The Fusion of Reality and Wisdom

Science, psychology and philosophy – share a basic question about the relationship between:

  1. -the “Objective reality” of the world, and,

  2. -its “Subjective understanding” - how it is reflected in our mind.

Discoveries of science can be seen as results of the correct “tuning” of the mind’s subjective understanding to the objective reality of phenomena.

Philosophy also investigates the relationship between the “subjective” (or the mental realm of the mind) and the “objective” existence of the physical world.   


The Buddhist view of “Reality”

Observing the world, it is undeniable that the various phenomena we observe - are not arbitrary.  The world is not random.  Phenomena follow certain patterns and manifest a certain order.  All observed phenomena are interconnected, directly or indirectly, and this observation of interconnectedness of ordered phenomena suggests the functioning of a great universal power of Order or Law -  hence everything is a manifestation of this Universal Law.  All things act or react according to this Universal Law.

The Lotus Sutra refers to the Universal Law of existence through its title: Myoho-Renge-Kyo.  The Universal Law is described as the essence that binds actions or Causes with their Effects.  Such an order or Law is at the background of reality. Reality is the stage where all actions and reactions, causes and effects, are a display of the Universal Law of cause and effect.  It is omnipresent in all phenomena and relationships of both physical and mental dimensions. 

The Lotus Sutra refers to the objectivity of this Law of life by describing its characteristics as being “ as such” - or “Nyoze” ( a word, which can be translated as “existing as such”).  To exist ‘as such’ - means there is no further reference to reduce (or explain) this Law.  It is the most fundamental essence of  “reality - as such”.

All laws of nature are derived from this Universal Law.  In the mental field of life as well, feelings, reactions, behaviour etc... follow patterns of causes and effects.  Some examples of of existence display hardships, tension or sufferings - while other examples express joy and harmony.  There are many states of mind in the reality of life - but they all operates based on causes leading to consequences.

The Buddhist view of “Wisdom”

A practical indication of the meaning of wisdom is found in the following statement by Nichiren:

        “A person of wisdom is … one who thoroughly understands the principles

        by which the world is governed.” 

In other words, wisdom is enlightenment to the Law of Reality.

It would be extremely unwise to oppose the power of the Universal Law, the power which operates also our own body and mind.  Reason and wisdom arise from a correct perception of the Law (of Cause and Effect), which is at work in all aspects of existence, physical and mental.

What is the difference between Knowledge and Wisdom?

        “Knowledge alone cannot give rise to value.

        It is only when knowledge is guided by wisdom that value is created.”

In his article on the subject, Buddhist philosopher Daisaku Ikeda explains that :

        "Knowledge itself is a neutral tool that can be used for good or evil.

        Wisdom, in contrast, always directs us toward happiness”.

SGI literature mentions that “The function of wisdom is to create value” (Wisdom L.S. vol 6 p212).

While knowledge can be just an organised collection of neutral facts, wisdom has a direction. Reason and establishing harmony through wisdom is inseparable from compassion:

        “ intelligence infused with compassion… is true wisdom.

       KosenRufu is a movement to develop such wisdom” (Wisdom of the Lotus Sutra vol 6 p235).

Undeniably, the current accumulation of knowledge is available thanks to intellect, however, as educator Josei Toda (1900 – 1958) observed, intellect is inferior to wisdom:

        “Josei Toda, second president of the Soka Gakkai, characterized the confusion

        between knowledge and wisdom as one of the major failings of modern society.
        His critique is starkly demonstrated in the astonishing progress of technology

        in the last century. While scientific and technological development has shown

        only a mixed record of alleviating human suffering, it has triumphed remarkably

        in its ability and efficiency in unleashing death and destruction.

        Toda likened the relationship between knowledge and wisdom to that between

        a pump of water and gaining the benefit of water. 

        A pump that does not bring forth water (knowledge without wisdom) is of little use.

        This is not to deny the importance of knowledge. But knowledge can be utilized to generate

        both extreme destructiveness and profound good.

       Wisdom is that which directs knowledge toward good--toward the creation of value”.

