Chapter 4. Wisdom & Faith


Allowing faith and wisdom to grow hand in hand,
we will both understand and believe in Buddhism

(Pittaya Wong)

Wisdom plays an important role in Buddhist teaching, and it makes Buddhism outstanding from other religions.  Moreover, wisdom leads to faith which is more inevitable and well grounded.  As shown in the lower left diagram, wisdom is developed from correct and/or incorrect knowledge & understanding and/or misunderstanding.  Then, one has either correct and/or incorrect belief leading to either more or less of wisdom and/or delusion.

In term of wisdom alone, the Lord Buddha taught that there are three levels of wisdom in Buddhism namely (1) wisdom from listening or perceiving (2) wisdom from thinking or analyzing, and (3) wisdom from meditating or meditative insight/intuition.

According to this teaching, we can derive the Dhammonomic equation as follows:

Wisdom = Knowledge x Understanding

Wisdom = (Knowledge from perceiving + Knowledge from thinking + Knowledge from meditating) x Understanding

(Knowledge from perceiving) x (Understanding from perceiving)+
(Knowledge from thinking) x (Understanding from comprehending or analyzing)+
(Knowledge from meditating) x (Understanding from meditating)

Thus, we can create the Diagram of Three Levels of Wisdom in Buddhism where The Three Level of Knowledge in blue circle comprises of:

(i) Physical Learning

(ii) Mental Thinking

(iii) Meditative Intuition,

Which overlap the Three Level of Understanding in green circle, namely

(i) Understanding

(ii) Comprehension

(iii) Insight

Resulting in the Three Level of Wisdom in Buddhism which are:

(i) Wisdom from Learning

(ii)  Thoughtful Wisdom or Wisdom from Thinking

(iii)  Sublime Wisdom or Meditative Wisdom


By Pittaya Wong

7 August 2018

Wisdom & Faith in Contrast

Wisdom = [Right +/- Wrong (Knowledge)] x [Right +/- Wrong (Understanding)]

Faith = [Right +/- Wrong (Knowledge)] x [Right +/- Wrong (Belief)]

To compare and contrast between wisdom and faith, wisdom is contributed by the two main factors namely (i) knowledge and (ii) understanding.  So, there are the situations when the perceived knowledge is right or wrong and the comprehension over such right or wrong knowledge results in understanding or misunderstanding as well.  However, when wisdom is negative, we name this phenomena ‘delusion.’

Likewise, faith relies on two main factors namely (i) knowledge and (ii) belief.  When we perceive any knowledge either right or wrong and we believe in someone or something based on such knowledge, it can be either a belief or misbelief.  When faith is negative, we call it ‘credulity.’


- Pittaya Wong

Updated on 6 May 2019