The Eight Conditions for Wisdom
With Vanessa Zuisei Goddard, Sensei
October 12 - 14, 2018
Prajna or wisdom is a central teaching in Buddhism. It is the sixth paramita or perfection in Mahayana Buddhism, the third training (along with virtue and concentration), and the fifth spiritual faculty. In meaning, it is closer to insight, discriminating knowledge, and intuitive apprehension. But it is this last definition that is most often associated with wisdom in the context of the spiritual path, leading practitioners to believe that prajna arises suddenly and spontaneously, in “flashes of insight” that do not conform to logical thought. And while wisdom does not exclude such non-linear glimpses, it is by no means limited to them. The Buddha’s teachings lay out a clear and systematic training for the development of wisdom based on a thorough and discriminating analysis of reality. One such teaching is the “Eight Conditions for Wisdom.”
In this retreat we will take up these eight conditions, exploring how simple yet specific causes lead to the maturation of wisdom: studying with a teacher, asking questions, practicing virtue, and so forth. The purpose of this, in part, is to demystify this important teaching on prajna, and to show that sincere and deliberate practice is at the heart of the Buddhist path—not accidental, supramundane experiences. Ultimately, it is on this fertile soil of wisdom, cultivated through methodical study and understanding, that non-conceptual insight can grow and mature. For what purpose? As the Buddha himself said, to understand suffering and the end of suffering.
Vanessa Zuisei Goddard, Sensei was in full-time residential training at the Monastery from 1995 to 2014, fourteen of those years as a monastic. She’s now a lay teacher in the MRO, as well as the Work Supervisor at Zen Mountain Monastery. Additionally, for many years she’s run our popular youth programs, impressing the value of mindfulness, meditation and intention upon countless aspiring bodhisattvas.
Learn more about Vanessa Zuisei Goddard, Sensei