I think understanding (wisdom, discernment, skillfulness, etc.) are a product of increasing maturity over time, native capacities, receptivity, self-discipline, insight, life experiences, relationships, and the application of knowledge in the real world that will moderate a purely intellectual perspective on concepts, philosophies and so forth with felt experience and multidimensionality that aren’t available via academic study and discourse alone. “Knowledge makes arrogant, but love edifies;” until the intellect subjugates itself to the heart’s capacity for compassion - and indeed the promptings of spirit - its understanding will remain incomplete. “Even if it possesses the knowledge of Plato, it is still outside of the palace.”
Unfortunately, nearly all religious institutions (of any tradition) tend to exhibit a slow but inexorable decent into legalism and dogmatism - even the more progressive ones that inject postmodern skepticism into religious studies fall prey to this. And even with a good teacher, the student’s early conditioning to construct rigid, inflexible structures around their learning often prevents them from maintaining an appropriate openness to experiential integration, and to grokking the subtle nuances of the Absolute (let alone in non-analytical ways). Until the student begins looking within, institutions of learning all too often present a consumption model of inculcation that distracts students from deeper, multidimensional and unitive intuitions.
In this sense, then, “understanding” is a rare event everywhere in consumerist culture, and students of religion likely encompass similar distributions to the rest of the population.
My 2 cents.
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