Tagged with: wisdom

Well, I am certainly wiser than this man. It is only too likely that neither of us has any knowledge to boast of; but he thinks that he knows something which he does not know, whereas I am quite conscious of my ignorance. At any rate it seems that I am wiser than he is to this small extent, that I do not think that I know what I do not know.

Well, I am certainly wiser than this man. It is only too likely that neither of us has any knowledge to boast of; but he thinks that he knows something which he does not know, whereas I am quite conscious of my ignorance. At any rate it seems that I am wiser than he is to this small extent, that I do not think that I know what I do not know.

Knowledge and theories about wisdom are like carrying books on the back of a donkey. We may carry around many ideas of worthwhile changes that we would like to make in our life. To evolve, we must put those ideas into practice or they will become a weight for us. We need to look into every area of our daily existence. It would be a pity to live an unexamined life and only rely upon external voices of authority and our inner conditioning to tell us what matters and what to do with our life. For consciousness to evolve, we must commit ourselves to living a conscious life. To know ourselves, to go deep into ourselves, awakens the mind.

Knowledge and theories about wisdom are like carrying books on the back of a donkey. We may carry around many ideas of worthwhile changes that we would like to make in our life. To evolve, we must put those ideas into practice or they will become a weight for us. We need to look into every area of our daily existence. It would be a pity to live an unexamined life and only rely upon external voices of authority and our inner conditioning to tell us what matters and what to do with our life. For consciousness to evolve, we must commit ourselves to living a conscious life. To know ourselves, to go deep into ourselves, awakens the mind.

The world of distraction spins around and around, while moving continuously to keep itself amused and entertained. It transports us to a world of fantasy, or a world of controversy, or competition, or of just about anything other than the one true existence that is right before us. Distraction keeps our heads turned in the direction of momentary pleasures, excitement, and delight.

On the other hand, the cool heart, with its spiritual energy, is the sobering factor that keeps us focused on worthier goals. It tempers the euphoria of petty fun. It settles us firmly down on Earth, grounding and sobering us with a clear view into life’s many facets in a balanced manner. The cool heart is unmoved by the intoxication of the world. The wise heart is the cool heart. It directs us to a profound state where we are liberated from the burden and stench of self-consciousness. Nothing can be better than that.

The world of distraction spins around and around, while moving continuously to keep itself amused and entertained. It transports us to a world of fantasy, or a world of controversy, or competition, or of just about anything other than the one true existence that is right before us. Distraction keeps our heads turned in the direction of momentary pleasures, excitement, and delight.

On the other hand, the cool heart, with its spiritual energy, is the sobering factor that keeps us focused on worthier goals. It tempers the euphoria of petty fun. It settles us firmly down on Earth, grounding and sobering us with a clear view into life’s many facets in a balanced manner. The cool heart is unmoved by the intoxication of the world. The wise heart is the cool heart. It directs us to a profound state where we are liberated from the burden and stench of self-consciousness. Nothing can be better than that.

Aristotle said that in order for people to become virtuous, we need role models—others who have developed their capacities for courage, self-control, wisdom, and justice. We may emphasize different sets of virtues or ideas about what makes a proper role model, but Buddhism also asserts that, as we are all connected and interdependent, none of us can do it all on our own.

Acknowledging this dependency is the first step of real emotional work within relationships. Our ambivalence about our own needs and dependency gets stirred up in all kinds of relationships. We cannot escape our feelings and needs and desires if we are going to be in relationships with others. To be in relationships is to feel our vulnerability in relation to other people who are unpredictable, and in circumstances that are intrinsically uncontrollable and unreliable.

Aristotle said that in order for people to become virtuous, we need role models—others who have developed their capacities for courage, self-control, wisdom, and justice. We may emphasize different sets of virtues or ideas about what makes a proper role model, but Buddhism also asserts that, as we are all connected and interdependent, none of us can do it all on our own.

Acknowledging this dependency is the first step of real emotional work within relationships. Our ambivalence about our own needs and dependency gets stirred up in all kinds of relationships. We cannot escape our feelings and needs and desires if we are going to be in relationships with others. To be in relationships is to feel our vulnerability in relation to other people who are unpredictable, and in circumstances that are intrinsically uncontrollable and unreliable.

Freedom means being able to choose how we respond to things. When wisdom is not well developed, it can be easily obscured by the provocations of others. In such cases we may as well be animals or robots. If there is no space between an insulting stimulus and its immediate conditioned response—anger—then we are in fact under the control of others. Mindfulness opens up such a space, and when wisdom is there to fill it one is capable of responding with forbearance. It’s not that anger is repressed; anger never arises in the first place.

Freedom means being able to choose how we respond to things. When wisdom is not well developed, it can be easily obscured by the provocations of others. In such cases we may as well be animals or robots. If there is no space between an insulting stimulus and its immediate conditioned response—anger—then we are in fact under the control of others. Mindfulness opens up such a space, and when wisdom is there to fill it one is capable of responding with forbearance. It’s not that anger is repressed; anger never arises in the first place.

Keep me away from the wisdom which does not cry, the philosophy which does not laugh and the greatness which does not bow before children.

Keep me away from the wisdom which does not cry, the philosophy which does not laugh and the greatness which does not bow before children.

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Unparalleled Freedom

The traditional notion of enlightenment was all about winning release—profound existential release from the world and the time process. And that release occurs when you begin focus on the Ground of your own Being, on the nature of consciousness itself, free from any identification with time or any objects. As that happens, you sink deeper and deeper, until you find yourself in an ocean of timelessness. And when you find yourself in this ocean of timelessness, if you have the courage to stay very awake, what happens is that the sense of time ultimately disappears altogether. And that’s the only…

- Andrew Cohen

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