antoku—literally the andu "official correspondence; documents; files" of a gongfu "government post"), which referred to a "public record" or the "case records of a public law court" in Tang-dynasty China.   Kōan/gong'an thus serves as a metaphor for principles of reality beyond the private opinion of one person, and a teacher may test the student's ability to recognize and understand that principle.  Commentaries in kōan collections bear some similarity to judicial decisions that cite and sometimes modify precedents. An article by T. Griffith Foulk claims "Its literal meaning is the 'table' or 'bench' an of a 'magistrate' or 'judge' kungGong'an was itself originally a metaphor—an article of furniture that came to denote legal precedents. For example, Di Gong'an (狄公案) is the original title of Celebrated Cases of Judge Dee, the famous Chinese detective novel based on a historical Tang dynasty judge. Similarly, Zen kōan collections are public records of the notable sayings and actions of Zen disciples and masters attempting to pass on their teachings.  公 (public) 案 (record). A public record serves as a metaphor for principles of reality beyond the private opinion of one person, and a teacher may test the student's ability to recognize and understand that principle."


"Koan: Originally a term for an official matter for which a judgment was required, it was taken over by Buddhists and used first in reference to a subject of meditation and later for a subject for which an answer was required that would demonstrate a student's understanding."
-  Red Pine, The Diamond Sutra, p. 451


"One essential point about koan study is to reflect on the dialogue and determine exactly what is being said.  If you are assigned a koan to study, the first thing you should do is memorize it and think about it.  Just don't imagine deep realization will immediately come to you in a flash of light.  Think about the koan.  What are the people in it saying?  What is motivating them.  What is motivating you?  Which line of the koan is most important?"
-  Gerry Shishin Wick, The Book of Equanimity, 2005, p. 5


"Reflective meditation is a way of translating thoughts into the language of feeling.  It explores the relation between the way we think about and perceive things and the way we feel about them.  We find that even the strongest, seemingly self-evident intuitions about ourselves are bas on equally deep-seated assumptions.  Gradually learning to see our life in another way through reflective meditation leads to feeling different about it as well."
-  Stephen Batchelor, Buddhism Without Beliefs, 1997, p. 32 


"Koans are the folk stories of Zen Buddhism, metaphorical narratives that particularize essential nature. Each koan is a window that show the whole truth but just from a single vantage. It is limited in perspective.One hundred koans give one hundred vantages. When they are enriched with insightful comments and poems, then you have ten thousand vantages. There is no end to this process of enrichment."
-  Robert Aitken, 1990, Book of Serenity.  


"These stories and sayings contain patterns, like blueprints, for various inner exercises in attention, mental posture, and higher perception, summarized in extremely brief vignettes enabling the individual to hold entire universes of thought in mind all at once, without running through doctrinal discourses or disrupting ordinary consciousness of everyday affairs."
-  Thomas Cleary, 1994, Instant Zen


Hua Tou (話頭, Korean: hwadu, Japanese: wato) is a form of Buddhist meditation common in the teachings of Chinese Chán and Korean Seon. Hua Tou can be translated as 'word head', 'head of speech' or 'point beyond which speech exhausts itself'.  A Hua Tou can be a short phrase that is used as a subject of meditation to focus the mind.  Hua Tou are based on the encounter-dialogues and koans of the interactions between past masters and students, but are shorter phrases than koans.  The Hua Tou method was invented by the Chinese Zen master Dahui Zonggao (1089 – 1163) who was a member of the Linji school.  Dahui was interested in teaching the lay community.  To practice Hua Tou, one concentrates on the phrase, initially repeating it silently with a questioning and open mind and then thinking about "Who" or "What" is generating the Hua Tou, this brings about "Great Doubt".  According to Chan master Sheng Yen, there are three stages of Hua Tou practice: reciting the Hua Tou, asking the Hua Tou and investigating the Hua Tou.  Through these stages it is important not to try to answer the Hua Tou intellectually, but to persistently ask the question mindfully with genuine interest and sincere desire to know. It is through this constant practice that great doubt and then insight arises.  Examples of Hua Tou are: "What is it?, What is this?  Who is repeating the Buddha's name?, Who am I?, Who is dragging this corpse around?, Mu?".  The important thing is to stick to Hua Tou at all times, when walking, lying, or standing. From morning to night observing Hua Tou vividly and clearly, until it appears in your mind like the autumn moon reflected limpidly in quiet water. If you practice this way, you can be assured of reaching the state of Enlightenment."
Hua Tou in Wikipedia


