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koan Line breaks: koan
Pronunciation: /ˈkəʊɑːn/

Definition of koan in English:


A paradoxical anecdote or riddle without a solution, used in Zen Buddhism to demonstrate the inadequacy of logical reasoning and provoke enlightenment.
Example sentences
  • Like the ponderer of a Zen koan, the viewer must come to terms with this paradox.
  • The goal of the Zen koan is enlightenment, which is a profound change of heart.
  • Let's take a look at one of the classic Zen koans, the one about wild geese.


Japanese, literally 'matter for public thought', from Chinese gōngàn 'official business'.

Definition of koan in:
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