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Post Remembrance of a old winter, five years past. Read an old post here about beauty in winter
Series: :The Awakening of Silence
Dealing with Criticism and Learning from Dharma

Well how can we handle criticism and negative comments about us? How can we make sure we don’t get angry and just lose our sense of calmness and grace?

Its great when we are making progress in becoming a calmer person, and then just out of the blue there comes the devil, in the form of criticism. And how do we respond?.. Not well. It’s very easy for us to speculate against our usual behavior and anchor ourselves to peace sitting in a retreat center, but the fact is we spend a great deal of our time, with other people, and mostly exist in a place where there is a lot of noise. Noise does not imply there is no silence. Noise just means that we are not capable of perceiving the silence in which the noise originates.

i want to share two stories that i just simply love, i have realized so much by just contemplating on the silence that arises after reading them. Read each of these stories at least three times, i will tell you why. The first time you read it, you will judge it. Don’t respond to that judgment. The second time you read it , you mind will tell you are wasting your time reading it a second time there’s nothing more to learn from it. Don’t listen to this advice from your mind, i.e go ahead and read for the third time. Now the Third time you read it, your mind simply gives up!, and doesn’t talk to you, cause you did not respond to its whims and fancies. Then comes the Silence into your mind.... a silence which is not corrupted by thought, a silence which cannot be described, and it is only in such a silence that any true realization can occur. And you shall be convinced that all the judgments made by your mind about the story and the advices it gave you about the story were all so deceiving! There was something beyond these words that the mind just cant comprehend.

The Buddha’s reply

“A man interrupted one of the Buddha’s lectures with a flood of abuse. Buddha waited until he had finished and then asked him, “If a man offered a gift to another but the gift was declined, to whom would the gift belong?”
“To the one who offered it,” said the man.
“Then,” said the Buddha, “I decline to accept your abuse and request you to keep it for yourself.”

A Sufi tale.

A monkey on a tree hurled a coconut at the head of a Sufi. The man picked it up, drank the milk, ate the flesh and made a bowl from the shell.

Also looking at the situation from the other end also helps. Criticism is a way for the one critiquing to release suppressed anger, frustration , jealousy. Or a way to reinforce that his/her point of view or belief has to be the right one. It’s actually about him/her and Not about something you did. It can have a calming effect to remember this, makes it easier to handle it like Buddha.

The next time some one criticizes you should say ‘Thank you for your criticism of me’. Because he/she has given you an opportunity to practice your dharma. Now it’s up to you to decide if you want to become angry like you had done all these years or you can practice the dharma. Also be grateful to the person who has criticized you for he/she has in fact been to you a teacher of patience and self-control. Thus, you can be compassionate to that person, and also not let the criticism affect you.

Please leave your valuable comments,
observations or experiences

Comments (4)

On May 6, 2009 at 5:37 PM , Tao said...

I liked "Noise does not imply there is no silence. Noise just means that we are not capable of perceiving the silence in which the noise originates."

The reminders of the methods of seeing criticism were nice too, my wife really lives this, she takes great pleasure from apparent misfortune, always seeing the benefit.

I use the non-reply to anger a lot in life. I smile back or ignore the angry person and they can either suffer alone or the fact I don't echo them makes them calm too.

On May 6, 2009 at 7:13 PM , R.DaLomba said...

This post would be great for my daughters. THey deal with this issue a lot and we are always trying to help them deal with it. Thank you.

On May 6, 2009 at 9:16 PM , Sachin Modeel said...


Thank you again for your note,
I have to admit you are a really advanced practitioner of the dharma. My practice is still not there yet , for example i do from time to time lose my temper and do things i regret when criticized.
I just had to share my experiences in dealing with that issue through this blog-post.

Thanks for your valuable advice, i am gonna try the smile back technique next time i get criticized.

On May 6, 2009 at 9:21 PM , Sachin Modeel said...

yours was a really heart-warming note.
i am really honored that this humble post can help your daughters overcome the issue of criticism.

Thank You