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There are three essential trainings in Buddhism: ethics, meditation and wisdom. They are inseparable and you should cultivate all three simultaneously.

In this lesson you learn to cultivate wisdom.

Stephen Batchelor

Wisdom, here, does not refer to an accumulation of knowledge but to an experiential understanding that enables you to make a radical shift in your perceptions and habits.

The Buddha explained in the Samyutta Nikaya that there are three characteristics of existence:

  • impermanence
  • unreliability
  • non-self or emptiness

By knowing these, the Buddha taught, one can develop wisdom. This knowing is not an intellectual exercise but a meditative one. You do not force yourself to believe in the three characteristics and revere them as sacred. On the contrary, as you will experience in this lesson, you observe your experience from moment to moment, and realize that impermanence, unreliability and emptiness are fundamental to your whole existence.

reflectReflect on your view of existence. Do you think of existence as permanent, reliably pleasant, and having to do with your self? If yes, consider how eliminating these delusions can contribute to the development of wisdom.

wisdom and compassion

Wisdom and compassion go together...tbd... The wisdom you will learn in this lesson will allow the compassion you will learn in the next lesson to be a wise compassion, rooted in the wisdom of the three characteristics.