By Nhat Quan
There are too many compliments and criticisms in this world. That's why many people are busy looking for answers to the question:
- How to stop compliments and criticisms?
So, those who are confused about praise and criticism, do not make an appointment but meet. Before and after they all came to see  the Buddha, and asked:
- World-Honored One, how can we not be influenced by the praise and criticism of people?
The Buddha of great kindness and compassion just looked at them and smiled, and said:
- If you want to stop complimenting and criticizing, you can only let go.
But there are still people who are not satisfied, so they ask the Buddha:
- Dear World-Honored One! There are billions of people in this world, and there are billions of languages to praise and criticize. But the way you give is only one, all the same, how to solve the problem.
The Buddha calmly asked the man:
- At night when you go to bed, do you dream or not?
The man answered.
- Dear World-Honored One! I often dream too,
Buddha asked again.
- So are the dreams usually the same or different?
The man answered voice troubled.
- Dear World-Honored One, it's usually not the same,
Buddha smiled and asked.
- Do you have nightmares?
The man respectfully answered.
- Yes, I usually have nightmares too!
The Buddha smiled and said:
You sleep a thousand thousand times, and there are thousands of times when you dream that you have nightmares, but you also have good dreams. But the only way out of nightmares or good dreams is very similar. That is waking up!
The man, after hearing the Buddha's answer, suddenly became enlightened, folded his hands respectfully, and then withdrew without saying a word.
Praise and criticism in life are like a dream. As long as you definitely give up the idea of letting go, you can wake up from a nightmare. No matter what compliments or criticisms about you, where the source comes from, the method to remove them is only one:
- Know how to let go.
For those who often have a lot of friction, or face many challenges, and especially a little bit of studying the Buddhadharma, they all say:
- Human life is a sea of suffering, the world is full of worries and troubles. All things are governed by the law of impermanence….
Just born, crying out loud. Then grow up, and enter life with many beautiful dreams. Instantly, the hair was dew point, the eyes were blurred, the back was tired, and the legs were slow. Then in the end, the two hands let go, going into the ground, leaving behind all the things that had to be done in a lifetime. About human life as a dream, Westerners also have a saying:
- Life is too short.
However, when you are still healthy, you are busy making money, worrying about strengthening your position and fame, and have no time to live a true life. Rarely do you prepare your mind to accept the impermanence of old age? When the hair was dew point, the skin was wrinkled, the eyes were blurred, the legs were slow, then they were startled, then sad, disappointed, and regretful for a past time. At that time, any amount of money becomes useless. Eat and drink, you must abstain from this, abstain from that because sugar is high, and cholesterol is high. You can't eat hard food because your teeth have fallen teeth and loose teeth. Going out to play is not dared because of poor health, and aching knees. You can't listen to music or watch movies because your ears are lost, and your eyes are already poor.
Some Asians are thrifty, hard-working, and tight-lipped to have a little property to save. Working is constantly forgetting the weekend, regardless of holidays or New Year's Day. They do a lot, but they rarely dare to have fun and enjoy themselves like Europeans and Americans… All their lives they worked hard, fasted, abstained from wearing clothes to save, and bought a house, a field, and a garden so that one day they would leave it to their children and grandchildren. It's a loss for you to live like that. There are people who are ambitious and have needs, so they fight and compete. All your life, you are busy looking for things that are impermanent, but you forget the word leisure. Even so, there is still a lot of praise and criticism, then sorrow and suffering... These things are all impermanent after all, which causes you anxiety, stress, loss of appetite, and insomnia. And if prolonged, it can lead to mental illness.
Indeed, this life is very short, every minute you care about something that is not good, compliments and criticisms are lost a minute of joy that cannot be regained. So you should not waste time, should not pay attention to the praise and criticism of others, and even more should not waste your life judging other people's mistakes. For the praise and blame of men in the world only state:
- Love is good, but hate is bad
You are not without self-respect, but consider it unnecessary to bother. There is a story that says:
There was a young couple who had just moved into a new neighborhood. The next morning, at the time the couple had breakfast, the wife saw her neighbor spreading the cloth on the clothesline.
The wife exclaimed:
- The cloth is really dirty, she doesn't know how to wash it, maybe she needs a new kind of soap to clean it better.
The husband looked at the scene but remained silent. So, the same comments kept coming out of his wife's mouth every day, after seeing her neighbor drying clothes in the yard.
A month later, one morning, the wife was surprised to see that the neighbor's cloth was very clean, so she said to her husband:
- Look! Now she knows how to wash the cloth. Who taught her that?
The husband replied:
- Are not. This morning he got up early and cleaned the window glass of our house.
In fact, each of you is like the wife in the other story. You are looking at life, looking at people through a prism patched with color streaks of emotions:
- Love, hate, anger, and hatred...,
And let it settle in the dust of prejudice and painful experiences, and then you become judgmental, resentful, and insecure about what you consider to be the faults of others.
One thing that is easy to recognize is that when the mood is happy, when you look at everyone, you feel comfortable, whatever happens, it is easy to forgive. You can smile at the mischief of children, be tolerant and forgiving enough to endure a harsh word, and things that seem difficult to accept, you can easily compromise. At that time, it seemed that the whole world became peaceful, everything went smoothly.
Yet, just a little anxiety rising in the heart, the worries about the past, and the fear of the future will immediately make the already beautiful world turn into a place full of bad things, annoying. Then the shouting and laughing of the children will become unpleasant sounds, an unpleasant word that easily makes you angry or hurt, and small things that normally are not worth worrying about, suddenly become an unbearable affliction.
