Five wisdoms

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Five wisdoms (Tib. ཡེ་ཤེས་ལྔ་, yeshe nga; Wyl. ye shes lnga) — five aspects of primordial wisdom (Tib. ཡེ་ཤེས་, yeshe). They are as follows:

  1. wisdom of dharmadhatu
  2. mirror-like wisdom
  3. wisdom of equality
  4. wisdom of discernment
  5. all-accomplishing wisdom

Sogyal Rinpoche writes:

You can also think of the nature of mind like a mirror, with five different powers or 'wisdoms.' Its openness and vastness is the wisdom of all-encompassing space [or dharmadhatu], the womb of compassion. Its capacity to reflect in precise detail whatever comes before it is the mirror-like wisdom. Its fundamental lack of any bias toward any impression is the equalizing wisdom [or wisdom of equality]. Its ability to distinguish clearly, without confusing in any way the various different phenomena that arise, is the wisdom of discernment. And its potential of having everything already accomplished, perfected, and spontaneously present is the all-accomplishing wisdom. (The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, p. 157)

These five wisdoms may be condensed into two:

  • ‘the wisdom that knows the nature of all phenomena’ which comprises the wisdom of the dharmadhatu, mirror-like wisdom and the wisdom of equality; and
  • ‘the wisdom that knows the multiplicity of phenomena’ which comprises discriminating and all-accomplishing wisdom.

They can all be condensed into a single wisdom: the wisdom of omniscience.

Further Reading

Internal Links

  • See 'Five buddha families', for the correspondence between the five wisdoms, the five buddha families and the five destructive emotions.