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Knowledge can be Conveyed, but not Wisdom

--by Herman Hesse (May 15, 2017)



Look, my dear Govinda, this is one of my thoughts, which I have found: wisdom cannot be passed on.  Wisdom which a wise man tries to pass on to someone always sounds like foolishness."

"Are you kidding?" asked Govinda. "I'm not kidding. I'm telling you what I've found. Knowledge can be conveyed, but not wisdom. It can be found, it can be lived, it is possible to be carried by it, miracles can be performed with it, but it cannot be expressed in words and taught. This was what I, even as a young man, sometimes suspected, what has driven me away from the teachers.

I have found a thought, Govinda, which you'll again regard as a joke or foolishness, but which is my best thought. It says: The opposite of every truth is just as true! That's like this: any truth can only be expressed and put into words when it is one−sided.

Everything is one−sided which can be thought with thoughts and said with words, it's all one−sided, all just one half, all lacks completeness, roundness, oneness. When the Buddha spoke in his teachings of the world, he had to divide it into Sansara and Nirvana, into deception and truth, into suffering and salvation. It cannot be done differently, there is no other way for him who wants to teach. But the world itself, what exists around us and inside of us, is never one−sided. A person or an act is never entirely Sansara or entirely Nirvana, a person is never entirely holy or entirely sinful. It does really seem like this, because we are subject to deception, as if time was something real. Time is not real, Govinda, I have experienced this often and often again. And if time is not real, then the gap which seems to be between the world and the eternity, between suffering and blissfulness, between evil and good, is also a deception." [...]

"Here on this ferry boat, for instance, a man has been my predecessor and teacher, a holy man, who has for many years simply believed in the river, nothing else. He had noticed that the river spoke to him, he learned from it, it educated and taught him, the river seemed to be a god to him, for many years he did not know that every wind, every cloud, every bird, every beetle was just as divine and knows just as much and can teach just as much as the worshipped river. But when this holy man went into the forests, he knew everything, knew more than you and me, without teachers, without books, only because he had believed in the river."
 

Excerpted from Herman Hesse's Siddhartha, Ch 12: Govinda.

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On May 13, 2017 david doane wrote:

 We live in a reality that is dualistic.  Our thoughts and words are part of that dualistic reality and we think and talk in terms of either-or, this or that, which is one-sided.  We don't live in a unitive reality in which we would think and talk wholistically.  Multi-sided full reality is experienced wholistically, which is more than thought with thoughts and said with words.  A wise man once told me that the opposite of a truth was also just as true, and I've been growing into that truth ever since.  I've learned to look in the opposite direction, which is the other side or the rest of the whole, and when I do it opens up more of the truth to me.  I also remind myself of Oscar Wilde's wisdom that nothing worth knowing can be taught.  Wisdom is learned, and it's learned through lived experience, not through intellectual instruction.  Knowing that helps me value wisdom through living over knowledge through cognitive transfer. 



On May 14, 2017 Jagdish P Dave wrote:

 Knowledge and wisdom are different. Knowledge is acquired, knowledge is taught. With knowledge, we become knowledgeable. Such acquired knowledge of what is, what is real, is dualistic.It is one-sided. It is not holistic. Realization emerging from one's experience is holistic. Reality is one. It is not two It is not divided into two-one against the other.

Wisdom dawns upon us when the mind is still and quiet. As Thomas Merton says, " Silence is the mother of Truth....My silence is my salvation." " Be still and know that I am God." -Psalm. " Stillness is also inner peace, and that stillness and peace are the essence of your Being."- Eckhart Tolle. Such stillness makes me aware of my conditioned consciousness and mental commentary which has a dualistic sense of reality. Stillness makes me grounded in presence and frees me from the clouds generated by the conditioned consciousness. Such a shift in consciousness helps me in making wise choices. The mind that is free from conditioning is a creative mind and a wise mind.We need to be liberated form the conditioned mind which creates and perpetuates me against you mindset, a narrow perspective of reality and existence.

Living mindfully everyday in all walks of my life has has opened the door of wisdom in my life. It has expanded my mind and enriched my heart.The journey of life has become a pilgrimage and I  deeply feel grateful for receiving such a grace.

Namaste.

Jagdish P Dave






On May 15, 2017 Renjitham wrote:
when we spend time reflecting we can get closer to wisdom. when we rush around from one thing to another and not be in the present, we lose so much. wisdom is knowing that you can make mistakes and making decisions anyway. things are true or false in our minds, the way we color our pictures. i think people feel like they may need a simpler way to live so the black and white is clear yet we know that we live the most in all the complexities that surround us in all our relationships including our relating to nature and animals and the earth.
 

On May 16, 2017 Jyoti wrote:

 I write a lot and never cared to share it unless it was pried out of me by invitation or otherwise, mostly because as soon as it was written, it felt worthless to me. Sometimes I wrote just because I needed to get myself to the otherside of where I was and writing helped me get there. I am getting better at sharing what I write for pronouncing it worthless is also a judgment that I am ready to let go of. Let it flow - as is. One sided or Duality. Words or Silence in between words that renders them intelligible. 



On May 16, 2017 Ricardo Martin wrote:

 Reality in our minds is the result of a cognitive process, and when people talk about objective facts, they are only talking about the commonly accepted. The reality out there is so deep in its nature that we can dive for a lifetime in a minute particle of matter and still not now it in all its extension and complexity.
Knowledge in this respect is the road that we have covered in the process of discovering reality.
Wisdom is the result of travelling this road and accepting that the road never ends. The wiser discover this sooner, the foolish never realize. 
Most of us come to grips with this "reality" as we age.



On May 16, 2017 carol Ruth Silver wrote:

Until my grandsons reached an age of reason I thought that I was giving them something useful, imparting wisdom.  But now I realize that all my efforts were an attempt only to impart knowledge, which from me they discount.  How can I help them to find wisdom? Silence is not the answer, because the roar of others is so loud, often with evil and banal content. Perhaps by exemplary conduct?  Look at me, I can say.  But will they see, hear, speak? Only in dialog does new truth, new insight emerge.  And perhaps wisdom.  



On May 16, 2017 Venkhat wrote:

 Knowledge is what we gather from the outside. For Wisdom you have to go within. 



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On May 16, 2017 Jo wrote:

 Amen!



On May 20, 2017 Cheryl rose wrote:

I appreciated your post about Oscar Wilde and the sentence about truth. Thanks for sharing that.



On May 20, 2017 Cheryl rose wrote:

A spiritual teacher once told me that when we write things down we stop the process. Writing comes from the left brain and processing from the right. Maybe when you read what you wrote, you are reacting to the complexity that didn't get brought out.  Perhaps allow the emotion around whatever you are wanting to write down to circle around a bit longer.  Then the other part of teacher's recommendation, write as few words as possible.  Try to see if yu can distill into once sentence the overall meaning.



On May 20, 2017 Cheryl rose wrote:

I don't know the age of your grandsons, but the brain does not reach it's fully functioning maturity until the early twenties. Prior to that education is teaching the brain to retain and regurgitate learning.  Also there is an aspect of "truth doesn't transfer". What is significant to you may be meaningless to them.  With my own grandchild, I try to ask how they perceive a story or experience and share how I do, then hopefully a dialog ensues and they at least learn to express their beliefs and entertain yours.



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