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He Who Accumulates Cannot Learn

--by J. Krishnamurti (Apr 02, 2013)


It seems that communion is a very difficult art. To commune with one another over the many problems that we have requires listening and learning, which are both very difficult to do. Most of us hardly listen, and we hardly learn. To commune with each other, which is what these meetings are intended for, requires a certain capacity, a certain way of listening - not merely to gather information, which any schoolboy can do, but rather listening in order to understand. […]

It seems to me of the utmost importance that we do listen in order to learn. Learning is not merely the accumulation of knowledge. Knowledge never brings perception; experience never flowers into the beauty of understanding. Most of us listen with the background of what we know, of what we have experienced. Perhaps you have never noticed the difference between the mind that really learns and the mind that merely accumulates, gathers knowledge. The mind that is accumulating knowledge never learns. It is always translating what it hears in terms of its own experience, in terms of the knowledge which it has gathered; it is caught up in the process of accumulating, of adding to what it already knows, and such a mind is incapable of learning. I do not know if you have noticed this. [...] So it seems to me very important that we commune with each other quietly, in a dignified manner, and for that there must be a listening and a learning.

When you commune with your own heart, when you commune with your friend, when you commune with the skies, with the stars, with the sunset, with a flower, then surely you are listening so as to find out, to learn - which does not mean that you accept or deny. You are learning, and either acceptance or denial of what is being said puts an end to learning. When you commune with the sunset, with a friend, with your wife, with your child, you do not criticize, you do not deny or assert, translate or identify. You are communing, you are learning, you are searching out. From this inquiry comes the movement of learning, which is never accumulative.

I think it is important to understand that a man who accumulates can never learn. Self-learning implies a fresh, eager mind - a mind that is not committed, a mind that does not belong to anything, that is not limited to any particular field. It is only such a mind that learns.


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On Apr 9, 2013 Marie Brozova wrote:

first step: regular meditation, to live in contact with nature, to keep cosmic laws - regulations. Try to  enjoy , experience present moment  and breath....... Who accumulates is not happy, is not free./behind accumulating is fear and Ego/. Soon he is owned by accumulated books, informations and things.......to be happy we need space in our head, heart = innerly and in outside  ........try to keep in harmony body, mind and soul with spirit, in hawaien healing is important to keep in harmony body, nature and akua /creator/, that energy could flow. Thanks to this harmony we have better attitude to "mana" - spiritual energy. Enough spiritual energy means also enough  health - ola, inner happiness.   Learning is important if it ieads to selfknowledge, without selfknowledge we can hardly understand the life and others.........Learning brings us not only broader perception, but also flexibility of mind,. Who is learning without accumula  See full.

first step: regular meditation, to live in contact with nature, to keep cosmic laws - regulations. Try to  enjoy , experience present moment  and breath....... Who accumulates is not happy, is not free./behind accumulating is fear and Ego/. Soon he is owned by accumulated books, informations and things.......to be happy we need space in our head, heart = innerly and in outside  ........try to keep in harmony body, mind and soul with spirit, in hawaien healing is important to keep in harmony body, nature and akua /creator/, that energy could flow. Thanks to this harmony we have better attitude to "mana" - spiritual energy. Enough spiritual energy means also enough  health - ola, inner happiness.   Learning is important if it ieads to selfknowledge, without selfknowledge we can hardly understand the life and others.........Learning brings us not only broader perception, but also flexibility of mind,. Who is learning without accumulating remains all the time  young. Who is not able to learn  is "dead."......... 

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1 reply: Tamxao | Post Your Reply
On Apr 3, 2013 Pratibha wrote:

 After accumulating, whether material or knowledge, one should share.  this benefits both giver and receiver.



