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Talking of Right Speech ...

From another thread:

It isn't wrong speech to speak the truth at appropriate times with correct motivation, the Buddha said. It's also not wrong speech to warn people of potential dangers and pitfalls. In fact, in that context, the Buddha implied that silence can be considered "wrong speech".

Exactly so. Passive fuming is not 'silent'. Dharma platitudes that make ones snoozing cushion comfortable is getting us no nearer to buddhahoodiness ...

Speech can make us think in a non linear format
Speech can express and expose our silence.
Right Speech can and must make us well enough to hear. Strong enough to listen to our understanding and humble enough to speak to ants as our teachers and gods as our underlings ...

What say you dear Friends?

HozanmosquitokarastiDakiniShoshinherberto
«13

Comments

  • HozanHozan Veteran

    @lobster that Rumi quote is beautiful and says it all ! That quote really resonates with me. Thank you @lobster. As part of preparing for my refuge ceremony I am trying to delve as deeply as possible into the Eightfold Path and see each one in as much depth as possible. It is easy to look at each of the Eight just at face value without delving deeper into each one. Thank you for this on Right Speech. I find the more I am mindful and meditate and slow life down, the better my intuition leads me to knowing when silence is appropriate or not, or what is right to say in a situation, if anything.

    mosquitolobster
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    My Avatar.
    Of course, 'beautiful' may necessarily at times, be open to interpretation.... :)

    herberto
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    I like that one very much, too, @federica and the almost identical "speak only if you are improving on the silence." I find that to be a pretty tall order, to improve on, or have something to say that is more beautiful than silence. But when you try to put it in action even for brief periods, it really makes people uncomfortable. It's interesting how comforted most are by all the noise and talking in their lives. People don't like when they yammer on and then you have nothing to say in response, lol. Even if you are interacting and smiling and nodding or whatever. A lack of speech makes some people a bit crazy.

    lobsterBunks
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator
    edited April 7

    It's true; people hate a hiatus in conversation; they feel as if the silence needs filling, because we're unconsciously conditioned to believe that silence means a form of confrontation; an ill-will or an unwillingness to connect.
    In Sales Training, one of the primary directives of 'closing the sale' is to "Ask the closing question - then shut up."
    There's the 'famous' tale (once bandied around by Allied Dunbar) that a somewhat wealthy and extremely successful MD of an equally successful company, finally, after much insistence, agreed to give 5 minutes of his time - no more - to an A.D. Insurance Salesman. (Allied Dunbar was at that time, apparently pushing the enormous value of making a Will... something that even now, the vast majority of people have probably not even given any thought to, at all...) The Insurance Representative thanked him, and asked that the MD's 2 sons be present, also.

    Upon arrival, even before taking a seat, he made his grand entrance into the MD's Office, and pointing directly at the MD, declared "You - have just died. Now, how are you two boys going to handle stuff?" There was apparently a stunned pause, then both sons allegedly came up with 'spur-of-the-moment' ideas - all of which the MD began to protest to. The AD Sales guy interrupted him, and told him he was dead, he had no say in the matter.
    Chaos ensued, exactly as the AD salesman had in fact, hoped. The notion of making a Will suddenly gathered ground and became an undeniably critical issue to resolve.
    The sum final of this tale, is that the AD salesman put the closing question to the MD - "Now, tell me, what's stopping you from signing that document?" - and shut up.

    It is said that the silence lasted for nearly an hour.

    Finally, the MD 'broke' first, and asked for a 'damn pen' to sign the document.

    Silence can pay off. But it depends on the intention. And moreover, just how noble that Intention is....

    karastiyagrlobster
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    @Hozan said:
    As part of preparing for my refuge ceremony I am trying to delve as deeply as possible into the Eightfold Path and see each one in as much depth as possible.

    <3 As promised I will be with you 'in spirit'/solidarity. <3

    MAY TRE YA OM TRE YA OM
    YA OM MAY YA HUM
    OM YA HA HUM

    Hozan
  • Helping certainly is a noble intention.....truth can be rough..

