My own suggestion to the Education Commission of India was that every professor should be sent every year for at least a two months’ refresher course – otherwise he cannot keep pace with the knowledge the way it is growing. This is another meaning of wisdom: knowledge and its quantity; how much you know; how well informed you are.
But the way Ta Hui and the mystics use wisdom is a totally different thing. It is neither the past, old type of knowledge that came from experience, nor is it the knowledge that comes from education. It is the knowledge that comes from a transformation happening within yourself, moving from the discriminating consciousness to the witnessing consciousness. Witnessing consciousness is wisdom, so you should not get confused about the meaning of the words.
Ta Hui says,
Constantly calculating and making plans, flowing along with birth and death, becoming afraid and agitated – all these are sentiments of discriminating consciousness. Yet people studying the path these days do not recognize this disease….
To the people of the path, to the people who want to meditate and enter into their innermost being, into the only real temple of God, this kind of knowledge, this kind of mind, this kind of consciousness is a disease. It will hinder you from going inwards, it will become the barrier, and it will keep you engaged in the non-essentials of life, in trivia. It will keep you unaware of the most fundamental question: “Who am I?” It will allow you to know everything in the world except yourself – and what is the purpose of knowing the whole world if you don’t know yourself?
At the moment of death all your knowledge of the world will be lost into thin air. Only one thing will go with you, and that one thing is being constantly ignored – that is your self-knowledge, your self-realization. In fact, this is the only ignorance – ignoring yourself.
But even the greatest scientist, the greatest philosopher, the greatest thinker thinks about faraway stars, thinks about strange things – like, “What is the speed of light?” – works day and night to find how to split the atom, and never thinks for a moment, “Who is this being within me? What constitutes my consciousness?”
Certainly discriminating mind, discriminating consciousness, is the greatest disease, because it will keep you ignorant till the moment of death. Then certainly you will become aware that you have been engaged in a futile exercise. You know so much and yet you don’t know who you are. Suddenly all your knowledge is of no use, all your power is of no use, all your money is of no use, all your prestige is of no use. The only thing that could have been of use you ignored your whole life – and now there is no more time.