12 Mar
Posted in: Talks
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Personality View

I love the very accessible explanation of “personality view” (sakkayaditthi), which Ajahn Sucitto gave during a recent Q&A session in response to a question about whether or not a “stream-enterer” could ever lose contact with the Dharma. (“Stream-enterer” is the term traditionally used to describe someone who has reached the first stage of enlightenment.) Ven. Sucitto says:

“The stream-enterer has some realization, but not complete realization, so, yes, they could lose the precepts. But the stream-enterer is of the quality that they could acknowledge this — and return.

“The stream-enterer has not eliminated greed and hatred, or passion and craving. But they have eliminated the personality view. The personality view is gone, so they’re not proud; they’re not defensive; they’re not justifying themselves. The stream-enterer is always someone who can be corrected. But they can make mistakes.

“The stream-enterer has essentially lost the first three “fetters”. The first of these is sakkayaditthi (personality view), which is the belief in being an independent entity. A personality. Meaning that the thing that makes us different — we take that to be the foundation of our life. Rather than taking the thing that makes us NOT different.

“That which makes us different — different faces, different attitudes, different personalities — that becomes the reference point. With personality view, that’s what I take a stand on; that becomes what I take as most important. That’s always going to cause division. Because there’s only one like ME!

“But if your reference point is the universal — which is the quality of goodwill, the quality of truthfulness, the quality of patience, etc. — there’s no person in that.”


The next two “fetters” are: silabbata-paramasa (attachment to rites and rituals) and vicikiccha (usually translated as “skeptical doubt”.) I’ll post Ajahn Sucitto’s explanation of those tomorrow.

Can’t wait? Click here to listen.

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  • […] from yesterday’s post with excerpt from Ajahn Sucitto’s Q&A on the mental “fetters” that bind us […]