The Ineffable Realization of Truth

อาจารย์ สุเมโธ

The Ineffable Realization of Truth

There’s the view that we’ve passed the Golden Age when everything was perfect. Nevertheless there is this aspiration of the human heart for individuals, communities and nations to somehow get back to that perfect paradise on planet Earth, where everything is fair and just, beautiful and true and perfect for us.

And while we can point to the mess we humans have made, we have to recognize that Mother Nature is also good at making messes on this planet. Reflecting on Dhamma allows us to see that even the Earth itself is impermanent: hurricanes, volcanoes and the whole geological history of planet Earth is, in human terms, pretty horrendous. So, it’s just the way things change and move in nature. There’s a mystery to it all: a planetary system existing in a universe. Our curiosity is taking us towards the furthest reaches of the solar system, but even with all our cleverness, all we can say is that it’s very mysterious and wonderful.

All we can do as human beings, really, is open ourselves to this mystery in wonder because we can’t solve it with the puny little minds we have. Since we can’t solve the mystery, the only thing to do is either to reject it and busy ourselves with trivial and foolish things or to consciously open ourselves to the mystery.

This is what we mean by the ineffable realization of Truth. It’s the opening of an individual’s mind to the mystery. There’s no demand for any answer. Just opening your mind and surrendering with total openness and receptivity – that’s what we can actually realize within this human form. When you’re at one with the mystery, there’s no suffering, but as long as you are frightened by it or seeking to solve it with the puny perceptions of the mind, you’ll just end up in doubt and despair, fear and anxiety.

But, we can contemplate our own existence. We can contemplate the mystery of life and the universe. What is that about, anyway? One can dismiss it as much ado about nothing, or one can actually investigate and open to it. Then there is the realization of true peacefulness that you can never have when you’re trying to find peace in something or some person or some place.

You can try looking for a peaceful place and, maybe, you find your Shangri-La and live happily ever after … but it’s more likely you’ll discover the American Air Force has low-flying jet practice over Shangri-La or the people in Shangri-La are so high-minded they never clean the toilets! There’s always a snake in the garden or a worm in the apple; there’s always going to be something un-peaceful about the conditioned realm.

It’s the same with the idea of finding Prince Charming or Cinderella: ‘Once I meet the right person, then I will live happily ever after.’ That’s an illusion too. So with no place to go, nobody to save you and fulfil you, and nothing you can do about it, you could end up creating a world all of your own – living in a kind of deranged mental state. It isn’t through any objective realm, through thought, perception or through the material realm that you’ll find the way out of suffering, but in transcending it.

Transcendence doesn’t mean escaping or rejecting suffering, but moving to that still centre of being where there’s perspective and receptivity to the conditioned realm. There’s no longer any identification with the objective conditioned realm.

This reflection by Luang Por Sumedho is from the book, Ajahn Sumedho Anthology, Volume 5—The Wheel of Truth, (pdf) pp. 80-81.