I fell in love with “wisdom” without even knowing its name. It came slow, like a thief during the night, and it took over my mind, my heart, and my soul. The heat and passion of this “strange feeling” has never diminished, but increased tremendously over the past two decades. Right now, if I were asked: “How do you feel about this mental concept?” I would have to say it simply: “I am madly in love with it!”
The seeds of this “strange feeling” must have been planted in my heart by my grandma, over half a century ago, when she would tell me Bible stories. They remained dormant for many decades, and only germinated over the past 18 years. Their biological clock must have started early, in the 1990’s when I did my graduate work at the University of Ottawa, and worked with John Salmela and Terry Orlick, two world scholars in the field of sport psychology. They have somehow, started the germination process of these magical seeds. It is well known in the world of sport psychology, that these two wise men had the gift of spreading these types of “mental seeds” in the hearts and souls of thousands of researchers, educators, coaches, athletes, politicians, and other people throughout the world.
The area of their expertise, and my graduate work, was in mental training in sport and life. My research measured and evaluated the mental skills required to achieve high levels of human performance in sport. Their premise was that: successful people were better mentally equipped to deal with the demands of life than unsuccessful ones. The conclusions of my research proved unequivocally, that these two scholars were absolutely right in everything they claimed.
A few years later, when I was doing research for one of my published books Awaken the Giant from Inside (Bota, 2001) while studying the life of the people who left a “mark on this earth”, (i.e. Aristotle, Plato, Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Shakespeare, Beethoven, Edison, Marie Curie, Charlie Chaplin, Walt Disney, Mahatma Gandhi, Albert Einstein, Mother Teresa, and Bill Gates, among others), I discovered all these mental traits/characteristics/skills/abilities in these individuals, as suggested by John Salmela and Terry Orlick, many years earlier. However, after completing my research and writing this book, I felt that there was still something else. There was something that I was missing! In the beginning, I couldn’t figure out what that “missing thing” was, but I felt and became increasingly convinced that there was something I was overlooking, and that something was “great.” My subconscious mind was struggling to give me the answer, but the answer wouldn’t appear.
When I first read the story of Confucius and one of his disciples, who supposedly asked:
“If everybody in the village loves you - are you a good man?”
Confucius replied, “Not necessarily.”
The disciple asked again, “If everybody from the village hates you - are you a good man?”
And Confucius replied again, “Not necessarily.”
“What do you mean?” asked the confused disciple.
Confucius replied, “When the good people of the village love you and the bad people of the village hate you – you are a good man.”
I was profoundly impressed by that straight forward language. I then began to read more books on the life of “human giants”. The more books I read, the more I became aware of these simple, powerful and clear messages that they have tried to send to us. My eyes began to finally open, and I could understand much clearer, what these people tried to convey:
“If you gave a man a fish, you fed him for a day, but if you teach him to fish, you fed him for life”, said Confucius;
“We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts, we make our world“, said Buddha;
“There is no right way to do a wrong thing”, said Aristotle;
“Beautiful words are not true; true words are not beautiful”, said Lao-Tzu;
“If we change our minds, we could change our lives”, said Williams James.
The words used in these sentences have something magic and mystic in them. They have strength, power, logic, clarity and simplicity. When reading these kinds of words and phrases, I discovered that they were, in fact, the nourishment for the “mysterious seeds” planted in my heart by grandma, many decades earlier.
The question I was struggling with was: “What were these seeds called?” This type of information was not only relevant, but also powerful, and eye opening for me. Once I heard it, I could not forget it, and I begun admiring the ones who were able to put these words and ideas in such a close proximity. My previous education, knowledge and experiences did not cover “that thing”. My previous education did not make any references and/or connections to these particular subject areas. Yet, I knew I have studied it all along. I felt that what I was looking for was there. It was very close to everything I had studied before, but still, I didn’t know what “that thing” was, and didn’t have a name for it, yet.
And then, one day in 2001, it hit me. It hit me all of a sudden! The answer came to me a little bit late, a few months after my book was already published.
The answer given to me by my subconscious mind was a revelation. It came in the form of a word, a very simple word, a word that was much stronger than any other phrases, paragraphs, arguments, articles and even books that I have ever written before. This simple word was spelled WISDOM. The magical ingredient that all these giants had in common was called WISDOM, and these mental ingredients/skills/attributes/qualities, made them actually do what they ended up doing.
“Whow!” I thought then. “What a wonderful word!”
After discovering that magical word, I was happy. I had finally discovered a term for it. Now, I knew what to do and where to look to find it.
