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Thread: "'I' don't know" = True Knowing

  1. #1

    "'I' don't know" = True Knowing

    .
    In the famous legend, Bodhidharma was asked by Emperor Wu, "Who are you?" Bodhidharma is reported to have answered, "I don't know."

    Be assured that Bodhidharma was not pleading ignorance, not confused in old age or otherwise forgetful of his own name and story. Sometimes, people mistake this "don't know" as some instruction or permission to be ignorant. Nothing could be farther from the truth! Rather, "'I' don't know" points to this Wisdom by which, dropping a separate 'I' as knower, and a separate something to be an object known, there is just radical "Knowing" which remains. And this which remains is who we are. In Zazen, one sits as this Knowing sitting. When knower and known are dropped away in Wholeness, Knowing knows no limits! There is no separate sitter, nothing separate to be sat ... Just Sitting, Just Knowing.

    Oh, Zen will not give you the answer to basic math problems, like "what is the square root of 1000?" (My calculator says 31.6227766017) It will not inform you about the number of feathers on a hummingbird's wing, the name of the capital of Uruguay (Ciudad Montevideo, by the way), whether it will rain or be sunny tomorrow (check the weather service for that), or whether there is life on planets circling stars in distant solar systems. It will not tell us what happens when we die. No, Zen "enlightenment" will not clarify any of those things ...

    ... except that, in fact, all such questions are answered, ended, put to rest.

    For all is 1,2,3,4,5, not 1 and not 2, infinity and the smallest fractions, each digit itself which embodies all other products, numerators, denominators, both the square root of 1000 and every other possible number, real or imagined ... thus, the math test is passed!

    One realizes that one's nature is every bird in the sky, and every feather on a bird's wing, and that their flying is our own. Every flap of a hummingbird's wing is you and me and all of us, and we are all that in flight, thus the number of feathers on the bird's wing is the number of you, the number of me, the number of anything and everything, and our numbers just that. The whole universe is a bird in the air, traceless, and our life is every inch from beak to tail to sky,

    Is there life on other worlds? Better said, where is life not? For other planets, though there and distant, are but this planet, and this planet is that planet there but found here. Every living pulse of a living heart is the whole universe flowing and living. If life is here, then it is every grain of sand, the mountains and most distant stars..

    What happens when we die? Well, if we never "came from," nor "return to," then what dies? The waters rise as wave, the wave eventually falls, yet the waters flow on and on. And as this wave is the sea, that wave and all waves are the sea, while sea is just sea, so sea flows on as waves come and go ... waves flow on as all the other waves, waves flow on as the very flowing. Waves fade, yet not a drop of sea is lost. When our "I don't know" is our realization of just flowing, the "I" may vanish, yet the flowing which we are keeps flowing.

    The capital city is here, and yet every inch of every inch is all of it, is you and me, and thus the capital is you and me as much as you and me is that. In fact, everything is everything.

    Will it rain tomorrow? If it does, every single drop of rain contains, within, you and me and the whole cosmos. It includes every mountain and lake, planet and star. Raining is sunny clear sky, sunny clear sky is raining. No matter how cloudy, stormy, the moon of clarity shines even when hidden to the eye.

    All this in the Zazen of this and that dropped away, when all things are encountered as all things, as each thing and each other ...

    ... "don't know" Knows,

    Shunryu Suzuki: The highest truth is daiji, translated as dai jiki in Chinese scriptures. This is the subject of the question the emperor asked Bodhidharma: "What is the First Principle?" Bodhidharma said, "I don't know." "I don't know" is the First Principle. Do you understand?

    Gassho, J

    SatTodayLAH

    Last edited by Jundo; 05-31-2022 at 12:51 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  2. #2


    Gassho,
    Nengei
    Sat today. LAH.


    Sent using Tapatalk.

  3. #3
    Thank you for being the warmth in my world.

  4. #4
    Thank you Jundo. That is marvelous.

    Gassho, Shinshi

    SaT-LaH
    空道 心志 Kudo Shinshi
    I am just a priest-in-training, any resemblance between what I post and actual teachings is purely coincidental.
    E84I - JAJ

  5. #5
    Thank you Jundo
    Gassho, Kiri
    Sat/Lah
    希 rare
    理 principle
    (Nikos)

  6. #6
    Thank you Jundo.


