Right Speech

Buddhist ethical conduct including the Five Precepts (Pañcasikkhāpada), and Eightfold Ethical Conduct (Aṭṭhasīla).
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Laurens
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Right Speech

Post by Laurens » Fri Jul 12, 2019 2:48 pm

I feel as though one area of my practise that is very easy to fall away from is Right Speech.

For instance, I find a lot of my colleagues will engage in idle, divisive gossip about others at work. I have a very agreeable temperament, so I often find myself either just going 'uh-huh' and agreeing to it to let them run off whatever it is they have to say, or at other times I find myself getting roped into it and telling them something I noticed someone doing and whatnot. It's almost like their anger at the work situation permeates into my being and I find myself getting involved in it all.

It's something I find very hard to keep track of. One moment I am being mindful, the next I have been stirred up into joining in with someone else's rant. I think I am very easily suggestible and agreeable when I am with others. Do you have any practical suggestions for how to deal with the situation?

Most people at work are angry at the job and everyone there. Perhaps I just need to seek different employment? In any case, what should I do until then? How do I deal with people who want to gossip and complain in an angry way? What should I say to them that doesn't mean I get involved or create division?

Regards
Laurens
"If only it were all so simple! If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?"

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

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Nicolas
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Re: Right Speech

Post by Nicolas » Fri Jul 12, 2019 3:09 pm

What comes to mind:
You already have enough mindfulness that you notice when you get sucked into the gossip -- better than not noticing it at all. Just practice mindfulness and restraint more, and eventually those slips will be less and less frequent. If you have a very agreeable temperament, then just listen to others do their gossip but don't partake in it, and if others insist on asking your opinion or for a reaction, say you don't want to speak ill of anyone, or you can play devil's advocate and give whoever is gossiped about the benefit of the doubt ("maybe they were having a bad day") and encourage a more forgiving and non-divisive attitude.

Laurens
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Re: Right Speech

Post by Laurens » Fri Jul 12, 2019 3:15 pm

Nicolas wrote:
Fri Jul 12, 2019 3:09 pm
What comes to mind:
You already have enough mindfulness that you notice when you get sucked into the gossip -- better than not noticing it at all. Just practice mindfulness and restraint more, and eventually those slips will be less and less frequent. If you have a very agreeable temperament, then just listen to others do their gossip but don't partake in it, and if others insist on asking your opinion or for a reaction, say you don't want to speak ill of anyone, or you can play devil's advocate and give whoever is gossiped about the benefit of the doubt ("maybe they were having a bad day") and encourage a more forgiving and non-divisive attitude.
Thank you,

Yeah I think part of the "issue" I'm having is that I am not looking at it from the perspective of a gradual training. I want to just attain right speech, when in actual fact it is a continual effort and does often entail failure. I notice the times when I slip up because that is what I desire to eliminate, but there are plenty of occasions when I do express restraint, and keep myself out of it. I just don't keep a mental record of them because they aren't a fault.

I will train to be more mindful, and make a bit more time for metta, and also get less hung up on the idea of immediate fixes, and fault finding.

:anjali:
"If only it were all so simple! If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?"

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

budo
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Re: Right Speech

Post by budo » Fri Jul 12, 2019 3:17 pm

Gossip and such is due to boredom aka restlessness. Better to move your attention to either 1) The Dhamma (4NT, 3C) or 2) Meditation object like the breath

Laurens
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Re: Right Speech

Post by Laurens » Fri Jul 12, 2019 3:26 pm

budo wrote:
Fri Jul 12, 2019 3:17 pm
Gossip and such is due to boredom aka restlessness. Better to move your attention to either 1) The Dhamma (4NT, 3C) or 2) Meditation object like the breath
Yeah as I kinda realised whilst making the above response. I do actually do this a lot. My work doesn't rely on thinking a lot, so I tend to practise. Sometimes with the breath, sometimes with 'buddho'. Whatever helps me to maintain presence. So a good chunk of the time I am actually practising Right Speech, and it's good to be aware of that.

But as it's a fault I do hyper-focus on it when it does happen that I engage in wrong speech. In reality, I definitely do slip up a lot less than when I first started the job and wasn't practising mindfulness at all.

Having said that, obviously I do need to be more aware in situations that I find myself easily sucked into. I will put more effort into this.

