4-15-20: Paññā (3 of 5): Decisive Wisdom
2:59PM May 20, 2020
So good morning. And today I'm going to give the third dharmette on the wisdom faculty. And the form of wisdom to be discussed today is what I call decisive wisdom. Wisdom that can make a decision, wisdom that could choose very clearly what to say what to do and also what to do what to how to be with our inner life. So the idea that as we sit and practice and become wise, one of the first things that really helps this process is to develop greater clarity in the mind, to have the ability to be mindful and clearly aware of what's going on. The clearer we can be, the less we're projecting our opinions, our fears, our associations, our, our, you know, all our kind of confusion onto the world. And we can see more clearly what's happening. As we see more clearly, we make distinctions, or I don't know if we make distinctions, we just see more clearly, we differentiate the different details of what's happening in the moment to different parts of it. And that's kind of that's the distinguishing wisdom I talked about yesterday. As we see as we start making more and more distinctions. As we see different differences. We start seeing not only what's skillful and not skillful, what's helpful or not helpful in a moment, but we also start seeing the having a sense understand Ending or the consequences of our actions that we started registering because we're clear and we're tracking what's going on, we notice that when we say x, that the communication lines with other people tends to close down or they become more distant from us. If we say why the communication lines are open, they think that maybe will come forward to participate more. And after a while, we see the differences in how we speak. And that to certain ways has some result and others have a different results. And that seeing that clearly, then allows us to see the choice. Do I say x next time or do I say y? decisive wisdom is the wisdom that knows what's the wise thing to do. based on what's important for us, as we settle and get clear and clear, we also become in touch with our values. And the capacity for freedom, the capacity to be live in a open uncontracted and compulsive kind of way. And so, both we see the consequences of how we speak on the impact that has on others, and we see the consequences how we speak, it has on ourselves. Same thing with our actions, what we do in the world, we start seeing the consequences of it. And, and those consequences as they register in our clarity and our care. We see that as a choice. We can do something that creates health or or dis ease in the in social relationships. We can do things that are supporting and nourishing for our inner life, or do things was actually keep us more kind of agitated or more contracted or caught. As these things are seeing more and more It isn't just that we're supposed to just accept it and see it and allow it. There is a time and place for decisive wisdom to make a decision. The image of that that's used in Mahayana Buddhism is sometimes they talk about the sword of wisdom. Sometimes you want it, you want to use that sword. And, and one of the ways to use it, sometimes you sit with a very clear, decisive No, no, not that. And hopefully we have the wisdom to know when that's actually supportive, useful, even nourishing to do that. And that's sometimes clearest in our own meditation practice. And that's why limit meditations such a great laboratory to start seeing and learning about all these forms of wisdom. If you're sitting in meditation, and you start becoming clear to you, how much you're thinking,
and how much you're thinking the same kinds of thoughts over and over again, After a while, you realize you've had the same thoughts 500 times. And nothing's really changed except the thought is rather mean spirited towards yourself. And here you go, maybe the same thought again and again. And after a while you realize, wait a minute, this thought is not doesn't have a good impact on me. It's not healthy. And there's not much point to repeat the same thought 501 times there's, you know, think changes just kind of going around and around. At some point, the sort of wisdom can come along, and sometimes you say no, enough, very clearly. Sometimes it's like the thinking mind parts of at least for some of us, not for all of you, at times, is like, a little three year old. And I've learned that sometimes three year olds need to have a very decisive No, it was hard for me to come to with my child. Children. But once I learned the right way to say, No, you can't do that, that they became happier. It was kind of like they were pushing the edges to find out where they were saved. And when they heard that, no more of that, then they immediately relaxed and became happy. It was quite impressive to see. And so I think sometimes our mind needs to hear that clear. No, no more of that kind of thinking. Probably will come back. But But then we say use the sword of no yet again, the same way we use. I don't know we maybe we don't call it a sort of yet of Yes. But maybe wisdom has a, a, I don't know. Something very supportive. And sometimes when we do say definitive, yes, yes, this is what I want to do. This is what I want to make my life about. These values, this freedom, this possibility