    Gassho,
    Kotei sat/lah today.

    義道 冴庭 / Gidō Kotei.
    Being a novice priest doesn't mean that my writing about the Dharma is more substantial than yours. Actually, it might well be the other way round.

  7. #7
    Thank you Jundo


    Tairin
    Sat today and lah
    泰林 - Tai Rin - Peaceful Woods

  8. #8
    Thank you for this, teacher

    Gassho

    John

    SatTodayLAH
    Gassho

    John

    SATToday

  9. #9
    Thank you, Jundo.

    Gassho,
    SatToday
    -Kelly

  10. #10


    Gassho
    Washin
    stlah
    Kaidō (皆道) Every Way
    Washin (和信) Harmony Trust
    ----
    I am a novice priest-in-training. Anything that I say must not be considered as teaching
    and should be taken with a 'grain of salt'.

  11. #11
    Thank you, Jundo.

    Gassho
    Judy
    SatToday/lah

  12. #12


    Thank you Jundo.

    Gassho,

    StLah

  13. #13
    Member Kaisui's Avatar
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    Sep 2015
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    Australia (past username - coriander)

    Kaisui
    ST

  14. #14
    Is there life on other worlds? Better said, where is life not?



    Tokan (satlah)

  15. #15
    Thank you, Jundo.

    Gassho,

    Anchi
    生と死をください

    STLah
    安知 Anchi

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Anchi View Post
    Thank you, Jundo.

    Gassho,

    Anchi
    Hi Anchi!

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  17. #17
    Thanks jundo. Very nice. When i began practicing don’t know I didn’t know it would become my whole life.

    Sat/lah


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    _/_
    Rich
    MUHYO
    無 (MU, Emptiness) and 氷 (HYO, Ice) ... Emptiness Ice ...

    https://instagram.com/notmovingmind

  18. #18
    Thank you Jundo,

    Gassho,
    Ekai

    SAT

  19. #19
    Thanks Jundo !

    It's not easy to accept that "i don't know". For me, i want to know ! I want to make sense of things.

    But basically, on a deep level, it's impossible. For example "Time" is an obsession at the moment. If time flows all the time, it means i can't be the same moment after moment. Yet i can "watch" Time flowing as an observer. But i cannot grasp the present moment. Am i separate from time ? Am i not ? Where the hell am i in time ? I don't know and i cannot know, and this drives me crazy hahahah !

    How can i put these paradoxical questions to rest ? I like the idea of "not knowing", but it is far more comfortable to know things rather than not know them !

    Gassho,

    "Too much thinking "Uggy

    Sat today

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Ugrok View Post
    Thanks Jundo !

    It's not easy to accept that "i don't know". For me, i want to know ! I want to make sense of things.

    But basically, on a deep level, it's impossible. For example "Time" is an obsession at the moment. If time flows all the time, it means i can't be the same moment after moment. Yet i can "watch" Time flowing as an observer. But i cannot grasp the present moment. Am i separate from time ? Am i not ? Where the hell am i in time ? I don't know and i cannot know, and this drives me crazy hahahah !

    How can i put these paradoxical questions to rest ? I like the idea of "not knowing", but it is far more comfortable to know things rather than not know them !

    Gassho,

    "Too much thinking "Uggy

    Sat today
    As far as I can tell, you can’t actually “watch” time pass, but rather you can BE time, with every breath, heartbeat, movement, thought. There is no other TIME for you than the one you are and you can only CONSCIOUSLY OBSERVE your own idea of past or present moments, as you finish processing the experiences.
    So, really, what questions actually matter? You are now, and then, and later at the same time and all of it is just this and it is not hidden.


    Sat Today
    Bion
    美音

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  21. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by Bion View Post
    what questions actually matter?
    Are we there yet?
    What's for dinner?



    Gassho

    Risho
    -stlah

  22. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by Bion View Post
    As far as I can tell, you can’t actually “watch” time pass, but rather you can BE time, with every breath, heartbeat, movement, thought. There is no other TIME for you than the one you are and you can only CONSCIOUSLY OBSERVE your own idea of past or present moments, as you finish processing the experiences.
    So, really, what questions actually matter? You are now, and then, and later at the same time and all of it is just this and it is not hidden.


    Sat Today
    Beautiful!!