"In the past, kong-an practicing meant checking someone's enlightenment.  Now we use kong-ans to make our lives correct... You must use kong-ans to take away your opinions. When you take away your opinions, your mind is clear like space, which means from moment to moment you can reflect any situation and respond correctly and meticulously."
-  Seung Sahn, 1992, The Whole World is a Single Flower  


"Though Zen teachers and practitioners insist that the meaning of a koan can only be demonstrated in a live experience, and that it cannot be conveyed by texts, the Zen tradition has produced a great deal of literature, including thousands of koans and dozens of volumes of commentary.  Nevertheless, teachers have long alerted students to the danger of confusing the interpretation of a koan with the realization of a koan.  When teachers say, "do not confuse the pointing finger with the moon," they indicate that the ability to interpret koans should not be equated with enlightenment.  Understanding the literary and historical context of a koan can often remove some of the mystery surrounding it. For example, evidence suggests that when a monk asked Zhaozhou "does a dog have Buddha-nature or not?," the monk was asking a question that students had asked teachers for generations. The controversy over whether all beings have the potential for enlightenment is even older —and in fact, vigorous controversy still surrounds the matter of Buddha nature.  No amount of interpretation seems to be able to exhaust a koan; there can be no "definitive" interpretation. Teachers typically warn against over-intellectualizing koans, but some of the mystery can be dispelled by clarifying metaphors that were probably well known to monks at the time the koans originally circulated."
Koans: The New World Encyclopedia  


"Literally, the word koan (Chinese., kung-an) is a combination of graphs that signifies "public notice" or "public announcement."  A koan, therefore, presents a challenge and an invitation to take seriously what has been announced, to ponder it and respond to it.  But the special character of this "announcement" confronts the listener or reader with a perplexing puzzle.  One becomes confused, and the more one tries to come up with an answer and search for a solution, the more confused one gets.  The essence of of the koan is to be rationally unresolvable and thus point to what is 'arational."  The koan urges us to abandon our rational thought structures and step beyond our usual state of consciousness in order to press into new and unknown dimensions.  This is the common purpose of all koans, no mater how much they may differ in content or literary form."
-  Heinrich Dumoulin, "The Song Period: A Time of Maturation." 


"One of the great virtues of koans is they get us to think, not in an analytical way, but with our complete mind."
-  Philip Kapleau, Straight to the Heart of Zen, 2001










Koans:  Bibliography, Resources, Links, Reading List


The Book of Equanimity: Illuminating Classic Zen Koans.   By Gerry Shishin Wick.  Foreword by Bernie Glassman.  Boston, Wisdom Publications, 2005.  Recommended reading list, list of names index, 331 pages.  ISBN: 9780861713875.  VSCL.

The Book of Mu: Essential Writings on Zen's Most Important Koan.  Edited by James Ishmael Ford and Melissa Myozen Blacker.  Foreword by John Tarrant.  Wisdom Publications, 2011.  352 pages.  ISBN: 978-0861716432. 

The Blue Cliff Record.  Translated by Thomas Cleary and J. C. Cleary.  Foreword by Taizan Maezumi Roshi.  Boston, Shambhala, 2005.  Glossary, biographies, bibliography, 648 pages.  ISBN: 9781590302323.  VSCL. 

Blue Cliff Record, Online Text

Bring Me the Rhinoceros: And Other Zen Koans That Will Save Your Life.  By John Tarrant.  Boston, Shambhala, 2008.  Notes, 194 pages.  ISBN:  9781590306185.  A fascinating, insightful, and useful collection of commentaries on Zen Koans.  Clear insights into how the process of using koan practice can lead to a profound change of heart.  VSCL. 