  • HozanHozan Veteran

    @lobster said:

    @Hozan said:
    As part of preparing for my refuge ceremony I am trying to delve as deeply as possible into the Eightfold Path and see each one in as much depth as possible.

    <3 As promised I will be with you 'in spirit'/solidarity. <3

    MAY TRE YA OM TRE YA OM
    YA OM MAY YA HUM
    OM YA HA HUM

    Thank you @lobster. Your presence in spirit and solidarity is much appreciated brother. <3

  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    Good thing I am not serving tea . . . <3

    In the village outside of Hakuin’s temple there was an old woman who ran a tea shop. This old woman, Hakuin told his students, was actually a true tea master as well as a master of Zen.
    The students, upon hearing this, were curious about the old woman and decided to go to the village and see for themselves whether this was so.
    The old woman, who had studied the Way for many years, was indeed both a tea master and a master of Zen. Not only so, but she was able to discern from a single look whether a person was coming to her with an open heart to learn about the Way of Tea, or whether they were, instead, coming to check on her understanding of Zen.
    To those who came to her with an open heart she served tea in a masterful fashion, and these left her tea shop with wings on their feet. As for those whom she discerned were actually there to test her understanding of Zen, she would hide behind her door with a fire poker and began to beat them as soon as they entered the tea shop.
    When his angry and injured students complained to him, Master Hakuin laughed and said, ‘I told you her understanding of the Way is unsurpassed. You’re all fortunate that she let you leave in one piece!’

    One lump or two? o:)

    Hozansilver
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    Talking of Right Speech

    Different strokes( flaps of the tongue) for different folks (ears/hearing) Relatively speaking ...

    What's right by me is not necessarily right by others...and what's right by others is not necessarily right by me...

    Just because one thinks that one is (righteously) right, does not mean that what one says is the right thing to say...For the most part, this is just one's mental hearsay (Mental monkey chatter) :) Relatively speaking..... :)

    DhammaDragon
  • wrong speech is used wrongly to suppress discussion of abuse as well. can we talk about trungpa's bad and even criminal behavior, yes. in fact it's an ethical obligation to tell new people what's going on. you re told over and over again to examine the guru carefully, but how can you do that if you can't find out anything about the guru except haigiogrophy and praise, especially when there are very bad things that are well known. it's wrong to suppress that speech.

    if you read the viniaya. which i did decades ago when staying at a friends house who had the translation done by the english buddhist society. it is full of open and frank debate to establish rules. to the point of ad nauseium ad infinitium. buddha and the people round openly debated pretty much everything that came up and buddha did not suppress speech. when the sangha split twice he just went into the woods. both times the split off died out. once they were a huge majority.

    twittering away for little or no reason on the other hand .... in the modern world, at least in english, few have a command of words to debate. i encourage everyone to read john ralston saul's book:"unconscious civilization" about how awareness has mostly disappeared and language being dumbed down is a large part of that. when discussing difficult issues, think about what the words actually mean and not what emotions or impressions they make in you.

    i was recently accused of attacking white people, by a buddhist teacher. (a junior one) words i have never said at anytime ever. i would use the term european anyway and always do. he saw posts about native struggles for rights and black lives matter and saw attacks on white people. this teacher did not understand the normal meaning of the words i used. so that's wrong speech as well. ssuming someone means something they didn't say. listen close, debate and be ready to answer for what you say. and warn people of dangerous practices and teachers. those are all right speech.

  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    @ollaimh I have come across white privilege/entitlement and covert discrimination in dharma.

    Mostly I have come across those wishing to transcend the limitation of outer form, whether gender, tribalism or other superficialities but relevant life experiences.

    All lives matter. The life of the planet, trees, trump, panthers, gods and most importantly our own. Today I ate fish. The lives of fish matter. :3

    Being kind is optional BUT as ever ... so needed .

