Friday, January 1, 2010

Buddah Basics Pt. IV - Right Speech

Sit-a-Long with Jundo: Buddha-Basics (Part VII) — Speaking Right

We continue our stroll along the Eightfold Path with Right Speech, the first of three branches devoted to ‘Ethical Conduct’ (Sīla)…

The words passing our lips have power to be weapons or constructive tools, to help or hurt others, express care or disdain, make enemies or friends, start wars or bring peace.

The Buddha advised that we should:
…abstain from false speech, especially deliberate lies
…abstain from slanderous speech and words used maliciously against others
…abstain from harsh words that offend or hurt others
…abstain from idle gossip.

This means that we should, as best we can amid the complexities of life, seek to tell the truth, to speak lovingly, warmly and gently, and to be careful in our words.

Thich Nhat Hanh has sometimes worded it this way:

Aware of the suffering caused by unmindful speech and the inability to listen to others, I am committed to cultivate loving speech and deep listening in order to bring joy and happiness to others and relieve others of their suffering. Knowing that words can create happiness or suffering, I am committed to learn to speak truthfully, with words that inspire self-confidence, joy, and hope. I am determined not to spread news that I do not know to be certain and not to criticize or condemn things of which I am not sure. I will refrain from uttering words that can cause division or discord, or that can cause the family or the community to break. I will make all efforts to reconcile and resolve all conflicts, however small.

Right Speech: Shambala Sun

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