I know my name. Information is easy. Documentation is too. I am a father and a son, fairly useful at times, English, born in the first half of the last century, I eat well, like a drink but not too much, am happy most of the time, about 6 feet tall, like polyester black collarless shirts……love my kids, grandkids and partner. Quite like the dog. I love the sun and the snow, grow lots of vegetables, this year concentrating on chillies…………you get the picture.
These things are kind of truish. They are qualified ‘knowns’. Known in relation to something but the huatou refers to the ‘I am’ prior to all qualification, not the knowledge accumulated through experience of the life journey.
‘Who am I?’ is a huatou, a short but powerful zen gongan or koan. The most powerful question you can ever ask.
In examining this huatou in a meditative environment, mental constructions drop away and one is confronted by a realisation that one does not know the nature of existence and one’s fundamental assumptions of life are groundless.
Such is an aspect of zen.
‘I am’ cannot be found in experiences or secondhand ‘knowledge’.
In ‘Letting go’ of our learnt responses to ‘Who am I?’ we open up to a new realm of multi-dimensional attention and non-directed awareness. This is the hunting ground, the silence behind thought, the openness that is beyond the constructed story of self.
Beauty and the Beast live here.