Zen Teachings: The Four Kinds of Spiritual People

buddha silver

“There are four kinds of people who study.
The highest are those with practice, with understanding, and with realization.
Next are those with understanding, and with realization but without practice.
Next are those with practice and understanding but without realization.
Lowest are those with practice, but without understanding or realization.”

Zen Dawn, J. C. Cleary

Practice, understanding and realisation are all important, but we can deduce from the quote above that of these realisation is the most important. Next in importance is understanding, and least important is practice.

How can this be? How can understanding be more important than practice? Isn’t it often said that an drop of practice is worth an ocean of theory?
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Dalai Lama: end suffering by developing insight

(Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)
(Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)

The following excerpt is taken from the book “How to see yourself as you really are” by the Dalai Lama:

What makes all this trouble in the world? Our own counterproductive emotions. Once they are generated, they harm us both superficially and deeply. These afflictive emotions accomplish nothing but trouble from beginning to end. If we tried to counteract each and every one individually, we would find ourselves in an endless struggle. So what is the root cause of afflictive emotions that we can address more fruitfully? Continue reading