k'an-hua Ch'an

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A Chinese term meaning ‘the Ch'an that looks at the words/phrases’. This refers to the practice of meditating on Ch'an stories and riddles (Chin., kung-an; Jap., kōan) in the search for enlightenment (bodhi). Normally, after studying the story for a time, students would identify a sentence, phrase, or word as the ‘critical phrase’ (Chin., hua-t'ou) and would concentrate all of their efforts on penetrating the meaning of that one phrase. Thus, their practice was referred to as ‘k'an-hua Ch'an’.

Subjects: Buddhism.

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