As most people now know, a koan is a spiritual puzzle that cannot be solved by the intellect alone. A practitioner uses a koan in meditation to attain a state of deep concentration and self-forgetfulness. If one truly experiences the reality behind the word God, one realizes that "if I speak of God, it is not God of whom I speak."

Philip Kapleau, Awakening to Zen by Polly Young-Eisendrath, editor, Rafe Martin, editor