View Full Version : Help with Han

11-28-2007, 05:36 PM
Hi Treeleafers. I could use some help from your extensive Zen experience. I'm thinking of doing some sitting at my city's local Zen center after work. I don't understand one thing about the schedule, though:

"5:40 PM - Zazen (Han begins at 5:25)"

What is Han? I'm assuming it's not of the Solo variety, but if it was, that would be awesome geek fun, too.

The page is here (http://www.austinzencenter.org/azc/dailypractice.shtml) just in case anyone is interested.

11-28-2007, 08:21 PM
Hi Ae,

Here you go ...

The han is wooden board, that is hung outside the meditation hall. Many of the traditional han are inscribed with the Chinese characters inserted here into the picture.


The meaning of those characters is - roughly translated:

Birth and death are important things.
Make use of every moment.
Everything changes quickly.
Time does not wait for humans.

The han is struck three times a day. The first time at daybreak, secondly in the evening, and finally during the closing ceremony. A wooden mallet is used to strike the familiar 7-5-3 pattern with the accelerating rolls in between. The sound is harsh and somewhat unsetteling, trying to remind us of the very reasons we came to study Zen.

In Japan monks hit the han with all their strength, just like they try with their whole being to get through all the delusions and attachments. Traditionally when the han finally shows a hole in the middle the monks have the day off, until a new board is hung.

http://www.terebess.hu/zen/szoto/hangszersz.html (http://http://www.terebess.hu/zen/szoto/hangszersz.html)[/img]

That means that it is the warning sound that you should get ready for the sitting.

Gassho, J


11-28-2007, 08:27 PM
Oh cool, with pictures and everything! Thanks Jundo.

Appreciating visual aids,
- Al

Rev R
11-28-2007, 09:48 PM
In Japan monks hit the han with all their strength,

Traditionally when the han finally shows a hole in the middle the monks have the day off

Coincidence? I think not. :lol:

11-30-2007, 06:14 AM
Hello all!

Do you know how many YEARS it takes of striking the han before you'd get a day off?

I've missed you folks--lots and lots of new leafs here!! Back at work means there is very very little time--It's all I can do to just try and keep up with all the new topics.

I'm striking the han with all my might--in the morning when I work out in the pool when I prepare my meals for the day and get them tidily into thermoses, on the freeway and surface streets han, han, han, I tell you--at work HAN and come home han, han

I've become one solid no-hole (yet) han
I wouldn't know what to do with a day off (probably look for wood for the next han!!!)

loving thoughts to all here, and to visitors who have yet to post!

11-30-2007, 07:29 AM
Hello Keishin,

Lovely to hear from you. Keep on 'Han-ing'!

Gassho, Jundo