What is the sound of one hand clapping?

This gives me the chance to share my two Zen jokes.

Q: What did the man say to the Zen hotdog vendor?
A: “Make me one with everything.”

Q: How did the vendor reply when the man asked for change back on his $20 bill?
A: “True change comes from within.”

It seems like back in the day the column answered some pretty dumb questions. Of the “classics” currently posted, this is verging on “why do you drive on the parkway and park on the driveway.” The Jimmy Carter one is stupid because the obvious answer is “he said he did, and we can’t really ever know what he saw or thought he saw.” The love potion one is either whimsical to the point of twee or, again, dumb.

I guess I’m kind of glad the questions that make it into the column these days are either fairly hardcore factual or interesting metaphysical, at least more than some of these “classics.”

It is possible to clap with one hand, as demonstrated in this video.

Note that the columns about love potions, Jimmy Carter, and one hand clapping all come from a chapter of the original Straight Dope book called “The Divine, the Mystical, and the Just Plain Weird.” Soon we’ll be into “S-E-X” which may be more to your liking.

Nah, that’s one hand flapping! One hand clapping is sort of like a whooshing sound.

Why does your nose run, but your feet smell?

Because you are built upside down. (courtesy of a Mad Magazine from many many years ago).:smiley:

It seems to me that it’s fairly easy to clap with one hand, just by slapping the fingers against the base of the palm.

I get that that’s not the point, but I find it rather odd that the questioner seemed to think that such an action might be impossible.

Beaten to it by post #3.:mad::smiley:

Isn’t finger snapping one-handed clapping?

[Lisa and Bart sit atop a mountain.

Lisa: What is the sound of one hand clapping?
Bart: Piece of cake. [claps with one hand]
Lisa: No, Bart, it’s a 3000-year-old riddle with no anwer.
It’s supposed to clear your mind of conscious thought.
Bart: No answer? Lisa, listen up! [claps with one hand]](http://www.snpp.com/episodes/7F08.html)

This portion of Cecil’s column:

reminded me of an exchange in an episode of Friends that went something like:

Joey: Well, it’s a moo point.
Chandler: A what point?
Joey: You know, a moo point. It’s like a cow’s opinion; it doesn’t mean anything… It’s moo.

Who knew Joey was a Buddhist? :smiley:

The koan does not specify that one must clap with one hand. It asks what is the sound of one hand clapping.

Therefore, the sound of one hand clapping is the same as the other hand clapping.

lol good find.

there are some great (oten hilarious) koans in Gödel, Escher, Bach

Whenever someone asks me this idiotic question, I just show them… it’s not hard to clap with one hand.

In fact, it sounds a lot like normal clapping.

ur point was addressed by cecil.

Koans usually dont have only one answer. “The wings of a butterfly” is acceptable, or extending the hand palm up (like asking for a handout), clapping normally, or possibly slapping your zen master, though this one is more likely ancient humor.

Koans are more about the journey than the destination anyway, so asking for the answer is kind of silly (but fun).