Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Examples: Monday, today, last week, Mar 26, 3/26/04
Welcome home! Please contact if you have any difficulty logging in or using the site. New registrations must be manually approved which may take up to 48 hours. Can't log in? Try clearing your browser's cookies.

What is the sound of one hand clapping?

Our intuition says things exist when the context is removed or altered. The chair will be the chair and I will be me.
But there are exceptions. A rainbow cannot exist independently from the rain or the sunlight. The clapping hand cannot be a clapping hand when the other hand isn’t joining. Some phenomena are not graspable “things” but they are ungraspable “processes”.

As far as I can tell, the basic building blocks of the world we perceive are not fully understood. Do we really know what matter is or time or consciousness? Are they graspable things or ungraspable processes?
In my understanding the Buddhist idea of codependent arising appears to take a position on this. It says there are no graspable “things” but there are ungraspable “processes” only.
Phenomena appear and disappear only in the context of other phenomena, which only appear and disappear in the context of other phenomena, which only appear and disappear in the context of other phenomena, which only appear and disappear in the context of other phenomena etc.
There is nothing graspable at the root of it, or at the end of it, or in it, or behind it.
Reality (or what we perceive as such) is like a set of mirrors reflecting images without anything actually there to be reflected other than the reflections of other mirrors.
Thus shall you think of all this fleeting world:
A star at dawn, a bubble in a stream;
A flash of lightening in a summer cloud,
A flickering lamp, a phantom, and a dream.
(Diamond Sutra)
Koan-stories and questions are - like the one hand clapping - removed from context. When we don’t restore that context or fabricate a new one, they will help us realizing this dreamlike nature of reality. That will set us free. We will no longer be grasping at things that are not really there.



  • sovasova delocalized fractyllic harmonizing Veteran
    the sound of one hand clapping is the intention to clap.
  • :)
    This all implies that the sleeping and waking mind are the same. The sleeping mind is grabbing hold of the processes and making a fantasy reality of them . . .
    The genuine wakeful state knows and makes no such static 'reality' from the process of awareness and arisings.

    You are closer than a blink to the Buddha Mind.
    Nothing special.
    Just awareness. Just attention. Just now.
    Just so.

    (I will make such a great Buddha)
  • DakiniDakini Veteran
    matter is energy. Time is a warp in the space-time continuum. Or something. Consciousness, they don't know what it is, yet.
  • chelachela Veteran
    edited March 2013
    Every single thing that we perceive to "know" has no inherent meaning. Things can only be what they are with our invented meaning attached to them. These meanings rely heavily on the use of language. This is why, in some cultures, ideas, emotions, and things exist that do not exist in cultures with different languages (or only exist in a vague, contextual way). For example, in English, we have one word for "sand," and one word for "snow". But there is a quote that says that the Egyptians have 50 words for sand and the Eskimos (Inuit is the PC term) have 100 words for snow. I don't know if those numbers are actually correct, but the point is that we can identify these nuances in life that are apparent in some cultures, but completely overlooked in others that do not have the words to identify them with. We can argue that there are probably lots of other "things" that we do not think about because we haven't developed the language to transmit those ideas. Language determines so much of our ideas and thought processes. I find it extremely intriguing how language effects the mind. Does a concept invent language or does language invent a concept?
  • '[T]here is a universal flux that cannot be defined explicitly but which can be known only implicitly, as indicated by the explicitly definable forms and shapes, some stable and some unstable, that can be abstracted from the universal flux. In this flow, mind and matter are not separate substances. Rather, they are different aspects of our whole and unbroken movement.'

    ~David Bohm, Wholeness and the Implicate Order
  • These conversations, I love them. The whole reality / consciousness talks really get my mind going. We dont really "see" with our eyes or feel with our fingers. Its all in the mind. REALITY. Such a simple sounding concept, but actually is probably the most complex.
  • DandelionDandelion London Veteran
    I don't hear anything!
  • BhikkhuJayasaraBhikkhuJayasara Bhikkhu Veteran
    depends on the speed of the moving hand, and the hearing ability of the listener.
  • What is the sound of one hand clapping?
    What does a pink flying elephant look like?

    What comes to mind when seeing or hearing these absurd questions?
  • I'd suggest that these questions are not equivalent and that neither is absurd. But then I like arguing :)
  • BonsaiDougBonsaiDoug Simply, on the path. Veteran
    The sound of one hand? Perhaps it's, intention?
  • This conversation is wonderful.

  • JeroenJeroen Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter Netherlands Veteran

    The sound of one hand clapping is the sound of the master’s hand slapping the disciple. Wake up!

  • Like this... ;):)

  • Answer: Ask the person with one hand. [SMACK!]
    Of course the question is supposed to be like' "Is water wet?"
    It is supposed to create introspection and pull one away from the mundane.
    But if you are into the one hand smack - your fetish. =)

This discussion has been closed.