"Hey David you're a genius!" "Hey David you look so fine!"

I think blushing and feeling a little nervous isn't really buddhist... But sometimes if you don't react this way you might look as if youre being rude

What exactly do the scriptures say of how one should respond in these situations? I've seen quotes about the Buddha saying the brahmin is "indifferent to compliments and indifferent to criticism".

I'd like to know what the scriptures say about its possible harms, etc. I think it is an interesting question that deserves some thought as it is part of our lives.


4 Answers 4


Just because you're Buddhist doesn't mean you can't say "thank you" :P

All facetiousness aside, Buddhism is clear about the practice. For instance, it stresses compassion and non-attachment, so evaluate your course of action against those two.

  • If someone compliments you and you don't politely acknowledge the compliment, this person may be offended. That isn't compassionate of you.

  • If someone compliments you and you let it get to your head, you could be fostering attachment towards self, the thing about which you were complimented, and the praise of others.

So how can you approach compliments in a way that takes the above into account? Well, you could thank the person while remembering that you are thanking them out of compassion and consideration for their feelings and not because they gave you some validation you needed.

Ultimately, it's about skillful means. Don't seek every possible situation in Buddhist texts; rather, make sure you understand the principles and use that understanding to guide your actions.


Mindful mediation : a handbook for Buddhist peacemakers by John A McConnell` might be a good book to read.

Also The Discourse to Sundarika Bhāra,dvāja mentions that if the complaint is irrelevant simply just do not accept it and react to it.

  • 1
    Why is it a good read? i'm not seeing the connection. Also, can you extrapolate what parts of the book that it would germane to this?
    – chrisjlee
    Commented May 22, 2015 at 19:24

Right Speech: be beneficial, timely, skillful.


A: You are a genius!

B: Thank you, I appreciate it. [undazzled, undeluded]


A: You are a genius!

B: Ah shucks, no, no, not at all, I have a whole bunch of things I've been stupid it--it's just that--

(unbeneficial because you are rejecting their positive esteem--which is all it is)

(untimely because now is not the time to bring up "whole bunch of things"--especially after the person has just gained their trust in you)

(unskillful because you are overtaken by the compliment rather than skillfully using it to keep their trust, move the conversation forward to more mutually beneficial topics)


Reply with "thank you" but you don't necessarily have to blush and become nervous. The action of thanking others remain the same and is in accordance with politeness and the decorum of society. If you are internally not emotionally attached to what is praised (as Barzell says, don't let it get to your head), then you won't respond by blushing.

Also, don't reply back with "There is no need to praise me or others because according to the anatta principle, there is no self in all phenomena". Haha.

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