The Study of Wu or how some questions have no answer

Some agencies have great blogs that supplement their main sites and enhance their credibility in the community. Case in point: Planetary, a tiny design agency in NY and Missouri, maintains a love blog with a decent mix of client philosophy, web standards, and tips.  

This article by Matt Strom popped up in my feed reader and really caught my attention. 

We westerners, raised on a hardy diet of European thinking, tend to think of a yes or no question like “Is my fish food making my fish sick?” as having two possible states: True, and False. This is called binary logic: everything is ‘yes’ or ‘no,’ ‘true’ or ‘false,’ ‘0’ or ‘1’. Very intuitive.

However, there are systems in which a yes or no question has more than two possible answers. One of these systems is Buddhism, and one of the other possible answers is “無” (anglicized as wú). 無 means, in many cases, “neither true nor false.” This Zen kōan is what you might call its ‘debut’:

A monk asked Zhaozhou Congshen, a Chinese Zen master (known as Jōshū in Japanese), “Has a dog Buddha-nature or not?” Zhaozhou answered, “Wú”.

In this case, “wú” is often interpreted to mean “you’ve asked an unanswerable question.” 
Douglas Hofstadter, in one of my favorite books, Gödel, Escher, Bach, calls this “unasking the question.” The Zen master is trying to tell the monk that Buddha nature doesn’t apply to dogs. Some writers take Jōshū’s answer to mean that there is no such thing as Buddha-nature! Either way, this is an answer that is neither ‘yes’ nor ‘no.’