I then began researching this concept. I needed to know more about it. When I felt that the knowledge I had accumulated through my research was sufficient for a book, I wrote my first book on the subject. This book was called, Food for the mind (Bota, 2001). Until 2004, I had already published 9 more books on this subject, the last one called: The book of Wisdom Books (Bota, 2004).
These books relied heavily upon the teachings of Jesus Christ, Muhammad, Buddha and Confucius, and had a strong influence by the wisdom of Solomon, Lao Tzu, Aristotle, Plato, Socrates and all wise men who have ever lived on this earth. These books received great reviews from Romanian priests, lawyers, judges, educators and readers from all walks of life.
Even though, The book of wisdom books came out of print in 2004, four years after beginning my research on this topic, I had a feeling that the book was still incomplete. There was more, and I felt that I had to discover it. I was still hungry to know more, to find out more, and to understand more. My mind continued to remain hungry and was continuously searching for, whatever it was. In 2005 I wrote my eleventh and final book on wisdom entitled The Manual of Wisdom – the teachings of Jordache Bota left as a will to his children David and Daniel. Yet, after publishing that book, I still felt that I needed to find more and to know more.
The more I researched and looked upon this mental skill (wisdom), the more I realized that it was, in fact, an umbrella for all the mental skills suggested a decade earlier by Drs. John Salmela and Terry Orlick. It was easy to see that if one had wisdom, he/she had all of the other mental skills suggested by these two world scholars (i.e., belief, commitment, focus, among others).
That’s how I became more and more passionate about this mental skill. The more research I did, the more things I have discovered; the more things I’ve discovered; the more curious I became; the more curious I became; the more questions I’ve asked; and the more questions I’ve asked; the more answers I’ve received.
On a more negative note, the more research I did on the recent scientific books and/or publications on wisdom - the more I’ve discovered the contradictions amongst today’s scientists when defining and/or talking about wisdom. That was the time I’ve left aside today’s scientific literature and conflicts, and focused on the “wisdom” left behind by our ancient sages. I wanted to “get into the wisdom myself”; to “taste it”, to “feel it”, and to “see it for myself”, without being influenced by any contemporary scientist. I didn’t want to be subjectively influenced and/or to be lead into a wrong direction. I focused on older books and all other resources that could provide me with the information I needed, to find out what these wise people said, what they did, and how they lived their lives.
I began to look for wisdom everywhere and anywhere I could find it. I took the scripture and carefully re-read “The wisdom of Solomon”, “Solomon’s proverbs” and “Ecclesiastes”, and pondered a lot about the wisdom I had discovered there. I took my former father in law library, he was an orthodox priest, and researched all of his religious books; I took my mom’s books, she was a Baptist church member, to look for wisdom; I entered into the biggest Romanian libraries, and researched all I could find on wisdom; I researched Romanian folklore, as related to wisdom; I talked with elders and asked them for old stories, quotes and teachings on wisdom. I was hungry about wisdom and sought it anywhere and everywhere I could find it. My journey so far in researching wisdom had been very much enlightening. The 11 books that I published on this subject, as the result of my research, present wisdom stories, wisdom parables, wisdom teachings, wisdom lessons, wisdom quotes and wisdom sayings, not only from the ancient sages, but also from many other wise people, who have lived on this earth from the beginning of time until now were consulted.
Since returning to Canada in 2006, I’ve continued my research on wisdom. Three years ago I was looking into furthering this research into an academic setting by doing a Ph.D. in this subject. Things didn’t work out the way I wanted, but out of that venture, I got to know Monika Ardelt (University of Florida) and Daniel Vokey (University of British Columbia), two world giants in the study of wisdom. They, along with John Salmela, my former advisor from the University of Ottawa (now at the Universidad Federal de Minas Gerais/Brazil), have all offered me their expertise, input, guidance and encouragement on this research. I am grateful to all of them.
A few years ago, I approached the Indian Elders and Chiefs from the North area of British Columbia, and looked for wisdom. I later went to Vancouver and approached all of the Guardara Temples from the Vancouver area, and meet several Sikh priests, seeking their wisdom. Two years ago, I was researching the Buddhist religion in Vancouver and Edmonton, and I met with Buddhist monks to discuss wisdom. Last year, I approached leaders of the Muslim religion in Calgary, and asked them about wisdom. This year I have focused on the Hindu religion, and met with adepts and Gurus of this ancient religion, and discussed with them about wisdom. Meeting these people was a great experience and provided me with valuable insights on the way they perceived wisdom, and I am very thankful to them.
