Knowledge and Wisdom

There is a difference between knowledge and wisdom.
Accumulating facts and ideas and so on is knowledge.
Understanding this knowledge is wisdom, and is totally
unrelated to whether someone has a lot of book learned
knowledge or a little. It is as mistaken to assume a scholar
could not have realized as it is to believe a ‘dullard’
as in the Joseph Goldstein story, or someone like Hastamalaka
could not have realized. Each have their own
advantages and disadvantages along the way, their own
salvation to diligently work out.

The ‘unlearning’ that people like Idries Shah talk about
does not mean to become an intellectual jelly, with mush
for brains. He was rather intelligent himself, and very
learned. As was Rumi, and Hafiz and many others. The
challenge for those blessed with intelligence is to utilize
it in a way which helps and not hinders spiritual realization,
to let go of the idea that intelligence will necessarily help
them, or makes them superior. But nor is it wise to look down
on the learned and intelligent and judge them as having only
accumulated useless knowledge. Hafiz himself could recite
the entire Qur’an, and we really are way off when we find
ourselves judging the spiritual state of others.

Something else to ponder on this topic: if there were not
people who devoted their lives to learning, to accumulating
knowledge, we would not have the Bible, the Qu’ran,
the Buddhist scriptures and may other spiritual works. We
would know nothing of the life of Jesus or the Prophet or
Buddha, as these were all memorized by scholars and
written down at a much later time, often hundreds of years
later.
I leave you with the idea that if we are feeling superior
about something, such as judging for ourselves that if
someone is knowledgeable they are per se unrealized, we may
like to open our minds a little, and allow for another
possibility. We could at least suspend judgement, as
judging others is usually a much less fruitful use of
our time than our own practice can be in helping us to
see we are off. And when we do this we are no different
to the intelligent brothers who dismiss the dullard in the
Goldstein story – just doing the same thing in reverse.

With much metta to those who are intelligent, those who
are not, those who are learned, those who are not, and
those who see no difference between the two and those
who do!

Gill Washington

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