Thanks for the response

:anjali:
"If only it were all so simple! If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?"

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

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Antaradhana
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Re: Right Speech

Post by Antaradhana » Fri Jul 12, 2019 5:17 pm

Perhaps you will have a tendency for more solitude, since gossip and empty conversations can be found in actually any community, and even monasteries are no exception.
All that is subject to arising is subject to termination, all formations are non-permanent. And that which is impermanent is suffering. Regarding what is impermanent and prone to suffering, one cannot say: "This is mine, I am this, this is my self".

Laurens
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Re: Right Speech

Post by Laurens » Fri Jul 12, 2019 6:00 pm

Antaradhana wrote:
Fri Jul 12, 2019 5:17 pm
Perhaps you will have a tendency for more solitude, since gossip and empty conversations can be found in actually any community, and even monasteries are no exception.
Yeah I am quite reclusive outside of work. However, I tend to have to interact at work, as much of the day is in close proximity to another person.

I feel as though I have neglected to practise metta often enough recently, so I shall focus on that and see if it makes it easier. I think perhaps I resent my coworkers for being how they are, so letting go of that might make things easier. It will also make it harder for me to fall for saying negative things about people.

Regards
:anjali:
"If only it were all so simple! If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?"

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

sunnat
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Re: Right Speech

Post by sunnat » Sat Jul 13, 2019 1:33 am

Allow yourself to be happy.. It's hard to be negative when happy. It's infectious too. So, in time, less negative gossip. Whenever you do fall off the perch just retake the precept.

chownah
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Re: Right Speech

Post by chownah » Sat Jul 13, 2019 2:08 am

Sounds like maybe you should consider finding other employment.......perhaps consider it a bit more seriously....
chownah

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Nwad
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Re: Right Speech

Post by Nwad » Sat Jul 13, 2019 10:15 am

Right Speech need Right Intention to be developped.
Right Intention is: Intention on Renounciation, Non-ill-will, Non-anger.

Ajahn Sona have a very good vidio about it:


:anjali:

Laurens
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Re: Right Speech

Post by Laurens » Sat Jul 13, 2019 11:59 am

chownah wrote:
Sat Jul 13, 2019 2:08 am
Sounds like maybe you should consider finding other employment.......perhaps consider it a bit more seriously....
chownah
Yes, I will consider this more seriously.

My job definitely is not satisfying. Part of me has resigned to this, and decided to use my work as grist for the mill in terms of my practise. The pro's of the job are that the hours are good I have a good chunk of the day to practise after work, the work itself is necessary and beneficial to the people of my city, and the work itself is not bad at all, it's physical and not too stressful. However, the management is terrible, there's a great deal of gossip and back stabbing, and everyone generally doesn't like their job. I try to tell myself that not everybody gets to work in the perfect environment, and that I should be grateful to have employment that allows me to live comfortably, however at times it definitely gets me down. So yes, perhaps I would find my practise easier if I worked some place else.

Thanks for the advice
Nwad wrote:
Sat Jul 13, 2019 10:15 am
Right Speech need Right Intention to be developped.
Right Intention is: Intention on Renounciation, Non-ill-will, Non-anger.

Ajahn Sona have a very good vidio about it:


:anjali:
I watched this video shortly after making this topic as it happens. Very good stuff. I also watched the video on right intention, and have resolved to practise metta for 10-15 mins at the start of every 45 min sit because I feel it would help me to build stronger intentions to do good.

Thanks for the response.
sunnat wrote:
Sat Jul 13, 2019 1:33 am
Allow yourself to be happy.. It's hard to be negative when happy. It's infectious too. So, in time, less negative gossip. Whenever you do fall off the perch just retake the precept.
Thank you. I appreciate the advice, as it's easy to feel a sense of involuntariness about things. In actual fact one can always choose their attitude in any given circumstances. It reminds me of the passage in Victor Frankl's A Man's Search For Meaning, where he talks about people in concentration camps, who had everything stripped from them, some of whom did not allow this to break their spirit, and would give out the last of their bread crumbs to help others who were suffering. My situation is very, very far from that, and it makes me feel slightly pathetic to even complain about it given that reflection. So I will strengthen my spirit with metta, and allow myself to be happy.

Thank you

Much love and appreciation for all of the responses.
"If only it were all so simple! If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?"

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

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