In this podcast Zen teacher, author, and poet Henry Shukman talks with host Michael Taft about koan practice, the role of psychotherapy in spiritual practice, and the power of working in the “old way,” the path of working with Zen koans as the journey of a lifetime.
Koans are something very interesting to me. And now an integral part of my own practice. They are those tricky nonsensical little stories you may have heard of in popular culture such as “what is the sound of a single hand?” (usually presented as: what is the sound of one hand clapping?) or “show me your face before your mother and father were born?”
Typically a koan is given to a student by their teacher and during zazen, they ‘sit with it‘….until it opens into some sort of (non-conceptual) understanding.
It is difficult to explain what that entails and (because of this) traditionally a practitioner does not really talk about their koan work other than when meeting individually with their teacher.
“Henry Shukman is a teacher in the Sanbo Zen lineage, and is the Guiding Teacher of Mountain Cloud Zen Center, in Santa Fe, New Mexico”.
Featured image by Raimond Klavins