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Prepare for a migraine – these puzzles from ancient Zen Buddhist monks are designed to give you a headache, but for good reason.


In this superbly animated video from TED-Ed, Puqun Li gives us a voiceover lesson in the ancient art of these thought experiments called Zen kōans, which were designed to teach practicing monks to detach themselves from life’s bigger problems by ignoring the “why?”

zen kōans unsolvable enigmas designed to break your brain - puqun li gif1

The video gives some context to the method of thinking that Zen Buddhism tried to promote, and gives some examples of the thought experiments that they would mull over, accompanied with animated characters acting them out visually.

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