I’m wondering if there is an equivalent English word for this situation.
I think over and over about a topic, but can’t find out what the meaning is; muttering ‘Cudgel thy brains no more about it, for your dull ass will not mend his pace with beating.’ Then, without any further expecting for improvement, I remind an image, for now I don’t have any particular thing to do, which is given by a pundit. And through it, I finally get the answer for the first question: hooray, that’s it!
    Put the case that an East Asian religious trainee is given this short word after his question, “What is the Tao?”, to his teacher: “Poo!” The ‘poo’ may be like “Truly I say to you, no prophet is acceptable in his own country,” I think. The word for the ‘poo’ is called “화두”[hwa-du]. Unfortunately there are no proper translations for the word in my dictionaries.
p.s. This is from an experience that I got, through an image (chart 1) , a good answer (chart 2) for my question.

enter image description here
chart 1

enter image description here
chart 2


2 Answers 2


Your "Poo" is generally spoken in English as "Mu". And often Buddhism is cited for the idea of how enlightenment is achieved by non-answer -- some form of refusal to answer serving to challenge the questioner's belief that the question they are asking could possibly have a meaningful answer.

The idea that silence can be an answer, or holding up a flower in response to a question... is a metaphysical sort of concept. It's outside of language.

If you want to go off into an artistic or metaphysical sense that someone "tells you everything by saying nothing"...you are going beyond words. And to some people that's really profound.

One phrase I like (partially because of my engineering background) is "Out-of-band"; the idea that you are communicating something to someone in a kind of "invisible" way. You're still performing communication, but you're not using the conventions others expect.

I don't think English has much to offer you here, outside of "realization" (more dramatic/religious: "revelation"). "I had a realization as he was speaking" is not saying that the speaker specifically was teaching you something. Perhaps you came to a conclusion and it was about how this person dressed or carried themselves such that you realized everything they said was suspect.

  • Your ‘out-of-band’ reminds me ‘non-local connections’ which means there’s a distance yet no time difference between an agent and the patient’s communication, non-verbal. (I’m not sure, that’s out of my vague memory from quantum theory maybe.) By the way, can I find ‘Mu’ in dictionaries?
    – Listenever
    Commented Sep 15, 2014 at 0:27
  • @Listenever Mu on Wikipedia Out of band is often used to describe a kind of cheating; but it's also how you can slip information into a hidden place and keep things working in an engineering sense. Like how closed-captioning text for TV was put into the signals, hiding the information in a part of the television broadcast that screens typically did not display; "making use of the unused". I mentioned it because I thought it might be related, and is a pet interest of mine, but it's different from what you were asking about. Commented Sep 15, 2014 at 0:34
  • Yes, that ‘Mu (無)’ is the kind of communication directing the moon, having no answer by itself. Which is named as ‘Koan (公案).’ There being thousands of Koans that were used in east Asian Buddhists, we have books for the collections themselves. A Korean classicist who studied in Korean, Taiwan, Japan, and Harvard, quotes Macbeth,
    – Listenever
    Commented Sep 15, 2014 at 1:18
  • “Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player That struts and frets his hour upon the stage And then is heard no more. It is a tale Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing,” this is the “Mu,’ he says in his book. ‘Where is the realization?’ “Mu! - Nothing like that!” ‘Where is the God?’ “Mu! - Nothing like that!” Creative creativity (this is from where I don’t know, maybe White Head?) by walking shadow is life, nothing else. When somebody asks “Where is Polonius?” Koan user would say “At supper.” This is a Koan, “Kigg-da-ga (喫茶去) - have the tea.”
    – Listenever
    Commented Sep 15, 2014 at 1:19
  • @Listenever Office, submarine! Money is everywhere :-) Commented Sep 15, 2014 at 1:47

As HostileFork says, there is no core term in English for the event or word or image which triggers this experience; but the experience itself is spoken of by almost all 'creative' people, and there are several words and catchphrases that allude to it.

  • A sudden insight or flash of insight

  • Poets have always called it inspiration, the image being that of a deity infusing the poet with her 'spirit'—literally 'breath'

  • Eureka!—'I have found it!'—is what the philosopher/engineer Archimedes, is said to have cried out upon stepping into his bath and seeing the water level rise: he had been asked to determine whether a crown was made of pure gold or was adulterated with silver, and he suddenly realized that the volume of the crown was equal to the amount of water it displaced, and therefore could be precisely measured.

  • A German term, invented by psychologist Karl Bühler, was popularized by the very influential psychoanalytic critic Jacques Lacan: is the Aha-Erlebnis or "Aha! experience":

    a singular exhilarating experience, arising in the course of thought, which through sudden insight establishes a previously unperceived relationship

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