In this digital age of nonstop wireless on-demand pornography, it can be difficult to maintain an attitude of zen. Not if you redefine "zen" as "Uhhh, electron shit running through my brain," though. Then it works out fine.

The koan: "The Stone Mind"

Hogen, a Chinese Zen teacher, lived alone in a small temple in the country. One day four traveling monks appeared and asked if they might make a fire in his yard to warm themselves.

While they were building the fire, Hogen heard them arguing about subjectivity and objectivity. He joined them and said: "There is a big stone. Do you consider it to be inside or outside your mind?"

One of the monks replied: "From the Buddhist viewpoint everything is an objectification of mind, so I would say that the stone is inside my mind."

"Your head must feel very heavy," observed Hogen, "if you are carrying around a stone like that in your mind."

The enlightenment: The monk looked at him in disgust. "What are you, a walking college dorm room poster? Jesus." Hogen began to weep.

This has been "Zen Koans Explained." Rock, stone, shock, moan.

[Photo: Shutterstock]