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The Power of Not Knowing

The Power of Not Knowing

Twenty years ago, a friend of the author took him to see a Zen Buddhist master from Korea called Seung Sahn who had started a number of spiritual communities around the world. His teaching was simple: it had to do with not knowing. Read this thought-provoking–and amusing!–excerpt about this Buddhist masterís teaching here:

What is God? Donít know. Where did you come from? Donít know. What existed before the universe? Donít know. What is outside the Universe that it expands into? Donít know.

Seung Sahn asked his students to use ďdonít know soapĒ on their heads several times a day to cleanse their ideas and opinions! From his perspective, their difficulties came from thinking they knew the answers. To clear their minds of opinions helped make space for the spontaneity of the present moment. His studentsí most logical arguments never modified his loyalty to not knowing.

Read more: Spirit, Inspiration

Adapted from Consciousness in Action, by Andrew Beath (Lantern Books, 2005). Copyright (c) 2005 by Andrew Beath. Reprinted by permission of Lantern Books.
Adapted from Consciousness in Action, by Andrew Beath (Lantern Books, 2005).

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Annie B. Bond

Annie is a renowned expert in non-toxic and green living. She was named one of the top 20 environmental leaders by Body and Soul Magazine and "the foremost expert on green living." - Body & Soul Magazine, 2009. Learn Annie's latest eco-friendly news on, a website dedicated to healthy and green living.

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Consciousness in Action

The power of beauty, love, and courage in a violent now


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1:35AM PST on Feb 6, 2013

Thank you :)

6:43PM PDT on Oct 12, 2012

There's a great wisdom to this - not knowing. It certainly can help us stop prejudice and closed mindedness. Thank you.

6:12PM PDT on Jun 27, 2012

The teaching of "not knowing" is not saying that ignorance is bliss.
It clears the mind of opinions that are written in stone, without fact or support.

"Not knowing" means that you are no longer the centre of the universe.

9:15AM PDT on Mar 22, 2012


9:31PM PDT on Oct 29, 2011

OK. So that's why so many people say "who cares" now days??

5:55PM PDT on Oct 4, 2011

Yeh i agree ignorance is bliss, whe u aint stupid and think to much and worry like i do cos im not stupid, sometimes i wish iwas thick. Knowledge is Power as they say but, sometimes too much of it does your head in.!

7:33PM PDT on Sep 16, 2011

There's a big difference between saying "don't know" to an unknowable question, such as what the nothingness of the universe is expanding into, and someone saying he doesn't need to know about something that can kill people, such as vaccinating children against cancer-causing, sexually transmitted human papilloma virus.

A parent absolutely cannot know that his/her child will never be exposed to human papilloma virus as a minor. They just *hope* she won't. That is horribly irresponsible of them.

6:54AM PDT on Sep 10, 2011


2:49AM PDT on Jul 20, 2011

Thank you

5:49AM PST on Dec 13, 2010

Ignorance is bliss.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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