    Hozan
  • DakiniDakini Veteran

    @ollaimh said:
    wrong speech is used wrongly to suppress discussion of abuse as well. can we talk about trungpa's bad and even criminal behavior, yes. in fact it's an ethical obligation to tell new people what's going on. you re told over and over again to examine the guru carefully, but how can you do that if you can't find out anything about the guru except haigiogrophy and praise, especially when there are very bad things that are well known. it's wrong to suppress that speech.

    Westerners are at a disadvantage re: being able to research the guru, because we don't have access to Tibetan gossip. Though the internet is taking over some of that role, and I've read that some teachers are telling their students not to read the internet, lol!

    A sangha in Australia organized itself around a teacher who showed up, but he turned out to be very unethical, and caused the sangha a lot of pain. I guess they thought he was "safe" to work with because he was married, but they were wrong. So one of the board members of the study center they created for him went to Dharamsala to do some research. In the tea houses there she got quite an earful. People even told her that the person in question had been a poor student, and was not respected in the community. He was a reject, which apparently is why he left to try his luck on another continent, where no one knew him.

    Few of us can afford the luxury of a trip to Dharamsala, and how many of us could find out much anyway, without knowing Tibetan? Sure, most speak English these days, but they open up much more in their own language.

  • yes, we are told to examine a teacher closely. how can you do that if forbidden from researching, and the teacher and entourage shut down any discussion? moreover as to white privledge. sorry lobster , buddhism in america is full of it. lots of talk about social justice from well off americans who have little or no real idea what is happening. i encourage everyone to read john ralston saul's book:"unconscious civilization". which attempts to explain the shallow lack of genuine awareness in american culture. it affects the american buddhists as well. if you're really brave read "voltaire's bastards".

    but, a lot of buddhists use wrong speech to shut down intelligent thinking and insight. they want a church not enlightenment. rather than being "lust conceptualizing" genuine intellectual exploration can be more insightfull than any other path. you need pure awareness as well, but shuting down insight isn't in the guise of no thinking is a misunderstanding. in fact you have to be able to no think, and think simultaneously. in my not nearly humble enough opinion.

    lobster
  • DakiniDakini Veteran
    edited April 13

    @ollaimh said:
    yes, we are told to examine a teacher closely. how can you do that if forbidden from researching, and the teacher and entourage shut down any discussion?

    If you find yourself in such a situation, you should recognize the signs of a cult, and leave. More awareness needs to be brought to this issue. If you're not allowed to question the authenticity or qualifications of the teacher, for example, something the Buddha expressly taught one should do, then it should be clear that true Buddhism is not what is being taught in that sangha. It is anti-Buddhism.

  • pegembarapegembara Veteran
    edited April 13

    [1] In the case of words that the Tathagata knows to be unfactual, untrue, unbeneficial (or: not connected with the goal), unendearing & disagreeable to others, he does not say them.

    [2] In the case of words that the Tathagata knows to be factual, true, unbeneficial, unendearing & disagreeable to others, he does not say them.

    Speak not the truth if it causes more harm than good.

    [3] In the case of words that the Tathagata knows to be factual, true, beneficial, but unendearing & disagreeable to others, he has a sense of the proper time for saying them.

    There is a proper time to speak the truth if benefit outweigh the cost even if it is hurtful. So silence is sometimes not an option.

    [4] In the case of words that the Tathagata knows to be unfactual, untrue, unbeneficial, but endearing & agreeable to others, he does not say them.

    [5] In the case of words that the Tathagata knows to be factual, true, unbeneficial, but endearing & agreeable to others, he does not say them.

    Any speech that causes harm is to be avoided even if one speaks the truth.

    [6] In the case of words that the Tathagata knows to be factual, true, beneficial, and endearing & agreeable to others, he has a sense of the proper time for saying them. Why is that? Because the Tathagata has sympathy for living beings."

    The golden rule seems to be to do no harm.

    There is strangely no mention of "white" lies ie. in the case of words that the Tathagata knows to be unfactual, untrue but beneficial. So are white lies okay since there is no explicit injunction against them?

    http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.058.than.html

  • DakiniDakini Veteran
    edited April 13

    @pegembara said:

    There is strangely no mention of "white" lies ie. in the case of words that the Tathagata knows to be unfactual, untrue but beneficial. So are white lies okay since there is no explicit injunction against them?

    http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.058.than.html

    That would be covered by the precept against lying.