Buddhism:  Bibliography, Resources, Links, Reading List, Home Library.  By Mike Garofalo

Cloud Hands Blog   By Mike Garofalo. 

Dogen's Genjo Koan: Three Commentaries   "Counterpoint, 2012.  240 pages.  ISBN: 978-1582437439.  "Our unique edition of Dogen’s Genjo Koan (Actualization of Reality) contains three separate translations and several commentaries by a wide variety of Zen masters. Nishiari Bokusan, Shohaku Okamura, Shunryu Suzuki, Kosho Uchiyama. Sojun Mel Weitsman, Kazuaki Tanahashi, and Dairyu Michael Wenger all have contributed to our presentation of this remarkable work. There can be no doubt that understanding and integrating this text will have a profound effect on anyone’s life and practice."

Entangling Vines: A Classic Collection of Zen Koans.  Translated and annotated by Thomas Yūhō Kirchner.  Foreword by Nelson Foster.  Introduction by Ueda Shizuteru.  Boston, Wisdom Publications, 2013.  Index, bibliography, charts, 338 pages.  ISBN: 9781614290773.  A collection of 272 koans by Japanese Rinzai Zen masters and scholars called the Shūmon kattōshŭ (Entangling Vines) dating from 1689.  Invaluable and unique detailed koan author/subject biographies including indexes of names using Pinyin Romanization of Mandarin Chinese, Wade-Giles Romanization of Mandarin Chinese, and Romanization of Japanese, and Chinese characters for all indexes.   VSCL. 

The Essential Teachings of Zen Master Hakuin  Translated by Norman Waddell.  Shambhala Dragon Edtion.  A translation of Sokkō-roku Kaien-fusetsu.  Boston, Shambhala, 1994.  Notes, index, 137 pages.  ISBN: 0877739722.  Hakuin was a painter, calligrapher, and Zen master who lived from 1686-1769.  VSCL. 

The Flowing Bridge: Guidance on Beginning Zen Koans.  By Elaine MacInnes.  Edited by Patrick Gallagher.  Foreword by Ruben L. F. Habito.  Sommerville, Massachusetts, Wisdom Publications, 2007.  160 pages.  ISBN: 9780861715459.  "Elaine MacIness, a Catholic nun and a Zen teacher in the lineage of the renowned master Koun Yamada (author of Wisdom's The Gateless Gate), offers exceptionally valuable guidance to beginners on how to work with koans-and reveals an uncommon depth of insight and an easy technical mastery of Zen's most misunderstood and most powerful tools."  VSCL. 

The Gateless Barrier: The Wu-Men Kuan (Mumonkan).  Translated with a commentary by Robert Aitken.  New York, North Point Press, 1991.  Notes, bibliography, appendices, gloasary, 332 pages.  ISBN: 0865474427.  VSCL.    

The Gateless Barrier: Zen Comments on the Mumonkan.  By Zenkai Shibayama.  Shibayama Roshi.  Translated by Sumiko Kudo.  Introduction by Shibayama Roshi.  Preface by Kenneth W. Morgan, Colgate University.  Boston, Shambhala, 2000.  Glossary, index, 361 pages.  ISBN: 9781570627262.  "For more than seven centuries the Mumonkan (Gateless Gate) has been used in Zen monasteries to train monks and to encourage the religious development of lay Buddhists. It contains forty- eight koans, or spiritual riddles, that must be explored during the course of Zen training. Shibayama Zenkei (1894-1974), an influential Japanese Zen teacher and calligrapher who traveled and lectured throughout the United States in the 60s and 70s, offers his own commentary alongside the classic text. The Gateless Barrier remains an essential text for all serious students of Buddhism."  These lectures (Teisho) on the Gateless Barrier were given at Colgate University in 1974.  VSCL. 

The Gateless Gate: The Classic Book of Zen Koans.  Commentary and translation by Koun Yamada.  Foreword by Ruben L. F. Habito.  Wisdom Publications, 2004.  336 pages.  ISBN: 9780861713820.  "In The Gateless Gate, one of modern Zen Buddhism's uniquely influential masters offers classic commentaries on the Mumonkan, one of Zen's greatest collections of teaching stories. This translation was compiled with the Western reader in mind, and includes Koan Yamada's clear and penetrating comments on each case. Yamada played a seminal role in bringing Zen Buddhism to the West from Japan, going on to be the head of the Sanbo Kyodan Zen Community."  VSCL. 

Gateless Gate or Gateless Barrier, Compiled by Mumon in 1228 CE, Mumonkan, Wúménguān   無門關

Gateless Gate, Six English Translations, Terebess Online

Gateless Gate, Online Text in English and Chinese Characters

Gateless Gate, Online Text, In English, Translated by Eiichi Shimomissé, 1998

Gateless Gate, Online Text, in English, Transcribed by Nyogen Senzaki (1876–1958) & Paul Reps (1895–1990) in 1934, in "Zen Flesh, Zen Bones," pp. 109-161.

Koan Studies: The Zen Site   Essays, Reading Lists, Notes, Commentary

Koans: Information, Bibliography, Quotations, Notes, Index.  By Mike Garofalo.

Koans: The New World Encyclopedia

Nothing Is Hidden: The Psychology of Zen Koans.  By Barry Magid.  Wisdom Publications, 2013.  232 pages.  ISBN: 978-1614290827.  "In this inspiring and incisive offering, Barry Magid uses the language of modern psychology and psychotherapy to illuminate one of Buddhism's most powerful and often mysterious technologies: the Zen koan. What's more, Magid also uses the koans to expand upon the insights of psychology (especially self psychology and relational psychotherapy) and open for the reader new perspectives on the functioning of the human mind and heart. Nothing Is Hidden explores many rich themes, including facing impermanence and the inevitability of change, working skillfully with desire and attachment, and discovering when "surrender and submission" can be liberating and when they shade into emotional bypassing. With a sophisticated view of the rituals and teachings of traditional Buddhism, Magid helps us see how we sometimes subvert meditation into just another "curative fantasy" or make compassion into a form of masochism."  VSCL. 

Secrets of the Blue Cliff Record: Zen Comments by Hakuin and Tenkei.  Translated by Thomas Cleary.  Boston, Shambhala, 2002.  Introduction, recommended reading, 354 pages.  ISBN: 1570629129.  "Hakuin Ekaku (白隠 慧鶴?, January 19, 1686 - January 18, 1768) was one of the most influential figures in Japanese Zen Buddhism. He is regarded as the reviver of the Rinzai school from a moribund period of stagnation, refocusing it on its traditionally rigorous training methods integrating meditation and koan practice.'  VSCL. 

Shifu Miao Zhang Points the Way   By Mike Garofalo. 

Sitting with Koans: Essential Writings on Zen Koan Introspection.  Edited by John Daido Loori.  Introduction by Thomas Yuho Kirchner.  368 pages.  ISBN: 086171296X. 

Straight to the Heart of Zen: Eleven Classic Koans and Their Inner Meanings.  By Philip Kapleau.  Boston, Shambhala, 2001.  192 pages.  ISBN: 9781570625930.   

TaoismTao Te Ching, Bibliography, Resources, Indexes, Commentary.  By Mike Garofalo. 

Toward a Psychology of Awakening: Buddhism, Psychotherapy, and the Path of Personal and Spiritual Transformation.  By John Welwood, Pd.D.  Boston, Shambhala, 2002.  Index, bibliography, glossary, notes, 352 pages.  ISBN: 1570628238.  VSCL. 

