One Hand Clapping

Yes, i understand these are kind of old collums…i’m sorry…
the sound of one hand clapping, is the same as two clapping, basically. my brother can clap with one hand… you just sort of flip your hand in the air while slapping your fingers on your palm. it’s hard to do, but he can do it well (and does it alot) and i did it once…

the question wasn’t answered, even though there WAS an answer, so i guess i thought i’d share…?

The answer, it seems to me, isn’t to find an actual sound. The question is a meditation lesson that translates badly to a non-Zen mind-set. (Which is what Cecil alludes to in the follow-up comment about Jim Rockford at the bottom of the column.)
We’re not actually supposed to find that sound. IANAZB, but I’ve always seen this as a way to think about what is required to identify the bare essentials of a process.

By the way, IANAZB = I am not a Zen Buddhist.

Again, “What is the sound of one hand clapping?” is a bad restatement of the proper koan, which goes “When two hands clap, a sound is made. What sound does one hand bring?”

no matter which way you say it, there’s an answer… i did it again last night 'cause i was tired and wanted to get good at doing it too… i did it twice before my hand got tired…

But slapping your hand against itself is not what happens when two hands clap. What you’re describing is definitely not the answer to the koan, properly posed.

It was first mentioned in this previous thread from a post by Padeye that Bart Simpson solved this ancient koan.

But the koan asks for the sound of one hand… which is easily demonstratable.

That may be, but:

  1. Then somebody ought to properly pose it if they expect it to not be answerable.
  2. The koan as popularly worded is definitely already answered, which is what most people refer to anyway.
  3. Wait for it… hi, Opal!