Discover a new way of looking and understanding the world that we share with unconventional and provocative commentaries and funny Zen koans


New quotes from the retired Zen Master

Not so serious koans by the Retired Zen Master Politicians, celebrities and other leaders like to ask questions, just like you and me. Now they can meet the retired Zen Master and find the answers that will surprise them and you, the reader. These answers will not change them, but they may change some perspectives and thus initiate small particles for some new thinking and reflection. 

  • I will regularly add more koans to this blog. Later they will be incorporated into my new book  When the Zen Dust Settles, Koans of a Retired Zen Master Book II

Zen koans no longer have to be arcane meditation objects – only mastered by a few trained Zen minds. Your life is already a koan – a deep question whose answer you are already living. You cannot learn from a book how to understand koans. They have been studied over the centuries by Zen masters and their students alike. What was valid then,may no longer be applicable in a world that lives on short memories and fast internet connections. As issues are evolving and our needs adjust to the changing times the process of transformation may as well continue with a fresh perspective.The koans presented here are different from any koan you have ever read. They don’t claim to be traditional koans (and as such they are not material for traditional koan scholars). The koans you find in this blog were written for the untrained non-traditional mind. They are snappy, hilarious and often provocative allowing plenty of space for intuition and contemplation – often resulting in spontaneous laughter. These koans show the radically reversed relationship between a Zen master and anyone who is asking a question. Even Zen masters can show signs of stress and doubt which are so rampant in our modern world.Take one koan at a time and follow it with a pause. There is always a lot in a koan – of any kind. What is the meaning, if any? Sometimes there is no meaning, no explanation,no deep wisdom but only a curious place in the wilderness of thoughts. If you prefer the traditional koans, this is not the place for you, you will look for your stick and smash this blog to pieces. You may believe that presenting koans in this way may be a sacrilege, but don’t get carried away, in this world there is a place for every religion and style of presentation, dangerous or childish as they may be. In comparison these Zen koans are quite innocent and only serve one purpose – to bring attention to the challenges of a retired Zen master whose words are not meant to make fun of anything but to enlighten. If you have a good sense of humor and an open mind, this blog is the perfect travel companion as each koan can lighten or deepen your time in a crowded airport or lead to abrupt laughter in the middle of a bathroom visit. You may even want to put these koans under your pillow to sleep on at night. To your surprise you may wake up in the morning not remembering who you are and wondering why your life has suddenly changed. This may be the result of too many koans read the day before or poorly digested by sleep. If you have such an experience don’t report it to the authorities but live with it for a day and see how you like it. 

“I like to offer you some help. But in Zen we don’t have a single thing.”

 ImageThe German chancellor asked the Zen Master: “I have a new election coming. What can I do?” The Zen Master replied: “This is not 1933. May be you should look for a new job as a cleaning lady. Germany needs more cleanliness. Look at the streets of Berlin.”

Die Deutsche Kanzlerin fragte den Zenmeister: “Die Neuwahlen kommen bald. Was kann ich tun?” Der Zenmeister antwortete: “Jetzt ist nicht 1933. Vielleicht sollten Sie sich nach einem neuen Job umschauen – als Putzfrau. Deutschland braucht mehr Sauberkeit. Schauen Sie sich doch mal die Strassen von Berlin an.”

Peer Steinbrück asked the Zen Master: “I have a new election coming. What shall I do?” The Zen Master replied: “ Smoke as many cigarettes as Helmut Schmidt and you cannot fail in politics.”

Peer Steinbrück fragte den Zenmeister: “Die Neuwahlen kommen bald. Was kann ich tun?” Der Zenmeister antwortete: “Rauche soviele Zigaretten wie Helmut Schmidt, und es kann nichts schiefgehen in der Politik.”

The German President asked the Zen Master: “I am a very lucky man. I am president of a united Germany. What else can I do.” The Zen Master replied: “The “wall” was an interesting experiment. Why don’t you build another one.”

Der Deutsche Präsident fragte den Zenmeister: “Ich bin ein sehr glücklicher Mensch. Ich bin Präsident eines vereinigten Deutschlands. Was kann ich denn sonst so tun?” Der Zenmeister antwortete: “Die Mauer war ein interessantes Experiment. Warum bauen Sie nicht eine neue Mauer.”