The wisdom of understanding relative truths is emphasizing that a bodhisattva doesn’t isolate himself or herself from what’s going on in the world around. A bodhisattva understands karma and how things function, as well as some of the things that are going on in the society, so that they could explain Dharma in terms of what’s happening in the society.
The four kinds of wisdom in terms of how they are generated
Wisdom that comes because of previous life imprint. I think these are very helpful to know. The wisdom coming from previous lives is the wisdom that we are born with. This is the ability to investigate, reflect or understand, which comes as a result of what we cultivated in previous lives.
Wisdom from hearing. lives that we are born with. But then as we listen to teachings, more wisdom comes. Wisdom as you are listening to teachings or as you are studying. In other words, as you are getting the information into you, a certain kind of understanding arises in your mind. That’s one reason why people are encouraged to hear a lot of teachings, and to read, and things like these, because each time you hear something, some kind of understanding is generated that wasn’t generated before.
Wisdom from reflecting. And then from there, after we listen and read and get the information in, we deepen that wisdom by reflecting. We go home with the teachings and we reflect deeply on them, thinking: “Does this make sense? Does that fit with my experience? Does this match everything that is going on in my life?” Because, sometimes, we hear something and we think we understand it but we actually didn’t. If we skip reflecting and go directly from hearing to meditation, and if we didn’t understand correctly what we heard, then our meditation is not going to be good. reflection, through discussing it and trying to verbally express what our understanding is, and listen to other people’s understanding and commenting on it.
Wisdom from meditating. In our meditation, we’re sitting and trying to integrate it with our very being and develop some kind of calm abiding and penetrative insight on the material that we have previously understood.