Don’t let neither praise nor insults affect you. Be unmoved. And you will be peaceful – always.
Who doesn’t love to be praised? Or be recognized? Everyone loves it and enjoys being praised thoroughly. And, by the same logic, everyone loathes being insulted or slighted. We often get angry when someone is nasty and react with a typical “how dare you” in such situations. Neither the joy when being praised nor the anger when insulted is justified. Both will bring grief. If you really want to be peaceful choose to be unaffected, unmoved.
A Zen story comes to mind.
There once lived a great warrior. A Master. Though quite old, he still was able to defeat any challenger. His reputation travelled far and wide throughout the land and many students gathered to study under him.
One day a villainous, scheming, young warrior arrived in the village. He was determined to be the first man to defeat the great Master. Along with his strength, he had an uncanny ability to spot and exploit the weakness in any opponent. He would wait for his opponent to make the first move, thus revealing a weakness, and then would strike with merciless force and lightning speed. No one had ever lasted in a match with him beyond the first bout.
Much against the advice of his students, the old Master gladly accepted the young warrior’s challenge. As the two squared off for battle, the young warrior began to hurl insults at the old Master. He threw dirt and spit on his face. For hours he verbally assaulted him with every curse and insult known to mankind. But the old warrior merely stood there motionless and calm. Finally, the young warrior exhausted himself. Knowing he was defeated, he felt shamed.
Somewhat disappointed that he did not fight the insolent youth, the students gathered around the old Master and questioned him: “How could you endure such an indignity? Yet, how did you manage to drive him away?”
“If someone comes to give you a gift and you do not receive it,” the Master replied, “to whom does the gift belong?”
Reacting to insults is a waste of energy.Because if you don’t accept the “gift” it is really not yours – so why bother? And getting carried away by praise is of no use either. Because if you really know your Self, you will realize that you have created nothing and so don’t deserve any accolade or recognition! The best stance to take is to be unmoved in either situation. That way you will be forever peaceful!