Sanhkara. Sankhara is mental constructions/mental formations. Dependant upon ignorance, Sankhara arises. Worldly beings are bound up with the continual cycle of ignorance and resulting sankhara.
We are human beings, social creatures deeply connected with one another in terms of perception and reactivity. This is the nature of the human condition. As such, sanhkara may arise in reaction to external circumstances such as the speech of another, even when the speech is not ill-intended. We may simply misunderstand or misinterpret. Similarly, Sankhara may arise by virtue of intentional wrongful speech from another, which we in ignorance take personally, or which by virtue of some other manifestation of ignorance results in affliction.
Nobody else is responsible for our personal mental constructions/mental formations. Nobody else controls our sankhara.
The Teaching. Yet the Buddha teaches:
(Related topic with reference.)"Having performed a verbal act, you should reflect on it... If, on reflection, you know that it led to self-affliction, to the affliction of others, or to both; it was an unskillful verbal act with painful consequences, painful results, then you should confess it, reveal it, lay it open to the Teacher or to a knowledgeable companion in the holy life. Having confessed it... you should exercise restraint in the future. But if on reflection you know that it did not lead to affliction... it was a skillful verbal action with happy consequences, happy results, then you should stay mentally refreshed and joyful, training day and night in skillful mental qualities."
The Buddha teaches that verbal acts can lead to the affliction of others. Even though one cannot be responsible for another’s sankhara, one nevertheless bears personal responsibility for speech which afflicts others. We have the capacity to harm others, through our actions, and through our words.
Source.The accusation has been made that the application of the terms kusala and akusala are oriented only towards an individualistic goal, making the motivation for abstention from violence a selfish one. But it can be argued that the distinction between altruism and egoism breaks down for anyone truly following the Noble Eightfold Path. There are also many textual references to the inherent importance of harmony, justice and compassion in society to balance those passages which seem to be solely individualistic. Harmony and justice are recognized as worthwhile in themselves as well as a prerequisite for the spiritual progress of society's members. Hence, in society, violence is to be eschewed because it brings pain to beings with similar feelings to oneself:
All tremble at violence,
Life is dear to all.
Comparing others with oneself
One should neither kill nor cause others to kill.
Dhp. v. 130
On the level of personal analogy, men and women are to condemn violence. It is an analogy which demands metta (loving kindness) and karuna (compassion) of the human being. They call on a frame of mind which cannot remain insensitive to suffering in others or untouched by the agony produced by violence. Non-violence, therefore, arises through the urge to prevent anguish in others:
Comparing oneself with others in such terms as "Just as I am so are they, just as they are so am I" (yatha aham tatha ete yatha ete tatha aham), one should neither kill nor cause others to kill.
Snp. v. 705
The Buddha, however, did not credit all people with this level of awareness. He is recorded as saying that shame and fear of blame protect the world, and if there were not these forces, the world would come to confusion and promiscuity. Not all beings rally to the call for compassion on the grounds that others have like feelings to themselves or that harmony in society is necessary. Therefore, some texts invoke the concepts of heaven and hell, rewards and punishments, to control violence.
Through our speech, we can create a hostile environment.
Error. It is error to assert that in all instances, only others are to blame when one’s speech is misunderstood. The definition and meaning of words are not black-and-white. Words and phrases, by their very nature, are prone to ambiguity and alternative plausible interpretations. For example, statutory interpretation and contract interpretation are areas of study, because even lawmakers and highly paid attorneys who take great pains to say exactly what they mean often say things in a manner which is ambiguous and open to alternative valid interpretations. This is the nature of language. Moreover, in a diverse society with people of various backgrounds, we may not be able to predict how our words are interpreted by another. To always blame the listener for misunderstanding, by virtue of his or her purported “lack of ability to comprehend” or purported “illiteracy,” is a cop out and contrary to the approach which is Dhamma. Worse, it can be a way of blaming the victim, and it can justify bullying. Those who create a hostile environment by their words are themselves responsible for the words they speak.
How praiseworthy if one comes to the realization that one speaks unkindly or insensitively to others without shame or fear of blame. Such a realization can help one to make a change for the better, and to perform kamma in the future which does not so frequently afflict self and/or others. What an unfortunate, miserable circumstance if one's habit is to speak unkindly or insensitively to others without shame or fear of blame, and if one instead blames everyone else for the harmful effect of one's words.
When we blame others for their reactions to our harsh, insensitive, unkind words, we commit error and miss an opportunity to practice Dhamma by recognizing the truth about that which has arisen. We are not responsible for the other’s sankhara. We are responsible for our kamma, and we experience the fruits of such kamma. Failure to recognize that one’s volitional actions in the form of insensitive speech can cause harm to others is a failure to understand Dhamma and basic reality.
Being mindful of this, Dhamma guides us toward an acknowledgement that our Kamma may be skillful or unskillful, and may lead to the affliction of others or not lead to the affliction of others. Dhamma teaches one to take personal responsibility for one’s volitional actions of speech, to reflect upon whether one’s actions have led to self affliction, affliction of others, or both, and if we recognize that our actions/speech have led to such affliction, then to endeavor to act more skillfully in the future. Dhamma does not teach that one should deny personal responsibility and blame others, and compound the affliction by engaging in further insensitive speech.
Dismissing comments about “insensitive speech” as mere political correctness, or as an attempt to censor others or control others, or as mere “complaints,” or as “meta discussion,” or as being “holier than thou,” is evasive and disrespectful, as well as harmful to oneself and others. The teachings on Right Speech call for us to recognize that the words we speak and write may lead to affliction of others, and to know our kamma. Insensitive speech is to be avoided, not commended and encouraged.
Source.I am aware of my wish to foster happiness and reduce suffering for myself and for others.
I am aware, too, of the imperfections that may hinder this wish.
Where my actions have caused suffering, may I be forgiven.
Where my actions conflict with those others would choose, may they understand.
I am grateful that the next in-breath marks a new beginning.