Hakuin's Chant in Praise of Zazen with commentaries by Albert Low by Albert Low

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Because words can no more hold the truth than a net can hold water, we use koans. Koans are sayings, or doings, of Zen masters, the patriarchs and Buddha. Take for example the koan: The Sound of One Hand clapping. In its entirety it reads: “You know the sound of two hands clapping. What is the sound of one hand clapping?” The obvious, intellectual answer is, No sound at all! But then what is this No sound? In other words, is it just silence?
If one is to work on this koan, indeed on any koan, one must demonstrate its meaning. Explanatory words - such as “the two hands represent duality, the one hand is unity” or “the sound of one hand is the sound of the true self” - are useless. A teacher of Zen would reject them out of hand, all the while demanding a real response. Words talk about true nature and, as it were, hold it at arm’s length. One must become the sound of one hand to be able to give a real response, and in this way see for oneself that the sound of one hand is the full expression of the master’s and one’s own awakened state.

About Albert Low

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Dr. Albert Low is 80 years old, a former a senior human resource executive in South Africa and in Canada. He has a bachelor's degree in Psychology and Philosophy and an honorary Doctorate degree from Queen's University, Ontario. A Zen Buddhist for 40 years, in 1976 he retired to study and teach Zen Buddhism. After three years on the staff of the Rochester Zen Center he became teacher, director of Montreal Zen Center. Widely read in Western and Eastern and Western science and philosophy he has spent many years as a psychological counselor. His books have been translated into French, Spanish, German, Portuguese and Turkish. www.zenmontreal.ca.
Published April 22, 2011 30 pages
Genres: Religion & Spirituality.

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