The Wheel of Truth by Ajahn Sumedho | II

Book Extracts

Venerable Ajhan Sumdeo on the difference between trying to be a ‘good’ person and being a ‘whole’ person.



Take a simple personality-view like ‘I am my body.’ With this,
the body is ‘me’. It’s no longer a condition in nature that follows the
natural law – it’s ‘me’. If it’s a male body then I identify with all the
things that a culture or civilization produces around manhood/
womanhood. And being ‘a man’ can be a great source of worry to men.
We can feel quite concerned about our lack of manhood, our weakness
or our vulnerability. We have standards connected with how we should
appear to the society around us: moral standards and ideals as to how
things should be.

In a similar way, those of us who aspire to mystical union or to
ultimate realization can establish very high standards for ourselves –
ideals we would like to be able to attain. We’d like to be a person who is
enlightened. We’d like to become a Buddha or a saint, or somebody who
is not frightened any more, or who is very kind and loving, free from
all desires and fears. We may have high standards for our personality
– that we should be generous, noble and virtuous – and if we have any
feelings lower than that, we feel guilty about them. ‘I shouldn’t feel like
that, I should never get angry, I should be a loving warm, compassionate
person.’ This is how the mind is programmed and conditioned by the
ideal of being the perfect person. It’s merely a conditioned reaction,
a habitual thinking behaviour, programmed to go off like that. It’s
not as if there was something wrong with you, as if it were something
you shouldn’t be or shouldn’t feel, that you shouldn’t react to or think
about. So realize that you can never live up to the high standards you
might have for yourself as a person because the standards are simply
ideas and ideas are conditions of the mind.

The Wheel of Truth by Ajahn Sumedho pp281

 copyright Amaravti Publications

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