    With one short and simple response you unlocked the mystery behind Dogen’s Being-Time.


    Tairin
    Sat today and lah

  23. #23
    Someone told me this morning : the moment is eternal, and yet, all things have an end. This is sort of paradoxical to me, but maybe i'm wrong.

    What bothers me is that if you can see things changing and ending, and you can, then it means you are not the change you observe. Oh or you mean we are not observing change, but rather unconsciously comparing every present moment to what was before and is now in our memory ? It's this continuity that i don't get.

    Another occurrence of "go fetch wood and carry water", i guess... Sit down and shut up as always !

    Sat LAH
    Last edited by Ugrok; 06-03-2022 at 04:44 PM.

  24. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by Ugrok View Post
    Someone told me this morning : the moment is eternal, and yet, things finish. This is sort of paradoxical to me, but maybe i'm wrong.

    Sat LAH
    That’s a lovely saying!!! Fun fact: you know, there are different “sizes” of infinity for example .. Think of a series of infinite numbers starting with 1 and just continuing. But between 0 and 1 there’s also an infinite number of decimals.. so it’s infinity of a different size. The infinity of a moment is just the infinity of a moment, perfectly so

    Sat Today
    Bion
    美音

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    Please consider whatever I might say as my own ideas, experiences and understanding, and not zen doctrine.
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  25. #25
    What bothers me is that if you can see things changing and ending, and you can, then it means you are not the change you observe.
    This reminds me of..

    "Since there is nothing but just this moment, the time-being is all the time there is. Grass-being, form-being, are both time. Each moment is all being, is the entire world. Reflect now on whether any being or any world is left out of the present moment." Moon in a Dewdrop; Writings of Zen Master Dogen, by Kaz Tanahashi, et al., p 76-77
    —For Dogen, things don't happen in time—they are time.

    "It is not the case that there is some universal 'thing,' form, or substance called 'time' of which all sentient beings and buddhas are individuations... Every thing, including ourselves, is just its moment of taking place or presenting." Impermanence is Buddha-nature: Dogen's Understanding of Temporality by Joan Stambaugh, p.51
    —There's not that there is something called time. It is the very moment of our lives that is called time. It is just any moment and each moment as it is which includes all other moments.

    Nice mind-bending topic, time (and not-time)

    Gassho,
    Koushi
    STLaH
    理道弘志 | ridō koushi

    Please take this novice priest-in-training's words with a grain of salt.

  26. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by Ugrok View Post
    Someone told me this morning : the moment is eternal, and yet, all things have an end. This is sort of paradoxical to me, but maybe i'm wrong.

    What bothers me is that if you can see things changing and ending, and you can, then it means you are not the change you observe. Oh or you mean we are not observing change, but rather unconsciously comparing every present moment to what was before and is now in our memory ? It's this continuity that i don't get.

    Another occurrence of "go fetch wood and carry water", i guess... Sit down and shut up as always !

    Sat LAH
    What I meant is that what we see/experience is always a complete moment.. There’s not a single thing you can do about the moment being experienced and that includes “mentally processing it”. By the time you’re done seeing or smelling or tasting or thinking, that moment is gone and fully complete. Everything we call reality or everything we experience through our senses is created and served to us between our ears, and thus it is effectively us and we are it. If there’s an observation, we understand there also has to be an observer and the thing observed…but, can there be one without the other? In other words: what can Uggy observe that does not come from Uggy and is not effectively Uggy?

    Sat Today and used too many words, probably many wrong ones. I apologize for that
    Bion
    美音

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    Please consider whatever I might say as my own ideas, experiences and understanding, and not zen doctrine.
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  27. #27
    Well, everything, no ? If a tree burns and i watch it burn, i'm not burning.

    But i guess this all comes back to the Heart sutra : emptiness is form, form is emptiness, etc.

    What is contained in my empty awareness also is my awareness ; yet they are also separate...

    Damn why is all so complicated

  28. #28
    Quote Originally Posted by Ugrok View Post
    Well, everything, no ? If a tree burns and i watch it burn, i'm not burning.

    But i guess this all comes back to the Heart sutra : emptiness is form, form is emptiness, etc.

    What is contained in my empty awareness also is my awareness ; yet they are also separate...

