Why are there misunderstandings and unpleasantness in relationships between husbands and wives, parents and children, colleagues, and managers and subordinates? Oftentimes conflict occurs because of a lack of communication, or frequent miscommunication.

How do we communicate with each other? How do we face the criticism and praise that we encounter in our lives? Allow Master JinBodhi to light the way.


Many misunderstandings in relationships, among family members or colleagues are caused by miscommunications. Without communication, anger arises. “You only care about others but me. I will sabotage and humiliate you.” This is lacking communication.

With a broad mind, we can tolerate, analyze, and resolve it in our mind. Nothing bothers us, that is wisdom. Whether it is praise or censure, even disgrace or insult, we should learn to accept. At the beginning, you don’t have such high wisdom. What to do? Learn what I teach today, to accept it. “Never mind. Maybe it is my fault.” Then analyze where your fault was. If you can’t find it, maybe there was no communication.

You have to communicate with others first. If they think it is reasonable, they will work with you and gain mutual benefit. Otherwise, only you understand, others don’t. Even a couple may not be always in harmony, because both parties could have their own principles. What you think is good may not be accepted by the other. So before you act, you need to convince others. A person-in-charge or a leader must persuade, explain, communicate with, or even motivate people around them to do things together. Then good results may occur. This is what a leader does.

The same goes for a couple, friends, or parent and child. Communication is an important job. If you do well, yet others still scold you, it shows you have miscommunicated. If you have communicated and you are right, but they still won’t listen to you, this may be due to their mental state and intelligence.

You have your own expectation. Others have their own. Your expectations may not match theirs. Say, your family has $10,000 saved. You want to buy a better computer, but your wife wants a bigger TV. You have your ideas, and she has hers. Your thoughts may not fit her wants. Sometimes, even communication doesn’t work. At least, we accept, analyze, and learn about it, then we know what is wrong.

Even if the other was wrong, it is still a good thing. It tempers your fortitude. In my journey of dharma teaching, there was always denouncing and attacking. What did I think? I am stubborn. Without cursing me, I am not motivated. The more challenging, the more motivated I am to teach dharma. Their attacks remind me to do better. So, we have to consider their mental state level and cognitive ability. I hope everyone has a broad mind to face praise, humiliation, and defamation.

I have taught you what to do when facing defamation, but facing praise is the most difficult. When ordinary people become a leader, they tend to become arrogant. From unconfident to arrogant, then to uncorrectable arrogant. Self-attachment becomes immensely huge. “Whatever I say is right.

Others’ opinions are worse than mine. “Even if I was wrong, you should not point it out. You just have to follow.” This is “Might is right.” Their mistakes lead all others to mistakes.

Those who are often praised easily develop self-attachment and obsession with fame and personal interest. Without so much praise, their self-attachment wouldn’t be so strong. In the top notch, most prestigious universities in the world, it is said suicide rates are higher. Why? Besides academic pressure, a student could have never been lower than the top 3 in their old school, but studying in Harvard, their scores were the worst. They don’t want to live. They had no immunity against setbacks.

They had never been humiliated, abused, or had eyes rolled at them. From the beginning to the end of high school, they were the best. When they feel they aren’t so remarkable one day, they can’t stand it.

That is why many good looking girls can’t do well at school. Teachers and classmates are all praising, “You look so beautiful.” Their brain is filled with such praise. They are beautiful indeed. We plain looking people have to work hard and listen to what teachers say. Good looking people were filled with praise and the word “beautiful.” But no room for “knowledge.” Good looking people have both positive and negative sides. Finally, their energy is focused on their looks, as there was too much praise. There are very few people who are beautiful, intelligent, and wise.

Good looking people are often praised by others, which isn’t good. What truly is it? It is the tender and sweet poison, or even the poison for wisdom. “Teacher, you are very wise!” If this is often repeated, it becomes poison. I believe we should balance; our mental health or spiritual world needs balance.

Some fellow practitioners told me, “Master, to teach our practitioners or children, we only praise, not criticize.” “What do you mean?” “This way, they will listen.” I thought, “No. We can’t only praise, not criticize. What if he is wrong?” “If he is wrong, I still praise him. I can criticize him later.” “Will he change?” You praise his wrong behavior, and he believes he is right and wonders, “Why should I change?”

If we only use praise, we are hurting them with gentleness. It is a sweet poison. To everyone, especially people close to you, only praising is wrong. You must have some ulterior purpose. If not, why do you praise him even if he is wrong? We can’t do this. It is wrong. However, often people can’t accept criticism. When we point out others’ mistakes, we must be tactful, not too harsh. It isn’t easy to receive criticism.

However, as a self-cultivator, we should learn to accept criticism and face praise with wisdom, rationality, and a calm, clear mind. Learn the right way to communicate. We should courageously accept criticism and wisely face praise.