The unevolved mesmerised by the three modes of material nature cannot perceive this infinitesimal potency departing the body, residing in the body or enjoying in the body; but those enlightened by the eye of the wisdom can perceive.
Bhagavad Gita (Chapter 15, Verse 10)
Psychological Concept (Baltes & Staudinger);
o A comprehensive characterization of wisdom identified seven properties of wisdom that emerge when analysing and synthesizing cultural-historical and philosophical work:
o (a) Wisdom represents a truly superior level of knowledge, judgment, and advice;
o (b) wisdom addresses important and difficult questions and strategies about the conduct and meaning of life;
o (c) wisdom includes knowledge about the limits of knowledge and the uncertainties of the world;
o (d) wisdom constitutes knowledge with extraordinary scope, depth, measure, and balance;
o (e) wisdom involves a perfect synergy of mind and character; that is, an orchestration of knowledge and virtues;
o (f) wisdom represents knowledge used for the good or well-being of oneself and that of others; and
o (g) wisdom although difficult to achieve and to specify, is easily recognized when manifested.
o Lama Tsong Khapa stated that in order to get rid of our confusion with regard to any subject, we must develop the three wisdoms that arise through contemplation.
o We have to listen to the relevant teaching, which develops the “wisdom through hearing.”
o Then we contemplate the meaning of the teaching, which gives rise to the “wisdom of contemplation.”
o Finally, we meditate on the ascertained meaning of the teaching, which gives rise to the “wisdom of meditation.”
By applying these three kinds of wisdom, we will be able to get beyond our doubts, misconceptions and confusion.
o The way of the wisdom is perceiving emptiness, or selflessness— in order to liberate us from samsara (the cycle of birth and death). It is by way of perceiving and experiencing emptiness that we will be able to counteract our basic sense of ignorance, or grasping at self.
o Buddha is one who has fully comprehended the truth of life and the universe and acquired the ultimate and perfect wisdom.
o How do we attain wisdom? It is innate to our true nature, but it is now covered.
o “Precepts or self-discipline lead to deep concentration, from which wisdom arises.”
o Self-attachments are afflictions that hinder us from attaining purity of mind. Knowledge-attachment hinders us from uncovering our all-knowing wisdom, our true wisdom.
Hinduism (Dilip & Ipsit)
o Concept of wisdom in the Gita: Knowledge of life, Emotional Regulation, Control over Desires, Decisiveness, Love of God, Duty and Work, Self-Contentedness, Compassion/Sacrifice, Insight/Humility, and Yoga (Integration of personality)
o The Worldly Hope men set their Hearts upon
Turns Ashes—or it prospers; and anon,
Like Snow upon the Desert’s dusty Face
Lighting a little Hour or two—is gone.
o Think, in this batter’d Caravanserai
Whose Doorways are alternate Night and Day,
How Sultan after Sultan with his Pomp
Abode his Hour or two, and went his way.
o Ah, make the most of what we yet may spend,
Before we too into the Dust Descend;
Dust into Dust, and under Dust, to lie,
Sans Wine, sans Song, sans Singer and—sans End!
o Myself when young did eagerly frequent
Doctor and Saint, and heard great Argument
About it and about: but evermore
Came out by the same Door as in I went.
o There was a Door to which I found no Key:
There was a Veil past which I could not see:
Some little Talk awhile of me and thee
There seemed—and then no more of thee and me.
One day, Chuang Tzu was fishing on the riverbank when two of the king’s officials came up to him and proclaimed: “Sir, the king has requested that you come to his court and serve as his prime minister.”
Without even looking up, Chuang Tzu answered, “I have heard that there is a sacred tortoise that has been dead for three thousand years, and that the king keeps its shell in the temple, wrapped in silk and resting in a golden box. Now, if you were that tortoise, would you rather be honoured in this way or would you rather be alive again, crawling around in the mud?”
The officials replied, “The latter, of course.”
Chuang Tzu said to them, “Go, and tell the king that I’m happy here, crawling around in the mud.”
Wisdom on Sale
Once there was, in Gujarat, a man who was fondly in love with his son. Sadly, the man died leaving his son with nothing to live on. The boy started working as a scribe, but the money he earned was barely enough to feed him. “There should be a way to live better;” the boy thought one day, and suddenly he decided: “I shall sell wisdom! This is indeed something that everyone needs.”
And so he did. He rented a little shop, he bought paper and ink. On a huge banner, he wrote: “WISDOM ON SALE”.
On the first days he had only few curious people lurking around the shop, but he was not discouraged. After some time, the first customer came in. He was a boy with the money of his father that lacked the common sense of his mother. “What is the weight of wisdom?”
“You can’t buy wisdom by its weight”, said the shopper. “It would be too expensive. But you can buy a nice piece of it with one rupee.”
The foolish buy immediately bought it. The shopper, with his neat handwriting, wrote on a piece of paper and told the customer. “Bring home this valuable piece of wisdom.”
The boy ran home, happy, looking forward to show his parents what he bought.
“What madness is this?” said his mother bitterly. “What’s on that piece of paper?”
The boy read: “You shall never stop by to watch two people that are quarrelling.”
The boy’s father burst into a rage and forced the shopper to buy his wisdom back. The shopper agreed: “I will give you back your rupee, but I want my piece of wisdom back. Your son must never follow my words.”
The next day the boy was walking around when he stumbled upon two women quarrelling. As promised, he stopped to listen. The women noticed him and asked him to take a position. The two girls worked for two important royal families, and the day after the two patriarchs summoned the boy to bear witness and prove them right. The penalty for not doing so was death.
The situation was at a loss. The boy’s father ran at the wisdom shop and bough a piece of wisdom for 50 rupees: “The unwise shall pretend to have lost his memory while in tribunal.”
And so he did during the process. His life was spared, but his reputation was lost.
His father went back to the shop and bought some more wisdom. “The price is now 500 rupee,” said the shopper. “Wisdom is no longer for everyone!”
The man paid and received this piece of wisdom: “When the King is happy, go to him and tell him all the truth.”
The King laughed after the story of the unwise father, and he summoned the wisdom seller at his court. There he bought wisdom for 100,000 rupee. “Always think a lot before acting.”
The King was astonished by those words, and ordered his servants to paint them all over the palace.
Day passed by, and the king became ill. The prime minister, who was secretly trying to steal the King’s seat, paid the doctor to poison him.
While he was about to drink the poison, the King lifted his eyes and saw the wisdom on the wall. Slowly he placed the drink back on the desk, and the doctor panicked. He started begging for forgiveness, and the King figured out the plan to assassinate him.
And so the King banished the prime minister, punished the doctor and rewarded the wisdom seller. The wisdom seller was now so rich he could live forever with his savings, and now he could afford to freely give his counsel to people who asked for them. His wisdom helped a lot of people, old and young, rich and poor. The story of the wisdom seller travelled the world, and its value is... priceless.
1. American Psychologist (January 2000) – Paul Baltes & Ursula Staudinger
3. Mirror of Wisdom - Geshe Tsultim Gyeltsen
4. Buddhism: The Awakening of Compassion and Wisdom (Ven. Master Chin Kung)
5. Daily readings from Buddha’s words of wisdom – Ed. By Ven.S.Dhammika.
7. Wisdom in Ancient Indian Lit. - Dilip V. Jeste, M.D. and Ipsit V. Vahia, M.D
10. Rubaiyat of Omar Khayam.