cintāmayīprajñā (P. cintāmayapaññā; T. bsam pa las byung ba'i shes rab བསམ་པ་ལས་བྱུང་བའི་ཤེས་རབ་; C. sihui 思慧) is translated as the "wisdom of reflection," "wisdom of contemplation," etc. It is the second type of wisdom (prajñā) developed within the threefold training of learning, reflection and meditation; the other two types are the wisdom of listening (śrutamayīprajñā) and the wisdom of meditation (bhāvanāmayīprajñā).
In this threefold training, after developing wisdom or knowledge through listening and studying (the first type of prajna), one builds on that by reflecting on what was heard or studied. This is followed by the stage of of meditation.
Dzogchen Ponlop states:
- In the Buddhist path, we accumulate knowledge in three ways: through study, contemplation, and meditation. First, we gain intellectual knowledge, then we personalize it through reflecting on it, and then we go beyond that to a whole new state of knowing—one that’s free from reliance on reference points. That’s the nature of our journey.
Contemporary writer Andy Karr states:
- It is said that studying the dharma without meditating is like trying to scale a rock face with no arms, while practicing meditation without studying is like trying to make a long journey without eyes. Contemplation is the bridge between intellect and insight, study and meditation. To bring all our resources to bear on the journey, we need to join the practices of study, contemplation, and meditation together like three strong locomotives pulling the train of our delusion to the destination of realization.
- What is contemplation? It is mixing the teachings with our experience. Contemplation is a bridge to study for meditators because it arouses inquisitiveness about the nature of meditation and post-meditation experience. Reflecting on the meaning and implications of the teachings puts meditation in a larger perspective than simply cultivating what we believe to be wholesome states of mind or trying to master a series of techniques. Study and contemplation arouse insight and give meditation direction and focus. Insight and focus make meditation an effective means of transformation.
- For the scholarly, contemplation is a bridge to meditation because it takes intellectual understanding and joins it with experience. Reflecting on the teachings means leaving the purely conceptual and discursive for the experiential. This naturally connects us to the practice of meditation if we are to pursue the investigation. In this way, conceptual understanding is transformed into experience and realization.
- Contemplation reveals our own intelligence to us, often in surprising ways. Profound teachings can clarify themselves simply through the process of repeated examination. What at first is unclear becomes clear. Details that we've overlooked jump out at us. You might think that you can't understand something, but by contemplating it you find that you can understand. With contemplation, you can understand the implications of the material, not just what is actually said.
- We have all experienced reading or hearing teachings, understanding something for a moment, and then discovering later that it's gone. Sometimes parts of the teaching are not clear and we skip over them. Profound teachings don't really penetrate until you make them part of your personal experience-take them in, chew on them, reflect on them, ask yourself, "Is this true?" "Do I experience it this way?" "What is the point of this teaching?"
- Thinking about the teachings in this way may seem to contradict the emphasis on "nonconceptuality" found in many Buddhist instructions, but there is no contradiction. We need to use thought to get beyond thought. Real nonconceptuality arises from recognizing the true nature of conceptuality, not through blocking thoughts or getting rid of them.
- Buswell, Robert E.; Lopez, Donald S. (2014), The Princeton Dictionary of Buddhism, Princeton University
- Dzogchen Ponlop (2010), Rebel Buddha: A Guide to a Revolution of Mind, Shambhala
- Karr, Andy (2007), Contemplating Reality, Shambhala Publications