  • DakiniDakini Veteran
    edited April 13

    Here's another discourse by the Buddha on right and wrong speech, that has some interesting nuances:

    "Potaliya, four kinds of people exist and can be found in the world. What kinds?

    1) Some blame those who should be blamed, according to the truth, at the proper time, but do not praise those who should be praised, according to the truth, at the proper time.

    2) Some praise those who should be praised, according to the truth, at the proper time, but do not blame those who should be blamed, according to the truth, at the proper time.

    3) Some do not blame those who should be blamed, according to the truth, at the proper time, and do not praise those who should be praised, according to the truth, at the proper time.

    4) Some blame those who should be blamed, according to the truth, at the proper time, and praise those who should be praised, according to the truth, at the proper time.

    Potaliya, of all those four kinds of people, whichever blames those who should be blamed, according to the truth, at the proper time, and praises those who should be praised, according to the truth, at the proper time, this kind of person is the most beautiful and refined of these four kinds of people."

    This is interesting, because he says that not blaming those who should be blamed, at the proper time, is wrong speech. He seems to be squarely on the side of speaking up when necessary, to point out wrongdoing, or to warn or perilous circumstances, or whatever the case may be. He also believes it important to give credit where credit is due, and to praise people when they deserve it.

    DavidKeromelobster
  • DavidDavid some guy The Hammer in Ontario, Canada, eh Veteran

    @pegembara said:

    There is strangely no mention of "white" lies ie. in the case of words that the Tathagata knows to be unfactual, untrue but beneficial. So are white lies okay since there is no explicit injunction against them?

    http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.058.than.html

    I think it would depend on the person and the situation because what we are saying is that we don't think the person can handle the truth so instead we lie. In some that could do more harm than good so it's a touchy one. I'd advise silence.

    Shoshin
  • namarupanamarupa Veteran

    Treat speech and non-speech as actions, and all actions are karma.

    Shoshinlobster
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    You're right @namarupa :)

    Who knows what karmic sequence of mental events one's words might trigger in another's fettered mind... ( a mind bound by conditions/moods) ...

    At times we hear what our mood "wants" us to hear and not what's actually being said...

    Pleasant can be perceived as unpleasant ...Nice can be perceived as nasty...The mind is such a fickle fettered fragile thing ...and should be handled with care at all times :)

    lobster
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    Here is something about right listening ... <3
    https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/family-dharma-right-speech-reconsidered/

    You will perhaps recognise in yourself or others how many of us are stuck in teenage or younger listening modalities. Is this why Zeniths and Mahasiddhas break into our ignorant/dukkha hugging loops with quite strong medicine?

    Is waking up a form of growing up? :o

  • @David said:

    @pegembara said:

    There is strangely no mention of "white" lies ie. in the case of words that the Tathagata knows to be unfactual, untrue but beneficial. So are white lies okay since there is no explicit injunction against them?

    http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.058.than.html

    I think it would depend on the person and the situation because what we are saying is that we don't think the person can handle the truth so instead we lie. In some that could do more harm than good so it's a touchy one. I'd advise silence.

    A different situation.

    The Nazi secret police is asking if you know of any Jews living in your neighborhood. Silence is not an option here.

    Or a guy walks into a school with a gun and asks if you have seen so and so in class.

    What then?

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    Oh goodness, not this again! How many times have we gone over this old chestnut! Still on the first page and we've hit Godwin's Law....

    Here, read this.
    That will answer your question, @pegembara

    Once and for all, I hope. ;)

  • DavidDavid some guy The Hammer in Ontario, Canada, eh Veteran
    edited April 14

    @pegembara said:

    @David said:

    @pegembara said:

    There is strangely no mention of "white" lies ie. in the case of words that the Tathagata knows to be unfactual, untrue but beneficial. So are white lies okay since there is no explicit injunction against them?

    http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.058.than.html

    I think it would depend on the person and the situation because what we are saying is that we don't think the person can handle the truth so instead we lie. In some that could do more harm than good so it's a touchy one. I'd advise silence.

