Wisdom is a virtuous mind that functions mainly to dispel doubt and confusion by understanding its object thoroughly. Normally we think of wisdom in terms of the wisdom understanding emptiness because in many ways it is the most important wisdom. But in this context, wisdom also refers to conventional wisdoms. Every Dharma mind, from a certain point of view, is a conventional wisdom. But normally, we talk about the following conventional wisdoms: the wisdom understanding the laws of cause and effect, great wisdom, clear wisdom, quick wisdom, profound wisdom, the wisdom of expounding Dharma, the wisdom of spiritual debate and the wisdom of composing Dharma books. The wisdom understanding the laws of cause and effect are understanding the teachings on karma in such a way that we live our lives in accordance with these laws. Great wisdom is knowing which objects are to be abandoned and which objects are to be attained. Clear wisdom enables us to understand clearly subtle characteristics of objects or teachings. Quick wisdom is whenever doubts or misunderstandings of the Dharma arise we are able to dispel them quickly by understanding the subject quickly. Profound wisdom is being able to understand the profound meaning of the scriptures without difficulty. The wisdom of expounding Dharma is the ability to teach the Dharma in such a way that others accept them and put them into practice. The wisdom of spiritual debate is the ability to skillfully dispel the views contrary to Dharma. And the wisdom of composing Dharma books is the ability to write authentic Dharma books that are perfectly reliable (in other words, NOT blogs!!! All of these posts are my random babblings, the reality is I just love the Dharma and since I don’t have many people to discuss it with, I discuss it with all of you out there in cyberspace!).
The perfection of wisdom is any wisdom practiced with a bodhichitta motivation. So how does wisdom enable us to attain enlightenment? Conventional wisdoms help us to maximize the karmic benefit we can derive from our virtuous intentions and the ultimate wisdom realizing emptiness purifies all of our contaminated karma, our delusions and their imprints. The entire Kadampa path is, by nature, a wisdom path because we are the wisdom tradition of Je Tsongkhapa. Wisdom creates the causes to attain the enlightened omniscient mind of a Buddha. This is our most important attainment.
The ultimate perfection of wisdom is training in any wisdom combined with an understanding of emptiness. It is beneficial to enumerate specifically what this means. The wisdom realizing emptiness is a wisdom, but then this too has an emptiness, so realizing the emptiness of realizing emptiness. The conventional wisdoms each take on a new meaning when combined with emptiness. Understanding the laws of karma in the context of emptiness brings us to the unions of the vast and profound path. Understanding great wisdom in the context of emptiness is really about understanding how to engage in each of the stages of the path combined with an understanding of emptiness (something this series of posts has attempted to do). Understanding clear wisdom in the context of emptiness enables us to understand clearly the relationship between subtle conventional truth and subtle levels of the wisdom realizing emptiness. Understanding quick wisdom in the context of emptiness enables us to jump immediately to the definitive reason establishing the reliability of every practice of Dharma. Understanding profound wisdom in the context of emptiness enables us to understand every subject all the way to its ultimate understanding. Understanding the wisdom of expounding Dharma combined with an understanding of emptiness enables the teacher to realize the emptiness of the three spheres of teacher, teaching and student while simultaneously giving teachings. Understanding the wisdom of spiritual debate in the context of emptiness enables the bodhisattva to realize the emptiness of the three spheres of our own understanding, the subject being misunderstanding by the other person, and the other person’s misunderstanding simultaneously while engaging in debate. Understanding the wisdom of composing Dharma books in the context of emptiness enables the author to realize the emptiness of the three spheres of author, book and reader while simultaneously writing the book These wisdoms are absolutely astounding, when you think about them, especially these last three!
It is also useful to understand the karmic effects of wisdom – what does wisdom produce? We have all of the conventional wisdom as described above. These essentially synthesize down into bodhichitta. When the wisdom realizing emptiness is realized in the context of bodhichitta it produces the effect of full enlightenment. When the wisdom realizing emptiness is realized in the context of renunciation, or the wish for individual liberation, it produces the effect of liberation. When the wisdom realizing emptiness is realized in the context of generation stage tantra it produces the effect of becoming the deity of generation stage. When the wisdom realizing emptiness is realized in the context of completion stage tantra it produces the effect of attaining meaning clear light and the Truth Body of a Buddha. When we understand all of this, we realize the importance of studying the entire vast path in the context of the profound path, as we do within the Kadampa tradition.
Finally, it is quite amazing to consider the relationship between guru and disciple in the context of emptiness. When the sun of my faith shines on the Snow Mountain of my Spiritual Guide, the snow of his blessings melts and flows down into my mind. This is the meaning of the symbol for the NKT. Our faith combined with emptiness literally opens the door of our mind by removing the obstructions between our mind, the relationship with the guru, and the mind of the guru. This then enables the snows of the Guru’s own realizations to melt and flow down directly into our own mind, thus transferring his realizations and wisdoms into our own mind. When we understand this, then we will be very motivated to make faith in the wisdom Buddha Guru Je Tsongkhapa our main practice. This is what our Guru has revealed to us to be our main practice by only admitting himself to having this one realization (namely, this faith).