Koan 17

Does a rock have consciousness?


Consciousness generally refers to the state of being aware of one’s surroundings, thoughts, feelings, and sensations. It is the subjective experience of being alive and having a sense of self as apart and separate from that which is not one’s self. Yet, what specifically is consciousness has been long debated by philosophers, theologians, linguists, and scientists; yet, no consensus has emerged.

While the meaning of the word “rock” is universally agreed upon, it too is debatable. Is a rock truly an independent thing or a temporary illusion our eyes see in the flow of the everything?

If a rock is an independent thing, it may have consciousness that is beyond our general understanding of consciousness. As an illusion, a rock does not have consciousness.

Ultimately, every thing (including rocks and consciousness) is but an illusion, as all things are one thing: an expression of the everything in the now.