In fact, it's not that the outside world is the problem, or that other people are too wrong, but the problem lies in your own mind. When you look at life with a troubled mind, filled with negative emotions and prejudices, you see that everyone is wrong, and anything you touch turns into hurt.
You always have two tendencies: Looking at the things you like, the people you love with pink glasses, and conversely, looking at the things you don't want, the people you don't like with black negative glasses.
Due to the habit of exaggerating all the virtues of the people you like, they become too shimmery, too wonderful in your perception. Every word they say, everything they do makes you consider the truth, even when they are wrong, you can hardly see and realize their wrong.
For example, when couples first fall in love, for them, the other is always beautiful, cute, and full of advantages. If you accidentally discover that the other person is doing something bad, you are still capable and have enough reason to fool yourself that they are not wrong.
Of course, it's because of the pink glasses that make your vision appear distorted, you don't see people as they really are. Then when the inner love gradually decreased over the years, the illusory image in the heart also collapsed accordingly. You will see in the other person more and more mistakes and shortcomings, and you become confused and miserable, to the point of doubting even yourself.
You wish to have a little innocence, pure like a child so that you can be easily happy and easily forgive.
The same goes for the people you despise and criticize. You tore up their mistakes, going about the flaws of the person you think is unacceptable. Then, at some point, when people you still consider enemies in your mind, are willing to help and be kind to you, will you be ashamed of your conscience?
Remember, when you speak out about mistakes in others, you inadvertently transmit negative emotions, and insecurity to the listener. Your mindstream also becomes messy, full of troubles just like the story you are telling. Accordingly, the impression that you leave in the hearts of others is only negative feelings, so naturally, they will apply that judgment and scrutiny back to you.
These two extremes, including exaggerating your likes and reacting vehemently to things you don't like, are all generally incorrect ways of seeing the world. Should you use the clear eyes of wisdom, use a kind heart to see life.
Time has made you lose your clear vision of the present life, lose the happy vibes before the life that is full of magic and peace. You don't have time to stop to listen to yourself and take care of yourself, but keep running around in thoughts of right and wrong, having to worry about life and other people.
After all, no matter who's a fault, it doesn't affect your character and quality. It certainly doesn't make you any prettier when you criticize others. But it is the negative attitude, the habit of criticism that makes you make mistakes with yourself and become worse in the eyes of everyone.
To find other people's faults is to bring their own afflictions to your mind. Every minute you focus on something bad, you lose a minute of joy and peace that cannot be regained. Life is too short, you are not capable and no one will have the ability and responsibility to hold you to the moments of life that are passing by. So you should not waste your life's time judging and criticizing the mistakes of others.
The way you see others is actually a reflection of your inner self:
- A person who is in need will be annoyed with those who are rich.
- An angry person will always see others attacking and irritating you.
- A person who is not honest will find everyone full of fraud.
All those negative thoughts and feelings, arise from a lack of peace of mind. So what you need to do, is to go back inside your inner self to drain the land of your mind which is full of storms of praise and criticism, anger and hatred….
How many of you are still yearning for a life like your childhood? How long has it been since you couldn't put on a full smile? You wish to have a little innocence, pure like a child so that you can be easily happy and easily forgive.
But who has made you more and more arid, impatient, and unhappy? Why have you always been lonely, lost in your family, among your friends, and next to billions of people on this earth?
It's because you stubbornly wear glasses full of praise, sorrow, and wrong glasses that separate you from present happiness. Once you are brave enough to take off those glasses, life will appear fresh, the world will be a place for you to experience bliss to the fullest.
Everyone's life has a lot of hardships that cannot be reversed, everyone has a lot of regrets that can't be recovered. But you guys are so strange that you keep holding praise and criticism in your heart without giving up. Maybe on the silent nights, you will have to suffer for these unnecessary things, you will cry, and you will resent heaven and earth.
You keep wanting peace in your mind, but you don't want to let go of anything yourself, so suffering keeps following you around. After all, in the end, the person who can save you from suffering is none other than yourself. Life is full of burdens, but you can choose. Which burden you want to carry, whether you want to throw it down or not, is up to you.
Because after all, the best way to deal with sadness, praise, and criticism is to let go of all troubles. Let go of the fighting mind, and you will see compassion, let go of the justification mind, and you will see the light of wisdom, knowing forgiveness is liberation, knowing satisfaction is letting go:
- No turmoil in mind,
- Not stuck in love,
- Not afraid of the future,
- Do not think of the past;
Lift up your head and smile to watch the wind and clouds dissipate, sit still, and enjoy when the sun goes down and when the moon rises. And always remember, the only way to get rid of the entanglement of nightmares is to wake up, to forget all the misfortunes, or compliments of life, the only way is to let go.
In short, if you want to have a healthy body and a peaceful mind, you must know how to let go of all praise and criticism. You consider all praise or criticism like the wind blowing, the clouds flying. If so, peace and happiness will come. With happiness, you always feel happy, love life, and know how to enjoy life.
Peace of mind and body is knowing how to be happy with what is within your reach, and accepting what you cannot avoid. Live in harmony with everyone around you, without any attachment or jealousy.
When you get old, you can't make any money, but fortunately, you are living in a modern country like the United States, so everyone has an allowance for the elderly to be able to support themselves without having to rely on their children and grandchild. Older Buddhists should also be happy to be able to come to this country, instead of being resentful with a modest amount of money that cannot be spent as widely as friends who are still working. In life each person has a situation, happy with your situation, no comparison, no covetousness, and no jealousy with those around. Knowing enough is enough.
It is said that over 60 years old, every day of life is a reward that grace has bestowed on you. Then be happy, enjoy the blessings that you have, of course not everyone has, and:
- Whether your life is happy or sad depends on your attitude towards your own life.
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