2 replies: Carol, Thierry | Post Your Reply
On Apr 3, 2013 Amin wrote:

The last time I was reminded that drama is originally a sacred art is when I saw an interpretation of Shakespeare's King Lear by a troup of Kathakali actor's twenty years ago. I then realized what extraordinary demand was put on these actors and their immense capacity of impersonation. Prior to this experience I had the opportunity to see actual communion between these extraordinary actors and their Indian public. At the end of the representation there were no applause but something like great fervor emanated from the audience.
This is beautiful. But what other sort of drama am I playing on myself when I confuse accumulation of knowledge with learning. When I confuse practical knowledge with the problematic 'knowledge' I have accumulated about myself and 'others'. Does holding on to that knowledge give me the illusion of psychological security? So I am on my toes. I don't sit back and say 'Allelujha', I know all about Truth!



On Apr 2, 2013 aj wrote:

When I was in high school, I enjoyed "acting'  (as in Drama Club).  From day one, up until opening night, of any given production, we learned our character, our words, our music,  how our character related to others in the story, the time period, the mood, the dress, our steps . . . ect. ect. ect.  (This was our required "homework")   Understanding came when "getting INSIDE my character" . . . "communing" with my character.  When the line separating me from my character disappeared, I felt confident the audience would, too, not "see me" but rather the person I played.   The mind that learns, as the article states, truly IS the mind that  "is not committed . . . does not belong to anything . . .  is not limited . . . "  To BECOME someone else (a different "character" on a stage) requires full emptying of self to become that "someone else".       To put oneself 110% into another person's shoes, for any given time  See full.

When I was in high school, I enjoyed "acting'  (as in Drama Club).  From day one, up until opening night, of any given production, we learned our character, our words, our music,  how our character related to others in the story, the time period, the mood, the dress, our steps . . . ect. ect. ect.  (This was our required "homework")   
Understanding came when "getting INSIDE my character" . . . "communing" with my character.  When the line separating me from my character disappeared, I felt confident the audience would, too, not "see me" but rather the person I played.  
The mind that learns, as the article states, truly IS the mind that  "is not committed . . . does not belong to anything . . .  is not limited . . . "  To BECOME someone else (a different "character" on a stage) requires full emptying of self to become that "someone else".      
To put oneself 110% into another person's shoes, for any given time, allows one a profoundly new learning/perspective/understanding .

My favorite idea  from this article:  "In communing, we learn and search out.  From this inquiry comes the movement of learning, which is never accumulative."  

Blessings 

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On Apr 2, 2013 gayathri wrote:

 per my understanding...first comes experience then learning happens (conditions apply..:)) and then knowledge takes birth.  i am unable to understand Jiddu's view when he says - he who accumulates cannot learn.  i believe that one can accumulate 'information' but not 'knowledge'.  knowledge is something like the elements - air, water, light....none can accumulate these elements.  because knowledge is something that happens through experience and learning therefrom....it is something personal and of course it gets impersonalized the moment it is put into some form....say a writing, theory, book etc...now this becomes information which then could be accumulated sans the joy!



On Apr 2, 2013 Bronwyn wrote:

For me, this sums up the importance of being present. For when we are present, we are listening and learning, and not thinking ahead about our contribution



On Apr 2, 2013 smile wrote:

The passage is very important for me, as I consider that I need to learn a lot in communication skills. Few points from the passage were eye openers, as I didn't realize that trying to accumulate and gain, is creating a problem to my learning and listening. Open minded learning is like a child learns , extremely fast, profound and in huge quantity.



On Apr 2, 2013 Thierry wrote:

I don't think this passage deals with factual, objective knowledge as the one needed for daily living like professional learning, professional competence, etc. There experience and thereby knowledge are fully needed. And there experience adds to knowledge and knowledge to efficiency. I think  the author is speaking about quite a different type of knowledge, the kind of knowledge that says: 'I have met this person yesterday she was rude to me' or 'I took this road yesterday I know all about it'. The kind of knowledge that does not really help meeting that same person today or doesn't make that road trip across a beautiful landscape much of an exhilarating experience. The kind of knowledge that diminishes your aliveness as well as that of everybody and everything you happen to encounter in the present.  etc. There is truth in this passage but  I may miss its factuality if I don't take in the psycho  See full.

