Advertisement

The Journal of Value Inquiry

, Volume 52, Issue 4, pp 395–410 | Cite as

Suffering and the Six Perfections: Using Adversity to Attain Wisdom in Mahāyāna Buddhist Ethics

  • Emily McRaeEmail author
Article
In a collection of fourteenth century biographical narratives, a group of Japanese nuns discuss the events in their lives that motivated the decision take monastic vows. In one, “The Wife from the Western Part of the Capital,” a nun in her late thirties tells a particularly tragic tale of loss:

…I gave birth to a baby boy. He was an extraordinary child. He was not only very beautiful, but he was precocious and clever. He had a sweet voice and would hug his father and me and say things beyond his years. I was sure he would be a most wonderful person if he reached adulthood…His father adored him beyond all limits. Because he loved his son so much, in the winter of the boy’s fourth year, he had decided to kill a crane with his own hand, to serve to his son. At the time, our boy was at play on the other side of the carving board. The knife blade flew out of its handle and stuck in his breast, piercing him clean through. He screamed in fright, thinking his father had done it to chastise...

References

  1. 1.
    Ardelt, M. 2003. Empirical Assessment of a Three-Dimensional Wisdom Scale. Research on Aging 25: 275–324.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Baltes, P.B., and J. Smith. 1990. Toward a Psychology of Wisdom and Its Ontogenesis. In Wisdom: Its Nature, Origins, and Development, ed. R.J. Sternberg, 87–120. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Baltes, P.B., and U. Staudinger. 2000. Wisdom: A metaheuristic (pragmatic) to orchestrate mind and virtue towards excellence. American Psychologist 55: 122–136.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Bluck, S., and J. Glück. 2005. From the inside out: People’s implicit theories of wisdom. In A handbook of wisdom: Psychological perspectives, ed. P.J. Sternberg and J. Jordan, 84–109. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Bommarito, N. 2017. Imaginative Moral Development. Journal of Value Inquiry 51 (2): 251–262.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Childs, M. 1991. Rethinking Sorrow: Revelatory Tales of Late Medieval Japan. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Dreyfus, G. 1995. Meditation as Ethical Activity. Journal of Buddhist Ethics 2: 8–54.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Garfield, J. 2012. Mindfulness and Ethics: Attention, Virtue and Perfection. Thai International Journal of Buddhist Studies 3: 1–24.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Garfield, J. 2015. Engaging Buddhism. New York: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Glück, J., and S. Bluck. 2014. The MORE Life Experience Model: A Theory of the Development of Personal Wisdom. In The Scientific Study of Personal Wisdom: From Contemplative Traditions to Neuroscience, 75–98. New York: Springer.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Glück, J., and N. Westrate. 2017. Hard-Earned Wisdom: Exploratory Processing of Difficult Life Experiences is Positively Associated with Wisdom. Developmental Psychology 53 (4): 800–814.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Kamalasila, The Dalai Lama. (2001). Stages of Meditation. Ithaca: Snow Lion.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Plews-Ogan, M., J. Owens, M. Menard, L. Calhoun, and M. Ardelt. 2016. Stories of Growth and Wisdom: A Mixed-Methods Study of People Living Well with Pain. Global Advances in Health and Medicine 5: 16–28.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Rinchen, S. 1998. The Six Perfections: A Oral Teaching. Ithaca: Snow Lion.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Śāntideva. 2008. Bodhicaryāvatāra (K. Crosby and A. Skilton, Trans.). New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Siderits, M. 2007. Buddhism as Philosophy: An Introduction. Indianapolis: Hackett.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Staudinger, U., and J. Glück. 2011. Psychological Wisdom Research: Commonalities and Differences in a Growing Field. Annual Review of Psychology 62: 215–241.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Sternberg, R. 1998. A Balance Theory of Wisdom. Review of General Psychology 2: 347–365.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Tsongkhapa. The Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment, Vols. 2 and 3 (Lamrim Chenmo Translation Committee, Trans.). Ithaca: Snow Lion.Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Walsh, R. 2015. What is Wisdom Cross-Cultural and Cross-Disciplinary Syntheses. Review of General Psychology 19 (3): 278–293.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Westrate, N., and J. Glück. 2017. Hard-earned wisdom: Exploratory Processing of Difficult Life Experience is Positively Associated with Wisdom. Developmental Psychology 53 (4): 800–814.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Wright, D. 2009. The Six Perfections: Buddhism and the Cultivation of Character. New York: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of New MexicoAlbuquerqueUSA

Personalised recommendations