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Experiential Vs Intellectual Knowledge

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The Buddhist Library, No.2 Lorong 24A Geylang Singapore 398526

The Buddhist Library, No.2 Lorong 24A Geylang Singapore 398526

Singapore

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“Experiential vs Intellectual knowledge”

Intellectual learning gives us intellectual knowledge. Having an intellectual knowledge of Buddhism is akin to memorizing instructions on how to cook rice. Just because we’ve read or memorized the instructions doesn’t mean we’re going to be successful at cooking rice. To put it simply, we won’t really know how to cook rice until we’ve done it ourselves. To be successful at it, we need to put into practice the knowledge we’ve gained.

This second, more experiential way of learning is called “implicit learning,” which gives us “implicit knowledge.” Implicit knowledge is not the kind of superficial information that we can jot down on an examination paper as a result of having memorized it. It’s much deeper and harder to put into words than that. Implicit knowledge is something we learn for ourselves through practice, through trial and error. Implicit learning involves a particular type of process for acquiring knowledge.

For example, we might read a set of instructions and then want to apply them. So we proceed to try to follow the instructions in real life, but then discover that things aren’t working out well.

Consequently, we go back and reread the instructions to figure out what we may have done wrong. Eventually, there’s that “Aha!” moment when we’re able to carry out the instructions successfully. But to reach that point, we have to keep putting the instructions into practice until we get things right...



About Ajahn Viradhammo

Venerable Viradhammo was born in Esslingen, Germany in 1947 to Latvian refugee parents. They moved to Toronto when he was four years old. He studied engineering at the University of Toronto but became disillusioned with academic life and left in 1969 to see the world and experience other cultures. Later, while living in India, he encountered Buddhism, meeting the late Samanera Bodhesako, who introduced him to the teachings of the Buddha. He eventually travelled to Thailand to become a novice at Wat Mahathat in 1973 and took bhikkhu ordination the following year at Wat Pah Pong with Ven. Ajahn Chah. He was one of the first residents at Wat Pah Nanachat, the international monastery in north-east Thailand.

Having spent four years in Thailand, he went back to Canada to visit his family in 1977. Instead of returning to Thailand, he was asked by Ajahn Chah to join Ajahn Sumedho at the Hampstead Vihara in London. Later, he was involved in the establishment of both the Chithurst and Harnham monasteries in the UK.

“In 1985, invited by the Wellington Theravada Buddhist Association, he moved to New Zealand, accompanied by Venerable Thanavaro, where he lived for 10 years, setting up Bodhinyanarama monastery.
In 1995 he came to the UK to assist Ajahn Sumedho at Amaravati and stayed for four years before returning to New Zealand, where he lived until 2002. From that time until 2011 he lived in Ottawa caring for his mother. In 2006 he founded Tisarana Buddhist Monastery in Perth, Ontario, where he is currently the abbot.

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The Buddhist Library, No.2 Lorong 24A Geylang Singapore 398526

The Buddhist Library, No.2 Lorong 24A Geylang Singapore 398526

Singapore

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