Prajñā (Sanskrit: प्रज्ञा) or wisdom is cognitive universal consciousness and the ability to discern between illusion and reality, between truth and falsehood, and is attainable through meditation.
“Teaching without words, performing without actions: that is the Master's way.”
- Tao Te Ching, Chapter 43
Wisdom is a state of mind, an attunement with the self and others, an attribute that allows the individual to transcend the barriers of ego, pride, and false strivings. Motive, experience and direction determine wisdom. It is a sum-total of learning derived from experience and utilized for the well-being of others with love and compassion. Without experience and compassion, understanding and acceptance, wisdom is just knowledge acquired and shared.
Only when compassion and wisdom
flow in abundance
from emptiness and silence
will cruelty fail
and mercy prevail.
- The Tao is Tao, 42
Zen, the school of Mahāyāna Buddhism, emphasizes the significance of pragmatic wisdom in the attainment of enlightenment, and rejects theoretical knowledge in favor of direct realization through meditation and dharma practice. Words limit the potential of wisdom, because they lead to personalized interpretations and misinterpretations.