From ‘Mysticism: Christian and Buddhist’, by D.T. Suzuki



I wish to emphasise this idea of ‘seeing’. It is not enough to ‘know’ as the term is  ordinarily understood. Knowledge unless it is accompanied by a personal experience is superficial and no kind of philosophy can be built upon such a shaky foundation. There are, however, I suppose many systems of thought not backed by real experiences, but such are never inspiring. They may be fine to look at but their power to move the readers is nil. Whatever knowledge the philosopher may have, it must come out of his experience, and this experience is seeing. Buddha has always emphasised this. He couples knowing (ñana, jñana) with seeing (passa, pasya), for without seeing, knowing has no depths, cannot understand the realities of life. Therefore, the first item of the Eightfold Noble Path is sammadassana, right seeing, and sammasankappa, right knowing, comes next. Seeing is experiencing, seeing things in their state of suchness (tathata) or is-ness. Buddha’s whole philosophy comes from this ‘seeing’, this experiencing.


The one thing I wish to call to the readers’ attention is the term ‘wisdom’, pañña, or prajña in Sanskrit. This is a very important term throughout Buddhist philosophy. There is no English equivalent for it. ‘Transcendental wisdom’ is too heavy, besides it does not exactly hit the mark. But temporarily let ‘wisdom’ do. We know that seeing is very much emphasised in Buddhism, but we must not fail also to notice that seeing is not just an ordinary seeing by means of relative knowledge; it is the seeing by means of a prajña-eye which is a special kind of intuition enabling us to penetrate right into the bedrock of Reality itself.

From ‘Mysticism: Christian and Buddhist’, by D.T. Suzuki

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