Not Knowing. . .

What is ignorance? This question was proposed to The Buddha and his response was: And what is ignorance,…Not knowing about dukkha (suffering).

Avijja, the Pali word for ignorance, is the opposite of vijja, which means not only “knowledge” but also “skill” — as in the skills of a doctor or animal-trainer. So when the Buddha focuses on the ignorance that causes stress and suffering, saying that people suffer from not knowing the four noble truths, he’s not simply saying that they lack information or direct knowledge of those truths. He’s also saying that they lack skill in handling them. They suffer because they don’t know what they’re doing.

You most likely own a hammer. Your ownership of the hammer means you most likely have used that hammer. But owning and using a hammer do not make you a carpenter. That is a skill and it can only be developed through time and experience. Now we can”think”we are master carpenters after a video and book or two but does that make us delusional, ignorant or both? Comparing this definition with ‘ignorance’ in the buddhist context, delusion is a view based on ignorance. Delusion is similar to wrong view and ignorance is the not knowing itself. To give a real world example, a person drives a car badly but thinks he is driving a car well. The person is deluded. Why is the person deluded? Because the person doesn’t know what good or and bad driving is (Ignorance). The lack of knowledge in itself is ignorance and the actions that stem from it are delusional.

We must have an understanding of these concepts if we are to work with them and eventually through them. Think of them as vehicles for framing your experience so that you can see and work with the problems of a modern life in a modern world with a solid mindset. We are not ignorant and have so many gifts and talents that simply flourish when informed, inspired and in touch. Each of these skills assists the others. When you really know what you’re doing, you’ll recognize freedom from  “the doing” when you finally encounter it. When you know that freedom, you’ll know something further: that the greatest gift you can give to others is to teach them the skills to encounter it for themselves.

Peace and Love, Jim

#notknowing #thedailybuddha

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