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2 definitions found
 for koan
From WordNet (r) 3.0 (2006) :

      n 1: a paradoxical anecdote or a riddle that has no solution;
           used in Zen Buddhism to show the inadequacy of logical

From The Jargon File (version 4.4.7, 29 Dec 2003) :

   /koh'an/, n.
      A Zen teaching riddle. Classically, koans are attractive paradoxes to be
      meditated on; their purpose is to help one to enlightenment by temporarily
      jamming normal cognitive processing so that something more interesting can
      happen (this practice is associated with Rinzai Zen Buddhism). Defined here
      because hackers are very fond of the koan form and compose their own koans
      for humorous and/or enlightening effect. See Some AI Koans, has the X
      nature, hacker humor.

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