Are You Caught In Praise and Blame?

Photo © Don Farber

Photo © Don Farber

In an article called, “Bad Reputation,” the Dalai Lama wrote about praise and blame. These are two of the Eight Worldly Concerns: praise and blame, loss and gain, happiness and suffering, and fame and disrepute.

He writes:

See the equality of praise and blame,
approval and disapproval,
and bad reputation,
For they are just like illusions or
dreams and have no true existence.

This verse refers to the Eight Worldly Concerns: wanting to be praised and not wanting to be criticized, wanting happiness and not wanting suffering, wanting gain and not wanting loss, and wanting fame and approval and not wanting rejection and disgrace. We all experience these, don’t we? Even animals probably have them in some slight measure.

He goes on to quote Shantideva from The Way of the Bodhisattva,”praise and a good reputation do nothing to increase our longevity or good health.”

He goes on to say,

If we really stop to think about praise and criticism, we will see they do not have the least importance. Whether we receive praise or criticism is of no account. The only important thing is that we have a pure motivation, and let the law of cause and effect be our witness. If we are really honest, we can see that it makes no difference whether we receive praise and acclaim. The whole world might sing our praises, but if we have done something wrong, then we will still have to suffer the consequences for ourselves, and we cannot escape them. If we act only out of a pure motivation, all the beings of the three realms can criticize and rebuke us, but none of them will be able to cause us to suffer. According to the law of karma, each and every one of us must answer individually for our actions.

From Mind in Comfort and Ease, © 2007 by H.H. the Dalai Lama. Reprinted by arrangement with Wisdom Publications, Inc.,
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How do you do with praise and blame? Does praise elevate you? Does blame put you down? Please share.

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