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Mindfulness requires being non judgemental, but what should one do when the work requires judgement where a standard needs maintained? Is there a form of objective judgement that that can be used like non judgment? I realize it's rather paradoxical but it seems analogous to that an apriori standard could be met without judgement? Or perhaps I am crazy.

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  • If you change that from a question to a statement, how does "… mindfulness requires being non judgemental, but the work requires judgement…" work for you? Mar 13, 2022 at 20:34

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In Buddhism, 'mindfulness' is a translation of the Pali word 'sati'. The word Pali 'sati' means 'to remember', 'to recollect' or 'to bear/keep in mind', as follows:

And what is the faculty of mindfulness? There is the case where a monk, a disciple of the noble ones, is mindful, highly meticulous, remembering & able to call to mind even things that were done & said long ago.

SN 48.10

Dwelling thus withdrawn, one recollects that Dhamma and thinks it over. Whenever, bhikkhus, a bhikkhu dwelling thus withdrawn recollects that Dhamma and thinks it over, on that occasion the enlightenment factor of mindfulness is aroused by the bhikkhu

SN 46.3

One is mindful to abandon wrong view & to enter & remain in right view: This is one's right mindfulness.

MN 117

Therein what is controlling faculty of mindfulness? That which is mindfulness, constant mindfulness, recollection, mindfulness, act of remembering, bearing in mind, non-superficiality, non-forgetfulness, mindfulness, controlling faculty of mindfulness, power of mindfulness, right mindfulness. This is called controlling faculty of mindfulness.

Abhidhamma: Indriyavibhaṅga

For the most part, mindfulness at work does not require being non judgmental. Generally, it is the opposite. Mindfulness requires remembering to exercise sound judgment at work; to do what is right in relation to your work and to avoid doing what is wrong in relation to your work.

For example, mindfulness means to remember to not watch entertainment or sports videos on your mobile phone when instead you should be working; or means to remember to not get angry at a difficult client or not get angry at your boss or, even worse, to remember to not get angry at a female work colleague when she goes berserk at you.

The Pali suttas say:

One is mindful to abandon wrong view & to enter & remain in right view: This is one's right mindfulness.

One is mindful to abandon wrong speech & to enter & remain in right speech: This is one's right mindfulness.

One is mindful to abandon wrong action & to enter & remain in right action: This is one's right mindfulness.

One is mindful to abandon wrong livelihood & to enter & remain in right livelihood: This is one's right mindfulness.

MN 117

Suppose, bhikkhu, a king had a frontier city with strong ramparts, walls, and arches, and with six gates. The gatekeeper posted there would be wise, competent and intelligent; one who keeps out strangers and admits acquaintances. ‘The gatekeeper’: this is a designation for mindfulness.

SN 35.245

As for 'non-judgmental awareness' (something the USA Vipassana Mafia Tribe like to teach because often The Tribe doesn't want people to judge them), this is often an interpretation of certain sutta teachings, such as:

Bāhiya, this is how you are to train yourself:

In the seen, there will be just the seen.

In the heard, there will be just the heard.

In the sensed, there will be just the sensed.

In the cognized, there will be just the cognized.

This, Bāhiya, is how you are to train yourself.

Then, Bāhiya, there will be no ‘you’ in terms of this.

When there is no ‘you’ in terms of this,

Then there is no ‘you’ there;

When there is no ‘you’ there,

There is no ‘you’ here, or beyond, or in between.

Just this is the end of suffering.”

Udana 1.10

The above 'non-judgmental awareness' is not 'mindfulness' but, instead, something mindfulness remembers to do.

For example, Right Speech is not mindfulness. But Right Speech is something mindfulness remembers to do.

Similarly, 'non-judgmental awareness' is not mindfulness. But 'non-judgmental awareness' is something mindfulness remembers to do when the situation is appropriate to engage in non-judgmental awareness.

Therefore, possibly at times in your work it is prudent to practise non-judgmental awareness, such as when your boss or company does something very immoral. Here, 'non-judgmental awareness' is a synonym for 'political correctness'. However, even doing this requires judgment, i.e., the judgment it is prudent to be non-judgmental.

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  • Please excuse me. SN 35.245 doesn't appear to support your argument here - in that sutta(?) the gatekeeper is a simile referring to one's own judgement of truth, rather than one's own judgement of adherence to some standard, as jwe asks. Can you draw an equivalence between appraisal of truth, and appraisal of other qualities? Mar 14, 2022 at 20:09
  • sorry i have no idea what you are attempting to say Mar 14, 2022 at 23:15
  • The question asked is whether it can be mindful to pass judgement according to objective criteria, based on the misunderstanding that mindfulness involves never passing judgement. SN 35.245's gatekeeper is irrelevant, as it is a metaphorical concept to discuss appraising truth and fitting it into one's own worldview, not passing judgement on quality of information. The gatekeeper is not an example of an actual person. Mar 16, 2022 at 0:04
  • mindfulness never involves never passing judgement. Mar 16, 2022 at 0:09
  • Its quite adhammic the troll here got their & my comments deleted. This situation is the height of rudeness; when i poster makes the effort to present a lengthy answer at the request of a commentator and the answer receives no gratitude. Why does such a troll that has never contributed to this forum have commenting privileges on this subforum? Mar 20, 2022 at 19:48
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Mindfulness requires being non judgemental

Is that so?

