October 27, 2010

Real wisdom isn't found in universities

In his Week 4 teaching, "Active Engagement," from his Tricycle Retreat "The Challenge of Change: Living Skillfully in an Uncertain World," Larry Rosenberg tells us real wisdom isn't learned in school. He says:

I have a Ph.D., I taught at university for ten years. And at universities, where there were lots of highly educated people, who were considered highly intelligent, and they were. And I saw something was missing. So towards the end of my tour there, what I realized that what I really cared about was living intelligently or living wisely, and that was not what universities were about at all.

Larry uses the words "intelligence," "wisdom," and "skill" interchangeably, but what I think he means is living well, not harming. And this kind of skillful living is certainly not on most curriculums. Or should that be (curricula?) Visit Larry's retreat here. To participate in this and every Tricycle Retreat, become a Tricycle Community Sustaining Member. [Image: marcp_dmoz]

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togeika's picture

Where wisdom is found is greatly dependent upon the searcher. If you think you can only find it on a cushion, then you will ignore it, be blind to it, at the University. As a late poet once said:

"Ta tIr na n-óg ar chul an tI—tIr dlainn trina chéile"—that is, "The land of eternal youth is behind the house, a beautiful land fluent within itself." -- John O'Donohue

Or, as Thomas told us Jesus said:

"If your leaders say to you, 'Look, the heavenly kingdom is in the sky,' then the birds of the sky will precede you. If they say to you, 'It is in the sea,' then the fish will precede you. Rather, the kingdom of heaven is within you and it is outside you."

Wisdom Moon's picture

I agree with this - wisdom is not taught in our Universities or even our schools. Buddha taught that happiness comes from inner peace but this is not part of our regular education. I'm thinking about the words from Atisha's advice:

"Friends, the things you desire give no more satisfaction than drinking sea water, therefore practise contentment"

I wish I had been taught such things in school. Imagine if everyone was taught this and accepted it! We would be living in a far less materialistic society and the resources of the planet would not be being consumed at a frightening rate to make things that cannot make people happy anyway.

Wisdom is learned, not innate. We have to teach people how to develop their wisdom if they are to have happy and meaningful life.

hamsa's picture

I would say that wisdom does not belong to specific times or places. It can be found everywhere, whether in a quiet monastery, in a crowdy market or in... universities.

danny colohan's picture

Imagine a world where mindfulness and compassion where taught in kindergarten. I think universities might have "living skillfully" on the schedule then

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