Here is another quote from the email list of Lama Surya Das. It appeared also on the Huffington Post and the theme of the posting was that meditation practices develop wisdom.
When I was 13 years old, I had a bar mitzvah in my family Jewish tradition. About the only thing I remember from my speech was, “May I have a wise and understanding heart to discern between good and evil.”
Lama Surya Das began with the following:
Can you tell me What is Wisdom while standing on one leg? This was the challenge put to a rabbi of old.
King Solomon said that wisdom was the knowledge and judgment to know right from wrong. He received his vaunted wisdom from God in a dream; would that we too had such dreams!
“Blessed is the man who finds wisdom,
the man who gains understanding,
for he is more profitable than silver
and yields better returns than gold.”
– Proverbs 3:13
As far I can remember, it was Rabbi Hillel who was challenged to stand on one foot and teach the torah. He is reported to have said, “Love thy neighbor as thyself. The rest is commentary. Go study!”
Remembering this brought tears to my eyes as I realized a deep connection between my spiritual ancestors (my grandfathers and the rabbis) and my teacher, Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh (Thay), and the Dalai Lama. Their teachings on wisdom and compassion can be learned while standing on one foot!
There are good teachings on love from Thay using the four mantras in Tea Meditation with Thich Nhat Hanh and Oprah. I think my grandfathers and Rabbi Hillel would agree with Thay.
By loving ourselves and offering our true presence to our neighbors, we bring peace to us and them.
Meditation Practices Develop Wisdom
My first thought was simply to post the quote below. But then I remembered my bar mitzvah and felt like sharing my experience with you.
Wisdom is an endangered natural resource in our Over-Information Age where intellectual knowledge is rising and genuine sagacity increasingly rare. If we wish to become wiser and more sane, we’d do well exploit and develop our own innate natural resources for a change while furthering the sustainability of our planet and civilization. Time too is a natural resource. Though we seem to live in a time-starved era, I personally believe that it’s not time we lack but focus, awareness and prioritization. This is an inside job.
- Lama Surya Das
from his “Wisdom: An Endangered Natural Resource“
My bar mitzvah was a very stressful event. In those days, the rabbi wrote the speeches and we had to memorize them. The fact that I remember even a little part of my speech means that something got through. Through the years, I may have acquired a “wise and understanding heart,” and, hopefully, my meditation practices develop wisdom.
You should know that Lama Surya Das was born Jeffrey Miller and raised on Long Island. You can learn more about him from his book, Buddha Standard Time: Awakening to the Infinite Possibilities of Now.
Now It Is Your Turn!
What do you think of this post? Did have a bar mitzvah? What was it like for you?
Would you please share you thoughts below and possibly comment?
What would you say if I asked you to stand on one foot and answer the question, “What is Wisdom?”