" In Kyoto,
hearing the cuckoo,
I long for Kyoto.
~ Bashō Matsuo
Zen is a term that comes from the Japanese pronunciation of Chan, a Chinese word that finds its origin in Dhyana or meditation. Zen emphasizes rigorous self-control, meditation-practice, insight into Buddha-nature, and the personal expression of this insight in daily life, especially for the benefit of others.
In the Zen Buddhism of Japan, a koan is a concise and paradoxical saying (usually a question but sometimes a statement) that serves as a spiritual discipline or technique for novices, especially for those on the Rinzai path. Similar to the koan pictured above, another example presented in the question-and-answer format is “What is Buddha?” with the answer being “Three pounds of flax.” Many koans have the added benefit of being amusing, lending credence to the idea that life is a cosmic joke and that God and the Goddess are the greatest comics that ever lived, or died.
KOAN is a Dialogue, statement, question, or story ~ Our lives are a series of Koans.
So, a koan is a riddle of sorts that Zen Buddhists apply to solve deeper truths about reality and the nature of the higher Self. Zen teachers have drilled their students with these puzzles for thousands of years. Usually, after weeks or months or even years of mental scrutiny, a given disciple would finally realize that the koan is really meant to be comprehended by the intuition, not the mind. As Don Dianda--the author of See for Your Self: Zen Mindfulness for the Next Generation-- said for the Elephant Journal:
The koan serves as a surgical tool used to cut into and then break through the mind of the practitioner... Koans aren’t just puzzles that your mind figures out suddenly and proclaims, “Aha! The answer is three!” They wait for you to open enough to allow the space necessary for them to enter into your depths—the inner regions beyond knowing.
Like the Zen koan, Japanese furniture and décor are also paradoxical, since they fuse the artistic sophistication of intention and placement with the simplicity and directness of Nature. Like many Green companies, Haiku Designs is selective about the furniture it sells, so there’s a large emphasis on Japanese furniture and other domestic accessories (such as Japanese living room furniture or Meditation Cushions) that are produced with natural--and often organically grown--eco-friendly materials.
In the spirit of timeless koans, don’t hesitate to contact us anytime for more information about our natural and progressive products, especially if they have a Japanese flavor since that’s one of our primary cultural themes.