Health and life are characterized by the movement, sickness and death by the inertia and the smothering. The Reason is precious each time it brings us to the life (scientific research, social interaction etc.) but the reason can also confining us in certainties. A world based on logic could fall in complete self-sufficiency and become rigid and uncomfortable. That’s against this kind of deadly world that Koan was created.
More generally a Koan is a poem and a tool for meditation used by the Rinzai school (one of the three schools of Zen Buddhism in Japan).
1-A chocking and rude koan. It works like an electrochoc and it forces us to “wake-up”.
(Example : “Buddha is a stick of shit” other example : “Kill Buddha!”).
2-A koan which expresses the unity of the world through the fragmentation of a subject.
(Example : “Which one making things move, the flag or the wind?answer :your mind.”
Or “Help this old person to stand up…without your hands”).
The Roanji garden in Kyoto is part of this category. No matter the point of view taken, the 15 boulders in the garden can never be seen at the same time.
3-“Wall” koan. It’s an incomprehensible koan. (“A cow cross the window except the tail”).
I would like to link the koan tradition in its 3 forms to the movie of Takashi Miike “Gozu” (2003). The story is about a yakuza who try to find his colleague in Nagoya.
The first category of koan find an echo in this Miike’s movie with a cute dog at the beginning of the film. This pet is killed after it has been unfairly identified as a yakuza. Like the koan’s example with Buddha mentioned above, the dog is desecrated.
The second category can be connect to “aniki” the missing colleague who is finally coming back as a woman before to give birth to himself as an adult male thus completing the circle!
Last category appears throughout the film. Example : a character talking on the phone is using abnormally the same sentence.
“Gozu” under the features of “bizarre” and in spite of appearance continues a tradition that started long time ago in Japan (around 11th century). This tradition is a subtle homage to life.