I don't think this passage deals with factual, objective knowledge as the one needed for daily living like professional learning, professional competence, etc. There experience and thereby knowledge are fully needed. And there experience adds to knowledge and knowledge to efficiency. I think  the author is speaking about quite a different type of knowledge, the kind of knowledge that says: 'I have met this person yesterday she was rude to me' or 'I took this road yesterday I know all about it'. The kind of knowledge that does not really help meeting that same person today or doesn't make that road trip across a beautiful landscape much of an exhilarating experience. The kind of knowledge that diminishes your aliveness as well as that of everybody and everything you happen to encounter in the present.  etc. There is truth in this passage but  I may miss its factuality if I don't take in the psychological factor. My humble point of view.

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On Mar 31, 2013 a wrote:

 When I think of "accumulating" (gathering things up/to collect/amass) I think of "clutter".  To "clutter" up a mind is to keep it from learning.  Since my brain has a "limited capacity", I need to keep it simple/clean/uncluttered.  What knowledge I absolutely have to have, "I store".  What remains (storage),  I like to keep fluid.  Life/people/things, from one moment to another, change/move/grow . . . I want the ability to flow with it (learn).
Sweet read . . . I'll get back to this!
Always Love   
 



On Mar 31, 2013 david doane wrote:

 The difference between learning and accumulating knowledge -- Krishnamurti says it well.  Learning is more than anything being open.  It's having the beginner's mind, seeing what is there and hearing what is being said rather than seeing and hearing my thinking/expectations/assumptions/prejudices.  It's seeing what is rather than imposing my training, preconceived notions, agenda, or belief system.  Accumulating knowledge that gets in the way of learning is holding onto a bit of knowledge while searching through what's presenting to filter out what is not compatible with the knowledge being held onto.  When doing that, a lot gets missed, a lot goes unlearned.  "Acceptance or denial of what is being said puts an end to learning" is a profound statement.  It means to me to simply be with the experience, open, and not do anything with it.  We make the shift by practicing being present, practicing hearing, seeing, smelling, touching what is, a  See full.

 The difference between learning and accumulating knowledge -- Krishnamurti says it well.  Learning is more than anything being open.  It's having the beginner's mind, seeing what is there and hearing what is being said rather than seeing and hearing my thinking/expectations/assumptions/prejudices.  It's seeing what is rather than imposing my training, preconceived notions, agenda, or belief system.  Accumulating knowledge that gets in the way of learning is holding onto a bit of knowledge while searching through what's presenting to filter out what is not compatible with the knowledge being held onto.  When doing that, a lot gets missed, a lot goes unlearned.  "Acceptance or denial of what is being said puts an end to learning" is a profound statement.  It means to me to simply be with the experience, open, and not do anything with it.  We make the shift by practicing being present, practicing hearing, seeing, smelling, touching what is, and keeping our thinking out of it. 

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On Mar 30, 2013 T wrote:

The author addresses the people who have come to attend a talk. A talk not meant to communicate information, satisfy curiosity or  entertain. The talk is about the 'difficult art of communion'. The author says communion can only come about if people are capable to listen and to learn. He says people deny themselves this capacity when their concern is to add further knowledge to what they know or when they are 'caught up' in the process of accumulating knowledge. The author equates knowledge with experience and says 'it doesn't bring perception and the beauty of understanding'. To dissociate learning from knowledge is, at first sight, a bit of a quiz for the conceptual mind. Aren't the things happening in the present automatically registered in the brain, imprinted on the mind? It is precisely the process of knowledge and if one is not aware of it one gets 'caught up' in it. In the field of relationship can one prevent the past obscuring the present and dulling sensitivi  See full.

The author addresses the people who have come to attend a talk. A talk not meant to communicate information, satisfy curiosity or  entertain. The talk is about the 'difficult art of communion'. The author says communion can only come about if people are capable to listen and to learn.
He says people deny themselves this capacity when their concern is to add further knowledge to what they know or when they are 'caught up' in the process of accumulating knowledge. The author equates knowledge with experience and says 'it doesn't bring perception and the beauty of understanding'.
To dissociate learning from knowledge is, at first sight, a bit of a quiz for the conceptual mind. Aren't the things happening in the present automatically registered in the brain, imprinted on the mind? It is precisely the process of knowledge and if one is not aware of it one gets 'caught up' in it. In the field of relationship can one prevent the past obscuring the present and dulling sensitivity?
Learning then is the movement by which one knowingly relinquishes knowledge so as to be able to perceive the newness, the freshness and the depth of the present. Learning itself sees that it ceases to be movement the moment it accumulates and thus it is ceaselessly on the look out, vitally alert, seeking to commune with the environment.
Knowledge evaluates, compares, criticizes. This is its normal function and it definitely has its place. But when it is brought over in the field of relationship it brings in dis-function and dulls our capacity to commune with life.

