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Inner wisdom and truthfulness

JeroenJeroen Do it with a smileNetherlands Veteran

I had a chat with my uncle the other day, and he presented me with a poem which he had written, as dictated by his inner guide. In it he basically encourages the reader not to fill their minds with the words of others, but to go searching for their own inner wisdom, and to hold that in esteem.

This poem raised in me a few reactions. First of all, the inner wisdom I have encountered has been filled with illusions and double talk, it hasn’t seemed particularly wise. Second, wisdom seems to be gained from the outside world, so to assume you already have wisdom seems a little premature. Third, having an inner guide seems a bit subject to confusion and delusion, it requires a lot of practice to distinguish the worthwhile from the downright funky.

Would you put faith in an inner guide if you came across one? Or is the concept too new-age for you? What do you think of your inner wisdom?

Comments

  • dramaqueendramaqueen USA Explorer

    @Kerome said:
    I had a chat with my uncle the other day, and he presented me with a poem which he had written, as dictated by his inner guide. In it he basically encourages the reader not to fill their minds with the words of others, but to go searching for their own inner wisdom, and to hold that in esteem.

    The Buddha:

    1. "What do you think, Kalamas? Does greed appear in a man for his benefit or harm?" -- "For his harm, venerable sir." -- "Kalamas, being given to greed, and being overwhelmed and vanquished mentally by greed, this man takes life, steals, commits adultery, and tells lies; he prompts another too, to do likewise. Will that be long for his harm and ill?" -- "Yes, venerable sir."

    2. "What do you think, Kalamas? Does hate appear in a man for his benefit or harm?" -- "For his harm, venerable sir." -- "Kalamas, being given to hate, and being overwhelmed and vanquished mentally by hate, this man takes life, steals, commits adultery, and tells lies; he prompts another too, to do likewise. Will that be long for his harm and ill?" -- "Yes, venerable sir."

    3. "What do you think, Kalamas? Does delusion appear in a man for his benefit or harm?" -- "For his harm, venerable sir." -- "Kalamas, being given to delusion, and being overwhelmed and vanquished mentally by delusion, this man takes life, steals, commits adultery, and tells lies; he prompts another too, to do likewise. Will that be long for his harm and ill?" -- "Yes, venerable sir."

    4. "What do you think, Kalamas? Are these things good or bad?" -- "Bad, venerable sir" -- "Blamable or not blamable?" -- "Blamable, venerable sir." -- "Censured or praised by the wise?" -- "Censured, venerable sir." -- "Undertaken and observed, do these things lead to harm and ill, or not? Or how does it strike you?" -- "Undertaken and observed, these things lead to harm and ill. Thus it strikes us here."

    5. "Therefore, did we say, Kalamas, what was said thus, 'Come Kalamas. Do not go upon what has been acquired by repeated hearing; nor upon tradition; nor upon rumor; nor upon what is in a scripture; nor upon surmise; nor upon an axiom; nor upon specious reasoning; nor upon a bias towards a notion that has been pondered over; nor upon another's seeming ability; nor upon the consideration, "The monk is our teacher." Kalamas, when you yourselves know: "These things are bad; these things are blamable; these things are censured by the wise; undertaken and observed, these things lead to harm and ill," abandon them.'

    The Criterion for Acceptance

    1. "Come, Kalamas. Do not go upon what has been acquired by repeated hearing; nor upon tradition; nor upon rumor; nor upon what is in a scripture; nor upon surmise; nor upon an axiom; nor upon specious reasoning; nor upon a bias towards a notion that has been pondered over; nor upon another's seeming ability; nor upon the consideration, 'The monk is our teacher.' Kalamas, when you yourselves know: 'These things are good; these things are not blamable; these things are praised by the wise; undertaken and observed, these things lead to benefit and happiness,' enter on and abide in them.
  • dramaqueendramaqueen USA Explorer

    @Kerome said:

    This poem raised in me a few reactions. First of all, the inner wisdom I have encountered has been filled with illusions and double talk, it hasn’t seemed particularly wise. Second, wisdom seems to be gained from the outside world, so to assume you already have wisdom seems a little premature. Third, having an inner guide seems a bit subject to confusion and delusion, it requires a lot of practice to distinguish the worthwhile from the downright funky.

    Would you put faith in an inner guide if you came across one? Or is the concept too new-age for you? What do you think of your inner wisdom?

    Your inner wisdom is silent, so first, you would have to practice to know this outcome.

    When you say that you see the illusions, that is when practice is key. Practice furthers.

    Buddhism is a pragmatic, realistic and true system of guidance.

    In The Four Noble Truths you have everything you need to attain wisdom of the limitless type.

    Best wishes,

    DQ

    Choephal
  • JeroenJeroen Do it with a smile Netherlands Veteran

    After some thought I concluded wisdom ripens through life experience first and introspection second. But it’s hard to do enough introspection to really bring out the best of yourself.

  • DavidDavid A human residing in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Ancestral territory of the Erie, Haudenosaunee, Huron-Wendat, Mississauga and Neutral First Nations Veteran

    @dramaqueen said:

    @Kerome said:
    I had a chat with my uncle the other day, and he presented me with a poem which he had written, as dictated by his inner guide. In it he basically encourages the reader not to fill their minds with the words of others, but to go searching for their own inner wisdom, and to hold that in esteem.

    The Buddha:

    1. "What do you think, Kalamas? Does greed appear in a man for his benefit or harm?" -- "For his harm, venerable sir." -- "Kalamas, being given to greed, and being overwhelmed and vanquished mentally by greed, this man takes life, steals, commits adultery, and tells lies; he prompts another too, to do likewise. Will that be long for his harm and ill?" -- "Yes, venerable sir."

