Wisdom and consciousness

Hello Dhamma friends,
I read with interest the discussion on ignorance. It made me curious about the definition? Aj. Sucitto defines wisdom (panna) as the “faculty that makes distinctions- a faculty we all already have.” The MJ 43.5 says that “wisdom and consciousness are conjoined.”
These definitions seem to resonate with me.
thanks for listening

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What’s MJ 43.5?

According to classical Theravada, wisdom is not in every consciousness. Not even in every wholesome consciousness.

One can do good without wisdom.

When doing bad, certainly it is without wisdom, but can have right view that this is bad for kamma.

Ignorance is not knowing the 4 noble truths, not just at the intellectual level, but
at the realization level.

Broadly speaking, it is being ignorant about dukkha, the causes of dukkha, and the way to end it, i.e. the 4 Noble truths.
As in SN38.9:
"“Reverend Sāriputta, they speak of this thing called ‘ignorance’. What is ignorance?”
“Not knowing about suffering, the origin of suffering, the cessation of suffering, and the practice that leads to the cessation of suffering. This is called ignorance.”


" For the purpose of leading the spiritual life under me is to completely understand suffering. If wanderers of other religions were to ask you: ‘Is there a path and a practice for completely understanding that suffering?’ You should answer them like this: ‘There is.’
And what is that path? It is simply this noble eightfold path, that is: right view, right thought, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right immersion. This is the path and the practice for completely understanding suffering. "

Hi Peg.

MN 43 defines wisdom as:

“They’re called wise because they understand.

“‘Pajānāti pajānātī’ti kho, āvuso, tasmā paññavāti vuccati.

And what do they understand?

Kiñca pajānāti?

They understand: ‘This is suffering’ … ‘This is the origin of suffering’ … ‘This is the cessation of suffering’ … ‘This is the practice that leads to the cessation of suffering.’

‘Idaṁ dukkhan’ti pajānāti, ‘ayaṁ dukkhasamudayo’ti pajānāti, ‘ayaṁ dukkhanirodho’ti pajānāti, ‘ayaṁ dukkhanirodhagāminī paṭipadā’ti pajānāti.

Another sutta I read SN 48.10 has the same definition:

And what is the faculty of wisdom?

Katamañca, bhikkhave, paññindriyaṁ?

It’s when a noble disciple is wise. They have the wisdom of arising and passing away which is noble, penetrative, and leads to the complete ending of suffering.

Idha, bhikkhave, ariyasāvako paññavā hoti udayatthagāminiyā paññāya samannāgato ariyāya nibbedhikāya, sammā dukkhakkhayagāminiyā.

They truly understand: ‘This is suffering’ … ‘This is the origin of suffering’ … ‘This is the cessation of suffering’ … ‘This is the practice that leads to the cessation of suffering’.

So ‘idaṁ dukkhan’ti yathābhūtaṁ pajānāti, ‘ayaṁ dukkhasamudayo’ti yathābhūtaṁ pajānāti, ‘ayaṁ dukkhanirodho’ti yathābhūtaṁ pajānāti, ‘ayaṁ dukkhanirodhagāminī paṭipadā’ti yathābhūtaṁ pajānāti—

This is called the faculty of wisdom.

idaṁ vuccati, bhikkhave, paññindriyaṁ.

For me, this reads as saying every development of wisdom relies on consciousness of reality; that there cannot be wisdom without consciousness. However, I do not think it says the opposite; that there cannot be consciousness without wisdom. :slightly_smiling_face: