One of my favorites:

A monk was meditating by the pond with his master one day. While meditating there the monk saw a frog jump into the pond. He asked his master who was sitting beside him how this happened. The master replied: “If you can explain what happens when the pond jumps into the frog then you will have your answer”. The monk realized, in that instant, the meaning of his master’s statement and then began to meditate some more.

What is the meaning of the master’s statement?

2 Replies to “One of my favorites:”

  1. Hello Ralph, thank you for taking the time to respond to this enigmatic “puzzle.” The koan, or “public case,” as it is commonly translated, is designed to have a less experienced practitioner gain insight into the manner in which experience is constituted or manifested–and this includes the subject of the experience. It is very important to keep in mind that this exercise pertains to experience alone. From the perspective of Buddhism, in particular a form of Mahayana Buddhism that developed in China (Chan) and migrated to Japan as Rinzai Zen, koans are means, methods and not simply puzzles– as I am sure you are aware. It warrants mentioning for those of us who may not be all that familiar with Buddhism.

    Now, this exercise was often effective when the practitioner took the koan and, usually not solving the koan so quickly as in our example, to his or her meditation practice and began the exercise of considering what it meant, how it could be experienced, or when it could be and so on. Sometimes, one may even watch how experience becomes constituted during the kind of watching to which meditation may lead. This all depends on the practitioner and the moment and everything else coinciding to make this happen–but it does happen occasionally. Simply put, it depends on everything that has led that person to that moment. It’s unpredictable.

    So, what happens, in general terms? Well, the practitioner “sees” or gains insight (vipashyana/vipassana) into the nature or “how” of experience. What makes it unfold in the way in which it does. There are two things to keep in mind. The Four Noble Truths* and Karma. Hopefully, this will become one of the hot topics of the Spiritual Civil Liberties Union website. Oh, one more thing. I want to express my gratitude for all you have done to get this very important project off the ground. I am very grateful for all of your efforts. Thank you Ralph. Between you and our fearless leader you guys have done a truly terrific job. I know I’m behind on my commitment for the treatise, as David D. wishes to call it, but I’m doing my best to catch up. I’m certainly committed to doing it. That is for sure. We have something truly remarkable going here.

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