Mt Wutai: Understanding Wisdom in the Electronic Age

Wisdom of Mt Wutai

Buddhism is one of the oldest religions in the world, and its tenets continue to be very influential to the lives of the religions’ followers worldwide.

One of the most active sites dedicated to the study and practice of the religion is the Mount Wutai Buddhist Nunnery and Academy, the largest Buddhist nun academy in Asia. The academy is located at Mt Wutai, one of the Four Sacred Mountains of Buddhism in China, the others being Mt. Emei, Mt. Jiuhua, and Mt. Putuo. Each of the Sacred Mountains focus on a specific tenet of Buddhism. Mt. Wutai focuses on wisdom.

Wisdom of Mt Wutai
Wisdom of Mt Wutai

Recently, the Head Nun and founder of the nunnery, Master Ru Rui, called for the celebration of a World Wisdom Day. During the event, Buddhist philosophers and scholars were invited to deliver talks. The same day was also the birthday of Buddhisattva Manjushri, a figure in Buddhism associated with wisdom and compassion.

Master Ru Rui - Wisdom of Mt Wutai
Master Ru Rui – Wisdom of Mt Wutai

The students of the nunnery spend most of their lifetimes in the academy learning wisdom, by stepping back from their lives and understanding how empty and infinite life is. Each student has a reason for choosing to live a life of discipline in the nunnery in Mt. Wutai, but ultimately, the institution’s goal is to pass on the teachings of wisdom.

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It is really interesting to see how these groups of people are very active in upholding wisdom. In the modern times today, open-mindedness, the capability of seeing “the empty and the infinite”—or simply wisdom—is something that I rarely see.

The Xiantong Temple, a major temple at Mount Wutai
The Xiantong Temple, a major temple at Mt Wutai By Angus Cepka – Photo taken by Angus Cepka, CC BY-SA 3.0

I am a denizen and I admit that I spend a lot of time on the Internet, particularly in various social media websites. During the times I am logged on in my accounts, I see people from different parts of the world talk about or comment on the issues of today’s society. While some people are mindful of others and consider the several sides of a story, more people tend to jump into issues without much thought and say things that often spark online arguments. Oftentimes, these people pour fuel to the conflict whenever they refuse to hear out other’s opinions, or take caution in their use of word against others.

A huge percent of the population today are denizens like me. We lead busy lives that rely on the speediness of technology and information flow. And, regrettably, most of us fail to step back from all this hustle and try to achieve wisdom. I, for one, am not the wisest person of this electronic generation and I have my flaws, however, I sincerely believe that the world would be a better place if we all took time to understand wisdom. We are all empowered because we have a way to express ourselves and be heard via our social media accounts, but we should all try to be mindful.

I watched a video online about the recent World Wisdom Day, and I remember a particular quote that inspired me. It was an excerpt from the speech of Master Minghai, the Abbot of Bailin Temple:

“Wisdom transcends nationality, religion, and culture.”

Like all teachings in all religions across the world, several principles can be taught. However, rather than just listening and believing to teachings, the true meaning of wisdom is something that only we can find by ourselves, and it’s something we will find if we take time to step back.

Also Read: Master Jinghui’s Life and His Memorable Remarks on Buddhism
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