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Chapter 4: Go with the River

If you don’t accept ignorance, sooner or later you will attain to knowledge again, you will start gathering and hoarding. And this time you will hoard in a more subtle way so that it cannot be easily taken away from you.

Beware. These are the moments when you need a master to say to you, “Accept and relax into this ignorance.” I am not here to impart knowledge to you. I am here to take it away from you.

In one of the most ancient books in India, Shivasutra, there is a tremendously significant sutra: “gyanam bandham ““Knowledge is bondage.” When there is no knowledge, a man is free. It is such a radical statement: all knowledge is bondage. The moment you know that you don’t know, the bondage falls, but if you have lived in the bondage for long, you start accepting it as part of you.

If a man has lived in prison for many years with chains on his hands and on his feet and then you suddenly take away the chains - he will not even be able to sleep in the night. He has become accustomed to them; he needs that weight, that noise. When he used to turn in the night, those chains used to make noise; now suddenly the noise will not be there. He will become awake again and again in the night: something is missing. Walking, he will feel as if he is naked: something is missing. He has become accustomed to that weight, and that’s how everybody has become accustomed to the weight of knowledge. Knowledge is a bondage.

The question arises only because the acceptance has not arisen yet. You can miss this great opportunity of being ignorant.

Relax, love it, embrace it, feel one with it, and there will arise a new sort of innocence. You were innocent when you were a child. This will be a new birth and a new sort of innocence. Again you will become a child, and yet your childlike quality will not be childish; it will have a maturity in it.

Sometimes reading, sometimes listening, and particularly listening to Zen, you may start feeling, “I don’t know anything.” Because the Zen people are very much against knowledge, you may start clinging to the idea of not knowing. But that idea is not going to help. That idea is again part of knowledge. Listening to the Zen masters, you may start getting attached to the very idea of not knowing. Then this idea of not knowing becomes your knowledge.

To be really in deep ignorance means you don’t even have the idea of non-knowledge. You are simply innocent. The knowledge has disappeared, and nothing has appeared in its place.

Let me tell you this famous anecdote:

Traditionally Zen monasteries will only admit wandering Zen monks if they can show proof of having solved a koan.

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