The foolish praise those deserving of criticism and vice versa

Anguttara nikaya Book of the twos

134
When a foolish, incompetent bad person has two qualities they keep themselves broken and damaged. They deserve to be blamed and criticized by sensible people, and they make much bad karma.
“Dvīhi, bhikkhave, dhammehi samannāgato bālo abyatto asappuriso khataṁ upahataṁ attānaṁ pariharati, sāvajjo ca hoti sānuvajjo ca viññūnaṁ, bahuñca apuññaṁ pasavati.
What two?
Katamehi dvīhi?
Without examining or scrutinizing, they praise those deserving of criticism
Ananuvicca apariyogāhetvā avaṇṇārahassa vaṇṇaṁ bhāsati,
and they criticize those deserving of praise.
ananuvicca apariyogāhetvā vaṇṇārahassa avaṇṇaṁ bhāsati.
When a foolish, incompetent bad person has these two qualities they keep themselves broken and damaged. They deserve to be blamed and criticized by sensible people, and they make much bad karma.
Imehi kho, bhikkhave, dvīhi dhammehi samannāgato bālo abyatto asappuriso khataṁ upahataṁ attānaṁ pariharati, sāvajjo ca hoti sānuvajjo ca viññūnaṁ, bahuñca apuññaṁ pasavatīti.

When an astute, competent good person has two qualities they keep themselves healthy and whole. They don’t deserve to be blamed and criticized by sensible people, and they make much merit.
Dvīhi, bhikkhave, dhammehi samannāgato paṇḍito viyatto sappuriso akkhataṁ anupahataṁ attānaṁ pariharati, anavajjo ca hoti ananuvajjo ca viññūnaṁ, bahuñca puññaṁ pasavati.
What two?
Katamehi dvīhi?
After examining and scrutinizing, they criticize those deserving of criticism
Anuvicca pariyogāhetvā avaṇṇārahassa avaṇṇaṁ bhāsati,
and they praise those deserving of praise.
anuvicca pariyogāhetvā vaṇṇārahassa vaṇṇaṁ bhāsati.
When an astute, competent good person has these two qualities they keep themselves healthy and whole. They don’t deserve to be blamed and criticized by sensible people, and they make much merit.”
Imehi kho, bhikkhave, dvīhi dhammehi samannāgato paṇḍito viyatto sappuriso akkhataṁ anupahataṁ attānaṁ pariharati, anavajjo ca hoti ananuvajjo ca viññūnaṁ, bahuñca puññaṁ pasavatī”ti.

Is it related to Goenka and Thanissaro?

If one has Wrong view as well as Some good qualities/capabilities, is he praiseworthy or not?

I didn’t think of it that way at first, but maybe now that you mention it…
I do think Goenka was wrongly criticized and I do think that I helped clear his name especially with the paritta youtube chanting post. Goenka is not perfect and he says so in his lectures to just take the stone out (of the food) and eat the rest.

Ajahn Thanissaro says some things that I do not agree with. However, and ironically, both Goenka and Ajahn Thanissaro were fundamental in solidifying my Theravada ways. Access to Insight changed the playing field of online Buddhism and free Buddhism. Use the Waybackmachine to see what was around. Ajahn Thanissaro was a major part of the early ATI. Goenka was also part of the major free-buddhist-access revolution. Before that, popular Buddhist Teachings came at a hefty price.

So I read The Wings to Awakening shortly after being disatisfied with the white lotus sutra which condones lying as skillful means. His book really helped me understand the fallacies of Mahayana and that the Suttas were so clear and precise. Shortly after or even in the middle of reading that book (I was a slow reader). I had entered my first Goenka retreat. We could say that both of these teachers were fundamental causes for this group to come about since this group is a result of the seeds they planted.
But there are so many causes.

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The good qualities should be praised and the wrong view criticized.
as the sutta says:

When an astute, competent good person has two qualities they keep themselves healthy and whole. They don’t deserve to be blamed and criticized by sensible people, and they make much merit.
Dvīhi, bhikkhave, dhammehi samannāgato paṇḍito viyatto sappuriso akkhataṁ anupahataṁ attānaṁ pariharati, anavajjo ca hoti ananuvajjo ca viññūnaṁ, bahuñca puññaṁ pasavati.
What two?
Katamehi dvīhi?
After examining and scrutinizing, they criticize those deserving of criticism

So we know that in truth there are are only elements arising and passing, no person in the deepest sense. In this way the wise can distinguish what is correct and what is blameworthy among views and actions.

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Yes indeed.
But the problem is “which side has more weight?”

Eg: If one has Correct view and some bad qualities, we can recommend him to someone to associate with, saying his view is good though he has some bad qualities.

But if one has Wrong view and some good qualities, we feel like it is dangerous to recommend him to someone.

Because view is mentioned as the Fore-runner on which the values of all the other qualities depend on.

Wrong view is worse.
And because wrongview arises in conjunction with attachment it becomes deeply rooted. Someone may follow the wrong way for all the life, or lifetimes.

Subtle wrong views are dangerous because they can seem to mimic right view, so the follower is unaware that they are on a wrong path.

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Yes, I happened to remind about the definition of Upadana.

Upadana = KamaUpadana + DitthiUpadana + SilabbataUpadana + AttavadaUpadana
KamaUpadana = Lobha Cetasika
DitthiUpadana + SilabbataUpadana + AttavadaUpadana = Ditthi Cetasika
Therefore:
Upadana = Lobha Cetasika + Ditthi Cetasika

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Yes well. i think what we need to do is divorce the actions from the person. Pretty much everyone has done both good and bad things. Even Hitler saved the life of a Jewish doctor who helped his family when he was young and Osama Bin Laden was said to be a good father to his kids.

Criticize the unwholesome behavior but dont mistake it for them being an unwholesome person, almost nobody is black and white. And even if they are an unwholesome person generally, some of thier behavior is praiseworthy, much worthy of blame. There was a thread on CT earlier on Bhante Sujato’s intolerant social justice snobbery, imo deserving of criticism, especially since we have hard evidence of it, not just hearsay evidence that he allegedly says this or that or whatever. But that doesnt change the fact that he has contributed much to online Buddhism and making the suttas very easy to access. Bhikkhu Bodhi wrote an essay lamenting the election of Donald Trump in 2016, imo not good conduct for a monk to dabble in politics, that doesnt mean his contributions to Buddhism should be overlooked.

Goenka i think is wrong on certain things, and should be criticized (in good faith, not out of hatred) for those things. He should be praised for popularizing meditation and Buddhism in the West since its not reasonable to think if we just hit westerners with orthodox Theravada right from the get go theyll all fall along the lines of right view and believe in devas, brahmas, kamma, rebirth, jatakas of talking animals and people living for 80,000 years in the future. It is not black and white, wrong view or right view. some views are more right, others more wrong, but more right is always better even if its not completely right. Besides, unless anyone here is an arahant, nobody here has completely right view.

I myself did not beleive in the 80,000 year lifespan thing from the get go, i had to kinda warm up to it overtime as i saw more of the truth of Buddhism thru practice, and learned about the other parts of Buddhist cosmology that made it make more sense.

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In the visudhimagga, Buddhaghosa explains that criticizing a well practicing monastic is extremely bad kamma, almost as bad as anantika kamma, even if you truly believe the monastic is bad. That is one reason why in Asia there is a bit of a cultural aversion to criticizing monks, especially among asian temple goers (secular asians thats a different story).

So with monks/ascetics, it is especially precarious. If you are wrong about the monk being bad, you have just made horrendous kamma. If you are right about criticizing a monk/ascetic on a certain issue, but you let your tribalistic partisanship/confirmation bias (which we all have to some degree) take over and you start criticizing them overall when its just one or a few issues that is worthy of criticism, this is also very bad. Among laypeople its karmically safer but you should still use similar guidelines.

