Labeling others as a "good person" or a "bad person"

A discussion on all aspects of Engaged Buddhism
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Buck McGeehy
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Labeling others as a "good person" or a "bad person"

Post by Buck McGeehy » Tue Mar 26, 2019 5:11 am

I read the following on a Buddhist forum:
This topic is to share and discuss suttas, where the Buddha details criteria by which it is appropriate to judge other people or their actions as being "good" or "bad".
The discussion goes on to put forth particular suttas as the basis for the proposition that the Buddha taught his followers to stand in judgment of other people as good people or bad people.

Someone else points out: "However, the Buddha says we should not see the object, but instead the process behind the object, so when we criticize or praise, we judge actions, not subjects." But this comment is generally ignored. Instead, most participants go about finding sutta references to justify their practice of judging other people.

This is not Dhamma/Dharma. There is no basis for the proposition that Dhamma/Dharma practice includes making judgments about whether someone is a "good person" or a "bad person." Just the opposite. Even when it came to Angulimala, a mass murder, the Buddha made the effort to discern within this apparently "bad person" the jumble of skillful and unskillful qualities. The Buddha helped Angulimala aspire to the more skillful qualities and attain sainthood.

How is it that we, somehow, are above the Buddha, so that we are justified and feel comfortable making judgments about others as being either "good people" or "bad people"? It is one thing to judge a person's actions. It is quite another to judge the person (and perhaps call them names).

The proposition that Dhamma/Dharma involves judging others as a "good person" or a "bad person" is not only incorrect, it is a false teaching. It is an abomination and a harmful distortion of Dhamma.
Wherefore, Ānanda,
be ye not measurers of persons,
take not the measure of persons.

A person is ruined, Ānanda,
by taking the measure of other persons.

But I myself, Ānanda,
and whoso is like unto me,
could take the measure of persons.
Source: ... od.pts.htm
Engaged Buddhism - A movement within Buddhism which puts emphasis on taking affirmative actions within one's community to address manifest human suffering such as poverty, hunger, environmental harm, and public health issues.

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Dorje Shedrub
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Re: Labeling others as a "good person" or a "bad person"

Post by Dorje Shedrub » Tue Mar 26, 2019 6:04 am

DWT threads are best discussed on DWT, which covers broader areas of doctrine and teachings that are not within the intended scope of DWE.


"As far as social economic theory is concerned, I am Marxist. " ~ HHDL


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