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Dharma Talks : The Kwan Um School of Zen and Providence Zen Center

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Inka Speech  

[Raises Zen stick over head, then hits table with stick.] 

Don't know mind is compassion mind, compassion mind is don't know mind. 

[Raises Zen stick over head, then hits table with stick.] 

No don't know mind, no compassion mind. 

[Raises Zen stick over head, then hits table with stick.] 

Don't know mind is don't know mind, compassion mind is compassion mind. 

Three statements, which is correct? 

KATZ! 

How may I help you? 

While we dwell in the realm of opposites, suffering is always with us. We can pick it off the shelf everyday. As we continue to practice, we find ways of relieving our own suffering, but that's just for us. So we practice more, seeing the suffering of everybody else, and as we see that suffering, we think, "What can I do? I can see them suffering, but I don't know what to do." Practice, practice, practice, then true compassion appears, and it knows what to do. 

A long time ago, on a trip to Korea, we went shopping for trinkets in some Buddhist supply stores. They would let us in the back room where there were more items -- drums, statues, lots of beads. On one shelf was a wooden Kwan Seum Bosal statue. It was almost life size and had no paint except for the eyes. Looking down on us was the saddest, most compassionate look I have ever seen. If I could have shipped it home, I would have, but I never forgot those eyes or that expression. 

This statue's expression is don't know's child -- compassion mind. So cut off all thinking and all attachments of "I like" and "I don't like," and then true compassion appears. All of us have heard these words many, many times and we all think we know what they mean, but to really cut off all attachments and to walk free -- completely free -- is very difficult. It's especially difficult to cut off the part that says, "My life, my practice is correct." 

We all have hidden ideas of ourselves. It has taken a while to discover this, but we all have them. The problem with this hidden idea of ourselves is that we base our actions on it. We cause suffering for ourselves and others because of it. It is the primary cause for everything we do in life. If you find your hidden idea and get rid of that hidden idea, then you can truly be free and understand what "don't know mind" and "true compassion mind" means. 

Don't know knows its job. It doesn't require any opinions or ideas from us. If we are really clear, compassion appears. So trust that. Don퉡 add legs on a snake by making extra stuff. When this true compassion mind appears, correct action also appears. Then it's possible to help anybody. It may not seem to be the sort of thing that we would do if we were thinking about it, but whatever appears really helps them. Our everyday life -- working, socializing, playing -- is the platform from which we can help other people. Correct function, correct situation, correct relationship appear magically out of don퉡 know. 

Some of the best teachers are the ones we get along with the least. They show us our blind spots by their actions. Only when we have moved on can we realize how they have helped us and how we have been changed. This is compassion in disguise. So be thankful for all of your teachers -- even the ones you think you are not learning from. You are learning something or they would not have appeared for you. Nothing happens by accident, so cultivate a connection with them. 

It is possible to walk free and unencumbered throughout the universe. 

In the beginning of this speech there were four statements about don't know mind and compassion mind. 

All were mistakes. 

What is the truth? 

KATZ! 

Providence has a waxing moon and an inka ceremony. Phoenix has a bright moon and prison letters, back and forth.


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