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Thread: Grass Hut - 25 - "Only Don't Know"

  1. #1

    Grass Hut - 25 - "Only Don't Know"

    Dear All,

    I would like everyone to know that we are on Chapter 20, "Only Don't Know".

    Q-How comfortable are you in life with "not knowing" and yielding to uncertainty about how things will be or turn out? Any examples from your life?

    By the way, the author does not really touch on this, but there is another sense in which "not knowing" actually means a profound Knowing in Zen. When one radically transcends the subject-object divide, one can sense that there is no "I" to know X, no separate X apart from "I" to be known. So, no knower, no object to be known ... only Knowing. When Zen Masters pierce such, "don't know" means "Know".

    This latter Knowing is certainly what Bodhidharma was expressing in this famous Koan ...

    The Emperor asked the great master Bodhidharma, “Who are you, standing in front of me?”
    “I don’t know,” said Bodhidharma.
    The Emperor didn’t get it.


    Gassho, J

    SatToday
    Last edited by Jundo; 08-28-2015 at 11:14 PM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  2. #2
    The knowing is not knowledge, it is a process. With not knowing you cut off all the thinking and knowledge so you are open to the knowing of this moment. But again its a process like breathing.
    If you are relaxed in not knowing you respond to conditions perfectly as in knowing.
    Something like that, words are inadequate.
    To answer your question, not knowing is becoming more comfortable and trust is growing that things will be ok.

    SAT today
    _/_
    Rich
    MUHYO
    無 (MU, Emptiness) and 氷 (HYO, Ice) ... Emptiness Ice ...

    I may be wrong and not knowing is acceptable

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    Q-How comfortable are you in life with "not knowing" and yielding to uncertainty about how things will be or turn out? Any examples from your life?
    More comfortable every day. I recently had some fairly big changes happen in my life, and I see those constantly happening in the lives of my children. With every big change a bit of knowing crumbles, and I find that with each bit of crumbling a bit of freedom and trust arises.

    The hardest is finding a way to convey this to my kids who are still desperately trying to find a way to know

    Gassho,


    Ongen
    Sat Today
    Ongen (音源) - Sound Source

  4. #4
    Hello,

    How comfortable are you in life with "not knowing" . . . ? - Don't know.

    . . . examples from your life? - The universe provides.


    Gassho
    Myosha sat today
    "Recognize suffering, remove suffering." - Shakyamuni Buddha when asked, "Uhm . . .what?"

  5. #5
    Thank you Jundo ... for me, I find the less I know the happier and content I become. The not knowing is more of not needing to know, then not wanting to know. Having trust in myself, knowing that where ever comes my way I will be able to manage. Sometimes that is a scary thing to do, but liberating at the same time. =)

    "Having no destination, I am never lost" - Ikkyu

    Gassho
    Shingen

    #sattoday

  6. #6
    Member Getchi's Avatar
    Join Date
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    Between Sea and Sky, Australia.
    Q-How comfortable are you in life with "not knowing" and yielding to uncertainty about how things will be or turn out? Any examples from your life?

    My Grandmother told me it was pointless worrying about things I could not possibly change., all I could do was burden myself even more. This was, to be honest, a radical shift in the way I viewed (and was taught to view) the world. I suddenly realised what I thought was true wisdom was not knowledge but knowledge of the nature of knowledge. The truly wise know they don't know what is happening, and they acknowledge it.

    As a recent example from my own life; my wife and I went through a very difficult time. I lost my well-paying job and my wife could no longer work as a nurse (I feel she is a natural Bodhisattva!).We lost our home and my wifes health deteriorated. No matter how hard I tried I just could not make things "good" or happy. Then I realised I was trying to wish things better, and only hurting us. At that moment I was truly able to "BE" with my wife through this time, that is what made us happy together.

    Now, we have two small children who are wonderfully happy (and sometimes deliciously angry). I consider myself blessed to experience each day, and have far less anxiety about how things will be, or turn out or the opinion others hold of me behind closed doors. When people ask me how I can be so happy with so little I actually say "I dont know".

    It was hearing this from a Zen priest that prompted me to find a sangha and work for a Zen education. How will I feel about it in 10 years? I dont know.


    Like all of you, im finding that trust and happiness is growing stronger every day, without really "knowing" how or why. SUch a lot of words for a simple idea after all


    Gassho,
    Geoff.
    SatToday.
    Nothing to do? Why not Sit?