    Damn why is all so complicated
    If Uggy’s eyes didn’t see the flames and Uggy’s nose didn’t smell the smoke, if Uggy’s skin didn’t feel the heat and Uggy’s mind didn’t use the concept of burning and tree, would the tree still be burning for Uggy? What else is burning if not the Uggy-tree?

    Sat Today
    Bion
    美音

    -------------------------
    Please consider whatever I might say as my own ideas, experiences and understanding, and not zen doctrine.
    Join me on Insight Timer
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  29. #29
    Well a lot of forests have burned without me seeing them...

    I think we see a representation of what happens, that is created by our senses ; but that does not mean that we are what we see, nor that we are making things happen.

    My burning tree is not your burning tree. Yet there is a tree that burns.

    Oh well, i don't know !!!!

    Gassho,
    Uggy
    Sat today

  30. #30
    Treeleaf Unsui / Engineer Sekishi's Avatar
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    Virginia, USA
    Quote Originally Posted by Ugrok View Post
    Damn why is all so complicated
    For what it’s worth, it is not complicated at all. Trying to turn it into symbols and words makes it so.

    Describe in plain English the causes and processes by which a seed becomes a great oak tree. You couldn’t do it with a thousand books. But place a seed in the earth and tree happens. How wonderful!

    Gassho,
    Sekishi


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
    sekishi
    石志

    He/him. As a novice priest-in-training, this is simply an expression of my opinion. Please take it with a grain of salt.

  31. #31
    Quote Originally Posted by Ugrok View Post
    I like the idea of "not knowing", but it is far more comfortable to know things rather than not know them !
    Personally, I feel not knowing something to be comforting as well. It lets me off the hook from having to know everything, because I think that is what the mind is always trying to do. Giving permission to thoughts to not have to be constantly working things out disrupts that pattern and allows them to rest. Of course they will eventually start rolling again, but we can notice this and once again give permission to not-know, or not-need-to-know-right-now.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bion View Post
    By the time you’re done seeing or smelling or tasting or thinking, that moment is gone and fully complete.
    But there is no end of a moment between moments. The perceived beginning of a taste or smell is never the actual beginning: it can be traced back to the beginning of all things, billions of years ago, and whatever was before that, in an unending thread, or billions of spider-webbing threads all the way forward to this present moment of tasting and smelling an orange. The perceived end of a taste or smell merely transforms into the next taste or smell, even if there is nothing being eaten and we are merely breathing air.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bion View Post
    If Uggy’s eyes didn’t see the flames and Uggy’s nose didn’t smell the smoke, if Uggy’s skin didn’t feel the heat and Uggy’s mind didn’t use the concept of burning and tree, would the tree still be burning for Uggy? What else is burning if not the Uggy-tree?


    Quote Originally Posted by Ugrok View Post
    Well a lot of forests have burned without me seeing them...
    But your other senses have allowed for you to have knowledge of things that you do not personally witness. As for things that burn down that we never see, hear, or think of, it is still not separate from each of us in the grand scheme of things.

    Gassho
    Sat, lah
    求道芸化 Kyūdō Geika
    I am just a priest-in-training, please do not take anything I say as a teaching.

  32. #32
    Quote Originally Posted by Geika View Post
    Personally, I feel not knowing something to be comforting as well. It lets me off the hook from having to know everything, because I think that is what the mind is always trying to do. Giving permission to thoughts to not have to be constantly working things out disrupts that pattern and allows them to rest. Of course they will eventually start rolling again, but we can notice this and once again give permission to not-know, or not-need-to-know-right-now.
    Gassho2

    My understanding of this is: Not needing to know. Not having to be in control. Not needing to know the answers. This used to scare me so much. Now, I can find it liberating to just be.

    Gassho
    [st-lh]
    優婆塞 | Ubasoku
    迷安 | Meian
    ------------------------------------
    Please do not take anything I say as a teaching or advice. I speak only from my own experiences with intentions to be helpful, but I truly know nothing.
    I have lived and practiced with chronic illness for some years, and am happy to share experiences, support, or just listen as needed.

  33. #33
    Quote Originally Posted by Meian View Post
    My understanding of this is: Not needing to know. Not having to be in control. Not needing to know the answers. This used to scare me so much. Now, I can find it liberating to just be.


    Gassho
    Sat, lah
    求道芸化 Kyūdō Geika
    I am just a priest-in-training, please do not take anything I say as a teaching.

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