Mental and Physical Bullying
of Arrogant Zen Masters
Zen literature defines Koans as
"... a dialogue between a master and monks... put forward by teacher ...for opening one's mind to the truth of Zen" (p.72, An Introduction to Zen)
It is apparent that the system of Koan was "put forward" to maintain the authority of the teacher over novice disciple, leading to blind obedience:
- For a novice, the solution to the puzzling koan must be “approved” by the master. If one brings an explanation, which does not please the master - then one is a failure. The pursuit of spiritual awakening is reduced in this way to a procedure akin to a rigid primary school performance. Instead of encouraging novice to reveal own mind of inherent Buddhanature, a build up in obedience and copying the mind of master is established.
- Zen literature defines Koan as a tool to destroy the mind of reason. In his book Pointing at the Moon , Alexander Holstein offers an explanation to koan, as being the master’s attempt to ‘shock the usual way of thinking’ of the questioner, and to teach his disciple to “destroy the common values of ordinary mind”. A person dwelling on illogical constructs of koan would attenuate own intelligence - making the mind dull, accepting master's nonsense as profound wisdom.
In the following presentation of various koan - quoted from Zen literature - one would understand why the influence of suppressing the capacity of practitioner's mind has prevented practitioners from attempting to challenge the immaturity - and even danger - of some koan.