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Thursday, September 14, 2023

Koan Study

In the time of the Sixth Patriarch, [laughs] there were no koans. Only in the Sung Dynasty koan study started. If koan study is the only way to study Buddhism, the Sixth Patriarch or Bodhidharma were not Zen masters [laughter]. I don’t say koan study is not good, but if you think koan study is the only way to study Zen, you cannot explain why Bodhidharma or the Sixth Patriarch did not use koans. So Zen is not just koan study.

—Excerpt from Shunryu Suzuki lecture - 68-07-21 - as found on edited by PF. Go to or for links to the full Shunryu Suzuki lecture and the source of the photo.