When an enlightened master advises you to avoid judging others, they did not say that judging things or people is wrong.
A zen master wants you to drop all judgements because your JUDGEMENTS are wrong. In other words, your judgements are not ACCURATE.
When you are not able to make the RIGHT judgements, you tend to make bad life choices.
So, is it okay to judge things and people? Not only is it okay, it’s IMPERATIVE. It’s important to use discernment and judgement in order to know who and what to get involved with…. But you need an ACCURATE ability to judge before you can make the RIGHT judgements and therefore, the right life choices.
For most people, it isn’t possible to make the right judgements because most people are asleep in consciousness….
Your mind is full of judgements all day long. You judge one thing as bad… or you judge one person as good…. But WHAT are you basing your judgements on?
The mind functions according to your social indoctrination. Your social indoctrination is the information you learn starting the day you’re born from family, friends, groups, school, books, religion, politics, TV, movies, the internet, and social media….
These programmed beliefs and assumptions of the mind can’t be trusted to make accurate judgements and life choices. Why? Your beliefs can’t be trusted because they are not YOUR OWN assessments based on DIRECT EXPERIENCE which DIFFER in each unique moment.
When you were a child and another child kept hitting you with a toy, you no longer wanted to play with this child. This was an accurate judgement based on DIRECT EXPERIENCE. This accurate judgement allowed you to make a smart choice about your friends based on your own common sense intelligence.
Making conscious choices allows you to experience always increasing happiness in your life.
But maybe you were pressured by family or other kids to be friends with this child, even though you didn’t like or trust this friend. Or maybe you were assigned a seat next to that child at school. Maybe your church pastor taught you to love others even when they hurt you…. This is how your social programming can result in wrong judgements and potentially a life of unhappiness.
So, when an enlightened master advises you to drop all judgements, what they mean is… drop all FALSE judgements which are born from your social indoctrination.
If you can go beyond the conditioned beliefs and assumptions of the mind, you can get back in touch with your common sense intelligence. Now you can see clearly which life choices to make based on your own rational logic – clearly understood through DIRECT EXPERIENCE, which is unique in each moment.
“He who does not judge others arbitrarily, but passes judgment impartiallyaccording to the truth, that sagacious man is a guardian of law and is called just.” The Dhammapada, verse 257