The following link was posted on Zen Forum International, and I liked it so much, I thought I would steal it for use here: I hate koans.
Koans are the intellectually-insoluble riddles sometimes used in Zen practice -- things like "What is the sound of one hand clapping?" or "What did I look like before my parents were born?"
The text in the link is brief and to the point and, for my money, delicious in its honesty and implications:
By Jez Lovekin on Friday 8 October 2010
Filed under: GeneralI hate koans...I hate the way they make me feel so uncomfortable. I hate coming out of my comfort zone. I hate having to sit in the dokusan line, full of fear and anxiety, waiting to go in and face the teacher. What if I make a stupid arse of myself, what if I get it wrong, what if I get to feel completely useless? Why don't I get a therapist instead, with a nice smiley face?
Why don't they get any easier? I hate not knowing. I should know, I've been practising for years but still can't see what is needed. Am I stupid?
Why don't I do shikantaza and talk about my painful knees? At least I don't need to show my ignorance with these stupid questions.
And when, sometimes, I manage to satisfy the teacher...
I get another one!!
That, to my mind, is both a wonderful whine and a bang-on description of Zen practice ... or living this life ... take your pick.
The posting reminds of one of my favorite 'Zen' tales: Stingy in Teaching