  7. #7
    Member ForestDweller's Avatar
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    Beltrami Island Forest in Minnesota
    Since "not knowing" and "uncertainty" are actual, and reality as it exists, we truly live in these states, even though we mostly choose to act/think otherwise, bolstered by our beliefs, opinions, and personal rules. I'd have to say that I am very comfortable with this state of affairs, even while some disturbance ruffles me now and then -- mostly about loss of the very few things that I "love" in an attached way-- my husband, my dogs, for example. Part of my work is to see these things, too, as simply parts of the unknowing, and to cherish them in the moment, not knowing whether or not there will be a next moment with them. Perhaps, even cherishing them more because of the pervasive impermanence. I believe that going through tough times in life helps one to let go of the need to know, since such times grandly teach us that we have no control anyway, and we have no claim on knowledge of the future. Practicing with open mind and open heart greatly supports this process of life as it actually exists. ^^Forest SatToday^^- CatherineS - Forest Dweller

  8. #8
    This is very hard for me, as I am uncomfortable with uncertainty. I am a planner by nature and am easily stressed if things don't go according to plan. Maybe I'm a bit better at taking things in stride, but not much. In the grand scheme I know it's unimportant, but this body is still very reactive.

    It's always somewhat disconcerting to me to read stories about how practice has brought peace and calm to people's lives, or has brought equanimity to a previously stormy personality. After six years of practice, I don't see it, and don't expect to. If anything, practice has allowed me to be okay with my personality, rather than constantly fighting to change it.

    I just finished reading the re-print of The Zen Teachings of Homeless Kodo, and this passage really spoke to me in this regard:

    Quote Originally Posted by Uchiyama Roshi
    Shortly after I began to practice with Sawaki Roshi, we were walking in Utsunomiya and I said, “As you know, I’m a rather weak-minded person, but I want to continue to practice zazen with you for twenty or even thirty years, or until you die. If I do that, will it be possible for a weak person like me to become a little stronger?”

    Sawaki Roshi replied, “No! Zazen is good for nothing.” He had a loud, deep voice and was powerful and resolute. He wasn’t a weak yet handsome person like me! He was the traditional image of a Zen monk. “I’m not like this because of my practice,” he continued. “I was like this before I began to practice. Zazen doesn’t change a person. Zazen is good for nothing.”

    When I heard those words I thought, “Although he says it isn’t possible, still, I’ll be able to improve myself.” I followed him and practiced zazen for twenty-five years, until his death in December 1965. While he was alive, I relied on him. After he died, I couldn’t do that anymore. Just after his death, I recalled my question during our walk and asked myself, “Have I changed after practicing zazen with the roshi for twenty-five years?” I realized I hadn’t really changed at all.

    In that moment it was natural for me to say to myself, “A violet blooms as a violet, a rose blooms as a rose.” There are people like Sawaki Roshi who resemble luxurious roses. There are people like me who resemble tiny, pretty violets. Which is better? It’s not a relevant question. We shouldn’t compare with others. It’s enough to blossom wholeheartedly, just as we are. That’s what I felt after Sawaki Roshi died.

    -satToday
    Last edited by Kaishin; 08-24-2015 at 08:59 PM.
    Thanks,
    Kaishin (Open Heart)
    Please take this layman's words with a grain of salt.

  9. #9
    Joyo
    Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by Shingen View Post
    Thank you Jundo ... for me, I find the less I know the happier and content I become. The not knowing is more of not needing to know, then not wanting to know. Having trust in myself, knowing that where ever comes my way I will be able to manage. Sometimes that is a scary thing to do, but liberating at the same time. =)

    "Having no destination, I am never lost" - Ikkyu

    Gassho
    Shingen

    #sattoday
    Well said, Shingen. Thank you for this, and the quote by Ikkyu.

    Gassho,
    Joyo
    sat today

  10. #10
    Kyotai
    Guest
    Q-How comfortable are you in life with "not knowing" and yielding to uncertainty about how things will be or turn out? Any examples from your life?

    I have become quite comfortable with not knowing. For me, the answer to the question "what will happen..." Starts and ends with the task at hand. Don't know, back to work.

    Gassho, Kyotai
    Sat today

  11. #11
    Member FaithMoon's Avatar
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    Jul 2015
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    Southern California
    I try to practice not knowing when there is a conflict, like when I am certain I'm right and the other person is wrong. If I can open up a space where ideas about who we are and what we should do are not so solid, a space opens up that is big enough to contain everything...including creative solutions to conflict/healing actions in alignment with my vows.

    sat today,
    Faith Moon

  12. #12
    Hi,

    "Don't know" is a wonderful attitude towards life. It allows me to be more present when I don't worry about things such as when I will die.

    And if you like to play with Koans, "Don't know" is a great place to start as it tends to merge subject and object very quickly.

    Anyway, I am very fond of that "Don't know" teacher.

    Gasho, Jishin, _/st\_

  13. #13
    Life circumstances are becoming more and more uncertain. Old patterns of work and home and identity are very fluid. This year the ground is so fluid. Depending on my energy level and brightness of mind, it can be intimidating and anxious, or inspiring and full of possibilities.


    Regarding the other don't know.... Experienced many subtle knowings in don't-know drag, figure that is most of such talk. But sometimes for no reason practice is bright and simple.

