Friday, October 5, 2012

Applying "Only Don't Know" to resolve any issues

This is another of my “summary” of the talk given at Kreta Ayer People’s Theatre in Singapore on 30 September 2012. These may not be their exact words, but I try to capture the essence of their message. I may have added in a few words for clarity. I hope it is correct. However, any mistake is mine.

Main altar at Kwan Yin Chan Ling, Singapore
Zen Master Dae Kwan of Su Bong Zen Monastery, Hong Kong talked about how to apply “only don’t know mind” into our daily life. She showed the relevance of “only don’t know”. She also demonstrated what it means by slapping our hand on any surface. That is the Kwan Um School of Zen’s mudra (action code) of emptiness (my own term). She said that there was once when they were having a retreat at HK’s Lantau island. There was a huge storm that was heading to the island. At that place of retreat, there was hardly any television, radio or computer for them to know what was going on in the world. They were blissfully focusing on their retreat. Fortunately one of the followers of Su Bong monastery managed to contact one of the administrators and the horror of the storm was communicated to the group. They prepared for the storm as best they could. After the storm, many trees were uprooted and there was much damage everywhere in Lantau island. Then ZM Dae Kwan saw a big branch of a tree hanging dangerously above a statue of Wei Tuo Pu Sa at the temple. If it fell, the statue will sure be damaged. But they could not figure out how to save the statue since moving it was near impossible. It weighted about a tonne!  Then everyone put their heads together and brain storm. It does not matter if the idea was crazy or not. It does not matter if previously they could work together or not. It does not matter if their idea was not successful in moving the statue. The important thing was everyone was of a single mind to save the statue. In the end someone thought of putting small pipes underneath the statue and slowly rolling it over the pipes. It succeeded but there were other problems that arose. Now how did do they put it on to a flat surface, since it was rolling down a slope? Then someone thought of a truck that they have. By parking the truck at the bottom of the slope, it resulted in a flat surface. Hence they could roll the statue on top of it. Basically, ZM Dae Kwan wanted to point out that putting our minds together and not discriminate “I, my, me” or “He, she, him, her”, then we can definitely work our correct function in life. With "don't know" mind, we can listen to others. We don't always have to say we are right. When someone has any idea, everyone just try. This is life's situation. Together action. Don;t be afraid of these words - "don't know". People may ask, in a society where everybody needs to know, why "don't know" by our School? With this "don;t know, we have less criticism. And like ZM Dae Bong said, we can then turn around situations in our society. We need these type of people to turn around society more harmoniously and respectful of each other. We can apply in our office environment too. There may be people we don't like, or have very strong opinions, at that time we should apply the "don't know" mind. Then the principle will come across to us. Make all our enemies our friends. This "don't know" has 2 qualities - great compassion and great wisdom.
But despite her explanation, during the Q&A session, someone in the audience still asked about how to apply “only don’t know” to the China-Japan issue whereby both of the nation fight over some islands. This guy said that society will not accept “don’t know” as a solution. He obviously did not get ZM Dae Kwan’s (or the previous Zen Masters) explanation of “only don’t know”. ZM Dae Kwan explained again that “only don’t know” is not “I don’t know”. It is “don’t know”, or “don’t know me”, “don’t know my”. Later ZM Dae Bong reiterated that it is about sharing. Together action is important to resolve issues. In this society, too much of “I take from you”, “You take from me” attitude means we are having animal behaviour. Are we having animal attitude? He explained that if we observed animal behaviours, they survived in the animal kingdom based on taking the life of other animals. They thrived only in their own group. They are incapable of mixing and sharing. If society and nations continue to behave like animals, then there is no hope for world peace. Therefore, as a conclusion, we can apply this “don’t know” mind to any situation and resolve issues, big or small.  

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