Like a solid rock is not shaken by the wind, so the wise are not moved by praise or blame.
- The Dhammapada, chapter 6, verse 81, translated by John Richards -
The verse above is one of the most powerful in all of the Buddhist literature I have read thus far in my tiny life. I suppose I find it so because, as a writer and creative type in general, I am burdened by an ego the size of an overweight bull elephant. An ego this size is not a useful accessory for one who is interested in attaining oneness with the universe. The reams of rejection letters that poured in when I began submitting my work to prospective publishers helped to deflate the beast, as have my Zen/Buddhist studies and the growing realization that artistic expression itself is a means to wholeness and Universal accord. Certainly, the big E has diminished in size over the years (it was once the size of a sperm whale, after all!) but it remains hearty and hungry.
As evidence of this last point I offer my reactions to the votes I have recieved on this blog since adding the Bloghop voting apparatus below and to the left. In the couple of weeks or so since adding this feature I have garnered (to date) 15 votes - ranging from "love it" to "hate it". Yes, you guessed it. . . I have been pleased by the positive votes and unhappy with the negative. While it is true that these essentially meaningless votes (anonymous and with no means of indicating what the voter liked or disliked) neither ruined nor made my day, I was nonetheless surprised at the strength of the feeling roused in that quivering ego of mine. Somebody enjoyed my blog! How dare they say my blog sucks! And I thought I had conquered this particular ego trap through my review writing experiences at Amazon, where one's reviews are voted helpful or not according to the whims of on-line shoppers.
As I write these words (fresh from my head to this screen!) it occurs to me that I ought to be questioning my motives for placing the voting link on this blog in the first place. Was I merely seeking attention and/or approval of some kind? Very likely. Was it, perhaps, done according to some unconscious desire on my part to test myself, to see whether or not my big 'ol ego would react?
I don't know but I like the latter answer best.