Wednesday, November 15, 2017

"Wisdom" in Nichiren Buddhism (SGI video)

SGI Quarterly, January 2003 (; edited and expanded by Wisdom Quarterly
Is chanting the magical mantra "Nam Myoho Renge Kyo" wise? (©

Bodhi leaf from the Tree of Wisdom
A buddha is characterized as a person of profound wisdom. The idea of wisdom [prajna] is central to Buddhism. But wisdom can be a vague and elusive concept, hard to define and harder to find.

How does one become wise? Is wisdom something that we can actively develop, or must we merely wait to grow wiser as we grow older?

Perhaps it is because wisdom is such an indistinct concept that it has lost value as a relevant ideal in modern society, which has instead come to place great store in information and the attainment of knowledge.

Josei Toda, second president of the Soka Gakkai ["Value Creation Association International," in Japanese, (SGI) a populist form of Nichiren's Mahayana Buddhism], characterized the confusion between knowledge and wisdom as one of the major failings of modern society.

What is SGI? This is an abbreviated version of "Our Shared Humanity"

SGI transforming lives
His critique is starkly demonstrated in the astonishing progress of technology in the last century. 

While scientific and technological development has shown only a mixed record of alleviating human suffering, it has triumphed remarkably in its ability and efficiency in unleashing death and destruction.

Toda likened the relationship between knowledge and wisdom to that between a pump and water. A pump that does not bring forth water (knowledge without wisdom) is of little use.

Wisdom is that which directs knowledge toward good -- toward the creation of value.

This is not to deny the importance of knowledge. But knowledge can be utilized to generate both extreme destructiveness and profound good.

Wisdom is that which directs knowledge toward good -- toward the creation of value.

Buddhist teachings, such as the concept of the five kinds of wisdom, describe and analyze in detail the dynamics of wisdom and how it manifests at different levels of our consciousness. More 

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