    A different situation.

    The Nazi secret police is asking if you know of any Jews living in your neighborhood. Silence is not an option here.

    Or a guy walks into a school with a gun and asks if you have seen so and so in class.

    What then?

    This is very different than a lie to save somebody's feelings so the lesser of the two evils seems appropriate.

    However I think that if we ask what Buddha would do we may find he wouldn't lie or be silent. Instead he may put his life on the line in an effort to sway the person over without revealing an answer.

    It reminds me of that false dilemma where the villain makes the hero choose who gets shot as if to lay the guilt of the murder on the hero. That wouldn't work on Buddha I'm guessing.

  • pegembarapegembara Veteran
    edited April 14

    @David

    Since none of us are Buddhas, we cannot presume what he would do. The sutta is silent on this scenario. But given the choice is between telling a lie to save lives or keeping silent (to keep our precept and save our brownie point). I would have no hesitation to choose the former.

    @federica
    I just don't need another philosopher to tell me what is "right" from "wrong"!

    Why is that? Because the Tathagata has sympathy for living beings."

    And we need to follow that example.

  • DavidDavid some guy The Hammer in Ontario, Canada, eh Veteran

    @pegembara said:
    @David

    Since none of us are Buddhas, we cannot presume what he would do.

    We can use the teachings to the best of our limited ability and presume what he may do. We may not be right but thats another matter. I can imagine a teaching where someone with ill intent comes looking for information and what Buddha may do to withhold it without lying.

    You are right in that I am obviously no Buddha so I don't know the proper words to either get through to or get rid of people like that without getting myself killed but if anyone would it's a Buddha.

    Personally I would lie but I wouldn't try to justify said lie

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    @pegembara said:
    @David

    Since none of us are Buddhas, we cannot presume what he would do. The sutta is silent on this scenario. But given the choice is between telling a lie to save lives or keeping silent (to keep our precept and save our brownie point). I would have no hesitation to choose the former.

    @federica
    I just don't need another philosopher to tell me what is "right" from "wrong"!

    Why is that? Because the Tathagata has sympathy for living beings."

    And we need to follow that example.

    So was your question rhetorical then? Because if you won't take the answer from 'another philosopher' what else can we tell you?

    I'm frankly fed up of the question being repeatedly asked. It's the umpteenth time I've seen it here. I mean, what do you want us to say, exactly?

  • DakiniDakini Veteran

    @pegembara said:

    A different situation.

    The Nazi secret police is asking if you know of any Jews living in your neighborhood. Silence is not an option here.

    Or a guy walks into a school with a gun and asks if you have seen so and so in class.

    What then?

    Those are completely different situations than the day-to-day mundane white lies people may be tempted to speak, that @David was referring to. The "does this dress make me look fat" type of moments. Mindfully breaking a precept for a greater good (to save lives, being the typical Mahayana example) is a completely different ballgame from lying out of intellectual laziness, or to manipulate others, or out of fear of hurting someone's feelings.

    lobster
  • @federica said:

    @pegembara said:
    @David

    Since none of us are Buddhas, we cannot presume what he would do. The sutta is silent on this scenario. But given the choice is between telling a lie to save lives or keeping silent (to keep our precept and save our brownie point). I would have no hesitation to choose the former.

    @federica
    I just don't need another philosopher to tell me what is "right" from "wrong"!

    Why is that? Because the Tathagata has sympathy for living beings."

    And we need to follow that example.

    So was your question rhetorical then? Because if you won't take the answer from 'another philosopher' what else can we tell you?

    I'm frankly fed up of the question being repeatedly asked. It's the umpteenth time I've seen it here. I mean, what do you want us to say, exactly?

    http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.058.than.html
    =)

  • pegembarapegembara Veteran
    edited April 15

    @Dakini said:

    @pegembara said:

    A different situation.

    The Nazi secret police is asking if you know of any Jews living in your neighborhood. Silence is not an option here.

