Discernment—the quality of mind that analyzes and perceives accurately the nature of something and then forms a thoughtful and accurate judgment about it—is not something chanced upon or casually adopted. Discernment is a facet of the mature person, of a certain temperament, who can see through the superficial and illusory to the heart of the matter. While relying, to a certain degree, on innate intelligence and curiosity, discernment needs to be cultivated. It requires discipline and education.
Discernment reveals the challenges of the relationship between teacher and student and parent and child and demonstrates how both are reflective of, and instrumental in, the cultivation of the spiritual life. Buddhist nun Yifa shows how discernment can help us handle desire and pride astutely, enabling us to negotiate such tricky, practical concerns as property and money with integrity and forethought. Using stories gathered from many Buddhist sources, Yifa wittily and incisively explores what it means to nurture consideration, deliberativeness, and acumen, both within yourself and with those who might be under your care.