California new governor Jerry Brown famously traveled to Japan in the 1980s to study Zen Buddhism. Asked by a public radio station last year what Zen had taught him, he replied: “Illusions are endless and our job as human beings is to cut them down.”

In that spirit, I offer Brown five head-scratching Zen riddles that we must hope he can answer one day. Zen riddles, or koans, are stories, statements or questions that can’t be understood by rational thinking.

5. The master said: “Zen is a man hanging from a tree over a cliff. He is holding on to a twig with his teeth. His hands hold no branch. His feet find no branch. Up on the cliff-edge a man shouts at him: ‘Why did you run for governor again?’”’

4. If he gives the public employees what they ask for, he is lost. If he says no, he is still lost. What must he do?

3. A state government has been cutting its budget for years. This budget consists mostly of money for local governments. If a new governor gives the local governments control over their money – and then offers them much less money – how long will it take to draft the recall petitions?

2. If a state is ungovernable, does a new governor make a sound?

1. Prop 98.