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N° 9

There is an old rule:
The one who stays silent is criticised.
The one who talks too much is also criticised.
Even the one who speaks only a little is criticised.
There is no-one in the world who is never criticised.

Dhammapada: verse 227
Free from the world

Criticism is a part of our life, whether we give it or receive it, it is always there. For the one who gives it, it is a way to show power and control, for the one who receives it is a humiliation. However, it is a fact of life and no matter who we are or what we do, as long as we have life we will always be in the place to receive it.
The Buddha was often criticised by others, and I have even heard my own teacher criticised on occasion. Although it was a shock for me to hear such things, it was a good and clear lesson – look at the one making the comment before reacting. What is the origin of this remark?
Ignorance and suffering are part of the unenlightened human condition. When they are present all unkind and cruel things are possible. Even with good intentions, without wisdom and love there will always be a ‘self’, an ego making its presence felt in the world. Here the endless continuation of personal competition, judgement and comment on the lives and actions of others will show itself at every available opportunity.
Even in a Dhamma relationship, people often don’t want to hear the truth of a situation, they want only another reinforcement of their own views and opinions. For them this may seem to confirm and make more secure their place in the world, but in reality it is only another door of liberation closing.
The purpose of Dhamma training is not like this.
All the true masters remind us to look at ourselves before we judge others, and in fact the greatest teaching is to let go of judgement altogether.
Our responsibilities as disciples of Dhamma is to go past the predominantly fear orientated mind, the part of us that needs to control and manipulate the world and everything in it, and realise the place of perfect peace. In this place we can allow things to be as they are and not be influenced or involved in the unenlightened words and actions of others.

Beings are the way they are, that is their choice,
but you are the way you are, and that is your choice.

Here the world is as it is and we, from our position of love and wisdom, live easily and happily with our kamma. Seeing life without judgement and criticism and being able to accept and enjoy those things we like and approve of, whilst also accepting peacefully the other more difficult situations for us such as killing, cruelty and the outspoken opinions of others.
In the end we have to look with compassion at the one making the unkind or cutting remark and offer our Loving Kindness. In the end, all unkindness in the world comes only from a lack of love.
Without love, a life is truly empty and makes only the sound of a drum beaten by a child.

The one who always finds fault with others
will allow their own faults to grow
and so always be far from peace.

Dhammapada: verse 253


Life is just a game.

How many times each day do we forget this?
Life is a game, sometimes complicated, sometimes simple, but always the same.
And games are meant to be played, to be enjoyed, to stretch us so we can find and use our potential to bring us into our life. The idea of winning and losing is what changes a game from a personal challenge of skill, joy and integrity into a battle aimed only at defeating the other. The moment we choose success and victory over failure and defeat, we loose our balance and so loose the pleasure of playing. In that very moment we become the victim to our own desires.
Look how we view sport. When we simply watch a competition between two players or teams we can enjoy the individual skill of the protagonists. The moment we choose one side over another, the doors to our unhappiness and frustration fly open.
Therefore, the wise person lets go of choosing victory over defeat, success over failure and takes pleasure in playing the game. Winning and loosing are short term goals held by short sighted people. In the end only that which brings real and lasting happiness into our life has value.

From the new version of Life is not Personal
Available 2008



When a buffalo goes out of his enclosure to the edge of an abyss, his horns and his head and his hoofs all pass through, but why can’t the tail also pass?

Dhamma quotation:

Meditation is not used to escape the pressures of the world, but to reveal to ourselves exactly where these pressures really begin and end.

Michael Kewley
Walking the Path

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