"In 1916, a peevish Japanese Zen monk gave himself a pseudonym meaning “The Arch-Destroyer of the Existent Order” and published a book titled A Critique of Japanese Pseudo-Zen. The book consisted mostly of a blistering attack on Japan’s Rinzai Zen schools and the way they were conducting koan study at the time."
"Koans are those odd questions asked by Zen masters that defy rational answers. The Rinzai school of Zen developed a practice of koan study in which a student sits in meditation with the koan and periodically presents his understanding of it to his teacher in a private interview. Although the standard koans have all been published, the way they are presented is supposed to remain private between student and teacher.
But Arch-Destroyer broke centuries of protocol and described how the 281 koans then in use by Rinzai Zen schools were answered. His aim in doing this was to expose the Rinzai Zen masters of his time as phonies who had forgotten the essence of Buddhism. Armed with this book, he said, any fool could be a Zen master.
Critique raised a scandal, and it sold well enough to justify a second printing in 1917. When monks began to present the cribbed answers in interviews, at least one teacher made changes to the traditional koans to confound his students."
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