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A koan is a Zen teaching device, like a puzzle in the form of a question or statement or dialogue one attempts to hold in mind during meditation and understand and respond to without responding with the discursive thinking mind, since no response coming out of thought will be authentic and adequate to the circumstances of the moment. An example would be “What am I?” or “Does a dog have Buddha nature?” or “What is Buddha?” Almost any life circumstance could be seen as a koan. You could think of it as “What is this?” or even, “What now?” In every moment, the response might be different. The only requirement is that it be authentic and appropriate, and not come out of dualistic thinking. Responses can be non-verbal.