of not being caught in contractions compulsive Yes, this is what I want. This is important. And you know, for some people that Dharma practice is the most important thing in their life. And they say yes to it at the cost of everything else, because this is clearly the most most important. Maybe like an artist who decides that art is the most important. And, and they'll be starving artists. There are Dharma practitioners who become the starving Dharma practitioners, but you know that they really say yes to something. So it's a decisive wisdom, or decisive wisdom or how we speak. Yes, I wouldn't appreciate this person. I want to say, Oh, boy, you've done You've worked hard, and I really appreciate what you've done. And to say yes to that, as opposed to kind of like just, you know, not saying anything, perhaps. So this idea of decisive wisdom comes really clearly into play around what in Buddhism is called the Four Noble Truths. And this is one of the key wisdom teachings of Buddhism. And it involves seeing distinctions involves seeing very clearly, what in Buddhism is called suffering. Very clearly what is the causes that conditions, what contributes to the suffering, and clearly seeing sometimes intuitively at first, and then more and more through experience, that there is that amazing possibility of having suffering and sometimes just in small pieces, it's partial, but it has are getting a sense of, wow, it's not, I'm not locked in, it's not required to suffer so much. There is another way. And then to see the practices that support that possibility, to really see that clearly. And to make it a little bit maybe helpful for people doesn't maybe simplify this four noble truths. It's the statement that if you're, if you're if there's craving, you will suffer.
That craving itself is a form of suffering, the compulsions, that clinging, the resistance, that word craving, kind of as has to do with compulsions, where we don't really have freedom anymore to choose. But with there's a push in pulse pushing compulsion, to say, to speak, to act, and to think certain things that we feel like we're being carried along and we're contracted and caught and, and in a way that causes a lot of suffering. suffering that we're talking about here is not all the ways in which the heart gets broken, all the ways in which we can feel sorrow or sadness or feeling even hurt sometimes. We're talking about Hear is the kind of suffering that arises because we crave because of this compulsivity. And as we start seeing this operating more and more and seeing how our craving, our clinging, our resistance are pushing away our hostility, our greed, our, you know, whatever it is we're holding on to our conceit that we're holding on to. If we're clinging to anything at all, it's going to hurt us. It's, it's going to we're going to suffer and decisive wisdom, distinguishing wisdom sees all that. decisive wisdom says, no more. I'm going to do I'm going to live a different way. This is not for me. I am now going to disavow myself from the investment the commitment the or the the authority I've granted to my craving and my clinging. This is not how I want to live my life. It can be very clear decision doesn't mean that we stopped by any means. But it's a world of difference. To make that shift. It's kind of like the same shift as to really go for refuge. Yes, it's possible to live in a way that is not caught in the grip of attachments and caught in the grip of fear. We're attached to holding onto something. And then seeing the choice as we start seeing the choice, not easy to let go of craving. But as we start seeing the choice that exists. Ah, there it is. I don't have to stay with me at my attachment to drive fast into, you know, rev the cars waiting at a red stop sign, and that's small places of impatience. That's small kinds of cravings. learn to let go. Learn to let go, learn to let go, or learn to recognize the freedom, like learn to recognize the piece that's available. And in a very wise way, we're talking about wisdom here. Wisdom, it's always healthy for us. So that's kind of the caveat. The Wisdom is always healthy, always nourishing. That'd be find a way. decisive wisdom says, No. Maybe with all the love we're capable of all the care. No, I'm not going to crave I'm not going to do that. I'm no longer going to stand behind it or feed it. Or the decisive wisdom says, yes. Yes to being free. Yes to touching into the place inside where I care and love or the world. So decisive wisdom. And then because we're still always doing the distinguishing wisdom, it's really always a check and balance that going on, they will get it using mindfulness to see to understand to feel to experience, when our decisive wisdom is a little bit off, when that sort of wisdom is not really kind or not really supportive, when the know is not really the right way, it's a little bit hostile perhaps, or when they Yes, is too accepting or to complacent or to kind of going along with the status quo in a way that's not healthy for people. So hopefully, these two work together, the distinguishing wisdom that sees clearly and the decisive wisdom that helps us find our way on the path to freedom. May these two forms of wisdom support you guide you and I look forward to continuing these sequence about wisdom tomorrow.