It is probably fairly clear by now, even if you have only glanced in passing at this blog, that I am not particularly mystically inclined. As Stephen Batchelor writes, “The Buddha was not a mystic. His awakening was not a shattering insight into a transcendental truth that revealed to him the mysteries of God. He did not claim to have had an experience that granted him privileged, esoteric knowledge of how the universe ticks.” Whilst I’m not sure that these days I would be quite as bold as Batchelor is about what the Buddha was or wasn’t like – the distances in time are too great, the records upon which we rely are too compromised – I’m in agreement with the spirit of this quote. Wisdom, as I have suggested before, is simply not the kind of thing that can be esoteric. There may be esoteric knowledge (for example, there are people who know a whole load about the social lives of naked mole rats, which by my standards, and by the standards of most people I know, seems pretty esoteric), but there is no esoteric wisdom.
But what do I mean by “wisdom”?