Zen Buddhism riddles

A puzzling riddle answer

Riddles and answers are Zen's holy grail.
The riddles are known, the answers are hidden.

Finding the secret solutions of Zen riddles shows Enlightenment!

Nonsense. Read the secret answers for some Zen riddles in the box above.

Feel enlightened? Try again? OK. Down the page there are and their answers .

Where do Zen riddles come from? What is their origin? Some background information.

How the Buddha Once Solved the Dukka-Riddle

Siddi, an Indian monk, for many years struggled with the question, why all of life is suffering (Sanskrit: dukkha).

Finally, after a night of meditation and hallucinations, he saw the morning star and cried: All the world is already enlightened.

That's not a proper answer for the suffering question, is it?

But it worked. Siddi was suddenly and from that day on he was called

Riddles and answers in Chinese and Japanese Buddhism

The Buddha''s riddle-solving by meditation only was later used by Chinese Buddhists .

These riddles were about crazy but enlightened Buddhist masters.

To find an answer, logic, reason and arguments had to be suspended.

was necessary instead.

Shortened versions of these riddles came to Japan in the 13th century and were soon forgotten.

It wasn't until the early 18th century that Master Hakuin remembered the old stuff and claimed the riddles as .

He also preached the medieval Chinese belief that dealing with paradoxical questions implodes the mind and thus makes Buddhists enlightened.

This crude theory reigns until today as the . These answers have to be secrets, so that everybody who knows them proves her enlightened mind.

You still want to come closer to enlightenment through Zen riddles? Ok.

Here are some more riddles and their secret answers.

Check it !

Having read several Zen riddles and their answers you will realise the pattern.

  • Some answers refer to the "all-is-one" theory of Buddhism and want you to identify with an "object", fire, bell, hand etc.
  • Others illustrate the Zen belief, that the word is simple.
    Complications only arise from the mind. Don't bother about the mind, Zen says. Do what you're asked to do.
  • In both cases don't explain your answer but make it a little (more or less stupid looking) performance.
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