    Or a guy walks into a school with a gun and asks if you have seen so and so in class.

    What then?

    Those are completely different situations than the day-to-day mundane white lies people may be tempted to speak, that @David was referring to. The "does this dress make me look fat" type of moments. Mindfully breaking a precept for a greater good (to save lives, being the typical Mahayana example) is a completely different ballgame from lying out of intellectual laziness, or to manipulate others, or out of fear of hurting someone's feelings.

    True that but the extreme situations should not be ignored. Better to explore than think "This couldn't happen to me".

    http://rage.com.my/lastsurvivors-chweelan/

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator
    edited April 15

    @pegembara said:

    @federica said:

    @pegembara said:
    @David

    Since none of us are Buddhas, we cannot presume what he would do. The sutta is silent on this scenario. But given the choice is between telling a lie to save lives or keeping silent (to keep our precept and save our brownie point). I would have no hesitation to choose the former.

    @federica
    I just don't need another philosopher to tell me what is "right" from "wrong"!

    Why is that? Because the Tathagata has sympathy for living beings."

    And we need to follow that example.

    So was your question rhetorical then? Because if you won't take the answer from 'another philosopher' what else can we tell you?

    I'm frankly fed up of the question being repeatedly asked. It's the umpteenth time I've seen it here. I mean, what do you want us to say, exactly?

    http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.058.than.html
    =)

    Yes, and your point is...?
    Can we please move on? This discussion will go round in circles, otherwise.

    @pegembara, if you're really interested in continuing to push the matter, open another thread.
    You have a right to your concerns, but you're hijacking someone else's thread to insist this issue, and that's impolite.

    Let's go back and take it from here, please.

    @lobster said:
    Here is something about right listening ... <3
    https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/family-dharma-right-speech-reconsidered/

    You will perhaps recognise in yourself or others how many of us are stuck in teenage or younger listening modalities. Is this why Zeniths and Mahasiddhas break into our ignorant/dukkha hugging loops with quite strong medicine?

    Is waking up a form of growing up? :o

    Thanks.

    dhammachick
  • i am a strong supporter of speaking out against abuse and that suppression of same is wrong speech. again if you read the debates in the viniya it's full of open honest strong arguments. some things should be decided by public debate, and the failure to go public with obvious abuse leads to greater problems than it protects. in fact that road leads to the mess the catholic church is now trying to clean up.

    silverlobsterHozanDakini
  • if it hurts people's feelings to hear truth about their beloved teacher or friend then yes, enlightenment is partially growing up.

  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    @ollaimh
    ... as well as listening and reporting/sharing/discussing concerns we can also address as part of right speech, our tendencies.

    For example I am overly critical of even the Buddha, Boddhisattva but mostly myself. So a slightly suspect teacher is not going to be immune.

    On the whole I find good and useful teachings and skilful exemplars. Where should I spend my time and attention?

    :)

  • @DhammaDragon said:
    If I dare post anything concerning Right Speech, @federica will close the thread and ban me for good...

    @DhammaDragon said:
    If I dare post anything concerning Right Speech, @federica will close the thread and ban me for good...

    i wonder what that means? are we not allowed to criticize any dharma teacher here? seems some do. i have.

  • DhammaDragonDhammaDragon Carpe Diem switzerland Veteran

    No, @ollaimh.
    You are too new to know that I am not well-known on the site for my proficiency in the Right Speech domain =)

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    @ollaimh said:

    @DhammaDragon said:
    If I dare post anything concerning Right Speech, @federica will close the thread and ban me for good...

    i wonder what that means? are we not allowed to criticize any dharma teacher here? seems some do. i have.

    @ollaimh , the first thing to cultivate and manifest around here, is a good sense of humour.
    A fair proportion of posts are expressed with a laugh and a giggle.... We don't do 'sombre' and 'anally retentive' around here.... everything presented has an undercurrent of joy and mirth.

