Four Ways of the Wise

By Shamar Rinpoche

Taken from a teaching on Phowa given at Bodhi Path Virginia, June 20, 2004


I would like to share a traditional teaching about how to cultivate good judgment. This is a teaching to help us trust our common sense and avoid being misled. The four reminders here apply to dharma as well as all aspects of our daily lives. I believe that many problems in modern society could be solved if people would just follow this simple advice.

I call this teaching the “Four Ways of the Wise.” The wise know who and what they can depend upon. Thus, they avoid many traps of sloppy thinking.

This teaching consists of four simple maxims:

  1. Depend on the teaching and not on the teacher
  2. Depend on the meaning and not on the words
  3. Depend on the depth and not on the surface
  4. Depend on wisdom and not on concepts

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