The True Dharma Eye: Zen Master Dōgen's Three Hundred Koans.  Translated by Kazuaki Tanahashi and John Daido Loori.  Commentary and verse by John Daido Loori.  Boston, Shambhala, 2005.  Index of koans, glossary, biographical, lineage charts, notes, 472 pages.  ISBN:  978-1590302427.  "When the thirteenth century master Eihei Dogen, one of the most influential thinkers in Zen Buddhism and founder of the Japanese Soto school, returned to Japan after four years of study in China, the fruit of his pilgrimage was recorded in a collection of koans called the Chinese Shobogenzo, also known as Shinji or Mana Shobogenzo. This collection of three hundred main cases was first published in 1766 under the title Shobogenzo Sambyakusoku (Treasury of the True Dharma Eye: Three Hundred Cases)."  VSCL. 

Two Arrows Meeting in Mid-Air: The Zen Koan.  By John Daido Loori.  Tuttle Publishing, 1994.  392 pages.  ISBN: 978-0804830126. 

Two Zen Classics: Mumonkan and Hekiganroku.  Translated with commentaries by Katsuki Sekida.  Edited and introduced by A. V. Grimstone.  New York, Weatherhill, 1977.  Index, 413 pages.  ISBN: 0834801302.  VSCL. 

Unlocking the Zen Koan: A New Translation of the Zen Classic Wumenguam.   Translated by Thomas Cleary.  Berkeley, California, North Atlantic Books, 1993, 1997.  213 pages.  ISBN: 978-1556432477.  VSCL. 

Zen Buddhism: A Bibliography.   By Mike Garofalo. 

Zen Buddhism Koan Study Pages 

Zen Flesh Zen Bones: A Collection of Zen and Pre-Zen Writings.   By Paul Reps and Nyogen Senzaki.  Tuttle Publishing, Flaps edition, 1998.  First published in 1957.  211 pages.  ISBN: 9780804831864.  In 1962, this was the first book about Zen that I had ever read, and it greatly impressed and influenced me.  The Gateless Gate (Mumonkan) was transcribed by Nyogen Senzaki (1876–1958) and Paul Reps (1895–1990) in 1934, and appeared in in "Zen Flesh, Zen Bones, 1958" pp. 109-161.  VSCL.   

The Zen Koan: Its History and Use in Rinzai Zen.  By Isshu Miura and Ruth Fuller Sasaki.  Mariner Books, 1966.  76 pages.  ISBN: 0156999811. 

Zen Koans   A satirical attack on Zen and Koans by Reinhard Koch. 

Zen Koans: Shaseki-shu (Collection of Stone and Sand), written late in the thirteenth century by the Japanese Zen teacher Muju (the "non-dweller"), and from anecdotes of Zen monks taken from various books published in Japan around the turn of the 20th century.

Zen Sand: The Book of Capping Phrases for Koan Practice.   By Victor Sogen Hori.  University of Hawaii Press, 2010.  Bilingual edition.  Nanzan Library of Asian Religion and Culture.  ISBN: 9780824835071.  

Zen's Chinese Heritage: The Masters and Their Teachings By Andy Ferguson.  Foreword by Reb Anderson.  Boston, Wisdom Publications, 2000.   Glossaries, name lists, Zen lineage charty, bibliography, index, 518 pages.  ISBN: 0861711637.  VSCL. 

Zen Staff, Zen Stick in Koans, Stick Used by Zen Masters as a symbol of their qualifications and authorization to teach Zen students.











Koans:  Quotations, Insights, Poems


"The goal of the Zen koan is enlightenment, which is a profound change of heart.  This change of heart makes the world seem like a different place; with it comes a freedom of mind and an awareness of the joy and kindness underlying daily life."
-  John Tarrant, Bring Me the Rhinoceros: And Other Zen Koans That Will Save Your Life, 2008, p. 1


