After a decade or more years of studying the dhamma, I think I have gained an awful lot of knowledge. I certainly know a lot of Pali and Sanskrit words, and I am familiar with many discourses and sutta’s. I even know a little bit of chanting, and speak a little bit of Sinhalese (Sri Lankan language).
But thanks to an enlightening talk by Bhante Sanyatha of Blue Lotus Temple yesterday, I realize that I have very little wisdom.
Wisdom, as I understand it, comes from the engagement of the teachings in day-to-day life. I can continue reading and learning all I want, but if this is not engaged in action, then what use is it?
One glaring example that keeps showing up for me is knowing that desire (Tanha) is the cause of all suffering. I absolutely understand that this is true, but in my daily life I continue to have disturbing emotions because of desire.
As I sat in meditation this morning, I could hear the Wife making noises outside on the deck. My mind got agitated that she was not being quite for me. My chest tightened, breathing became labored, my toes even started to clench up. Why couldn’t she be mindful of my meditation time? Gaining awareness of this, I returned to my breath and attempted to have acceptance and allow this to simply be a backdrop to my meditation.
No sooner had I started to feel my body relax, then my dog started to whine in my ear. Either she wanted a biscuit, or she wanted to go out side with her Momma. Either way, once again my chest tightened, my toes curled, and my breathing became short and tense.
Geez, why can’t the World just be quiet for me so I can have some peace for a little while?
Do you see the lack of wisdom here? Well I sure do!
This whole idea of the World accommodating my wants and needs is simply the most powerful form of desire. And whether I am on or off the cushion, I cannot control anyone or any thing.
So my knowledge is useless here unless I can put it into practice and truly being accepting of the nature of all things.
Those noises during meditation were not disturbing me, my mind was disturbing them!
And I believe this is the same way I need to view all other situations that arise from moment to moment.
If you are angry or sad, I should accept this with compassion. If your anger or sadness upsets me, then clearly my desire to eliminate that is the cause of my suffering. It is not you, or your emotions or words that cause this, but my own lack of wisdom.
I continue to have a strong determination to learn more, and study the dhamma. And I find that Pali words often contain a deeper meaning than their English counterparts, so this too holds my interest.
But now I see that I have perhaps put the cart before the horse here. My knowledge is doing quite well I think, but it’s time to develop some wisdom now.
May you be well, happy and peaceful.