I had an interesting experience.
Yesterday I attended a meeting of a philosophy club. This club meets once a month and divides into small groups to discuss some thoughtful topic. Most members are not academic philosophers, but simply people who like to think about how the world works, how we use language, etc. Our topic yesterday was:
"What is worship? What is worthy of worship? If a deity exists, is he/she worthy of worship? What things or people besides deities are worthy of worship?"
I thought about what I worship, if anything? Because I have been studying the metta sutta recently, and doing metta practice, it occurred to me that I worship (in the sense of revere greatly) the simple human impulse to be happy. I treasure, honor, this fact that we all deserve happiness and we are all trying to be happy even though our actions are sometimes unskillful. But underneath a harmful action is the wish to be happy.
So when it was my turn to speak, I said this. I had one minute, so I couldn't say more than this.
Another member spoke a few minutes later and addressed my comment. She said, "But there is not only happiness in the world, There is also pain and suffering. I don't think we should try to be happy---rather, what I have learned is that each state of being comes and goes. Nothing is permanent, and this awareness keeps me grounded. If I am happy, I know it will soon change---that keeps me from getting too high and inflated. If I have pain, I don't despair because I know it will soon change."
The curious thing is that I agree with much of this, but it annoyed me that she wanted to correct and contradict my statement. I think if you really understand (right understanding) the nature o f both happiness and impermanence, you will see they are compatible ways of understanding the world---to flow with impermanance IS to be happy.
But I felt very annoyed.
Then later that evening, it suddenly occurred to me that the Buddha said there are "winds of changes", including "praise and blame." No matter what you say, someone will blame you. I realized that the Buddha himself was constantly blamed and challenged, and his teachings were misinterpreted and distorted by other people---at least I have a hunch that is true. So there was nothing unnatural about this situation.
Praise and blame. You will always be blamed by someone.