Word definition: The quality or state of being wise; knowledge of what is true or right coupled with just judgment as to action; sagacity, discernment, or insight.
Etymology: Word Origin & History: Old English wisdom, from wis (see wise (adj.)) + -dom. A common Germanic compound (cf. Old Saxon, Old Frisian wisdom, Old Norse visdomr, Old High German wistuom “wisdom,” German Weistum “judicial sentence serving as a precedent”). Wisdom teeth so called from 1848 (earlier teeth of wisdom, 1660s), a loan-translation of Latin dentes sapientiae, itself a loan-translation of Greek sophronisteres (used by Hippocrates, from sophron “prudent, self-controlled”), so called because they usually appear ages 17-25, when a person reaches adulthood.
Technical description: Wisdom is the ability to think and act using knowledge, experience, understanding, common sense, and insight. Wisdom is associated with attributes such as compassion, experiential self-knowledge, non-attachment and virtues such as ethics and benevolence.
Wisdom has been defined in many different ways, a variety of measurement scales have been developed, and several subtypes of wisdom have been proposed. Out of these, phronesis and sophia are two key subtypes of wisdom. In the classical Greek tradition, there is a distinction between sophia “wisdom” and phronesis “prudence, practical intelligence”. (Wikipedia)
Phenomenological description: Not only a cognitive approach, but also a social, moral, aesthetic approach and a search for meaning.
Synonyms: Understanding, enlightenment.
Relevance of the concept: Compared to being knowledgeable, erudite which is more a technical almost dogmatic approach, wisdom is accompanied with insight, deep understanding, openness but also with compassion and morality.
The concept in mythology: The Sage.
Supporting evidence: Some people are less stupid than others.
Word definition: The transcendental Self, anterior self, consciousness as such, or
consciousness as emptiness. The Witness itself is purely empty and devoid of content.
Technical description: A witness is a person who has or is thought to have seen and can provide significant information about an action or occurrence.
In yoga, the term refers to transcendental consciousness – observing the mind from deep inside – and is usually used in the terms “inner witness” and “witness consciousness.”
Phenomenological description: Pure awareness.
Synonyms: witnessing (see turiya)
The concept in mythology: The mirror.
Word definition: Illumination.
Technical description: In Taoism we find the concept of Wù.
Wù is a Chinese word for illumination. It means not-being, emptiness of attributes, absence of qualities.
Phenomenological description: Wu Wei (Chinese) Inaction, inactivity; quiescence, placidity. Used in Taoism in relation to the tao of man, the idea being that “Heaven is emptiness” and by practicing wu wei (inaction) and becoming “empty” one becomes at one with heaven or tao. Reminiscent of the highly mystical import of the Buddhist sunyata (Sanskrit, “emptiness,” “void”). In all such words the difficulty is in finding ordinary language to convey the thought. There is not an absolutely empty point of space in all infinitude; what seems to the human senses to be cosmic vacuity is actually complete or absolute fullness, a pleroma as the Gnostics said. Cosmic sunyata or wu wei is emptiness simply because it lacks the lowest forms of matter — forms and bodies which are like the spume or bubbles on the sea of cosmic reality, which to human senses is empty because invisible, intangible, and not subject to sense perception.
Cross-cultural comparisons: In Hinduism, we find the concept of Mukti.
In Sufism we find the concepts of Fana. The word “Fana” means extinction and is the equivalent of the Buddhist nirvana. Fana is the annihilation of the self, the extinction of lower passions. Fana is the negative aspect as nirvana, extinction. The Japanese have the concept of Buji. Bu means ‘without’ or ‘no’.
Ji means ‘action’ or ‘happening’. Meaning tranquility, peace and security.
In the Kabbalah we find the concepts of Ein Sof and Ayin, which is Hebrew for ‘no-thing’ the indescribable. Spelled aleph-yod-nun. The nothingness of Ayin is similar to the Absolute. It is the ultimate reality.
In Jainism we find the concept of Moksha, meaning liberation, having overcome desire, attachment and ignorance. It is the transcendence of all goals, the final release of the egoic self. In Jainism Moksha is the same as enlightenment . The transcendence of time, space and causation. The attainment of enlightenment.
In the yogic tradition we find the concept of Kaivalya, which means standing totally on oneself and/or going up in unity. It is being in a continuous state of samadhi, standing apart from the world, not being influenced by it, while remaining in it. It is identical with Moksha.
Meister Eckhart, the German Dominican theologian and mystic had the concept of ‘vergessen’. A non-conceptual awareness: “Hie muoz komen in ein vergezzen un in ein nihtwissen”; “One should come in a forgetting and in a not-knowing”.
This is similar to the Buddhist nirvana.
In Christianity we find the concept of Salvation. The primary goal of Buddhism is to attain nirvana, that of Christianity is to attain salvation.
The concept in mythology: The cloud of not knowing.
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