Wisdom from text

Theravāda in the 21st century - modern applications of ancient wisdom

Wisdom from text

Postby unspoken » Tue Sep 21, 2010 5:36 pm

Is it true that if you interpret and learn a lot of suttas and slowly you will gain wisdom? Or solve most of the thing with text? Because I have a friend says that true wisdom is observing the world but not text. Text could die while world won't. But I found he's not so true at all as I see most of the members in Dhamma Wheel know a lot of suttas and almost every post use suttas to solve problems. So basically using text as answers or suggest any books will be wise?
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Re: Wisdom from text

Postby Reductor » Tue Sep 21, 2010 6:00 pm

If you wish to progress you need proper instruction and plenty of time observing the world. To get instruction (by text or from a teacher) but not observe the world will lead to a lot of dhamma views that fail to reduce suffering. But to observe the world and not study text, or get proper instruction from a teacher, will lead to a lot of non-dhamma views that also fail to reduce suffering.

It is only by study and instruction that you will be able to make sense of your observations, and only by thinking of your observations when you are studying that you will understand what the study is actually telling you.

:anjali:
Michael

The thoughts I've expressed in the above post are carefully considered and offered in good faith.

And friendliness towards the world is happiness for him who is forbearing with living beings. -- Ud. 2:1
To his own ruin the fool gains knowledge, for it cleaves his head and destroys his innate goodness. -- Dhp 72

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Re: Wisdom from text

Postby beeblebrox » Tue Sep 21, 2010 6:20 pm

unspoken wrote:Is it true that if you interpret and learn a lot of suttas and slowly you will gain wisdom? Or solve most of the thing with text? Because I have a friend says that true wisdom is observing the world but not text. Text could die while world won't. But I found he's not so true at all as I see most of the members in Dhamma Wheel know a lot of suttas and almost every post use suttas to solve problems. So basically using text as answers or suggest any books will be wise?


Well... yes and no. The text is good for pointing you (or other people) in the right direction, but ultimately, your own understanding of these text will have to be based on your own real-world experiences.

The more you're pointed in a direction by a text, the more your experience will deepen in that direction... and then the more your experience deepens, the more your own understanding of that text will deepen, and that will deepen your experience some more, and so on.

Also, I think the text is very helpful in that it gives you a common ground to discuss your own experiences with other people. If there were no text, then you will have to invent new words, system, etc., and then convince other people the merit of your own system. That will make it more difficult for you to share your experiences, or teach other people about your experiences.

So... I think it's a good thing that there are suttas already written down. :tongue: They make it easier.
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Re: Wisdom from text

Postby Viscid » Tue Sep 21, 2010 6:53 pm

Aristotle divided wisdom up into Sophia and Phronesis.

Sophia is (what I believe) we get from reading texts from Wisdom traditions including the Suttas; generalized wisdom which we can reflect on to guide our actions in a situation for the most wholesome result.

Phronesis is what we gain when we act and observe the (hopefully successful, wholesome) result. We see just how we can apply the ideals and methods we've learned from the text practically. You can't gain Phronesis simply from reading the texts; you have the go through the motions of their application. When we gain phronesis, we know from that point on what to do if a similar situation arose again.
"What holds attention determines action." - William James
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Re: Wisdom from text

Postby unspoken » Wed Sep 22, 2010 1:49 pm

Thanks for all your great answers


May you all be able to be well and happy always~
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Re: Wisdom from text

Postby Ytrog » Wed Sep 22, 2010 3:25 pm

I've read somewhere that there are three stages to learn something:
  1. Hearing/reading about something
  2. Reflecting upon it to see if it seems reasonable and sound
  3. Experiencing it

I don't know the source at the moment, so if anyone can tell me where this comes from I'll be grateful :anjali:
Suffering is asking from life what it can never give you.


mindfulness, bliss and beyond (page 8) wrote:Do not linger on the past. Do not keep carrying around coffins full of dead moments


If you see any unskillful speech (or other action) from me let me know, so I can learn from it.
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