Q. Is there ever a point at which greater knowledge becomes detrimental to a person rather than beneficial? How about for society as a whole?

A. Knowledge itself is neutral in essence. It can be neither detrimental nor beneficial to either a person or a society. Whether it is harmful or beneficial depends on how each of us sees it. That’s why it can be harmful to some people and beneficial to others at the same time.

However, for people who practise Zen meditation, the knowledge of enlightenment is often regarded as an obstacle in the way of attaining enlightenment because people are so deluded by intellectual understanding that they cannot see what it points to. So, ancient masters would say that we should look upon the Buddha’s and patriarchs’ words as enemies.

©Boo Ahm

All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway

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