PureInsight | December 21, 2023
[PureInsight.org] After reading a fellow practitioner's article titled 'Neither Envy nor Praise, Detachment and Moderation,' I agree with their understanding that praising others should be done with caution. Flattery is certainly not appropriate, but even when it is genuine and heartfelt praise, it should be exercised with care.
Reflecting on myself, many times I have become complacent, carried away, and even arrogant due to others' praise and compliments. I have even held onto the words of praise from others for many years, occasionally bringing them up to bolster my self-esteem. In short, once words of praise enter one's ears and heart, they are difficult to forget.
Fellow practitioner A is very willing to commend people, not necessarily to flatter, but it has become a habit to praise others. She can easily notice the strengths of others and always give a thumb up, saying "well done" or "great job," and so on. Fellow practitioner B enjoys being recognized by others and greatly appreciates A's words. When they meet, B often talks incessantly while A continues to say "excellent." Afterwards, B takes pride in sharing A's praise with others and self-praising.
Later on, B passed away due to illness. In fact, I was familiar with B, a fellow practitioner with many good characters. However, she had a hot temper and often argued with her family. I had known about this for a long time but did not point it out because I was unwilling to offend her. Instead, I always preferred to listen to her talking about how she improved herself. During her illness, I finally pointed out her temper issue and reminded her to be mindful of it. Fellow practitioner B accepted it completely. However, sadly, it was too late. I had known her for many years, and our conversation pattern had always been listening, acknowledging, and praising. I regret being too selfish; I listened to Aunt B talking about her progress and found it beneficial. I learned a lot from her, but I did not fulfill my responsibility as a fellow practitioner. I never addressed her obvious issues, fearing that it would hurt her pride, and I never reminded her until the end.
Actually, before this time, I had a similar lesson. Fellow practitioner Aunt C was also very diligent but had a strong ego. I noticed this as well but I only praised her diligence without ever pointing out her issues. Later, C also passed away due to illness.
I realize that praise and compliments are indeed a test for fellow practitioners. If the practitioner being praised has a good Xinxing, perhaps it is fine because they probably can remain unaffected by words of praise. However, if the practitioner being praised lacks a strong foundation in their Xinxing, it is really no different from 'puffing them up.' It can encourage the fellow practitioner's self-inflation and harm them.
Master said in Teaching the Fa at the 2002 Fa Conference in Boston, “Of course, I often praise you as well, like ‘Dafa disciples are remarkable, magnificent,’ and ‘You've done so well.’ But too many of these words doesn't do you a lot of good. Many times when Master sees that you're doing so well, I keep my happiness for you to myself.”
I realize that as cultivators, we not only need to eliminate our own jealousy but also learn to be happy for others. At the same time, we should also think of the fellow practitioner's cultivation. If we see a fellow practitioner doing well, it is best to silently praise them in our hearts without expressing it, not putting them to the test. It is best to quietly be happy for them. I feel that many times when I compliment others, there are underlying selfish motives, trying to build closer relationships and keep interpersonal attraction, rather than genuinely caring for the other person.
Master said in A Cultivator is Naturally Part of It from Essentials for Further Advancement, “For a cultivator, all the frustrations he comes across among everyday people are trials, and all the compliments he receives are tests.”
In Zhuan Falun, Master talked about demons praising cultivators. For example: “A demon can also praise you and tell you how high your level is, what a great Buddha or a great Tao you are, and that it thinks that you are terrific—those are all phony.” And “He gives you a few complimentary words and teaches you something. If you accept it, your gong will be messed up.”
From this, I understand that praise and compliments are indeed tests and common tactics used by demons and so-called 'gods' to interfere with cultivators.
Chinese version: https://www.zhengjian.org/node/285234