Wisdom - what is it?

Wisdom - what is it?

Wisdom is a much-coveted attribute. We refer to those who are as "the wise ones." We seek advice and opinions from such individuals before making decisions.

But what is wisdom, and why is it such a coveted skill?

Dictionaries define wisdom as "the quality of having experience, knowledge, and good judgement."

There are several concepts embedded in the statement.

Experience is the result of living life and encountering various circumstances and situations, leading to the acquisition of experience.

Knowledge signifies that you gained knowledge through the experience and did not go through it mindlessly.

Using your experience and knowledge to make wise decisions is known as judgement.

Buddhism looks at this differently. They do not equate wisdom with worldly knowledge.

In Buddhism, panna, which means wisdom, is realising or perceiving the true nature of reality. It involves seeing things as they truly are, rather than as they seem.

There are other definitions. Emptying your mind, or sunyata, is a personal, intuitive realisation of the emptiness of phenomena.

These are important distinctions.

We value wisdom greatly in our regular world, and rightly so. Your life could go awry if you kept making unwise decisions. Career choices and marriage are two such examples. 

However, perhaps the most important choice you can make is what you do with the time at your disposal. 

Wisdom, both in the Buddhist sense and in our more commonly accepted sense, would need time. However, time is wonderfully malleable, depending on how you use it.

Let us examine the English sentence once again. The statement "The quality of having experience, knowledge, and good judgement" is the focus of our examination.

So, what are you experiencing? What knowledge are you acquiring that is helping you make good judgements? 

In truth, there is no distinction between what Buddhism is saying and what we covet.

The key is simply where you apply your time to gain experience and knowledge.