"The Blue Cliff Record (Chinese: 《碧巖錄》 Bìyán Lù; Japanese: Hekiganroku (碧巌録?); Korean: Byeokamrok, 벽암록(碧巖錄); Vietnamese: Bích nham lục (碧巖錄)) is a collection of Chán Buddhist koans originally compiled in China during the Song dynasty in 1125 (宋宣和七年) and then expanded into its present form by the Chán master Yuanwu Keqin (圜悟克勤 1063 – 1135)(Japanese Engo).  The book includes Yuanwu's annotations and commentary on Xuedou Zhongxian (Japanese Setcho)'s (雪竇重顯 980 – 1052) collection 100 Verses on Old Cases 《頌古百則》 — a compilation of 100 koans.[2] Xuedou selected 82 of these from the Jingde Chuandeng Lu 《景德傳燈錄》 (Jingde era Record of the Transmission of the Lamp), with the remainder selected from the Yunmen Guanglu 《雲門廣録》 (Extensive Record of Yunmen Wenyan (864 – 949)."


"There are seven things to notice about koans:
1.  Koans show you that you can depend on creative moves.
2.  Koans encourage doubt and curosity.
3.  Koans rely on uncertainty as a path to happiness.
4.  Koans will undermine your reasons and your explanations.
5.  Koans lead you to see life as funny rather than tragic.
6.  Koans will change your idea of who you are, and this will require courage.
7.  Koans uncover a hidden kindness in life."
-  John Tarrant, Bring Me the Rhinoceros: And Other Zen Koans That Will Save Your Life, 2008, pp. 2-3.


"The Gateless Gate (Mandarin: 無門關 Wúménguān; Japanese: 無門関 Mumonkan), more accurately translated as The Gateless Barrier, is a collection of 48 Chan (Zen) koans compiled in the early 13th century by the Chinese Zen master Wumen Huikai (無門慧開; Japanese: Mumon Ekai; 1183–1260). Wumen's preface indicates that the volume was published in 1228. Each koan is accompanied by a commentary and verse by Wumen. A classic edition includes a 49th case composed by Anwan (pen name for Cheng Ch'ing-Chih) in 1246. Wu-liang Tsung-shou also supplemented the volume with a verse of four stanzas composed in 1230 about the three checkpoints of Zen master Huanglong. These three checkpoints of Huanglong should not be confused with Doushuai's Three Checkpoints found in Case 47.   Along with the Blue Cliff Record and the oral tradition of Hakuin Ekaku, The Gateless Gate is a central work much used in Rinzai School practice. Five of the koans in the work concern the sayings and doings of Zhaozhou; four concern Ummon.   The common theme of the koans of the Wumen Guan and of Wumen's comments is the inquiry and introspection of dualistic conceptualization. Each koan epitomizes one or more of the polarities of consciousness that act like an obstacle or wall to the insight. The student is challenged to transcend the polarity that the koan represents and demonstrate or show that transcendence to the Zen teacher."


"The kõan practice is first and foremost a religious practice, undertaken primarily not in order to solve a riddle, not to perfect the spontaneous performance of some skill, not to learn a new form of linguistic expression, not to play cultural politics, and not to carry on scholarship. Such ingredients may certainly be involved, but they are always subservient to the traditional Buddhist goals of awakened wisdom and selfless compassion."
-  Victor Sogen Hori, Capping Phrases










Kōans: Index, Concordance

Kung-ans, Gōng'àns, 公案

Reference Sources

BMTR, Tarrant, 2008.   Bring Me the Rhinoceros: And Other Zen Koans That Will Save Your Life.  By John Tarrant.  Boston, Shambhala, 2008.  Notes, 194 pages.  ISBN:  9781590306185. 

GB, Zenkai Shibayama, 2000. The Gateless Barrier: Zen Comments on the Mumonkan.  By Zenkai Shibayama.  Shibayama Roshi.  Translated by Sumiko Kudo.  Boston, Shambhala, 2000.  Glossary, index, 361 pages.  ISBN: 9781570627262.

GB, Robert Aitken, 1991.  The Gateless Barrier: The Wu-Men Kuan (Mumonkan).  Translated with a commentary by Robert Aitken.  New York, North Point Press, 1991.  Notes, bibliography, appendices, gloasary, 332 pages.  ISBN: 0865474427.     

