Als dragend citaat denk ik aan een citaat van Shunryu Suzuki uit Zen Mind Beginner's Mind.
Can we look at our lives in such a way? Can we look at all of the aspects of our lives with this mind, just open to see what there is to see? I don't know about you, but I have a hard time doing that. I have a lot of habits of mind—I think most of us do. Children begin to lose that innocent quality after a while, and soon they want to be "the one who knows." We all want to be the one who knows. But if we decide we "know" something, we are not open to other possibilities anymore. And that's a shame. We lose something very vital in our life when it's more important to us to be "one who knows" than it is to be awake to what's happening. We get disappointed because we expect one thing, and it doesn't happen quite like that. Or we think something ought to be like this, and it turns out different. Instead of saying, "Oh, isn't that interesting," we say, "Yuck, not what I thought it would be." Pity. The very nature of beginner's mind is not knowing in a certain way, not being an expert. As Suzuki Roshi said in the prologue to Zen Mind Beginner's Mind, "In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, in the expert's there are few." As an expert, you've already got it figured out, so you don't need to pay attention to what's happening. Pity.
How can we cultivate this mind that is free to just be awake? In zazen, in just sitting, in sitting and noticing the busyness of our mind and all of the fixed views that we carry. Once we noticed the fixed views that we are carrying around with us, the preconceptions that we are carrying around with us, then it is possible for us to let them go and say, "Well, maybe so, maybe not." Suzuki Roshi once said, "The essence of Zen is 'Not Always So'." "Not always so." It's a good little phrase to carry around when you're sure. It gives you an opportunity to look again more carefully and see what other possibilities there might be in the situation.
In China, there was a teacher named Dizang (J.: Rakan) who had a student named Fayan (J.: Hogen). Dizang saw Fayan all dressed in his traveling clothes, with his straw sandals and his staff, and a pack on his back, and Dizang said, "Where are you going?" Fayan answered, "Around on pilgrimage." Dizang said, "What is the purpose of pilgrimage?" Fayan said, "I don't know." Dizang said, "Not knowing is nearest." Sometimes it's translated as "Not knowing is most intimate." Not knowing is nearest or most intimate.
So what is this "not knowing"? This is not the same "not knowing" as when Zhaozhou (J: Joshu) asked his teacher Nanquan (J.: Nansen), "What is the way?" Nanquan answered, "Ordinary mind is the way." Just your mind, the way it is right here and right now. Zhaozhou asked, "Well, shall I seek after it or not?" Nanquan said, "If you seek after it, you'll miss it." Zhaozhou said, "If I don't seek after it, how will I know the way?" Nanquan said, "The way is not a matter of knowing or not knowing. Knowing is delusion, and not knowing is dullness. When you reach the Way beyond all doubt, you will find it as vast and boundless as outer space. What can that have to do with right or wrong?"
Nanquan's "not knowing" is paired up with knowing. It's a dualistic pair—not knowing as opposed to knowing. But Fayan's "not knowing" is just "I don't know, I'm going to go see. I'm just going to set out and trust what occurs." That not knowing is non-dualistic. It's not set up against knowing. It's just "I'm going to set out on pilgrimage and see what happens. Just this is it. Just each moment. Just this is it. Each moment I'll see what happens." With that kind of openness and readiness, when Dizang said "not knowing is nearest," Fayan opened up completely.
When he spoke of "beginner's mind," I think Suzuki Roshi was pointing to that kind of mind that's not already made up. The mind that's just investigating, open to whatever occurs, curious. Seeking, but not with expectation or grasping. Just being there and observing and seeing what occurs. Being ready for whatever experience arises in this moment.