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On Mar 28, 2013 navinsata wrote:

 with computer we have access to knowledge of whole library and many subject at our finger tip,world   in sharing knowledge with information technology is simple and available to people all over the world,someone said if you want to be a big bodybuilder ,you need to worke hard at it,you can not be bodybuilder merely staying with bodybuilder .same way all good information we get,if we don't implement it in our daily living then we are just collecting knowledge . all inspirational articles we get from awakin.org or karma tube ,or ted.com is useless ,unless we apply that in our daily life,true meaning of learning to me is how much change I become .howmany positive virtues knowledge nurtured in me. I think mind likes to be entertained with what information tech. offers us,one must be sincere of what one feeds to mind[also be vigilant ,discriminate what is truth] true knowledge will make us good loving ,caring,happy human being,it will liberate us from ignorance .all good th  See full.

 with computer we have access to knowledge of whole library and many subject at our finger tip,world   in sharing knowledge with information technology is simple and available to people all over the world,someone said if you want to be a big bodybuilder ,you need to worke hard at it,you can not be bodybuilder merely staying with bodybuilder .same way all good information we get,if we don't implement it in our daily living then we are just collecting knowledge . all inspirational articles we get from awakin.org or karma tube ,or ted.com is useless ,unless we apply that in our daily life,true meaning of learning to me is how much change I become .howmany positive virtues knowledge nurtured in me. I think mind likes to be entertained with what information tech. offers us,one must be sincere of what one feeds to mind[also be vigilant ,discriminate what is truth] true knowledge will make us good loving ,caring,happy human being,it will liberate us from ignorance .all good this web side offers if we apply 10 percent in our life, world will be much peaceful and joyful .one of J.Krishnamurtis book title  YOU ARE THE WORLD. Introspection ,meditation ,helps to understand where we are. always love navin.c

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On Mar 28, 2013 Conrad P. Pritscher wrote:

 There is a range of learning from learning nonsense syllables to one's  learning  that which one is looking for is that which is looking.. I was disrupted with his statement: "experience never flowers into the beauty of understanding."   Being aware of the beauty of understanding is an experience.  One way of looking at the difference between accumulating knowledge and learning is to notice that Adolf Hitler and Saddam Hussein accumulated much knowledge.  One could also notice that they had not learned. Present day schooling and much University teaching often relates to accumulating knowledge rather than high quality learning.  It seems to me that high-quality learning needs a freer, ungraded environment where one can explore what one finds to be remarkable, interesting, and important.  Coercive school learning often prevents that from happening and the coercion tends to destroy curiosity.  If we allow ourselves to be curious we can b  See full.

 There is a range of learning from learning nonsense syllables to one's  learning  that which one is looking for is that which is looking.. I was disrupted with his statement: "experience never flowers into the beauty of understanding."   Being aware of the beauty of understanding is an experience.  One way of looking at the difference between accumulating knowledge and learning is to notice that Adolf Hitler and Saddam Hussein accumulated much knowledge.  One could also notice that they had not learned. Present day schooling and much University teaching often relates to accumulating knowledge rather than high quality learning.  It seems to me that high-quality learning needs a freer, ungraded environment where one can explore what one finds to be remarkable, interesting, and important.  Coercive school learning often prevents that from happening and the coercion tends to destroy curiosity.  If we allow ourselves to be curious we can become open-minded self-directing lovers of learning.  When that occurs we are often compassionate and notice that we are more connected than disconnected to everyone and everything.  Thank you for the opportunity to respond.  Warm and kind regards to everyone.

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