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I have heard many discussions where many monks and people praise some teachers who spread some version of Dhamma throughout the world.

If one teacher spreads some Non-Classical version of Dhamma/view throughout the world, it is not technically considered spreading the Dhamma. It is spreading Dhamma-Patirupakas. This is the problem.

Yet, he might have helped many people to come in to a Kammic belief which share many practices/texts with Dhamma.

For an example, most of the Westerners heard about Buddhism through Dalai Lama. So some people praise him about his service. But the question here is, “can such services be considered as spreading Buddhism?”

The Suttas say what contribute to the disappearance of Dhamma are not outside forces but the Dhamma-Patirupakas. Then this become a huge threat to the Dhamma than from outside forces. This is the problem.

Are we allowed to recommend such teachers at least for basic steps? This is the question.

Let’s say someone send his friends to such a teacher who have a wrong view along with good qualities. Then most probably those friends become Dhamma-Patirupakas. But they might have converted from a unvirtuous-state in to a virtuous-state.

It is true that many people have been introduced to Patirupakas of Buddhism through those teachers. And it is true that they have become Virtuous and started Meditation with the help of those teachers.

Yet the question is, “are we allowed to recommend such teachers at least for basic steps”?

Well if they’re goal is classical Theravada recommend a classical Theravada teacher. Perhaps you can provide a list of teachers that teach pure classical Theravada so people know where to look.

Recommendation is different from criticism. I generally don’t recommend bhante sujatos sutta translations, as he has very polarized and intolerant political views and you sometimes see his snobbery creep into his translations/footnotes. But I still use and direct people to them if I can’t find anything else, which you often can’t. I am still critical of bhante sujatos arrogant hyperpoliticalness and EBT views. But that doesn’t make him a “fake” monk or whatever in and of itself and I’m sure he has some redeeming qualities. I still recommend his site and use his translations simply because it’s one of the best out there for reading suttas and it’s hard to find English translations of some suttas besides his.

You’d be hardpressed to find any accessible translations if you exclude the so called wrong viewed Bhikkhus of Bhikkhu Bodhi, thanissaro Bhikkhu, and bhante sujato.

It’s important to have integrity when criticizing others, especially bhikkhus.

"Now, a person endowed with these four qualities can be known as ‘a person of integrity.’ Which four?

"There is the case where a person of integrity, when asked, does not reveal another person’s bad points, to say nothing of when unasked. Furthermore, when asked, when pressed with questions, he is one who speaks of another person’s bad points not in full, not in detail, with omissions, holding back. Of this person you may know, ‘This venerable one is a person of integrity.’

"Then again, a person of integrity, when unasked, reveals another person’s good points, to say nothing of when asked. Furthermore, when asked, when pressed with questions, he is one who speaks of another person’s good points in full & in detail, without omissions, without holding back. Of this person you may know, ‘This venerable one is a person of integrity.’

"Then again, a person of integrity, when unasked, reveals his own bad points, to say nothing of when asked. Furthermore, when asked, when pressed with questions, he is one who speaks of his own bad points in full & in detail, without omissions, without holding back. Of this person you may know, ‘This venerable one is a person of integrity.’

"Then again, a person of integrity, when asked, does not reveal his own good points, to say nothing of when unasked. Furthermore, when asked, when pressed with questions, he is one who speaks of his own good points not in full, not in detail, with omissions, holding back. Of this person you may know, ‘This venerable one is a person of integrity.’

“Monks, a person endowed with these four qualities can be known as ‘a person of integrity.’”

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an04/an04.073.than.html

There are other suttas and vinaya which must be taken with the sutta you quoted.

  • The suttas like the sutta mentioned in OP
  • The vinaya rules where a bhikkhu or bhikkhuni is needed to reveal other bhikkhu’s and bhikkhuni’s faults. Otherwise it is an offence.

We can’t capture the whole picture from single sutta.

There are 2 types of suttas called Savasesa and Niravasesa.

For sure. Like most things in Theravada Buddhism, its a complicated thing that depends on the context.