Seeing into a koan versus knowing a koan.

I always let students know that many times “passing” a koan is not really “knowing” it. When we “pass” a koan we merely see into it (kensho), it does not mean in anyway that we have completed it. As a matter of a fact we never “complete” a koan. If we continue to practice over the years, we may realize a koan’s greater depths repeatedly. I always say the best koans are Genjo Koan, or life koans. When we have insight into a koan, we have a basic understanding of its feel and expression. When confronted with this koan again organically, our dokusan experiences should allow a subtle grounding. Over and over we realize greater depths, endless dimensions. There is no meandering, daydreaming or bells to give pause when confronted with an organic nanto koan. Life comes at you head-on, indifferent to invitation and without reserve. Will you swerve and panic, or will you exhale and go straight on?