    HozanDhammaDragonkarasti
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    For myself, I try to focus on how I am doing with right speech etc rather than always pointing out the problems with others. That doesn't mean we shouldn't speak out against oppression and other problems. We should. But I think many people focus on the wrongs of others and don't take nearly as much time to look at their own. When I get "well that's not right speech..." thoughts creeping in I try to flip it and ask myself how I've been doing. It usually shuts me right up.

    HozanlobsterDhammaDragon
  • DakiniDakini Veteran

    @karasti said:
    For myself, I try to focus on how I am doing with right speech etc rather than always pointing out the problems with others. That doesn't mean we shouldn't speak out against oppression and other problems. We should. But I think many people focus on the wrongs of others and don't take nearly as much time to look at their own. When I get "well that's not right speech..." thoughts creeping in I try to flip it and ask myself how I've been doing. It usually shuts me right up.

    Always a good point to make. But I don't think that people are going around pointing the finger at people in their daily lives. The reason that the wrong speech of others seemingly comes up inevitably on "right speech" threads is that those comments address a very specific context: scandals in sanghas. That's when incorrect views on right speech typically arise, so some people get stuck dealing with that. It can generate confusion, at the least.

    And we could say that this topic has been done to death, but there are always new members joining. I think it's useful to run the topic again, periodically, for the new people who might have questions about it. In fact, I've been planning to thank the OP for starting the topic, and to say exactly that; it's always good to re-run it for the newbies.

    And yes, "Right Speech" is also about our own mindfulness of our own speech, and our motives for speaking. Spot on.

    lobster
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    Indeed, I wasn't suggesting such issues shouldn't be brought to light (even repeatedly as happens in forums). I just notice themes myself (within my own mind) where I spend more time pointing out the wrongs of others rather than looking at what I can do about myself. To the point I might go DAYS thinking in circles about one particular issue. Even if it's a really important issue, most of the time I am thinking myself in circles. And all the while, I have yelled at my kids, sighed when one of my parents called and I had to answer the phone, jabbered incessantly about some mindless topic with some person who just doesn't care, etc. When we feel indignant about a topic, I think that is pretty common. I try to do better at debating an issue, then leaving it when I am done talking or typing. But it's really hard not to carry it with you and let it distract you from your own immediate impact.

    Sorry for the lack of clarity, I often get ahead of myself as I am reading posts and then by the time I've formed my thought, I've one 7 cars down the thought train and forget to circle back around so it makes sense, LOL.

    Kerome
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    “Laws as such do not make people better,” said Mulla Nasrudin to the King; “they must practice certain things, in order to become attuned to inner truth. This form of truth resembles apparent truth only slightly.”
    The King decided that he could, and would, make people observe the truth. He could make them practice truthfulness. His city was entered by a bridge. On this he built a gallows.
    The following day, when the gates were opened at dawn, the Captain of the Guard was stationed with a squad of troops to examine all who entered.
    An announcement was made: “Everyone will be questioned. If he tells the truth, he will be allowed to enter. If he lies, he will be hanged.” Nasrudin stepped forward.
    “Where are you going?” The captain asked.
    “I am on my way,” said Nasrudin slowly, “to be hanged.”
    “We don’t believe you!”
    “Very well, if I have told a lie, hang me!”
    “But if we hang you for lying, we will have made what you said come true!”
    “That’s right: now you know what truth is – YOUR TRUTH!"
    https://emylomazzo.com/2014/02/26/mulla-nasrudin/

    Hozan
  • KeromeKerome Did I fall in the forest? Europe Veteran

    @karasti said:
    Indeed, I wasn't suggesting such issues shouldn't be brought to light (even repeatedly as happens in forums). I just notice themes myself (within my own mind) where I spend more time pointing out the wrongs of others rather than looking at what I can do about myself.

    Lol, I was wondering if you noticed that. I had observed a certain pattern about our interactions.

    To the point I might go DAYS thinking in circles about one particular issue. Even if it's a really important issue, most of the time I am thinking myself in circles. And all the while, I have yelled at my kids, sighed when one of my parents called and I had to answer the phone, jabbered incessantly about some mindless topic with some person who just doesn't care, etc. When we feel indignant about a topic, I think that is pretty common. I try to do better at debating an issue, then leaving it when I am done talking or typing. But it's really hard not to carry it with you and let it distract you from your own immediate impact.

