Learning – The Light That Clears Darkness

I actually wanted to talk about wisdom, rather than meditation, but it is sort of interlinked. The wisdom is never gained properly within us without going through meditation. A stable, focusing mind that can focus on one point long enough to have an impact in the individual, that’s really meditation. That is concentrated meditation. But concentrated meditation alone will not do the job. You need analytical mediation. You need to use your intelligence within the meditation. That gets far beyond simply sitting. That’s why meditation is important and the subject on which you are meditating has to be wisdom.

That wisdom is not going to come easily without learning. Traditionally, Tibetan teachings will say, “without hearing.” That doesn’t mean hearing alone. You can learn through conversation, through lectures and teachings. You can learn through talks like this and you can learn by reading too. All of those, all different ways of learning are meant here. Learning is the light that will clear the darkness within our mind.

This is very interesting. Learning has so many wonderful qualities. It is our best wealth. Traditional teachings call it the wealth that no one can steal from you, either by force or cheating or stealing. No one can take it away from you. My generation has come through so many communist effects. There are lots of forceful ways of taking everything from you, your house, land and everything. All your belongings are forcefully taken. The learning, the knowledge, is something they couldn’t take. I came as a penny-less refugee in 1959, but whatever I learned as kid in the great monastery of Tibet or whatever, gifted information or knowledge I had, no one took it. It is still with me here, even after all these years. There is one thief called forgetting, and that may take it one day. Other than that, no one can take it. That is one of the qualities of knowledge.

It is also one of the best friends. Normally, many friends will let you down when you are going down, when you become poor, penny-less. Many friends will avoid you. Even very close friends will give you an interesting talk and let you go away – good-bye to you. They will almost tell you, “If you leave town tomorrow, come and have dinner with me the day after tomorrow,” that’s the sort of thing they do. They avoid you, they try not to see you and not have contact with you. They almost want nothing to do with you. You become a danger for them, a liability, so the friendship is gone, because you are going down.

Learning and knowledge will never let you down. It always goes with you, no matter if you are going down or up or wherever you are, it’s there. It is only a matter for you to be able to utilize it. There is no point to put all your knowledge in a storage room and never look it up, or put it on a brain chip and never look it up. Then it becomes useless. But if you utilize it, there are always suggestions, advice, information. So that’s why very well educated people, no matter how poor or weak they become, they always have a little better way of functioning in their life. That’s because of this learning.

This is also the best weapon you have, the weapon that destroys your enemies, like hatred or anger. The best weapon to cut them is your knowledge, your information, your understanding. Many of the delusions are fear-based, exaggerated things. Your knowledge, your learning, will give you properly balanced adjustments of how much is exaggerated, how much is reality. That balance it can give you. That balance is the best weapon to protect yourself from those fears as well as cut hatred. Understanding, being able to balance, being able to clarify how much is exaggerated propaganda, etc, and how much is reality. Even if you don’t say anything, you know where you are standing, how much it really is. That is cutting fear as well as hatred too. Understanding of love, of compassion, will begin to touch and challenge your hatred. These are the qualities of wisdom, of learning. That’s what I am talking about.

Then it is also your best friend. It is the friend who will not let you down, who always has good suggestions, who always has ways of doing it. That is learning. That is knowledge.

In addition to that, the most important here is non-hatred, non-attachment and non-ignorance. That’s almost the essence of all the Buddha’s teachings. There is a tremendous amount of Buddha’s teachings. But barebones, bottom line, it will come to three. Some call it “the three pitakas,” and the Tibetans call it “de nö sum,” the three baskets. One basket talks about morality, another talks about wisdom, and the last one about metaphysics and all this. The teachings and the meanings of these three baskets are the three functionings, the three efforts you put in, the effort of morality, of wisdom and of concentration or metaphysical knowledge. These are the three meanings of the three baskets of teaching.

~ Gelek Rimpoche, July 21, 2013


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