Consciousness studies/One-hand clapping

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The title comes from a zen koan. The respected buddhist 18th century monk Hakuin would walk into a village and catch the attention of prospective students by raising his hand aloft and saying 'Who can hear the sound of one hand clapping?'.

To catch the attention of students with a single thing, and then from there, the student may explore the different understandings we have made throughout history.

A useful exercise which monks put themselves through on their search for enlightenment is single-pointed meditation. When they look at a chair, for example, they think of the materials and how they were brought there; the manufacturing of the materials; the original maning of the base materials; the processes that materials undergo industrially; the history of these processess; or starting from a completely different angle, the use of a chair in society; the meaning of thrones, toilets, the evolution of the chair; or again, the sound of the word associated with the object; and so on. We can use this thinking exercise to present all human knowledge relative to a single thing.

A good example is a lighter. To hold up a lighter and explain how it works, or what it means to us humans. Honestly, pick up a lighter, take a look at it, use it, and let your mind pursue all the directions of knowledge it is capable of. Imagine a site where you can follow the different explanations, which might involve experiments, so that an eager student can pursue lines of thinking into the vast knowledge base that is human. Once they get lost, they can always return to the thing in their hands.

An example video can be found here: explain this.

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