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A puzzling, often paradoxical statement, anecdote, question, or verbal exchange, used in Zen Buddhism as an aid to meditation and a means of gaining spiritual awakening.

[Japanese kōan : , public (from Middle Chinese kəwŋ; also the source of Mandarin gōng) + an, matter (from Middle Chinese ʔan`; also the source of Mandarin àn).]


(Buddhism) (in Zen Buddhism) a problem or riddle that admits no logical solution
[from Japanese]


(ˈkoʊ ɑn)

n., pl. -ans, -an.
a nonsensical or paradoxical question posed to a Zen student as a subject for meditation, intended to help the student break free of reason and develop intuition in order to achieve enlightenment.
[1945–50; < Japanese kōan, earlier koũ-an < Middle Chinese, < Chinese gōngàn public proposal]
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.koan - a paradoxical anecdote or a riddle that has no solution; used in Zen Buddhism to show the inadequacy of logical reasoning
problem - a question raised for consideration or solution; "our homework consisted of ten problems to solve"
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Iskandar Jusuf, Dari Tiong Hoa Hwe Koan 1900 sampai Sekolah Terpadu 2008.
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Huckleberry owners Koan Goedman and Mark Mann say the new space is "amazing" and they are confident the innovative idea will be the ideal spot to grow their cafe concept into a "gathering place, encouraging discussion and interaction.
For example, one koan is titled "The True Place", and reads, "Zen master Judy was fond of telling her students, 'Wherever you are, just take the role of host.
of the Cosmic A soundtrack accompanying Liliane Lijn's piece Lost Koan on mima's external roof terrace, presents spoken word, poetry and stories written by mima visitors in partnership with Writer's Block North East following writing workshops at mima on December 1 and 8.
SILESTONE With built in antibacterial protection, Silestone comes in more than 60 colours including Koan from the Zen range (left).