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Thread: Philosophical Riddle, Zen Koan

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    Recently in conversation elsewhere the popular philosophical riddle came up, "If a tree falls in the forest and no one's around to hear it, does it make a sound?"...

    After some thought, it turns out this might as well be a Zen koan. Thoughts?

  2. #2
    Forums Member srivijaya's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cloud
    Thoughts?
    No, no, no, no way

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    No thoughts?

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    Forums Member JadeRabbit's Avatar
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    KATZ!

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    Katz? No idea what that means. :)

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    Forums Member daverupa's Avatar
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    The event produces sound waves, which operate whether or not an ear is within range.

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    Forums Member JadeRabbit's Avatar
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    no tree, no hearing, no thought, no correct answer

    Quote Originally Posted by Cloud
    Katz? No idea what that means. :)
    One day long ago, after sitting Zen, Seung Sahn Soen Sa and his students spoke to each
    other. Soen Sa picked up the bell on the floor and said, “This is a bell. If you say this is a
    bell, you are attached to name and form. If you say it is not, you are attached to emptiness. Is
    this a bell or not?”
    One student shouted, “KATZ!”
    Soen Sa said, “Do the other students have an answer?”
    A second student said, “The bell is my mind; my mind is the bell.”
    “Next answer.”
    A third student grabbed the bell and rang it.
    “Are there no other anwers?”
    A fourth student said, “From out of the bell, a wooden chicken cries, ‘Cock-a-doodle-doo!’”
    “Are there more?”
    The fifth student said, “The sky is high, the ground is wide.”
    “More?”
    “Now the light is on. The room is bright,” said the sixth student.
    Soen Sa said, “Everyone gave a different answer,” and turning to the seventh student asked,
    “What is your answer?”
    The last student did not speak; he only sat.
    Soen Sa said, “Seven students have now answered. One of the answers has both killed and
    revived all people. It is freedom. Which answer is this? Next time, tell me.”
    With this, the students bowed and went to the kitchen for tea.
    What is the correct answer? Maybe it's whatever comes from your direct experience without the need for thinking. As soon as you think, maybe it's this, maybe it's that, you would be wrong. Aren't riddles exactly that? Unanswerable?

  8. #8
    Global Moderator Esho's Avatar
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    Hi Cloud,

    Thoughts...

    Well I think that the tree do not need me to make noise when it falls down. It is a curious post because it made me remember the New Age idea of the object observed by a subject and how the subject alters the observed object, a very popular one in some cuantum physics books from where there comes the inference that the world exists only if you think about it. Anyway, we all know that things come and go independently if we are aware of that or not. We are not so important for the Universe to keep evolving.

    Just a few ideas,


  9. #9
    Forums Member andyrobyn's Avatar
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    It does still fall, yet without someone with sense organs nearby to perceive of the sound no sound will by definition be heard - so as with how most important questions end up being answered for me, it is both yes and no

  10. #10
    Forums Member Maintop's Avatar
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    Cloud

    If the tree is in a forest there will always be other trees to hear it fall.

    Robert

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