    2. "What do you think, Kalamas? Does hate appear in a man for his benefit or harm?" -- "For his harm, venerable sir." -- "Kalamas, being given to hate, and being overwhelmed and vanquished mentally by hate, this man takes life, steals, commits adultery, and tells lies; he prompts another too, to do likewise. Will that be long for his harm and ill?" -- "Yes, venerable sir."

    3. "What do you think, Kalamas? Does delusion appear in a man for his benefit or harm?" -- "For his harm, venerable sir." -- "Kalamas, being given to delusion, and being overwhelmed and vanquished mentally by delusion, this man takes life, steals, commits adultery, and tells lies; he prompts another too, to do likewise. Will that be long for his harm and ill?" -- "Yes, venerable sir."

    4. "What do you think, Kalamas? Are these things good or bad?" -- "Bad, venerable sir" -- "Blamable or not blamable?" -- "Blamable, venerable sir." -- "Censured or praised by the wise?" -- "Censured, venerable sir." -- "Undertaken and observed, do these things lead to harm and ill, or not? Or how does it strike you?" -- "Undertaken and observed, these things lead to harm and ill. Thus it strikes us here."

    5. "Therefore, did we say, Kalamas, what was said thus, 'Come Kalamas. Do not go upon what has been acquired by repeated hearing; nor upon tradition; nor upon rumor; nor upon what is in a scripture; nor upon surmise; nor upon an axiom; nor upon specious reasoning; nor upon a bias towards a notion that has been pondered over; nor upon another's seeming ability; nor upon the consideration, "The monk is our teacher." Kalamas, when you yourselves know: "These things are bad; these things are blamable; these things are censured by the wise; undertaken and observed, these things lead to harm and ill," abandon them.'

      The Criterion for Acceptance

    6. "Come, Kalamas. Do not go upon what has been acquired by repeated hearing; nor upon tradition; nor upon rumor; nor upon what is in a scripture; nor upon surmise; nor upon an axiom; nor upon specious reasoning; nor upon a bias towards a notion that has been pondered over; nor upon another's seeming ability; nor upon the consideration, 'The monk is our teacher.' Kalamas, when you yourselves know: 'These things are good; these things are not blamable; these things are praised by the wise; undertaken and observed, these things lead to benefit and happiness,' enter on and abide in them.

    Wow. I was just thinking of starting a thread on the Kalama (Kesamutti) Sutta.

    dramaqueen
  • JeroenJeroen Do it with a smile Netherlands Veteran

    We can always do with more discussion of the Kalama Sutra, I think it’s one of the greats.

  • ChoephalChoephal UK Veteran

    Something to remember with the Kalama Sutta is that it is a rare example of the Buddha teaching non followers. The Kalamas were followers of another teacher, that is the context of his remarks.
    The exhortation not to follow tramline thinking need to be understood in that light.
    We are told that at the end of the discourse the Kalamas became followers of Shakyamuni. Our modern retelling of the narrative tends to downplay that aspect so that it becomes only a plea for freethinking, but that only part of what was happening.

    dramaqueen
  • dramaqueendramaqueen USA Explorer

    @Kerome said:
    After some thought I concluded wisdom ripens through life experience first and introspection second. But it’s hard to do enough introspection to really bring out the best of yourself.

    That would be different to the Buddha's teachings, but it's an understandable thought process.

    Choephal
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    Ah Wisdom/Manjushri, one of my favourite fantasy Buddhas ...

    Wisdom is Ignorance ... wait ... isn't it samsara is nirvana ... wait ... almost got it ...

    Wisdom is Void! In other words the spoken wisdom is unspoked.

    dramaqueen
  • FosdickFosdick in its eye are mirrored far off mountains Alaska, USA Veteran

    What do you think of your inner wisdom?

    Not much - the fellow has a very poor track record. But on the other hand, he's proven himself very useful in times of high stress when all else has failed.

    lobster
  • ChoephalChoephal UK Veteran

    @dramaqueen said:

    @Kerome said:
    After some thought I concluded wisdom ripens through life experience first and introspection second. But it’s hard to do enough introspection to really bring out the best of yourself.

    That would be different to the Buddha's teachings, but it's an understandable thought process.

    Indeed. I think the consensus in most Buddhist traditions is that we might have Buddha Nature, but it tales a lot of skillful means to reliably realise it. And it takes a lot of blood, sweat, and tears to be effortless.

    lobster
  • dramaqueendramaqueen USA Explorer

    @Choephal said:

    @dramaqueen said:

    @Kerome said:
    After some thought I concluded wisdom ripens through life experience first and introspection second. But it’s hard to do enough introspection to really bring out the best of yourself.

    That would be different to the Buddha's teachings, but it's an understandable thought process.

    Indeed. I think the consensus in most Buddhist traditions is that we might have Buddha Nature, but it tales a lot of skillful means to reliably realise it. And it takes a lot of blood, sweat, and tears to be effortless.

    Yes - it is equivalent to working on the vessel versus just mixing its contents.

    lobsterChoephal
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    The phrase "Inner" guide often ensnares the unwary when automatically equated with wisdom

    for what better limits wisdom's presence than an identity defined in terms of an inner and outer experience.

    Are we inside out? I knew it!
    As above, so bellow below.

    In my opinion (trying to give them up in the interests of wisdom) we are wise when not being wise/clever/Buddhish etc.

    What is left?

    Bingo Buddha!

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