SBCR, Cleary, 2002.   Secrets of the Blue Cliff Record: Zen Comments by Hakuin and Tenkei. Translated by Thomas Cleary.  Boston, Shambhala, 2002.  Introduction, recommended reading, 354 pages.  ISBN: 1570629129.

TZC, Sekida, 1977.   Two Zen Classics: Mumonkan and Hekiganroku.  Translated with commentaries by Katsuki Sekida.  Edited and introduced by A. V. Grimstone.  New York, Weatherhill, 1977.  Index, 413 pages.  ISBN: 0834801302.  Mumonkan = Gateless Gate.  Hekiganroku = Blue Cliff Record.   

UTZK, Thomas Cleary, 1997.  Unlocking the Zen Koan: A New Translation of the Zen Classic Wumenguam.   Translated by Thomas Cleary.  Berkeley, California, North Atlantic Books, 1993, 1997.  213 pages.  ISBN: 978-1556432477. 


Zen Koans: A Bibliography and Reading List



Kōan Index
Indexing and Research by Mike Garofalo


Bashō Oshō Esei (Bajiao Huiqing, Pa-chiao) (circa 990, China)  see  "Bashō's Staff"

"Bashō's Staff"
    GB, Zenkai Shibayama, 2000, p. 303-.  Gateless Barrier, Mumonkan, Case 44, "Basho and a Stick." 
    GB, Robert Aitken, 1991.  Gateless Barrier, Wu-Men Kuan (Mumonkan), Case 44, "Pa-chiao's Staff."
    TZC, Sekida, 1977, p.125-.  Gateless Gate, Mumonkan, Case 44.
    UTZK, Thomas Cleary, 1997.  Weumenguan, Momonkan, Case 44, "The Staff."   

Cane (Stick, Zhang)  see  Staff  

Dogs  see  "Does a Dog Have Buddha Nature?"

"Does a Dog Have Buddha Nature?"
    TZC, Sekida, 1977, p.27.  Gateless Gate, Mumonkan, Case 1
    BMTR, Tarrant, 2008, p. 23-36

"The Hermit's Staff"
    SBCR, Cleary, 2002, p. 76-79

    "Bashō's Staff"  Gateless Gate, Mumonkan, Case 44.    

Mu, No  see  "Does a Dog Have Buddha Nature?"

"Pa-chiao's Staff"  see "Basho's Staff"

    "Bashō's Staff"  Gateless Gate, Mumonkan, Case 44.

Sentient Beings (Non-Human)  see  "Does a Dog Have Buddha Nature?"

Staff (Stick, Cane, Zhang
    "Bashō's Staff"  Gateless Gate, Mumonkan, Case 44.  
    "Ummon's Staff Becoming a Dragon"  Blue Cliff Record, Hekiganroku, Case 60 

Travel, Road, Hiking  see  "The Hermit's Staff" 

Ummon Bun'en (Yunmen Wenyan)  (864-949, China)  "Ummon's Staff Becoming a Dragon"

"Ummon's Staff Becoming a Dragon"
    TZC, Sekida, 1977, p. 311.  Blue Cliff Record, Hekiganroku, Case 60
    SBCR, Cleary, 2002, p. 203-206.  "A Staff Turns Into a Dragon," Blue Cliff Record, Hekiganroku, Case 60

Zhang (Staff, Stick)  see  Staff

Zhaozhou Congshen (778-897, China)  see  "Does a Dog Have Buddha Nature?"










My Current Koan Case for "Immersion, Reflection, Consideration, Study, Working"
Winter of 2015

Ummon's Staff Turns Into a Dragon and Swallows the Universe
Blue Cliff Record, Case 60


Ummon showed his staff to a group and said, "The staff has turned into a dragon and swallowed the universe.  Where can you find the mountains, rivers, and earth?"


My Reflecting, Thinking, Commenting, Mulling, Working, Studying, Meditating, Researching, and Writing on Case 60
Notes by Mike Garofalo
Winter of 2015










Research by Michael P. Garofalo



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This webpage was last updated or modified on January 10, 2015. 

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