The late Korean Zen teacher, Seung Sahn, in “The Compass Of Zen,” said:
If you keep a don’t-know mind 100 percent, then your demons can‘t find you. Suffering cannot find you. Karma, problems, …. coming and going, good and bad –– nothing can touch you when you only keep a don’t-know mind. This don’t-know mind is your most important treasure; it can do anything. It is not dependent on God or Buddha, (Theravadan), Mahayana or Zen. It is not dependent on life and death.
Tony Patchell used this quote in a recent dharma talk. It called out to me. I think the call came because I have, by default, a “must-know mind.” I must know exactly how to act in every situation. I must know when my depression will be over, and my life will return to some semblance of normalcy. I must know the difference between right and wrong. I must know in what way to appropriately express love, and fear, and anger. I must know what will happen tomorrow. I must know what you think of me. I must know everything.
I must know that all of this “must know” is going to cause unrelenting grief and suffering.
Don’t know. Forever a beginner. Always open. Never the same. What freedom lies in those simple words!
I am struggling, struggling, fighting, flailing. I am falling through open air. I am headed for the rocks, and I don’t know if I will crash, splintering, or if I will suddenly sprout wings and fly away in another direction.
Don’t-know mind is not dependent on life and death. It is not dependent on waking or sleeping, on grasping or letting go. It is not dependent on anything, because it is dependent on everything. Emptiness is full; fullness is empty.
One drop, a torrential rainstorm. A single thought, the beauty of the ten thousand things.
How do you hold onto not holding on?