The Wisdom Page 


The Traditional Wisdom Literature

The scientific literature was written to help us understand the laws of nature. The traditional Wisdom Literature was written to help us understand the laws of life and our place in the universe. Some of this literature dates from 3000 years ago, or before, and includes works from India, China, Greece, the Middle East - and later from Europe. In the Judeo-Christian tradition we have the teachings of Moses, The Book of Job, The Proverbs of Solomon, Ecclesiastes, the teachings of Jesus, and later, those of Meister Eckhart, St. John of the Cross, and other Christian Mystics. In the Hindu tradition we find The Upanishads, and The Bhagavad Gita. In Taoism the Tao Teh Ching and the I Ching. In Buddhism we have teachings of the Gautama Buddha embodied in the Sutras, and elaborated upon in a myriad of later works. From the Greeks we have the works of Aristotle, Plato, and Plotinus. To get a taste of this literature, compilations can be helpful. Among my (Cop Macdonald's) favorites are:

  • UNIVERSAL WISDOM: A Journey Through The Sacred Wisdom of the World by Bede Griffiths, Editor, Harper San Francisco, 1994, 560 pp.

  • THE ENLIGHTENED HEART: An Anthology of Sacred Poetry, Stephen Mitchell, Editor, New York: Harper and Row, 1989, 172 pp.

  • THE ENLIGHTENED MIND: An Anthology of Sacred Prose, Stephen Mitchell, Editor, New York: Harper and Row, 1991.

  • A MANUAL OF ZEN BUDDHISM, D.T. Suzuki, Editor, London: Hutchinson (Rider), 1983, 192 pp.

  • THE ESSENTIAL TEACHINGS OF BUDDHISM: Daily Readings from the Sacred Texts, Kerry and Joanne O'Brien, Editors, London: Hutchinson (Rider), 1989, 302 pp.

  • THE COMPLETE WORKS OF LAO TZU: Tao Teh Ching and Hua Hu Ching, Ni Hua Ching, Translator, Malibu, CA: Shrine of the Eternal Breath of Tao, 218 pp.