    Gassho
    Daizan
    Sat today

  14. #14
    I've always enjoyed not knowing what the future would bring. But then one day I discovered that the future could very possibly bring something real bad and I didn't know if it was certain or not. Then I realized that I didn't know how to deal with it. Then I started this practice.

    Gassho

    Sat Today

  15. #15
    Joyo
    Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by Jishin View Post
    Hi,

    "Don't know" is a wonderful attitude towards life. It allows me to be more present when I don't worry about things such as when I will die.

    And if you like to play with Koans, "Don't know" is a great place to start as it tends to merge subject and object very quickly.

    Anyway, I am very fond of that "Don't know" teacher.

    Gasho, Jishin, _/st\_
    Your post reminds me of a quote someone gave me when I was struggling with the big questions in life (is there a god? an afterlife? etc. etc. )

    "He who knows nothing is closer to the truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehood and errors"---Thomas Jefferson

    I've found great comfort, to simply say "I remain neutral" instead of chasing after answers.

    Gassho,
    Joyo
    sat today

  16. #16
    I've tried starting a post several times, and all that came out sounded really crazy.
    I can't put it into words. In my life experience, "not knowing" marks the most threatening and the most peaceful moments.
    When "sensations... are distinct, fresh, never known before." And everything I encounter "is as new and wide open as the eyes of an infant child."
    And the eyes I meet are my own.
    OK, crazy again.
    But, the uncertainty remains, like Mama said "Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get."

    Practice is helping me to learn to live with this uncertainty.

    Gassho,
    Danny
    #sattoday

  17. #17
    "Not knowing is most intimate."
    Can't remember who said that, but it reminds me of the jump off the 100 foot pole, which is another metaphor for "droping body and mind."
    Even as we awaken we must continue to practice, relizing that we are never fully awaken, or that we are, but need work. We don't really know why; we just let practice carry us, in complete surrender to constancy, in faith. Ironically, it becomes evident in the wisdom we do aquire, in the compassion openning in us, that our self is lost, and Self just is, always indifferent to acheiving.
    All the answers appear, slowly or suddenly, we just don't care, we just practice, walk a walk only each self can walk, going no where being nobody.

    Sat2day
    Last edited by Ed; 08-31-2015 at 02:27 PM.
    "Know that the practice of zazen is the complete path of buddha-dharma and nothing can be compared to it....it is not the practice of one or two buddhas but all the buddha ancestors practice this way."
    Dogen zenji in Bendowa






  18. #18
    It's not something that had occurred to me before coming to Zen, but "not knowing" and "don't know" are incredibly fertile ground

    step lightly... stay free...
    Jeremy
    st

  19. #19
    Q-How comfortable are you in life with "not knowing" and yielding to uncertainty about how things will be or turn out? Any examples from your life?

    A rather simple answer for me…. At my age I’ve found that my “thinking/planning” self has not always been so great at knowing (e.g., predicting the outcome of a course of action.) One has to put some thought into what might happen in the future, but, that being said, there is so many variables in life one is left with quite a bit of uncertainty. Thus, I’ve been giving my “thinking/planning” mind a break and trying more to just “experience” life.

    Gassho,
    Jisen/BrianW

    Sat2Day

  20. #20
    To be honest, I'm not very comfortable with this. It's something I struggle with. For example, my wife and are on vacation in New Mexico, and we flew out here from Tampa. Slowly but surely, my dread with the trip started growing until I ultimately started shutting down and stopping zazen a couple of days before leaving. This year I've missed no more than a handful of sitting, but I let my anxiety, my known expectations really throw me off kilter.

    I hate loss of control; I know, I know, "what control"? But flying genuinely freaks me out, and I just shutdown literally struggling to not push away or feed the fear. So even though I wasn't sitting, I was still trying to practice with the fear. It's very real to me, even if it's irrational. But when I got on the plane, even though I was still anxious and praying that it would stay afloat, it wasn't as bad as when I was imagining all sorts of morbid situations.

    That's quite often the case with life. Things are much worse in my mind than when I actually experience it. Now with other things, I live in the realm of the unknown. For example, computer programming issues, that others run from, I live for. I love a good mystery and learning knew things. But intellectuality tends to be a comfort zone.

    I'm afraid of dying; I'm afraid of things that I have to put faith in. It's that loss of control, that not knowing that I sometimes find that I need for my career but sometimes I absolutely dread. But at the same time, if I drop my "known" assumptions it does get slightly easier.

    Gassho,

    Risho
    -sattoday

  21. #21
    Member Getchi's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2015
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    Between Sea and Sky, Australia.
    "Dont know" is a fertile place, it can go in either direction.

    My wife is afraid of spiders, im pertrified of cockroaches. As far as im concerned she has a perfectly rational fear, and ive never heard of anyone dying from cockroach. Yet.

    Why am I so scared? I dont know, but not admitting that would make elaborate explanations necessary


    GAssho,
    Geoff.
    SatToday.
    Nothing to do? Why not Sit?

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