What is wisdom?
The highest wisdom is seeing that in reality all
phenomena are incomplete, impermanent, and not self.
This understanding is totally freeing and leads to the great
security and happiness which is called Nirvana.
the Buddha doesn’t speak too much about this level of
It is not wisdom if we simply believe what we
True wisdom is to directly see and understand
At this level then, wisdom is to keep an
open mind rather than being closed-minded, listening
to other points of view rather than being bigoted;
carefully examine facts that contradict our beliefs, rather
than burying our heads in the sand;
to be objective rather
than prejudiced and partisan;
to take time about forming
our opinions and beliefs rather than just accepting the first
or most emotional thing that is offered to us;
and to always
be ready to change our beliefs when facts that contradict
them are presented to us.
A person who does this is
certainly wise and is certain to eventually arrive at true
The path of just believing what you are
told is easy.
The Buddhist path requires courage, patience,
flexibility and intelligence.
I think few people could do this. So what is the
point of Buddhism if only a few can practice it?
It is true that not everyone is ready for Buddhism
But to say that therefore we should teach a religion that
is false but easily understandable just so that everyone can
practice it is ridiculous.
Buddhism aims at the truth and if
not everyone has the capacity to understand it yet, they
perhaps will be ready for it in their next life.
there are many who, with just the right words or
encouragement, are able to increase their understanding.
And it is for this reason that Buddhists gently and quietly
strive to share the insights of Buddhism with others.
Buddha taught us out of compassion and we teach others
out of compassion.
What is compassion?
Just as wisdom covers the intellectual or
comprehending side of our nature, compassion covers
the emotional or feeling side of our nature.
compassion is a uniquely human quality.
made up of two words, ‘co’ meaning together and ‘passion’
meaning a strong feeling.
And this is what compassion is.
When we see someone in distress and we feel their pain as
if it were our own, and strive to eliminate or lessen their
pain, then this is compassion.
So all the best in human
beings, all the Buddha-like qualities like sharing, readiness
to give comfort, sympathy, concern and caring — all are
manifestations of compassion.
You will notice also that in
the compassionate person, care and love towards others
has its origins in care and love for oneself.
We can really
understand others when we really understand ourselves.
We will know what’s best for others when we know
what’s best for ourselves.
We can feel for others when we
feel for ourselves.
So in Buddhism, one’s own spiritual
development blossoms quite naturally into concern for the
welfare of others.
The Buddha’s life illustrates this very well.
He spent six years struggling for his own welfare, after
which, he was able to be of benefit to the whole of mankind.
Isn’t that a
bit selfish to care for ourselves first before helping others?
We usually see altruism, concern for others
before oneself, as being the opposite of selfishness,
concern for oneself before others.
Buddhism does not
see it as either one or the other but rather as a blending
of the two.
Genuine self-concern will gradually mature into
concern for others as one sees that others are really the
same as oneself.
This is genuine compassion and it is the
most beautiful jewel in the crown of the Buddha’s teaching.