savage: unconditioned, uncivilized, primordial, wild, fierce
wisdom: knowledge, truth, intelligence, erudition, enlightenment
The title for this category came unbidden. I questioned it; it seemed a touch severe. The reminder came that once, on the long timeless journey to now, I was given a Dharma name by a kind Lama of the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. It was Yeshe Dolma: Yeshe means primordial wisdom. OK, primordial I get, but savage?
Savage is a word that has broader contemporary usage and is perhaps more accessible than ‘primordial.’ One of the ways it is commonly used is as a transitive verb: to savage = to assault ferociously; to attack without restraint or pity. Let me assure you that the word used in this way fits. This wisdom savages the illusion of separation, as well as the self that believes in separation. It is ruthless.
The dictionary definition of ‘unconditioned,’ ‘uncivilized’ also fits, for this wisdom concerns the Truth that is blocked only by concepts and beliefs – all of which are learned, conditioned patterns of mental activity. Savage in this sense describes an intelligence that moves prior to the activity of thought’s labeling and categorizing. Perhaps it is the energy of Life itself; perhaps it’s the movement of Love. Whatever we label it, we lie.
Yet it will speak, it will express using the language of the lie. This has always been the case.
Prajñāpāramitā (Sanskrit: प्रज्ञापारमिता) means “the Perfection of (Transcendent) Wisdom” in Mahāyāna Buddhism. It is the mantra of the Heart Sutra:
Gate, Gate, Paragate, Parasamgate, Bodhi Svaha!
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