There are three ways to ask a question. You can ask out of innocence, or you can ask out of knowledge to show that you too know, and third, you can ask to confirm that what you know is correct. When you ask out of innocence, you are completely ready to receive the answer. When you ask out of knowledge, you completely miss the answer. When you ask for confirmation, you simply resist the answer.
The unknown can never be trapped with the known. The unknown can be known only by surrendering to it.
A small story:
Zen masters generally give personal guidance in a secluded room. No one enters when master and disciple are together.
A Zen master used to enjoy talking with merchants and newspapermen as well as with his pupils everyday. Amongst his regular visitors was an illiterate potter who used to come and ask foolish questions of him. He will then have tea and go away.
One day, while the potter was there, the master wanted to give personal guidance to a disciple, so he requested the potter to remain outside.
The potter asked, ‘I understand you are a living Buddha. Even the stone Buddhas never disallow the coming together of people before them. Why then should I be disallowed?’
The master had to go outside to see his disciple. The potter’s question was of knowledge. He missed the learning for the moment. Masters impart learning every moment. If there is implicit openness the learning can be received. In the space of innocence learning happens. The potter’s knowledge came in the way of absorbing the master. Children absorb everything and everyone around them like a sponge.
Existence is not a continuation of anything. It is fresh every minute. So it is not possible to know anything.
There is nothing hindering the process as yet. That is why they were taken to masters at the young age of seven in the ancient Vedic tradition. The fundamental secret of learning is to function from a state of innocence. The problem is that those who are not empty never recognize that they are not empty. You cannot tell them they are full. They will neither understand nor accept it. But a man of innocence can say, ‘Because of my knowing I missed it. I actually don’t know. I am now eager to know.’ The moment this space is created, the learning continues to happen. In this space there is no ego of knowing. The resistance is dropped and there is pure receptivity.
J. Krishnamurti, the great philosopher, beautifully says, ‘There can be freedom from knowledge only when the motivation for gathering of knowledge is understood.’
What is generally the motivation for knowledge? You see, the present is an unfolding miracle and mystery of Existence. We try to grasp it with the net of knowledge. That is the motivation for knowledge. But it can never happen! The unknown can never be trapped with the known. The unknown can be known only by surrendering to it. That surrender is what is called intelligence!
Intelligence recognizes the mystery of the present moment and surrenders to it joyfully. That joy is the joy of innocence. Knowledge on the other hand denies the mystery of the present moment. It tries to ascertain it every minute and the present can never be ascertained. So you continuously remain with what is called ‘fear of the unknown’. It is through the process of trying to ascertain the present moment that the fear of the unknown takes root. Otherwise, you have no fear! You are very clear that the present moment is a mystery!
Through knowledge, you somehow try to escape from the ‘not-knowing’ of the moment. To the ego, not-knowing means being nothing. It cannot handle being nothing. But innocence is being nothing and enjoying the present!The present is an unopened gift. But knowledge robs it of its suspense. When knowledge understands that the ways of the Self are yet to be discovered, then it doesn’t hinder the process of the ultimate knowing.Then it behaves as a tool that comes into play when actually required and not stand in the way of embracing the mysteries of life. When we understand that knowledge denies the mysteries of life, when we understand that we gather knowledge because we are afraid of the unknown, we will awaken to a new intelligence of surrendering to life, and that awakening is the birth of innocence.
The problem is that society believes in instilling a set of beliefs into every child that is born. The whole method of bringing up a child is by instilling a set of beliefs in it.
What is belief?
It is nothing but an individual and independent interpretation of something. There is no need to instill any belief into a child. A child can remain free to have its own interpretation. J. Krishnamurti says, ‘Knowledge is both tradition and instinct.’ What does he mean by that?
Let us say you are born in a Hindu family. Then, the knowledge you pick up will be from a solid Hindu tradition. Your responses and your actions will carry the strong beliefs of Hindu tradition and ideology. Both at the conscious and unconscious levels, you will be conditioned through it. The unconscious response becomes your ‘instinct’. The very experience of anything around you, happens only through instinct, not as it is. And because of this, you cannot know anything as it is. You can know it only through your knowledge. That is why we say, knowledge is a hindrance to knowing. Once knowledge solidifies in the being there is no space left for experiencing. There is scope only for replay of knowledge. Everything becomes a reflection of some past knowledge or some past conclusion. The future becomes a continuation of the past patterns and experiences. You already know the fragrance of a flower. You already know the sound of the waves. You already know the sunrise.
In the very beginning, at the time of the first experience as a child, these would have been truly innocent experiences. But as we grow up, these innocent experiences start becoming mundane tradition. Understand, Existence is not a continuation of anything. It is fresh every minute. So it is not possible to know anything. What do you know of what happens the next second? If this is understood, all knowing can be dropped. Then there is only wisdom and wisdom is innocent intelligence. It allows the experience to happen without knowledge hindering. Then the great discoveries of the Self and that which is around the Self as well as the mysteries that link both happen. J. Krishnamurti rightly says that belief discards so many possibilities and urges you into one particular activity. Since the mind is constantly looking for activity you go behind belief.
We base our whole life on beliefs. Because of this we are immersed in activity, but not action.
Activity needs constant fuelling through beliefs. Activity cannot afford to stop. If it stops, the mind falls into depression. Action happens as and when required and stops.
Activity happens out of belief. Action happens out of understanding.
Activity causes fatigue while action creates energy and inspiration.
What you need is action, not activity. Just understand that belief is nothing but your own understanding of something and not the truth. In any given situation, four different people can conclude differently with four different beliefs. There is no absolute reality in belief. It is merely an individual perception. But innocence keeps the perception open. That is the beauty of it. It doesn’t conclude and close the doors on anything. There are innumerable interpretations to anything. Not holding onto any one interpretation is the essence of innocence. Then the spirit is kept alive.
source: Living Enlightenment