Ignorance

Edited by Peter Holleran



Once upon a time, a gathering of sages convened, each speaking their peace:


Zen Master Dogen: "To follow the buddha completely means you do not have your old views. To hit the mark completely means you have no new nest in which to settle."

Werner Von Braun: "Basic research is what I am doing when I don't know what I am doing."

Shih-t'ou: "My ignorance far exceeds yours."

Socrates: " "As for me, all I know is I know nothing."

Sri Nisargaddata Maharaj: "I found myself desiring and knowing less and less, until I could say in utter astonishment: 'I know nothing, I want nothing.' Earlier I was sure of so many things, now I am sure of nothing. But I feel I have lost nothing by not knowing, because all my knowledge was false. My not knowing was in itself knowledge of the fact that all my knowledge is ignorance, that 'I do not now' is the only true statement the mind can make....I do not claim to know what you do not. In fact, I know much less than you do...."

Lao Tzu: "I alone have the mind of a fool, and am all muddled and vague. The people are so smart and bright. While I am just dull and confused..........Those who say, do not know; those who know, do not say.”

Alastair Sims, from A Christmas Carol, 1951: "I don't know what to do!" cried Scrooge, laughing and crying in the same breath.  "I am as light as a feather, I am as happy as an angel, I am as merry as a schoolboy.  I am as giddy as a drunken man.  A merry Christmas to everybody!  A happy New Year to all the world! ...I don’t know anything. I never did know anything. But now I know I don’t know anything!”

Eckhart Tolle: "I don't know" is not confusion. Confusion is: "I don't know, but I should know" or "I don't know, but I need to know." When you let go of the belief that you should or need to know who you are, what happens to confusion? Suddenly it is gone. When you fully accept that you don't know, you actually enter a state of peace and clarity that is closer to who you truly are than thought could ever be."

"Don't try to understand what I'm saying. These are just pointers. I don't understand what I'm saying either. Pointers point to the state of direct realization but they're not a substitute for it."


Steven Harrison: "We have misunderstood our confusion when we think there is an answer to it. The confusion is not a result of questions that are too hard, but rather a questioner who is disintegrating. Confusion is the introduction to true intelligence."

Robert Adams: "It is the ego that wants to know.  When you begin to feel that you know less, that is a good sign, because you know less about the world and more about the self.  The more confounded you become, the more the ego breaks up."

Stephen Wingate:"There's nothing to get. There's nowhere to go. So, can answering questions get you there? When taken to their logical conclusion, the only honest answer to all questions, including the questions who am I? What am I? Where am I? When am I? And why am I?   is 'I don't know'. This sense of 'not knowing' is what you are. Everything is born, lives, and dies in this sense of not knowing. Another name for this sense of not knowing is awareness. This awareness is what you are. You can never attain this sense of not knowing, this awareness; you are it. You've always been this sense of not knowing. You'll always be this sense of not knowing. All questions are dissolved in you, this sense of not knowing."

Zen Master Bankei: "I tell my students and those of you coming regularly here to the temple: 'Be stupid!' Because you have got the dynamic function of the marvelously illuminating Buddha Mind, even if you get rid of discriminative understanding, you won't be foolish...With people who are clever, there are sure to be a great many shortcomings...There's really nothing wrong with being a blockhead!”

Charles Belyea: "Confidence derives from decisively acknowledging the unknowable aspect of the Tao, experiencing and drawing strength from its unfathomably vast potency, rather than diminishing ourselves and It by pinning it down."

Ashtavakra: "What man is there who, having observed the diversity of opinions among the great seers, saints, and yogins, and becoming completely indifferent to learning, does not address quietude...My child, you may often speak upon various scriptures or hear them recited. But you cannot be established in the Self unless you forget all."

Adyashanti: "While the world is trying to solve its problems and everyone around you is engaged in the same, you're not. While everybody around you is trying to figure it out, trying to arrive, trying to get there, trying to be worthy, you're not. While everyone thinks that awakening is a grand, noble, halo-enshrouded thing, for you it's not. While everybody is running from this life right now, in this moment, to try to get there, you're not. Where everybody has an argument with somebody else, mostly everybody else, starting with themselves, you don't. Where everybody is so sure that happiness will come when something is different than it is now, you know that it won't. When everybody else is looking to achieve the perfect state and hold on to it, you're not. When everybody around you has a whole host of ideas and beliefs about a whole variety of things, you don't....When you're living what you are in an awakened way, being simply what you've always been, you're actually very simple. You basically sit around wondering what all the fuss is about...

 Master Hsi-Yun: “The knowledge of many things cannot compare with giving up the search. The sage is one who puts himself outside the range of objectivity. There are not different kinds of mind, and there is no doctrine which can be taught."


                                             As there was no more to be said, everybody walked away.......