logicA new student met the Zen Master after traveling hundreds of miles by yak cart. He was understandably pleased with himself for being selected to learn at the great master's feet .
The first time they formally met, the Zen Master asked, "May I ask you a simple question?" "It would be an honor!" replied the student.
"Which is greater, that which has no beginning or that which has no end?" queried the Zen Master. "Come back when you have the answer and can explain why."
After the student made many frustrated trips back with answers which the master quickly cast off with a disapproving negative nod, the Zen Master finally said, "Perhaps I should ask you another question?"
"Oh, please do!" pleaded the exasperated student.
The Zen Master then asked, "Since you do not know that, answer this much simpler riddle. When can a pebble hold back the sea?" Again the student was rebuffed time and again. Several more questions followed with the same result. Each time, the student could not find the correct answer. Finally, completely exasperated, the student began to weep, "Master, I am a complete idiot. I can not solve even the simplest riddle from you!"
Suddenly, the student stopped, sat down, and said, "I am ready for my second lesson."
What was the Zen Master's first lesson?

The student's first lesson was that in order to learn from the Zen Master, the student should be asking the questions and not the Zen Master.

## Similar riddles

See also best riddles or new riddles.

logicshortCan you punctuate the following, in order to make it a proper English sentence? I said that that that that that man wrote should have been underlined

I said that, "that 'that' that that man wrote should have been underlined."

logicmysteryscaryA man is found murdered on a Sunday morning. His wife calls the police, who question the wife and the staff, and are given the following alibis: the wife says she was sleeping, the butler was cleaning the closet, the gardener was picking vegetables, the maid was getting the mail, and the cook was preparing breakfast.
Immediately, the police arrest the murdered. Who did it and how did the police know?

The maid. There is no mail on Sundays.

logicYou have a sock drawer.
It has 4 black socks, 8 brown socks, 2 white socks and 8 tan socks.
You need to pull out a matching pair of socks in the dark.
There is no light and you couldn't see the socks.
How many socks you should pull out in the dark to get one matching pair of socks?

Five. You have only four different colors of socks. If you pick 5, you can surely get one pair of matching socks.

animallogicshortI eat other animals.
I have a big mouth.
I am green.
I live in the water.
Who am I?

I am a crocodile.

logicWhat is better than presence of mind in an automobile accident?

Absence of body.

logicJack and Joe were on vacation and driving along a deserted country road from the town of Kaysville to the town of Lynnsville. They came to a multiple fork in the road. The sign post had been knocked down and they were faced with choosing one of five different directions. Since they had left their map at the last gas station and there was no one around to ask, how could Jack and Joe find their way to Lynnsville?

They need to stand the signpost up so that the arm reading Kaysville points in the direction of Kaysville, the town they had just come from. With one arm pointing the correct way, the other arms will also point in the right directions.

logicmathA swan sits at the center of a perfectly circular lake. At an edge of the lake stands a ravenous monster waiting to devour the swan. The monster can not enter the water, but it will run around the circumference of the lake to try to catch the swan as soon as it reaches the shore. The monster moves at 4 times the speed of the swan, and it will always move in the direction along the shore that brings it closer to the swan the quickest. Both the swan and the the monster can change directions in an instant.
The swan knows that if it can reach the lake's shore without the monster right on top of it, it can instantly escape into the surrounding forest.
How can the swan succesfully escape?

Assume the radius of the lake is R feet. So the circumference of the lake is (2*pi*R). If the swan swims R/4 feet, (or, put another way, 0.25R feet) straight away from the center of the lake, and then begins swimming in a circle around the center, then it will be able to swim around this circle in the exact same amount of time as the monster will be able to run around the lake's shore (since this inner circle's circumference is 2*pi*(R/4), which is exactly 4 times shorter than the shore's circumference).
From this point, the swan can move a millimeter inward toward the lake's center, and begin swimming around the center in a circle from this distance. It is now going around a very slightly smaller circle than it was a moment ago, and thus will be able to swim around this circle FASTER than the monster can run around the shore.
The swan can keep swimming around this way, pulling further away each second, until finally it is on the opposite side of its inner circle from where the monster is on the shore. At this point, the swan aims directly toward the closest shore and begins swimming that way. At this point, the swan has to swim [0.75R feet + 1 millimeter] to get to shore. Meanwhile, the monster will have to run R*pi feet (half the circumference of the lake) to get to where the swan is headed.
The monster runs four times as fast as the swan, but you can see that it has more than four times as far to run:
[0.75R feet + 1 millimeter] * 4 < R*pi
[This math could actually be incorrect if R were very very small, but in that case we could just say the swan swam inward even less than a millimeter, and make the math work out correctly.]
Because the swan has less than a fourth of the distance to travel as the monster, it will reach the shore before the monster reaches where it is and successfully escape.

