Chapter 1Living Zen in AmericaWhat Is Zen?
Rather than give you a detailed explanation of Zen doctrine and history, which could mislead and even bore, and in any case would be contrary to the spirit of Zen, let me put before you three typical Zen koans, or spiritual problems. These koans are Zen's method of demonstrating truth directly and concretely without recourse to logic or reason. Were you to reflect on them deeply and awaken to their innermost meaning, you would come to understand Zen.
Here is the first koan. A monk came to the Master Ummon (Yun Men in Chinese) and said, "Suppose you meet up with...