The Role and the Present Significance of Koans

  • Daiko MatsuyamaEmail author
Part of the Mindfulness in Behavioral Health book series (MIBH)


In this chapter, entitled “The Role and the Present Significance of Koans”, Reverent Daiko Matsuyama seeks to define and elaborate on the significance of koans. In the Rinzai school of Japanese Zen Buddhism, koan refers to a question or succinct paradoxical statement posed to a student to help him or her seek the truth. A Zen master gives koans to his or her followers, and they are expected to dedicate themselves to concentrating on these ideas and finding answers. The koans are drawn from collections of ancient masters and have long been considered a fundamental part of training in a Rinzai Buddhist monastery. Generally speaking, Soto Zen does not emphasize koan practice, relative to zazen in training. Examples and analysis of popular koans, including their implications within the field of behavioral health, are presented.


Rinzai Zen Koans Buddhism Behavioral health Metaphors 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Taizoin Zen Buddhist TempleKyotoJapan

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