I think that there's a certain kind of being-judgemental that's unskilful, for example reacting like,

  • "Oh Gosh this is terrible, poor me I'm doomed!"
  • or "Oh man this is beyond good, I can't get enough of this!"

But conversely there's a certain kind of being-judgemental that is skilful, for example from MN 2

But take an educated noble disciple who has seen the noble ones, and is skilled and trained in the teaching of the noble ones. They’ve seen good persons, and are skilled and trained in the teaching of the good persons. They understand to which things they should pay attention and to which things they should not pay attention. So they pay attention to things they should and don’t pay attention to things they shouldn’t.

[...]

They properly attend: ‘This is suffering’ … ‘This is the origin of suffering’ … ‘This is the cessation of suffering’ … ‘This is the practice that leads to the cessation of suffering’. And as they do so, they give up three fetters: identity view, doubt, and misapprehension of precepts and observances. These are called the defilements that should be given up by seeing.

I apologise, it may be a bit crass to apply noble doctrine to lay pursuits. But it may be good advice, even for lay pursuits.

So at work there are kinds of being-judgemental that would be unskilful, for example,

  • "I hate him because he criticised my work"

Another type of being-judgemental that might be skilful, or at least I think it's the essence of what "work" is:

  • "This could do with some work, needs improvement, it would be good to fix it."

Is there a form of objective judgement that that can be used like non judgment?

I think so, but it depends on the field of expertise and the training of the expert.

For example a medical doctor might have an objective judgement about a patient's medical condition, or a structural engineer about the condition of a bridge, or a bus driver about the driving of the bus.

I'd say is a "subjective" judgement in that it's a subjective experience of the expert (e.g. "I think this bus is going too fast, I'll slow it"); but it's also "objective" in the sense that the experience and judgement is shared with and agreed by other experts.

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  • Thank you this clears much up, sometimes the merky waters of language create confusion. It was good to use the suttas, it helped clarify things and nailed my issue.vthank again.
    – jwe
    Mar 14, 2022 at 1:47
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Good householder, Samma Sati comes after right effort (increasing also mental right livelyhood. Forerunner of right effort is right livelihood, which is the perfection of outwardly right conduct. As long as the virtue section is not complet, as long as work and "entertainment" is not only unskilful but also strongly outwardly directed, involving much judgment outwardly, much thinking, as long as daily live isn't simple and without harm, it hardly ever possible to direct ones attention toward the four frames of references of mindfulness. Improving right view and by it right resolve, helps to turn more and more toward path and useful work for long happiness. It's useless to try to meditate if still firm caught in worldly issues and maintaining household. In most care one simply develops wrong meditation, wrong release... Once virtue is complete by having gained right view, the path develops on it's cause one by one. So good to go after the home-task at first place. What's worthy there to grasp and maintain?

Mindfulness, for one maintaining house, is eager on keeping the precepts in mind and changes ways of conduct and life, so that right remorseless can be reached, which is the base of the path.

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Mindfulness requires being non judgemental, but what should one do when the work requires judgement where a standard needs maintained? Is there a form of objective judgement that that can be used like non judgment? I realize it's rather paradoxical but it seems analogous to that an apriori standard could be met without judgement? Or perhaps I am crazy.

No, you're not crazy, but you're confused because you're following common but very wrong definitions of 'mindfulness' (sati) based on psychotherapists and confused Buddhist teachers who start listening to each other and getting corrupted style drift instead of checking with the suttas and seeing for themselves how the Buddha actually used the term. I've collected comprehensive notes here on how the Buddha actually defined the term, directly from the suttas. https://lucid24.org/sted/8aam/7sati/index.html Most relevant to your question, what people think of as 'sati', the portion of 'mindfulness' that knows, comprehends, understands, discerns, is actually 'sampajāno', recursively included in the 'sati' definiton (see satipaṭṭhāna formula).

edit: addressing Chris's question in comments section. Sati ("mindfulness") has in implicit object it operates on. Just like when we say "go", the implied objects are [you] "go" [somewhere]. Sati ("mindfulness") takes 'The Dhamma' (instructions that liberate one fully from suffering) as the implicit object. So translated to a worldly context, the 'the (worldly) dharma at your job' would be the implicit object that one is 'mindful' of.

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    It's fine to post a reference, it's good to add a relevant quote from or a small summary of your reference. For example, you say that mindful is sati -- why? And that sati is remembering -- remembering what? And in particular what will someone be remembering while engaged in some lay work?
    – ChrisW
    Mar 13, 2022 at 11:55
  • Thank you for your assistance
    – jwe
    Mar 14, 2022 at 5:02
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The judgement should be based on the three unwholesome roots, i.e. non-greed, non-hated, non-delusion to be wholesome and right.

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