Wisdom Takes Effort

Last time I talked about not having attachment and not having hatred. We are sort of real experts on obsession and hatred. We have tremendous experience with hatred, especially after 9-11. It’s hatred along with fear and confusion and then all these terrible things happened for the last decade or so in our life. All this happened because of hatred. It is not necessarily our fault, but the fault of our hatred and their hatred. It becomes so much a struggle for survival for all of us. We try to survive and keep our way of life and just mind our business and we don’t want to have bombs going off and torturing. Similarly, they also. So hatred is a tremendous problem. But I don’t want to talk just this all the time.

Then non-ignorance. This really means wisdom. It’s what we call ‘sherab’ in Tibetan. Sometimes when we say ‘wisdom’ in Buddhist tradition we understand that talks about emptiness. But it is also knowledge and understanding combined with wisdom and that becomes non-ignorance. That means knowledge and that also has what we call ‘gifted’ knowledge, without putting much effort in, maybe no effort. Somehow knowledge is within you. We call that ‘gifted’, right? The tradition where I come from calls it ‘get hob’ – you are born with it, you have brought it with you. You have not forgotten that when you changed lives. You brought it with you. With a few conditions and almost no effort the individual has the capacity and understanding and that is being born with knowledge or being gifted.

The other type of knowledge comes from putting in efforts, like learning. Particularly, where I come from, the learning is divided into three categories: getting the information, analyzing it and meditating on it. So you get sort of three steps. Before you meditate or analyze anything you need to know something about the subject, like in this case wisdom. So you need to know something about wisdom. Without knowing anything about wisdom, you can just sit down alone and that is not really meditation.

I was talking with somebody while driving two days ago and that person was telling me that in the beginning they used to sit down and just say OM, that usual chanting. OM as mantra is the beginning of the mantra as well as the essence of mantra and it is known as jewel mantra. From the mantra point of view it is great, but from the meditative mind point of view you are probably focusing on the sound – that much. Since it is mantra and you are producing the sound and meditating it may help a little bit. Otherwise it doesn’t really do much. There are many people who just sit down and think nothing and call that meditation. Really, you have to know the meditation, what you are going to meditate on, the subject you are going to meditate on.

In this case it is wisdom. You have to learn something about wisdom. We call this knowledge the knowledge that follows learning. In Tibetan we say ‘thö jung’ or ‘thö pa.’ In other words what you gain by learning. That information is actually the first step. And then you have to analyze. That’s the second step. You have to be very familiar with the subject, even before you meditate. In one way this is part of meditation, but to really make it effective for the individual it is necessary to learn about it, then think about it and get familiar with it and then focus – these three steps.

You learn, ponder on it and then meditate. Without subject, just sitting down will simply give you mental relaxation. Of course it will be very helpful, particularly if you have a physical condition, such as high blood pressure. If you give a little time for yourself, then it reduces. We all know that from our own experience. But that is not the purpose of meditation. The purpose is cutting down and eradicating negative emotions, such as anger, hatred, ignorance. That cannot be done by simply sitting or simply counting your breath, in and out through the nostril and focusing on the physical sensation and all that. I am not criticizing that, okay. They are good meditations. But when you are really looking spiritually, overcoming your negativities and negative emotions, you need to use methods a little better than that. The weapon you are using as tremendous capacity. It can do wonders. As a matter of fact it, is the most powerful weapon. If you utilize it properly, it is stronger than atomic bombs. It can destroy the negative emotions and their consequences and suffering – totally.

But if you play with it, then sometimes it can be dangerous, like a little child playing with dangerous toys. It can be dangerous. It can be. But you are not utilizing the full value. It is almost like me. I have toys like iPhones and iPads and so on and even a computer, but I can’t use their full capacity. For me it is almost good enough to have the old-fashioned phone and just pick it up and dial the number and talk. That much I can utilize it. That’s my limitation, not that of the iPhone or iPad. Just like that, when we are utilizing the powerful tool of meditation, simply thinking nothing and sitting, that’s almost like you don’t know how to use your gadgets and yet fooling around with them. That’s like me using my iPad. That’s how I see it. So it is better to use it to capacity. We have only this one weapon against the negative emotions and their consequences and that is meditation.

~ Gelek Rimpoche, Jewel Heart Netherlands, May 12, 2013

Posted on Monday, May 13th, 2019

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