When it comes to the connection between Buddhism and wisdom, it would not be accurate to say that the path to wisdom is found exclusively through Buddhism. However, it would be accurate to say that a life spent practicing Buddhism would make you a wiser person. You would definitely achieve such wisdom to a far greater degree than a lifetime of idle pursuits. That is because many of the processes in Buddhism are found in rather earthen and common thought processes. Namely, Buddhism combines basic logic and common sense with a spiritual dimension.

Some may wonder how such an assessment can be made. They might look at the common icons such as the Buddha statue or the ‘New Age” practice of meditation and assume that Buddhism is far removed from a humanist concept such as logic. This is certainly not an accurate assessment and a closer study of Buddhism will reveal the logical underpinnings of Buddhist theory. Such concepts of wisdom can be found quite clearly in the koans designed to teach Buddhist thought and practice.

Here is an example of how a koan may yield insight into wisdom based thinking:

There are those that might be familiar with the koan of the greedy artist. This koan deals with an artist that was enormously talented and charged a great deal of money for his artwork. People began to resent him because they assumed he was greedy and horded all his money. He lived a lonely life as a result but carried on charging great fees for his artwork. Then, one day and without warning, he retired. Upon retiring people discovered the cause of his greed – he was using all his money to feed the local poor and sick and kept little of his earning for himself. Upon his departure, people realized that their initial impressions of the man were not correct.

Such a tale truly does spell out much of the great essence of wisdom as taught through the theory and practice of Buddhism. Yes, you could discuss such a concept along the lines of ‘do not judge a book by its cover’ but the wisdom presented in such a tale is much deeper than that. It shows the folly people may develop in their creation of impressions. Additionally, it shows the limitations of such impression. As a result, the wisdom of Buddhism seeks its practitioners to be free of bondage and constraint and not attach oneself to preconceived notions and ideas. This can aid in achieving a life free of suffering which brings is to our next point…

One of the main points in Buddhism is found in the Four Noble Truths. In particular, it would be the first noble truth which is that life is suffering. On the surface, many would assume this means that life is terrible and that a cynical outlook on life is necessary. This really is not a form of Buddhist wisdom since possessing a cynical outlook could be considered a form of attachment. No, what life is suffering means is that things sometimes do not go as we planned and the outcomes we desire are not possible all the time. As such, we need to accept and prepare for such occurrences. This will allow us to remain calm in the face of adversity and live a proper life. Again, such wisdom is a form of logic that often escapes us. It is also a type of logic that we cannot arrive at overnight. That is why Buddhism is something that we all must practice daily in order to get the most out of it.

This remains a common theme in the realm of Buddhist wisdom. Just as it may take a lifetime to become enlightened, it may take a lifetime to become completely wise. However, this is a process and not a product. In other words, your wisdom grows through the daily learning of experience. A person that is older and wiser knows not to be too judgmental or that bad things happen in life. But, some people may go through their entire life without ever coming to such basic common sense conclusions. This is because their awareness levels are not where they should be as far as being in tune with themselves and the world. One of the goals of Buddhism is to promote a complete process of wisdom throughout one’s life. Then, there really is no beginning or end. Rather, it is the totality of life experience that will lead to the eventual goal of being a wise person.

This is why philosophical guides such as the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path are so vital. They do provide the needed structure and philosophical process that can aid in becoming a wise person. Processes such as meditation can aid in cultivating the mind to understand such processes on a deeper level. All of this will aid in living a life that results in enhancing wisdom. They will not give you the product of wisdom but they definitely lay the strong foundation for the proper process to follow. That alone may prove to be the missing link for success.

Author's Bio: 

Sylvia Smelcer enjoys learning about Buddhism and prayer beads malas. She owns e-commerce sites relating to Buddhism and in her spare time enjoys reading.