The Gift of Justice

Mary Talbot wrote an interesting article on the gift of justice (No Justice, No Peace) on The article is about lawyers and judges who practice the dharma.

Mary Talbot’s articles appear frequently in Tricycle Magazine. The current issue (Winter 2014) has an interesting article titled, “The Joy of No Sex” which I enjoyed very much.

These words of wisdom indicate that our current judicial system creates an atmosphere of competition and separates us into victim and perpetrator. This means that there is a winner and a looser. This creates anger and resentment between the parties and divides them almost indefinitely.

This separation is directly opposed to what the Buddha taught:

The gift of justice surpasses all gifts.
—Dhammapada 354

To pass judgment hurriedly
doesn’t mean you’re a judge.
The wise one who weighs
the right judgment and wrong,
the intelligent one who judges others impartially,
unhurriedly, in line with the Dhamma,
guarding the Dhamma,
guarded by the Dhamma,
he’s called a judge.
– Dhammapada 256-257 

She quotes these passages from the Dhammapada in the Tricycle article.

Dharma and the Law | December 3, 2014

In the simplest—and probably the most common—terms, the present state of the American judicial process runs counter to the tenets of Buddhism. It is predicated on an adversarial system that places people in mutually exclusive positions: victim and perpetrator, prosecution and defense, forces of good and forces of evil.

– Mary Talbot, “No Justice, No Peace”

Rock Bottom

I became very interested in this quote the moment I saw it. I was involved in two cases in the justice system. Both cases left me wondering how to improve the system. Right now, there is no way around it.

Can we change our adversarial government? What can we do to change it?

Books on the Dhammapada

The Dhammapada


For 2,500 years, The Dhammapada has been an essential Buddhist classic. Translated by Ananda Maitreya, the 100-year-old elder of Sri Lankan Buddhism.

“Let us welcome this new translation of The Dhammapada, a simple and profound jewel of the Buddha’s teaching.”—Jack Kornfield

[Read More…]

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