Knowledge and Moral Values

By Matthieu Ricard on December 01, 2010

The mere accumulation of knowledge is not enough. My teacher, Khyentse Rinpoche said: ‟If you amass intellectual learning just so that you will be influential and famous, your state of mind is no different from that of a beggar sponging off the rich. Such knowledge will bring no advantage either to yourself or to others. As the proverb goes: ‘Much knowledge, much pride'. How can you be of help to others unless you subjugate the negative tendencies that are anchored in your very being? To think that you can is just a joke - like a penniless beggar inviting the whole village to a feast”.

There are many signs of success in the contemplative life. But the most important is that after a few months, or years, your egoism has lessened and your altruism has increased. If attachment, hatred, pride and jealousy still remain as strong as before, then you have wasted your time, gone down a blind alley and fooled other people.

Scientific knowledge does not have in and of itself any particular connection with moral values. So, we need to cultivate inner values, through reflection and mind training, in order to dispel the fundamental delusions that generate so much suffering for ourselves and others.