    Sorry for the lack of clarity, I often get ahead of myself as I am reading posts

    I find brevity an interesting exercise. Writing down my thoughts and then distilling them to the absolute essentials, the minimum number of words necessary to carry my meaning exactly.

    At the same time you find your meaning transforming before your eyes into something more well-rounded, the edges taken off. It can be a fun process.

    mosquitolobsterHozankarasti
  • DhammaDragonDhammaDragon Carpe Diem switzerland Veteran

    @Kerome said:
    I find brevity an interesting exercise. Writing down my thoughts and then distilling them to the absolute essentials, the minimum number of words necessary to carry my meaning exactly.

    I have become very zen with the pass of time.
    I find wise concepts have more impact when stripped down to just the minimum amount of words.
    I tend to express myself haiku-like and have no patience for long-overdrawn speeches.

    Where Right Speech completely fails me, as ever, is that I don't feel like watering down my speech to please my interlocutor.
    And people do not always necessarily appreciate zen honesty.

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    @kerome when I write I tend to do so much more so "free association" style. You should see my journal, :lol: By comparison nothing here I've ever written has been lengthy ;) I use writing as a way to not just attempt to make a point but to work through stuff. Probably 75% of what I have to say about anything is my making sense of it in my own mind, and 25% actually contributing to any discussion.

    Kerome
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    Honestly @karasti? I wouldn't be so modest.

  • KeromeKerome Did I fall in the forest? Europe Veteran

    @DhammaDragon said:
    Where Right Speech completely fails me, as ever, is that I don't feel like watering down my speech to please my interlocutor.

    Surely if you are actively pleasing your interlocutor you have deviated from the path of purely expressing your own wisdom? I would say it is rarely if ever 'factual, true and beneficial' as well as pleasing to the other... is it ever beneficial to stroke the ego?

    And people do not always necessarily appreciate zen honesty.

    I think Zen honesty has a sparse beauty. Osho used to always tell things with a joke, and very rarely deviated into negativity, most often he would find a way to express the positive side of things.

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    I don't think that practicing right speech is about pleasing anyone else. I think it has more to do with making ourselves think about what we say and how we say it so that what we are saying is appropriately heard by the receiver. That doesn't mean they will like it, or that we should sugar coat or water anything down. But if you look at the whole of right speech, including not engaging in idle chatter, then when we do speak, what we say should be important. And it should be important enough for us to take the time to form it properly so that our intention is received as appropriately as possible. If we took as much time to think about what we say when we speak as when we write an important paper, then what we are trying to say would come across better. Not with the intention of watering anything down but to encourage listening by the other person and thereby increasing the chances of understanding occurring.

    I think most of the time we just like to talk so much that the idea of stopping to think through exactly what we want to say is exhausting. But if we did so, the rest of right speech would easily fall in line because we'd be lot more careful about what we were saying if it took so much work, lol. If we think not participating in abusive or divisive speech is watering down then maybe we need to think about whether we truly need to say what we are going to say. I'm not talking about you @DhammaDragon as I have no idea what your intentions are or what specifically you meant. Just thoughts that came to mind when I read your comment.

    lobsterHozan
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    Well said @karasti.
    It is not what we say but how it is heard.
    In a sense we are mirrors or shards of the whole reflection.
    It is why the surprising/beginner or wrong speech can give us understanding of a more skilful way. Everyone has a part to play.

    In other words, be mindful to both the words, interpretation and our response .... the words of everyone become precious possibilities for insights ...

    upekka
  • DhammaDragonDhammaDragon Carpe Diem switzerland Veteran

    @lobster said:
    Well said @karasti.
    It is not what we say but how it is heard.

    Fifty percent of what we say depends on what people can or want to understand anyway...
    And no matter how watered down a speech is, people will not gladly receive a truth they don't want to hear either.

    Hozanlobsterkarasti
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