How to teach Dhamma to judges and civil workers?

I was assigned by the Civil Court Chief Official to teach Dhamma to judges and civil workers once a month starting in January. 2005 (B.E. 2548), and that troubled me because judges usually live in their own world. Everyone would like to dig deep into their thoughts and psyche. I would like to ask for Luang Phaw for suggestions how to teach Dhamma to this group of people. https://dmc.tv/a3526

Dhamma Articles > Question and Answer for Life
[ Mar 12th, 2005 ] - [ read : 13790 ]

Question:
I was assigned by the Civil Court Chief Official to teach Dhamma to judges and civil workers once a month starting in January. 2005 (B.E. 2548), and that troubled me because judges usually live in their own world.  Everyone would like to dig deep into their thoughts and psyche. I would like to ask for Luang Phaw for suggestions how to teach Dhamma to this group of people.
 


Answer
by Venerable Dhattajeevo Bhikku 

 
In this particular topic, I would like to give an answer for everyone in general and not just for judges. If they were not intelligent, they would not have been selected as judges. Because they are intelligent, I don’t blame you for being anxious from the assignment of teaching them Dhamma.

However, we first have to accept the fact that Dhamma Knowledge and worldly knowledge are two separate things. Even if a person possesses vast intelligence of worldly knowledge, that doesn’t mean that they are intelligent in Dhamma knowledge. We have to understand this clearly first. This is the first point.

Second, though some people are intelligent and understand Dhamma well, it doesn’t mean that they share the same level of Dhamma in their hearts. Their knowledge of Dhamma is of the understanding level where they have to think, reason, consider, and examine something carefully before deducing that the end result was derived from this and that. So they understand the chain of events that led from this beginning to that result.  They can see it through all the way to the end, but their knowledge is still only at the level of understanding.

Beneficial results have not taken place yet. True beneficial results will happen only when we efficiently practice the Dhamma we’ve learned until it becomes our habit. When it becomes our habit, our whole being will become Dhamma.  We now not only know or can recall Dhamma, but we can teach and help others. These are two different levels.

Here, I’d like to give encouragement and understanding to the person asking, who is a woman. You need to understand that even though those judges, who are intelligent, might be intelligent on the same level as you, or they may be less or more intelligent than you, but their intelligence is used for making judgments and interpreting the law. It’s not certain that their intelligence about Dhamma is greater than yours. You have to understand this part.

Now, suppose that both their and your intelligence about Dhamma are on the same level or  they may be even be at a higher level on some occasions, then why do you have to teach them Dhamma.  Because it’s only the understanding about Dhamma, it’s not certain if they practice Dhamma or use Dhamma in their daily lives or not. The answer is probably not. In that case, we have the reason to teach and expand Dhamma for them.

Well, suppose that these judges do incorporate Dhamma into their daily lives, maybe less or maybe more regularly than ourselves, because they are judges.  Even if that is the case, where they understand and practice the Dhamma, they would still be pleased to listen to Dhamma from someone who shares an equivalent or lesser knowledge of the Dhamma.  Why is that? Because in the world that we live in, having the chance to listen to Dhamma from someone who practices it genuinely and leads an ideal life, is highly auspicious and rare.

Therefore, if the owner of this question is confident that her Dhamma knowledge and practice is correct, she can go teach them. They will be happy for it. So you shouldn’t be too worried about teaching them Dhamma because it is a great opportunity.  If we ere in any way, they will never humiliate you, but rather, they will help or give you suggestions. It’s your good fortune. If you can clearly see the truth of this world and understand the kindness and fairness of these judges according to these truths, you shouldn’t have to be worried about lecturing Dhamma to them.

However, what you have to prepare, as Lord Buddha suggested we do before you introduce  Dhamma to anyone, and that is to have practiced that Dhamma well ourselves first. If we don’t, we could teach something erroneously and might cause some problems.

1. They don’t believe you.  If we taught them something incorrect we would look bad.  If they oppose, we would also look bad. What if they didn’t know themselves, and believed you although your teaching was incorrect, what would happen? They would take that Dhamma and put it into practice incorrectly. When they practice Dhamma incorrectly, demerit may accrue. When they die, they will go to the major hell.

The second point that I want to leave with you is to select only the Dhamma that you have been able to put into practice. If this is the case, no matter how many times you talk about it, you will be correct every single time without fail.  Merit will be acquired by both you the speaker and by the judges who are the listeners.

In this situation, I‘ve received recommendations from our Khun Yay Acharn Maha Rattana Upasika Chandra Khonnokyoong, my teacher. In the first year of my ordination, some laypeople asked me to give a Dhamma sermon. I accepted the invitation, but I didn’t know what to teach since they didn’t specify a topic. So I asked our Khun Yay Acharn. I asked, “Khun Yay, I was asked to give a sermon, but I have no idea what I should teach.”

She gave a clear answer: “First, you should ask yourself, since you have met me and become a monk, what character of yours has improved thus far, and how? Think about it thoroughly. After you can figure it out, you can deliver a sermon about it.  I guarantee that it will definitely please them, because in every generation there are three defilements that lie in our hearts: greed, anger and delusion.  Therefore it would be well received if you gave an honest teaching. If you gave such a sermon, it would definitely provide benefits to all of the listeners. It would also be an opportunity for you to review your own goodness. Then merit will arise for both you and the listeners.”

This is what Khun Yay suggested, and I’ve lectured this way my whole monastic life. It’s not copyrighted, so you can use this technique too. I guarantee that it works. After you use this technique and get some feedbacks, please call and tell me about it. Don’t worry. I wish you the best in this effort to provide Dhamma. I hope you gain much merit from providing this Dhamma teaching.


http://goo.gl/CBnx7


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