一九九六年十月五日， 星期六， 萬佛聖城的道源堂內舉行了一場座談會，題目是「智慧與知識」，大約有八十位的「加州州立漢堡大學」學生，於該週末來參訪萬佛聖城，與會者還有聖城的學生和住眾。
On Saturday, Oct. 5, 1996, a panel discussion on the topic of "Knowledge vs. Wisdom" was arranged at Dao Yuan Hall at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas. The discussion took place during the weekend visit of about 80 Humboldt State University students, and was attended by the students as well as the great assembly. The panelists consisted of several guest speakers and left-home and lay disciples residing at the City. The master of ceremonies for the evening was Mr. Skip Blake.
Heng Gu Shr began by quoting and doing a brief commentary on a selection from a poem by T. S. Eliot. The following excerpt comes from a longer poetic work, The Rock:
The endless cycle of idea and action,
Endless invention, endless experiment,
Brings knowledge of motion, but not of stillness;
Knowledge of speech, but not of silence;
Knowledge of words, and ignorance of the Word.
All our knowledge brings us nearer to our ignorance,
All our ignorance brings us nearer to death,
But nearness of death no nearer to God.
Where is the life we have lost in living?
Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge?
Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?
The cycles of Heaven in twenty centuries
Bring us farther from God and nearer to the Dust.
Even though T. S. Eliot was a Christian, a devout Anglican, according to Heng Gu Shr the poem is very universal, and as such can be read and interpreted in Buddhist terms as well. She added that actually "Buddhism" is not the best name for the Buddha's teachings. Buddhism is not just another "-ism", something for people to contend, fight, and argue about. The Venerable Master often defined Buddhism simply as the teaching of all living beings, the teaching of the mind, or the teaching of wisdom. The important thing about wisdom in Buddhism is to realize that, in contrast to knowledge which is accumulated, wisdom is something that is inherent to all of us. All living beings have this wonderful wisdom, so we don't need to go looking all over the world for it. Our work in cultivation is to uncover our original wisdom, clean the bright mirror of our mind from the dust. Yet in Buddhism wisdom is not opposed to knowledge, as Buddhism basically does not oppose anything. In fact, Buddhism is so inclusive that all dharmas, all scientific and other disciplines can be said to be included within it.
Bill Herbrechtsmer, Head professor of Religious Studies at Humboldt State University, was the next speaker. He regretted that these daysinstitutions of higher education tend to focus much more on knowledge than on wisdom, concentrating on information as opposed to insight. The spread of computer technology allows people to collect even more information than they can handle.
By contrast, relatively little attention is paid to promoting the students' wisdom, deeper insight, or a deeper form of self-knowledge. Professor Herbrechtsmeyer pointed out that the lifestyle at CTTB emphasizes pursuing wisdom instead of knowledge. Even though both of these are necessary in our technological world, it is important to pursue the simple things, which are ultimately deeper. He summarized Buddhism in terms of suffering, desire, the cessation of suffering, and the Path. If one can understand these, one can also understand other doctrines such as the Ten Dharma Realms and the Bodhisattva Path. "In pursuing wisdom, the issue is very, very simple, but the path is very, very hard."
To be continued