kōan ［公案］ (; Chin kung-an): Originally, in China, a government decree or public notice. In the Zen (Chin Ch’an) school, it refers to a master’s statements, including questions and answers directed at his disciples. A famous example of kōan is the statement “Listen to the sound of one hand clapping.” The purpose of kōan is to help Zen practitioners transcend the rational intellect and develop intuition. They are used as objects of meditation for developing insight and also as tests of whether a student has obtained a certain level of insight. In China, the use of kōan began in the T’ang dynasty (618–907).