Abhidhamma In Daily Life
Factor 7 - Amoha Or Paññá
Amoha means intelligence, knowledge, wisdom. This metal factor enables one to dispel the darkness of ignorance and delusion which conceals the truth. Moha (delusion) and amoha (knowledge) are two extreme opposites.
The Wisdom (Paññá)
Wisdom is of two categories, real and unreal. The wisdom is knowing and understanding the action (kamma) and results thereof vipaka; knowing and understanding the scriptures and the Dhamma; knowledge of insight (Vipassana Nana); knowledge of the Path (Magga Nana); knowledge of Fruition (Phala Nana), and the Buddha's Omniscience. All these forms of faultless knowledge are called wisdom (paññá).
Some so-called "clever" persons are well versed in oration, persuasion, lying, swindling and pretensions. Such kinds of cleverness are not true wisdom. They are fake knowledge of vancana paññá (false wisdom), meaning knowledge of deceiving others. Some people excel in martial arts or in making and using sophisticated weapons. Such knowledge belongs to the class of mental factors called vitakka. It is an akusala, unwholesome mental factor.
It should be noted, however, that false wisdom cannot be found in the stupid, the dull and the low IQ persons; it can be found only in highly intelligent or educated person. The law of Patthana (Conditional Relations) say that true knowledge can give support false understanding; that is real wisdom may help the formation of false wisdom, by means of Pakatupanissaya Paccaya. Accordingly intelligent persons may follow the right path and attain the highest positions in doing kusala (moral deeds); but they may also excel in doing evil and cause harm and malice to the greatest extent possible.
Inherent Wisdom and Acquired Wisdom
Real wisdom may be divided into (1) Jati paññá and (2) Pavatti paññá. Those who are born with alobha, adosa and amoha are called tihetuka puggala (three-rooted persons). Since their birth they are blessed with three good-roots. So their amoha (wisdom or non-delusion) starts with their birth. Therefore they learn and understand quickly and are able to think profoundly even at a young age. Such wisdom is jati paññá.
Pavatti paññá means the intelligence and wisdom acquired at a later age through training and learning. They ask questions, attend lecturers and try their best to accumulate knowledge. This acquired wisdom at a later time is called pavatti paññá. He who lacks of jati paññá can develop pavatti paññá by learning diligently under a competent teacher. Those who are endowed with jati paññá at birth and amass pavatti paññá later will crown their lives with all-round success.
How to Cultivate Jati Paññá
Wisdom gained at birth only brings worldly success and benefits but also produces good results in vipassana (Insight meditations) or Dhamma practice. Only persons with jati paññá can win Bodhi-Enlightenment, Magga and Phala Nanas. Therefore, a person should cultivate jati paññá right now for future existences. To do so, one must first cultivate a strong will to acquire intelligence and knowledge. After getting this noble inspiration you must read good books, and discuss with learned teachers and wise sages. Seek advice from them. Such effort will augment ample pavatti paññá and make you a rational and comprehensive person and sow the seeds of wisdom for future lives in samsara. However, you must not rest content with your present achievements.
In order to gain knowledge and wisdom you must be habitually meat and clean in dress and manner. Whenever you perform Dana (almsgiving), or other meritorious deeds, you must make a noble wish and say, "May I gain intelligence and wisdom due to these deeds." When you offer alms to the Bhikkhus you must propagate goodwill thus; "May the Bhikkhus teach and learn the noble Dhamma everyday and be crowned with wisdom." If possible you should build and establish monasteries for monks learning the Dhamma and revere able teachers who would promote the teaching of the Buddha.
You should, if possible, give aid to schools, colleges and such institutions, with a view to support the education of the country. You must always be willing to impart what you have learnt. Propelled by such efforts, you will be a wise sage while you roam about in samsara (the cycle of rebirths). These are a few guidelines on how to be blessed with jati paññá in the existences to come.
The Differences Between Saddha (Faith) and Paññá (Wisdom)
Faith here means devotion to almsgiving, or doing service with a view to be reborn in luxurious abodes. Such a devotion seldom contains and inspiring thought for the advancement of one's country, race and religion. Paññá (wisdom) develops good deeds with serious thought for one's country, race and religion and does not put in the fore the welfare of one's own future existences knowledge full well that good deeds will produce good results. Thus wisdom and faith are fundamentally different.
One's own country of Myanmar can be viewed through the eye of faith or though the eye of wisdom or both. If either faith or wisdom goes to the extreme, one's view and judgment will be biased. It is imperative that one must have a balanced attitude that synthesizes wisdom and faith to the best results. There is a saying, "Faith leads to tanha (lust), while wisdom ends in Maya (deception)."
In this book I have not attempted to elaborate on the balanced approach because a separate treatise will be needed to cover this topic.
O citizens, Whether knowledge is real or unreal, the importance lies in the nature of one's mind. Just as the heart is vital for living organisms, a good attitude is always a paramount importance here and hereafter. Wisdom determines the prosperity of the present as well as the future existences. Only the wise can understand fully the benefits of Dana (charity), Síla (morality) and other parami perfections (virtue). Only through wisdom can one fulfill the virtuous perfections.
In worldly affairs, happiness of family life solely depends upon the wisdom of the man and wife. In family management and prosperity also wisdom leads to diligence and hence to desired goals. In public congregations only the wise will be held in high esteem. Those who are unwise and uneducated will not rise to top place in society even if they are immensely wealthy.
Knowledge is the dominant force in the modern world. The rich accumulate wealth because of the know-how of the intellectuals and technologists with whom they work in collaboration. From the smallest conflict to global wars, victory is always on the side of the intelligent, the technically advanced. In the Catudhamma Jataka the Bodhisattva monkey emerged victorious over a huge crocodile in its own territory, the river, by means of a clever tactic. (Although this tactic cannot be said as true wisdom, it proved that wisdom can bring forth victory in worldly affairs; this is the moral of this Jataka).
In the Mahosatha Jataka the Bodhisattva’s country was attacked by a mighty army led by King Culani and his Minister Kevatta. By means of his intelligence and tact, Mahosatha repelled the mighty foes that finally fled in disarray.
In the past, Myanmar was left well behind in science and technology. So she fell to the imperialists who finally occupied Myanmar for over 100 years. Myanmar, being rich in natural resources, had been a fat target of many aliens some of whom today making good use of their superior technology to exploit our wealth of oil, minerals and forests.
Even up to present time some foreign merchants and traders, through perseverance and diligence, are doing well in Myanmar. We are the victims of foreign aggressions because we cannot respond to the pressing demands of time. We lack industry and vigilance. In fact we are still slumbering like a "wandering ascetic, whom is still snoring under a banyan tree with his basket beside him."
O Citizens! A nation with a inferior technology and know-how will spiral down in status in the family of nations. Patriotic teachers and educators should guide people on the right path. Students should seek knowledge earnestly. The virtuous wealthy and the Bhikkhus should contribute to the betterment of education and intelligence. Only with such endeavors on a national scale will we be able to nurture a new breed of intellectuals and intelligentsia; and only then will we be successful in this life and become inherent wise sages in the lives to come.