                                                                                                (Wisdom, January 2003 SGI Quarterly)

The Fusion of Reality and Wisdom

Striving to tune our inner “subjective wisdom” to the “objective reality” of life - is the process leading to enlightenment.  A Buddha - by definition -  is one who is awakened to the true nature of reality.  The Buddha’s awakening means the fusion of Buddha’s subjective understanding (wisdom) - with the objective reality of life, being the Universal Law of existence.  In effect of this perfect tuning of the mind of individual to the truth of the objective Law, one can understand all events of one’s life and their potentials, and thus can lead a life of harmony, creating value and happiness for self and others.

In the spectrum of the mental domain of life (referred to as the spectrum of the Ten Worlds), only in the world of Buddhahood our mind can perceive a clear and correct image of the reality of life - without any distortion.

In the lower worlds (or states of mind), however, our subjective views about the meaning of events we experience - get distorted because of illusions arising from mistaken reasoning, or from tension caused by emotionalism of the ego-mind.  For example, a judgement taken in the state of ‘anger’ can be very different from being taken in the world or state of of ‘compassion’, etc.  One’s wisdom follows one’s maturity and self-mastery of the various motivations one possesses.

We cannot create correct judgment about our reality if we use the mind states of the lower worlds, because, for example, in what Buddhism describes as ‘‘The world of hunger’ - or greed - if such a state dominates the mind, then it would lead to foolish actions of ignorance (ignorance about the consequences of dominating motivation).  In ‘the world of anger’ - as another example - one is carried away without employing reason or flexibility.  Similarly, when ‘the world of hell’ or sufferings overwhelms our life with hopelessness and destructive views, then our mind of correct thinking is blocked.

Through making efforts aimed at for self-mastery (Human Revolution), our reasoning and understanding the events of reality - becomes enriched by the mindset of learning and of gaining insight.  Efforts and dedication to transform existing situations towards benefit for self & others displays the highest state of mind.

In Buddhist terms, the world of study, compassion and self development is called the Bodhisattva state or world of mind - leading to enlightenment (the Buddha state).   Accordingly, one’s actions emerging from the world of Bodhisattva-Buddha is the true cause for leading a life of wisdom, compassion and courage.

This means that the Universal Law (MyohoRengeKyo) manifests itself in all states of reality, and to distinguish its highest state the word (Nam) is added to the words referring to the Universal Law (Myoho-Renge-Kyo).

  1.      Nam - expresses the ‘subjective filed’, being the individual's desire for harmony with

  2.      Myoho-Renge-Kyo is the ‘objective field’ of existence.

In the Orally Transmitted Teachings (p. 218), Nichiren states:

        “The blessings and wisdom of the objective and subjective worlds

        are immeasurable.

        Nam Myoho Renge Kyo  has these two elements of blessings and wisdom”.

Understanding the word Nam as one’s wisest desire - to be in harmony with the Universal Law, gives the phrase NamMyohoRengeKyo a dimension manifesting the fusion of one’s own mind - with the reality of life.

Chanting to the Gohonzon - as an expression of Fusion of Reality and Wisdom

        “The fact that we have the Buddha nature inherent within us, however,

        does not in itself mean that we actually achieved Buddhahood

        (or that we are actually Buddhas).

        We can awaken to this Buddha nature when our subjective wisdom completely fuses

        with the objective reality (the Law).

        To make this possible for all, Nichiren embodied his own enlightenment

        (oneness of Person and Law) in an object of devotion called the Gohonzon,

        a scroll with the words Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo down the center in bold characters.

        Today, ‘the Gohonzon’ corresponds to the object,

        while ‘our practice’ to the Gohonzon corresponds to the subject or subjective wisdom.

        When we chant Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo to the Gohonzon,

        the subject-object dichotomy dissolves, enabling us to fuse with the macrocosm.

        In that moment, we manifest the state of Buddhahood”

        The Buddha in Your Mirror - by Woody A  Hochswender, Greg Martin and Ted Morino - page 85


            Author: Safwan Darshams

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