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Being judgmental vs exercising judgment

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  • Antony Woods
    I don t think it s so much that they are uncomfortable with the notion of right and wrong. It s just that they ve shifted their reference points. Being
    Message 1 of 2 , Apr 3, 2005
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      "I don't think it's so much that they are uncomfortable with the notion of
      right and wrong. It's just that they've shifted their reference points.
      Being judgmental is now wrong; being non-judgmental is right. This, I think,
      comes from two factors. One is that we're tired of fervid monotheists who
      demonize anyone who differs from their view of The One True Way. We've seen
      the harm that comes from sectarian religious strife, and it's obviously
      pointless. So we want to avoid it at all costs. The other factor is that we
      ourselves have been subject to evaluation all of our lives, some of it
      pretty unfair - in school, at work, in our relationships - so when we come
      to retreats we want respite.

      This becomes a problem, though, when people confuse being judgmental with
      the act of exercising judgment. And again, the difference is a question of
      skill. Being judgmental - hypercritical, quick to dismiss the opinions of
      others - is obviously unskillful. But in our rush not to be judgmental, we
      can't abandon our critical abilities, our powers of judgment. We have to
      learn how to use them skillfully. It's all very fine not to pass judgment
      when you're on the sidelines of an issue and don't want to get involved. But
      here we're all out on the playing field, facing aging, illness, and death.
      Our skill in exercising judgment is going to make all the difference in
      whether we win or lose. The team we're facing has never been taught to be
      uncritical. They play hard, and they play for keeps.

      The Buddha himself was quite critical of teachers who wasted their time -
      and that of their students - by asking the wrong questions. He was
      especially critical of those who misunderstood the nature of karma, because
      how we comprehend the power of our actions is what will make all the
      difference in how skillfully we choose to think and act. So refraining from
      judgment is not the answer to the question of how we face the differing
      teachings we find available. In fact, a knee-jerk nonjudgmental stance can
      often be a very unskillful way of passing judgment..."(Ajahn Thanissaro)
      http://www.urbandharma.org/udharma3/interview1.html
    • antony272b2
      This becomes a problem, though, when people confuse being judgmental with the act of exercising judgment. And again, the difference is a question of skill.
      Message 2 of 2 , Aug 22, 2013
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        "This becomes a problem, though, when people confuse being judgmental with the act of exercising judgment. And again, the difference is a question of skill. Being judgmental - hypercritical, quick to dismiss the opinions of others - is obviously unskillful. But in our rush not to be judgmental, we can't abandon our critical abilities, our powers of judgment. We have to learn how to use them skillfully. It's all very fine not to pass judgment when you're on the sidelines of an issue and don't want to get involved. But here we're all out on the playing field, facing aging, illness, and death. Our skill in exercising judgment is going to make all the difference in whether we win or lose. The team we're facing has never been taught to be uncritical. They play hard, and they play for keeps.

        The Buddha himself was quite critical of teachers who wasted their time - and that of their students - by asking the wrong questions. He was especially critical of those who misunderstood the nature of karma, because how we comprehend the power of our actions is what will make all the difference in how skillfully we choose to think and act. So refraining from judgment is not the answer to the question of how we face the differing teachings we find available. In fact, a knee-jerk nonjudgmental stance can often be a very unskillful way of passing judgment..."
        http://www.urbandharma.org/udharma3/interview1.html
        A Question of Skill
        An Interview with Thanissaro Bhikkhu
        by Insight Magazine Online

        With metta / Antony.
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