The Gift of Don't Know

Weekly teaching
Friday, 2017 September 8. to Friday, 2017 September 15.

Zen Master Soeng Hyang (Barbara Rhodes) is the School Zen Master and Guiding Dharma Teacher of the Kwan Um School of Zen. She received dharma transmission from Zen Master Seung Sahn on October 10, 1992.

Open the gift. Inside is only don’t know. Such an expensive gift, and yet few will accept it. Accepting it means abandoning the familiar, and that can be terrifying. And yet, not knowing is very familiar territory for us all, a place where we can be empowered. Not knowing allows us to let go of false assumptions. It frees us of preconceptions and attachments. When the mind doesn’t know, it is sitting exactly in this moment. When it is in this moment, it is wide open: a perfect receptor, a perfect reflector.

Even while tied and bound, our mind can feel as spacious as the sky. Look up at the sky and think of it as your mind. The sky doesn’t have any hindrances. If a cloud appears, the sky doesn’t complain. If there is thunder and lightning, or if there’s pollution, it remains just as spacious. There is no tightening, no fear. Our practice can help us to open to those qualities, so that we’re not hindered by the ropes around our limbs and the fall beneath our feet. Just in that moment—don’t know—be in relationship with that situation. How do you stay alive?

Out of this spaciousness comes the ability to realize our wisdom and remember how to be in relationship with the lessons, the opportunities that appear in our life. Few ever say it is easy. A wise teacher will encourage cultivation of patience, forbearance, generosity, precepts, courage.

From Hyang Eom’s “Up a Tree”: Four Teachers’ Views by Zen Master Soeng Hyang
Primary Point Summer 2017, Volume 34, Number 2