Zen and the art of story-prompts

I came across this Zen Koan recently and thought it would make a good story prompt – perhaps along SF-nal themes of consciousness and perception. I believe it is attributed to (or about) Hui neng, the sixth and last Patriarch of Chan Bhuddism.

Anyway, here it is:

Two monks were watching a flag blowing in the wind.

One said, ‘The flag is moving.’

The other said, ‘The air is moving.’

A Zen Master overheard them and said, ‘Neither the flag or air move. It is your minds that are moving.’



Zen and the art of story-prompts — 1 Comment

  1. Yes, it’s a good one. I used it recently in a letter to the New Scientist magazine on the topic of our perception of time. It’s the editor’s choice letter in the 16th Sept issue. Check it out at: . I posited that it’s our minds that create the perception of time passing as part of our observation of what is effectively the timeless 4D ‘landscape’ of connected events that we call physical reality. No observation, no time.

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