Zen Buddhist Koan Riddle
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03-09-2017, 10:39 PM
Zen Buddhist Koan Riddle
The following is a Chan Buddhist gong'an (Zen koan) from a 17th-century Chinese fantasy novel. Can you solve this beautiful philosophical riddle? Googling will most likely take you to my article on the source material. If you find the piece, don't spoil it for everyone. I want educated guesses here.

Here's a hint: It applies to any world religion. Just replace the Buddha with your deity of choice.

I have a statue of Buddha, which nobody knows;
He needs no molding or carving;
Nor does he have any clay or color;
No human can draw him; no thief can steal him;
His appearance is originally natural,
And his clarity and purity are not the result of cleaning;
Though only one body,
He is capable of transforming himself into myriad forms
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04-09-2017, 12:32 AM
RE: Zen Buddhist Koan Riddle
I'm going to guess it's referring to "true understanding" or possibly just "integrity". The statue of Buddha is in the mind. No thief can steal him because no one can steal a thought. He is capable of transitioning into myriad forms because "he" represents more of an attitude or approach to life, than some rigid set of rules.

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If you're perfect -- Alanis Morissette
(06-02-2014 03:47 PM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  And I'm giving myself a conclusion again from all the facepalming.
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04-09-2017, 01:02 AM
RE: Zen Buddhist Koan Riddle
(03-09-2017 10:39 PM)ghostexorcist Wrote:  The following is a Chan Buddhist gong'an (Zen koan) from a 17th-century Chinese fantasy novel. Can you solve this beautiful philosophical riddle? Googling will most likely take you to my article on the source material. If you find the piece, don't spoil it for everyone. I want educated guesses here.

Here's a hint: It applies to any world religion. Just replace the Buddha with your deity of choice.

I have a statue of Buddha, which nobody knows;
He needs no molding or carving;
Nor does he have any clay or color;
No human can draw him; no thief can steal him;
His appearance is originally natural,
And his clarity and purity are not the result of cleaning;
Though only one body,
He is capable of transforming himself into myriad forms

Body of water?
'Draw' as in 'draw water' so 'draw from' but not 'draw all' so the body of water must be large enough to be undrawable and unstealable.
In its droplet form it will have no colour but as a large body of water it would have many colours so let's assume it means it does not have one colour.

The word 'statue' though is a problem so maybe there is a play on words from the original language?

Likewise 'air' would work in the same way.

Huh

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04-09-2017, 02:05 AM
RE: Zen Buddhist Koan Riddle
I think you buried the lead, as I think it is talking about religious faith.

Replace Buddha with any other deity, and the idiom stay fundamentally the same. The statue is non-physical, yet representative. I belies a sense of ownership, but is immune to theft. While it may have started naturally and with earnest intent, it certainly is not limited to that. While there may only be one body, each practitioner is a sect unto themselves; each person's faith is unique much akin to a snowflake, with millions of almost imperceptible differences that get lost in a crowd. People are easily capable of taking religion and faith, and molding them to suite their own needs.

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04-09-2017, 02:09 AM
RE: Zen Buddhist Koan Riddle
Folks,

"There is no spoon."

http://wiki.c2.com/?ThereIsNoSpoon

D.
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04-09-2017, 08:02 AM
RE: Zen Buddhist Koan Riddle
(04-09-2017 01:02 AM)DLJ Wrote:  
(03-09-2017 10:39 PM)ghostexorcist Wrote:  The following is a Chan Buddhist gong'an (Zen koan) from a 17th-century Chinese fantasy novel. Can you solve this beautiful philosophical riddle? Googling will most likely take you to my article on the source material. If you find the piece, don't spoil it for everyone. I want educated guesses here.

Here's a hint: It applies to any world religion. Just replace the Buddha with your deity of choice.

I have a statue of Buddha, which nobody knows;
He needs no molding or carving;
Nor does he have any clay or color;
No human can draw him; no thief can steal him;
His appearance is originally natural,
And his clarity and purity are not the result of cleaning;
Though only one body,
He is capable of transforming himself into myriad forms

Body of water?
'Draw' as in 'draw water' so 'draw from' but not 'draw all' so the body of water must be large enough to be undrawable and unstealable.
In its droplet form it will have no colour but as a large body of water it would have many colours so let's assume it means it does not have one colour.

The word 'statue' though is a problem so maybe there is a play on words from the original language?

Likewise 'air' would work in the same way.

Huh

You are cold. You are overthinking the riddle. But you get an A for effort!

(04-09-2017 02:05 AM)EvolutionKills Wrote:  I think you buried the lead, as I think it is talking about religious faith.

Replace Buddha with any other deity, and the idiom stay fundamentally the same. The statue is non-physical, yet representative. I belies a sense of ownership, but is immune to theft. While it may have started naturally and with earnest intent, it certainly is not limited to that. While there may only be one body, each practitioner is a sect unto themselves; each person's faith is unique much akin to a snowflake, with millions of almost imperceptible differences that get lost in a crowd. People are easily capable of taking religion and faith, and molding them to suite their own needs.

You are very warm
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04-09-2017, 08:28 AM
RE: Zen Buddhist Koan Riddle
42.


that works for everything.

Einstein

.......................................

The difference between prayer and masturbation - is when a guy is through masturbating - he has something to show for his efforts.
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04-09-2017, 09:22 AM
RE: Zen Buddhist Koan Riddle
I thought that koans were thought problems meant to stimulate meditation and discussion, but had no single answer. I think the "Westernized" version is something like one we got in a Western Philosophy class: "List a dozen uses for a brick, other than for building a wall." If I remember correctly, our class came up (collectively) with over 3 dozen oddball, but legit, uses.

My first response to your koan is : Imagination. That seems to work for statues and gods, my perfect garden, or the house I would like to build if I had the money and time, and could bend the laws of physics here and there. (Think of a house designed by M. C. Escher. Cool )
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04-09-2017, 12:09 PM
RE: Zen Buddhist Koan Riddle
(04-09-2017 08:28 AM)onlinebiker Wrote:  42.


that works for everything.

Einstein

With Sheldon Cooper it is 73.

I'm going with "banana." Cause I have absolutely no idea.

Where are we going and why am I in this hand basket?
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04-09-2017, 12:32 PM (This post was last modified: 04-09-2017 12:35 PM by GirlyMan.)
RE: Zen Buddhist Koan Riddle
Mind. Or as JohhnyC would say "monkeys simulating shit." Big Grin

#sigh
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