Solving Rinzai Koans With Theravada Mindfulness
Harnessing the power of what Ajahn Brahm jokingly refers to as super power mindfulness is the key to cracking open a Zen koan. Without it, a Zen student can struggle a lifetime with koans and never open the gateless gate. With it, the koans are seen and the gate opens.
Tranquil Wisdom meditation, taught by the Buddha in the Anapanasati Sutta, provides the super power mindfulness required for koan penetration.
We will never hear that observation from a Theravada teacher because they ignore koans.
We will never hear that observation from a Zen teacher because they ignore Tranquil Wisdom meditation.
Most Zen students are assigned counting the breath as taught by Master Hakuin as their first practice, and then they are given a koan to solve.
No Zen teacher tells a Zen student to develop super power mindfulness as taught by the Buddha in the Anapanasati Sutta for koan penetration. If you are a Zen teacher who has taught tranquil wisdom meditation to students to develop super power mindfulness for the purpose of penetrating a Zen koan, please contact us.
The Buddha, Bhante U. Vimalaramsi, and Venerable Ajahn Brahm have given us the key to super power mindfulness (the latter two having written modern day commentaries to make the sutta more accessible to modern readers). We have the koan key when we finish the sixteen steps of the Anapanasati Sutta.
An authentic Rinzai Zen practice can begin after we practice the preliminary steps of Present Moment Awareness and Silent Present Moment Awareness to put mindfulness “in front of you” as the Buddha said.
We then practice the sixteen steps that lead to super power mindfulness and turn our super power mindfulness onto our teacher-assigned koan. We demonstrate that koan and the teacher gives us another one and we demonstrate it as well.
Over and over, the koans keep coming and we show every one of them to our teacher by subjecting the koan to the super power mindfulness generated by Tranquil Wisdom meditation.
Failure to penetrate a koan then is understood as simply practicing without super power mindfulness.