Oakville Zen Meditation

#373 The practice of "Don't know mind" Nov. 27 21

The practice of Don’t know mind

“Cultivate a - don’t know mind . It opens the door to serenity and tolerance. It is the foundation of Zen practice
Zen loves to challenge us with these enigmatic and counterintuitive teachings.
“Don’t know mind “ goes totally against our Western education and culture for the following 4 reasons:
1-Since our young age accumulating more and more knowledge is expected.
2-This “I don’t know” attitude is less acceptable because of the endless source of information made available on the Internet.
3-We don’t want to look stupid, ignorant, or disinterested.
4-Our ego loves to accumulate ideas, opinions, beliefs, concepts, and judgments about something or someone so it can analyze, understand, compare, and be able to maintain a social conversation.

What is a “Don’t know mind”?
First of all, let us look at its opposite: “ The know it all mind”
Imagine a soaked sponge. Being full, it cannot accept more water. Our mind works the same way.
The “Know it all mind” is like the soaked sponge, full of ideas, opinions, beliefs, concepts, and judgments about everybody including self, and about everything. It is frozen, paralyzed, and almost hermetic to everything new that is with little room for progress, insight, tolerance, and, eventually, serenity and awakening.
Teaching Zen philosophy and practice to students with minds full of frozen preconceived stuff is impossible.
As Zen says: “When the cup of tea is full of water, there is no room to add tea.”

The “Don’t know mind”:
It does not mean stupidity, laziness, confusion, rudeness, or false modesty.
It simply means an open and receptive mind; a mind not paralyzed by too many preconceived opinions, ideas, beliefs, and judgments about self, about others, and about anything else.
Your mind is like the empty cup ready to get tea or the sponge to be soaked.
Having an open mind is a constant battle against our ego since we have to accept that what we know and
believe in is not necessarily truth or reality. Our ego loves to have opinions on everything and everybody.

How to practice a “Don’t know mind?”
Besides obvious decisional settings where opinion and judgments are mandatory or requested, stop having automatic preconceived opinions or judgments on everything including people and yourself.
Consider your most cherished opinions about yourself, life, death, love, God, no God, maybe God, friendship, intelligence, lover, spouse, boss, Zen, consciousness, mind, big bang, freedom, etc.
Are you sure that your opinions and judgments are absolutely true?
Maybe, maybe not. Contemplate them and reassess.
Keep your mind open all the time. This is not easy.
The moment we become aware of the ego acting behind our idea, opinion, and judgment it is , strictly speaking, no longer the ego, but just an old, conditioned mind- pattern of self-identification.
Ego implies unawareness and the practice of awareness is a great tool because awareness and ego cannot
Through the process of “unknowing” or “de-knowing” that is what we don’t know, that we cannot control, that we cannot get, we enter in a state of inner serenity and clarity . You discover the real you that is your genuine self different from what your thoughts and feelings will ever bring.
If you cannot “unload”, you will stay trapped in your ego-driven frozen mind and the possibility of spiritual progress will be impossible.
Try this:
Delete, at least temporally, a few of your most cherished opinion and judgment about whatever and whoever.
You will feel this spaciousness of your mind and this feeling is priceless. This is serenity. Thanks all