I want to talk about letting go of the known or not being attached to knowledge. There is a constant striving and a multitude of questions being asked online and to me regarding non-duality and the nature of the self. There’s this belief that if we acquire the right piece of information or engage in the right discussions, we will finally understand. However, it doesn’t work that way. The mind cannot fully grasp it because non-duality, to a large extent, remains unknown.
The Limitations of Knowledge and the Non-Dual Nature of Self
The known is actually a small and finite realm. It is an object called knowledge, always tied to the past. Knowledge is a conceptual idea that relates to the past, something we carry around. But can the past ever help us realize what is now? Can we conceptualize and attain it? No, we can’t. Can the self or non-duality ever become an object? No, because the self is the subject. It’s like the eye trying to see itself, the sword trying to cut itself, or fire trying to burn itself. It simply doesn’t work that way.
The Paradox of Self-Awareness and the Wisdom of Not Knowing
Therefore, that which is aware cannot become aware of itself because it is the eye trying to see itself. This understanding is reflected in the wisdom of Zen traditions, particularly those focusing on abiding in not knowing or unknowing. In this state of not knowing, there is openness and a secret lies within. The essence and secret never become known because as soon as they do, they become objects, tied to the past, and no longer relevant to the present moment. The essence is ever-changing and changeless, alive in its own way. It can only be directly realized, understood, and experienced here and now.
As long as we attempt to grasp and understand non-duality mentally, through concepts, questions, and discussions, thinking that the right piece of knowledge will bring it all together, we will never truly grasp it. It will always remain just out of reach because it does not belong to the realm of the here and now, the direct experience.
Embracing the Power of Not Knowing in the Present Moment
The direct experience of here and now can only be realized by abiding in not knowing. Knowing belongs to the past and mental concepts, so we must let go of our attachment and grasping to knowledge. Instead, simply abide in not knowing, abide in unknowing, and reside in the present moment experientially and without reference to the past, future, concepts, or objects. It is through this practice that the revelation may occur. But regardless of whether it does or not, the key is to abide in the present moment, experientially, and in not knowing.
So, I wanted to emphasize the need to let go of our attachment and grasping to knowledge and knowing. It will never quite touch the essence of non-duality. The quicker route is to embrace unknowing. Thank you very much.