Priceless Wisdom: All Criticisms Are Indefensible and Subjective

A beautiful girl in the village was pregnant. Her angry parents demanded to know who was the father.

At first, resistant to confess, the anxious and embarrassed girl finally pointed to Hakuin, the Zen master whom everyone previously revered for living such a pure life.

When the outraged parents confronted Hakuin with their daughter’s accusation, he simply replied “Is that so?

When the child was born, the parents brought it to the Hakuin, who now was viewed as a pariah by the whole village. They demanded that he take care of the child since it was his responsibility.

“Is that so?” Hakuin said calmly as he accepted the child.

For many months he took very good care of the child until the daughter could no longer withstand the lie she had told. She confessed that the real father was a young man in the village whom she had tried to protect.

The parents immediately went to Hakuin to see if he would return the baby. With profuse apologies they explained what had happened.

“Is that so?” Hakuin said as he handed them the child. 


Explanation Of The Wisdom

Public criticism is a means for those who do not know themselves well. But for conscious and psychologically developed people, it means nothing.

In life, other people will constantly assess you. They will name call you. They will moralize you. They will criticize you. They will say things like:

“You are no good.”

“You are a fraud.”

“You are the father of this baby.”

“You are a failure.”

“You are dangerous.”

“You are an athlete.”

“You should have done that instead.”

“If you only listened to what I said.”

“Your life sucks. Let me tell you how to live the good life.”

What would a wise sage say to these groundless claims?

Would he take it seriously?

Would he take it personally and let it make him angry and sad?

He can say:

  • Is that so?

Or another valid answer is to not answer at all.

Realize that everyone lives their own truths. There is no one objective truth when it comes to lifestyles, beliefs and ideas. Every belief hold will inevitably feel true.

These people who criticize you lived completely different lives than you did. They had different friends you did. They learned and absorbed different belief systems. The way that you look at the world is different from how they look at the world.

So these are relativistic. The “truth” depends from person to person.

At this point, you might say:

“Should I stop indulging in worldly pleasures and go become a sage? Is that what you think I should do? “

  • I don’t know. I can’t tell you what to do. Again, I don’t moralize to you. It is your life. Find your own truth. Do whatever makes sense to you. Not everyone needs to become a strict sage. You can create whatever sort of life you want.  You can live a sage’s life in western society if you want. You can play around with these lifestyles and beliefs. They are not set in stone.
  • Stop asking for other people’s opinions because they will only project their own ideas and opinions to you which are only subjectively true. Not even “spiritual gurus” are exempt from this. Find your own truth. Don’t live other people’s opinions and criticisms.

When you understand how everything can be so subjective and personal, all criticisms, “should” statements and judgements become indefensible.

Understand that all ideas, opinions and thoughts are partially true and partially false. Stop thinking that this particular belief system, philosophy or religion is the one “true” religion.

This includes Stoicism, Buddhism, Skepticism and many other philosophies and religions you might subscribe to.

At the end of the day, these are just perspectives. So stop judging, moralizing and  getting into fights because of subjective and personal opinions.

In a world that is so complex and multi-layered, all kinds of judgements and criticisms would be indefensible. Don’t get stuck in labels. Don’t over-analyze other people.

Remember to focus on your own life. Present moment is more than enough.

Don’t waste this beautiful life by focusing negatively on other people.

It is simply not worth it.

If in doubt, remember the priceless wisdom.

“Meditate on the breath (mindfulness meditation to build concentration and awareness skills) and then self-enquire (the teachings of Ramana Maharshi) until you are free of all psychological sufferings and ego. (aka enlightenment)

Do this everyday and trust in the process that eventually your mind will be healed.


Because all good things require training and patience.

Know that as long as you do the work, the results will eventually follow.”

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