hearing criticsm

A Quote by Sylvia Boorstein on criticism, hearing criticsm, and suffering

Shantideva, a sixth-century Buddhist commentator, addressed the challenge of hearing criticism in Guide to the Bodhisattva's Way of Life. He asks, "Suppose someone disparages your 'good name'?" What I had inferred from my friend's relayed message about the overheard conversation was that "Sylvia isn't doing the right thing" or "Sylvia is making a mistake." If I had followed Shantideva's advice, I would have reflectied, "Is that person correct? If her criticism isn't valid, there is a problem."

Either way it need not have been a problem and need not have caused suffering. What that person said was, after all, just an idea, something to think about. I should have remembered the second Noble Turth of the Buddha, the explanation of suffering as the extra tension in the mind in response to challenge, the tension of greed or aversion rathe rthat the simplicity of clear, wise response. If my mind had not reacted with flurry to what it perceived as a challenge, the remark would have been a nonevent.

Sylvia Boorstein

Source: That's Funny, You Don't Look Buddhist: On Being a Faithful Jew and a Passionate Buddhist, Pages: 25-26

Contributed by: jess

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