Koan vs cone

  • A koan is a riddle, a paradoxical problem used in Zen Buddhism in order to demonstrate that logic and reason are sometimes inadequate. A koan is employed to stimulate enlightenment, koans have been used in Zen Buddhism at least since the twelfth century. Some famous koans are “When you can do nothing, what can you do?” and “What is the sound of one hand clapping?” These riddles are designed to provoke a shift in perception. The word koan is a Japanese word, a combination of the character ko meaning public, and the character an which means a matter for thought.


    A cone is a cylindrical object that starts with a circular plane which decreases in size until it ends at a point. Everyday examples of cones are the orange traffic cone and a dunce cap. The word cone is derived from the Latin word conus, meaning a peak of a helmet or a cone. Related words are conic, conical, conically.



    At the program’s outset, moderator Michael Neff struggled to define the dive bar: “Dive bars are the greatest Zen koan (riddle) in our business,” he said. (The Post and Courier)

    If this work lands like a Zen koan, pondering the riddles of existence, Tchaikovsky’s beloved final symphony broods and fulminates. (The Boston Globe)

    It was a koan about life in the guise of acting advice that her co-star took to heart. (The Wall Street Journal)

    The only thing that can not be purchased off the shelf are the cone-shaped shells that encase the top and bottom, the report noted. (The Indian Express)

    The stop sign was propped up by an orange cone and Mr Taiaroa was sitting on the back of his ute close by. (The New Zealand Herald)

    Four men have been arrested after a Gold Coast car park brawl believed to have ignited when an ice cream cone was thrown at a car. (The Canberra Times)

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