Zendobun is the name I came up with for a variant of Zendo
using sentences for koans instead of Icehouse
pieces. As far as I know (which isn't very far), "bun" is the Japanese
word for "sentence", hence the name. Of course, someone with more
knowledge of Japanese said that it might be more properly called Bunzendo,
but I like the sound of Zendobun better, so that stays. A group of us
played a game by email, and it worked pretty well. I have a log of the game. I also have a few notes:
Any comments, questions, or suggestions can be sent to email@example.com.
- Make sure your sentences are correct English sentences (unless you're
playing in another language, then make it correct for that language).
It's more challenging and fun to make actual sentences than to just come
up with strings of words.
- The question came up but it was never an issue for us: make sure you
agree on how many syllables different kinds of words have. I guess
there's a difference between American English and British English for some
words. (If anyone knows for sure, let me know.)
- Another question that came up was gender. Someone asked about the
gender of the word "banana". The master appropriately answered "mu",
which basically means "unask the question". Most words in English do not
have a gender. (Technical question: besides pronouns, do any English
words actually have gender? For instance, is "boy" considered a masculine
word?) It would be possible to do a rule involving gender, just be clear
on what words you consider to be what gender, and don't go assigning a
gender to "banana".
- If everyone has email access within the same block of time, you can
get a lot accomplished in one day. We played with 2 people in the UK, 2
on the east coast of the US, and one somewhere inland in the US. The game
still went at a pretty good pace until . . .
- Our master went on vacation for a while and had spotty email access.
The game was on hold for a bit, but it wasn't too bad, if you don't mind
waiting a while. If it's a concern, it might be a good idea to make sure
everyone is going to have email access for a period of several weeks, just
in case the game goes for a while.
- For using guessing stones on a mondo turn, send the mondo guess to the
whole list, and then privately send a note to the master saying that you
may want to make a guess after the mondo. For using guessing stones on a
master turn, you can also email the master privately when you make your
guess, so that, if you decide not to make a guess, you haven't given away
any more information to the other students.
- Until you get a feel for how difficult the rules are (we've only
played one game, so we have no idea), I would recommend using very simple
rules. Just like in regular Zendo, the game is still fun with an
extremely easy rule, and you can always play another game. I won't say
what James chose as our rule, in case you want to see the log and try to guess for yourself.
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Last modified: 09 June 2001