Sunday, November 22, 2009

Difference Between Wisdom and Knowledge


“’ What is the main principal of Buddha’s teachings?’        The Master replied, ‘Do no evil and perform what is good.’ Bai Juyi said, ‘even a three-year-old knows that!’ The master responded, ‘A three-year-old may know it, but not even an eighty-year-old can do it.’” - Recorded dialogues of Daolin

       This is the disconnect between the metaphorical heart and the mind. We can conjure up a multitude of idealistic thoughts, and just as easily neglect their transfer to action. This gap in thought and action can be seen in the smoker who, again, claims they are quitting, in the couch potato who wants to get in shape but never seems to take the necessary steps, and the student who knows how to obtain an ‘A’ but does not take the required action. It appears that we, as subjects, at times lack the willpower to carry out the thoughts that we consider virtuous. Though, this is not only a problem of willpower: this is is a problem of mind-heart disconnect. This problem is essentially a wisdom deficit. Wisdom is defined as possessing the knowledge of what is right and combining it with proper action. Eckhart Tolle describes wisdom very eloquently in the following passage:

“You do not become good by trying to be good, but by finding the goodness that is already within you, and allowing the goodness to emerge. But it can only emerge if something fundamental changes in your state of consciousness”

      This shift in consciousness is precisely the essence of wisdom. Simply trying to be become good is never sufficient since it draws upon that same state of consciousness that produced the suffering in the first place. One must be prepared to view the world through a new lens. Getting rid of a foggy or broken worldview may be the first step.

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