Bodhisattvacharyavatara by Acharya Śāntideva

Chapter VI– verses 98-101

Transglomeration: [98] Anyway, receiving praise and recognition and such make me complacent, they disrupt my equanimity, and then undermine any fear and weariness I have with cyclic existence and any sense of urgency to escape it, they engender jealousy towards those who have developed good qualities, ending up with anger and rivalry towards them so that all that has been built up and achieved has been defiled and wasted.   [99] Therefore can it not be said that those same people who are so closely involved in undoing my reputation and cutting me down to size and such, are really rendering me the service of holding me back from falling into lower rebirth and hell?   [100] These ties of getting and status I do not need and are unfitting for me who strives for Liberation.   How is it that I would be angry with those very persons who accordingly liberate me from those same ties?   In what way are they my enemies?   [101] And, how is it that I can be angry with those who cause me pain, who have become, as if blessings from the Buddha, a closed door, preventing me from entry as I stumble headlong and blindly to enter a world of overwhelming suffering?   In what way are they my enemies?

~~~ “BCA” ~~~

V. 94-97 enjoying praise of oneself is just vanity and futile
↑ Stitch ↓
V. 98-101 in fact, calumny can actually benefit us

Reflection: [98] praise destroys a. my own sense of equanimity (I am no longer balanced, cool, impartial) and therefore my Renunciation is weakened, I am no longer indifferent to my reputation (and all of the rest of the eight worldly dharmas, come to that), and b. creates (the anger of) jealousy and agitation towards others, a. and b. combined, thereby, ruining my virtue and ruining whatever situation I find myself in, for that matter, both for me and others.

Reflection: [99] therefore are not those who destroy (undermine, expose) my praise (‘bruise’ it), my calumniators, ‘rendering me the service’ (stopping my wilful and blind inclination to fall in so many ways) of being my protective guardians by so criticising and undermining me; personal reflection: if I had been listened to at school and recognised for the understanding I had about teaching and learning, I would have taken that as the rightful acknowledgement of my qualities of superior understanding, understanding beyond the norm; how would this not have inflated me and then destroyed me; I know I have an easy proclivity to arrogance and dismissal of others’ qualities, contributions and achievements anyway – if I were also to have been recognised as something significant and important, I would have travelled far down a wrong road and probably committed all sorts of ‘burnt bridges’ and made it yet more difficult to find my way back again; those at school who just didn’t get what I had to offer, whether it was ignorant or wilful, in effect saved me from that wrong turn: they didn’t intend that, but their treatment saved me from going down that route; it was nevertheless painful for me to experience, but they are not the enemy, they saved me from consequences that would have been even more intractable and unbearable; get out of your bunker, Mark

Reflection: [100] calumny (Crosby & Skilton, ‘the shackle of acquisition and honour’) saves one from deviation (into pride, vanity and accumulations) from the goal of Liberation (Padmakara, ‘I must not be caught by wealth and honours’): (didn’t my preoccupation with recognition at school just muddy any of the real benefit I might have achieved there?)

Reflection: [101] harm directed at me buoys me towards the state of Liberation like a closed door (to hell); because, otherwise, I am wilfully heading straight for the open door to ruination: I am greedy, angry, arrogant without any effort on my part at all, and along comes someone who pushes my buttons without any effort on their part at all and, if I take the opportunity, I could hold myself back from the fall, hold myself back from the fall; the reference to ‘doors’ (either doors blocked as entry into bad rebirths, or doors which lead away from entrance to bad rebirths) can only be understood when understanding the consequences of karma in a (better or bad) rebirth as a ‘place’ (maybe a ‘house’ as (only a few) translations have it), an ‘abode’, and envisioning the entrance to it as a doorway, a portal, an opening: those people who act against us are like people standing in the way of those doorways and preventing us from entering through them when we seem to intent on charging headlong through them …

 

the blessings of the Buddhas

arrrrhh … – schtinnk
whmmp, wh’ whattayoudoing!
look, you bloodied my nose, I

think it’s broken; why did you
stop me; “you snivelling, little
squit; not even looking where

you lash your forkèd tongue
or blink your sclerotic I; get-
outtahere, can’t you read, go

away and learn to read, or
I’ll kick your arse again and
show you what this pike can

really do; that other door; there” – dink

A Flash of Lightning in the Dark of Night, HH Dalai Lama, (tr. Padmakara): [98] “Praise, if you think about it, is actually a distraction.   For example, in the beginning one may be a simple, humble Monk, content with little.   Later on, people say flattering things like, ‘he’s a Lama,’ and one begins to feel a bit more proud and to become self-conscious about how one looks and behaves.   Then the eight worldly preoccupations become stronger, do they not?   Praise is a distraction and destroys Renunciation.   Again, at first when we have little, we do not have much reason for a sense of competition with others.   But later, when the ‘humble Monk starts to grow some hair’, he becomes conceited and as he becomes more influential, he vies with others for important positions.   We feel jealous of anyone who has good qualities, and this in the end destroys whatever good qualities we ourselves have.   Being praised is not really a good thing, and it can be the source of negative actions.”   Reflection: {mimicking the ‘Flash of Lightning in the Dark of Night’ quote}: For example, in the beginning one may be a simple, humble teacher, simply teaching.   Later on, people say flattering things like, ‘he’s talented, he’s influential, he should be a head of department, don’t hide your light under a bushel,’ and one begins to feel a bit more proud and to become self-conscious about how one looks and behaves.   Then the eight worldly preoccupations become stronger.   Again, at first when we have little experience and few skills, we do not have much reason for a sense of competition with others.   But later, when the ‘humble teacher starts to wear a tie’, he becomes conceited and as he becomes more influential, he vies with others for important positions.   He feels resentful of others who he sees as having compromised to get their positions, and this in the end destroys whatever good qualities he has.

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