During the past three years I have also read and fed my mind with what it hungrily needed. I studied the books with the teachings of Lao Tzu’s (Tao te Ching); Confucius’s (Analects), Buddha’s (Dhammapada), Solomon’s (The Book of Wisdom, Proverbs and Ecclesiastes); the wisdom of Jesus Christ and Mohammed, and of all other ancient wise men and prophets who have lived on this earth.
Each and every dish offered to me by these wise men was great. Some of these wise men provided me with more wisdom than others, but I remained grateful to each and every one of them, for every word of wisdom they passed on, for every phrase that they gave away, for every sentence, and for every teaching that they passed on to their disciples and further, to our world.
I was eating wisdom stories for breakfast, teachings for lunch, and lessons for dinner, and I was enjoying the delicious deserts of Confucius, Lao Tzu, Buddha and King Solomon. I was able to discover how Buddha equated wisdom with knowledge, and ultimate it with enlightenment; how Lao Tzu equated it with following the natural laws of the universe; how Confucius equated it with humility; how Plato and Socrates equated it with knowledge: how Aristotle equated it with experience; how Jesus equated it with love and self-sacrifice; how Mohamed equated it with truth and morality; and how other old sages equated it with a supernatural source, or God, the source of all knowledge.
WHAT IS WISDOM? HOW CAN ONE DEFINE IT?
The short definition of wisdom is that, Wisdom cannot be defined. Wisdom is a divine concept, and a divine quality; until we fully understand divinity, we won’t be able to fully understand and/or define wisdom.
People contradict each other when trying to define and/or describe God because no one has truly seen him/her. They have also difficulties to describe his Godly qualities. Since Wisdom is such a quality, no wonder mankind finds it so difficult to grasp its meaning.
If we could truly see God and/or fully understand him, we may then be better able to define wisdom.
Nobody put it better than Lao Tzu, who said 2500 years ago: “Wisdom is older than the world itself. How can one grasp its meaning?” He went on and said, “Wisdom does not need to be proven, and that what needs to be proven is not wisdom.”
When talking about wise men, he said, “Wise men don't need to prove their point; men who need to prove their point aren't wise.”
However, if I would have to pass this 2500 years old description, and try to define it for the purpose of this paper, I would have to say the following:
Wisdom is knowledge (claimed by Plato and Socrates). Wisdom is experience (claimed by Aristotle) and insight (claimed by most contemporary scholars). Wisdom is patience, love and virtue (claimed by Buddha, Lao Tzu, Confucius, Aristotle, Jesus and Mohamed). Wisdom is caring, sharing, kindness and goodness (claimed by Jesus Christ, Mohamed, Confucius, Lao Tzu, and King Solomon). Wisdom is intelligence, intuition, experience, simplicity, fairness and justice (this is something I found as a constant while researching the books of Buddha, Confucius, Lao Tzu and King Solomon).
Wisdom is a mental quality resulting from acquired knowledge, intuitive understanding, correct thinking, correct living, correct effort, correct attention, correct focus, and the practice of truth, compassion and love. (On this definition I tried to unite my insights/findings from the books of Buddha, Confucius, Lao Tzu and Solomon).
Wisdom is an old concept which describes a skill that unites the hearts and the minds of these who are very much interested in knowledge, understanding… and love, towards everyone and everything that’s on this earth. Wisdom is one of these qualities that brings people together; helps them live better lives; and brings with it peace, joy, harmony, friendship and happiness. (This is something I made myself, and it is based on my overall research findings).
Wisdom will never be found in a sociopath, a con man, or a criminal - and that is because wisdom cannot blossom, cannot grow and cannot reside in the minds of such individuals. (This claim is drown from the teachings of Confucius and Lao Tzu)
Wisdom is not power of any sorts … and has never been associated with money, gold or other material riches. In fact some wise men (Buddha, Jesus Christ, Lao Tzu and Confucius) claim that, “It is impossible to be wise and rich … or to be rich and wise”.
Wisdom is something you feel… something you see. It is the simplicity of the words and the power of the message they carry with them. (This is what firstly attracted me to this mental concept). Wisdom is something that is hard to explain, yet it is very good to have. Wisdom is something that is shared by only these who are wise. It is impossible to understand it, if you are not wise. (I found these claims in the teachings of Jesus Christ, Lao Tzu and Confucius)
Well, this is wisdom… this power of the message… this simplicity of words… these Godly skills/tools/concepts/knowledges/experiences/strategies/qualities that make people increase the quality of life are (in my own understanding) the best descriptors of wisdom, left behind by our ancestors.
