A Story and Introduction to Kōans

Recently I bought the Blu-Ray set for Avatar the Last Airbender because who doesn’t need some Uncle Iroh in their life? I guess I’ve been stressed and conflicted a lot lately, and I just felt like Iroh has always had a calming effect on me. I mean I even named my dog Mako after Iroh’s original voice actor, so clearly there’s something to the character’s wisdom that resonates with me. Anyway, while anxiously waiting for my package I stumbled upon the YouTuber Sage’s Rain and his video Avatar The Last Airbender – Iroh & Ozai: Loss. Something about this guy’s voice and the eloquence in which he covers these topics really stuck out to me, and I’ve been trying to find some zen ever since.

I don’t know if I’ve ever covered my religious/philosophical beliefs in this blog before, but I guess you could say I’ve an atheist who’s always been interested in various religions. I was raised Roman Catholic, but I’ve always been especially interested in Eastern religions/philosophies such as Zen Buddhism, Taoism, and most recently Mohism — which I learned about while watching videos about Iroh. ^_^

So what’s the point in this roundabout post and what’re these kōans I mentioned in the title? Well according to the good ole wiki, “A kōan is a story, dialogue, question, or statement which is used in Zen practice to provoke the “great doubt” and test a student’s progress in Zen practice”. It’s funny but I’d actually learned about this in one of my college religion classes, but had completely forgotten the name for them. I still remembered the “Muddy Road” story however and so I thought I’d use this blog to post a different kōan each day. The plan is to structure one post a day with the kōan, my thoughts on it, and to open up discussion for your thoughts on it. I’m not really sure how long I’ll keep this up, but I would kind of like to get through 101 of the big ones. But yeah so that’s the plan! Let me know what you think, and I’ll have the first kōan up shortly!

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