logicYou have twelve balls, identical in every way except that one of them weighs slightly less or more than the balls.
You have a balance scale, and are allowed to do 3 weighings to determine which ball has the different weight, and whether the ball weighs more or less than the other balls.
What process would you use to weigh the balls in order to figure out which ball weighs a different amount, and whether it weighs more or less than the other balls?

Take eight balls, and put four on one side of the scale, and four on the other.
If the scale is balanced, that means the odd ball out is in the other 4 balls.
Let's call these 4 balls O1, O2, O3, and O4.
Take O1, O2, and O3 and put them on one side of the scale, and take 3 balls from the 8 "normal" balls that you originally weighed, and put them on the other side of the scale.
If the O1, O2, and O3 balls are heavier, that means the odd ball out is among these, and is heavier. Weigh O1 and O2 against each other. If one of them is heavier than the other, this is the odd ball out, and it is heavier. Otherwise, O3 is the odd ball out, and it is heavier.
If the O1, O2, and O3 balls are lighter, that means the odd ball out is among these, and is lighter. Weigh O1 and O2 against each other. If one of them is lighter than the other, this is the odd ball out, and it is lighter. Otherwise, O3 is the odd ball out, and it is lighter.
If these two sets of 3 balls weigh the same amount, then O4 is the odd ball out. Weight it against one of the "normal" balls from the first weighing. If O4 is heavier, then it is heavier, if it's lighter, then it's lighter.
If the scale isn't balanced, then the odd ball out is among these 8 balls.
Let's call the four balls on the side of the scale that was heavier H1, H2, H3, and H4 ("H" for "maybe heavier").
Let's call the four balls on the side of the scale that was lighter L1, L2, L3, and L4 ("L" for "maybe lighter").
Let's also call each ball from the 4 in the original weighing that we know aren't the odd balls out "Normal" balls.
So now weigh [H1, H2, L1] against [H3, L2, Normal].
-If the [H1, H2, L1] side is heavier (and thus the [H3, L2, Normal] side is lighter), then this means that either H1 or H2 is the odd ball out and is heavier, or L2 is the odd ball out and is lighter.
-So measure [H1, L2] against 2 of the "Normal" balls.
-If [H1, L2] are heavier, then H1 is the odd ball out, and is heavier.
-If [H1, L2] are lighter, then L2 is the odd ball out, and is lighter.
-If the scale is balanced, then H2 is the odd ball out, and is heavier.
-If the [H1, H2, L1] side is lighter (and thus the [H3, L2, Normal] side is heavier), then this means that either L1 is the odd ball out, and is lighter, or H3 is the odd ball out, and is heavier.
-So measure L1 and H3 against two "normal" balls.
-If the [L1, H3] side is lighter, then L1 is the odd ball out, and is lighter.
-Otherwise, if the [L1, H3] side is heavier, then H3 is the odd ball out, and is heavier.
If the [H1, H2, L1] side and the [H3, L2, Normal] side weigh the same, then we know that either H4 is the odd ball out, and is heavier, or one of L3 or L4 is the odd ball out, and is lighter.
So weight [H4, L3] against two of the "Normal" balls.
If the [H4, L3] side is heavier, then H4 is the odd ball out, and is heavier.
If the [H4, L3] side is lighter, then L3 is the odd ball out, and is lighter.
If the [H4, L3] side weighs the same as the [Normal, Normal] side, then L4 is the odd ball out, and is lighter.

logicmathshortIf
1 = 5 ,
2 = 25 ,
3 = 325 ,
4 = 4325
Then 5 = ?

1
Already stated 1=5 =>5=1

logicA man lives on the 44th floor of his building. On rainy days, when he gets home from work, he takes the elevator all the way up to his floor. But on sunny days, he goes up to floor 20 and walks the rest of the way. Why does he do this?

The man is a midget and cannot reach button "44" in the elevator on sunny days. On rainy days he has his umbrella with him and is able to use it to press the button.