Wisdom is the most powerful mental tool/skill/attribute in the universe. The knowledge of this tool has run through the lives, hearts, minds and teachings of all the prophets, seers, sages and saviours in the world’s history, and through the lives of all truly great men and women who have lived on this earth. All they have ever accomplished or attained in their lives has been done in full accordance with this powerful tool.
Wise men say that it is impossible to understand Christianity without learning first about the life and work of Jesus Christ - the son of God. It is impossible to understand Islam without learning about the life and work of Mohamed - the prophet of God. It is impossible to understand Buddhism without learning the life and work of Buddha - the Enlightened one. Wise men also say that it is impossible to understand wisdom without learning first the life and work of the wise men who have lived on this earth from the beginning of time.
These claims are logical because the whole ideology of the religions previously mentioned is based on the lives of these wise people. I will go a step even further and say that logic dictates that if the teachings of these people were and are so much revered by billions and billions of people throughout the world and throughout our world history, it means that these teachings (their wisdom) are valuable, worthy, and should, could and must be further investigated. I would go a step further and say that I believe a course on this subject could, should and must be taught in all educational systems throughout the world. A course in wisdom would be useful and should be taught as Wisdom 101, in the same manner as most world Universities offer courses in Psychology 101, or Philosophy 101. I do not claim that Wisdom is more important than the other “101 introductory courses”, but I strongly believe that such a course could plant “the wisdom seeds” in the minds of our students. By taking such a course, students would/could become wiser and could choose wiser choices when confronted with dilemmas in their lives. There are at least six ancient wisdom books, which provide valuable knowledge. They are: The Wisdom of Solomon, Solomon’s Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Dhammapata, Analects and Tao te Ching. The knowledge hidden in these books is invaluable for every human being.
I am very passionate about such a course, because I see its relevance in the life of people throughout the world. By allowing our youngsters to learn about the lives of these wise men, the work of these men, the teachings of these wise men, we will implant these wisdom seeds in their hearts and minds and this would better equip them with that true quality “wisdom” that is often missing from our societies. This quality could bring people together; make them more humble, less arrogant, and much wiser. With this course, we could help change our world, and make a better future for our children.
I believe that this Chicago Wisdom Research Project could suggest this action to governments throughout the world.
To support my previous claims, about the importance of wisdom in our everyday lives, I am very proud to tell you a little bit about the work I’ve done in the past 9 years of my life. I invite each and every one of you to come along and contribute to my work in any way, shape or form you may consider appropriate.
So far, I have published 11 books on wisdom. The most relevant one of them is THE BOOK OF WISDOM BOOKS. To write this book, I had to go back through the centuries, tracing and uncovering the wisdom that lay at the core of the most powerful philosophies, teachings and religions of the world. What I discovered there was fully revealed in this book. This book is the final result of 10 years of extensive and passionate research. The book is written in the Romanian language and is ready to be translated and be made available to people throughout the world. I need any help I can get from you people.
The book is 1000 pages long, in letter format. Its pages are full of stories of wisdom, parables, teachings, and lessons. It has wonderful graphics and has a special page, where the names of these who would read it, are to be inscribed. The book contains 41 wisdom books, which are divided into nine sections, each section with its specific topic. There are nine Ancient Wisdom Books, seven World Religion Books, twelve Books of Stories, three Books of Parables, one Book of Lessons, one Book on Teachings, and other books.
This book is a true encyclopaedia of wisdom, and could be used as a treasured gift to be kept in the family from generation to generations, and to be passed from parents to children and then grandchildren. What richness could be more valuable to pass on to our children than the wisdom left behind by our ancestors (Confucius, Buddha, Lao Tzu, Solomon, Jesus, Mohammed, Aristotle, Socrates, and Plato?)
The book addresses all world religions, and the four names most used throughout the book are these of Jesus Christ, Mohamed, Buddha and Confucius, names who have true believers in over 95% of the world’s population. This book does not contradict religions, but rather brings all religions together with the help of the most important tool they all use, wisdom. This book accompanies with pride, honour and dignity the Christian Bible, the Muslim Koran, the Buddhist Dhammapada, the Hindu’s Veda’s, the Taoist Tao te Ching and the Confucianism Analects. It is a must to any anyone who is looking for knowledge, spirituality and deep meaning in life.
The Book of Wisdom Books reveals the wisdom that is governing our lives. By applying the knowledge of this mental tool - we can change our lives, our destiny and our world.
Based on my previous experiences as a writer, I believe that this book is invaluable and it will be read by millions and millions of people around the world.
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