It is normal for the unenlightened
to be criticised by the more enlightened.
It is abnormal for the unenlightened
to not be criticised by the more enlightened.
When you are criticized, accept it as an opportunity to acknowledge your hidden faults and increase your humility. Criticisms are your teacher, destroying attachment and craving. If brought to the path, harsh words and blame will inspire your practice and strengthen your discipline. How can you ever repay such kindness?
The happiness and suffering created by praise and criticism are ephemeral. When you are complimented, instead of feeling proud just regard the praise as if it were something you were hearing in a dream or a fantasy. Tell yourself that it is not you that is being praised but the good qualities you may have developed through spiritual practice. In fact, the truth is that the only people really worthy of praise are those who have attained liberation.
If you point out someone’s faults, they will become quite upset – even if it is your own child or student. If you flatter people, however, attributing to them qualities they do not possess, they will be delighted [but deluded]. If people always agree with us and flatter us, it may make us feel good, but it will not help us to develop the qualities of a Dharma practitioner. What will truly help us most is if someone points out our faults and shows us the right way to deal with them.
Gold, through repeated beating and melting, becomes more and more refined. In the same way, by continually recognising our own faults and applying the teacher’s instructions, we will be able to transform our negative qualities into the path of liberation. When a troublemaker is identified and apprehended, peace returns to the village. Similarly, when our faults are unearthed by a truly kind teacher, enabling us to recognise and eradicate them, peace returns to our being. The true spiritual teacher speaks frankly, striking at the core of our defects in order to lead us to the right path.
– Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche
On The Path To Enlightenment: Heart Advice From The Great Tibetan Masters
Compiled By Matthieu Ricard