Dalai Lama Quote from Snow Lion Publications

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Dalai Lama Quote of the Week

In Buddhism, one speaks of three different levels of understanding, which are sequential–an understanding arrived at through learning and studying, an understanding developed as a result of deep reflection and contemplation, and an understanding acquired through meditative experience.

There is a definite order in the sequence of this three. So on the basis of study and learning–which is the first level–we deepen our understanding of a given topic by constantly reflecting upon it until we arrive at a point where we gain a high degree of certainty or conviction that is firmly grounded in reason. At this point, even if others were to contradict our understanding and the premises upon which it is based we would not be swayed, because our conviction in the truth has arisen through the power of our own critical reflection. This is the second level of understanding which, however, is still at the level of the intellect.

If we pursue this understanding further and deepen it through constant contemplation and familiarity with the truth, we reach a point where we feel the impact at the emotional level. In other words, our conviction is no longer at the level of mere intellect. This is the third level of understanding, which is experiential, and this is referred to in the Buddhist texts as an understanding derived through meditative experience…. You will need to deepen your understanding still further by engaging in regular meditation so that you can progress to the third level of understanding.

–from Lighting the Way by the Dalai Lama, translated by Geshe Thupten Jinpa, published by Snow Lion Publications

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