What to do if you’re criticized or praised – the Buddha, Brahmajala Sutta

One time, the Blessed One – the Buddha with ~500 of his monks, was travelling on a large road between Rajagaha and Nalanda, followed by by a Wanderer named Suppiya, who was mentoring his apprentice, Brahmadatta.

The teacher kept on criticizing the Buddha whilst the apprentice kept on speaking in praise of the Buddha and his monks all throughout the journey – and the monks could see this. Maybe the teacher was jealous that his student was praising the Buddha and not praising him. Who knows?! lol

The Buddha’s monks noticed this and were chatting amongst themselves about it. The Buddha knew what was happening – but still asks what is happening. So the monks relate to him, the situation.

The Buddha then gave these instructions:

If someone criticizes him, or his teaching or his disciples:

  1. Don’t get angry or try to argue with them yet. Why not? Because if you’re upset and angrywould you know what those people said was well said or or poorly said? No.
  2. You should unravel and extract out what is false and unfactual – and then call out the false, saying, “This is unfactual, it’s not accurate – there’s nothing in this in us – that is not to be found in us.”

If someone praises him, or his teaching or his disciples:

  1. Don’t get a too overjoyed or exhilarated at the praise. Why not? Because if your heart melts each time someone praises or flatters you – would you be able to tell whether what they said was well said or poorly said? No.
  2. You should unravel and extract out what is true and factual, saying, “This is factual, this is accurate, there is that in us – that is to be found in us”.

Basically, praise and criticism is part of the 8 winds. If the winds of praise and criticism blow on your mind – will it move? Because if it moves, you wouldn’t know whether what is said is well said or poorly said.

If someone praises you – will you immediately get a big head and thing you’re hottest stuff even if there are aspects of it that are untrue?! The point is confirm what is trueaccept parts of the praise that is true that you can continue to doing true and correct things.

If someone criticizes you – will you immediately get dejected and down on yourself for several days? The point is call out what is falsereject the criticism that is false to clear your name from being dragged into the mud due to false accusations destroying your reputation and life – just because of some stupid lie that someone decided to utter just to spite you.