Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Intuitive Awareness

By Ajahn Sumedho
       I was talking to a monk last week about how difficult it
sometimes is to see yourself in terms of positive
qualities, because we’re so used to seeing ourselves
in terms of the negative, what’s wrong, what the faults
are. I notice especially with Western people,
       Europeans and Americans, that we spend so much
time criticising ourselves and dwelling on what we feel
is wrong with us, not good, or weak. Then we think
it’s even wrong to admit our good qualities. I used to
feel like that: I was being honest when I was admitting
my weaknesses and faults, but if I admitted my virtues
that would be bragging. Here in Britain, it’s very bad
taste to brag and tell people how wonderful you are,
how much money you make, how many important
degrees or titles you have. In Thailand, some monks
have these name-cards which have all their titles on
them — BA, MA, Ph.D., Chao Khun, Head of Province,
Vice-President of the World Fellowship of Buddhists
and World Congress of Buddhists, Trustee to this and
that — it’s quite all right there to present yourself in
terms of your accomplishments. But here we think that
it is very bad taste; it’s embarrassing. You never see
in an English home people putting their framed
University degrees up on the walls, do you? They
would be too embarrassed because it’s like boasting.
       There is a sense of modesty here in Britain which is
also quite lovely in many ways. But it can be taken to
the extreme where you have no way of acknowledging
any goodness in yourself or to appreciate your own
successes, virtues and good qualities.

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